The Gospel of Tony Soprano

Fr Edward L. Beck writes:

The only time I met James Gandolfini, we talked about God.

It was a chance meeting at the Broadway play “God of Carnage,” in which he was acting. I went backstage to see someone else but was introduced to James.

When he heard that I was a priest he laughed and said, “Gee, Father, I hope you didn’t think this was a play about God.”

“No, I didn’t,” I said, “but I was surprised to find out that it actually was.”

He looked perplexed by my answer, hesitated for a moment, and then said, “Well, we’ll have to talk about that sometime.”

Of course, we never did. It was the first and last time I saw him.

I had, however, seen him many times on television in one of my favorite shows, “The Sopranos.”

Perhaps it’s unwise for a Catholic priest to admit being a “Sopranos” fan, but I confess to having used it more than once as fodder for a Sunday homily. I happen to think it was one of the most spiritual shows on television. Had I told James that, he might have been as surprised as he was by my “God of Carnage” quip…

Read on at CNN.


South African X-ray Machine Steals Show in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

It showed on the telly last night.

The Lodox produces the lowest levels of radiation of any other X-ray machine, and is used in 11 hospital trauma units across the country, mostly at government hospitals.

While other machines might take 20 minutes to X-ray a critically injured patient, the Lodox takes only seconds.

The machine was invented by the De Beers mining company in the 1990s to scan hundreds of miners at the ends of their shifts to see if they had swallowed diamonds.

In last night’s episode, Dr Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) presents the machine to his staff…

Rest here.


Speaking of Q&A… What Happened to Cardinal George Pell Last Night?

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney had a shocker of a debate with the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He went as far as saying that the Biblical story of Adam and Eve is but a mere myth, a mythological account:

“It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world.”

When you make such admissions, you’re as good as done in debate. Australia… Australia… you’re dropping the ball down-under.

The headline in the Sydney Morning Herald says it all: Dawkins shades Pell in battle of belief:

In the great showdown between God and the godless, it was the silver-haired professional agnostic in the middle – calm throughout, pointed in his questions, and thankful that his warring guests were “not grunting” – who emerged victorious on the ABC’s Q&A last night.

Billed as a kind of final countdown, a day of reckoning for the chattering classes, the exchange was often not much better than a feral snarl-off. Pell ran circles around his own arguments (frequently of the how-many-angels-can-you-fit-on-the-head-of-a-pin type)…

But as the exchange wore on and Dawkins sank into exasperation with the vapidity of some of the questions, Pell became more expansive. And the more liturgical rope he was allowed, the more thoroughly he hanged himself.

God picked the Jews to prove his existence, he said, even though they were just a bunch of shepherds and intellectually inferior to the Egyptians…

Pell’s argument during an exchange over evolution was downright baffling. He started by saying he “probably” accepts that humans descended from Neanderthals.

“Neanderthals?” piped up Dawkins, jumping disdainfully on the slip. “They were our cousins. We can’t be descended from our cousins.”

“These are extant cousins?” shot back Pell. “Where will I find a Neanderthal today if they’re our cousins?”

Dawkins: “They’re extinct.”

Pell: “Exactly. That’s my point.”

“Your point is that because they’re extant they can’t be our cousins?” Dawkins asked, by now incredulous.

“I’m not really much fussed,” said Pell.

“That’s clear,” said Dawkins…

If you missed it, ABC has it here.

You can download it in mp4 here.

You may also wish to visit Doubting Dawkins. A far better set of challenges to Richard Dawkins.


South Africans Spend More Time with Mobile Phones than TV

South Africans spend more time on their mobile devices than they do watching television to listening to the radio, according to a Mobile Media Consumption survey.

Times Live:

On any given day, mobile web users spend 30 percent of their  media time on mobile devices, 29 percent on television and 20 percent listening  to the radio, mobile advertising network InMobi said in a statement.

“Availability, ease of use, and privacy are the top three driving  factors to be on mobile,” it said.

“Social media, entertainment, and games are the top three mobile  media activities among mobile web users. This popularity will continue to grow  in the next 12 months.”

More here.


Icasa takes Top TV Porn Channel to Court

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has applied for a court interdict to stop TopTV from launching a 24-hour pornography channel, it says.


Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said the application was lodged on  Monday and TopTV was given until the close of business that day to file its  answering affidavit.

He said he did not know if it had filed.

TopTV was not immediately available for comment.

The case was expected to be heard in the High Court in  Johannesburg on Friday.

Maleka said Icasa would hold public hearings about a pornography  channel on Monday.

Last month, the Family Policy Institute said some Christian  organisations planned to boycott TopTV after it announced the launch of the  channel.

It said they would also boycott TopTV’s advertisers and  sponsors.

Pray that this destructive trash stays off our TV’s…