BYCU

The Waiting

Calm before the drinking storm.

Free, sober weekend now.

Liver Armeggedon starts next weekend.

Next Thursday, I’m taking a virtual tour of a Bardstown bourbon distillery, complete with a gift box of bourbon delivered ahead of time, courtesy of my firm’s library vendor.

The following day, I head out for my eldest’s bachelor party weekend. The weekend after that, it’s the wedding itself.

So, I don’t have a lot of booze blogging this morning, but there is this, something specifically crafted to dull my appetite for booze this weekend: Poop Wine, Testicle Beer… Swedish Museum Exhibits the World’s Most Revolting Alcohols.

Leave it to the degenerate Swedes.

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Sports Down

“Monday Night Football Ratings Crash,” ratings “way down,” “NFL ratings take a huge hit.” It sounds like, if it weren’t for Tom Brady’s inaugural game with Tampa Bay, it would’ve been a catastrophic opening weekend for the NFL. With Brady, it was just a bad opening, not catastrophic.

We also know the NBA is doing poorly, which is a very good thing. If there were new McCarthy hearings, the entire League would be under assault from Tail Gunner Joe.

Due to COVID, other reasons could be–and are–driving the downward spike, but polling and other anecdotal evidence suggest politics is playing a role: the more political the sport, the worse the ratings.

Timely: Hillsdale College’s Imprimis released a lecture by Jason Whitlock: American Sports are Letting Down America. It’s worth checking out.

Nearly 30 years ago, in a 1993 Nike commercial, professional basketball legend Charles Barkley fired the first shot at the “role model” concept popularized by Columbia University sociologist Robert K. Merton in the aftermath of the 1960s counterculture movement. “I am not a role model,” Barkley proclaimed in the half-minute spot. “I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”

Barkley’s words landed with a force every bit the equal of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem knee 23 years later. Former Vice President Dan Quayle defended Barkley, while Barkley’s fellow NBA superstar Karl Malone criticized him in Sports Illustrated. Leading news magazines, including Time and Newsweek, published articles exploring the controversy. Newspaper columnists from coast to coast—on and off the sports pages—also weighed in. The topic still sparks debate today.

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Miscellany

Rogan and Drudge

So, Rogan left California and moved to Texas. I’m guessing Texas’ income tax rate (zero) looks pretty good next to California’s (12.3%). If he’s bringing in $10,000,000 per year, that’s $1,230,000 a year in state income taxes that he saves. . . . just for moving to a semi-rural outside of Austin, Texas (not exactly a backwater). Rogan says he left because L.A. is over-crowded and the California model isn’t sustainable (something like that).

Well, good for him. The thing is, he’s a self-proclaimed “progressive,” supporting pretty much every big-government program out there. How does he think California becomes California? Granted, its natural beauty brings people out there, but the natural beauty doesn’t bring 12.3% state income taxes. The natural beauty also doesn’t give the velvet glove treatment to bums. Well, the warm weather makes it easier to be homeless in California, but it doesn’t feed the homeless and give them other freebies.

My apologies if I’m late with the Rogan news. I don’t listen to him regularly, only occasionally. I was listening to this Ron White interview earlier this week and slowly pieced together that he was now living in Texas. I used the Google Machine to verify and realized this news broke the last week of July.

So much for me and the cutting edge.

BTW: If you’re looking for Drudge Report alternatives, good luck. Here’s a list of possibilities, but they all lack “something.” I hate to say it, but Drudge had a knack. The formatting was right; the headlines were great but not sensationalist. All these others? The formatting is either bad or the headlines are simply over-the-top.

I think the “magic” of the Drudge Report is that, even though he had an agenda or angle, it didn’t read like that. He, in other words, ran his site like all the major news outlets. All those Drudge alternatives wear their rightwing politics on their sleeve, and I find it off-putting.

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Drudge

Everyone is “atwitter” about what has happened to Matt Drudge. The Jewish Drudge has always been friendly to libertarian and Catholic sentiments, with a conservative streak. Starting at the beginning of 2020, however, he turned hard left . . . or at least, “Hard Anti-Trump.” His negative COVID reporting prompted me to eliminate him from my start-up pages, simply because he was depressing me.

As of now, pretty much everyone has come out and said Drudge is depressing them. President Trump, Paul Joseph Watson, Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro. Speculation varies about why Drudge has turned left, but heck, his parents follow Reform Judaism, which has always leaned heavily left (Wikipedia points out that it is also known as “Progressive Judaism” and “Liberal Judaism”). Maybe he’s always leaned left, but just had such a libertarian streak in him, he detested the Left.

The heck if I know. They say a Trump aide snubbed him at the White House, so now he’s on a prolonged revenge tour. Could be, but that seems awfully petty.

Various sources say his website is down 40%, which is quite a gaping wound.

