Good advice. With more Chinese traveling abroad, the Chinese government apparently thinks it’s necessary to tell people how to behave. Some of the advice is sound (though you would think unnecessary), such as the Chinese government’s admonitions not to pick one’s nose or urinate in public. Some of the advice is just bizarre, such as the warning to women traveling to Spain to wear earrings or be considered naked. On the one hand, you could look at this story as just news-of-the-bizarre, the humorous by-product of culture clashes. On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder if it is also a peek inside life under totalitarianism, a life in which people have lost the capacity to think for themselves and the government takes the responsibility for and control of even the most minute details of behavior.
Gravity wins. Airplane pilots are fond of saying, “Gravity always wins.” That was certainly the case at the box office this weekend. The Sandra Bullock/George Clooney movie Gravity grabbed $55 million and far exceeded the second place Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which has yet to make back its $78 million production budget. Runner Runner, with Ben Affleck, debuted in the third spot, underperforming expectations with a $7.6 million box office. The mediocre Christian movie Grace Unplugged opened in about 500 theaters and did $1 million, which is a respectable per-screen number, though many of those theaters were bought by churches and the tickets given away or sold at reduced prices to get people through the door.
Little known hero. One of America’s nearly forgotten heroes was born on this date in 1916. Julian Cook graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and on Sept. 17, 1944, was a 28-year-old major assigned to lead his men on a daylight crossing of Holland’s Waal River. The mission was designed to allow the Americans to outflank Germans defending bridges crucial to the success of the Allies’ Operation Market Garden, a decisive campaign in the war. Allied forces bombarded the German position to give Cook and his men cover, but wind blew away the smokescreen, leaving the group sitting ducks. Cook was a devout Catholic and when he wasn’t directing his men and redirecting disorganized boats, he loudly recited the “Hail Mary” during the crossing. Cook’s 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment finally captured the bridge. For his heroism, Cook received the Distinguished Service Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor). Robert Redford played Cook in the 1977 war epic A Bridge Too Far. Cook died in 1990.
No difference? A key pillar in the propaganda of pro-homosexual activists is that children raised by same-sex couples do as well in life as those raised by opposite-sex parents. That notion took a direct hit from a study recently published by the Review of Economics of the Household. The study says, among other things, that Canadian children living with same-sex parents were only 65 percent as likely to graduate from high school as those living in opposite-sex families. According to the study, “daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.” The study, using 2006 census data, is perhaps the largest of its kind ever done. According to the study’s publisher, the “large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families.” The publisher says it is “large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children.”