The Daily Eudemon
"The only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life."
Samuel Johnson, The Idler, 4/5/1760




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    Monday
    October 14, 2019

    Hungry Like the Wolf

    When conservationist efforts are too successful . . . or too ideological. I can guarantee you this is a war between Seattle and eastern Washington.

    The wolves, nearly nonexistent in the northwestern state for almost a century, have grown in numbers about 28% each year since 2008, about a decade after they were introduced to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. By late last year, Washington had at least 126 wolves and 27 packs.

    The wolves’ resurgence has brought cheers from conservationists, who view them as symbolic, charismatic creatures that can improve the state’s ecosystems and jeers from ranchers and livestock owners, who see them as killers that threaten their livelihoods.

    Burning Man Year 1

    I’ve long been interested in Burning Man, so I was pleased to see these early pics emerge.

    I had been working in the American West for well over a decade when, on Labor Day weekend in 1987, I stumbled across an artists event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. A group of people in color-coordinated outfits were playing croquet with 6-foot balls, 15-foot wickets, and mallets in the form of pickup trucks with tires mounted on the front. The event was called Croquet X Machina and planned with great attention to detail with one oversight: The organizers hadn’t anticipated the desert’s fierce winds, which turned the game into chaos. Two years later, the artists came back with an event called Ya Gotta Regatta. Everyone brought kinetic sculptures that responded to the wind — oversize chess pieces with sails, suspended balloon works. Of course, there was not a breath of wind the entire weekend. The event was a bust.

    When I went out to Black Rock Desert on Labor Day the next year, I didn’t run across anything. But the year after that, 1991, another group of artists showed up with a huge wooden sculpture of a man they planned to set on fire. The original Burning Man had been held at Baker Beach in San Francisco for several years, but this was the first sanctioned event to take place on the desert playa.

    San Fran

    Don’t crap where you sleep. Let the homeless do it for you and don’t stop them.

    I think “homeless” must be the disfavored part of the binary that has to be inverted in their favor. Could you imagine if they were fat homeless? They’d really be cherished by the Left.

    San Francisco, Hostage to the Homeless: Failure to enforce basic standards of public behavior has made one of America’s great cities increasingly unlivable.

    Sigh. My Michigan

    Why not LGBTQ Homeless Wolf Day?

    Legislation introduced by a state senator would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Michigan.

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    Tuesday/Wednesday
    October 8, 2019

    Ghost Soldier

    Director Osgood Perkins is set to begin production on a new horror movie called “Incident at Fort Bragg.” The studio has announced that it’s based on a real-life incident involving Catholic priest Malachi Martin and the time that the Army asked him to perform an exorcism on the base.

    Martin was a famous guy back in the day, who used the popularity of “The Exorcist” to make himself the go-to expert on the subject for magazines and TV shows. The internet doesn’t easily cough up any details about the Bragg incident and, so far, it’s impossible to confirm the “based on a true story” angle here.

    Oz Perkins, son of “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins, certainly has horror movie skills in his genes.

    Airbnb for Everything

    Rent someone’s pool or backyard. Could you imagine how much you’d get for your bathroom, if you could just nail down the timing?! Talk about a prime price gouging opportunity.

    Boatsetter is among a growing number of startups forging new rental marketplaces for luxuries like boats, extra bedrooms, or backyard space. Call it the sublet economy. Everything you own can become an source of extra income, and everything you want to rent can be leased from a friendly stranger.

    Satire

    I dislike dishonesty in all its forms, so I especially loathe Snopes.

    Snopes Rates The Devil’s Lies As ‘Mostly True’.

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    Monday
    October 7, 2019

    Getting Poked Over the Coals

    I’m not a big poker fan, but this story is pretty interesting.

    How a Twitch-streamed no-limit hold’em player found himself at the heart of one of the most fascinating gambling controversies in years

    Big Brother Spotting You

    Some people find such artificial intelligence troubling, but me? I have to admit: I enjoy it. I like being told by Big Brother Tech about other things I might enjoy. And I trust the algorithms more than I do, say, a TV commercial.

