A few more worthwhile pieces regarding the priest/bishop abuses. First: A lengthy open letter by Ralph Martin. He pretty much says directly what I think needs to be said: The Church has a huge homosexual problem and it’s currently headed by a Pope who would rather gnaw off his harm than say anything that might hurt the feelings of homosexuals. And we think something is going to get done? Well, yes, because we believe in Providence and that He will somehow bring good out of all this. That’s good enough for me.
The second is an op-ed by former Catholic Rod Dreher. He basically says, “Yup, it’s bad, and it’s probably going to get a lot worse.” He even quotes the 1969 Joseph Ratzinger, who apparently predicted that the Church was entering into one of the worse eras of its history. Rod’s advice: The Benedict Option. Basically, make monasteries out of your homes and hearts. I’ve never found Rod’s advice in this regard inspiring, probably because I think I’ve lived my entire Catholic adult life like that, largely because I had unsettling experiences with the American Catholic Church early after my conversion, leaving me with no illusions about what to expect. I’ve never counted on the Church to do anything for me, except give me the sacraments, and I always considered myself solely responsible for my kids’ religious instruction, even if I welcomed the assistance of their good parochial school in this regard.
I will probably lead with more commentary about the Dreher piece in this week’s podcast.
Ah, yes, the podcast: I’ve launched it. It’s called “The Weekly Eudemon.” I believe it is now on all the major podcast platforms: iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. Here’s the link to the Spotify platform. You can find others by typing (use the quote marks) “The Weekly Eudemon.” If you search The Weekly Eudemon in iTunes, it will come up. It is a work in process. To be honest, I don’t like it and think it could be a lot of better, but the handful of people who have listened to it have given me very positive feedback, so I’ve decided to run with it. Enjoy.
“According to a new study, roughly 20 percent of millennial parents have changed or seriously considered changing their baby’s name based on what internet domain names were available at the time. “Don’t make the same mistake my parents made,” said Pornhub Collins.” Seth Meyers
Anniversary day today. I haven’t been able to drink much, due to my dehydration (or whatever is ailing me these past two months). As a corollary, I haven’t had much desire to things I normally do while drinking, like hanging out on the porch, going out to eat, visiting friends and family, breathing. Marie has, unsurprisingly, served up the George Thorogood notice:
Now, in fairness, she hasn’t used those words. What she said was, “I don’t care if you don’t drink, but you’re gonna have to learn to have fun without drinking.”
But that, of course, is pretty much the same thing as telling me I have to start drinking again, since I’ve been fueling my fun with booze since I was 15 and, I fear, don’t know any other way to have fun with people (fun with a book, in a garden, while typing . . . yes, but socializing?), so I have doubled-down on my electrolyte intake.
Last Sunday, I feared I overdid it at the production site, so I immediately walked to my neighbor (a liquor store, coincidentally) and bought two 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade. I guzzled one of them, then polished off the other over the course of the next 45 minutes. I then showered, ate, took a nap . . . and felt freakin’ great for the first time since June. That led me to conclude that maybe, just maybe, I’m having trouble with my electrolytes, so I’m taking in a lot more of them.
The problem, of course, is that sports drinks like Gatorade are high in calories, so I did some research and found “Nuun” hydration tablets. They arrived yesterday and I started pounding them. Each table makes 16 ounces of electrolyte drink, at a cost of 47.5 cents and only 25 calories (the equivalent Gatorade is about 75 cents and 120 calories). I’m pretty stoked by the find. As of this typing, I’m on my fifth Nuun drink . . . and getting ready to have a few gin and tonics.
Wish me luck.
BTW: The beginning scenes in that Thorogood video are from The Lost Weekend. A classic.
I saw Mission Impossible Tuesday night. Outstanding movie. It moved fast; I never once thought they were simply dragging it out; it had me on the edge of my seat a few times; no political message that I could discern. Just a good old fashioned movie. All my kids who came with me, even Tess, my 13-year-old daughter who doesn’t care for action films, loved it.
The rise of Dollar General: “Dollar General is opening stores at the rate of three a day across the US. It moves into places not even Walmart will go, targeting rural towns and damaged inner-city neighbourhoods with basic goods at basic prices – a strategy described by a former chief executive of the chain as ‘we went where they ain’t.’ The chain now has more outlets across the country than McDonald’s has restaurants, and its profits have surged past some of the grand old names of American retail.”
