|I will definitely not be wearing this next Spring. |
Whatever was designer Raf Simons thinking of?
I don't like snakes at all.
Alirio Melendez of Glasgow Biomedical Research Centre said "The ultimate goal of our study was to identify a potential novel therapy to help in the treatment of strong acute inflammatory diseases." The research suggests that resveratrol may be harnessable as a treatment for inflammatory diseases and may also lead to entirely new resveratrol-based drugs that are even more effective.
"The therapeutic potential of red wine has been bottled up for thousands of years," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "and now that scientists have uncorked its secrets, they find that studies of how resveratrol works can lead to new treatments for life-threatening inflammation."
Pass the bottle, doctor.
[T]the day before yesterday Rowan William published his latest missive on his church. It underlined the tragedy of the man once more for me.Me too.
Whenever he affirms the church's non-sanctioning of gay relationships, it's worth recalling what he previously wrote in The Body's Grace. Then he made the argument that the pivotal issue in any decent moral theology of sex is that of birth control, since once you allow that, as the Anglican communion long has, you acknowledge that sex has a good purpose independent of procreation. It's called love. From this it follows that:
'the absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous texts, or on a problematic and non-scriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures.'
This fundamentalism, problematic, non-scriptural, narrow and crude path is the one he appears committed to supporting in his church. Or putting it another way, he's sacrificing what he must privately feel to be the path to greater truth on the altar of mere institutional expediency.
Williams is an astonishing intellect and spirit. And all of it must bow down in loyalty to all too human concerns. I lament the loss of the prophet.
Use the the Purity Communion Host Dispensers during the cold and flu season to prevent the passing of germs or use it all year long to reduce the cost, time and personnel needed to provide communion by as much as 50 percent.
It's a very odd thing —
As odd as can be —
That whatever Miss T. eats
Turns into Miss T.;
Porridge and apples,
Mince, muffins and mutton,
Jam, junket, jumbles —
Not a rap, not a button
It matters; the moment
They're out of her plate,
Though shared by Miss Butcher
And sour Mr. Bate;
Tiny and cheerful,
And neat as can be,
Whatever Miss T. eats
Turns into Miss T.
— Walter de la Mare. Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes (1913)
They bundled him
They gave him what goes
With a cold in the nose,
And some more for a cold
In the head.
They examined his chest
For a rash,
And the rest
Of his body for swellings and lumps.
They sent for some doctors
To tell them what ought
To be done.
All sorts and conditions
Of famous physicians
Came hurrying round
At a run.
They all made a note
Of the state of his throat,
They asked if he suffered from thirst;
They asked if the sneezles
Came after the wheezles,
Or if the first sneezle
"lf you teazle
May easily grow.
But humour or pleazle
Will certainly go."
They expounded the reazles
The manner of measles
They said "If he freezles
In draughts and in breezles,
May even ensue."
Got up in the morning,
The sneezles had vanished away.
And the look in his eye
Seemed to say to the sky,
"Now, how to amuse them today?"
—A.A. Milne. Now we are six (1927)
As Basil Pennington wrote in 1988, Christian unity is spiritual, not institutional and formulaic.
The human family needs to find a spiritual unity or it may well destroy itself. It is in crisis as many retreat from the challenge of renewal and the evolution necessary o be to a rapidly evolving world. They seek security in centralization and adherence to static formulas that are largely incomprehensible to today's youth or any thinking person. The authority of the local church, the local monastery, has to stand on its own courageously and respond to the reality at hand. If it lets itself be co-opted by central authority, it will cease to be creative of life—the local community will fossilize, which is worse than dying and leaving space for something new.Writing to his Diocese about the Convention, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of Virginia, notes an "an emphasis on the local".
—M Basil Pennington OCSO. Engaging the World with Merton: on retreat in Toms hermitage (Brewster, Mass.:Paraclete, 2005), p. 52.
The most lasting impact of the 76th General Convention is likely to be an increase of initiative and energy in local congregations and dioceses. [. . . ] The emphasis on local ministry is a proper expression of the principle of subsidiarity, whereby mission should occur at the level closest to the people who are called to engage in that mission.
Local mission is also enhanced by resolutions which the secular press has incorrectly interpreted as necessarily damaging our worldwide relationship and as following the agenda of a gay and lesbian lobby. Instead, what the convention did is to reaffirm that the ordination process is under the control of local bishops and dioceses, while stressing that access to that process is open to all baptized persons.
