Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Policy change.

UPDATE: The America Magazine blog comment policy has been amended again. Commenters needn't be subscribers, but they MUST register. This strikes us as eminently fair. We will not take credit for this change, nor will be start swanning about smugly, because God hates it when we do that, and often makes His displeasure felt. Commenters here from said magazine will not be required to sign the Mandatum in order to comment. Only those with S.J. appended to their name.
America Magazine's blog now only allows comments from paid subscribers. A cynical person -- not I, but a cynical person -- might say this is a subtle but exceedingly effective way to sharply curtail dissenting* opinions in the combox discussions appended to each post. America Magazine and its blog has a clear ideological slant, and ideological slant is likely to be subsidized by those whose jib is similarly cut, and therefore, by excluding those whose ideological tilt would preclude them from financially supporting America Magazine with subscription dollars, the cynics might say, America Magazine has managed to institute a chilling effect on commenters who might bring an unwelcome viewpoint to online discussions.

In unrelated news, any commenter on this blog from America Magazine will be required to sign the Mandatum before the comment is posted.



* No, the irony is not lost on me.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Yeah, sure, you're pro-life, but are you any good at it?

Something's been bouncing around in my head these last few weeks, after the President's address at Notre Dame and having heard, ceaselessly, from those Professional Catholics who made it a point of defending both the university and the President.

There was one refrain which I heard from these folks over and over again. Something to the effect of "...and I'm really, REALLY pro-life, so don't misunderstand me..."

First, it was great to see these folks feeling the need to preemptively explain themselves. After all, those of us on THIS side of the ideological divide have often felt the compulsion to preface half of what we say by stating that, yes, we actually DO care for the poor and the oppressed.

Second, it was fun to see most of their arguments include the dog-eared trope of "Well, when President Bush..." (It seems abundantly clear to me these benighted folks intend to run against Bush for the next 50 years, sort of how they ran against Hoover until 1956.)

Third, I received much not-so-innocent pleasure from watching the exegetical Cirque de Soleil contortions these guys underwent as they tried to explain how President Obama was actually closer to Catholic social teaching than anyone else, ever!

So, other than the very foundational building block from which every single solitary tenet of Catholic social doctrine springs, he's right on board with us, says the Progressive Catholic Guild. Without the merest chemical trace of irony.

The hallmark of the PCG is that yes, one may vote for a candidate who views abortion favorably and has a stellar record as far as NARAL is concerned; provided, natch, that said candidate is simpatico with their interpretation of Catholic social doctrine, preferably one having a strong statist flavor. Then they trot out the aged and venerable "seamless garment" hypothesis which they wish everyone to believe is the only possible way in which the poor and oppressed may achieve prosperity and freedom.

But they remain, they assert, stalwart pro-lifers.

So, in the interest of science, let's take this argument at face value. Let us suppose the entire membership of the PCG is, adamantly, ardently -- to coin the phrase -- pro-life. Close your eye and imagine that, if that helps.


Got that picture in your mind's eye?


Now ask the following -- and, as is my wont, impertinent -- question: "What has THAT accomplished?"

"Yes, you PCGers are all a pack of raving pro-lifers and no other issue matters more to you than those of life. Your soul aches at the carnage wrought by the abortion industry and all that. But where has THAT gotten us?"

See, the problem is that the PCG has never been able to put more, er, visible issues (poverty, oppression, etc.) in a subsidiary position to that of abortion and other life issues. They are, I firmly believe, congenitally incapable of doing so. Therefore, they vote for the candidates who are adamantly NOT pro-life and who, at most, cast glittering rhetorical pearls of lip-service ("I intend to reduce the number of abortions...") and allow them to assuage their consciences and rationalize their votes.

The fact remains and will remain that there will never be a change in the abortion laws in the USA (or anywhere, really) until a critical mass of legislators, jurists, and executives has been reached and held. Not just a majority because the majority might be enuretic (as we saw from 1994-2006) or the minority might be obstinate (ditto).

So, PCGers, if you're really serious about being pro-life...ask yourself this question:

"Has my voting record helped to overthrow or helped to entrench the culture of abortion?"



Monday, October 05, 2009

The Cuban Sandwich

Here is the RIGHT way to do this.