Another priest abuse scandal. Possibly the biggest. I’ve read only two articles about it so I’m hardly an expert, but this caught my eye: the only victim I saw quoted was 13 when the abuse occurred. For TDE readers who aren’t acquainted with homosexuality: that’s a classic homosexual attraction. From ancient Greece to Milo, homosexuals like boys around the age of puberty. I know: It’s disgusting. And yes, I want to see those priests strung up by their perverse scrotums and beaten with 50 Shades of Grey whips (then again, they might like that). But let’s not start calling it pedophilia. That’s not what was going on. I haven’t seen even 1/10th of 1% of the evidence, but I tell ya: that’s not what was going on. Watch this thing unfold, if the press will let you.
I hope TDE readers know how this will play out, but if not, here goes: As the evidence comes out that this is a homosexual predator ring, the media will try to drop it. The Church will want them to drop it. Together, they’ll get the attention pushed away to some other distraction before everyone starts to see the only, and extremely politically-incorrect, conclusion that the evidence is going to lead them to.
And then American Church leaders will meet in a big city and punish the laity again by forcing them to attend more training sessions if they want to volunteer at Church and spend time with their kids, then impose regulations on the laity that prohibit a church volunteer with a stainless (if a bit occasionally drunken) record from volunteering to meet at a coffee shop with a group of burly teenage boys, who would rather snap the volunteer’s spine than tolerate the faintest gay advance (my one, and final, experience with Virtus). The whole thing is comical. I would say “Comical if it weren’t so tragic,” but (i) that’s cliched writing, and (ii) I’m not sure I see the tragedy (except for the victims).
While stuff like this is unfolding, you have Church leaders attempting to normalize homosexuality. Let’s encourage camp fires in California.
All that being said, I would like scrutiny brought on the grand jury report. I honestly can’t ever recall indictments going back 70 years. We’re talking World War II. I suspect the bulk of the 301 priests are dead or long gone from the priesthood. Why 301 priests? Is there something more damning with, “More than 300 priests”? Why is the media going into such lurid details, when reporting about other sex abuse cases delicately try to shield the victims from undue embarrassment? I will bet everything I own that the overwhelming majority of these incidents took place in the 1960s through 1980s; why no mention of that in the reporting. I haven’t seen any media report that, compared to the population at large, the Catholic Church in America has far fewer incidents of sexual abuse of minors. There is something terribly wrong with this grand jury report. Facts don’t lie, of course, but people use facts to lie all the time. And when it comes to promoting one’s biases, facts without countering facts are the fuel.
A friend sent an email of college football quotes. Among them: “I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” Bob Devaney. Devaney coached those legendary national championship teams at Nebraska in 1970 and 1971. Perhaps his bigger claim to fame: he coached at Alpena High School, where my cousin played for him (first cousin once removed . . . my Dad’s first cousin). Devaney later recruited my cousin to play for him at the University of Wyoming, where he had a potential NFL career that was snuffed out by a car accident.
So last week, I started watching Netflix’s new series, Dark Tourist. It’s a documentary series, of sorts, in which the host goes to various “dark” tourist destinations: Fukushima to survey the nuclear damage, Medellin Colombia to take Pablo Escobar tours, Dallas to do the JFK assassination reality tour, etc. In one episode, he visits the region of “The Stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. He only actually visited Kazakhstan and Turkeminstan, but the whole episode appeared bleak, like these places were the bleak outposts of the world and always had been (which didn’t surprise me; I think they bore the frontal brunt of the Mongol invasions in the 13th century). But then on Sunday, I was listening to The Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, and the lecturer, Jeremy Adams, referred to this region as that “brilliant oasis of culture” and that “great corridor between the world of high Chinese culture and world of high west Asian culture.” Color me dumbfounded. If anyone knows of a history that discusses this region’s history of high culture, please point me in the right direction.
I enjoy quirky pieces like this: In Praise of Traveling by Bus. Excerpt: “But buses, with their giant windows and high-seated vantage point on the road, let you see the world as it is, an intersection of geography and humanity and groundedness and freedom. Around you are not just your fellow passengers (and their voices and phones and internal dramas and external food), but also cars, stores, neighborhoods, gorgeous vistas, and ugly highways. Because buses take the same roads as everyone else, you’re enmeshed in the broader ecosystem as you travel. Buses crisscross America, not just in the major hubs, but also hurtling off to tiny towns and places you’d never think to go.” By coincidence, I’d been thinking that a long trip by bus would be kind of cool. This article cements it for me.
Did I say I’ve had 21 good years with Marie? Heh heh, well, not all my TDE readers found that funny. Make that 32 good years (27 of marriage and five dating). (Now maybe I can stop sleeping on the couch.)
