Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
In April of 1924, the Queen’s Doll House was unveiled at the British Empire Exhibit, complete with crown jewels, wine cellar, a working gramophone, pianos, and a two-thousand book library. A number of authors, including Chesterton, Maugham, Housman, and others, contributed handwritten volumes, each the size of a postage stamp. [Ted Morgan, Maugham, New York, 1980, p. 274]
British novelist Daphne du Maurier was nervous about her impending 1928 screen test. She had been suggested for the title role in the movie version of The Constant Nymph and decided that the best way to prepare for the ordeal was to play some tennis and then relax with Chesterton’s The Return of Don Quixote. [Daphne du Maurier, Myself When Young, New York, 1977, p. 114]
In 1910, British authors John Mansfield, Walter de la Mare, John Galsworthy, Ford Maddox Ford, and Ezra Pound regularly attend a monthly dinner meeting to discuss new books. The gathering, formally named the Square Club, had been founded by G. K. Chesterton. [Letters of Ford Maddox Ford, Princeton University Press, 1965]
In April of 1925, Chesterton completed the illustrations for Hilaire Belloc’s novel, Mr. Petre. Said Belloc, “He did eight in an hour and a half. But if I hadn’t forced him, he’d never have done them at all.” [Letters from Hilaire Belloc, London: Hollis & Carter, 1958, pp. 164-65]
The farming crunch is on. Seedlings are going into the ground faster than cocktails into a Kennedy’s gut. Two dozen flower seedlings yesterday; a dozen more today, plus six tomato seedlings. More go in tomorrow. I would’ve put more in today, but it was just too cold and windy.
And those two black cherry tomato seedlings that I forgot to harden off first? One is kaput: leaves are gone, just a stem. The other, though, is hanging tough. It looks a little worn, but for the most part, it looks pretty good.
I’m curious how they’ll have to structure it to make it tax-deductible. Donations to individuals are not tax-deductible, no matter how motivated by philanthropic purpose. It has to be structured some other way. I have little doubt that the billionaire chose his words carefully (“my family is making a grant to pay off your student loans”) and has his tax ducks in a row.
Mental Exercising: Everyone seems to agree: It’s crucial we exercise mentally, normally in the form of meditation. Meditation, even the most secular, focuses on taking yourself out of time and space. Why? Time and space are the realm of the bodily. By practicing meditation, by trying to escape time and space, is there an admission that there is, indeed, a spiritual?
Predictive Genetics: The genetics revolution is here. It’s scary, scary stuff, and the Chinese don’t find it scary at all. The curse of Communism (which compelled Mao to wipe out thousands of years of Chinese tradition and norms) might be preparing to bring its worse harvest of all.
Lightning Segments: Dieting and efficient drinking, Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron at the Rose Bowl, gay Mexicans, more.
Education News: Senior hook-up software program at the Ivies, Detroit Diocese bans Sunday athletics, the farce of a bachelor’s degree.
Man, I feel like drinking today. Unfortunately, Meg has her regional track meet, which means I probably won’t get home until late tonight, and the high school frowns on people bringing alcohol into the stadium, even if I have it stored in one of those classy helmets with the plastic tube hanging down into my mouth. It’s too bad. We’re expecting a lot of company for Abbie’s shower, which is Saturday. With the great weather, it’d be a great day for porch drinking, but oh well. You can’t always get what you want.
Glorious weather. I spent nearly four hours at the produce site, trying to do a week’s worth of work in one afternoon. It didn’t quite work out. I got a lot of the (most excellent) Salanova lettuce planted, but otherwise, I just moved tarps around, which is pretty grueling (lots of squatting, pulling, and carrying heavy rocks). I also planted two of the highly-coveted black cherry tomato plants, only to realize later that I had pulled from the wrong tray (the tray that had just come from the basement and, therefore, hadn’t been hardened off . . . seasoned gardeners will know what a major gaffe this is . . . suffice it to say, their chances of survival are less than 20%).
