This year we’ll be at The University of Notre Dame. The theme of our conference: Populism, Power, and Place. Confirmed speakers include Bill Kauffman, Jason Peters, Philip Bess, Jeff Taylor, and Michael Federici. The keynote address will be given by Patrick Deneen. You won’t want to miss this event. I hope to see you there. Registration information coming soon.
Wow, Kauffman is a draw for me, as is the mere fact that it’s a FPR event. But the real kicker might be Federici. He wrote an excellent introduction to the thought of Eric Voegelin. Long (real long . . . and attentive) TDE readers know that this younger TDE scribe wrestled mightily with Voegelin’s works, even making it through all five volumes of his majestic Order and History and mastering thoroughly 3% of The Ecumenic Age. If Federici is going to touch on anything Voegelinesque, I’m going.
Gardening season is obviously in full swing. I have grown from seeds all the tomatoes I’ll need. I should have extra for my neighbor. My sweet pepper sprouting, as always, has been far less successful, but I think I have about a dozen seedlings that will make it, possibly two dozen. I’ve also planted my first wave of pole beans, zucchini, and cucumber. The rest will go in a one-week intervals over the next three weeks, in hopes of providing a continuous harvest of those items for six weeks or so. We’ll see. The best laid plans . . .
I rented two extra garden plots at my local Kiwanis food garden, in hopes of growing food for the poor that would be distributed by my Church’s food pantry. But wouldn’t you know it: it’s not allowed. I don’t know if it’s a government regulation or maybe a prohibition by the state-wide cooperative through which we get good prices on our food, but it’s prohibited. I was going to grow the food and simply leave notes at the food pantry, telling people they could come out and pick it themselves, but that raised concerns that the patrons would simply help themselves to (i.e., steal under color of right) produce from other plots. It is, of course, a possibility. In the words of Dorothy Day (who was, of course, a champion of the poor): “There are two things you should know about the poor: they tend to smell, and they are ungrateful.” Being ungrateful, they tend to think they can take whatever they want (I believe our government has enshrined it as an “entitlement”). So I simply shrugged my shoulders and scrapped the idea. The best laid plans . . .
On laying no plans: I was exchanging emails with a TDE reader about “accidental gardening”: when good things happen in the garden without you trying or planning. There are few things more enjoyable than seeing volunteers of desired plants crop up. This year, I have a lot of green wave mustard popping up throughout the garden, which is probably happening because I let my last wave go to seed last year, then chopped it down and carried it to my compost pile, scattering seeds everywhere. Over the past few years, I’ve had volunteer pumpkin, tomato, and parsley plants. I’ve also had various other greens, borage, and nasturtiums pop up. I’ve also had the expected spread of strawberries, raspberries, and asparagus. My tentative position on accidental gardening: If a person uses heirloom seeds and keeps the weeds at bay, all sorts of good things happen without trying.
Those pictures yesterday perfectly capture a project I’ve long thought (fantasized) about: building a local outdoor shrine. An actual “shrine,” of course, requires designation by the bishop, but it’d be a shrine in intent, if not official approval. I always thought such a thing would be good for my community, both in terms of blessings and potential tourism. I haven’t given up on the idea, not by any means, but I’m still waiting for the price of farm land to drop to reasonable levels before giving it much further thought.
Funniest thing about my deceased client’s secular sanctuary: I’d long felt a special connection with him. There was something about him I really liked and I kinda felt he reciprocated the affection, even though we were primarily professional acquaintances. Maybe there was something similar inside us that values something like an outdoor sanctuary (his of secular bent, mine of Catholic: but the same bent nonetheless) and that “something” sensed a counterpart in the other person. But then again, I think over 300 people showed up for his memorial service, most of them obviously very fond of the man, so maybe he is just the kind of guy that intuitively forms ties with people.
If you didn’t see it last week, check out this piece by the American Thinker: “Charlotte Observer: Girls must overcome ‘discomfort’ at seeing male genitals in locker room.” The editors (predictably) compare men in a girl’s restroom to the discomfort whites felt at having blacks in their locker rooms. The disingenuous (or downright stupidity) makes the mind reel. The Thinker picks it apart facilely enough: “How is this issue remotely connected to race relations? It isn’t, but gullible Americans will believe it, despite the disconnect from reality. Black and white people did not choose their race. By its very definition, transgendered people choose their gender identity. That’s a monumental difference hidden in this politically correct message.”
Dang it! I’m kicking myself. I had a pretty good BYCU planned, then got so wrapped up in gardening and drinking last night, I forgot to blog.
So I’m going to save it. For today, I’m merely going to mention the Moscow Mule I tried last night. Instead of ginger beer, I used the Cherry Republic’s cherry ginger beer. The counter worker at the store (pictured below) said people had been raving about how good this ginger beer works for Moscow Mules, so I bought four bottles and tried it.
Those people are right. It makes a wicked Moscow Mule, with a mule-like kick. It is strong, though. Ginger burns the back of my throat a little in general. Vodka mixed with this particular ginger beer makes you really feel the bern, though the effect subsides after you’ve drank enough.
You can order their ginger “bear” on line at the link above, if you’re curious to try it. I don’t know how widely-available it is.
“Prostitution is legal in Nevada but mandatory in D.C.” Bill Kauffman
“. . . an isolationist America is a peaceful America; had we minded our own business, bin Laden and his deranged murderers would be as indifferent to our land as George W. Bush is to the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.” Bill Kauffman
“Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis—A regionalist dystopia by a Minnesota Firster. George Babbitt is a fool not because he is provincial but because he has bought into the lie of mass culture. If you drink at Starbucks and watch Sex and the City, you’re Babbitt.” Bill Kauffman
“Mencken as grad student is no more plausible than Bill Clinton as Benedictine.” Bill Kauffman
If my Vegas posts inspire you to visit Sin City, check out this great piece about the hipsterdom of downtown. I guess I must be a hipster at some level, though you’d hardly know it by seeing me (or reading me, or hearing me, or smelling me). One of the things I really liked about downtown was seeing El Cortez, which was (as near as I can learn) the first casino bought by the mob (the Flamingo was the first casino built by the mob). Its outside still looks like the 1950s, which inspired me enough to go inside and donate $10 to its current owners. According to that article, hipsters enjoy the retro stuff just like I do.
I have long-time held that there is no substantive difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. And, as we’ve seen this political season, many long-time Republicans like me have reached the same conclusion, so they embraced an outsider like Trump. But the Obama administration’s obsession with gay rights and, now, transgender use of bathrooms is making me re-think that conclusion. The administration is insane, absolutely freakin’ insane. The above link, incidentally, has a great response from congressman Jim Jordan.
I’m going out on a limb with this speculation: The Obama administration is pushing the transgender stuff, specifically to tell voters that there is a huge difference between the parties, so people get engaged in politics in general and perpetuate the Beltway monster. It is, in other words, a farce orchestrated by the clandestine forces in Washington that really pull the strings, as long as an insider puppet is in power. And in a year when voters have overwhelmingly signalled that they want the insiders out, the nefarious elements who really run the show need to up the ante significantly. I feel like a conspiracy nut when I say things like that, but no other explanation lets me make sense of this insane transgender debate.
Catholic Men's Quarterly, a one-of-a-kind general interest men's magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men. Makes a great Father's Day gift.
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