Month: April 2008

The Wednesday Eudemon

“Sandwich days.” That’s what I call this time of year because my day is “sandwiched” by obligations. I have to get the kids to school at 7:30 a.m. then be some place in the late afternoon, leaving no time for anything except running. This week is an amazing whirl: Meg (7) soccer game at 5:30 last night; Jack (11) baseball at 5:30 tonight (I have the practice gear; gotta get there early); serving the Thursday 8:30 Communion service at church, Abbie (13) Exchange Club citizenship award at noon and soccer practice in evening, all children to church May Crowning ceremony; Jack baseball practice Friday. Relax on the weekend? Almost: Meg soccer game Saturday morning, Abbie away soccer game Saturday afternoon, two First Communion parties to attend, two kids have mandatory physicals. Sunday? Jack serves at 8:30 Mass, Godson getting confirmed at 10:30 Lutheran service, Godson confirmation party at 12:30.

Michael’s (9) baseball season starts next week.

Put a fork in me.

If I ever start to complain, my wife always (oh so gently) tells me to be grateful my kids are healthy and happy. If that doesn’t do it, she increases the rhetoric: You could be without work or one of our parents could die! If that doesn’t work, she plays hard ball: You could have testicular cancer and have three months to live! That one usually brings me around a bit.
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Hippies, like, moan the world over, dude: Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD has died. He was 102. Hoffman first tripped at age 37 and defended the drug the rest of his life. “He himself took the drug — purportedly on an occasional basis and out of scientific interest — for several decades.” That slays me: “out of scientific interest.” Strictly scientific research, like … Read the rest

Tuesdays with the Eudemon

Actually, I should call this post “Tuesdays with the Anti-Eudemon.” Not a lot of fun stuff out there today.

Great piece over at City Journal about “creeping sharia.” Excerpt:

[T]he Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, Kho­meini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies’ basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.

The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particular—the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed—have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideology—which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressive—people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmis—infidels living in Muslim societies.

Call it a cultural surrender. The House of War is slowly—or not so slowly, in Europe’s case—being absorbed into the House of Submission.

He then offers a parade of evidence, some of it hard (or not so hard) to believe: “Back in 2001, Unni Wikan, a distinguished Norwegian cultural anthropologist and Islam expert, responded to the high rate of Muslim-on-infidel rape in Oslo by exhorting women to ‘realize that we live in a multicultural society and … Read the rest

Monday Miscellany

I’ve long been fascinated with the question, “How ought one to spend his time?” It used to be a fascination born of bitterness: volunteer organizations would ask me spend time helping with X or Y, not realizing my schedule was so full with writing projects and family obligations that I had nearly no time in an average week for those things other people indulge copiously: TV, golf, fishing, sitting in bars, hunting. I’m no longer bitter (primarily because I don’t get asked much anymore; I think the presence of seven children helped label me officially “busy”–hence my very real seven anchors did something for me that an idealistic life of letters couldn’t). Nonetheless, I’m still interested in how people ought to spend their time. I’ve concluded that they ought to spend it trying to become saints, but for those whose goals aren’t so lofty?

Hard to say, but in a loosely-related vein, some people have been thinking about “cognitive surplus.” It’s an interesting concept that says, “Modern gadgets have left you with a lot more mental energy and time than your ancestors.” I first heard of cognitive surplus yesterday, here. Excerpt:

[I]f you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. . . . And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. . . . People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of this asset that’s finally being dragged into what Tim calls an architecture of participation.

It’s a peculiar psychosis … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

Whoever wishes to carry the cross for his sake must take up the proper weapons for the contest, especially those mentioned here. First, diligence; second, distrust of self; third, confidence in God; fourth, remembrance of Passion; fifth, mindfulness of one’s own death; sixth, remembrance of God’s glory; seventh, the injunctions of Sacred Scripture following the example of Jesus Christ in the desert.

St. Catherine of Bologna… Read the rest

Saturday

For those somewhat new to TDE, you should be aware that I don’t “officially” blog on Saturday. I don’t know what I mean by “officially” (it’s not as if I produce high literature Monday through Friday). I guess it basically means I’ll toss up an item or two on Saturday morning, and I don’t much care about the quality.

The Saturday acedia started last Fall, when I was facing two months of junior football and soccer Saturdays. I knew I simply wouldn’t be able to produce good Saturday posts and attend to my children. After the Fall season ended, the Saturday posts picked up a bit, but now I’m back into the sports season. TDE readers can expect a slight fall-off on Saturday mornings.
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I drank beer on the front porch yesterday and gambled (all funzies, of course) with my nephews (aged 15 and 22) next door. I gave them high odds for outlandish basketball shots. My three oldest boys (14, 11, 9) soon joined in. It turned into a loud and fun evening, went on for nearly two hours, with music blaring from my living room through the front windows, and as much as $30 in the pool riding on one shot. I wasn’t keeping track, but I think I’m the only one who lost money. My boys later told me they all broke even or won a dollar or two. I looked at my wallet, and it was a bit thinner. Probably the result of my greater beer absorption (six Leinenkugel’s). Oh well, all the money stayed in the family, and my younger boys are closer to understanding the concept of odds (Me: “Michael, 6 to 1 means you have to give him $1.50 if he makes it, and he only gives you a quarter if he … Read the rest

