Alright, I may have scraped a new low: I bought tickets to see Extreme Midget Wrestling in Detroit later this fall. All four sons wanted to go and were available to go, so I decided to make a men’s night out of it. Dinner and drinks (lots of drinks) in Greektown, then to the show. Part of me relishes the political incorrectness of it. Part of me likes to support the little people. Part of me wonders about St. Augustine’s counsels against blood lust in Roman amphitheaters.
St. Francis of Assisi feast day. I think GKC asserted that Francis was prompted to become a saint after he had made a fool out of himself. I’ll have to look up that passage again.
The Weekly Eudemon podcast is coming along well. I spend a few minutes every weekend, trying to learn the recording software better. Last weekend, I ordered a wireless mic, so I could record my Theology on Tap lectures and convert them into bonus episodes. The response from listeners has been good so far.
I’m just pleased that I have been able to grab a few dozen Salanova lettuce seeds from this year’s crop. I’m going to try to grow 20 plants in my grow station this winter, in hopes of monitoring and harvesting a thousand more. If I can gather my own seeds, it’ll save me $200 this coming spring. We’ll see how it goes.
The FBI finishes its investigation today. I like David Stockman’s angle, which pretty much says, “Everyone sucks.” Excerpt, “]W]hy is the Senate of the United States (and now the FBI, too) wasting its time investigating the antics of a handful of party kids from among the tens of millions of students – before, then and after – whose adventures in beer besotted bacchanalia were hardly dissimilar?” He goes on to note, however, that Kavanaugh’s performance wasn’t exactly stately.
Wow, in this day and age: “Princess Alexandra of Hanover, a member of the royal family of Monaco, has reportedly been removed from her distant place in the British line of succession after having become a Catholic.” Link. It doesn’t remotely bother me, though I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because, if she’d converted to Islam and been removed from the line, there would’ve been a firestorm from the social justice warriors.
It reminds me of this scene from GoodFellas (very colorful language):
For fellow fans of GoodFellas, this is worth checking out (very violent):
Black magic, the soul killing of Faustus, and political magic come together in abortion. Abortion contains it all. It reflects the ugliness of black magic. It preserves the career path of the Faustian. It’s a tool in progressives’ attempts to establish a better society without unwanted pregnancies and resource-absorbing children.
And it’s not without historical precedent. In The Everlasting Man, Chesterton wrote that “certain anti-human antagonisms seem to recur in this tradition of black magic. There may be suspected as running through it everywhere, for instance, a mystical hatred of the idea of childhood. People would understand better the popular fury against the witches, if they remembered that the malice most commonly attributed to them was preventing the birth of children.”
He went on to point out that the man of progress is often allied with the magical man, and that the two come together in their attempts to produce earthly goods, as seen in mercantile Carthage and its worship of Moloch, the god of child sacrifice. “There is always a sort of dim idea that these darker powers will really do things, with no nonsense about it. In the interior psychology of the Punic peoples this strange sort of pessimistic practicality had grown to great proportions. In the New Town, which the Romans called Carthage, as in the parent cities of Phoenicia, the god who got things done bore the name of Moloch. . . These highly civilised people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven on their empire by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace.”
Chesterton also pointed out that the Carthaginians (and their predecessors in Tyre and Sidon) were highly practical men of commerce and expanding markets. The parallel to today is too obvious to merit much comment. Our society, too, consists of highly practical men, especially in commerce. And our society, too, is willing to sacrifice its children in the form of abortion. Abortion promotes practicality on all fronts. Individually, it frees the enterprising woman from an unwanted pregnancy that could stall her career. Familially, it keeps couples free from the time-consuming demands of children, especially retarded children, who are subject to the “seek and destroy” missions through amniocentesis tests and abortions. Regionally and nationally, it prevents a county’s or country’s resources from being “squandered” on the births of lower-class children. Globally, it helps guard against overpopulation.
