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    Tuesday
    June 13, 2017

    Kauffman

    “Morley, the son of distinguished Quaker stock (though he adopted his mother’s Episcopalianism), had won a Pulitzer Prize for his Washington Post editorials. He stepped down after seven years (1933–40) as the Post’s editor because he understood what the forewinds of war portended: ‘newspaper writing in wartime can come close to intellectual prostitution.'”

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    Monday
    June 12, 2017

    misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

    Ceiling. TrastevereWhew. Another whirlwind weekend. Every day is a flat-out sprint, with an occasional breather for Mass or gin. I’m grateful for those two breathers, but awfully tired of sprinting.

    Ceiling. TrastevereThe site now has a professionally-installed sprinkler system. It’s just a beginner’s model, but it’s set to water for 30 minutes, three times a day. Just in time for this week’s heat wave.

    Ceiling. TrastevereMy second son, Jack, turned 21 this weekend and lived to talk about it. He congregated in Ann Arbor with my oldest son, two cousins, and a handful of friends. Ann Arbor has really started leaning toward neo-Prohibitionism: two bars (both rather staid and not remotely busy) wouldn’t let his under-21 friends in, and one store wouldn’t sell his 19-year-old friend a cigar. Criminy.

    Ceiling. TrastevereSpeaking of Jack, I was mildly disappointed that Lourdes University never looked at him for a NAIA basketball scholarship (in their defense, Jack didn’t try much to get any NAIA scholarships). In light of this, I guess I’m grateful: Lourdes University to offer athletic scholarships for video gamers.

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    Sunday

    School’s Out
    June 10, 2017

    School Out

    Of course, school isn’t out in Michigan public schools yet. I believe the public schools are continuing their push for year-round schooling by gradually shrinking the summer vacation schedule.

    The reason? The breakdown of the urban family has resulted in home conditions that cause kids’ learning to atrophy greatly during the summer. So all other areas of the state must cripple their summer to help them. Fortunately, we have a large agricultural sector that resists the change, for economic reasons.

    I resist the change, for kid reasons: summer is great if you’re a kid. Don’t ruin it because it doesn’t fit your ideological perspective (to wit, that the government should be responsible for raising your kids).

    I’ve always taught my kids: Summer is the time of year when you can make great strides. You have oodles of free time. Pick a discipline to pursue, pick a sport, pick something/anything. I can’t say my advice has been adhered to, but it has helped a little bit here and there.

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    Friday
    June 9, 2017

    IMG_3150Brews You Can Use

    My youngest son told me earlier this week that beer commercials aren’t allowed to show people drinking. I thought about it and thought, “Heck, he might be right. I don’t ever recall seeing someone take a wig on an advertisement. Fricking neo-prohibitionist Fascists.”

    But it’s apparently not that simple. According to this article, it’s more of a self-regulatory thing between the beer companies and the networks. So, I can put the libertarian hair on the back of my neck down.

    Or can I? The private entities self-regulate themselves because they fear that they could trigger regulation if they don’t: “the brewers have no desire to stir things up and risk stirring a cry for a new law.”

    So, they’re afraid of showing a man taking a drink of beer, but they don’t hesitate to show scantily-clad women prancing around on a beach. The perverseness never ceases to astound me. We encourage teenagers to have sex, but tell them they can’t have a beer until they’re 21. It’s so upside-down, I can only shake my head.

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    Thursday
    June 8, 2017

    streetsign.jpg

    Whew. I’ve been busting it: Marie is in NYC for the week with Michael’s senior leadership class, leaving me with a ton of work at the office, kid duties at home, and (of course) getting the urban produce operation running. Jack stepped up and helped me a lot this week, allowing me to get 13 beds formed (about 3′ x 60′ feet each), plus two started. Three are planted with greens, two are planted with 21 tomato “volunteer” transplants. I also had nine bales of straw delivered today and started lining the beds with it. It’s actually beginning to look nice.

    Anyway, I’m too whipped to blog (I’m typing this while enjoying an adult beverage and game 3 of the NBA Championship). I am, therefore, merely going to share this email to my eldest son about tithing. If history is any indication, many of you are going to hate me for this, but I guess I’m too tired to care:

    Christians argue about this, but I feel strongly that you tithe only on your taxable income.

    On the flipside, when you start having taxable income when you retire and pull on the 401k, you will have to tithe on that. Likewise, if you get a tax refund next year, you tithe on that, too.

    That’s how I organize my tithing and I believe it is the most logical.

    I remember discussing this once with a good Catholic who said he could find no justification for tithing on only net/taxable income. I said, “Well, your employer provides you with great health insurance and a retirement plan. Are you tithing on the value of those?” He shrugged and shook his head and said, “I don’t get all technical about it.”

    I just chuckled, “Damn right you don’t, except when it works in your favor” (I didn’t say that, but I did chuckle).

