Like every working adult, I suppose, I live in quest of the perfect group of days. Days filled with a reasonable amount of work, un-rushed time for exercise and prayer, and leftover time for extracurriculars (in my case, gardening, reading, and hanging out with my kids). This, of course, is the promise of every summer (exhibited in beer commercials). This, of course, is what escapes me every summer, mostly because I dedicate a cluster of days to recreational extracurriculars (primarily, vacations) , thereby forcing me to jam my remaining days with work. But behold, I think I see a stretch of such days looming before me. I have zero (count em, zero) commitments over the next three weekends and, although I have a huge pile of work at the office to attack, I don’t perceive that I will have to spend more than, say, 45 hours at the office every week to handle it (50 at the most). It’s a good feeling.
Yes, TDE reader, I hear your objection to the last blurg: it was too wordy. I could’ve merely said, “Summer vacations make the rest of my summer hectic, but things are looking up.” But that wouldn’t have been entirely accurate, plus it’s helpful to break down what exactly is happening to create a life that doesn’t feel like it’s worth living, which is exactly how I feel when I’m scurried from one activity to another, like a silver ball in a pinball machine.
I once did a stay-cation of sorts. I signed out of the office for the week like an ordinary vacation. I then proceeded to show up at the office every day like normal, but when someone bothered me for X, Y, or Z, I politely informed them I wasn’t there. Yes, yes: the other attorneys at the office and staff recognized the eccentricity of it without any offense, but I really did keep my distractions to a minimum and left by noon, leaving me to do whatever the rest of the day, which often brought me mozing back to the office in the evening to help a client with a time-sensitive matter, but becasue I was relaxed, without any stress. It was a splendid week. I probably ended up working about 30 hours that week, which led me to believe 30 hours is the perfect work week for a middle-aged man.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: Virtue and wisdom, after all, are the opposites of arrogance and ignorance. Just as ignorance results in arrogance because a person is totally unaware of his lack of understanding, wisdom results in virtue because the wise person sees his inadequate understanding and thereby attains humility—the first of the virtues.
Ah, okay, I think I can accept it now: “Death Penalty Still Permissible For People Who Drive Slowly In The Left Lane, Pope Francis Clarifies.”
The decision has angered some conservative Catholics, who favor applying the death penalty in wider circumstances. “What about that guy who brings his guitar to a party and totally ruins everyone’s good time?” one traditional Catholic asked. “Or those people who insist on making small talk while in line at the grocery store?”
It is unknown whether Pope Francis will also call for the death penalty for people who wake the whole neighborhood up mowing their lawns at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, but sources close to the Pontiff state he’s leaning toward the affirmative.
Those who don’t use their turn signal because they don’t have a free hand.
Those who drive down the street at 15 mph.
Those who clearly get to the intersection first but wave you through (stemming from, I’m guessing, misguided sense of kindness).
You have to pay to subscribe to read the entire article, so I searched for similar pieces. This article appears to “flush out” the same information: Does Alcohol Really ‘Clean’ the Brain? It has quite a bit of egghead science in it, but it basically boils down to the same old story: Moderate alcohol is good for you; excess alcohol is bad for you.
Which, of course, is something any desert monk at Scetis in the fifth century could’ve told you.
My reference to Scetis prompted me to Google it. I was surprised to learn that those monasteries are apparently still in use: “Scetis, now called Wadi El Natrun, is best known today because its ancient monasteries remain in use, unlike Nitria and Kellia which have only archaeological remains.” Wikipedia.
Just this today: video of the produce site, as of Monday evening. The perimeters are buried (except the short east end, but that will hopefully be easy, if another load is strategically dumped by the wood chip guys). We now start burying individual beds and rows.
Happy August. My youngest son (Max, of “MAXimum Greens”) turns 15. Time marches on.
Leftists want to change the Texas capital’s name because Stephen Austin thought freed blacks would become vagabonds. American Thinker breaks it down: “The proposal is loathesome [sic], another Taliban-like bid to erase history and leave citizens adrift, lost, and best of all, easier to manipulate in the aftermath by demagogues, presumably leftist demagogues intent on building a New Texas Man. Worse still, such a move would excite leftists elsewhere. St. Francis really had a thing about converting Muslims to Christianity, to “save their souls,” so will San Francisco lose its name next?”
Paint me cutting edge: “Is America’s birth rate about to start booming?” The piece is interesting, merely because the premise reverses every public opinion piece since Malthus, but it presents no compelling case that it’s really going to start happening.
Jimmy Fallon: “Alex Trebek is hinting that he might retire from ‘Jeopardy!’ in 2020. When asked what he’ll do in retirement, Trebek said, ‘What is start drinking at noon?'”
Seth Meyers: “MTV has announced it’s working on a new reality show with Lindsay Lohan. Well, she’s been working on it for years — MTV just decided to start filming it.”