Just realized: I passed the 10,000-post mark a few weeks ago. Cheers to TDE. Of course, I have probably passed only the 500th good-post mark.
Speaking of milestones: This Friday marks my and Marie’s wedding anniversary. Twenty-one good years. Twenty-seven years total.
Gavin McInnes banned from Twitter. Unbelievable. Kinda funny: Tom Woods had Michael Malice on his show last week to talk about the Alex Jones social media banning. He played the cheerleader for Twitter, noting that Twitter had not banned Alex Jones and, although he didn’t seem to contest that Twitter applies its own standards inconsistently depending on where you fall on the political spectrum, he was pretty aggressive in his defense of Twitter, basically saying, “You just have to know how to do the dance. It has a policy against advocating violence, which is a reasonable place to draw the line. That’s all it is.” (My summary; not a quote from Malice.) And then less than 48 hours later, Twitter bans McInnes. Here’s Malice on Youtube, talking about it. He seems a bit shellshocked and spends the first few minutes trying to make sense of it. I haven’t watched all of it yet and doubt I will.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: Whenever you’re dealing with something sinful, it is helpful to see what it really is. Strip away the props; eliminate the frills and hype; and see what you really have. If you get the time or desire, you should read Dante’s Divine Comedy, especially the translation by Dorothy Sayers (Penguin edition). Sayers helpfully explains the meanings behind Dante’s symbols and they illustrate what I’m saying here. In Circle III of Hell, Dante sees the gluttonous souls who grovel in the mud. Sayers explains the symbolism: Gluttony and self-indulgence “often masquerades on earth as a warm, cosy, and indeed jolly kind of sin; here it is seen as it is – a cold sensuality, a sodden and filthy spiritual wretchedness.” Likewise, in Circle II, Dante found that the souls of the lustful were doomed to drift forever in a black wind. Sayers explains: “As the lovers drifted into self-indulgence and were carried away by their passions, so now they drift for ever. The bright, voluptuous sin is now seen as it is – a howling darkness of helpless discomfort.” Always look at the sin and try to detach it from earthly dressings and see it as it is.
Abbie (eldest daughter) moved to Boston and is spending this weekend in New York. She was at Ellis Island. She sent me this picture, asking if this is why I rail against big government:
I said, “Yup.”
Such mutual aid societies require people to work with each other, creating strong social ties. When the government steps in and takes care of it, there’s no reason for such societies to exist, with the result that those social ties fray until they simply snap, resulting in the atomization that is modern society.
Ghosting. The Irish Goodbye. The Drunken Magician.
All synonyms for my favorite drinking move: Leaving the gathering without saying good-bye.
I know it’s socially unacceptable. It even rises to the level of rudeness if it leaves your friends with concerns that you might be hurt (like the time I ghosted from a packed bowling alley bar at 1:00 AM in 5-degree weather to walk the mile to my house).
But oh, I like it.
I’m not the only one. In fact, it’s a tradition of sorts. From Rule 71 of Modern Drunkard Magazine’s86 Rules of Boozing:
It’s acceptable, traditional in fact, to disappear during a night of hard drinking. You will appear mysterious and your friends will understand. If they even notice.
My appreciation for it isn’t limited to drunken bouts, either. I like to do it at every gathering. In fact, I’ve been known to say “good-bye” upon arriving: “Hi. Thanks for having me. I’m gonna say good-bye now, if that’s alright, because when it’s time to leave, I normally just leave.”
Few social things are worse, in my opinion, than having a few drinks, growing tired, and wanting to leave . . . and then you have to wade through the party to find the host, just to say the obvious, “Okay, I’m leaving now. Thanks for having me. It was fun!” And then the host says, “Oh, do you really have to leave?” And you’re like, “Yeah, I haven’t been feeling well lately, and the kid is sick, and I gotta let this flatulence fly soon or I’m gonna explode.” Just awkward all around.
And then there’s the wading itself: You have to push or walk by dozens of people to get to the host. Every person is a potential five-minute small-talk delay (20-minute delay, if you’re a female). Quite frankly, the wade itself is a source of stress, which is exactly what I don’t want when I’m at a party.
Also worth noting: there are two wades: one to get to the host, the other to return. Land mines in both directions. It’s brutal.
Fortunately, there are ways to ghost artfully.
Two have already been mentioned:
(1) You get so drunk, no one would expect anything but a ghosting.
