Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry or Shalom

A Catholic Advent Mass Reading:

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,

but before they lived together,

she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,

yet unwilling to expose her to shame,

decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold,

the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.

For it is through the Holy Spirit

that this child has been conceived in her.

She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,

because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him

and took his wife into his home.

Joseph van House, O.Cist, says that his namesake Joseph has no words in the Gospels. I think in this is the key for what I would imagine as a natural explanation for the above. There are those who might talk with pressure, have mood shifts and, in an excited state, think so fast that they don’t lay down memories for what they are thinking or doing. Perhaps Joseph was such a man. He had a betrothed who was a virgin, in the original Hebrew meaning young attractive woman. Do a movie fade in and fade out, and you have him wondering, in the words of the Gospel, why his betrothed is pregnant. And later Jesus’ thinking is challenged by the Socratic and thinking Joseph. But when the story is written, the Joseph of history has so many words which would pressure through the story as they did sometimes in life, the writers didn’t know where to begin and didn’t want to upstage the Son. All of this they dealt with by only giving the reflected words of Joseph.

And yet first of all for Joseph, and first to Joseph, Jesus is Emmanuel. May we welcome Jews, family of Joseph, and on their own terms as Joseph would only accept, on Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I dunno. I kind of got into 'trickle down' after reading Ta-Nehisi Coates blogpost and comments entitled 'Weird Science' where truth descended when it was revealed that 6% of the readers of the journal Science self identifed as Republicans. The general consensus seemed to be that Trickle Down intelligence was pretty cool. Perhaps the Trickle Down intelligence concept is part of an implied dig in the term 'ObamaCare. ' It's like the government is personified in Obama and basically he runs around and makes all the important decisions for medical care and that is supposed to work out best (not).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The safety of newer antidepressants in pregnancy and breast feeding. Common benzodiazepines and some anticonvulsant bipolar drugs were reviewed earlier.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A fun jazz video at the link.
A Boston Herald columnist on the denouement of her respect for Barney Frank elicited this comment from beachhouse:

"Alas, Mr. Whip Smart wasn’t smart enough to see the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae disaster that resulted in the cruelest foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression. And he’s not enough of a stand-up guy to fully admit his role."

Bingo! We have Bingo!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Anyone happen to know where the 'New Message' tab is in Microsoft Office 2007?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Becker-Posner discuss the British approach to their economic troubles and contrast it with ours.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Put some money in the National Republican Congressional Committee, apparently $50 more than Soros has donated to the Democrats this year. Also put a Bill White (D) for governor sign in the front yard; the Dallas Morning News editorial gives a good statement of reasons for White. I assume Soros hasn't given money to the Democrats because he sees them going toward excessive confrontation with the Chinese over the ren min bi (= "people's money" = Chinese currency) which could lead to an international finance catastrophe. I'm not sure what candidate signs Soros has in his yard.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Add Brooks to Somin as supporters of Mitch Daniels in 2012. I haven't heard him but have Christie who organizes his thoughts and prioritizes very well and communicates that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Commenting on feeling like the odd man out in adolescence:

In the morning man shall grow up like grass; in the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening

In the morning, chlorophyll absorbs the sun's energy and grass grows. In our youth, we seem to spring from the ground like grass absorbing energy from the sun as do our peers. In absorbing energy in our growing, we also more feel dissonance, as if reflected from other leaves of grass, which doesn't support our growing as we would like to.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An interesting paper suggesting use of Namenda in hepatic encephalopathy. The first author, Rodrigo, has other papers on NMDA. In the course of looking this up, I ran into an Indian paper which said that people generally die with their eyes closed, people dying of hepatic or renal encephalopathy with their eyes open.
Professor Volokh discusses the unfortunate, recent statement of the HHS Secretary; my take in comments.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Sasha Volokh gives the etymological connection between negligee and negligence in the comments. The words have an interesting history.
An interesting modern art perspective vs. representational art way to see meaning in a statue portrayed in Althouse.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Was looking at the Spiegel website the other day; it had various links to continuing issues from WWII. It had a more spiffy than usual picture of a young Adolf in a brown shirt and brown tie. We usually look at WWII as the Germans had too high a debt load and were crushed too much etc. This might have been true in some emotional sense. The war aim of Germany during what became WWI was to gain some strategic depth from Russia. The German generals were afraid that Russian railroads could deliver troops to the eastern frontier of Germany too quickly. With the defeat of Russia and the creation of Poland that war aim seems to have been achieved however.
Hebrew University Professor wins a prize in mathematics.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

'Beware the ides of March' may be a line from Julius Caesar. An interesting anachronism in our calendar is the month September which by its root would be the seventh month, making March originally the first month of the year. The sap begins to flow that month and, to judge from history the dictator/father figure/god is in danger. Our recent liturgy focuses on Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. We don't talk much about Moses, but it was Moses who challenged the father figure and secured the Jews a future. Passover celebrates this challenge/liberty and embeds the accomplishment of the challenge in finding a proper set of rules which celebrated example, as much as IQ, may be why 'Jews are smart.'