Welcome to Saint Week, which is the introduction to Saint Month. Today, everyone’s favorite saint: St. Therese Lisieux. Thursday, everyone’s other favorite saint: St. Francis of Assisi. Other notables this week: Bruno, Thomas the Apostle, and your Guardian Angel. On Wednesday, our Eastern brethren recognize Dionysius the Areopagite, which perhaps makes it the feast day of the Pseudo-Dionysius, whose mystical works have long edified?
The LA Times says Kavanaugh’s angry testimony could undercut his claims to be an impartial jurist. Well, yeah, the Left has no doubt greatly angered him. He was, from a conservative standpoint, my fourth choice among the potential nominees. I think he would’ve just been a continuation of his mentor, Justice Kennedy, who was highly liberal on many issues. I’m not so sure now. Kavanaugh is angry, and I don’t blame him. These are the folks he wants to throw his lot in with occasionally, like his frustrating mentor? I have my doubts.
The Democrats’ quotes in that article, incidentally, are just jaw-dropping disingenuous. The gist of them are, “Testy, testy, aren’t we? Boy, you’re really getting angry. Ms. Ford didn’t get angry.” I can only shake my head at such bad faith public discourse. It would be like a teenage bullied boy lashing out savagely at his tormenter after a long period of torment, and the bully saying, “Boy, someone’s really got his noise out of joint. Tsk, tsk.”
The new podcast is up. Click here to find September 30, 2018 episode. I’m still working on audio quality. Unfortunately, the longest segment is poisoned with a lot of breathing noise. I’m not sure why I wasn’t able to filter that out. I’ll keep working on it.
I use free music for The Weekly Eudemon podcast. I’m currently using music by Scott Holmes and Blue Wave Theory, as well as a sound effect you can find here. According to this license, I’m supposed to give attribution and provide a link to the license arrangement. I can’t provide a link for a podcast, but since this page serves as the podcast’s show notes page, I’m posting it here. All of it, you can assume, is copyrighted. U.S. law provides for automatic copyright, so everything, even this prose right here, is copyrighted.
Whew, I’m back off the wagon. The temperatures have plunged, and so has my dehydration level. I threw back a healthy number of drinks last night, and I feel pretty bad this morning, but it’s a fitting hangover: I’m not on death’s door, and an energy drink and 600 mg of ibuprofen ought to put me straight. Give thanks.
“Here, on a small, pretty peninsula on the edge of Lake Erie, a group of free people has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building a spaghetti junction of vast, glittering, noisy machines, the sole purpose of which is to fling human bodies in every conceivable direction. And they have done so of their own volition. No dreary central planner or cocksure busybody would ever have consented to such a thing, and no orchestrated economy could ever have hosted it. This is a triumph of imagination, of rebellion, and of evolution — a joyful illustration of what eccentrics do when left alone. Only by trial and error could this niche have been found; only by happy accident could it have grown to such proportions. I had two destinations on my trip: Cedar Point and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Is anybody surprised that neither is located in Moscow?”
I’m kind of ashamed of it, but it didn’t dawn on me until I read this article that the new liberalism (the one that juggernauted into public life after 2008) is simply totalitarianism. “I don’t use the “T”-word lightly. I’ve spent years pushing back against those who fling it about in free societies like ours. But totalitarianism doesn’t require cartoonish, 1984-style secret police and Big Brother. The classical definition is a society where everything — ethical norms and moral principles and truth itself — is subjugated to political ends.” Movies, the NFL, religion. Everything to the modern leftist must be politicized. In that, it’s a type of totalitarian as a matter of blackletter understanding: “a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life, including the economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens.” Wikipedia.
I tuned in for about three minutes of the Kavanaugh testimony. It was hard to watch, but at least I got to see one Senator inquire in his youthful drinking exploits. That was enough for me to conclude it was all pomp and circusness. There were apparently many more questions about him drinking, whether he had ever blacked out, etc. One article I read (which has since been revised) said he admitted to drinking a lot “as a child.” I got a chuckle out of that.
