Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa

Past Posts of Note
Substantative, in chronological order
The Sunday obligation and illness: question, research & my answer

Denial of personhood: Dei Filius & Terri Schiavo

On Modesty 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Differing with Dulles 1 & 2 on pro-abort politicians

Mad About Manuals 1 & 2

Absinthe recherches early, required reading, 2, 3, 4.

First time at an abortuary

The Maundy

TPOTC impact & analysis and more

Contraception reflections 1, 2

Meiwes, propheta, übermensch

Headship Loggerheads 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Matrix: Revolutions

Matrix: Reloaded
1, 2 & 3

Terrorist Attack Preparations, and follow-ups 1 & 2 & 3


Casuistry of Drinking

Review of Auto Focus

Parish Review 1

The Power of Shame

Biblical Hermeneutics

Ayoob on Guns

Against the Ordination of Women

Two Cents on Braveheart


Thematic Meditations

E-mail Me
oldoligarch @yahoo.com

Who Knows?
I Might Respond!

E-mail Policy
Any e-mail I receive is fair game for publication, with comments, unless you explicitly say so beforehand.

Gabriel Possenti

The WeatherPixie
Weather at Dulles Airport

Powered by Blogger

My Atom Site Feed
Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/30/2003 07:01:00 AM | link

Sensible commentary on the aforeblogged capture of female soldier Shoshana Johnson (30 year-old mother of two), which equally applies to the more recently MIA beautiful, 19-year old Jessica Lynch. For her sake, I hope she's with God rather than captured.

Again, why do feminists want these women to risk the utmost in relentless, brutal sexual degradation as a way to prove "equality" with men?

I don't have the links here, but they've also proven that on the level of sheer physical suitability alone, that women in training and combat routine have more stress fractures and soft tissue injuries related to lower bulk strength and weaker bones. And -- for one of you research-oriented women (Rat, Zorak, Eve?) -- I know there must be a stat out there on how many female sailors get knocked up during their tour of duty.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/29/2003 07:17:00 AM | link

We had a fire in our apartment building!
Everyone is OK, but it was an exciting hour, that's for sure. I also thanked God I had bought my Homeland Hood from Homeland Gasmasks, because it may have saved a life.

Zorak and I, being night-owls, were up around 3am when we smelled a slight odor of smoke in our living room. Going out into the stairwell, it was distinctly smoky. We quickly ran to each of the apartments and tried to discern where the smoke was coming from, and whether there was a fire. We zeroed in on the first floor, and heard coughing in one apartment. We knocked on doors, but no one answered. I ran around to the back of the building to see if I could see fire, but everything looked normal. Coming back around, we started banging on the first floor doors. As we were waiting for people to get out, I banged on the door of the apartment where we heard the coughing, but still no one answered, and there was no more coughing. I tried the handle, and fortunately, the door opened. Thick clouds of smoke came billowing out. It was stifling.

I gave Zorak my cell phone and she called the fire department, and she continued to wake the neighbors. I put my t-shirt over my face and entered the apartment cautiously, since I knew there were people in there. No one responded to my shouts. I could hardly see two feet in front of my face although all the lights were on. I tried to stay low, but still, the smoke was so thick, and I was so agitated, that I couldn't stay in the room without breathing for more than 30-40 seconds, and the air only made you gag when you tried to breathe it. I ran in and out twice, trying to find the fire, and found it in the kitchen. Thankfully, it was small and I could put it out. I cut off the gas and threw the flaming food into the sink and extinguished it. It must have been burning slowly for a while before it really caught. But I couldn't search the apartment, because I couldn't breathe with all that smoke. Yet I knew there was at least one person in there somewhere, possibly passed out. (Man, is that an awful feeling! -- Knowing someone could die if you don't act properly in time!) The fire department hadn't arrived yet. Then I remembered my Homeland Hood I had bought for terrorism-preparedness.

I ran upstairs, cut it open, donned it, and ran back down. With it, I could breathe. I found the apartment's sliding door and opened it, letting out some of the dense smoke. I did a room search. Since the apartment was not the same design as mine, I had to go room-to-room, hugging the left-hand wall to be exhaustive (I still couldn't see very far ahead). I found the bedroom, and sure enough, there was someone sleeping. I yelled and shook him awake, and he eventually came to. He was clearly out of it. I yelled and gestured for the guy to leave, but he didn't respond, he just stared at me. I couldn't tell if he was Anglo or Hispanic, so I tried yelling in both languages. He wouldn't move. He was looking at me with a strange, somewhat hostile expression on his face. He was clearly out of it. I thought about grabbing him, but I wasn't sure how he would react. I quickly went through the remainder of the apartment to see if there was anyone else. There wasn't. I went out to find another man to help me carry or persuade the guy to leave. By that time, the fire department was pulling in and getting ready.