The Convention also invited local churches and dioceses (as well as churches elsewhere in the communion) to collect liturgical and theological resources regarding same-gender blessings. Recognizing the unique pastoral needs of those dioceses in jurisdictions where same-gender marriage or civil partnerships are legal, the Convention affirmed that a generous pastoral response is needed.
Of course, we can't all have a carefree life. But we can at least move in that direction. We fill our lives with so many unnecessary cares—even we monks. When the monks here were changing over to private cells, Tom [Merton] urged them to build them as places of prayer and to think of them that way and not as places to establish a private kingdom of which they would have all the care. How much we all tend to clutter our lives with things and projects we don't really need, and then we have to take care of them. [. . .]
I look at the clutter of my own life. That is really what is at issue. I have to learn to say "no" to the little things that clutter: the book reviews and prefaces, the talks to students and ladies' guilds. The gardening is OK; I need the fresh air and exercise. But I have to avoid other projects. If I can get a handle on the clutter and the correspondence, my life could be a bit more free. Still, something more radical than that is perhaps needed, at least for a while. As Tom [Merton] says in his Thoughts in Solitude, to be a person implies freedom and responsibility. Both of these call for a certain interior solitude. But a cluttered or too-full life—full of activities and concerns leaves little interior-solitude. Most people are, in fact, afraid of facing their own interior solitude. They flee from it, deliberately filling their lives with people, if they can, and with things. And in so doing they lose their freedom and become irresponsible not responsible to many of the basic human needs around them and even in their own lives. They become addictively dependent on their chosen clutter. I am told that the average American allows television to fill a quarter of his time. What an investment of life! One of the reasons Tom was able to accomplish so much was that he was free from television and spectator sports. [Im not guilty of this problem!] He preferred to play life's game rather than watch others play it. He didn't watch the Vietnam War or the race riots on TV. He heard about them, prayed, and acted, doing all he could to bring healing and peace. An uncluttered life gives a lot more freedom to be a responsive person.
— M Basil Pennington OCSO. Engaging the World with Merton, (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete, 2005) pp. 103-4.
Photo: Wolfgang Sievers
God of the Universe, the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings reminds us of the achievements of science and engineering and we wonder at how rapidly our world is changing. Yet you are the Unchanging One, unlimited by time and space, the creator of all. Guide those who explore the vastness of your universe. All our knowledge and skill comes from you; teach us to use it humbly and wisely for your glory, the preservation of the Earth and the good of all. Amen.
Originally Le Chant de Guerre de l'Armée du Rhin, it is believed to have been written in Strasbourg on the night of 24 April, 1792 by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), captain in the engineers, at the request of the Mayor of Strasbourg who had in turn been asked by General Kellermann, commander of the Rhine Army, to commission a patriotic revolutionary battle-hymn.
It was later taken up by militia battalions led by General François Mireur for his newly formed militia battalions in Marseilles and called Chant de Guerre aux Armées aux Frontières. They sung it on entry to Paris on 30 July 1792, where the crowds dubbed it the Marseillaise.
The song was taken up by the revolutionary militias that stormed the Tuilleries on 10 August 1792 and adopted by decree as national song of the republic on 14 July, 1795"to be banned as restored as empire, monarchy and republic replaced each other in succession.
Of the seven verses, the first and sixth are most commonly used.
|Allons enfants de la Patrie, |
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé.
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras
Egorger vos fils et vos compagnes!
|Come, children of the homeland |
The glorious day has come!
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised,
Bloody standard is raised!
Do you hear, in the countryside,
The howl of these savage soldiers?
They come right into our midst
To cut the throats of our sons and wives.
|Aux armes, citoyens, |
Formez vos bataillons,
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!
|To arms, citizens!|
Form your battalions
Let us march, Let us march!
Let impure blood
Water our fields.
|Amour sacré de la Patrie, |
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs!
Combats avec tes défenseurs!
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !
|Sacred love of the homeland|
Guide and support our vengeful arms.
Liberty, beloved liberty,
Fight with your defenders;
Fight with your defenders.
Under our flags, may victory
Rush to your manly strains;
So that as your enemies are dying
They might see your triumph and our glory!
A study given advance online publication in Nature suggests H1N1 virus more dangerous than suspected. (13 Jul 09, Yasushi Itoh and others, "In vitro and in vivo characterization of new swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses". The international team of researchers, led by UW-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka provides a detailed portrait of the pandemic virus and its pathogenic qualities.
