Month: January 2011

Monday

Rush LimbaughSloping Toward Rush

“Ching chong, ching chong cha.” That’s Rush Limbaugh, imitating the Chinese Communist leader, before launching into a 20-second imitation of the Chinese language . . . an imitation that hasn’t sat well with the Left. Link. Rush, though, seems to regret it: “The next day, Limbaugh said he ‘did a remarkable job’ of imitating China’s president for someone who doesn’t know” the language. That slays me. I hardly count myself a “Ditto Head,” but I enjoy the show. Don’t change, Rush, and don’t apologize. * * * * * * * Hayek Corner. The superiority of decentralized knowledge. An analogy, using the thermostat. * * * * * * * Cut ‘Em Up. Credit card “interest rates are now hovering near record highs, at an average rate of 14.72%. And if your credit is bad enough, you could even end up with a rate as high as 59.9% APR.” Here’s an idea: Don’t use ’em. And here’s an even better idea: Don’t get bad credit. Show constraint in your spending, get married before having a kid, and work hard. If you combine those magic ingredients, you’ll almost always avoid bad credit. Sure, there are cases of hard luck, where a person does everything right and still gets hit financially (e.g., uninsured medical expenses), but typically, 60% interest rates are only for the loan shark clientele, and they’re loan shark clientele for a reason. * * * * * * * Storm. My gosh, I’ve been hearing about this snow storm for 24 hours already, and it’s still more than 24 hours away. Dang it. I just got my driveway cleared off. * * * * * * * A Liberal I Can Hang With. Check out this voice on the Left: … Read the rest

Friday

Sink the BismarckOne and Done

Watch for these beers: “Tactical Nuclear Penguin.” “Sink The Bismarck.” “The End Of History.” “Start the Future.” They’re the worlds strongest beers, hitting as high as 60% alcohol (120 proof). People are calling them “superbeers,” and brewers are competing to create the strongest one. I highly recommend this article that discusses a handful of the concoctions and the beer-crafting one-upmanship phenomenon that is getting beer drinkers drunker quicker. Excerpt:

The End Of History
After losing the crown to Schorschbräu again after just a weeks, Brew Dog seemed irritated and decided to go for the knockout punch. The brewers say that “this 55 percent (ABV) beer should be drank in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence … this is to be enjoyed with a weather eye on the horizon for inflatable alcohol industry Nazis, judgmental washed up neo-prohibitionists or any grandiloquent, ostentatious foxes.” Indeed.

The name of this beer comes from philosopher Francis Fukuyama, who defined history as the evolution of political systems. He traced this through the ages to the Western Democratic system that Fukuyama considers the end point of man’s political evolution and consequently the end of history. Brew Dog has said that The End of History is the last high-ABV beer it will brew and considers it the end point of how far it can push the boundaries of extreme brewed beer.

Only 12 bottles of this expensive ($780) blonde Belgian ale were brewed, using nettles from the Scottish Highlands and juniper berries. Because this beer is so rare, it comes with its own certificate of authenticity and is packaged in road kill, because what better way to enjoy an expensive and rare beverage than drinking it out of a stuffed squirrel? Never have taxidermy and alcohol been mixed in such

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Thursday

The Vat

My firm subscribes to the New Yorker. A recent issue featured this piece about the Vatican library, “God’s Librarians.” It’s good, especially for a magazine that isn’t terribly friendly toward Rome. Oh sure, there are little digs here and there, and the cultural biases of the publication shine at times, but for the most part, it’s great reading with very little that is objectionable. Unfortunately, only an abstract of the piece is available online. You might want to check back periodically and see if they put the whole thing up eventually. Basically, the article gives a brief history of “the Vat” and recounts the massive recent attempts to modernize the library and digitalize its holdings. * * * * * * * Wow, this might be the most-fascinating legal story of the past ten years: states revisiting the doctrine of nullification. I’ve listened to Thomas Woods speak about his new book, Nullification. He makes some pretty good arguments in support of it, but I just figured it was a pipe dream. I might have to look into it a little more. * * * * * * * That’s it for today. Things are rather hectic at the office right now. Drinking fare tomorrow.

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Wednesday

laotzu.jpgWoe the Man with Halitosis

I found a book on sports psychology at the library last week. It could aptly be called, “The Tao and Sports.” Because the Tao has long intrigued me (note), I checked it out. I suspect it’ll be a lot of fluff, but two early chapters–breathing and visualization–have resonated with me. The writers put a lot of emphasis on a slow breathing exercise, followed by visualizing aspects of your game. It takes about ten minutes, and the writers say it could improve one’s game more than actual practice. I mentioned it to two friends (both good Christian men, solid guys who have no truck with new age hokum) and both of them agreed it has credibility.

What really intrigued me, though, was the breathing part. The use of controlled breathing plays a large part in Taoist mediation and Zen meditation (Zen is the offspring of harsh Indian Buddhism and light-hearted Chinese Taoism). I also remembered reading that Eastern Orthodox monks put a fair amount of emphasis on breathing, especially when practicing The Jesus Prayer. Nicephorous the Solitary in the fourteenth century gave the whole psychosomatic practice a huge push, citing the logic that the lungs lie around the heart, so air passing through them envelops the heart and therefore helps lead to prayers of the heart.

So, I know there’s a tradition of breathing meditation in Taoism, Zen, and Eastern Orthodoxy. There’s also a breathing meditational tradition in Hinduism, Sufism, and probably mystical Judaism. But is there a breathing meditational tradition in Catholicism? I searched through a couple of Catholic resources, but nothing popped up. The best I could find was a statement by Fr. Groeschel (in Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With the Saints). When preparing to make a Holy … Read the rest

Tuesday

literatureCatholic Arts and Letters Weekly

Athletes like to text and twitter. Why? Because they’re dumb jocks. Maybe. . . . more

Communists. Cultural Marxists. Progressives. All the same: totalitarians, intent on subjugating the masses. . . . more

States are permitted to make their own money, as long as they’re gold and silver coins. Virginia has the gold bug. . . . more

Britain’s rulers have small children living at home. Most unusual. And it’s even affecting public discourse. . . . more

They’re talented. They’re rich. And they deserve all that money. Even when the government has to spend billions to bail them out. The wealthy think they deserve it all. . . . more

One of the greatest pranksters of all time, a disturbed individual, a criminal, or all four. He forges great art, but not for profit. . . . moreRead the rest

Monday

Barbarians at the Gate

Alan Greenspan returns to his libertarian roots more and more each day. The stunner quote: “We have at this particular stage a fiat money which is essentially money printed by a government and it’s usually a central bank which is authorized to do so. Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced, either a gold standard or a currency board, because unless you do that all of history suggest that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity… There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly believe that we did very well in the 1870 to 1914 period with an international gold standard.” Link. As the article points out, Greenspan has joined a number of gold-standard fans: Jim Grant (considered by many the most-influential finance journalist today), World Bank president Robert Zoellick, and Howard Buffett (Warren’s dad). Not a bad fan base for a mere “barbarous relic.” I gotta believe it makes Paul Krugman apopleptic with rage. All the idiocy. No one, of course, besides him can see with crystal clarity. If the rest of the world would merely fall in line with Keynesianism, everything would be just fine. We haven’t, you see, really given it a thorough try. It’s like Communism. It just hasn’t been implemented properly. We need Krugmanites to do it, and then everything would be just fine. * * * * * * * New Book. Walter Williams has published his autobiography, Up from the Projects. I recently vowed not to buy any more books, since I’ve been enjoying visits back to books that I read long ago (two are linked below) and re-reading passages. But I might have to make an exception for this book. … Read the rest