15 May 2011


I. The convention at this blog has been to focus on a single target and then go in for the kill. A good analogy to this approach would be the SBD Douglas Dauntless dive bomber, used during WWII in the Pacific Theater, most notably at the Battle of Midway. A gorgeous machine with a singular purpose, push the stick forward, get your target in the scope, scream downward at near-vertical, pull the stick up at near-immanence, then release your ordinance at just the right time. Flashpoint and detonation, shockwave and annihilation. Wonderful. True, not the most pleasant of approaches, certainly not the most popular, especially with the higher-ups, shall we say. Outrageous, uncharitable, inquisitorial, depraved, as messages in my e-mail inbox attest. Other approaches exist, of course, and the one used will depend on the circumstance and personalities involved. One direct hit can sink a carrier, however it is important to emphasize that dive bombers were not the best at manoeuvrability. In fact, their greater than normal rigidity of structure diminished manoeuvrability (TH2 stares at shoes). Besides the target, the pilot must also remain aware of happenings in the surrounding airspace and operate the aircraft accordingly within its limitations. Perhaps this was why the SBD was outfitted with a tail-gunner component.

II. So much is happening out there in the news. Controversy and debate, essays and commentary, apostasy and heresy... you name it. Be it interesting or boring, exciting or infuriating, hilarious or saddening... the whole gamut of reactions does one experience. This, therefore, necessitates an awareness of many subjects. Yet monitoring of the omnifarious information influx, and properly responding to multiple items in a single blog post, can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true for persons with single-minded dive bomber mentalities or otherwise those who find multitasking difficult.

III. In recent years the science of "Situational Awareness" (SA) has arisen to address this very issue. Technically defined, SA involves the perception and apprehension of all elements existing in one's environment, both in time and space. The meaning of each element in this environment, and its interassociations with others, must be properly understood in real-time, including a foresight and/or forecasting of how they will change in the near future. Simply defined, SA means to be cognizant of all information and events that surround you, and how your responses to these affect your objectives presently and in the near term. Obviously, SA is very important for decision making in dynamically complex work environments with high information flow. Some examples would be air traffic control, aviation and emergency situations involving police/fire departments. Here's another description related to SA:
Interaction in virtual reality has yet to match prognostications..., but the concept of graphic boundaries to operational status should, in time, enhance performance by adaptively displaying the invariants in dynamical operational phase space. In sum, we see value in the phenomenon called situation awareness. We expect to see it and other, even clearer, manifestations of consciousness as we design and evaluate purposive human-machine-environment systems.[1]
Wowsers! Does that techno-talk bring back memories. It could also pass for what some Derrida wannabe would write in a paper submitted to the Journal of Pointless Crap. Not going to decipher that one. Mental preparation would require viewing of a Golden Girls marathon and a quick slug down of a 6-pack immediately after. That Sophia, boy was she witty... In actuality, SA is a legitimate discipline under the umbrella of "Human Factors" research. These are smart people with immense responsibilities as they often have to deal with human tragedy.

IV. Still, it would be nice if an easier interpretation of Situational Awareness were available. Something that gets right to the point from which I might easily learn. Unlike previous posts, yours truly would periodically like to commentate summarily on a series of topics in a single post, rather than punish the reader detailedly in one long post. One liners belong to Twitter. So whilst ruminating on this matter over the last little while, as luck would have it, I came across a masterpiece of introspection entitled Fabio Fitness.[2] At last, someone who really understood and could effortlessly relay the essential aspects of Situational Awareness. Laughing, are you? Don't believe me? Then take a gander at this Amazon book review:
I'm a huge fan of Fabio, and this book has helped me enormously... If anyone is qualified to give advice on this topic, it would obviously be Fabio. The results of his own fitness routine speak for itself. Along with some fascinating insights... this book tosses in some... fine common sense.... Love Fabio, love the book, and I wish it were back in print so more people could be exposed to the great ideas inside.
So, you see, the key to a proper grasp of Situational Awareness is not just a clear and open mind, but also a healthy body. Seems good to me. Now at this point that dreaded date of March 27, 1999 should be recalled, approximately two years after the publication of Fabio Fitness. Reportedly, Mr. Lanzoni got clocked by a goose whilst riding a rollercoaster at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.[3] Apparently, he momentarily forgot about the perception of all elements and their interactions as they existed in his environment, i.e. he had no Situational Awareness. Hey, nobody's perfect, so let's give him a break. I mean, just look how calm and collected he is in the picture, despite the multitudinous requests for his signature by the ladies. That's high information flow in a dynamically complex environment... Fabio knows what's going on.

V. GREEN WINE. Now that that's done, let's do our first item. In an effort to "keep greenhouse gas emissions in check"[4] some churches in Quebec are starting to use locally produced wine for consecration at Mass. You see, transporting wine from distant locations causes an increase in emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other nasties, heightens temperatures, produces global warning, let alone actuating shifts in the Earth's obliquity, opening up cracks in the space-time continuum, and being the causation of other transdimensional anomalies. "It is part of our efforts to become more ecologically responsible", said Brian McDonagh. Perchance he is oblivious to those released e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Mr. McDonagh is the Montreal Archdiocese's "Director of Social Action" - and if that isn't a giveaway, then please St. Andre show me the light. It seems that a certain Norman Levesque got the whole thing started: "It's very symbolic. By taking bread and wine and replacing those elements with ones that are more environmentally friendly, we are touching the core of people's faith". Really? "Symbolic"? The "elements" are replaced? The "core of the faith" is better reached by using locally produced wine? Sheesh. It's certainly good to know the Quebec dioceses have their priorities set aright.

