The heat has been unbearable. Rain permitting, I hope to make it out to the produce site to see if the lettuce is bolting. I hope not. We’re hoping for our first mega-harvest of the year.
I was pleasantly surprised by the current performance by a broccoli and kohlrabi bed I planted. I planted it in a controlled tantrum: I tore up the grass that had invaded and laid down the seeds, with no other preparation. I remember laying down the seed and saying, “It’s probably not going to make it, but screw it. I might as well use the seeds I bought.” I noticed on Sunday that the crops are coming in strong, so much so that I’m going to take the time to weed the beds by hand this week, apply BT for the cabbage worm threat, and fertilize. I’m reminded of Carol Deppe’s chapter on “Non Doing” in her (righteous) book, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, which counsels the wisdom of doing nothing sometimes. Deppe’s observations parallel Nock’s famous essay, “Snoring as a Fine Art.”
I renew my plea: We need a pit bull ban. These are vicious, dangerous animals, their owners’ ridiculous claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Exhibit A: MSN’s list of the 21 dogs that have attacked the most people. Number One: Pit bulls. 3,397 attacks, 295 human deaths, over the course of the 32-year study. (The Number Two dog, Rottweiller, registered only 535 attacks and 85 deaths.)
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: It’s odd that libertarianism has such a strong streak against economism, but then it seems to have a tendency to view all things in terms of economic strife. Joll’s book on anarchism makes the point that anarchists have an economic worldview of history, just like Marxists. Libertarians tend to see history in terms of people using the State to advance their own self-interests, to the detriment of others. It’s why they hate power and an increase in the State’s reach. It’s not just that the State is inefficient, it’s also that the State is unjust: taking from some to give to others, hurting some industries to help other industries, hurting people in order to help some “capitalists.”
Amen to that Nassim Taleb quote a posted yesterday. “[A]ny argument (such as the one now used for illegal immigration) that is supported by pictures/narratives of children is called PEDOPHRASTY. Actually, use of children should weaken an argument.” I strongly agree. I’m not sure what Taleb’s reasoning is, but from my perspective: (1) The government has undertaken great mischief in the name of “the children,” and (2) If you need to invoke “the children,” you must not have a complete argument.
It kind of reminds me a conversation about a Ted Nugent concert one of my friends saw in high school. He said The Nuge ran across a catwalk a hundred feet above the audience then jumped off the catwalk onto the stage . . . by wearing a harness, which gave the illusion that he was flying over the top of the arena. My friend thought it was great. Another friend observed, “A truly great guitarist doesn’t need to do those stunts.” That’s how I feel about political arguments that invoke the children. IF you need to appeal to that type of strong emotional reaction, your argument can’t be that good. And, in fact, once you use that tact, there should be a strong presumption against your position, since you’ve now clouded it with emotion.
Good Father’s Day yesterday. Man, it was hot: heat index 100. Marie and the kids came to the produce site first thing in the morning in honor of The Great Day, but it was just too brutally hot to work much longer than an hour. I stuck around for almost three hours, but I was absolutely drenched with sweat, and it was only 10:30 AM when I knocked off. I then jumped in the pool, dried off, and put on my pajamas for the day.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: From time to time (amidst duties), briefly stop what you are doing. Relax. Observe your pace and your posture. Watch the depth and length of your breathing. Unknot any body tensions. ‘Rest, rest, perturbed spirit’ (Hamlet, I v). Recommit yourself – your current work and your entire life – to God. R. Daniels, The Virgin Eye.
A reminder that any argument (such as the one now used for illegal immigration) that is supported by pictures/narratives of children is called PEDOPHRASTY. Actually, use of children should weaken an argument. pic.twitter.com/qZ7Qn5pHN2
Crazy week. My back molar split on Wednesday, necessitating an extraction. I then had to cover a lengthy client meeting Wednesday evening that didn’t let out until after 9:30. I had to get up early in order to be in Detroit for a conference that started Thursday morning at 8:30. Early Friday morning, I came down with severe dizzy spells: sudden sensations like I was going to fall over, although I was often lying down. It turns out, this is a possible side effect of my antibiotic, which can be exacerbated by drinking . . . something I did a lot of Thursday evening with my eldest kids in Ann Arbor. I stopped taking the antibiotic yesterday at 4:00, but as of this writing, the dizziness is still with me. One website says it could take a few days to stop. Great.
My paternal grandmother said, it’s no good to grow old. I guess it beats the alternative.