Grand Rapids’ neat Art Prize competition is going on right now. It’s a competition of pop art, where artists from around the world compete for some pretty big monetary prizes. I have a seminar in GR next Friday, so I’ll get to check it out. I’m going to look for this piece of drinking art.
I’m a pretty big fan of Meijer. Yes, it’s a little more expensive than Walmart, but I don’t feel like I need to check myself for bed bugs when I leave the store. Plus, they’re now delivering alcohol, at least in Ohio: “Meijer announced that customers in Ohio can now have beer and wine delivered right to their door as part of its home delivery service.” Link.
C-SPan starts coverage at 9:45. I’m ashamed to admit, I wish I could watch . . . and I might end up streaming it from my computer at work for a little while. This is nothing but soap opera dressed up as politics. Or to draw from Russell Kirk, it’s something for the uneducated dressed up as something for the quarter-educated.
Yesterday’s allegations against Kavanaugh, incidentally, are more serious, but weird: “I attended parties where it appears girls were getting gang raped, and I saw him in one of those lines.” I honestly don’t know what to make of such an allegation, except to point out that time does funny things to a person’s memory, as does fevered ideology. That’s such an amorphous claim from so long ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually believes it at some level. (“Well, those parties occurred . . . in that geographic area . . . and he probably ran around with some of those guys I saw in line . . . I think he probably was in one of those lines . . .”).
Another accuser says Kavanaugh whipped it out at a Yale party. Given the decadence that I hear Ivy League colleges were in the 1980s, I believe it’s possible, but again, it was so long ago, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if she’s just conflating a bunch of episodes and putting Kavanaugh’s, ahem, face on them. Back in the early 1980s, I knew a fun guy who would get drunk at a party, wobble exaggeratedly up to a few girls and slur, “You gals ever see a one-eared elephant?” He’d then pull out one pant pocket and start tugging at his belt buckle. The girls would screech and look away, and he’d just laugh. He never even undid his belt, much less whip it out, but if he were nominated for the Supreme Court, I’m sure at least one girl would recall seeing It.
According to Der Spiegel, Francis, who started as a “brilliant reformer,” now threatens to squander his legacy because “he often speaks at inopportune moments, yet in important moments remains silent.”
TDE readers might recall that I raised a similar point right after he counseled everyone to consider silence, to wit, “What!? Now he’s counseling silence!?!?:
I, for one, am leaning more and more to the idea that this is a bad man . . . cloaked in the Papacy and therefore free from heresy . . . but a bad man nonetheless.
That’s not remotely my final conclusion, I hasten to add, but more and more signs point to the idea that we have a bad man in the Chair. That, or a terribly cunning, massive, and malicious defamation campaign is being waged against him. There are a few other possibilities (maybe he’s simply not terribly bright?), but I think those are the two leading explanations.
I don’t think these words, incidentally, violate St. John Bosco’s three pillars of Catholicism: the Eucharist, Mary, the Pope. I realize my words are disrespectful, but I intend them for the man, not the office. It’s no different than leveling criticism at the incestuous Alexander VI, who was a terribly wicked man . . . but also pope. The only difference here is that we really don’t know what the story with Francis is.
Fr. Matthew Spencer referenced a priest who recently said in a lecture that smart phones are leading people to hell, and that, if you want to be a saint, get rid of your smart phone. He thinks it’s related to the fact that online services and apps want to keep your attention at all times (he cites Tim Wu’s The Attention Merchants). If your attention is always drawn, you’re always distracted, you have no attention left for God. I have no clue what to think, but it resonates with me at some level.
I’ve long dabbled in 1960s history, but I’d never even heard of the Celebration of Life rock festival in McCrea, Louisiana, which turned into a festival of death. The gist of it appears to be, promoters were trying to make money at the expense of hippies and didn’t do things right: “[H]ealth department officials found that the site had, at least, toilets for a little less than half the expected numbers . . .”. Link.