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Following a competence discussion at Volokh. I refer to this book on competency. It mentions the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool though generally I find just the perspective of the book necessary.
Ron Rosenbaum mentioned a while back about being in the hospital. I thought something had happened to him since his Pajamas Media link, see side bar which has linked to a Tea Party post, hadn't changed in months. I was happy to see him referred to and found him with an article on agnosticism on Slate. He can go so far as to sound like a crank, that last PJ media post, or carefully philosophical and nuanced, the Slate post. I guess it was also the former persona in the last PJ post that had me worried. Speaking of the Tea Party issue, that Mark Williams who counterpunched the NAACP was pretty good; see Ann Althouse and the Coates blog in the Atlantic. You really wonder if, in Ron's phrase, the NAACP has jumped the shark when Farrakhan follows them asking for reparations from the Jews.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bagehot's blog on the Economist web site has a defense of the BBC which includes this observation:

Yes, it is a clique-ish institution, and snobbish towards outsiders. I have bumped into BBC teams on four continents, at airports or election rallies or hotel lobbies late at night after some long story, and have routinely marvelled at their incestuous, clannish manner. In terms of insiderishness, I think only a travelling hockey team from a very grand girls' boarding school comes close.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

From the Gospel, from Luke, for last Sunday.

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,...

Jesus answered...,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

There was a nice article in JAMA some years ago, 'On saying goodbye before death,' in which by literary and clinical examples the author suggested that people make relatively simple statements which seem to be directed to a present discussion but may actually later be seen as being a communication about their passing.

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead...'

The last sentence, "Let the dead bury their dead," might be taken to mean, in the conflict between Jesus and the Sanhedrin that, if they kill him, then when they are 'the dead' then that will bury the guilt of having killed Jesus.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Commented again at TNC:

There is a Maria de Estrada who fought her way through Mexico with Hernan Cortes. She asked a comapanero who she might sleep under the same blanket with why he never made a sexual advance toward her. Lares told her, 'I may satisfy myself well enough among the women the naturales have given us.' Maybe something of the same thing happened in the South and this may be why the US is concerned about the treatment of black people but gives little concern to the Indian, the naturales here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Random comment at TNC.
Middlebrow was a category used in the fifties. Amahl and the Night Visitors, for instance, was said to be middlebrow. I suppose it is art that has characteristics of what might be considered high art but lacks some complexity or has been created to conform to what now might be called politically correct.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Have read a chapter La Noche Triste in An Instinct For War about Cortes' conquest of Mexico that left me feeling that it would have been nice if the situation could have handled to the benefit of many with less greed. In any event, the most Catholic of all Gospels occurs today:
Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."
I see this as an encouragement to leave a pained narcissism, in what now would be called an idealizing transference, and follow the ethic that Jesus has laid out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women ..., Mary, called Magdalene ..., Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Was hearing on NPR about the Nazi Noir "If the Dead Arise Not" and was reminded to blog about last Sunday's Catholic Mass Readings which make for an interesting detective story.

The first reading, from Samuel, starts off:
Nathan said to David:
“Thus says the LORD God of Israel:
‘I anointed you king of Israel.
I rescued you from the hand of Saul.
I gave you your lord’s house and your lord’s wives for your own.

I gave you the house of Israel and of Judah.
And if this were not enough, I could count up for you still more.
Why have you spurned the Lord and done evil in his sight?
You have cut down Uriah the Hittite with the sword;
you took his wife as your own

Nathan and David arrive way ahead of Freud at not worrying about Oedipal feelings. The feelings of Uriah's wife are not recorded. Maybe the women who supported Jesus were happy that he was empathetic with their not being property. But what about the middle reading from Paul which includes:
I live by faith in the Son of God
who has loved me and given himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God;
for if justification comes through the law,
then Christ died for nothing.