One thing I discovered: Those drug websites are inconsistent with their information and aren’t terribly informative. I consulted a half-dozen. I read that dizziness is a fairly common side effect of the antibiotic, that dizziness is a sign of an allergic reaction and I should call a doctor, that dizziness is a sign of a possible severe reaction and I should seek medical attention right away, that dizziness is very rare with this antibiotic and dangerous. Of course, on most of the sites, dizziness was just listed with another, oh, 200 or so other side effects, all of which were lumped under a statement like, “Call your medical provider immediately if any of these things occur.”
Those websites are a great illustration of why you can’t trust anything anymore: Providers are more interested in not being liable/responsible for a problem than they are in being helpful. By saying, “Call your doctor if anything at all happens that is unusual,” they punt away responsibility . . . even though they’ve also punted away helpfulness.
This happens with all providers, whether medical or other. I know lawyers who always adapt drafted-by-experts forms for their transactions. There’s nothing wrong with these forms (I have, I’m guessing, over 100,000 of them in my legal database subscriptions and often use them or consult them for ideas) and the lawyers who use them normally alter them responsibly to fit the transaction, but for many transactions, they’re simply inappropriate because they’re overkill. The transactions are often family transactions, small transactions, or simple transactions. A glorified handshake is all that’s really necessary, but by using the third-party form, the lawyer helps shield himself from malpractice claims . . . even though the burdens associated with a ten-page form far outweigh the benefits to the participants.
God willing, you’re reading this after I spent a night of drinking at old haunts along South University in Ann Arbor with Marie, Alex, and Abbie, then crashing at Abbie’s before heading back to the second day of my annual Estate Planning and Probate Conference in Detroit.
The plan was to start at The Brown Jug, which is an Ann Arbor icon and a place I frequented a lot back in the 1980s. Funny story: One night after a hitting parties, I got separated from my group and started walking home. I started chatting with two co-eds and convinced them to go to the Brown Jug with me. They proceeded to order an obnoxious amount of food, then went to the bathroom . . . and never came back, leaving me sitting there by myself with loads and loads of food coming out and a humongous bill. I proceeded to eat and eat and eat . . . and then, toward the end, the table collapsed onto my legs through no fault of my own. The manager came rushing over, apologizing, and waived all charges. I was pretty stoked.
The plan was then to go to Good Time Charley’s, at least one other bar, and Pinball Pete’s. I told the kids I could NOT have a replay of the Detroit bar hop last October, which handicapped me for most of the following day. Hopefully, I’m sitting alert at my conference while you’re reading this.
(With any luck, the authors of the book imaged above will read this entry and then write, 102 Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Arbor.)
The cover story in the current issue of Gilbert Magazine is about John Wu. Very good piece. I don’t know a ton about Wu, but he holds that Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism were good seed beds for Christianity, especially the Eucharist. I’ve read large parts of his The Golden Age of Zen: The Classic Work on the Foundation of Zen Philosophy, which I’ve greatly enjoyed and recommend to anyone interested in Zen from a Catholic perspective. The introduction by Thomas Merton is especially good.
Of course, not everyone is grand-souled enough like me to appreciate our Chinese brothers: “The publication of Albert Einstein’s private diaries detailing his tour of Asia in the 1920s reveals the theoretical physicist and humanitarian icon’s racist attitudes to the people he met on his travels, particularly the Chinese.” Link.
I can’t even visualize how this would happen: Driver allegedly defecates on another man in fit of road rage. The victim must be the slowest human being on the face of the earth or the perpetrator can back peddle really, really fast with his rectum sticking out. I tell you what, the chase would be funny to watch.
I read this at Reddit’s Today I Learned page: “The budget for the original 1978 film Halloween was so small that the actor playing Michael Myers was paid $20 per day and the original Michael Myers mask was purchased at a local costume shop for $1.29. The film grossed $47 million.” The blurb posted to this link.
I stopped watching horror films shortly after reading that T.S. Eliot refused to read Flannery O’Connor’s fiction because he found it unsettling. I thought to myself, “Yeah, why do I want to do that to myself . . . get those nasty images in my head?” I’ve made occasional exceptions, but for the most part, once I swore them off, I stopped watching for good.
