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    Postmodernism/Critical Theory/Satire
    August 11, 2020

    Manly Math

    This is pretty funny: “College math prof says ‘the idea that math is in any way objective is a MYTH’ that ‘reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.'” The article is catalogued under “Not the Bee,” meaning, “Not The Babylon Bee.” It’s good to see a satire site like The Bee gather such a large following. My family has been reading it for a few years.

    If anyone needs a recap for how someone could claim that math is not objective:

    Structuralism came up with a new way of looking at the world that didn’t rely on a central idea. (Christianity: Christ; Descarte: the subjective self; de Sade: sexual desire). Structuralism starts with semiology: the science of signs. The central tenet: Each word means nothing in itself. It merely points to an underlying thing: cow. The only reason it has any significance in itself is because there are other things to distinguish it: cow, cat, ball, toilet. That is the basic insight of the newer science of semiology as advanced by C.S. Pierce and Ferdinand de Saussure.

    De Saussure took it further, however, to say that all aspects of society are governed by the societal structure of these signs: the signs (words) form an intricate network of relationship (after all, that’s all words do . . . work with other words to form meaning) to create the intellectual air we breathe; we can’t think outside this structure. We are, in this sense, formed by the structure. The structuralist says we have no thoughts of our own that aren’t dictated by the structure we are born into. Or, at the very least, any such thoughts are severe influenced by the structure, so we kid ourselves into thinking they’re our thoughts.

    Shift over to Claude Levi-Strauss. He applied structuralism to anthropology to teach that one’s culture dictates one’s truth. There is no objective truth. The only truth you think you see are imposed by the structure of your culture.

    Shift over to the feminists, like Judith Butler, who taught our culture is a patriarchal one. Therefore, all our “truths” are merely assertions created by the patriarchal structure (which, of course, need to be torn down).

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    Boston
    August 10, 2020

    Bowling to Sharks

    My apologies for missing the past couple of days. I intended to blog from Boston, but only put out the single piece from Wednesday. Sightseeing got out of hand: candlepin bowling; Salem; evening boat tour; walking around downtown and in Southie; bar hopping in Davis Square; swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

    I did the latter before I heard about the the recent spate of Great White shark sightings). My son-in-law didn’t tell me about the sharks. Come to think of it, he also didn’t go swimming, opting instead to stay on the shore with my infant granddaughter. Hmmmmm. I thought we had a pretty good relationship.

    This was my second try at candlepin bowling. I love it. I spoke with the proprietors at this great establishment in Southie at length, thinking it might make a good business venture here in Michigan. They told me it would cost $2 million to set up 20 lanes and that there’s no way such a business could be sustained on bowling alone, which means a vibrant bar would also be necessary (or make a few regular bowling lanes into candlepin lanes). The last thing I’d ever want to do is operate a bar, and I don’t have $2 million and don’t want to borrow $2 million, so that business idea is dead.

    If anyone knows of candlepin bowling in Michigan or Indiana, email me. One discussion board said there are sites in Detroit, but the Google Machine turned up nothing.

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    I Love that Dirty Water
    August 5, 2020

    Boston

    Massachusetts travel ban and Hurricane Isaias. Passed.

    I’m in Boston now, visiting my daughter.

    Okay, it’s not Boston. It’s Brookline. Technically, I suppose it’s a suburb, but if you know Boston, such “suburbs” blend right into Boston proper. Think “Cambridge,” which is right across the dirty water from us.

    Yes, we’re down by the banks of the River Charles (“Ah, that’s what’s happenin’, baby”). Well, a few blocks south of it, but if you cross the bridge and walk directly north, we’d be on Harvard’s campus. I plan on making a trek up there since it’s such a short walk, but truth be told: Harvard’s campus isn’t impressive, not at all. It has a lot of character, but so do most ghettos. If I were a student there, I’d probably be happy that they’ve gone online for the coming semester.

    I also hear Harvard Square is getting seedy. That’s really unfortunate. I hoped to spend a fair amount of time there. I loved it the last time I was there.