    Spotify is doing everything it can to get you to listen to more music.

    The company has created algorithms to govern everything from your personal best home screen to curated playlists like Discover Weekly, and continues to experiment with new ways to understand music, and why people listen to one song or genre over another.

    While competitors like Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Google Music rely on a mix of paid humans and community-created playlists, Spotify’s main differentiating factor is the level of customization and expansion of music knowledge offered to customers.

    Yet Another Book I’d Love

    Man, I really like James Grant, and a book like this would be fascinating. A perfect opportunity to learn history and economics in the form of an easy-to-read biography. But alas, I know I’ll abandon it mid-chapter.

    In his latest biography, Walter Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, Grant takes up the life of a man steeped in finance to show how it was precisely his appreciation of the deeply financial character of his society that enabled him to anatomize it with such discrimination and verve.

    Nevertheless, Grant is critical not only of Bagehot’s irresponsible financial prognostications—especially with regard to Overend Gurney & Co., the largest discount house in the City of London at the time, which suspended payments on May 10, 1866, or Black Friday—but also of his rather snobbish opposition to electoral reform.

    Satire

    A satire of one of the saddest criminal episodes of the year. The mind boggles at why she shot that man.

    Forgiveness and hugs are among the 36 new entries recently added to a database of hateful gestures used by white supremacists and other far-right extremists.

    According to the Anti-Defamation League, forgiveness became obviously racist after Brandt Jean forgave and embraced his brother’s killer, ex-police officer Andrea Guyger, prompting millions of white people to say things like, “this is beautiful” and other racially charged slurs. “While we do not think Brandt intended to use the racist gesture, it is obvious now that this was white supremacy at work. The KKK is known for their forgiveness and long, warm hugs,” said Mosen Hemlock of the ADL.

    Wedding Shaming

    I hope God lets Dante design a special circle in Hell for these folks. Gratuitous petty cruelty. Among the sins that have no obvious and immediate victim, this must rank among the worst.

    A quick scroll through the largest group’s feeds reveals posts about everything from outrageous bridal party behaviour to tacky decorations, cringey photos (think the bride and groom’s parents smooching at the altar) and “trash bag” grooms getting savaged for not looking the part. Think: “WTF is that suit though, urgh poor thing. She deserves better”, “Did he take those pants from the Walking Dead?” and “EWWWWWWW”. That’s not even counting the constant stream of “grandma’s shower curtain” and “inflatable tampon” wedding dress posts. Yes, ouch.

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    Tuesday
    October 1, 2019

    Focus, Man, Focus!

    One of my favorite quotes: “In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.” Simone Weil

    Attentional processes are the brain’s way of shining a searchlight on relevant stimuli and filtering out the rest. Neuroscientists want to determine the circuits that aim and power that searchlight. For decades, their studies have revolved around the cortex, the folded structure on the outside of the brain commonly associated with intelligence and higher-order cognition. It’s become clear that activity in the cortex boosts sensory processing to enhance features of interest.

    But now, some researchers are trying a different approach, studying how the brain suppresses information rather than how it augments it. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve found that this process involves more ancient regions much deeper in the brain — regions not often considered when it comes to attention.

    By doing so, scientists have also inadvertently started to take baby steps toward a better understanding of how body and mind — through automatic sensory experiences, physical movements and higher-level consciousness — are deeply and inextricably intertwined.

    Feast Day

    St. Therese of Lisieux.

    Every so often, spiritual lightning sears across a culture’s landscape. The example of St. Francis of Assisi immediately comes to mind. So does St. Antony. Their intense holiness was bright and powerful, and left an indelible mark on the earth.