A neighbor and I tried to get back into the apartment, but the man had gotten up from bed, and shut and blocked the door! The neighbor said the guy drank alot, and was probably out of his mind. The fire department got in, however, and took care of things from there. Thankfully, there was no further fire, which I couldn't tell just by looking around, because it was still so smoky. They checked out the guy, got him some air, and I guess put him back to bed after they used large fans to clear the apartment and then checked it once again for more fire. I didn't see exactly what happened with him, since he didn't come out, and I didn't hang around in the apartment once the fire department arrived, which would have been dumb.

I was pissed off at the guy. He probably could have died from smoke inhalation, he could have set the rest of the complex on fire, and he didn't even come out to apologize, and he seemed kind of surly that we had called the fire department on him. Maybe he was completely drunk or high. I don't know. I guess I will find out later what was the matter with him.

The take-away point, however, is this: I couldn't have found anyone without the mask. Everyone who entered the apartment couldn't stay inside it but for about a minute. With the hood, I was at least able to find who was in there. If they had been seriously hurt, I could have gotten them out. So there's another practical reason to own one of my recommended anti-terrorist masks. Even if there's no terrorist attack, it might help you save the life of a neighbor or family member.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/29/2003 04:27:00 AM | link

The old Guilda Radner SNL skit about Jewess Jeans (transcript on annoying page) appears to have been prophetic. (NB: $30-$50 for a plain black T-shirt.)

The latter site appeared as a Google ad when I searched for "Jewish false Messiahs" during the time of the early Church. Don't remember the Jewess Jeans skit? Here's the only other reminder I could dig up on Google:

Since the transcript page is so annoying to view, here a copy of the skit from there:

The Jingle:
Spoken: Jewess Jeans,
they're skintight,
there outta site,
Jewess Jeans,

Sung: Shes got a lifestyle,
uniquley hers,
Europe, Nasa, wholesale furs,
Shes read every best-selling book,
Shes a gourmet cook,
Shes got that Jewish look,

Spoken: Jewess Jeans,
Skin tight, alright
Jewess Jeans,

Sung: She shops the sales...
for designer clothes,
She's got designer nails,
and a designer nose,
Shes an American Princess,
and a disco queen,

Shes the Jewess in Jewess Jeans!
Shes the Jewess in Jewess Jeans!!

V/O: You dont have to be Jewish.

Gilda: But it wouldn't hurt.

V/O: Guaranteed to ride up,

Gilda is dancing around with a navy blue halter on, tight jeans (with Stars of David on the back pockets) what appears to be purple suede boots, huge black curly hair, and huge studded glasses. There are 3 other girls dancing in the background in a line. Many close ups of the back pockets, and of some girls lips.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/27/2003 09:24:00 PM | link

I know I've been blogging zilch lately. I've been uberbusy. Sorry. Deal.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/27/2003 09:13:00 PM | link

More on the rumor that six Iraqis crossed into the US from Mexico with WMD. This one says "chemical weapons," and also states that whether this actually happened is still subject to investigation. This article says the rumor is false.

A completely unrelated string of fairly accurate quizzes follows below.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 08:27:00 AM | link

Psycho. You are overwhelmed by anger. You may even
hate the world and everything in it and you
believe revenge is the way of the world. An eye
for an eye.

How Emotional Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 08:10:00 AM | link

obsessive compulsive

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 08:05:00 AM | link

You like to talk,
you like to run,
but most of all you like to have fun.

Which drug should you be hooked on? [now with pictures]
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 08:03:00 AM | link

I am

Everyone loves pi


what number are you?

this quiz by orsa

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 07:58:00 AM | link

Pray for our American POWs safe return
But I doubt it. Iraq will most likely resort to torture and degradation in their usual attempts to extract knowledge and demoralize American soldiers.

Which brings me to another point that angers me beyond words: one of the POWs is a woman. Can there be any doubt that this woman will be gang-raped senseless? It is bad enough what brutal, angry, ruthless Iraqis do to men. But why we allow any woman in combat when we know that things like this inevitably happen is completely beyond me. It must be a "woman's right to be raped" to put it in familiar feminist jargon. We know it has happened before, since the last two female American POWs were sexually assaulted by their Iraqi captors (see third paragraph from the bottom). It is hard enough to keep a boatload of our own sailors, or a testosterone-filled platoon of grunts away from women enlisted. Can't these women satisfy their desire to serve their country by taking desk jobs in intel for God's sake?

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/24/2003 12:35:00 AM | link

Gone Mad, or Muslim?
It appears an American soldier who is a Muslim has just attempted to kill his fellow soldiers in Kuwait by rolling a grenade into a tent occupied by 16 people, 11 of who are seriously injured. (He attempted to "frag them" in Vietnam era lingo -- apparently some of the men were officers.) I'd like to see how this plays out in the media.