The publication's abstract says:
Influenza A viruses cause recurrent outbreaks at local or global scale with potentially severe consequences for human health and the global economy. Recently, a new strain of influenza A virus was detected that causes disease in and transmits among humans, probably owing to little or no pre-existing immunity to the new strain. On 11 June 2009 the World Health Organization declared that the infections caused by the new strain had reached pandemic proportion. Characterized as an influenza A virus of the H1N1 subtype, the genomic segments of the new strain were most closely related to swine viruses. Most human infections with swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses (S-OIVs) seem to be mild; however, a substantial number of hospitalized individuals do not have underlying health issues, attesting to the pathogenic potential of S-OIVs. To achieve a better assessment of the risk posed by the new virus, we characterized one of the first US S-OIV isolates, A/California/04/09 (H1N1; hereafter referred to as CA04), as well as several other S-OIV isolates, in vitro and in vivo. In mice and ferrets, CA04 and other S-OIV isolates tested replicate more efficiently than a currently circulating human H1N1 virus. In addition, CA04 replicates efficiently in non-human primates, causes more severe pathological lesions in the lungs of infected mice, ferrets and non-human primates than a currently circulating human H1N1 virus, and transmits among ferrets. In specific-pathogen-free miniature pigs, CA04 replicates without clinical symptoms. The assessment of human sera from different age groups suggests that infection with human H1N1 viruses antigenically closely related to viruses circulating in 1918 confers neutralizing antibody activity to CA04. Finally, we show that CA04 is sensitive to approved and experimental antiviral drugs, suggesting that these compounds could function as a first line of defence against the recently declared S-OIV pandemic.In contrast with everday flu viruses, H1N1 virus exhibits an ability to infect cells deep in the lungs, where it can cause pneumonia and, in severe cases, death. Seasonal viruses typically infect only cells in the upper respiratory system. An ability to infect the lungs is similar to those of other pandemic viruses, notably the 1918 virus, which killed tens of millions of people at the tail end of World War I. There may be other similarities to the 1918 virus. It's possible that H1N1 could become more nasty as the current pandemic runs its course and the virus evolves to acquire new features. The study also found that those people exposed to the 1918 virus, all of whom are now in advanced old age, have antibodies that neutralize the H1N1 virus.
The good news is that the research study also indicates that existing and experimental antiviral drugs can form an effective first line of defence against the virus and slow its spread.
The position of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia remains that it cannot "condone"' such an ordination, although it remains the case that only a Bishop can decide who is eligible to be a priest or a deacon.
Maybe here will be a welcomed 'walking apart' in the US. But what of other provinces such as Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand? Australia's General Synod's current policy is that any ordination of coupled homosexual lesbian people or any blessing of same-sex unions cannot be 'condoned'. How long can it hold that line and the church stay together? Probably indefinitely, to the great sadness of many and the joy of many others. The challenge for Australian gay Anglicans seems to be to know how to live with it.
Resolution D025, Commitment and Witness to Anglican CommunionSimilarly, the House of Bishops has passed this resolution (with whiuch the Hous of Deputies is likely to agree) encuraging a "generous pastoral response" in raltion to blessing of same-sex unions. This, again, contrasts with the the decision of the Australian Church's General Synod, five years ago, that it could not condone such blessings.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm the continued participation of The Episcopal Church as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion; give thanks for the work of the bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 2008; reaffirm the abiding commitment of The Episcopal Church to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and seek to live into the highest degree of communion possible; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention encourage dioceses, congregations, and members of The Episcopal Church to participate to the fullest extent possible in the many instruments, networks and relationships of the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention reaffirm its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion and pledge to participate fully in the Inter-Anglican Budget; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm the value of "listening to the experience of homosexual persons," as called for by the Lambeth Conferences of 1978, 1988, and 1998, and acknowledge that through our own listening the General Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God" (2000-D039); and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God's call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge that members of The Episcopal Church as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters.
C056 Liturgies for Blessings
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church, and for an open process for the consideration of theological resources and liturgies for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources and report to the 77th General Convention for further action; and be it further
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further
Resolved, That this Convention continue to honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality; and be it further
Resolved, that the members of this church be encouraged to engage in this effort.
|After reading this and this review, I don't plan to see Brüno. But this pic of a little boy ('OJ' is played by Chibundu Orukwowu and Chigozie Orukwowu) with Sacha Baron Chohen (aka. Brüno, Sacha Noam Baron Cohen, Borat Sagdiyev, Borat, Sacha Cohen, Bruno, Ali G, etc.) is priceless. (In the movie, Sacha adopts the boy from Africa, à la Madonna).|
The National Portrait Gallery has an exhibition of photographic portraits from Vanity Fair, from its early days to the present. There are some intriguing pictures of (mostly European and American) "celebrities" from science, soprt, the arts, politics and other things.