    We can’t know for certain why God sends these religious jolts when he does, but we can assume he has some purpose. St. Francis, for instance, came at a time when Europe was emerging from the Dark Ages. European wealth and power and prosperity surged in the twelfth century, and with it came temptations to greed and vice. St. Francis cut against the wealth and power by opting for no property and no control. His was absolute poverty at a time when poverty was becoming a dirty word. He, with St. Dominic (his spiritual twin brother), spawned new religious orders of poverty-embracing friars, and paved the way for the thirteenth century, a time when the Catholic Church produced some of its greatest cultural contributions. It is no coincidence that the century’s greatest thinkers, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure, belonged to the Dominican and Franciscan Orders, respectively.

    The Most Dangerous Crossing

    In his wildest dreams, Donald Trump could not build a wall more effective than the Sonoran Desert — 100,000 square miles of rugged mountain ranges and wide, bone-dry valleys straddling the Mexico border from southeastern California to eastern Arizona. Summer temperatures can exceed 120 degrees, and surface heat on the rocky floor soars a third higher. Committed to reaching the U.S. at any cost — and fearful of the increasingly hostile U.S. authorities at the border — migrants who have given up on the asylum process are detouring into this remote, scarcely policed stretch of desert, gambling their lives on a journey through hellfire. Nearly 9,000 people are believed to have perished crossing here since the 1990s, but the number is likely much higher than that, as only a fraction of the dead are found due to the vastness of the terrain and scant government resources for search-and-rescue operations. It’s a microcosm of migration at its most brutal extreme, and the ranks of the missing continue to multiply.

    Unionizing Fast Food

    Accelerating toward fully-automated stores . . .

    A Manhattan-based union local that works closely with the Fight for $15 has launched an effort to unionize Chipotle and McDonald’s workers, getting workers at more than 50 restaurants to sign pro-union cards. “We’re running a campaign for workers in an industry that has been abusing its workers,” said Kyle Bragg, president of the local carrying out the unionization drive, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. “These workers want a union. We’re organizing in order to lift workers and improve their lives.”

    Bailout Culture

    Well, maybe if NYC hadn’t artificially suppressed the number of medallions to begin with . . . or not regulated at all to begin with.

    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a government bailout for New York taxi drivers, emerging as the most prominent voice to back a financial rescue plan for thousands of drivers who were channeled into exploitative loans.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who said her district in the Bronx and Queens is home to many cabdrivers, jumped into a debate over how to help drivers who were urged to take out loans with high fees, interest-only payments and other one-sided terms. They borrowed the money to buy taxi medallions, the city permit that allowed them to own and operate their cabs.

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    Monday
    September 30, 2019

    The Blog and Podcast Return Today. Just in time for . . .

    Pot Cafe Opens Today

    I favor legalization, especially when I’ve seen first hand people benefit from marijuana’s medicinal capacities, but I can’t get rid of the feeling that this is all going to end badly.

    America’s first lounge to allow consuming cannabis opens on Monday in West Hollywood. It’s called the Lowell Cafe, and brings a bit of Amsterdam to the U.S. with a fancy name.

    For the first time in the country, customers will legally be able to order pot as if it were a bottle of wine — and that in fact is the upscale analogue its owners are aiming for. The pot can be smoked in pre-rolled joints or vaped — even as the industry is grappling with a spike in lung damage and deaths linked to vaping.

    Bad Metaphysics Makes Bad Practice

    One interesting challenge in Bhutan [to wiping out malaria] was the Buddhist aversion, in this deeply religious country, to killing any life form, even a disease-carrying mosquito. Thus the officials spraying buildings with insecticide had to reframe this practice. Rinzin Namgay, Bhutan’s first entomologist, laughs when he remembers that they would tell anxious homeowners during IRS: “We’re just spraying the house. If a mosquito wants to commit suicide by coming in, let it.” Decades ago, some sprayers had to muscle their way into houses, accompanied by police.

    Autumn Silver

    It seems the fall promises one great movie after another. This is at least the third “must see” movie I’ve read about in the past month.

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is a coldly enthralling, long-form knockout — a majestic Mob epic with ice in its veins. It’s the film that, I think, a lot us wanted to see from Scorsese: a stately, ominous, suck-in-your-breath summing up, not just a drama but a reckoning, a vision of the criminal underworld that’s rippling with echoes of the director’s previous Mob films, but that also takes us someplace bold and new.