Start by slicing pickles. NOT the sweet kind, and (ideally) not the ones that sit at room temperature. You need the crunch. I'spose you could get away with the pre-sliced ones, but I like my surface:mass ratio just so, and the Pickle Industrial Complex will not comply.
Take Cuban bread, or Cuban rolls or, if you live in the provinces, something in the egg bread family (which turns this from a Cubano to a Medianoche, but whatever.) split them and mustardize them. The classic choice is plain ol' yellow mustardbut I like the "deli" style mustard better. You do whatever you want.
Then you lay down your pickle coverage. I love pickles, so I practically TILE the bloody thing.
Over the pickles you'll need to place a layer of ham. Since I am an insufferable foodie, I use prosciutto (but not the hyper-fancy stuff). Either way, you want to make sure it's sliced so thin, as to be translucent. This allows you to plop it down in a wavy sort of way, which is key to get the right sort of chew and mouthfeel.
Next,the swiss cheese. Yes, it must be swiss cheese. Or, if you're insufferable as I am, Swiss cheese (Emmentaler is a teeny bit preferable to Gruyere, but either is wonderful.)
To get the right melting action, you will need to grate it. Yes, slices will work okay, but by the time the cheese is melted, the bread will be too dry and brittle.
Shredding it in the food processor is fine, but yields bad photos. So I hand grated. Just for YOU, Internet. Scoop it up and get ready to apply to the sandwich.
Like so.
If you like to give the cheese a head start on the melting -- or you are a raving pyro -- you can use a kitchen torch.
Now, take your leftover roast pork (ideally a very citrus/garlic intensive roast pork, although that can be doctored up) which you have warmed up to about 125F (this is important) if you have roasted it properly, it should shred into luxuriant, pillowy nuggets of porcine goodness.Assemble atop the cheese (cold side cold, warm side warm). You want about a 3:2 pork:ham ratio. So that your whole assemblage looks like this.
Fold the bread around the filling. Place in a panini/sanwich press or, if you have a whole battalion to feed, use a griddle set to medium-high, buttered lightly -- DO NOT USE MARGARINE -- and toast the cheese side first until it JUST melts, and then flip over to warm the other side.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A (practical) history lesson

It's 1521. You're a chieftain of some lovely Pacific island. You have the most women, the biggest hut, your pick of outrigger canoes. Life is good. Then some big ships show up. "Great. MORE Europeans." The Europeans make friends with your rival chieftain from the other side of the island. You snub everyone. The Europeans take the snub as a snub and choose to attack you. But they misjudge the tide and leap into water waist deep in full armor, and too far to use their weapons.

You slaughter them all, especially the leader.

That leader was Magellan. Immortalized by the Magellan Straits and also that GPS* thingy, among other things.


You're chief Lapu-Lapu and you're immortalized by a tiki drink served in a cored-out pineapple, most famously at Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort's Tambu Lounge. This past Labor Day** we went to this very spot. My wife had the selfsame beverage. Verily she loved it and has developed a fondness therefor and I was commissioned to replicate it.

Like so.
You start off with a pineapple. Note the corer. US$3 on eBay. Before I get more carried away with this, let me say I cannot say enough good things about this cheap-o corer. Yes, you can get fancier ones, made of stainless steel with sharper blades and finer teeth. These will give you less jagged pineapple rings, if that means that much to you. I, personally, couldn't care less about the aesthetic qualities of the the extra 600% premium isn't worth it.
You lop the top off, much like Lapu-Lapu's warriors seemed to have preferred. (Hence the name?)
All you have to do to core out the pineapple is center the corer right on the, er, core of the pineapple and drive the corer in, twisting with slight downward pressure. When you get down as far as you want, you pull up as with a manual corkscrew.
TIP: Place the pineapple being cored inside bowl of some kind, as there WILL be juice spouting forth generously and you want to capture said juice. This will also keep your wife from exhibiting displeasure.

1 tsp Simple "2:1" syrup
1 tsp Passion fruit syrup (50-50 passion fruit pulp and 2:1 sugar syrup)
1 tsp Orgeat
2 oz Orange juice (absent any fresh-squeezed, I suggest Florida Natural)
2 oz Pineapple juice (absent any fresh-squeezed -- you'll recall above I said you wanted the fresh juice -- I suggest Dole)
2 oz Dark rum (Bacardi 8 in this case)
2 oz White Rum (I like Cruzan Aged Light, but I was trying to finish up the Bacardi Silver)
[Picture would have gone here, but Joey was getting hollered at by my beloved.]

Put this all in a shaker with about 6oz of cracked ice. Then you shake...
...and shake. Until the tin of the shaker frosts over.
TIP: With any drink calling for syrups, juices, etc. and you're only using ONE measuring vessel (i.e. a jigger or shot glass) do so in this order: syrups THEN juices THEN any flavored liquors or liqueurs THEN the spirits.

And here you are.
(all photos -- both the excellent and unsuitable ones -- courtesy of Joey)


*SatNav to the rest of the Anglosphere.
** First Monday in September to the rest of the Anglosphere.