It seems likely that Herod, Antipas, would know what his steward's wife was publicly up to. He had enjoyed listening to John the Baptist; perhaps similarly Jesus. So Herod was a 'bad man,' but Paul says justification doesn't come through the law but through some allegiance to Jesus.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Heard a great little show on the public radio yesterday. They had Ken Jennings on and quoted some 200 year old document in which a guy criticized his laborers for not wanting to eat 'the pluck of a pig.' The moderator gave 3 possible answers to what is 'the pluck of a pig' to include pigs feet and the heard and liver of a pig. To me it seemed likely he answer would be the latter and that was correct. This derives presumably from the slaughtering of a pig during which you pluck the organs from it. What is fascinating is that we say that a person or soldier has pluck based on the same origin.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Religion often informs what is an ideal self and superego (or conscience). It can be helpful to take religious ritual and writings with what a Jesuit student in a graduation speech, quoting Ignatius Loyola, called discernment. Informing the elements of the self may involve, especially in ritual, 'regression in the service of the ego,' what Freud said of art.

I bring this up in relation to a reflection on depression. Both Kraepelin and Freud, by including in the psychoanalytic tradition the case of the depressed woman who criticized herself as a criminal when actually it was her father who had died who was the actual criminal, have included anger as a potential central element in depression. Kraepelin's inclusion of anger is found in his diagnosis of manic depressive illness. Mania is frequently characterized by anger and irritability, a sense of being grievously slighted leading to depression. Shakespeare came close to this in writing, 'Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.' For my purposes here, those last few words correctly are 'signifying not enough healthy narcissism;' the 'nothing' is Shakespeare's valuation of the pathological narcissism and a put down of the 'sound and fury.' We need some way to see, hold onto, an ideal self and thus avoid excessive loss of self regard while effectively relating to others and avoid excessive anger and the cycle of destructiveness that implies. I'd like to read the original German paper in the pscyhoanalytic tradition and see if it admits of some other insight than our tradition that 'you need to let your anger out (you poor thing)' that we so often pander to our patients.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AndyinTexas came up with a citation for the first action of James Hughes Stokes in the Civil War. He likely was a great uncle generations removed; I can recall the Stokes of my grandmother's generation getting together over breakfast or lunch to settle on the disposition of 3 farms and her retaining her childhood home, a farm I have always heard called Ochoya, near the Illinois town of the same name. Family legend had him instrumental in the family retaining the farm in the 19th century after the Civil War

Friday, April 23, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Really enjoyed the discussion on Mr. Coates blogpost at the Atlantic. It is in relation to Confederate History Month and the movie Glory.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Was excited to get this communication in EN Coates blog at the Atlantic site. Edward Stokes has the grandest monument, an obelisk, befitting a nephew of the brigadier general I suppose, in the little country cemetery where my parents are buried. My father told me that a Union Major had helped 3 sisters retain the Ochoya family farm where he first wanted to be buried.

AndyinTexas wrote, in response to michaelbrophy:

Not clear to me from your post whether Edward/Edmond Stokes is the Civil War officer, or another relative.

It's a long shot, but there was a James H. Stokes (1815-90), who organized and commanded an Illinois artillery battery, the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery (a.k.a. Stokes' Battery) from the summer of 1862 through the Battle of Chickamauga (September 1863). He was not at Vicksburg as far as I can tell, but both he and the battery saw a tremendous amount of action during the war.

Link to comment:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Been thinking about the remarks of Fr. Cantalamessa about attacks on the Pope being like antisemitism. On the face of it, this is pretty inapt in that the Church had some control of its priests, or at east their enrollment and duty stations, and Jewry had no centralized control and was guilty of nothing. Otherwise you might joke the analogy would be spot on. I suppose though this reflects the institutional memory of the Church, perhaps a memory not so much previously shared. Perhaps it reflects the Church's perception that some of Jewry turned to sin in supporting communism. This led to the murder of priests, the destruction of religion and other sinful outcomes and could justly be punished however those that were punished, for example the religious Jews of Poland were innocent. In that sense there has been a part of the Church that has been guilty etc,

Sunday, April 04, 2010

It is a bittersweet day in many ways. I think the Church again has done a good job with the readings for Easter. The Abbot at Cistercian said, 'The doubt about the Resurrection must be confronted.' As a child, I recall a nun talking about what age we would be resurrected at. The answer was 30. The Church in its first readings has Peter saying Christ appeared to those he wanted to appear to (which could also imply the other way around). Probably most poignantly the Abbot captured the moment when he said that, putting ourselves in the Easter story as it evolves in John's Gospel, are in loss and suspense and may be of 2 minds in grief or disbelief and hope, but that St. Paul should be taken seriously that 'the eye has not seen or comprehended what resurrection would be like' but don't hope for being 30. Also we have the last words of Christ from one of the Gospels, in a sense each a different religion as the Scripture expert I recently referred to says, 'My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?'