Brews You Can Use

Bring a bullet to bite: Eleven of the manliest cocktails in the world. Sample: Kentucky Tea: One mason jar halfway full of moonshine. Fill the jar with branch water.
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You might have a drinking problem if . . . your 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient died because you went on a liquor run.
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No shocker here: Brewery named best place in America to work: New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale, is the best place to work in America on Outside magazine’s (www.outsideonline.com) inaugural “Best Places to Work” list. The magazine conducted extensive surveys – based on benefits such as free take-home beer, compensation, job satisfaction, consistent yet manageable inebriation levels among employees, environmental initiatives, beer availability, beer paraphernalia, and community beer outreach programs – designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the country.
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That rice/food shortage I mentioned yesterday isn’t just hurting Budweiser (which is rice-based, I’m told). It’s hurting bars across America. Well, kind of. It’s hurting bars that double as restaurants. From the Wall Street Journal:

The $558 billion restaurant industry is hitting rough times, squeezed by many of the same woes affecting other sectors of the economy: tightfisted consumers, scarce credit and surging commodity prices. Adding to the pressure is a big jump in the minimum wage starting this summer, which will boost wages by 12% in some states.

That’s sent the industry into its worst slump in decades. Many chains have scaled back expansion plans or cut costs by skimping on things like extra sauce and free sour cream. Some are shuttering sites and laying off workers.

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Also from WSJ: Beer blogging at Miller.
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London’s smallest pub is for sale. Just in case you’re looking for a business opportunity.

The area around

Read the rest

Thursday

Happy birthday to my dear, long-suffering, mother. She has lung problems, she has husband problems (the guy acts like me!). But she takes Stoic suffering to new heights, bolstered with a moderate amount of wine and a solid Christian faith. She’s a good Mom, though my wife (good-naturedly) insists I was spoiled and still am. Perhaps, but only a testament a mother’s affection and, so far, the effects haven’t been tooooo bad. Happy birthday, Mom.
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I guess I’ve had my head in the paddy. There’s a rice shortage? I would’ve thought that as likely as a sand shortage, but it’s apparently getting bad.
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Based on the stories above, I guess the forecast calls for a lot more girls: The study suggests a woman’s high-calorie diet around the time of conception might increase the odds of a boy. Now I understand why I (sigh) have four boys.
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The hood and the digital camera. First filmed beatings, now this: A Florida man is facing elder abuse charges after he allegedly filmed his senile 85-year-old grandmother wearing a ski mask and holding a gun for a “Gangstas and Thugs” street DVD series.
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Wow, this is so twisted, it’s hard to know where to begin: Swiss couples are flocking back to church – to get divorced. An official liturgy for divorce ceremonies is being developed because many couples want to end their marriages where they started. I’ll just reference Mark 10 and move on.
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But divorce is a private matter, right? Just an issue between consenting adults. What do the rest of us care?

For the better part of a week, outdoor activities were off-limits for the 500 students at Town and Country Elementary. Classroom doors were locked. Students couldn’t wait for parents at dismissal

Read the rest

The Wednesday Eudemon

Was this a hospital emergency room or a scene from Prison Inmates Gone Wild? Brian Persaud received eight stitches for a cut over his eyebrow, but denied hospital staffers’ request to exam his rectum, his lawyer Gary DeFilippo said. Doctors said the exam would help determine if there was spinal damage. In the suit Persaud claimed he was held down while resisting the exam and begging “Please don’t do that.” He hit a doctor in the scuffle and a powerful sedative was administered before he was given thel exam anyway.
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I don’t like reptiles. I don’t even like to hold toads. This would’ve sent me packin’ for Alaska: Authorities say 69-year-old central Florida woman found an 8-foot long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night.
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I have a browser bookmark folder that I call “Online Library.” It holds lengthier articles that I plan to read at some point, articles that contain information that I’ll want to access later, and digital books. I added this nifty site this morning: Digital Classics, a library of “electronic leather” (whatever that means). Nice collection, though the pages aren’t searchable (unless maybe you download a book, a feature I haven’t tried yet).
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Calling all nerds: Pictures of some of the world’s finest libraries. Beautiful shots, and I suspect you don’t have to be a nerd to appreciate them.

library.jpg
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Well, this is welcomed news: The Scouts have enjoyed a surge in popularity following the introduction of a range of new activities, with the result that thousands of young people are stuck on waiting lists. Badges in daredevil pursuits such as snowboarding, para­scending and street sports have led to the biggest rise in membership for 22 years, according to the latest census of British Scouts. The beer bong and … Read the rest