    Scorsese, working from a script by Steven Zaillian (who adapted the 2004 memoir “I Heard You Paint Houses”), tells the true story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a World War II veteran and unassuming truck driver who, in the 1950s, finds himself drawn into the orbit of Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci), the elegant and sinister boss of the Pennsylvania-based Bufalino crime family. Sheeran, who became a trusted Mob soldier and hitman, had many assignments, and one of them was to go to work for Jimmy Hoffa (played, in the film’s most extraordinary performance, by Al Pacino), whose Teamsters Union was mired in underworld connections. For years, Sheeran served as Hoffa’s right-hand thug, and then, according to Sheeran, he was the one given the order to whack Hoffa (though the labor leader’s sudden disappearance in 1975 has never been officially solved).

    Satire

    High School Bully Worried Victims Will Realize He Actually Retarded Faggot Himself

    Change Your Diet

    I’m almost thinking it’s a good idea to undergo a radical change to your diet every 5-10 years. Of course, I’m totally making that up, but if variety is a good thing . . .

    Recently, an 82-year-old woman who suffered from dementia, who couldn’t recognize her own son has miraculously got her memory back after changing her diet.

    When his mother’s condition became so severe that for her own safety she had to be kept in the hospital, Mark Hatzer almost came to terms with losing another parent.

    Sylvia had lost her memory and parts of her mind, she had even phoned the police once accusing the nurse who were caring for her of kidnap.

    A change in diet, which was comprised of high amounts of blueberries and walnuts, has proven to have had a strong impact on Sylvia’s condition that her recipes are now being shared by the Alzheimer’s Society.

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    Monday
    September 23, 2019

    Note: A death in the family has derailed TWE temporarily. Give me a few days . . .

    Baptisms at Practice

    Dabo Swinney’s faith has aided in the recruiting that’s made Clemson a college football powerhouse, while drawing the ire of groups that say he runs afoul of the First Amendment

    Satire

    Family Gonna Be Sorry When They Want Some Trail Mix From Dad’s Cargo Shorts They Just Made Fun Of

    The Athlete’s Jezebel

    The same people who years ago entrusted her with millions—from Ricky Williams to Dennis Rodman to Travis Best—wince today at the mention of her name. They’ll tell you how she left them broke. How she’s a “chameleon ghost witch.” How she’s a forgery of the American Dream. And every athlete’s worst nightmare.

    Reading in the Family

    I never claimed to be the world’s greatest dad or anything, but I certainly didn’t fail my kids on this front:

    [W]hy some people grow up to derive great pleasure from reading, while others don’t. That why is consequential—leisure reading has been linked to a range of good academic and professional outcomes—as well as difficult to fully explain. But a chief factor seems to be the household one is born into, and the culture of reading that parents create within it. . . .

    Studies looking at “family scholarly culture” have found that children who grew up surrounded by books tend to attain higher levels of education and to be better readers than those who didn’t, even after controlling for their parents’ education.

    The mere presence of books is not magically transformative. “The question is, I take a child who’s not doing very well in school, and I put 300 books in their house—now what happens?,” Willingham said. “Almost certainly the answer is, not a lot. So what is it? Either what are people doing with those books, or is this sort of a temperature read of a much broader complex of attitudes and behaviors and priorities that you find in that home?”

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    Thursday/Friday
    September 19, 2019

    Family matters are taking me out of commission for a few days. Enjoy this mix of regular stories and drinking stories.

    Priests Spray Drunks with Holy Water from Plane

    I’m absolutely fascinated by this ongoing tornado born of Holy Mother Russia’s wrestling match with the social wrecking ball that was Communism.

    Russian Orthodox priests in the Central Russian city of Tver took to the skies in a small airplane to save citizens from “drunkenness and fornication,” reported a Russian local media outlet.