Add to this: Another recent story about a Muslim FBI agent who is being investigated for refusing to carry out an order to wiretap a Muslim cleric believed to be involved in terrorist-supporting activity.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/22/2003 09:20:00 PM | link

Hit Them Hard, Boys!
B-52 Stratofortress
The B-52 Stratofortress in action

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/22/2003 12:46:00 AM | link

US and Mexico mince words about Iraqi terrorists smuggled into US
News material is fairly scarce concerning the aforeblogged warning about six Iraqis who apparently crossed into the US yesterday with "toxic materials" requiring "temperature controls."

This article concludes this must mean biological or possibly radiological weapons. Live biological agents make the most sense, IMHO, but no one is being specific.

Mexico says the whole incident is hooey.

I am surprised there isn't a little more coverage on this, esp. since live biological weapons (plague, smallpox) are about the worst situation we can encounter. Unless of course, they have serious reason to doubt the authenticity of the story of the "human smugglers" who helped them cross.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/22/2003 12:41:00 AM | link

US and Mexico border officials are looking for six Iraqis carrying "toxic materials requiring a controlled temperature" who may have infiltrated the United States through the Mexican border in the last two days, according to CNN. I haven't found any news stories on this yet.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/21/2003 04:15:00 PM | link

Send a letter of encouragement to any service member in the war:

The free online service is basically a "bulletin board" style of writing which allows you to post messages to servicemen in a particular branch of the service, and further specify home state. That way, when the military man goes to the website, he can read messages likely to be to him or those from the same background.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/21/2003 03:57:00 PM | link

By my count, there have been at least 5 scud missile attacks against US forces in Kuwait or just over the border during the entry. (Some were intercepted mid-air by patriot missiles, others landed but missed their targets.) I hope all the pantywaisted appeaseniks are comparing that report with their copies of the Iraqi weapons declaration, which reported that all scuds had been destroyed in compliance with UN mandates which required the destruction of all missiles with greater than 95 mile range.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/21/2003 03:54:00 PM | link

You've heard of Engrish. Now I bring you Franglish, which I discovered via a Google search for "donkey etymology." From this site:

"Asses : Divinities who gives their name to asia and ace of our cards, superior to kings. The french language traduces well the relashionship which is given here, during centuries, the word donkey have been spelled "asne"

It seems that the dunce's cap symbol, with which we covered over the dunces head has been used in a wrong way. Initially, it doesnt carry a will of mockery which assimilated the pupil ignorance to the one of a donkey.

It served more to send out the wish of the one who wear such a dunce cap so that he could get the donkey is knowledge. It has the same function as a pyramidal form which some people tell it concentrates some rays in a given point. Look also the funnel picture (cone which rewinds of the pyramid) that some painters have set traditionally on the head from those who have lost their common sense."

As a side note, the dunce cap is actually from Duns' Cap, named after much-derided late Scholastic thinker John Duns Scotus, whose theory of haecceties made him the laughingstock of some portions of the academy.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/19/2003 07:43:00 PM | link

I am ranked #4 by Google for the search "Saddam Hussein grinder meat."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/19/2003 06:22:00 PM | link

A bomb of Biblical proportions: Moab.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/19/2003 06:18:00 PM | link

Early Self-Administration of Cipro May Be Key to Reducing Anthrax Casualty Rate
Earlier, I advocated having your own supply of Cipro on hand as a stop-gap measure between the outbreak of an anthrax attack and the time you are able to obtain a 60-day supply from the government. Lawrence Wein of Stanford University has been working with a team of researchers to study distribution models for administering drugs after an attack. From the full Yahoo AP article:.

"He and his colleagues found that giving people rapid access to antibiotics that fight anthrax, such as Cipro, would help more than early detection systems or prioritization of medical care based on who needs it most.

"Although providing people with anthrax-fighting antibiotics before any attack occurs raises concerns that improper use will increase resistance to the vital drugs, the authors found that distributing the drugs either before an attack or within several hours would cut the number of casualties by half.

In a related article:

"...treat people as quickly as possible -- about 10,000 lives would be lost for every hour of waiting."

"Glenn F. Webb, a professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University and author of an accompanying editorial, says the study fills a "critical gap by providing quantitative assessment of the deaths resultant to a civilian population from an airborne attack of weaponized anthrax on a large city."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/19/2003 05:18:00 PM | link

What would Churchill do?
The "Your World with Cavuto" segment on Fox had an entertaining interview with the above title. Churchill's grandson and former Parlimentarian, Winston S. Churchill, was the interlocutor. In praising Bush and Blair for recognizing the necessity of a "pre-emptive strike" he recounted being in Israel in 1980.

When Hussein failed to obtain nuclear weapons from the Russians, he was able to get them from France. Chirac permitted Hussein to purchase 72 pounds of uranium and French-made reactors, which Hussein was then shipping into Iraq. As the good were in transit, Israel launched an air assault, and blew the shipment to smithereens.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/19/2003 04:59:00 PM | link

e5men: An organization of lay men dedicated to fasting once a month or more for the spiritual benefit of their brides, and women in general, especially those hurt by the spiritual failures of the Christian men in their lives. (e5 = Ephesians 5.) Another good idea brought to my attention by the Couple to Couple League.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/18/2003 02:37:00 AM | link

Joseph Coors, R.I.P.