    Our bed and breakfast is great. We’re in Coolidge Corners, which is an enclave of young professionals and elderly who can still live by themselves. It’s one of the few areas of Boston where I walk faster than the norm.

    But wow: mask mania. Everywhere a mask, even in parks where people are far apart from one another. The state law says masks don’t have to be worn outside unless you’re within six feet of another person, but (i) Brookline has signs up that says city ordinance require masks to be worn outside, period, and (ii) I hear that, if you don’t have a mask on, people will go out of their way to say something to you or at least give you a dirty look. The self-righteous never miss an opportunity.

    Well, that’s it for now. Temps in the 90s today. I need to rest up for a lot of walking.

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    Monday

    A Medium Monday

    The Medium.com experiment is going well. I’m getting articles “curated,” which is important to reach other Medium subscribers and to earn a little beer money.

    I’ve found two writers I trust and enjoy reading: Ayodeji (“Ayo”) Awosika and Tim Denning. Ayo is the son of Nigerian immigrants. Fully Americanized, he seems to be sympathetic with the BLM-types, but clearly shows a strong line of independent thinking and appreciation for what America offers.

    I don’t know much about Denning, but he wrote this article that condemns porn in all its manifestations that I enjoyed.

    Money porn is a lie. Without meaning and fulfillment, money won’t do a thing for you. In fact, money can make your life worse, not better, if you haven’t discovered meaning or fulfillment first. Money can cause you to be a jerk and be addicted to the ridiculous goal of having to be first while others lose.Nobody has to lose for you to win and that’s the problem with money porn.

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    BYCU
    July 31, 2020

    Barrel of Gifts

    The naked dude with a barrel really was once a thing. But it apparently wasn’t for broke people, but for hungover people. If someone got really drunk, bosses from James I to Civil War commanders made the drunkards wear them as punishment.

    The article linked to this advertisement: The Five Essential Gifts for Beer Lovers. I wasn’t sure what I’d find, but the five essential gifts consist of things I never once used during my heavy beer drinking days, and I got along just fine:

    Tulip beer glasses
    Beer log
    Leather koozie
    Magnetic catch bottle opener
    Beer socks.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that this alcohol website is written by hipsters, for hipsters. None of those things are essential, and the addition of beer socks? I actually felt bad for the publication.

    The beer log, incidentally, is a notebook where you record your notes about the beers you try. Yikes. I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying one of those things into a bar.

    Dude at Bar: “Hey man. What’s that?”
    Me: “It’s my beer log. Tee hee.”
    Dude at Bar: “WTF’s a ‘beer log.'”
    Me: “It’s a journal where I record my thoughts and feelings about the different craft beers I try.”
    Dude at Bar (standing up aggressively): “You f’in’ with me!?”
    Me (covering my beer log with my elbow so he can’t read it; responding in nasal twang): “No. It’s my beer log. Stay away, stay awaaaaaaaay.”
    Dude at Bar (turning to his friends): “This dude’s f’in’ with me. Who wants to see me kick his ass?”

    But I kept a drinking diary during my young adult years. It consisted of (i) did I drink that day, (ii) how much did I drink, and (iii) how bad was the hangover (1-5). Occasionally, I would scratch in extra notes. I ran across the diary during my recent move. It brought back a lot of (non) memories.

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    From the Notebooks
    July 30, 2020

    From the Gardening Journals

    Political discourse rarely interests me. Hollywood gossip bores me. Sporting events hold my attention as good as any pop culture event, but when I see the monstrosity that has become athletics, the entire arena baffles me, prompting me to go into shutdown mode, unable to muster much excitement. New technology is awfully cool, but the constant tinkering by the Apple nerds frustrates me. The stock market has become a fool’s game that no one can figure out, with strong evidence that it’s rigged. Popular economics is driven by belief that printing money produces prosperity.