    On Sept. 11, Sobriety Day, an unofficial Russian holiday, the priests carried 70 liters (about 18 gallons) of holy water onto the aircraft.

    Once the plane reached an altitude of 200 to 300 meters (approximately 800 feet) the blessings began. Clergymen held a prayer service before pouring the holy water out of the plane’s open door.

    A Guide to a Shorter Bourbon Trail

    I spent an evening in Bardstown last June. Lovely town.

    As whiskey pilgrimages go, it’s hard to beat the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. What started 20 years ago with a handful of producers opening their doors to a public thirsty for brown spirits has slowly grown into one of the biggest attractions in the Bluegrass State. The official route packs in 36 distilleries, representing some of the oldest and newest whiskey makers in America. It would take weeks to properly tour each one, and if you have the time and liver function, you should do precisely that. In the meantime, however, find yourself a shortcut. From Lexington to Bardstown, Loretto to Louisville, these are the 13 best distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

    Anarchism, Farming, and Climate

    I offer it for what it’s worth.

    If Desert’s diagnosis rang true, so too did its prognosis. The text’s author suggests that while the consequences of climate change are unavoidable, anarchists may yet prevail against both capitalism and the state. Positing that desertification will cause both markets and governments to retract, Desert argues that in their absence, anarchists could thrive—if only they could first survive.

    “In this metaphor of the desert, where does life emerge?” Holland wondered. “If we end up unable to create some mass movement to overthrow the government, what does it look like to build a material force capable of sustaining itself, capable of struggle, capable of being the grounds that make government obsolete?”

    In Brunswick, Holland is beginning the search for answers. These days, Holland commits much of his time to gardening, but doesn’t see it as a step away from his anarchist politics. Rather, he sees it as a step forward.

    Political Correctness at Stand-Up

    Bill Burr thinks it’s coming to an end. He likens it to the end of McCarythism: all its proponents will scurry like rats shortly.

    There used to be a foolproof standard for anything said on the stage:

    If they laugh, you can say it.

    And it’s a pretty good rule because it eliminates all discussion about good taste, bad taste, off-limits topics, and it puts the comedian in the position of having to constantly outmaneuver the audience’s expectations, which is sort of the definition of comedy. Daniel Tosh has a whole section of his act in which he deconstructs the frequent battle cry of the moral crusader: “But there are some topics that can never be funny. There are matters that are beyond joking.” He then proceeds to tell jokes about rape, dead babies, and other topics that he gets away with because…the audience laughs in spite of itself.

    PBR Hard Coffee

    I wept bitterly when I saw this.

    Earlier this month, Pabst Blue Ribbon (otherwise known as PBR) turned heads when it announced its latest product—not a new lager, but hard coffee. With 5 percent ABV, Pabst said that the drink is “among the first of its kind in the industry,” combining Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, milk, and malt beverage to create a boozy version of your morning cup of joe. It’s meant to taste like “vanilla infused premium iced coffee,” and we’ve also seen comparisons to Yoo-hoo, the popular creamy chocolate milk drink.

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    Wednesday
    September 18, 2019

    Abortion Mysticism

    Douthat is the man . . .

    The unapologetic grisliness of a Klopfer, or a Kermit Gosnell before him, haunts a Buttigiegian abortion politics more than it does a “safe, legal, rare” triangulation, because it establishes the most visceral of contrasts — between the mysticism required to believe that the right to life begins at birth and the cold and obvious reality that what our laws call a nonperson can still become a corpse.

    Early History of the Potato

    The author draws a parallel between early attitudes toward potatoes and current attitudes toward insects, implying that, just as we’re grossed out by insects now, we might change our minds. It’s possible, but man, potatoes don’t buzz and they don’t move and they don’t sting. It’s a stretched comparison.

    Spanish conquistadores were the first Europeans to encounter potatoes, in South America in the 1530s. It took botanists years to breed varieties that grew well in Europe, but it was worth it. Potatoes produced two to four times as many calories per acre as cereal crops – and they grew far faster, and in most kinds of soil. Potatoes were an efficient, reliable foodstuff.