They say his net worth exceeds $100 million, so I doubt he much cares about the gaping wound, but then again, is the net worth amount based on the value of his website? If that’s the case, his net worth might only be tens of millions of dollars. He must be panicking (snicker).

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Miscellany

Sports and Ghosts

Ha. People said sports will never be the same. They were wrong. The Lions blew another big lead on opening day. I think this is the third year in a row.

I hear the woke coverage of NCAA football was pretty bad on Saturday. I wasn’t watching. I did watch NCAA that day, but it was a Division II girls cross-country meet that daughter Meg participated in. That, unlike the football coverage, had no politics. It’s only a matter of time until they politicize cross-country meets, but for a fleeting few hours on Saturday, I felt like I was in the ordinary world without the stain of politics.

Russell Kirk believed in ghosts, rather strongly. I had dinner with a Kirk fan Saturday night. So I feel compelled (almost pushed, like by some weird energy . . . smile) to post this story that I saw last week: 5 of the Most Haunted Places Around the World.

Plus it gives us all a jump on Halloween.

For almost a century, Portland, Oregon, was the site of human trafficking. Saloon-owners outfitted their Portland operations with trapdoors, making it easy for them to seize drunk men in the bars and drop them into the Portland Underground. They then drugged the men and sold them as unpaid labor to ships. Ghost tours participants get a flashlight before descending into the underground network where ghosts of dead victims haunt the passages. Men who survived often worked for years as captives on ships, sometimes making their way back home.

The article doesn’t say whether any of the Portland protesters have seen any ghosts.

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From Correspondence

Me to a young man who read the McLuhan piece at Medium (which is trending well, btw) and is interested in the effects of social media

Given your interest in the effects of social media, McLuhan is probably right up your alley. VERY hard read. I slogged through Understanding Medium, then read a biography of him. I’d recommend doing that in reverse if this is an area you want to explore.

An easier entrance into this area would be Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. It’s short and fun (as far as this kind of reading goes).

You might also try Walter Ong, a Jesuit and McLuhan disciple. He’s easier to read . . . but not much.

There’s also Lewis Mumford, but I haven’t spent much time on him.

McLuhan, btw, was a huge Chesterton fan, Catholic convert, and daily communicant. He also lacked propriety at times. While on a city bus with a friend, he saw a Coke advertisement with a pretty young woman drinking from a straw. He said, “Coke sucker.” His friend replied, “Marshall, lower your voice.”

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From Medium

Garden Writing is About More than Plants

The biographical, philosophical, meditational, and countercultural world of American gardening literature

Riddle: What literary genre has historical roots that predate Socrates; features hundreds of American writers including Thoreau, Washington Irving, and Edith Wharton; and is a genre that you’ve probably never even heard of?

Answer: American gardening literature.

Don’t roll your eyes.

It’s a thing.

American gardening literature is a blend

In fact, American gardening literature is a big thing.

I have three volumes of gardening literature anthologies in my home library alone. Amazon has an entire department dedicated to “Gardening & Horticultural Essays.” Yes, just “essays.” It has two dozen other departments dedicated to gardening and horticulture in general.

The genre of American garden writing runs the gamut from technical to inspirational, from garden bed blueprints to meditations on weeding.

There are, for instance, seed catalogs that merely list seed specifications. They hardly qualify as literary endeavors. And then there are literary seed catalogs . . . those rare (and free!) publications that are informational, occasionally witty, and serious about their prose (one of my favorites is published by Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon).

Among contemporary books, you have The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, which is my standard “go-to” book but hardly qualifies as serious literature. And you have Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening, by theologian-gardener Vigen Guroian, which might be lovely but scarcely talks about gardening techniques.

And then you have The Tao of Vegetable Gardening by Carol Deppe, which is a beautiful hybrid: mostly how-to gardening advice, but laced with a meditational bent that, though rarely overt, informs the book as a whole.

Deppe’s book is what I mean by “American gardening literature.” It’s packed with gardening advice from a highly-educated and experienced gardener (Deppe holds a PhD in biology from Harvard), but it’s about (oh so much) more, as evidenced by its subtitle: Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy, and Serenity.

A subtitle like that can make even the most ardent brown thumb think about putting her fingers into the soil.

Read the Rest at Medium
or
click here:
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White Culture

A long-time question of mine finally answered: Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day? The article says that the number of rich Americans increased dramatically around 1900. In order to distinguish the old rich from the new rich, the old rich started creating all sorts of new fashion codes. One of them: you can only wear white between Memorial and Labor Days.

By the 1950s, the rule was fixed for America as a whole.

Okay, stupid reason. I might still don my macho white sports jacket . . . at least until September 21st.

I love paradoxical essay titles and I love Leisure the Basis of Culture. I couldn’t help but click on this piece: Leisure the Basis of Labor.