VI. ROGERS DORKSNET. "Mr. Goddard was a freelance contractor and in recent weeks it had become clear that he is not the right fit for our organization".[5] So said Dave Rashford, Communications Director at Roger's Sportsnet, one of Canada's leading sports broadcasters. Damian Goddard was fired. Why? Because on May 10 at 12:03:29 PM he tweeted the following:
I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.
Goddard was reacting to hockey agent Reynolds, who created controversy when he criticized a New York Rangers player for doing a pro-homosexual marriage TV ad. Reportedly, there were many "angry viewers". Man-o-man, since when did Canadian sports fans, predominantly male, become so sensitized and feminized? To be sure, gone are the days of "old time hockey" as in Slapshot, when players and broadcasters were real men. They should get a lesson or two from Fabio. Immediately after pantywaist viewers started complaining the pantywaists at Rogers switched into Politically Correct mode: "Today's tweet from Damian Goddard does not reflect the views of Rogers Sportsnet". There's a religious element to this pathetic affair of course. Goddard: "In terms of what I said, I stand by it. I'm a devout Roman Catholic. It's not about hate at all. The truth will come out". Here we have yet another example of the MSM's soft totalitarianism against traditional morality. The unflattering, vilifying photograph of Goddard in the Toronto Star article works well to portray him as an enemy of society. And lest we forget that Bell, Canada's other big telecommunications provider, dropped EWTN from its programming line-up just last February.

VII. NCT DESPERATION. It seems the luvvies at New Catholic Times are really upset with the recent election that again voted in Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, this time with a majority. In an editorial thereon, the routine mantras are mouthed against conservatives: now that Harper is re-elected, nothing is going to be done about "health care", "child poverty", "National Day Care Plan", "fighting global warming", "the embarrassing ecological foot print of Alberta's Tar Sands", and so on and so forth ad nauseum.[6] Interesting that, as a so-called Catholic paper, the editorial omits the PMs recent statement on how he isn't going to open a public debate on abortion, for which he should be criticized from the Catholic perspective. Another disturbing thing is NCT's anti-Israel stance, whereof the article speaks of the government's "terrible tilt toward Israel", the "thuggish activity of Israel occupying another land" (i.e. code/precursor to blatant anti-Semitism). Thus NCT becomes another link in that long chain of useful idiots, playing into the hands of Jihadists, grovelling before the NDP, and generally aligning itself with the Revolutionary Left. More acrimoniously than I would write, Oswald Spengler made a good point that applies to this situation:
We find a certain... scum which drags the faith and the dignity of the Church into the dirt of party politics, which allies itself with the powers of destruction and while mouthing the phrases of altruism and protection of the poor helps the underworld to destroy the social order - the order on which the Church irrevocably and fatally rests.[7]
Spengler was a big time Schopanhauerian pessimist. Nonetheless, the gist of his observation is right on the money.

Well, that's about all the Situational Awareness I can muster for today.


1. K. Smith and P.A. Hancock, "Situation Awareness is Adaptive, Externally Directed Consciousness", Human Factors, 1995, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 137-148.

2. F. Lanzoni, Fabio Fitness, ed. S. Raimondi (New York: The Summit Publishing Group, 1997).

3. R. Rivenburg, "Fabio Survives Goose Encounter, but Take a Gander at His Honker", Los Angeles Times, April 9, 1999.

4. C. Cornacchia, "Going green for God: Quebec churches switch to local holy wine", National Post, May 8, 2011.

5. C. Kelly, "Fired Sportsnet host Damian Goddard 'stands by' tweets", Toronto Star, May 12, 2011.

6. Editorial Group, "A time for purpose not politics: Canadian election 2011", New Catholic Times, May 9, 2011.

7. O. Spengler, The Decline of the West, trans. C.F. Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926), vol. 1, Form and Actuality (originally published in 1918). My notes indicate the quote is from Volume 1, after reading it many years ago. I might be wrong in the designation and am open to correction. Nevertheless, the words are Spengler's.



AllenT said...

About the locally produced wine, correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the wine have to meet a certain standard. Oh yeah Canon 924 - §3 The wine must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt. Somehow or other, I am very suspicious that this PC wine may not be held up to the rigid requirements. Call me a cynic, but I suspect that symbolic is how they view the Eucharist in toto. No real presence, just symbol.
As for Damian Goddard's firing for standing up for authentic Catholic teaching, am I correct in assuming that the silence from the Bishops' lack of defending him is deafening?
PC BS about the environment - yes. Defending authentic Catholic teaching - no. In other words, the CCCB is operating in their usual mode. Is there anyway you could so them for false advertising in their claims to be Catholic?

Mundabor said...

 The one with the "Green Vine" could have come straight from some Episcopalian she-priest of more or less dubious sexuality, but impeccable environ-mentalist credentials. 

When a Catholic thinks that people's faith will be touched by how much co2 the wine transport has produced, it is clearly time to send him back to catechism. Mundabor

Anita Moore said...

very symbolic. By taking bread and wine and replacing those elements
with ones that are more environmentally friendly, we are touching the
core of people's faith".

To me that suggests that they're not merely using locally-made products, but that they're actually using invalid matter for the Eucharist. 

Also that Jesus didn't know what He was doing when He instituted the Eucharist using bread and wine.

Patrick Button said...

TH2:  It's amazing how you can work Fabio, situational awareness, the Church in Quebec, hockey, and Canadian politics into a coherent and funny piece.  Well done!

Christopher Wright said...

Another fine, robust post. It's great how you have your finger on so many issues.

Thanks and God bless. 

TH2 said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

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