Joseph Coors, who used his brewing fortune to support President Reagan and help create the conservative Heritage Foundation, has died at age 85. More here.

Although it's rarely mentioned in a positive light, Coors held the line against the hiring of homosexuals in his company, and homo advertising. That's more than I can say for Budweiser, which actively advertises to the gay market in the worst way. Don't believe me?

How about the Tops & Bottles Bud ad, which I saw in City Paper and other DC-area media. For those that don't speak gayese, the ad puns on the phrase "tops & bottoms," which is gay slang for Sodomites (those who prefer to "pitch") and catamites ("catchers"). You can see all the other Bud ads here, like this one.

Sam Adams (which used to be my favorite beer before their CEO laughed at the desecration of St. Patrick's) also likes commercials with transsexuals.

Take a read of the whole Commercial Closet website to get a glimpse of how much subtle (and not-so-subtle) gay advertising is out there.

I wish I could still say the same for Coors today. Apparently, they are now just as bad. According to the Commercial Closet site: "Coors began with this ad in 1997, and soon after added its own gay-specific ads as well. Coors’ move -- an effort to repair years of damage from a gay boycott -- came after denying it would initiate gay marketing while rival brands Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light and Miller pursued the market."

Does anyone know a straighter beer?

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/17/2003 11:09:00 PM | link

Happy St. Patrick's Day from someone who is not Irish at all.

Click here for related article.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/17/2003 04:04:00 PM | link

If I'm not beef, I'm alcohol (thanks to Kathy for blogging the quiz):

What Flavour Are You? I taste like Beef.I taste like Beef.

I taste like beef. I'm probably made of beef. You are what you eat, they say, and if the title didn't mean something else, I would be a beefeater. I think red meat is good for you. Puts hair on your chest. (If you were not beef, you would be Alcohol. What Flavour Are You?

You Are Romans
You are Romans.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/16/2003 11:49:00 PM | link

Old Oligarch vs. The Turing Machine

A student asked me about Turing Machines today. I found some online. I got talking to CHAT for a while. (You need a telnet client installed to access CHAT. To those who don't know what that means: just try it and see if it works.) The basic idea is this: Alan Turing proposed a test of artificial intelligence: If you couldn't tell you were talking to a computer, it's as good as human intelligence. People are still trying to make machines that can carry on a conversation. My experiences are below. Each session begins by establishing the setting for you. When the machine doesn't know what to do, it ends the story by saying the class has begun.
You enter a classroom. It is empty, except for a woman is sitting at one of the student's desks. There is a parka draped over the back of her chair. She speaks to you, "Hi. Are you looking for the psychology class?"

You say:
Yes, I am.

She says:
I think this is it. It doesn't start for a while. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get here on the bus, so I left early.

You say:
How long did it take you?

She says:
I had to leave work more than an hour ago because I had to transfer twice on the bus. I hate waiting at bus stops in the winter. Some day I'll get a car. (She smiles.) First, though, I have to get a better job. Do you think taking a psychology class will help?

You say:
Not really, unless you are going to be a therapist.

She says:
(She frowns a little.) Well I didn't want to be late. The calendar says the class starts at five. I expect everyone else should be arriving any minute. (As though on cue, someone else enters the room and sits on the far side. He opens a book and starts to read.) Have you taken any psychology classes before?

You say:
Yes, two.

She says:
Then maybe you can tell me what I should expect. I thought the title of this course was pretty strange. What do you think "the control of human behaviour" really means?

You say:
Perhaps how people are influenced by advertising and other forms of suggestion.

She says:
(She grins.) Yeah. Maybe that's why it sounded interesting. I thought maybe it meant, like, propaganda or something. The course description didn't say very much. (She pauses.) Maybe its like hypnosis. Have you ever been hypnotized?

You say:
Yes, forty-five times.

She says:
Really? Did you like it? I was hypnotized once. We went to this club, my husband and I, and I went up on stage. I didn't think it worked, but my husband, he said that I was singing just like Madonna. I thought it was creepy when he said that, so I won't let anyone hypnotise me again.

You say:
I didn't like it at all. I killed somebody.

She says:
(She looks fascinated.) Yeah? So tell me all about it.

You say:
Well, we were in Berlin just after the Russians surrounded the town. I had to fight my way out, and the only way I could endure the carnage was by being hyponotized forty-five times. As far as I know, I'm still hypnotized.

She says:
The door is right behind you.

You say:
I was just kidding. Sorry.