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Commented on a Volokh post with a commentary on recent Gospels:

The Catholic Gospel for Palm Sunday has Jesus followed into Jerusalem by ‘women from Galilee.’ The previous Sunday story has a woman brought into the Temple area and Jesus is confronted with the rule that she should be stoned for adultery.She is set free by the challenge that‘He who is without sin should cast the first stone.’ Eventually in the common era, marriage became monogamous religiously for Jews as well as Christians.The quote above including ‘use our space’ suggests that something like Mass is performed there and, indeed, a few might see what is attempted here as an extension of women’s escape from possession by a man which Christianity may at times have meant.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oswald Sobrino was nice enough to put my comment in as a guest post at his Catholic Analysis blog. Scroll down. The Pope's Irish pastoral letter is the current running topic.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm opposed to the HCR, but nobody personally has done anything to me. I suppose that it has been galling for Gore voters who lost the White House by the number of people that work in the 11 story office building in Irving that I do to see the U.S. persist in a war in Iraq. Now the Democrats have a razor thin margin and will wage war against reality, see Asymmetric Info, or social injustice. Profiters are probably welcome in either case. Becker-Posner and Ann Althouse note that CAT says their first year increase in costs will be $100 million which can't be good for U.S. job numbers

Friday, March 12, 2010

NPR had a delightful interview with the professor, Bart Ehrman, who wrote Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) "which has just come out in paperback" though I think the hardback, at the bottom of the linked page, is much easier to read.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Apparently there is a 'Brophy law' related to insider trading. Also on Finance, Greg Mankiw has a great string of recent posts among which is a link to Fama, apparently one of the founders of modern financial economics, reviewing his work.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

David Brooks, reflecting on the Norwegian 9 gold medals in the Olympics, the same as the larger US, on the hard and soft of Norwegian character, a most emailed NY Times article

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Atlantic Wire highlights in the red right upper side of the page the five best recent articles by the 50 most influential opinion makers. They'll have some good articles and to go to the bottom of the section for the full 50 can be informative. Today, I particularly liked Fareed Zakaria's article Don't Scramble the Jets. The Israeli Defense Minister apparently agrees. Peggy Noonan's article was also good.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Following a discussion of the draconian taxman here. The lack of perspective exhibited by this government agency may have had something to with people not wanting to see mandates in health care. That system would grow on Medicare which is unfair in that it prevents you from any negotiation with a physician.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Re: McQueen

A focal point in the linked article is the psychological meaning, which had never occurred to me, of the dance contests of the thirties where two people would probably ultimately have to cling to each other to be the last couple dancing, exhausted and desperate, surviving to win something they could very much use. A sign of those times and one ideal I guess. You may find that in Bonnie and Clyde too.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

NPR had an interesting interview with a then college kid who wanted to dramatize The Catcher in the Rye and sought JD Salinger's permission. He even went to visit the author and did get invited into the house and into Salinger's space as it were. As part of this, Salinger offered him a ride to the station as Salonger was taking his son to a soccer game. The acolyte demurred thinking that he would have to come back to pick up his car. In the Financial Times obituary a quote from divorce proceedings form Salinger's second or third wife, he married her when she was a student at Vassar, quotes her as saying she needs a divorce 'for her emotional health.' Also, he is quoted in another article that he continued to write 'for his own pleasure.' His father, the son of a Rabbi, had taken him to Poland as part of teaching him the business of selling hams in 1937.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scroll down at the link for the Pope's address on visiting the main synagogue in Rome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Catholic saint died last week, Map Gies. There was another fellow, Edward Schillbeeckx, a theologian from the low countries who wrote some books that may be a continuation along the lines of Albert Schweitzer's Quest of the Historical Jesus.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Following Ilya Somin's discussion of Pat Robertson's comment that the destruction of Haiti had something to do with a past 'pact with the devil.'

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Isaiah from today's Mass reading:

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

This is given in reference to Jesus' baptism. Did John invent that ritual? Eventually that 'a bruised reed he shall not break' did not apply to Jesus if you think of the chasing of the money changers in the temple story. Why would He do that?
Comment on the real estate bubble from Megan McArdle.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

How to score the MMSE. A rare scoring system would not allow the serial 7's alternative 'spell world backwards.' A 'normal' score is 24 or better. Here is a copy of the test. A Google page on scoring the MMSE is here.