It kind of reminds me of Nassim Taleb’s definition of a loser: someone who talks about how stupid the system is, but then fails to exploit it for fun and profit. A lot of Americans were railing against the stupidity of hippies, but didn’t do anything to profit from them. This promoter did.
I remember a college administrator telling me that hazing would be fine, if the kids would keep it from escalating. He said the problem is, every class escalates the hazing a little bit every year, until the hazing goes from an uncomfortable experience that gives the boys a common bond to a dangerous ordeal. I’m not sure what to think, but I remember seeing it. My hazing experience was more than uncomfortable, but not nearly dangerous. I heard five years later that my fraternity was doing some atrocious things, far worse than anything I experienced.
Random Blurb from the Notebooks: I remember reading about a Hindu convert who made a Hindu pilgrimage to the Cave of Amarnath, a shrine to the Hindu god Siva, deep in the Himalayas. She arrived after a difficult trip over a 14,000 foot pass and a glacier, all the while meditating on Siva. She arrived and gave her offering—green coconut, incense, red and white pieces of cloth, nuts, raisins and sugar—to the priest, who prepared to offer it to Siva—who was manifested in an ice image formed by dropping water. But then the whole place seemed to vibrate with evil, and she stumbled out of the cave before the priest could finish the offering.
The newest episode of The Weekly Eudemon is posted. Autumn, The Virgin Eye, Magic, and More. I spent a fair amount of time working on this episode, relearning Audacity to produce it. The content is no better, but the listening aesthetics should be far better. Please Tweet about it, post to Facebook, tell friends and family. I’m ready to start trying to launch it for real.
Amen to my Jewish colleague on my left: “Every civil libertarian in the country, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, led by the Civil Libertarian Union should be outraged by this demand. It is so un-American. You’re the accuser. You get on the witness stand. You testify. You make your accusation. You get cross-examined. THEN the accused responds. It turns the entire legal system on its head. It is INSANE to ask an accused person to deny the accusation before he has heard the accusation being made and cross-examined. Sure, the FBI should continue its background check. It should also call everyone else who may have been at this party. All of that is true. But the idea that he goes first? I want to hear from the American Civil Liberties Union. Where are they? This is the most fundamental denial of due process.” Alan Dershowitz.
I’m re-commencing the Theology on Tap sesssions this Wednesday. The advertisement: “Sodomy and Beer.” Criminy. I’m part-way through Vigano’s letter as I type this. If anyone see any links between now and Wednesday, please send them to me or post them in the comments below so I can be up to date two nights from now. Thanks.
"If this weren't true, this would be one of the most compelling horror stories you could ever see. Because it's true, it makes it really important we all see it and spread the word," – @glennbeck on #GosnellMovie
Welcome to the first day of fallthe eve of the first day of fall, my favorite time of year. I’m celebrating its arrival tonight. I want to have gin and tonic, but that’s not a fall drink, so I might have Sam Adams’ Octoberfest. I’m still mulling it over.
Wow, talk about being torn: Lourdes University offers a craft beer degree. On the one hand, it’s just another milestone on the road to Idiocracy, further evidence of the dumbing down of America that is turning colleges and universities into laughingstocks. On the other hand, it’s beer. I like beer. I don’t like colleges and universities. So, on balance, I applaud it.
Lourdes University crafted The Full-Bodied Degree program in response to industry needs. The curriculum offers an interdisciplinary approach to the craft beverage industry. Lourdes is the only U.S. university to offer budding microbrewers and vintners the opportunity to master the art, science and business of winemaking, brewing and distilling.
Lourdes is also a Catholic university, so it’s fitting that it offers a degree steeped in the monastic tradition. Obviously, it shouldn’t be a scholarly degree as much as it should be a master-apprentice craft, but what the hey. Pretty much all degrees are jokes these days.
For the man who has everything: The shirt with a beer pocket.
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