You had not noticed that the room had filled with students while you were talking to the woman. A voice from the front of the class says, "Welcome to Psychology 103..." The woman whispers to you, "Talk to you later," and turns in her seat to face the front of the class. You say, "Okay." and turn to listen to the professor as well.
[Type RESTART to try again or QUIT to end]
[The following was probably the most "natural" conversation:]

You enter a classroom. It is empty, except for a woman is sitting at one of the student's desks. There is a parka draped over the back of her chair. She speaks to you, "Hi. Are you looking for the psychology class?"

You say:
I am.

She says:
I think this is it. It doesn't start for a while. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get here on the bus, so I left early.

You say:
Is that your coat?

She says:
It keeps me warm at the bus stops. Some day I'll get a car. (She smiles.) First, though, I have to get a better job. Do you think taking a psychology class will help?

You say:
It might. Where do you live?

She says:
I have to come all the way across town. I hope so. The job I have now is all right, but I wouldn`t want to be stuck there for the rest of my life.

You say:
What do you do for work?

She says:
I work for the city. I'm a secretary in the planning department. If you ever applied for a building permit or a zoning variance or anything like that, I handled your application. (She pauses.) What do you do?

You say:
I am a theologian.

She says:
Yeah? That must be interesting work. Have you been doing that for long?

You say:
Twenty years.

She says:
Yeah? I have been working for the city for almost four years. Before that, I lived in Vancouver. Are you from here originally?

You say:
No, I'm from Connecticut.

She says:
I hear it's supposed to be nice there. I'd like to visit it some day.

You say:
Do your parents live in Vancouver?

She says:
Sometimes I wish I was back there. I used to really enjoy walking through Stanley Park.

You say:
What is Stanley Park?
You had not noticed that the room had filled with students while you were talking to the woman. A voice from the front of the class says, "Welcome to Psychology 103..." The woman whispers to you, "Talk to you later," and turns in her seat to face the front of the class. You say, "Okay." and turn to listen to the professor as well.
[Type RESTART to try again or QUIT to end]
[The "Hahna" dialogue. (Inside joke.) Of course, I had to hit on her, just to see what it would do.]

You enter a classroom. It is empty, except for a woman is sitting at one of the student's desks. There is a parka draped over the back of her chair. She speaks to you, "Hi. Are you looking for the psychology class?"

You say:
Yes. Is this it?

She says:
I think this is it. It doesn't start for a while. I wasn't sure how long it would take to get here on the bus, so I left early.

You say:
I am really looking forward to learning psychology.

She says:
Yeah, but I don't really know what to expect. Have you taken any psychology classes before?

You say:
No. This is my first. You're beautiful.

She says:
(She smiles.) Yeah, sure. (She pauses, then continues to speak.) Have you taken any psychology classes before?

You say:
No, I mean it, you're gorgeous.

She says:
Me either. I was just curious about the title. What do you think "the control of human behaviour" really means?

You say:
Forget psychology. What are you doing Friday night?

She says:
Do you think that's all it is? I thought maybe it meant, like, propaganda or something. The course description didn't say very much. (She pauses.) Maybe its like hypnosis. Have you ever been hypnotized?

You say:
Only by the dazzling look in your eyes. Let's go on a date.

She says:
(She leans toward you slightly and blinks her big green eyes.) Actually these are coloured contacts. My real eye colour is pale blue.

You say:
Are you single?

She says:
I'm not married any more. Well, I guess I am, but we've been separated for more than a year. He lives in the States now. (more people are taking chairs in the room)

You say:
Let's get together after class.

She says:
Sure. That might be nice.

You say:
Do you like French restaurants?

You had not noticed that the room had filled with students while you were talking to the woman. A voice from the front of the class says, "Welcome to Psychology 103..." The woman whispers to you, "Talk to you later," and turns in her seat to face the front of the class. You say, "Okay." and turn to listen to the professor as well.
[Type RESTART to try again or QUIT to end]

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/15/2003 12:36:00 AM | link

Catholics Adopt More Liberal Attitudes During Their Years in College

Another endorsement for authentically Catholic institutions such as Thomas Aquinas College, University of Dallas, and Christend0m College!

Some interesting data from the people at the Cardinal Newman Society. If you want the full, slick 10-page report in PDF format, I'm offering it here. Check out the stats at the end of the copied article. Also, I love Monika Hellwig's typical liberal attitude: "I can't think because there are rules."

Catholics Adopt More Liberal Attitudes During Their Years in College, a Survey Finds By Tamar Lewin

Most Roman Catholic students, whether in Catholic colleges or nonsectarian ones, start college believing that abortion should be illegal, but by the the time they are seniors the majority support legalized abortion, according to a survey described in the March issue of Catholic World Report, a conservative monthly.

Both as freshmen and as seniors, Catholic students at Catholic colleges have more conservative attitudes on abortion, premarital sex and same-sex marriage than those at nonsectarian schools, the survey found. But the proportion adopting more liberal attitudes over the course of their college years is similar at both types of institutions.

