Month: December 2007

Stuff for Saturday Morning

The newest exercise “craze” (that’s a little strong, but so be it): open-water swimming. My wife will vouch for it. When we vacation up north, she loves to swim in Lake Huron (assuming the water is smooth, of course). She says it’s an entirely different feeling that swimming in a pool. The link above touches on my wife’s experience.

There’s always something interesting in the dictionary. A little while ago I learned that “buttinsky” (as in, “Don’t be a buttinsky”) is a real word. It dates from 1902 and means, “one given to butting in; a troublesome meddler.” … Read the rest

The Friday Eudemon

Now that researchers have concluded that divorce is bad for the environment, Theodore Dalrymple humorously asks:

One of the interesting questions that this little piece of research poses is whether the environmentalist lobby will now throw itself behind the cause of family values. Will it, for example, push for the tightening of divorce laws, and for financial penalties—in the form, say, of higher taxes—to be imposed on those who insist upon divorcing, and therefore upon using 46 percent more electricity and 52 percent more water per person than married couples who stay together? Will environmentalists march down the streets with banners reading SAVE THE PLANET: STAY WITH THE HUSBAND YOU HATE?


I hear Dr. Phil is a pig, and he’s unoriginal. This op-ed on modesty goes a long way to proving it.

Brews You Can Use

With heavy drinking weather blowing across the land, it might be good remember when to say when. I generally dislike the BAL tests and such scientific approaches to drinking (it’s like taking a stop watch with you on your wedding night), but a few fundamental pieces of information might prove useful, especially if you need to drive after a few but want to stay legal.

Beer Picture of the Week

Snow Beer.jpgRead the rest

New Groeschel Book

My son Alex bought me a Benedict Groeschel book for Christmas: Spiritual Passages: The Psychology of Spiritual Development. I’ve only read the first twenty pages, but so far it has all the markings of an Eric Classic, which I define as a book uniquely situated for my situation: The subject matter interests me greatly and it hits the topic from an angle that is new to me, yet in a matter that is highly accessible to my level of learning. It provides a rush of new information or new frameworks with which to approach the subject matter, but it’s not written light years ahead of my understanding. So far, it’s a fast and easy read, but I’m constantly putting it down to think about what Groschel has written, so I suspect it’ll take me a month to get through it. Oh well, I hear the book is considered a classic in its field (first published in 1983), so there’s no reason to rush through it anymore than a person would rush through a bottle of fine wine. … Read the rest

Stephen and Christmas

When I was a kid, I was always depressed Christmas night and the day after, with my spirits gradually lightening as the new year approached. I don’t get depressed anymore, not at all. It’s odd, though: I intensely look forward to Christmas for a month, then I’m happy it’s mostly over and look forward to things returning to normal. Emotionally, it works out quite well.

My wife and I still remember our childhood post-Christmas blues, though, so we continue the Christmas celebration for the children. We get them a small gift (some re-gifts from previous years, many dollar store items, miscellaneous other things) for each of the “twelve days of Christmas,” with a more substantial gift for Epiphany (one that we held back on Christmas morning). It seems to work. We started the 12 Days of Christmas tradition as an after-thought, and the whole things costs a small fraction of the Christmas Day celebration, but the kids really enjoy it. It seems to take the edge of the let-down.

Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, incidentally. The good old Catholic Church loves its paradoxes: The day of intense joy followed by a day of sobering reality. Joy and martyrdom, love and hatred of love, Everlasting Life and grisly death.

Well, that’s it for today. I have to get to the office at some point. I hope everyone’s Christmas season is going well. … Read the rest

Christmas Eve

When I see stories like this, I think even the New York Times can be redeemed. A wonderful tribute to Benedict Groeschel, a man whose podcasts have become one of the high points of my week. Excerpt:

And so, when Father Groeschel and his crew of helpers went to the South Bronx for the 45th year on Saturday, this time with around 700 boxes of food and thousands of presents, the message was not just about the importance of service to the poor. It was also about the huge things that can come from tiny ones.

“As a psychologist, I have to say I have a Santa Claus complex,” Father Groeschel said on Friday, the calm day between the loading and delivering of the food and toys and their distribution. “But I never, ever anticipated that this would become anything like this.”


David Warren recounts Bethlehem’s un-interrupted Christian history, and it’s non-Christian plight currently. Warren is one of the best writers out there, and this story is one of saddest out there.

Don’t expect much at TDE this week. I will put up something new every day, but full-blown blogging won’t resume until 2008. I thoroughly enjoy this gig and am buoyed by my increased traffic figures, but Christ’s birth, family, friends and other joys (okay, beer) take priority.

A few Christmas Eve words of wisdom:

“For while all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course, thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne.” Book of Wisdom. “[This] passage, brimming with the mystery of the Incarnation, is wonderfully expressive of the infinite stillness that hovered over Christ’s birth. For the greatest things are accomplished in silence–not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but … Read the rest