October 5, 2015

Aw, go on–you know the answer. It’s an old answer that fits every situation, particularly in the Islamic world. That’s right: the Jews! Yes, they’re using their supersecret Jewish archaeology mind-control powers to … I dunno, force ISIS to destroy the heritage of the middle east. It’s complicated. The lack of proof is evidence that’s it true, because one thing about those Jews: they’re clever. If you can’t find evidence of anything you say, then you know they did it.... Read more

October 2, 2015

Must be a day that ends in Y. Kurzweil has been predicting the “singularity,” a vagueish idea about a moment when transhumanism (aka, technognosticism) powered by teh tech (details to be determined later) and AI makes us all immortal cyborg superstars who can download our complete consciousness and live forever on a hard drive without the sticky limitations of these terrible meat sacks we call our bodies. Ray Kurzweil is considered smart because he invented some pretty nifty things like optical... Read more

October 1, 2015

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I had mass with the pope. And not some big open air mass. Nope. This was a votive mass for Our Lady, Mother of the Church, in the glorious Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. I even got a plenary indulgence for participating. Take that, Martin Luther! The mass was a perfect ending to an exhausting week that began on Monday, the day before the World Meeting of Families opened,... Read more

September 22, 2015

I drove into Philadelphia yesterday (Monday) on assignment for the National Catholic Register, so I got an early taste of some of the World Meeting of Families. I spent much of my time trucking around to museums and exhibits for a feature story I’m writing, so most of my cell phones pics are of old things, and I don’t mean the patriarchal hierarchy of our outdated misogynist Church. (If I have to point out that’s a joke, you’re reading the wrong guy.)... Read more

September 20, 2015

On the eve of the pope’s visit to Philadelphia, Bishop David M. O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton (my bishop) has given a long and candid interview about the challenges and joys of running a diocese in the age of Pope Francis. He also reveals that he will not be participating in any of the papal events in Philadelphia despite leading a large diocese just across the river. He will, instead, be providing commentary for a local CBS affiliate. In his... Read more

September 16, 2015

Linguist John McWhorter has an interesting article in The Atlantic on the decline in speakers of Aramaic, once a lingua franca of the Middle East and the language of Jesus: Today there is no one “Aramaia” where the language is spoken. Its varieties are now used in small, obscure communities spread far apart across Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Georgia. There are also expatriate communities of speakers scattered even further away, in Chicago, as well as Paramus and Teaneck... Read more

September 15, 2015

When the pope celebrates mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, there will be a fascinating piece of history there with him: an iron cross made for the first mass in the English colonies in 1634. The Georgetown University site has the story. The cross is believed to have been forged from iron on one of the ships–The Ark or The Dove–that brought Jesuits and settlers from England to St. Clement’s Island in Maryland. The upright is engraved... Read more

September 14, 2015

…my favorite Grimshaw: Golden Light. I guess you could call Grimshaw a Post-Pre-Raphaelite, since he was influenced by them but came later. His landscapes always seem to be hiding something, as though an epiphany is waiting if you just stare long enough. They are, for lack of a better word, haunted. He’s one of those rare artists who conveys the numinous in landscapes. Magnificent is the Autumn of our father-land! By what a subtle alchemy the green leaves are transmuted into... Read more

September 11, 2015

I’m sorry to have left my loyal chicken fancier readers without Chicken Content for so long, so here’s a charming painting that surfaced in my Chrome browser thanks to Google Art Project, which I’ll get to in a moment. First, the painting: “O meu primeiro Ovo” (“My first egg”) by Portuguese artist José Maria Sousa de Moura Girão, who, according to Google Cultural Institute, “distinguished himself as animalist, especially as interpreter of poultry.” If you’re going to specialize, I guess “interpreter of poultry”... Read more

July 28, 2015

Okay, if this is the kind of thing we can expect from our aspiring robotic overlords, we may not have to worry too much about Skynet. These are just a few of the epic fails from the DARPA Robotics Challenge. As I’ve said in this space many times: I hate robots. Read more

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