    Many ordinary folk were unconvinced. Clergymen warned that since the Bible didn’t mention potatoes, God hadn’t meant people to eat them. Herbalists believed that potatoes’ resemblance to a leper’s gnarled hands suggested that they caused leprosy. But attitudes began to change when Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, a French scientist, promoted the potato in a series of publicity stunts.

    The Farce that is Snopes

    Snopes is the most-overrated and partisan “fact checking” service since the fact checkers at Pravda under Stalin. This is fitting satire.

    Snopes: ‘The Claim That Trump Is Hitler Lacks Concrete Evidence But Alludes To A Deeper Truth’

    U.S. and Rome

    This is one reason why I find it disturbing that Mike Duncan, of the excellent “History of Rome” podcast, leans left (hard left? I’m not sure.) He can’t see the disturbing parallels to the things that helped bring down Rome: circus and bread? Unbridled immigration? Monetary policy? An over-extended empire? Just to name a few.

    In 509 B.C., leading citizens in Rome overthrew a monarchy and created a republic that slowly took over the Mediterranean. For 500 years, this republic dazzled the world with its hard-working farmers, good laws, shrewd diplomacy and indomitable citizen armies.

    The Founders knew this history well. They had read Roman historians like Sallust and Livy, reveled in the biographies of Roman statesmen by Plutarch, and were steeped in the orations of Cicero. Thomas Jefferson even tweaked the poems of Horace celebrating Roman farms to describe Virginia agricultural life.

    Not surprisingly, then, Rome inspired many features of our own Constitution, including its checks and balances, bicameral legislature, term limits and age requirements. In some cases, the Founders copied terms straight out of the Roman constitution: words like senate, capitol and committee. They named places in honor of Rome like Tiber Creek and Cincinnati. American coinage and civic architecture are also strikingly Roman.

    The Vapors

    I honestly don’t know how anyone could’ve watched the orchestrated sudden destruction of vaping over past month–through a relentless barrage of media coverage, scientific studies, stories, and legal bans–and deny that there is some sort of elite cabal that pulls the strings from behind the curtain. I don’t think it can be doubted. The only question is, how is it orchestrated and to what degree is it orchestrated? I’ll plan on flushing it out on an upcoming podcast.

    The war on nicotine vaping has reached a new level of absurdity. It was bad enough when public health officials, politicians, and the press reacted to the recent outbreak of respiratory illness among vapers of marijuana by failing to warn the public in a clear manner. Instead of explaining the specific danger from vaping a certain kind of THC-infused oil, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the public to stop using any kind of electronic cigarette—which is like responding to an outbreak of food poisoning by telling people to stop eating.

    ‘Ad Astra’ Review

    To be honest, space films leave me cold, but Rolling Stone is praising this one.

    In essence, Ad Astra is a father-son story told on a cosmic scale. It’s not just Roy’s cool-under-pressure reputation that gets him picked for a top-secret mission to Neptune. It’s the fact that his famous-astronaut father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) went missing there three decades ago after heading the Lima Project on a search for intelligent life in the universe. But here’s the thing: Daddy might not be dead. He might, in fact, be somewhere on that remote planet playing Zeus by aiming power surges at Earth in an effort to destroy us. Clifford needs to be stopped and who better to do it than his son, setting up an Apocalypse Now in space as junior attempts to save or destroy his nutjob old man.

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    Tuesday
    September 17, 2019

    Catholic Intelligentsia Waging War

    Let’s be a part of the Catholic Dark Web that must emerge in order for this to succeed.

    As Deneen was speaking, blueberry pie was served to an audience that included Rod Dreher, the well-known American Conservative blogger and author of The Benedict Option; Matthew Schmitz, an editor of the ecumenical religious journal First Things; and Bria Sandford, editorial director of Penguin’s right-of-center Sentinel book division. The next morning, the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat arrived.