If you like horror films, cultural analysis, and a Catholic worldview, I highly recommend E. Michael Jones’ Monsters from the Id,in which he proposes an interesting theory: a culture’s horror films reflect its sub-conscious. Frankenstein was fear of the unknown energy known as “electricity.” Dracula was fear of syphilis. The rise of slasher movies in the 1960s reflected our culture’s disgust with (and horror of) the sexual revolution. My earlier words on the topic:
When sexual freedom rose, horror rose with it. Deep Throat came out in 1973 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1975. Both were low-budget long shots that brought its producers millions of dollars. Maybe it was coincidence.
Maybe it was also coincidence that Blood Feast, a movie that signaled the official birth of the gore film, came out in 1965, just as America was beginning its full-scale tumble into the sexual revolution.
But you ever notice how it seems that the pretty and promiscuous girls are always the victims in the horror movies? David Hogan noticed it in his book, Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film, criticizing horror films for working “from a surprisingly Puritan morality” that punishes fornication.
Mr. Jones and I grabbed lunch together once. Interesting guy. Eccentric, but I really liked him. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on capitalism, though, and my subsequent veer into the Misesian universe would have separated us even further. Although I haven’t kept up with his writings, I’m pretty sure he’d view the Tom Woods and Jeffrey Tuckers and Lew Rockwells of the Catholic world as heretics.
Random Blurb: “We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” Tyler Durden.
Tyler Durden is the lead character in Fight Club. Durden and the film are the guiding cultural light of the angry young men I wrote about yesterday.
I finally finished Kill All Normies. I enjoyed it, even if it was riddled with typos (it was rushed through the production process, the publishing house sensing, rightly, it would ring with the Trump election). If I had to summarize it: The Internet had a guy culture of sorts, which was a-political. Gamers and the sort. In 2013, a female developed an online game. The press praised it, even though it wasn’t that good (the Gamergate controversy). The gamers correctly sensed that this was just political correctness and social manipulation, and they were angry that politics and the Establishment had tread on their turf. It ripped the lid off a ton of boiling resentment among the male youth, and the resentment has been spewing forth ever since. They voted for Trump; they relentlessly attack anything that remotely sniffs of political correctness or the Establishment; they care not a wit about polite discourse. They’ve been kicked around all their lives by the political correct leftist establishment, and now they don’t care how they fight. They’re just taking an online firehose filled with gasoline to everything they can find and lighting a match.
And they’re my heroes. Although I certainly can’t condone their actions, I certainly must condone their goals . . . or lack thereof. They sense the whole system is rotten to the core, so they have no respect for it. They don’t even want to understand it. They just want to burn it down. I feel like the old man sitting at his desk, nodding appreciatively at what they’re doing, knowing why they’re mad, and believing their passion is correctly aimed, while shaking his head at the excesses. And oh, the language this new “right” employs! Hoodoggy. As a man who spent a lot of time in fraternities, stag days at golf courses, locker rooms, and other bastions of manliness, I thought I’d heard it all. Nope. The words these guys use, the completely over-the-top rhetoric, made me blush . . . when I wasn’t ashamedly laughing.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: St Teresa of Ávila’s test for true prayer – and indeed for all spiritual experience – poses three questions, simple yet searching: Am I more humble (in the creative, not the self-abasing sense)? Am I more loving? Do I have a more vivid sense of the holy character of daily work and daily life?
Man: wet, wet, and more wet. Whenever I see this much wetness, I’m reminded of that character in CSL’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader who comments, ““Ah, you’ve come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain’t it?”
From The Loop: “There is a vocations boom in Wichita, Kansas. The small diocese ordained 10 men to the priesthood for the second year in a row, which increased the priestly population by about 20%. (For perspective, the Archdiocese of New York ordained 11 men, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles ordained 8 men this year.” NC Register link.
Wichita is a small diocese? I guess so. According to this site, it ranks 116th out of 176. I assumed my diocese is tiny, but it ranks 115th. We have only seven men in formation total, so, okay, Way to go, Wichita!
I like this WSJ article: ’50s Motels Go From Bleak to Chic. We have a couple candidates for this theme in my town, especially as you go south toward the 80/90 toll road. It reminds me of El Cortez in Las Vegas, which I made a point to visit while I was there, knowing it was the first mob-controlled venue in Vegas. I pretty much vouch for this Wikipedia observation: “The property is one of the few casinos to have never changed its exterior façade in Las Vegas, retaining the same signage and ranch-themed architecture for over seventy years.”
