Monthly Archives: March 2012

Folktales of Japan, Ep 1

There were three stories, all pretty good. “The Old Man Who Made the Trees Blossom” was a little different version. Shiro the magical dog could talk, but he still got whacked by the bad neighbor (offscreen). There’s a lot of focus on Buddhist/Shinto prayer for the dead, too, so it’s not a minor part of the story. Also poop was involved. (A lot of Japanese folktales involve poop in the authentic versions. Earthy humor thing.)

About 8 minutes in, there was “The Man Who Bought Dreams.” It emphasized honesty as much as cleverness, and it was a nice peaceful story. Very funny visualization of dreaming, though!

Finally there was “The Rat Sutra,” which is a funny story of a conman outsmarting himself. There are some explanations, but it’s heavily, heavily Buddhist. Buddhist like the Pope is Catholic.

Adults will definitely enjoy these fairy tales and folktales. The animation style is fun and cute, and you’ll learn a lot about Japanese culture.

Kids probably would like this too, but it’s subtitled, so you’ll have to explain it to kids who are too young to read. (Possibly by telling your own version of the story, which is entirely true to all folktale traditions.)

Also, there’s probably no way on earth you’re going to get out of watching this particular episode without a big religious discussion, unless you’re Buddhist or something. Kids differ about this, though. I read a lot of mythology and stuff from when I was a tiny kid, but it didn’t have any power to convince me; I just thought it was more interesting stories and folkways. Other kids, not so much. You parents know your own kids best.

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Dirty Pool, Linguistics-Style

The tiny tribal language of Piraha has been the subject of a lot of controversy over the years. I’ve got no particular brief for the guy doing the research. He’s a controversial guy.

But apparently, his academic opponents went whining to the Brazilian government, falsely claiming the man made racist comments, and have gotten the guy banned from returning to the Piraha at all. That’s a pretty stunning blow against linguistics research.

Geoffrey Pullum has an essay about his colleague’s years of harassment by his fellow scholars.

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Real-Time Wind Map

This is pretty neat. It’s a wind map of the US.

Slashdot fills you in on this thing, including images saved from previous days.

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Patton’s G-Daughter from Regina Laudis Monastery on EWTN Today

I feel kinda bad about pointing out that Mother Margaret-Georgina Patton is Patton’s n/i/e/c/e (sorry, that’s “granddaughter”!) when what’s really important about her personally was that after her conversion to Catholicism and entrance into the Regina Laudis Benedictine monastery, she’s become a pretty big authority on a bunch of things. But for good or ill, this woman has her Patton relatives stamped all over her face and bearing, as well as her given name. And it is cool to have that contact with a history longer than last Tuesday.

Anyway, you don’t get to see the Regina Laudis sisters all over the tube, so it’s pretty special. The show is called EWTN On Location, which is a grab-all title for conferences elsewhere that EWTN records and airs. This one was the Holy Trinity Apostolate’s Lenten Conference from back on March 10, up in Sterling Heights, Michigan. They’ll be showing two talks from 9-11 AM, and another two talks from 1-2:30. I don’t know when Mother Patton will be on, but it looks like maybe in the afternoon. One of her compadres, Mother Olivia-Frances Arnold, was also there.

UPDATE: Mothers Patton and Arnold are on right now. The topic is “Cultivating Sacred Space as a Place of Martyrdom: A Monastic Witness.” Monasticism is supposed to be white martyrdom; they follow the primitive Benedictine observance, so there’s a lot of work and a very simple life. Mother Patton doesn’t look as Pattonesque in her habit as she did in pictures of her in work clothes doing farm stuff! So now I don’t feel so bad.

Her talk addressed her army family, as part of talk about how monastics have to come to terms with their spiritual genealogy. It talks about how she rebelled against her beloved family as a teenager and even protested against Vietnam while her dad was serving there, but eventually had to learn to accept and love these parts of herself again. She also learned that not only had her grandfather’s army liberated the abbey’s founder, but in that moment God had called her to found an abbey in America. She also had to learn the relationship of Benedictine spirituality to Roman army life, organized by watches and obedience. But she also found a lot of holiness in the vow of stability and the abbey’s relationship to its land. (Not surprising, since army brats move around a lot.)

Anyway, the conference topic was “The Christian Vocation: The Call to Martyrdom.” There were talks on “White Martyrdom” (ie, asceticism and other ways to imitate martyrs if people aren’t killing you), “The Life and Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales,” and whatever the other speakers wanted to talk about.

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Vatican Social Justice Guys Write Nice Stuff about Businesspeople

The Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace don’t have this up on their website yet, but several sites are linking to the PDF provided in the meantime. So follow the link below and check out “The Vocation of the Christian Business Leader.” Just like any other kind of work, it’s a path to holiness if you do it right. That’s been Church teaching for a long time, but a lot of people haven’t heard it in the last forty years or so. Better late than never!

Via the National Review.

Amusingly enough, the PDF is set up in much the style of a tasteful business seminar packet, right down to the stock art and the sepia tones. There’s even an executive summary at the beginning, and a discernment question worksheet at the end. So I think somebody on staff has gone to a lot of these things. (Here’s to you, admin staffer!)

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Anime-Style Ad for Disney in Japan

Over at Crunchyroll.

Ah, Disney. Always in favor of a total Disney lifestyle….

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Congratulations, Fr. Fox!!!

Fr. Martin Fox is going to be the new Director of Priestly Formation!

This makes him the priest version of the adult education boss, or the in-service trainer guy at a workplace. His job is to arrange activities and classes that will help our diocese’s priests grow both in their professional skills and knowledge, and to help them work on their holiness. (Obviously, if you’re doing more of what God wants, obviously you’ll be more effective from God’s point of view. And nobody else’s point of view counts.) So retreats for holiness, and classes for knowliness. 🙂

He’s a very smart cookie and a good organizer, so this is right up his alley.

The sad thing is that this means Fr. Fox is being reassigned somewhere else. His two parishes in Piqua sounded like they were doing very well, but I’ve never been able to run up there and see them in action. Maybe we can do that before July 1, when all the priests change assignments, if they’ve been chosen to do so.

The happy thing is that, since Fr. Fox is not shy about being friendly to traditional Catholic stuff, it seems to send a signal that Archbishop Schnurr likes traditional stuff fine.

Via Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber!

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