Karen Novak, 1938-2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

Joseph Bottum @ First Things, relays the sad news:

Karen Novak slipped away this morning—a great artist, a good friend, the beloved wife of Michael Novak, and convivial presence at so many of our events.

You can find some of her artwork described on her website. But even they don’t capture her fun, her spirit, or how much we will miss her.

Please keep Michael Novak and his family in your prayers.

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Witches, Essays, Agriculture and More

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

I was thinking of writing a lengthy piece over lunch, when I wrote up my task list and realized that “lunch” needed to be no more than twenty minutes long. So instead, I present a number of pieces that struck me as interesting lately, but which I don’t have a whole post worth of things to say about.

InsideCatholic just reprinted a lengthy piece by medievalist Sandra Miesel discussing the realities of witch burning in the Middle Ages through “Age of Reason”. It’s an article well worth the time to read, avoiding both the slanders of anti-Catholics and the overly rosy rebuttals used by some apologists.

Entrepreneur Paul Graham has an interesting essay on what an essay should be, why people ought to write them, and how high school English classes do a pretty poor job of teaching people this skill. Read the rest of this entry »


Anger and Astroturf

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

democrats_republicans_head_to_head_hg_wht

There are two observations I have noticed during this health care debate that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have been pushing.

One, there is anger from the American people concerning the direction and the destination of health care ‘reform’.  Genuine anger.  The unfortunate problem is that a small minority have chosen to shout down congressional leaders in Town Hall meetings that have proven to be a distraction at best and a public relations disaster at worst.  Those that oppose any health care ‘reform’, especially the socialist laden package that is currently being drafted, should respect the opposition and engage in constructive dialogue.  Showing anger and disrespect to your elected officials is simply wrong and uncalled for and should be stopped now.

Which leads to my second observation and the accusations that this grass roots opposition to health care ‘reform’ is being labeled as astroturf.  Due to the cooperation of the mainstream media in failing to provide unbiased programming of the health care debate in addition to leading Democrats from President Obama to House Speak Nancy Pelosi having mislabeled genuine American concern of government intrusion via health care ‘reform’ as artificial.  If leading Democrats continue to mischaracterize the opposition as such, they will do this to their own detriment.  Meaning a possible loss of one or both chambers of congress in the 2010 Congressional Elections and possibly the executive branch in 2012.  They need to take the American people seriously, not ignore the problem.

Just my two cents worth.


Greatest Movie Pope

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

Hands down for me the best film portrayal of  a pope is Rex Harrison of Julius II in The Agony and the Ecstacy.   A sympathetic portrayal of the soldier pope, Harrison portrays him as strong, cunning, a biting wit, a true lover of the arts, and a man of deep faith who fears his service to God has been a failure.   Michelangelo was the master artist of his time, perhaps of all time, but he required a rough hewn pope to hold him to his task.

Here we see Michelangelo explaining to the Pope his conception for the ceiling.

At this link here we have the great Pope and the great Artist discussing art and faith in one of the more profound discussions to be found in a popular film.  The death bed revival of the Pope is also one of the more hilarious sequences to be found in a non-comedy!  I think both Michelangelo and the Pope would have been pleased by their portrayals in this film.  It does justice to both of them, and no subject of any work of art can ask for better.