As freshmen, 37.9 percent of the Catholic students at Catholic colleges and just under 49.5 percent of the Catholic students at nonsectarian schools said abortion should be legal, while as seniors, 51.7 percent of those at the Catholic colleges and 65.5 percent at nonsectarian colleges said it should be.

Similarly, 27.5 percent of the Catholic freshmen at Catholic colleges and 38.7 percent of the Catholics at nonsectarian schools said premarital sex was "all right" for people who "really like each other." As seniors, though, 48 percent of the Catholic-college students and 59.8 percent of the Catholics at nonsectarian schools took that view.

The numbers are far from definitive, though. The report is based on surveys of thousands of students who were freshmen in 1997 and seniors in 2001, conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles -- but is not a nationally representative sample of Catholic colleges.

The U.C.L.A. survey includes 38 of the nation's more than 200 Catholic colleges, and even within the institutions surveyed, the findings may be somewhat skewed, since each used its own method for selecting students to poll.

"Highly selective Catholic schools, which tend to be more liberal, were overrepresented in this sample," said William S. Korn, associate director for operations at the U.C.L.A. institute. "If all Catholic colleges had been surveyed, the changes observed would probably be less."

Whatever its flaws, the report provides the first tantalizing data on an issue that has been of serious concern to Catholics: whether, and to what extent, Catholic colleges help bolster students' religious faith and practice. "We would expect Catholic colleges to have a much stronger effect in bringing students closer to Catholic teachings, or at least not having them fall away," said Patrick J. Reilly, the report's author and president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a group dedicated to reinforcing the religious identity of Catholic colleges.

Others point out that students of all faiths, at all types of institutions, tend to become more liberal during their college years -- so the changes may be due more to overall societal influences than to anything the college does or does not do.

"Students look at movies, at their friends, at their families, at everything around them, and that doesn't mean Catholic colleges are failing," said Monika Hellwig, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. "The question is whether the task of higher education in our pluralistic, changing society is to lock students into rules -- even rules I agree with -- or to teach them critical thinking."

Dr. Hellwig said that while her group and the Cardinal Newman Society would generally agree on what values were required for a moral life, they differed on what higher education could or should do to foster those values.

According to the report, 8 percent of the Catholics who went to nonsectarian colleges and 16 percent of those at Catholic colleges said they had much stronger religious beliefs and convictions as seniors than they had as freshmen.

At the Catholic colleges, 58 percent of the Catholic seniors said they attended religious services occasionally or not at all, compared with 32 percent of the Catholic freshman. At the nonsectarian colleges, 78 percent of the Catholic seniors attended religious services occasionally or not at all, compared with 44 percent of the Catholic freshmen.


Abortion should be legal.
1997 -- 37.9%
2001 -- 51.7

Same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status.
1997 -- 52.4
2001 -- 69.5

Premarital sex is all right, even for those who have known each other briefly.
1997 -- 27.5
2001 -- 48.0


Abortion should be legal.
1997 -- 49.5%
2001 -- 65.5

Same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status.
1997 -- 62.0
2001 -- 76.9

Premarital sex is all right, even for those who have known each other briefly.
1997 -- 38.7
2001 -- 59.8

(Source: The Catholic World Report)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/14/2003 06:21:00 PM | link

One old friend writes (apropos this passing remark):

I suppose after your snide comparison of the Reformers to 1st century anti-Christian Rabbis, I should be less gentle. But, there is a less obscure biblical record of the godly response to Epicurean and Stoic philosophers than the one you noted in the apocrypha. You'll find it at Acts 17.

Thank you for the reference. I am sorry I was snide. But unless I am missing something, which I may be, Paul does not actually give any kind of refutation specific to the errors of the stoa or the garden in his speech at the Areopagus. What he condemns about the worship of idols is something which, as far as I know, many of the Stoics may have already believed as part of the Greek Enlightenment's general critique of traditional religion. I haven't the slightest idea about Epicurean religious practices, but idolatry is not something which is, per se, Epicurean.

In Wisdom of Solomon, however, maxims of the philosophy of each school are specifically mentioned, and condemned. For example, the Stoic doctrine of the rule of chance fate over all external things (Wis Sol 2:2) is contrasted with God's universal providence, and likewise the Stoic belief that a kind of materialist necessity dominates the external world, not infrequently tied up with early atomism (2:3-4). The passing fancies of Epicurean indulgence (2:6-9), based on the belief the soul is mortal (2:5), are contrasted with belief in the immortality of the soul (3:1-8), and the former doctrine of hedonism is exposed as the kissing cousin of the philosophy of Thrasymachus (2:11). Where does Paul do something like this in Acts 17?