Great idea: “Justice also requires that all of those in Church leadership who knew of the former cardinal’s alleged crimes and sexual misconduct and did nothing be held accountable for their refusal to act thereby enabling others to be hurt.” Bishop Michael Olson. Man, that’d clear things out. There’d be no one left to give us footnotes 351 and other gateways to normalizing gay marriage.
Or heck, we can just start with these two: “When Pope Francis was elected, [McCarrick] became an eminence grise, whose lobbying helped elevate several of the new pope’s choices for high office in the American church — including the new cardinal archbishop of Newark, Joseph Tobin, and the head of the Vatican dicastery for family life, Kevin Farrell, both of whom considered McCarrick a mentor.” Ross Douthat.
Everyone realizes, of course, that this is going to fade away quickly. McCarrick is a homosexual. He’s protected by the Vatican Pink Mafia, political correctness, and the mainstream media. No one in the establishment wants to see this get a full airing, much less the Roman Curia. McCarrick is gone; now it’s time to move on and focus on social justice issues. There are no longer any moral abominations, except, of course, environmental ones.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: In one of his last essays, “The Eclipse of Reality,” Eric Voegelin said that a man who has lost touch with his being, like the man hemmed in by the vacuous pressure of mass society, will strive to find some “mode of life that he can experience as real. His life may then assume such behavioral forms as libertinism, hedonism, the cult of violence, destructiveness, vandalism, or outright criminality. . . he may sink even lower—for instance, into the stupor of television watching—or he may take to drugs in order to ‘turn on’ to an existence that has been turned off beyond hope, or he may find the way out into a clinical neurosis. The phenomena adumbrated, common in our time, must be understood as severe forms of existential disintegration under the pressure of a social environment [read: a mass society where truth is ignored] in which the truth of reality has been successfully eclipsed [read: where the act of existence has been smothered].”
Shew. It’s been a whirlwind of activity since returning from Alpena. Mostly, garden stuff, but also work and family. Michael (#4) returned from a two-week mission trip to Mexico City, where he visited Our Lady of Guadalupe daily and played soccer with kids at the city dump (where they live with their families, sifting through the garbage, looking for anything of value that they can sell). I think he had a deep experience of some sort. He came back a changed person . . . and the person who left was a pretty decent fellow.
Radical change at the produce site: I’m going Back to Eden, which, for me, basically means: Dump thick piles of wood chips everywhere. A friend of mine owns a tree-cutting business and has ties to other cutters. He put the word out, and they’ve dumped about ten loads of wood chips at the site. The kids and I have been slowly carrying them, dumping them 6-8 inches thick in the problem areas (e.g., along the hose runs, where I can’t flame the weeds away) and along the edges of the site, creating a frame-effect. The immediate goal is to stop grass from invading from the edges, stop weed seeds from blowing in, and stop the lawn mower from blowing blades into the produce area. As a micro-experiment, I’ve set up three smallish beds for fall plantings and surrounded them with wood chips. We’ll see if the invasive grass and weeds subside, though I’m not sure late summer is the best time to experiment. The mid-term goal is to cut down the size of the cultivable area, so I have less to maintain next year (with two graduations, a confirmation, and a wedding next spring, time is going to be at a premium). The long-term plan is for the wood chips to break down, creating a field of great planting medium.
So, McCarrick steps down. While reading about it, I clicked through other stories and learned that he was quite visible in the dark days of the abuse scandal: “McCarrick was a leading voice in the Church’s 2002 response to the sexual-abuse crisis in the United States, and an architect of the USCCB’s Dallas Charter of the same year, the credibility of that response has also, for some, come into question.” That 2002 charter gave us the ridiculous Virtus training requirement: “We know the laity didn’t commit the abuse, but we’re going to require all of you to take Virtus training in order to be around young kids.” I remember when I first heard about Virtus. I was outraged. “A group of homosexuals are sodomizing teenage boys, they get caught, and now I’m the one that has to go to the training?!?! Is this some sort of sick joke?” I now feel partially vindicated, albeit sixteen years later, and a handful of declinations from me to get involved in youth activities solely because of the strictures of Virtus (Parish: “No, Eric, you can’t meet with a teenage group to talk theology, unless another adult is there . . . and it can’t be your wife.” Eric: “Okay. I’ll be at the bar instead.”)
I took my annual pilgrimage to Alpena, Michigan, returning Thursday evening. Alpena is a neat little city on the shores of northern Lake Huron. The picture above is a bit Potemkin, as evidenced by this picture that I took after turning around in that exact same spot, but it’s still a neat town:
It wasn’t my traditional family vacation, which is normally hard on a guy like me, but it’s alright. I got my eldest daughter betrothed, which is great. Her boyfriend showed up from Boston and surprised her with a proposal:
In his modern classic, The New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin wrote about the tendency of modern political movements to throw the highest human efforts behind earthly progress and noted that the result is a sacrifice of the human spirit in exchange for earthly goods: “The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world-immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit.” Voegelin was referring to political movements, but the observation applies equally well to individual souls. In fact, it applies first to individual souls, then to society, since, as Plato pointed out, society is man writ large.
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