    Theologically, you give to God your first fruits because it’s by His grace that you can earn. But the exact same applies to the taxation scheme you labor under: It’s by His grace (or lack thereof) that you pay the amount of taxes you do.

    There’s also the reductio ad absurdum argument: If you have a 91% marginal rate, you literally couldn’t tithe on your gross.

    Love,

    Dad

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    Wednesday
    June 7, 2017

    books.jpgThroughout this hectic spring, I have been squirrelling away occasional minutes to type notes for my “History of the Catholic Church in 30 Minutes” presentation this September. One of my goals that has developed is to give my listeners a sense of historical perspective. I always begged my kids to develop a basic historic framework in world history (Moses, then Christ, then Mohammed; Greeks, then Romans, then Dark Ages) and U.S. history (1776, Civil War, New Deal, Vietnam). Without it, you’re an idiot when it comes to anything that has a history.

    It dawned on me as I work on this lecture that I have always used historical reference points: people and events that I can place firmly on a timeline. Everything else then flows around them.

    For some reason, for instance, I’ve know most of my adult life that Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225-1274. This fact immediately helps me get my bearings when I hear something about the Middle Ages: Black Death, after STA. Dominic, obviously before STA . . . and with Dominic, Francis. And with these mendicants, the end of the Dark Ages . . . it was the rising wealth of the Europe that led to these poverty-driven responses.

    I think anyone who knows anything about history does something like this already, but regardless, if you’re trying to cultivate a sense of history, or if you’re working with your kids on it, you might want to make this approach explicit.

    Here’s my list that I made explicit last week:

    587 BC: Babylonian Exile
    399 BC: Death of Socrates
    33: Death of Jesus Christ
    476: “Fall” of Rome
    621: Rise of Islam
    800: Coronation of Charlemagne
    1066: Hastings
    1225-1274: Thomas Aquinas
    1453: Fall of Constantinople

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    Tuesday

    June 5, 2017

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    Monday

    misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

    Ceiling. TrastevereMichael graduated and had his last track meet on Saturday. Meg had her last soccer game last week. Max (partner in Maximum Greens, LLC) gets out of school this week and can take over more responsibilities. I think the carnage of everyday living is coming to a close. I still have a rough June ahead of me at the office, but the craziness should subside everywhere else.

    Ceiling. TrastevereOne thing that has become painfully apparent in these past two months of busy-ness: it makes blogging hard: reading stimulates thought, thought stimulates the muse, the muse makes blogging easy. With no time to sit back and read, it’s like my thoughts deaden. Worse than that, nothing seems to interest me, except the things that occupy my attention, almost like my entire thought world is turned inward, blocking out stimulus. I’m not whining about it and I’m not too concerned. I’m confident it will come back easily enough (the few moments that opened up to me Saturday evening after spending the entire day at Michael’s state track meet gave me reading time . . . and the thoughts that come with it). It’s just an interesting observation. Interesting to me, anyway. I’m not sure if y’all have experienced a similar thing.

    Ceiling. TrastevereSaw yesterday: “Self-deprecating humor is great, until others join in.”

    Ceiling. TrastevereWell, I haven’t ran into this problem yet, thankfully: “It is the simplest, most basic aspect of life: you need food, so you grow some vegetables. If you have extra you sell them on a street corner to your neighbors, and if you live in California you get arrested for it. Licensing is when the government takes a right from you, and sells it back. This California man failed to purchase his rights back from the state.” Link.

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    Sunday
    June 4, 2017

    Steyn on the London Bridge attack. His most prescient observation: “The cynical strategy of British and Continental leaders is to get their citizens used to this.” Exactly. They won’t do the only thing that can stop it: halt immigration and aggressively start deporting anyone who poses a risk. So they will just get their citizens used to it, like you get used to traffic jams, or like we’d get used to the Black Plague returning, or like people get used to anything unpleasant if it can’t be avoided.

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    Saturday
    June 3, 2017

    Fitting morning headline for MAXimum Greens’ first day at its produce stand:

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    Acts of the Apostasy
    After Abortion
    Aggie Catholics
    All Manner of Things
    Belinda’s Brain
    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
    Catholic Exchange
    Catholic Fire
    Charlotte Was Both
    Chesterton and Friends
    Crossroads
    Decent Films
    Digital Hairshirt
    Dyspeptic Mutterings
    EWTN
    Fathers of the Church
    First Principles
    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
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    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
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    Suicide of the West
    Summa Minutiae
    Taki
    The American Conservative
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    The Drunken Dollar
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    The Muniment Room
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    The Saint Wannabe
    The Scratching Post
    The Snoring Scholar
    The Summa Mamas
    The Waffling Anglican
    The Western Confucian
    Things and Stuff
    Thursday Night Gumbo
    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
    Vox Nova
    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

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