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: Averroes (1126-1198): Islamic Aristotelian. His relentless pursuit of natural reason in the name of Aristotle would have squashed many of the revealed truths of God. If Aristotle said it, it was true, regardless of what revealed “truths said. The simple people should follow religion; the philosophers follow reason: And it’s good because (i) it brings social order and (ii) the truths revealed by religion and philosophy are generally similar. But when they disagree, philosophy is superior. St. Thomas tempered Averroes’ “philosophy is absolute king” teachings, but the Averroes-scare and subsequent mistrust of reason/philosophy were felt after St. Thomas’ synthesis. Averroes taught that religion prompts people to live civilly; it gives social order to those who are not intelligent to know the highest truths (e.g. men should subdue the passions). This appears to be a Marxist “opiate of the masses” view of religion, but Averroes also accepted the truth of revelation (except in the few areas it disagreed with Aristotle.
Spring blitz. Annual family golf outing yesterday; four graduation parties today. Thankfulness is the hallmark of the fulfilled life, so even though I enjoy time to myself, I am thankful that enough people like this curmudgeon-wannabe to invite him out.
Of course, maybe they just like Marie?
I am thankful for avoiding any major hangovers from the golf outing eve celebration or the post-golf gathering last night. I sit upright this morning, downing my new favorite post-drinking remedy: Kickstart Hydrating Boost. Coconut water, caffeine, decent flavor, carbonation. Marie stocks me up with these when they on sale for $1 a can.
Read this morning: The U.S. Border Patrol confiscates rosaries because they’re considered potentially lethal, non-essential personal property. Here’s a link to the story, which says news of the troubling practice has gone viral. This is the first I’ve heard of it.
The link is to Snopes, btw, which is disingenuous in its posts. It slants everything relentlessly to the far left, so never trust its conclusions. It is, however, a decent source to get more reliable links and such. I remember it ran a picture of robotic cashiers at McDonald’s and the caption “This is what happens when you increase the minimum wage.” Snopes concluded that the picture and caption were false because McDonald’s was rolling out the robotic cashiers in order to save labor costs not because of increases in the minimum wage. Technically, it could be true, but if increasing wages for intro workers are making the robots a necessity, . . .
That’s it for today. Weather permitting, Max wants to go to the Farmers Market today and we have to get him there.
Russia has always been a country that takes ideas and practices from the outside, then twists and turns them into something uniquely Russian. This tendency seems endemic to Russia, perhaps ingrained from its inception when its Slavic peoples continually expanded from the western side of the great east European plain into the north and east, resulting in no fixed boundaries between them and their neighbors, with the consequence that they relentlessly assimilated other cultures—an assimilation that influenced Russia’s pre-historic language and customs.
The earliest years of Russian history show an influence from Finnish races, steppe peoples, the Greek colonies on the northern coasts of the Black Sea, Persia, Vikings, and possibly even Israel through the dominance of the mysterious Khazars, a proselytized Jewish nation, in the area north of the Black and Caspian Seas.
After Prince Vladimir’s baptism, Russia was so influenced by the Byzantine Empire—in its alphabet, literature, legal system, and art—that Russian culture for the next few centuries has been referred to as “tributary” or “received” culture of Byzantium, albeit a culture transformed by its “pre-historic customs, beliefs, and spirit of the Russian people and their land.” After two hundred years of cultural stagnation under Mongol rule in the 13th and 14th centuries, a new outside force—hesychasm from Mt. Athos—deeply and permanently impressed itself on Russian spirituality, contributing to a monastic surge that single-handedly peopled Russia’s great northern forests.
The Russian’s tendency to twist outside ideas or practices into something uniquely Russian is especially illustrated here. From the spirituality of Mt. Athos, arose in Russia the institution of the starets. In this institution, the Elder (the Starets) of the monastery is sought by younger monks, surrounding laymen, even ministers of state, for advice. He also develops remarkably close ties with his disciples—a starets, said Dostoyevsky, “is one who takes your soul, your will, into his soul and his will.” Dostoyevsky illustrated this institution in the personage of Starets Zossima.
Rural communities may be losing high school graduates, but they’re gaining residents with more skills and education, according to studies in Minnesota and Nebraska. In Minnesota, Winchester found that most rural Minnesota counties have gained 30- to 49-year-olds, early- to mid-career Minnesotans with significant resources and connections.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: Advocates from across the political field have claimed Christ for their side: Communists, Socialists, Liberals, Conservatives, Monarchists. They all can find something in Christ’s life or his words to support their political vision. It isn’t surprising, of course, since every doctrine, no matter how absurd, has at least a kernel or two of truths, and every truth is tied to the One Truth that was Christ.
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