Month: April 2006

Silly (but Omnipotent) Chinese Commies

The Patriotic Association, the state-controlled Church in China, has ignored the Holy See’s wishes and ordained a new bishop, the BBC reported. . . .

The Holy See had called for a delay in the appointment over concerns the bishop is inexperienced and too closely aligned with China’s communist regime, the BBC said.

China also has an “underground” Church that is loyal to the Pope.


I thought everything was getting better.

Diplomatic relations with the Chinese in hopes of reform is like bedding a slut in hopes of making her chaste. You’re just giving them what they want.

That’s my hunch, anyway. … Read the rest

Monster in the House

Well, it finally happened: I have a teenager under my roof. Alex turned 13 today. Shaggy hair, a little sassy, and getting a bit big for my strong-arm liking, he’s a teenager and enjoying his new status.

So far, he’s been a great kid. If the next 13 years go as joyously as the first 13, I’m a blessed man. … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

Henri Gheon, writing about some of the folks in St. John Vianney’s parish:

And last, there was that extraordinary being, Pere Chaffangeon, who remained for hours before the altar, without even moving his lips; it seems that he was speaking to God.

“And what do you say to Him?” the old cure asked.

“Oh!” replied the old peasant, “He looks at me and I look at Him.”

The greatest mystics have found no formula more simple, more exact, more complete, more sublime, to express the conversation of the soul with God.

Read the rest

Little Commodities

B16 had some words yesterday that hit pretty close to my thoughts about the childless and near-childless:

The Pope opined that “the lack of such creative and forward-looking love is the reason why many couples today choose not to marry, why so many marriages fail,and why birth rates have significantly diminished.”

“Instead of feeling loved and cherished,” he said, children and young people often “appear to be merely tolerated.”

“Merely tolerated.” That’s an interesting way of putting it. Instead of unconditional love toward children and an acceptance of them, children come into the world on command. They are things acquired (by our choice), not blessings received (often not by our choice). How many adults have children “for the experience” or out of fear that they’re “missing out on something” or because their friends are having babies? Plenty. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of people have babies out of such sentiments. In this, children have become kind of like commodities. When they turn out to be a lot of work as well, parents tolerate them, but they often don’t invite any more into the house.

It kind of reminds me of annoying house guests. You tolerate them (you can’t be rude), but you don’t cherish them, and you certainly don’t invite them back. … Read the rest

Shaving Update

On Monday, I mentioned a claim that shaving cream is a racket and that a man just needs warm water, after he first toughens up his skin a bit.

Well, I put my face on the line all week, and the results are in: the claim is correct, subject to two caveats and a piece of further advice.

Caveat 1. I shave in the shower. Something about the constant spray of water makes shaving much smoother. But both tests were performed in the shower, and I didn’t notice much difference between no shaving cream and shaving cream. I assume the same results would hold at the sink.

Caveat 2. I broke out a brand new razor for the experiment. That being said, I didn’t notice that Day 6 was any worse than Day 1.

Advice 1: Use ordinary soap. A problem with no shaving cream: the razor tends to stick and it’s a tad uncomfortable. A friend pointed out that he uses ordinary soap. I tried it, and it was perfect. Lather the face up for five seconds with Dial soap, then shave away. No sticking, and the results are smooth.

Conclusion: I will now start saving $8 a year on shaving cream and about six hours a year in shaving cream-application time.… Read the rest


The new American Conservative arrived today. It looks like a good one (note: no links to the articles are available yet):

A review of The Brothers Bulger. For me, it’s a great example of how you can always learn something highly interesting that you’d never knew existed. Here, a vicious (and partially homosexual) gang in Boston with friendly ties to Massachusetts politics and the FBI.

A favorable review of Harvey Mansfield’s Manliness, with this concluding note: Though the public sphere should be neutral and women can exhibit the virtuous manly characteristics celebrated in the book, “women should also be expected to be women. And men should be expected, not merely free, to be manly.” I may have to check out that book. I have lots of friends acquaintances who think “manliness” entails pornography (yeah, I know some awfully stupid people). I’d be curious to see if Mansfield addresses the issue.

An article about the inflated salaries of politicians in poor Mexico.

A review of a new book about Wal-Mart, which led me to research some obnoxiously snobbish comments about Wal-Mart’s clientele, which led me to this funny on-line piece:

Wal-Mart has announced that they will soon be offering customers a new discount item: Wal-Mart’s own brand of wine. The world’s largest retail chain is teaming up with E & J Gallo Winery of California, to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2-5 range. Wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to
throw a bottle of Wal-Mart brand into their shopping carts, but “there is a market for cheap wine”, said Kathy Micken, professor of marketing. She said:”But the right name is important.”

Customer surveys were conducted to determine the most attractive name for the Wal-Mart brand. The top surveyed names in reverse order of

Read the rest

The Weekend Eudemon

More great weather. It’s been a stunning spring so far.

But if the recent pattern holds, it means we’re heading for a dismal late spring or summer. Consider: We got hit real hard with snow and cold in November and December. Come January, things got incredibly mild and downright nice at points. Then March came, and it was nasty again; spring fever cooled off and we lamented a parade of 30-degree days. And now April is warm and dry. I’m guessing we’ll have a cool summer. But that’s just a wild guess. I’m not Ben Franklin and I don’t watch the Weather Channel.

And you know if I’m blogging about the weather, I don’t have much to say. Last night was dry, meteorologically and alcohologically. My wife and I went to the drinking club Thursday night for dinner and tall ones, and I have two parties to attend this evening, so I didn’t feel like drinking Friday. Instead, I sat outside and read Ong and Gheon.

I also did a little research about the fall of the Roman Empire. Two mainline sources say de-population was a major cause, but neither of them mention the possibility that falling birth rates–accentuated by abortion and contraception–contributed to the reduced population. Instead, they say war and plague did it. But we know from Cicero’s writings that abortion and contraception had become prevalent at the height of Roman power. I thought Roman families continued to be small after Cicero, at least compared to Roman families during Rome’s rise. Oh well. I’ll keep my eyes open. There’s a great article there, though I suspect it’s already been written. If anyone knows of such a piece, please email me. This isn’t esoteric stuff, so I gotta believe the issue has been addressed and probably even hotly debated.… Read the rest

Friday Humor

Some bad ones to use at the bar tonight:

A man walks into a bar holding a slab of asphalt and says, “A beer please, and one for the road.”

A neutron walks into a bar and asks for a beer. The bartender says, “For you, no charge.”

A jumper cable walks into the bar and asks for a bar. The bartender says, “Okay, but don’t start anything.”

Shakespeare walks into a bar and the bartender says, “You’re still bard here.”

A dyslexic alcoholic walks into a bra.

Courtesy of the most-recent issue of Gilbert Magazine.… Read the rest