Month: November 2008

Something for Sunday Morning

“When Christmas arrives, Our Lord should find us with everything in order and our soul fit to receive Him, just as He ought to find us in our final encounter with Him. We have to make what adjustment is required to correct the course of our lives and turn ourselves to God who also comes to us. Man’s whole existence is a constant preparing to see God, who draws ever closer.”

Francis Fernandez… Read the rest

From the Notebooks

notebook picture.jpgI believe people enjoy a certain measure of doubt or incertitude. This would make sense. As limited human beings, we simply cannot understand everything so it follows that we might enjoy reading things that we don’t fully apprehend. Put another way, we are “hard wired” for uncertainty, so we enjoy things that don’t give us the feeling that we understand it completely.

I could probably think of many examples, such as the popularity of worship services where the people cannot understand much of what is going on (Pentecostalism, for instance, where they speak in tongues, or the old Catholic Mass in Latin which was, no matter what anyone says about it, popular). The best example, I think, is the complicated movie that forces friends to talk about it afterwards. If it is a good movie of uncertainty—one that doesn’t hit you over the head but that doesn’t dishonestly cover the answer—the friends will eventually hit upon an answer, but they’ll enjoy the feeling of being empty of the full answer as they leave the movie theater.

That being said, I suspect a great movie of uncertainty can never be fully comprehended, just as the human condition cannot be fully comprehended. I know it’s that way with great literature. Flannery O’Connor, who was one of the greatest fiction writers of the twentieth century, said that even she doesn’t see all the levels of meaning in her stories. There’s a measure of uncertainty about them. A reader can read the story and follow it just fine, but there’s a level—or many levels—of meaning they cannot follow. … Read the rest

One Thing

I hear Mike and Mike in the Morning (ESPN radio talk show hosts) want the Thanksgiving Day game pulled from Detroit. I had always liked Mike and Mike, but, if you’ll excuse me, they’re bastards. Their argument: The Lions are so bad, they should be penalized and be forced to relinquish the Thanksgiving Day game.

My response: That’s precisely the reason you keep it there. It’s the only thing Lions fans have. Pathetic, but true. Mike and Mike want to punish the franchise, but they’re really just punishing the fans. We didn’t ask for seven years of Millen. We didn’t ask for fifty years of championship-less football. We’ve been saddled with it by incompetent franchise management. And now people like Mike and Mike want the NFL to pile on the misery . . . at a time when Detroit and Michigan are taking the brunt of the economic downturn and have been for a few years. And why do Mike and Mike want to inflict this emotional jar on the people of Michigan: So Mike and Mike can see a better game.

Petty bastards, the type of people that would steal someone’s household pet so they can pawn it for $5.

Link to the story that got me going this morning. Excerpt:

Eric Hipple spent nine seasons as quarterback for mediocre Lions teams, and he considers the Thanksgiving games among his happiest memories — big crowds, national television audience, holiday atmosphere.

Hipple feels torn by the debate over keeping the game in Detroit after such a poor run. He sees in the city’s economic mood an “impending feeling of doom. People are upset. The

Read the rest

Thanksgiving Day

It’s been a good year. I can’t deny that I’m concerned about the economic future, but for now, everything is good, and that’s enough for me. The past is gone and the future is always a land of hazy variables. The present–this moment, the Now, the holy present–is the only thing we can control. And at this moment, I’m happy and thankful. I hope all of you are, too.

I don’t blog on holidays, but I produce a handful of quotes. Keeping with that tradition:

“Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.” Samuel Johnson

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Gratitude is characteristic only of the humble. The egotistic are so impressed by their own importance that they take everything given them as if it were their due. They have no room in their hearts for recollection of the undeserved favors they received.” Fulton Sheen

“Draft day and Thanksgiving Day are the only good days to be a Detroit Lions fan.” Eric Scheske

Pray for the atheists today, their hardest day of the year. Anonymous

“When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.” St. Jerome

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart… Read the rest

Brews You Can Use: Special Black Wednesday Edition

Brews  You Can Use.jpgAh, the best time of the year: A four-day weekend yawns in front of America, as do an assortment of drinks. This college student tries to assess why people drink so much on Thanksgiving Eve. The writer totally misses the reason and is rather vulgar, but there’s some funny stuff in there.

Why is tonight the biggest drinking night of the year? Because the stars align: it’s the start of a four-day weekend, you’re seeing friends you don’t see as much as you’d like, you feel thankful, the holidays are beginning but this particular one doesn’t call for holy sobriety, the kids are home, there’s nothing to do outside, there hasn’t been a celebratory holiday in months. Am I missing any aligned stars? Feel free to put them in the comments box.

How appropriate that Casablanca premiered on this date in 1942. Bogart was a heavy drinker (see this link for humorous drinking bio).

Strasser: “What’s your nationality?”
Rick: “I’m a drunkard.”

Now get out there and drink a few. … Read the rest

Tuesday Miscellany

streetsign.jpgThe holidays approach. Not much time for blogging, and not much bloggable information out there. Personal responsibility took another step back: Canada ruled that fat people must get a free extra plane ticket and Citibank got more money. I can live with the fat person decision, but I’m not sure I can live with the Citibank one. I noticed that the President-elect said we’re in an “historic” economic crisis. He might be taking a lead from FDR’s playbook: Make things sound even grimmer than they are, so everyone gives you a free hand to do whatever you want (I read Crisis and Leviathan–the book referenced in the link–and Higgs presents facts and citations to back up everything he says; it was published by Oxford University Press). With a little luck, Obama will be able to saddle America with programs for the next 100 years, just like FDR did with social security. … Read the rest