I liked this one. The contrast between the two faces is wonderful: Connery, alert yet relaxed, and Caine, seemingly world weary and unfocused.
It is no longer possible for anyone to go on claiming that everything Kim Jong-il does is an effort to get America's attention, or that he just wants to go into the next round of disarmament talks with a stronger hand. Nor can anyone seriously argue that all these hugely expensive exercises are aimed at securing more economic aid.
In short, it has become obvious that North Korea's nuclear and military provocations and the escalating belligerence of its rhetoric are motivated by domestic political considerations instead. This does not mean that we must now waste time speculating about which of Kim's sons will someday take over, or whether the army and the party are struggling for power. It hardly matters who succeeds Kim. All players in the elite are wedded to the same paranoid, race-based nationalism, without which the country has no reason to exist at all.
Over the past 15 years the regime in Pyongyang has painted itself into an ideological corner — or, to put it better, it has pushed itself up to the edge of an abyss. Kim Jong-il shook off responsibility for economic matters in the mid-1990s in order to avoid public blame for the famine. The propaganda machine claimed that his new "military first" regime would henceforth be too busy defending the country from the Yankees (who in fact were sending aid at that time) to bother with economic issues. This line not only maintained support for Kim, but also enabled officials at the provincial level to begin dismantling the command economy.
The West, of course, was overjoyed to note that the North Koreans no longer took all that Communist nonsense seriously. But the spread of capitalist values is what made the current string of nuclear provocations inevitable. Simply put, the more North Korea resembles a third-rate South Korea on the economic front, the more the Kim Jong-il regime must justify its existence through a combination of radical nationalist rhetoric and victories on the military and nuclear front. This is why North Korea will never disarm, for to do so would be to declare itself irrelevant.
Some in the West are now suggesting that North Korea's nuclear capability must be accepted as a fait accompli, but that is no solution either. Needing constant tension with the outside world for his own political survival, Kim Jong-il is no more interested in winning international acceptance of his nuclear ambitions than in normalizing relations with Washington. The West must assume that he will always find a way to make his nukes unacceptable, while at the same time engaging sporadically in arms talks to keep the tension from tipping into all-out war.
It is time for America to shift its focus from negotiating with North Korea to negotiating with the Chinese about North Korea. Beijing understands how vital these nuclear provocations are to Pyongyang's survival, which is why it continues to bankroll them. Washington must therefore do more to assuage Beijing's fears of a collapse of the Kim Jong-il regime. Let us remember how opposed the Soviet Union was to a unified Germany, until NATO came up with a promise not to station troops in the former East Germany. It would be a step in the right direction for the United States to assure the Chinese that they will never have to face American troops along the Yalu River.
One thing is certain: We cannot simply wait for Kim's death and hope for the best, because whoever succeeds him is going to need an especially dramatic military crisis to legitimize his rule. What we have seen in the past few weeks may well end up looking tame in comparison.
The Spirit of Humanity has made a number of voyages to Gaza and on a recent trip took European politicians to the region. The seizure was a clear violation of international law, as the Greek-registered boat was not in Israeli waters and not engaged in the conduct of warlike operations or an illegal activity.
Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, said: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies and children's toys . . . Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."
As Jewish Voice for Peace said, "Ask [Israel] what crime is being committed by giving the people in Gaza medicines, toys, and pencils?"
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, denounced the unlawful naval seizure by an Israeli gunboat on the high seas of a ship carrying medicine and reconstruction material to blockaded people of Gaza. "This Israeli action implements its cruel blockade of the entire Palestinian population of Gaza, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibits any form of collective punishment directed at an occupied people."
The Free Gaza Movement began in 2006 with a simple idea: instead of waiting for the world to act, they would sail to Gaza and directly challenge the Israeli siege themselves. In August 2008 they began by sailing to Gaza in two, small, wooden fishing boats: the Free Gaza and The Liberty. In six more voyages since, the movement has brought human rights workers and lawyers, journalists, academics, and parliamentarians, as well as several tons of humanitarian aid. They have not sought Israel's permission, but seek to overcome the through civil resistance and direct action.