    Then there’s the garden. My plot of land, my efforts, my food. I can touch it, I can pick it, I can trust it. I can’t touch my money in a mutual fund statement, and I can’t even get it without giving 72 hours notice, and I can’t even know for sure that it’s there. Just ask the Madoff investors.

    In the garden, I am reduced to my proper size. I can sense (touch, see, smell) as much as is proper to my station in life as a man: a single unit in a large world that escapes my grasp.

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    Wednesday
    July 29, 2020

    HIF

    My home Charter internet service has crashed. Just this for today:

    For fans of comedian Gary Gulman, the actor’s brief cameo in a pivotal scene during director Todd Phillips’ “Joker” must come as a complete surprise. What’s even more surprising is that during his big scene, a bout of constant laughter was throwing Gulman’s act just a little off its game.

    An audience member with an off-beat sense of timing to their reaction to Gulman’s comedy set was to blame, and that someone, as it turns out, was none other than Arthur Fleck himself, actor Joaquin Phoenix. . . .

    “[T]here was one extra who was so enthusiastic in his laughter that it was throwing off my timing. He was just laughing too loud, and right when I was about to say something to Todd about maybe getting the guy not to laugh so loud, I realized that it was Joaquin Phoenix. It’s my best ‘Joker’ story. I can’t believe it took me six takes to figure out that the man with the really bizarre laugh was the Joker.”

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    Miscellany
    July 28, 2020

    Free Cardinal Newman

    Great find at Spotify: A high-quality recording of John Henry Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua. Completely free. It kind of blew me away to see someone put it out there like that, but I’m greatly enjoying it.

    I searched for similar finds without luck. If anyone else knows of anything, let me know.

    Please remember that I’m looking for writers at The Roman Rambler. Yes: “The Roman Rambler.” It’s the Medium.com arm of TDE. The title evokes the memory of Dr. Johnson and shows its Catholic slant.

    There are three of us now, and I have three others who have expressed interest. I could like to get a “stable” of ten writers before the end of the year.

    Relevant Radio recently underwent a shake-up. It cancelled two shows. One of them was “Go Ask Your Father,” which was a show I previously enjoyed, but then the host veered hard to the left, politically, advocating for three leftist causes in the course of a few days. He pushed the idea that health care is a basic human right and advocated wholesale gun confiscation/control. I can’t remember the last leftist cause; I just remember the diatribes came in three waves in a very short span. Anyway, I simply stopped listening to him and apparently lots of other did, too. I felt kind of bad when the show got cancelled, but dang. He just couldn’t keep his politics out of his religious views (which seemed perfectly orthodox, for what it’s worth).

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    Monday Miscellany
    July 27, 2020

    Urban Areas

    Man, LA is awful. Jack and Andrea just returned from his honeymoon that he ended there. This pic is from the alley that led to their Air B&B. They said the B&B itself wasn’t bad, but the location wasn’t in a touristy area. This is just the way LA is.

    On top of this, they saw two full-on physical altercations and a dog attack, plus a dozen nuts and a hundred homeless. That was in just 36 hours.

    Heather Mac Donald is The Man, so to speak. If newspapers are the first draft of history, she recently wrote the second draft of the first six months of 2020. Her recount in the most-recent issue of Imprimis is real close to a must-read. Excerpt:

    On the night of Thursday, May 28, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey ordered the city’s Third Police Precinct evacuated as the forces of anarchy descended upon it for a third day in a row. The building was promptly torched, sending a powerful sign that society would not defend its most fundamental institutions of law and order.

    Mac Donald is apparently a graduate of Yale, Cambridge, and Stanford. What’s wrong, Heather? Couldn’t hack Harvard and Oxford?

    I trust everyone caught my irony in that question, but I wanted to clarify. Twice over the past month I’ve had a written joke wildly miss, and in one case, it prompted a harsh reaction from a friend. I felt bad and showed the texts to Marie, who is pretty quick to condemn me and defend others, but even she couldn’t figure out how my humorous intent was missed. Since then, I’m trying to tread as carefully and kindly as possible . . . without wringing every ounce of humor out my prose.