    In the year and a half since the conference, other writers who have staked out public positions on the nonliberal right include the Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule, the First Things editor R.R. Reno, the former Washington Examiner managing editor Helen Andrews, and the University of Dallas assistant professor of political science — and deputy editor of the journal American Affairs — Gladden Pappin. One might add Mary Ann Glendon, the Harvard law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican, who in July was named the head of President Trump’s Commission on Unalienable Rights

    The Devil and Mr. Seinfeld

    Damn. Seinfeld reruns are still my “go to” when I’m too tired to go to anything new.

    Netflix will hold the global streaming rights to “Seinfeld” for five years starting in 2021, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal. The contract will commence once Hulu’s contract ends with Sony in June of that year.

    Another (Social Justice) War Casualty

    Amen to the casualty’s observation that, as a comedian, he must take risks.

    Live from New York, it… won’t be Shane Gillis. The comedian, one of three new cast members recently announced for Saturday Night Live‘s upcoming 45th season, has been fired over a series of racist and homophobic comments that resurfaced online.

    Another episode found Gillis referring to Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard as “white f—got comics,” calling them “f—ing gayer than ISIS.” As if it wasn’t bad enough that Gillis made these racist and homophobic comments, one of SNL‘s other new hires for Season 45 is Bowen Yang, an openly gay Asian-American.

    Burr with Tom Papa

    Video.

    History of Country Music

    Across 16 hours and eight episodes, Burns traces the banjo’s path from Africa to America to the “Big Bang” of country music when Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family (the genre’s first stars as it became an industry) recorded their initial records within the same week at the same studio as each other. He continues all the way through Garth Brooks finding a new stratosphere of stardom in the Nineties and it ends with Roseanne Cash—as the daughter of June Carter, a descendant of country music’s First Family—talking about the death of her father, Johnny Cash. The first installment premieres tonight on PBS.

    50 Great Cities

    And it’s a great list. Lots of small cities, including St. Joseph, Michigan, which isn’t far from me.

    St. Joseph is a small city of just over 8,000 in southwestern Michigan along the shore of Lake Michigan. Area residents have access to a far greater than typical concentration of bars, restaurants, recreation centers, and museums. The area’s high quality of life is further supported by the relative scarcity of property and violent crimes and a healthy job market. Just 2.6% of the city’s labor force is out of a job, well below the 4.1% national unemployment rate.

    For all it has to offer, St. Joseph is also affordable. The typical home in the city is worth about three times the median income. Nationwide, the median home value is 3.4 times greater than the annual median household income.

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    New Episode Released

    Monday

    Paid to be a Jerk

    Gunderson survived what many might consider the worst job in professional sports: playing for the Washington Generals. He was the team captain and starting point guard for a team whose sole existence is to lose to the Harlem Globetrotters.

    Soccer Concussions

    Well, maybe you can stop heading the ball? That’s one thing I’ve never understood: How can a sport turn a blind eye to such a brazenly dangerous play, when the play itself isn’t very important to the game?

    Yet, we know that female athletes have endured repetitive blows to the head, too. Girls soccer players, in particular, have been found to be about as likely to suffer concussions as boys football players—and three times more likely than boys soccer players. But very little is known about what that means for the future, because researchers are hardly studying the long-term consequences of repetitive hits over time in women.

    CIA Unmasked

    I would write more about the CIA, but the very nature of its role makes all writing and analysis based on speculation. When you get even the smallest glimpse, it’s fascinating.

    Decades later, however, spectacular revelations cast Olson’s death in a completely new light. First, the CIA admitted that, shortly before he died, Olson’s colleagues had lured him to a retreat and fed him LSD without his knowledge. Then it turned out that Olson had talked about leaving the CIA – and told his wife that he had made “a terrible mistake”. Slowly, a counter-narrative emerged: Olson was disturbed about his work and wanted to quit, leading his comrades to consider him a security risk. All of this led him to room 1018A.

    Chappelle

    Satire

    A new, leftist-approved stand-up comic will simply come on stage and say, “Everything you believe is correct” over and over again for a full two hours, sources confirmed Tuesday.