(2) You tell the host up front that you’re going to ghost. A cool host will appreciate it. “If cool is your host, he will like the ghost.”
But there are other artful ways to do the Drunken Magician (make yourself disappear):
(3) Text your host with a thankful good-bye after you leave. In fact, email yourself an elaborate explanation that you can merely cut-and-paste. Done correctly, all that apparent thumb work on the phone keyboard will make you appear more earnest.
(4) Right before you walk out the door, tell the last person you see, “Tell Host I had a great time but had to run. I have this thing.” This has the benefit of not appearing to be a ghost AND flattering that last person by entrusting them with such an important task. Note: This might not work if the last person is ghosting himself and/or is too drunk to do anything so responsible.
(5) Come up with some elaborate trick, like the Von Trapp family at the end of The Sound of Music. In the short-term, it could appear rude due to the “in your face” nature of it (“He’s gone! He just freakin’ left!!!!”), but as people continue to talk about it over the years, it’ll become the stuff of legend.
(6) Fake a heart attack (technically, not a ghosting, but just as effective).
But let’s face it, all those approaches have their potential drawbacks. I think we’d all be better off if we merely lobby for a good-bye free world. Let’s make it socially acceptable to ghost. At my parties, I’m more than fine with it. In fact, I prefer it when people ghost. I don’t need to fake-beg them to stay; I don’t need to get pulled away from the bar as I see them to the door. The benefits for the host and the guests are endless.
Now we just need to get our social circles to agree with us.
*Strange gardening story: 150-year-old tomato seeds found in old outhouse (they passed through Abe Lincoln contemporaries’ digestive tracks). They still germinate. This picture supposedly shows the difference between those tomatoes and tomatoes grown today. I’m not sure the picture is legitimate, but very interesting if it is.
*Mildly interesting piece: Why we hate using email but love sending texts. I especially liked this observation: “Students identify email as formal, and a way of communicating that recognises status and seniority.” I remember scolding one of my kids years ago, after learning they had tried to contact someone important by text. I said, “Adults use email. Contact him like an adult.” It felt odd saying it, but it’s true.
*Interesting factoids from that article: “The first text message (“Merry Christmas”) was sent way back in 1992 in the UK. Text messaging spread as mobile phones became more popular in places like Japan, creeping into places like the US sometime later, but by the late 2000s, it was everywhere. By 2012, it’s estimated that 14.7 trillion messages were sent from mobile phones worldwide. That number grew to 28.2 trillion in 2017.”
*Feast Day of Saint Teresa Benedicta Of The Cross: Edith Stein. More on her later.
This article does a pretty good job of summarizing why I like Jerry Seinfeld’s charmingly-mundane Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. It’s not calculating in any way: it’s not at all political, which is very nice in this age when most comedians have self-righteously appointed themselves as keepers of correctness. It’s not calculating in any way. It’s not even calculated to be funny. It’s just dudes driving around, talking. When I just want to unplug from the world and stare, it’s perfect fare.
I’m making strides toward launching my first podcast. Look for an announcement before Labor Day.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: This world doesn’t need you and God doesn’t need you. Both can use you and both want you. But neither needs you; you are, in this sense, superfluous. That’s just the way it is. But that’s not a bad thing. Always remember this: If that’s just the way it is, then it must be good. God makes all things. Because he is perfect and good, everything he makes must be good. Therefore, if something is a certain way (and assuming it didn’t get to be that way due to sin), then it is good that it is that way.
Great episode of Econtalk came out recently: Frank Dikotter on Mao’s Great Famine. The idiocy and devilishness of central planning is on full display, from efforts to kill all the sparrows who are eating the grains (and thereby leading to a horrendous locust and other insect problem) to the 30 million estimated dead, it’s interesting from beginning to end.
While listening to it, I kept thinking “Hayek’s Road to Serfdom“: when the central government disrupts the free market, it results in problems. The problems have to be squished, so the recalcitrant central government institutes further controls. The controls become increasingly harsh until everyone outside the ruling class becomes nothing more than serfs. I read the book while in high school. I need to go back and read it again.
Related to my quest to find the perfect group of days: For maximum recharge, take Wednesday off. “A Wednesday holiday interrupts the externally imposed pacer of work, and gives you a chance to rediscover your internal rhythms for a day. While a long weekend gives you a little more time on your own schedule, it doesn’t actually disrupt the week’s pacing power. A free Wednesday builds space on either side, and shifts the balance between your pace and work’s—in your favor.” I’m not sure I buy it, but it kinda rings true with me.
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