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    BYCU
    July 24, 2020

    IMG_3150The Teetotaling Eudemon?

    The dog days of summer. It looks like the hottest (the doggiest) days are behind us, but it’s still plenty warm. I don’t know whether I’m getting old or worn out by the heat, but I need a break. How do I know?

    Because I don’t even feel like drinking.

    That’s right. For over 30 years, I’ve consistently itched for a drink on Friday evening, unless I had drowned the itch on Thursday evening.

    Not today. I have a commitment-free weekend yawning in front of me (subject to working at the office most of Saturday). It’s the first since . . . frick, I don’t know. I’ve had a really long week, chock-full of loooooong meetings, scores and scores of daily work emails, and the interrupting phone. Normally, I’d be salivating like Pavlov’s dog right now at the thought of 5:00 PM (okay, 4:15 PM . . . I would normally jump the gun).

    But no. Drink or no drink? It doesn’t really much matter. I could see myself unwinding with some vodka this evening, but I could just as well see myself unwinding dead sober on the couch. I suppose either will feel intoxicating, and that’s probably the important part.

    Have a good weekend, everyone.

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    Misc.
    July 23, 2020

    Lines, Lines, Everywhere a Line

    This is the line outside a Gucci store at a Chicago mall. A similar line was standing outside the Nike store. Marie was told the wait was 45 minutes.

    To get inside a store.

    The mind boggles. This, no doubt, could serve as Exhibit A to one thing John Paul II and Francis have in common: a condemnation of consumerism. What kind of shallow lives would sacrifice 45 minutes, not to mention the drive time over there and the opportunity cost of the money spent in the store, to buy a non-necessity? As far as systems go, the one that produces 45-minute wait lines for Nike is far better than socialism, which requires people to stand in line just to buy a loaf of bread because the knowledge-resource distribution is so whacked out, but man. For the individual who succumbs to such debased servitude (“You stand in line to spend too much money on our stuff”)? I’m afraid I feel disgust.

    There’s some pity in there, too, but mostly disgust.

    But it gives me hope that brick-and-mortar stores aren’t dead. I mean, if Nike and Gucci can get people to stand in line for 45 minutes, surely other stores can get people to come into their stores, thereby thwarting the Amazon machine at least a little. I really like Amazon, and I have a ton of respect for what it has done, and I appreciate the reality and goodness of creative destruction, but the juggernaut that is Amazon concerns me a little bit.

    Looking for Writers!

    I’m looking for Medium writers! Join The Weekly Eudemon publication stable of writers.

    Here’s how it works. You sign up for Medium.com ($5 a month . . . or $50 a year). You publish stories, articles, whatever. If other Medium subscribers read your stories, Medium pays you money. It’s that simple. I’m in the third month and I haven’t broken even yet, so we aren’t talking an avalanche of money, but the potential is there.

    The key, obviously, is to drive traffic to your pieces.

    One way to drive traffic to your pieces: Also publish them in a Medium publication. Although Medium closely guards how it distributes articles among its network, the general consensus is that it favors publications. It really wants writers to use publications. So if you sign up, or are already signed up, consider joining The Weekly Eudemon stable of writers. I can’t pay you . . . but Medium will. Any money you earn from your pieces at The Weekly Eudemon goes to you.

    Email me at ericscheske@gmail.com. If you tell me you read this blog, that’s enough for me to waive you in. In all seriousness, I don’t expect a ton of writers to join, but I do think that, if you like to write, this is an opportunity, albeit a small/hobbyish one.

    The publication was launched, literally, 24 hours ago (Wednesday morning), so don’t be disappointed at the lack of material over there. You will be joining something brand new.

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    Enter Amazon here, buy something, and get me a kickback.


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    After Abortion
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    All Manner of Things
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    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
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    Chesterton and Friends
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    Decent Films
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    EWTN
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    Get Blogs
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    Some Have Hats
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    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
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