And regarding the Reformers, what did you expect me to say? That they were nice guys, and had some good points, while they tore apart the Church of God? And, honestly, there were some common motivations between the Palestinian backlash against the Alexandrian works and the reasons of the Reformers. Both, for example, were suspect of prayer for the dead, and thus were inclined to reject Maccabees. I admit that in the transmission of Palestinian prejudices to Luther, some early fathers (like Jerome!) played a role, but Jerome had the grace to defer to Pope Damasus and the Synod of Rome, unlike that other Doctor.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/14/2003 03:04:00 AM | link

Cool new offering from Sophia Institute Press:
Fulton J. Sheen's
Wartime Prayer Book
written for Christians at war

Available: April 1st

- - - - - -

Recently, a friend sent us his only copy of The Armor of God, a sixty-year-old, pocket-sized prayer book, its scuffed leather cover worn from hard use in rough circumstances.

Written for soldiers by Msgr. Fulton Sheen in the darkest moments of World War II, this small prayer book has been proven in combat and hallowed by the suffering, prayers, and sacrifices of thousands of Catholic fighting men and women on ships, submarines, and aircraft, in fortresses and foxholes, and even in hellish prisoner of war camps across Europe and the Pacific.

Peacetime led those soldiers and sailors to put aside this powerful wartime prayer book as they entered a world rendered more secure because of their sacrifices.

New enemies have shattered the security those good soldiers won sixty years ago. Terrorism now takes as its battlefield our homes, our schools, and our workplaces, threatening even those of us who are not in the military.

Duct tape may protect us from chemical and biological weapons, but it surely wont protect us from the corrosive, soul-destroying impact of fear, anger, uncertainty, and despair, which daily life on this battlefield is causing already.

Now is the time to draft The Armor of God back into Gods service.

We are publishing it April 1st as Fulton Sheens Wartime Prayer Book, in a pocket-sized leatherette edition similar to the original that you can carry with you in your car or on the subway, and that soldiers and sailors can carry in their uniforms as they face the enemy.

Prepublication orders are surging already and well fill them on a first-come, first-served basis, so place your order today so you wont be left empty-handed if war breaks out in Iraq or the first-printing runs out.

Fulton J. Sheens
Wartime Prayer Book
$10.95 list price * Leatherette * 196 pages

Sophia Institute Press
Phone: 1-800-888-9344 ext 309
Fax: 1-888-288-2259

Or preorder at www. amazon.com

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/12/2003 09:14:00 PM | link

One reader writes:

Old Oligarch, Friday is traditionally my drinking night. What is your opinion on maintaining that during Lent? Am I being needlessly Jansenist in feeling guilty about it?

If the Friday night routine is something you are particularly fond of, it might make a pleasing Lenten sacrifice to the Lord. One could, instead, donate the money you would normally spend on your tab to the poor or to pro-life work. But that is just a recommendation.

In general, I avoid drinking on Fridays during Lent because of the particularly somber tone of the day. All the Fridays in Lent have an elevated penitential dimension to them, which is why we often do Stations of the Cross or some other devotion that evening. They all point toward Good Friday. (Stations might make another great devotional substitute for the hours spent at the bar.)

I wouldn't say it's sinful though, and that seems to be the crux of your question. If it's not sinful outside of Lent, it is not sinful within Lent, with the exception of those specific things we must give up for Lent: Meat on Fridays, and most food altogether on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Provided you're within my aforementioned casuistry of drinking, I wouldn't say it's a sin to go to the bar on a Lenten Friday. At worst, it can be "indecorous" or a needless occasion of temptation for others: for example, if everyone else in your Catholic circle of friends spends that evening in prayer, it might be better to give a good example and stay home, rather than tempt them away from a quiet evening by going to the bar.

On Good Friday itself, of course, you should avoid the bar entirely. The place should be ashamed to be open that day.

One thing strikes me in your letter, however. If there's a "nagging feeling" in your heart that says "Maybe you should be doing something else with your time," I'd say act on that rather than looking for whether you are staying just this side of the line of what is sinful. The Holy Spirit might be prompting you to better yourself.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/12/2003 09:08:00 PM | link

Welcome to the whiny liberal feminist Google searcher looking for "aquinas + justification of slavery + subordination of women." Please be aware that Google can only deal with your deep-seated emotional problems with Christianity one at a time.

For broad-spectrum treatment see http://Hating-the-nondemocratic-Christian-patriarchy.com

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/10/2003 06:08:00 PM | link

"How to build a nuclear bomb" had me cackling for twenty minutes. Be forewarned of consistently-deployed sailor mouth all throughout. Found it when someone came to this blog looking for the same information. (Sorry friend. No longer in that business.)

Everyone knows that physics is ultimately about blowing stuff up, and this is exactly the kind of home-cooked humor we used to toss around the lab. The hypothesis of the piece is not that far off. (I think his critical mass is a little low. Do you need 120lbs of uranium?) As far as I know, however, there's not a hard stat on the impact force you need for detonation, but for uranium, it's not as high as you'd think, which is what makes the whole article funny.

