The Little Placard on the Wall: When a Picture Requires a Thousand Words

Waiting for the Alcatraz Ferry

When I go to an art museum, I always look at the little placard on the wall before I look at the work of art. I know; art is supposed to stand on its own. It shouldn't matter to me on first viewing whether a painting is a Degas or a Picasso or a Rembrandt; I should take it for what it is, first, before looking into its pedigree.I can't help it. At best I glance at the painting, read the placard, and then step back and try to savor it. (Well, usually. Some paintings are downright … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: The Spirit Proceeds from the Father and the Son

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Every Sunday when we recite the Creed at Mass we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father and the Son”.  In the early Church there was considerable controversy regarding the nature of the Trinity; the Arians, for example, held that the Son was not divine but was simply the highest of all creatures.  Others held that the Holy Spirit was a kind of creation … [Read more...]

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Mercy and Long Time Horizons

triangle-warning-sign-30522_640

We Christians seem to spend a lot of time telling folks what not to do.  You mustn’t do this, you mustn’t do that, we say, or else you’re going to be a greasy spot on the pavement after the lightning strikes you.  At least, that’s the popular conception.  God is an angry God, and He’s just looking for the proper moment to strike you down, and we Christians are all down with that.There’s a kernel of truth to this perception—though just a kernel, or there’d be greasy spots in many surprising pl … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Why Yes, God *IS* Love

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In this chapter, Thomas continues exploring the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Just as God’s understanding is His existence, so likewise is His love. By now, this should be a familiar move.  Thomas established in an earlier chapter that God’s essence is His existence: that He is “I am who am” as He tells Moses at the burning bush.  To say that God … [Read more...]

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Missing the Decisive Moment: a Photographic Fish Story

Sunset over Tujunga

Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote a book about the decisive moment, about pressing the shutter release at just at the right time.  In the case of the photo above, I was about ten minutes too late.So happens, I was sitting at my desk at home when my wife called.  "Go look at the sky."  I got up and went to the window and saw...well, something sort of like what's shown above.  The cloud part, at least.  Only much brighter, with more pink and magenta.  And I said to myself, "I need to take a picture o … [Read more...]

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We’ll Let You Know What Happens In Court

Scam road sign

Here's a wrinkle on the usual Nigerian e-mail scam that I'd not seen before: the letter from the "police".INTERNATIONAL POLICE (INTERPOL) RC-32657, INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT COMMAND, LAGOS-NIGERIA E-mail; ---------@gmail.com Tel: xxx-xxxxxxxxxxxAttention: Sir/Madam,We really hope that this message is coming to you direct and please immediately you receive this message do let us know because we need to cary on with this impostor's work accordingly,My dear, we trying to call you … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: What Does It Mean To Be Holy?

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.One of the things that makes Thomas difficult to read is that he’s not writing from the ground up, explaining everything in minute detail; rather, he’s writing in a rich intellectual and philosophical context.  He played a major role in bringing that context into the mainstream in Europe, but in general his written works are not centered on it.  Instead they are c … [Read more...]

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Why Make Photographs?

High Voltage

I’ve been doing more photography recently; and I thought I’d say a few words about why I’m attracted to photography, and what I get out of it.First of all, I’m no good at drawing.I once made a high school art teacher quite angry with me by saying that I’d never been any good at drawing; and he was right, of course.  If that’s your attitude, you’re never going to improve.  But now, three-and-a-half decades later, I think it’s safe for me to admit that I’ve never been any good at drawing.  … [Read more...]

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Copernicus and Aquinas on Moving Day

This is a rather dry post, so here's a pond with ducks in it.

Recently I got the following comment from Sophia Sadek on one of my Aquinas posts. The beloved of Aquinas is the prime mover of Aristotle. Ever since the days of Copernicus, it has been known that such an entity is neither necessary nor sufficient. Someday, the fans of Aquinas will wake up and realize the error of their ways. I don’t usually respond to these; I’m never sure whether Sophia regards this as the prelude to a real discussion or whether she’s just trolling me, and gosh, life is short … [Read more...]

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