    Progressives demanded someone come up with a solution after they noticed many stand-up comics were saying things they did not agree with. This was a real problem, they said, because that means they have to think about their beliefs or even lighten up about them a little bit.

    Toxic Positivity

    I didn’t know this was “a thing,” but it makes sense. There’s something in me that finds the half-baked cliche responses repugnant. I often just opt for an awkward silence instead of saying anything at all.

    Responding to negative emotions with glass-half-full thinking is known as toxic positivity (or dismissive positivity), a term that recently made the rounds online in an Instagram post by Miami-based psychotherapist Whitney Goodman.

    When someone immediately responds to less-than-pleasant news with platitudes like “You’ll get over it!” it can make you feel like your emotions aren’t valid, or that by not moving on immediately, there’s something wrong with you.

    Think about it: If you’re talking about a problem that doesn’t have a clear-cut solution—say, fertility struggles, a health issue, a complicated family relationship—do you want someone to gloss over your experience with a phrase they could’ve pulled off an inspirational poster? Or do you want someone to listen to you and acknowledge that what you’re going through is tough?

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    The Weekend Eudemon
    September 14, 2019

    Marco . . . Polo

    Western civilization’s first secular bestseller.

    The world-famous explorer Marco Polo is credited with many things, but perhaps the greatest is compiling one of the world’s first best-selling travelogues. Published around 1300, the book chronicles his experiences during a 24-year odyssey from Venice to Asia and back again.

    Polo did not write down his adventures himself. Shortly after his return to Venice in 1295, Polo was imprisoned by the Genoese, enemies of the Venetians, when he met a fellow prisoner, a writer from Pisa named Rusticiano. Polo told his stories to his new friend, who wrote them down and published them in a medieval language known as Franco-Italian.

    Lining Up to Get Raped

    The article says, “And fans have no choice.” Well, um, yes they do.

    It’s not your imagination: Concert ticket prices are going through the roof.

    And not just for the super wealthy who pay thousands of dollars to see the best acts from the front row. Fans of all types are paying more to see their favorite musicians.

    The average price of a ticket to the 100 most popular tours in North America has almost quadrupled over the past two decades, from $25.81 in 1996 to $91.86 through the first half of this year, according to researcher Pollstar. Along with pro sports and Broadway shows, concert prices have far outpaced inflation.

    Public Service Announcement

    15 things you should never put in a dishwasher. “Communist” isn’t one of them.

    4. Wooden Cutting Boards & Utensils
    Wood and dishwashers just don’t mix. The heat of the dishwasher can cause wood to warp, and the drying cycle can make it crack. So please, keep your wooden cutting boards and utensils out of the dishwasher.

    This is Bananas

    Without bananas and eggs, I’m not sure we could’ve afforded to feed our seven kids all those years. For a prolonged spell, we were going through 400 gallons of milk annually.

    A deadly fungus is spreading through banana plantations, and the cloned bananas we eat are defenseless. In labs around the world, scientists are trying to find ways to genetically alter the fruit to make it resistant.

    I know there’s a similar concern about tomatoes. I’m bracing myself for that fateful day. I try not to put tomatoes in my compost, and I grow all my tomatoes from seed I buy or harvest myself from the previous year. I want to be there with my field of 5,000 cherry tomatoes when they cost $1 apiece . . . as opposed to 3 cents apiece I currently get.

    For Your Sunday Meditations

    St. Josemaría’s message for us is that God wants all of us to become saints, and for most Catholics this will not involve leaving one’s state in life; it will not involve leaving the world. Spouses and professional occupations are not obstacles to sanctity, but become the very means, the hinge of sanctification. It will be precisely by learning to find God through our spouses, in family life, and in our daily work, that we can become saints. Moreover, these ordinary aspects of daily life become the occasions of apostolate, of helping those we encounter day in and day out draw closer to God. We won’t be able to do this, however, without frequent recourse to Jesus in the Eucharist, in Confession, and in set times of prayer.

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


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