“[T]here is a Russian saying that if a man plants 3 trees in his life he will never go to hell.” Dorothy Day.
Of course, according to The Smithsonian, Johnny wasn’t a saint. He was just a good businessman who planted and cultivated orchards, which he would sell to frontiersmen, who could then show the government they were homesteading the lot.
And his apples weren’t any good for eating. They were good for making hard cider (maybe he was a saint?), but that was about it.
“Kirk first encountered the Shroud [of Turin] while offhandedly visiting the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Torino, Italy, in 1957 when he attended a Mont Pelerin Society conference. Here, he claimed, he encountered the face of God. ‘The face was wondrously distinct, almost accurate as a plaster death mask: a strong face, composed in death, with long straight hair, and bearded,’ he remembered. This stood not only as a monument to faith, Kirk believed, but to the Roman Catholic Church itself, having protected this fragment of cloth for nearly two thousand years of history.”
That Kirk quote yesterday got me thinking about George Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft. It’s a beautiful little book, one that tugs at every wannabe nerd who can’t be that nerd because the affairs of the world keep him strapped to the table, like a confined Frankenstein. If you’re the bookish sort who would like nothing more than to hole up in a simple cottage with a collection of books and a notebook for the rest of your life, get a copy of it.
There’s a nice little Wikipedia entry for The Private Papers. The references at the end include a link to Paul Elmer More’s introduction to the work. I shouldn’t have read it. Based solely on the picture painted by Gissing in that semi-autobiographical papers, I vaguely assumed he lived an enchanted simple life. Not so. Rather, he lived a short life of “sordid poverty and Unmerciful disaster.” That really bummed me out.
But regardless, I agree enthusiastically with More’s final words from the introduction: “The meditations of Henry Ryecroft are grave without being heavy, learned without being pedantic, wise and sceptical without being being frigid; the little book is one of the rare treasures of English literature.”
My brother-in-law got this handbill while in Chicago last weekend: “The Most Reluctant Convert.” It’s showing in Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Tulsa (Tulsa?). If I were going to Chicago, I’d definitely check it out.
“THE NOTORIOUS ABSINTHE, which scandalized late 19th-century Europe, was embraced by the literary and artistic café society of the mid-1800s. Purportedly addictive, it was the drink of choice for artists, writers, and poets, most notably Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Rimbaud, and Verlaine. All had quite the passion for the “Green Fairy,” so named for the signature cloudy green color and alleged hallucinogenic properties. Wormwood is the ingredient in absinthe that was thought to be the cause of such visionary inspiration, as well as the insane actions of creative types. Van Gogh evidently was partaking of the aperitif at the time of the infamous ear incident.”
The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails
I’ve never tried absinthe, and I can’t say I’m inclined to. I always thought it was a type of liquid marijuana, albeit weak. I also thought it was illegal, though a quick Google search brought up a dozen sites that claim it is now legal. From Wikipedia:
In 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) effectively lifted the long-standing absinthe ban, and it has since approved many brands for sale in the US market. This was made possible partly through the TTB’s clarification of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) thujone content regulations, which specify that finished food and beverages that contain Artemisia species must be thujone-free. In this context, the TTB considers a product thujone-free if the thujone content is less than 10 ppm (equal to 10 mg/kg). This is verified through the use of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. The brands Kubler and Lucid and their lawyers did most of the work to get absinthe legalized in the U.S., over the 2004-2007 time period.
The import, distribution, and sale of absinthe is permitted subject to the following restrictions:
The product must be thujone-free as per TTB guidelines,
The word “absinthe” can neither be the brand name nor stand alone on the label, and
The packaging cannot “project images of hallucinogenic, psychotropic, or mind-altering effects.”
Chesterton, I’m reasonably certain, thought absinthe evil, but ten minutes of searching the Internet and my GKC library didn’t bring the quote(s) up, so y’all will just have to trust my absinthe-free memory on that one.
That new Russell Kirk biography features extended descriptions of the thought of Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Albert Jay Nock, and Isabel Paterson (four figures who greatly influenced Kirk). I’m only part way through the first one (Babbitt), greatly enjoying it, and really looking forward to the description about Nock.
In the West, as Babbitt saw it, St. Francis of Assisi came closest to living a Buddhist life, though Francis, of course, had no contact with the East. But in his nearness to a Buddhist life St. Francis was unique. According to Babbitt, the West had created a dreadful world, “a world of frenzied producers” and a “world of frenzied consumers.”
I’d never thought of St. Francis as a Buddhist, probably because GKC excoriated the idea, pointing out the saint is always looking, pointed, outward, often excitedly so, whereas the eastern mystic is pointed inward. Still, I appreciate the humanist Babbitt’s apparent attempt to understand the great saint.
Interesting piece about one of the only sites I visit every day: the Drudge Report. It says Drudge may have been able to stop Trump. I found the story linked at . . . Excerpt: “Last week, SimilarWeb, an analytics firm, ranked the Drudge Report as the third-most-trafficked media publisher in the US for June 2016. The website amassed 1.2 billion combined page views for the month — all with hardly any traffic coming from social-media channels.”
Man, scorching weather ahead. I hope my plants are ready. I tried hard not to over-water the in-ground plants in their formative stages, just so they were forced to expand their roots. We’ll see how I did.
Elijah, of course, is the patron saint of those of us who cherish the quiet: “And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it . . .”. 1 Kings 19.
Speaking of noise, it’s been awhile since I’ve drawn attention to one of my favorite pieces: The Eighth Capital Sin. It originally appeared in The New Pantagruel, but since that fine publication ceased publishing, I had to run it at TDE.
A TDE reader referred me to a David Warren piece. David used to write for Gilbert Magazine, back before the days I became editor. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed his work.
Great line from that Warren piece: “We are materialists and utilitarians and, by extension, bureaucrats.” There’s a wallop of philosophy in that simple line.
Remembering Warren made me think of another writer at Gilbert Magazine that I enjoyed: John Robson. We “canned” him because, given constraints on his time, he could only give us reprints. We loved his stuff, though, so it was a tough decision to make, but the board thought we should be running only original stuff, since, among other reasons, we already ran so many GKC reprints (for obvious reasons). Robson’s ongoing output can apparently be found here. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference.
On June 28, at least three gun-and-bomb-toting men stormed Istanbul’s main airport and left 44 people dead and another 200+ injured. Never mind that Turkey has incredibly restrictive gun laws. Never mind that Donald Trump was spotted nowhere near the scene. Never mind that at least this time around, homosexuality had nothing to do with the attack. Keep repeating to yourself that these escalating attacks have NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM.
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