My vote for funniest sentence: "Nobody knows why the Army chose the explosive method, but it might have something to do with the problem of getting a decent swing with a radioactive sledgehammer while falling through the sky above Japan."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/10/2003 05:53:00 PM | link

Happy Furnance Day
Zorak recently linked to The Gigantic Secret article by Mark Shea. To make part of his excellent point (the opening quote is hilarious!), Shea includes a glancing look at a passage from the Wisdom of Solomon. If you haven't read Wis. Sol. 1:12 - 3:19, take a look at this wonderful gem from a book relegated to the status of "apocrypha" by 1st century anti-Christian rabbis and 16th century Protestant reformers. (As a side note, I haven't made an exhaustive search, but it is the only book I know to mention the errors of Stoicism and Epicureanism directly.)

Since I am under a deadline this afternoon, and working without food, I won't make an interpretation either. But let me offer you a few scattered thoughts:

2:7 "Let no flower of spring pass us by" / Cp. "Gather ye rosebuds"

The best transition in the whole passage, IMHO: Wis. Sol. 2:9 to 2:10! It's positively rich. What begins as Epicurean sensualism transitions seamlessly into "might makes right." The self-centered desire to gather to oneself every passing pleasure quickly turns to the radical objectification of the other, and thus violence against the poor, the widowed, and the old, and a verse later, against the righteous who condemn them for this violence. (I am surprised Shea didn't include this in his article.)

Nothing can restrain the man who is frustrated by the inevitable limitations of his belly. And today we see this most dramatically: nothing can stay the hand of sex addicts from doing the violence of abortion, but that is another blog.

And check out the wild "triumphalism" of 3:5-8. When I get around to updating the template more thoroughly, I thought of swapping one of my tired quotes above with 3:7: "In the time of their visitation they will shine forth and run like sparks through the stubble." What an amazing verse, the subject of another blog.

This Ash Wednesday, as you are being "tried like gold in the furnace" (3:6) and "burnt like a sacrificial offering" (3:6), pray for the transfiguration of 3:7.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/05/2003 06:02:00 PM | link

I rank sixty-nine on Google for "tauroctony" !

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/04/2003 07:40:00 PM | link

DO IT NOW: Cram yourself full of Siberian Ginseng, stay up for two days. Woooo!

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/04/2003 07:39:00 PM | link

Template version 2.0. All links now automatically open in a new window. Added some helpful scholarly resources to the right.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/03/2003 12:24:00 PM | link

Dusted off the template a little today, and added a bit of online charity from Petfinder.com. The banner ad you see below will be featured on the left-hand column of the blog, showing you adoptable dogs in the VA & MD area. (If you're looking for cats, you're on your own.) Go to petfinder for a broader search. The tool is really easy to add to your blog.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/03/2003 11:30:00 AM | link

Check out this New Scientist article. Here's why:

"Fast-falling birth rates and rising AIDS deaths are stifling the population explosion - and could lead to a decline in global population in the second half of the 21st century"

"UN demographers cut 400 million from their best estimate of the world's population in 2050"

"fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050"

"The US is expected to be one of a handful of developed nations whose population will continue to grow strongly, largely through an inward migration of more than a million people a year."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/02/2003 07:14:00 AM | link

Rosa Mystica calls my attention to the Friday Five, which, of course, I'm doing two days late. Do you have 50-something papers to grade?

1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
I read nothing but theology and philosophy most days, because I have to. It's my job. BUT, it's my job because I like to read it. So there! After that, I read blogs.

2. What is your favorite novel?
Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
Rainer Maria Rilke's Herbsttag. Read it here, or below:

*   *   *   *   *   *

Herr, es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Früchten, voll zu sein;
gib ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin, und jage
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

*   *   *   *   *   *

My own loose translation, below:

Fall Day

Lord, it is time. The summer was so long.
Lay your shadows across the sundials,
And let your winds sweep 'cross the fields.

Command the last fruits to be full.
Give us only two more sweet days.
Urge them on to completion, and drive
The last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no home, will build no more.
He who is alone, will remain alone long.
To wake, to read, to write long letters,
And to wander to and fro through the alleys
When the leaves tremble.

Other English attempts here.

I think this is emblematic Rilke: haunting, melancholic, fatal, about a natural subject but profoundly religious. When I arise out of the blunted, dull mood of sheer busy-ness to Gefühl, it's generally to this sentiment.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
All of Thomas Aquinas.
After that, maybe Von Balthasar.

5. What are you currently reading?
Patristic Trinitarian Theology is on deck, after I get done teaching this week.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/02/2003 06:50:00 AM | link

It appears Mory's canonization is a more well-known phenomenon than I realized. One Google searcher comes looking for "St. Mory's University." Unless that's a cryptic name for Yale -- where at least the trads have virtually canonized the Place Where Louis Dwells -- I'd consider dropping my present program and enrolling there immediately. Especially if it housed the relic of St. Mory's towel.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 3/02/2003 06:19:00 AM | link


Friends Outside the
Prophetes Viatoresque:
(but still worth reading)

Recently Read

In my MP3 Player