Whew, one conservative Canadian declares that sports are dead. I don’t think he’s right, but he does raise some valid points . . . and the acid is always fun to read.

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McLuhan

Miscellany: Medium and Marshall

The Eudemon Medium.com publication is getting closer to full take-off. We have four writers. A logo has been ordered.

If you want to write for the publication, or if you know someone who is already writing at Medium.com, please past along the information to join the stable.

Ah, attentive reader: You caught me. I ditched “The Roman Rambler.” Every time I saw it, I cringed a little bit more. I finally just yanked it off. It was a bad idea.

I decided to go “all in” with Eudemon:

The Eudemon is the “Medium arm” of The Daily Eudemon, a blog that has been in continuous operation since 2004. If your article is published at The Eudemon, it will also be referenced or featured at The Daily Eudemon.

The publishing efforts at Medium are going well. I am now “net black” in net profits . . . by a few dollars. My most recent “curated” piece is doing very well: Cell Phones, Radio, and the Philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. Excerpt below. I’ll plan on running the whole thing here later this week.

A household name in the 1960s, Marshall McLuhan has been largely forgotten today. His central theory is that human modes of thinking are altered by media. Media are “extensions” of ourselves, things that add themselves on to what we already are, and when we use them, they change us in some way, often psychologically. The simplest example is the saying, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

His most famous saying is, “the medium is the message,” by which he means the important part of a medium is the medium itself. The important thing about books isn’t their content (their “message”). The important thing is their “bookness”: how does the act of reading from a book, or the fact that we have books instead of scrolls, affect how we think, live, and behave?

It’s too bad he’s been forgotten. I think he would’ve diagnosed the cell phone/driving issue quickly.
In his magnum opus, Understanding Media (1964), McLuhan wrote: “The telephone demands complete participation.” He pointed out that some people could scarcely talk to their best friends on the phone without becoming angry, precisely because it’s such a demanding medium.

Basically, McLuhan said, the telephone is a jealous taskmaster.

McLuhan, if you didn’t know, was a convert, daily communicant, and huge Chesterton fan. He wrote the introduction to one of the finest Chesterton studies of all time: Paradox in Chesterton, by the brilliant Hugh Kenner.

Good luck, if you try to find the book. It’s not at Amazon.

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BYCU

IMG_3150I Don’t Love the Nightlife and I Don’t Got to Boogie

But I miss the bars

“There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.” Samuel Johnson

Like Samuel Johnson and Alicia Bridges (see title), I like a good bar.

Heck, I like many bars. I love a good bar.

COVID, of course, has crippled the bar scene, which has hit me pretty hard.

You see, I’m a religious guy. I like to worship.

I’m pantheistic in my approach. God, for me, isn’t found only in the brick-and-mortar church sanctuary. God is everywhere.

Oh yeah, to be sure, he’s found in some places better than others. I believe He is present in every church. I also think He’s present in other people and acutely present in the poor.

I also believe he’s present in quiet places. It’s a belief that goes back almost 3,000 years, to the time of Elijah:

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord — but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake — but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire — but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound,” a “still and small” breeze, and then the Lord spoke, “Elijah, why are you here?”

I’m a silence monger. I seek it wherever I can find it. On the worst winter days, you’ll often find me outside, taking in the silence born from forcing the world indoors.

On a weekday afternoon, you might find me in a bar, taking advantage of the dead period — that time from, say, 1:30 to 4:00 — when the bar has virtually no customers. The lunch crowd is gone; happy hour hasn’t started yet.

The bartender and waitresses almost seem happy to see me, which, I fear, isn’t a frequent feeling of mine.

Read the Rest of the Essay at Medium

Or click below . . .

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Gardening Journals

I grew tons of Roma tomatoes this year, specifically for canning. Marie made it clear that she didn’t want to can. I made it clear that I would. Then things got crazy at the office and I ran out of time. It became her job to can tomatoes so we’d have non-GMO salsa all winter.

Alas, everyone has been canning. Although we have plenty of jars, we can’t find the lids. Everyone is sold out until at least October.

We found ten lids and are re-using old lids (which is supposedly risky, since the seal could be compromised) . . . and crossing our fingers.

Smithsonian Magazine just ran a timely article on the history of the Mason jar, if you’re interested. Excerpt:

In 1858, a 26-year-old Mason patented threaded screw-top jars “such as are intended to be air and water-tight.” The earliest mason jars were made from transparent aqua glass, and are often referred to by collectors as “Crowleytown Jars,” as many believe they were first produced in the New Jersey village of Crowleytown. Unfortunately for Mason, he neglected to patent the rest of his invention—the rubber ring on the underside of the flat metal lids that is critical to the airtight seal, and made wax unnecessary—until 1868, a full decade later. By this point, mason jars were being manufactured widely.

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Ouch

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