Saturday, December 29, 2007


This is another one of those things I've meant to write for quite some time. It's an exploration of an insight that came to me during a vampire movie marathon. The basic insight is that vampires, as popularly portrayed, are a perfect mascot or emblem of the culture of death.

Consider their traditional weaknesses: garlic, sunlight, running water, holy water, the crucifix, and the Eucharist. These things have in common that they are all sources of life. Running water and sunlight sustain our physical life. It's clearly impossible to live without them, and yet vampires must. The Crucifiction and the Eucharist give us our spiritual life. The basis for ignoring or denying that things of God have any power over vampires is clearly denying that God exists or has power. That's a fool's stance, but clearly very popular these days.

Vampires do not have any life of their own. They must steal it from others in order to sustain themselves, much like abortionists and embryonic stem cell researchers.

Vampires typically have great wealth and power, usually are able to kill, command, or have sex with anyone they want, and rarely suffer any consequences for their actions. That's the basis of their appeal, of course -- power from the self. Given how cut off from life itself vampires are, and how they have no reason to exist beyond their own pleasure, I would actually be surprised if they were not given such powerful sexual overtones in our contraceptive society. And of course, the power to kill whoever you want is the true appeal of eugenics and euthanasia.

I didn't understand how integral to the vampire mythology their lack of reflection was until I saw the very opening of Dracula 2000 (or possibly one of its sequels). One of the first things on screen is a quote from a medieval cardinal claiming that the reason that vampires have no reflections is that God wouldn't tolerate something so evil having a reflection. The reason early screen vampires recoiled from mirrors is that it makes evident to them their own evil. I think it'd be pretty cool if some film showed a vampire seeing his true self, with all its evil and corruption, in a mirror. But of course this sort of thing is far too subtle for most content creators these days.

I think that it will be reasonable to use the popularity of vampires as an indicator of the pervasiveness of the culture of death for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Since I've yet to say it, may all the Joy that Christ can bring be yours on this, His nativity, and throughout the remainder of the Christmas season.

God's Plan

The Spirit works through Catholic Exchange. Perhaps not 100% of the time for 100% of people, but often enough for me to thank God for leading me to this community.

Today, God helped put a couple of articles on the front page. First, this one, from Thomas Wenski, Bishop of Orlando's first appearance on CE:

In the prologue to John's Gospel (John 1:1-18),read at Mass during Christmas Day, the complete fullness of God's plan of salvation is spread out before us. The One who was with God at the beginning before the whole word and who, as God, created, brought into life and enlightened everything in the world, has entered into the world - and he does so not in a grand style that would intimidate us, but in humility. He comes in the poverty of Bethlehem, born of a woman. He comes to us small and weak, so that we can draw near to him without fear, so that we can embrace him without hesitation.

On to Chuck Colson, with this article on Catholic Exchange. Here's the cool bits:

It is through the Incarnation God sets His grand plan in motion. He invades planet earth, establishing His reign through Christ's earthly ministry. And then Christ leaves behind an occupying force, His Church, which is to carry on the work of redemption until His return and the kingdom's final triumph.

It just struck me as so cool, to be part of God's occupying forces, an army waging war for salvation through love! Truly is the wisdom of God folly to the wise!

And if the Protestants ever stop using the term, "Salvation Army," I hope we pick it up.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas music

If there's anything that really annoys me about this season, it's how much deliberately Christless holiday music gets played. Even the local Billy Graham station falls prey to this malady. So for Pandora, Deo Gratias! I've created a station just for specifically Christian music celebrating the season -- here's a link.

Like all Pandora stations, it's a work in progress. But given how thin the reasons they give for playing the selections they do, I think that either they have a hard time wrapping their software around my nearly completely traditional tastes in Christmas music, or they aren't willing to fess up to their recognition of it.


Salute to Amy Welborn at Historical Christian for tipping me to Jogger Mom. In this post, she reflects on doctrinal infallibility and how it helped lead her to cross the Tiber. The crux of the argument she makes for infallibility is here:
Papal infallibility is the machinery that puts truth into place within the Church. Catholics believe in apostolic succession- that is, Peter was the first head of the Church, given this authority by Jesus, and his authority has been passed down to each successive head, who we call popes today. The other piece of this is that bishops, when in union with the pope, also have authority and infallibility, like modern-day apostles. This authority comes from Jesus, not any special power of their own. Jesus clearly granted Peter authority in Matt. 16:14-19...

Here Peter is singled out among the disciples - he alone is shown a truth by God the Father (that Jesus is the Christ), and is given the 'keys of the kingdom of heaven' and some pretty hefty authority.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's been nearly a year since my last post on cycling. In fact, I was still struggling with my old blog. That time, I spoke of foul weather gear, because it was raining. So, as we approach the very darkest day of the year, I'm going to talk about lights.

Riding in the dark without lights is far more likely to get you killed than riding in the rain without fenders and foul weather gear. The vast majority of motorists have every desire to avoid a car-bike collision, but to do so, they have to see the cyclist coming. And in the dark, that absolutely requires the cyclist have lights -- especially a headlight.

I rarely, if ever, worried about the drivers overtaking me. I have reflexite straps for my ankles, and a Helmet Halo, not to mention the reflectors on my pedals. These work well to make me visible, but only to drivers whose headlights are pointed at me. In my many years of experience cycle-commuting, I learned that the drivers who most often don't see me -- day or night -- are those who are going across my path. It is for them that a headlight is absolutely required.

It doesn't take a whole lot of headlight to make yourself visible; a krypton bulb powered by two 'C' cells, or white LEDs are enough. Street lighting was enough for me to see, but I absolutely depended on my headlight to make myself seen.

A note about lights and visibility: the higher the light is mounted, the further away you can be seen, and the further away you seem to be. A motorist would think me further away if he only saw my (helmet-mounted) taillight, than if he saw my pedal reflectors.

If you don't have a local bike shop that can provide you with lighting, you can order from Bike Nashbar or Performance Bike.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Jennifer F's "Et Tu?" is in the blogroll I maintain for my readers, and I describe it as a blog of AMAZING resources. This post is a case in point. I wish I had the time to read them all right now, but alas! I do not.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Religious Oppression in the US

In some public institutions (meaning, funded by taxpayers), there is great fear of lawsuits brought by the ACLU. If the ACLU wins, the institution sued must pay their legal expenses, but conversely, if the ACLU loses, they are not tapped for the expenses incurred by fighting their suits. This has led to policies that either prohibit, restrict, or denigrate the display of any sort of outward sign of Christianity in the workplace. The ACLU argument is that this violates the Establishment clause of the First Amendment, which reads "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion..."

Sooner or later, though, the tables WILL get turned, as the St. Thomas More Law Center, the Institute for Justice, or some Protestant or Evangelical public interest law firm, files suit on behalf of a believer, using the Free Exercise clause. It follows the Establishment clause: "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

I'm just waiting to see who does it first. But if the suit is brought to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, my bet would be on the judge dismissing it with prejudice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Golden Compass

The evidence and testimony keeps piling up. Bishop Jerome Lesticki of the Diocese of LaCrosse, has issued a warning about the film, as has his Office of Catechesis and Evangelization. And this article goes on to describe the Nietzschean philosophical underpinnings of the story of His Dark Materials.