It’s not too often that I get to say, “I’m proud of the Catholic Church in America,” but I’m saying it today: The Detroit Diocese has banned athletic events on Sundays. I’m fed up with the constant encroachment of athletics into every sphere of life, especially the spiritual. Just give us one day . . . one freakin’ day . . . without practices or games. At least one bishop agrees with me:
What follows here are details about one particular way we are committed to this “strikingly countercultural way of living.” After prayerful consultation with the presbyterate of Detroit and responding to what I believe is the call of the Holy Spirit through Synod 16, we in the Archdiocese of Detroit will cease sporting events on Sunday. This means that competitive athletic programs in the grade school and high school levels are called to no longer play games or conduct practices on the Lord’s Day. In the months ahead, we will offer a number of resources to assist families in their own practice of keeping holy the Lord’s Day.
In shifting away from the hustle of required sporting activities on Sunday, we will reclaim this holy day and create more time for families to choose activities that prioritize time spent with each other and our Lord. As the Catholic Church, our primary role is to form disciples. Informed by Synod 16 and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we look forward to abundant blessings as we seek to abide by our God’s teaching to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: And they suffered cruelly for their politically-incorrect ways. Peter, for instance, was arrested and held him for nine months in the Tullian Keep, a nasty dungeon, where the authorities had to change the guard constantly because he kept converting his keepers. They eventually crucified him, upside down. He requested the upside down part, but we don’t know the reason. It may have been practical: he’d lose consciousness and thereby reduce the suffering. It may have been an act of piety: he didn’t deem himself worthy to die just like his master.
With the exception of John and possibly Matthew, things didn’t end much better. Their lists of death could be a reference guide to killing people in the ancient world:
Simon: Mutilation (sawing)
James the Lesser: Stoning
James the Greater: Decapitation
"The high-school English teacher will be fulfilling his responsibility if he furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present." Flannery O'Connor #FlanneryOConnorpic.twitter.com/OmYW37MPgn
Great weather returns. Finally. Man, it’s been a brutal spring. With the exception of, maybe, five days, it’s been terrible weather.
It’s been so cold, even my lettuce production has been slow. I, however, counted over 75 “volunteer” lettuce plants in my yard over the weekend. That’s a great benefit of using heirlooms and letting them go to seed. I wish so many didn’t seed themselves in my walkways, but otherwise, it’s a neat and effortless bonus crop every spring.
Well, just when you didn’t think things could get more depraved at the college level: Inside the sex-crazed final weeks at America’s elite colleges. The gist: As the final weeks of college near, a software program allows seniors to input names of people they want to hook-up with before they graduate. The program then arranges the meeting. Again, depraved, but this passage really cracked me up:
“I got so many messages from people essentially insisting that there must have been a mistake or a bug in the code because they thought someone definitely put them down.”
That really cracked me up. “What, nobody? Why not me?”
Brian Sims: Yup, he’s a hateful nut. Yup, the Right has hateful nuts too. The thing is, the Right doesn’t have them in positions of influence or power. Moreover, the postmodernist Left is, from its core beliefs, extremist and hateful.
Fleeing California: Dot com millionaires are fleeing California right before they realize their taxable income from their start-ups. Pretty funny . . . and a snapshot why beautiful California will wreck itself.
Lightning Segments: Toilet wine, transgender sports leagues, two Spotify recommendations, how to drink like an adult, Michigan in May, and Copts.
E.F. Schumacher: A Guide for the Perplexed is a great book, but it’s wrapped in the self-focused northern school of Zen instead of the southern school that rejects subject-object. The western spiritual tradition is wrapped in the northern school, but its two greatest spiritual writers, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese Lisieux, weren’t.
I gotta agree. A few podcasts ago, I wondered how so many committed Catholics can watch that show. It’s a show I would love, and I tried to get into it, but I simply had to stop after the first four episodes because it was, literally, pornographic. Granted, not as hard core as, say, the mildest Ron Jeremy movie, but still pornographic:
This sad girl has been marinating in filth for too long. If you're watching Game of Thrones, you're watching an elaborate porn movie. And that's the tea. https://t.co/O0ast04wXE
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