Month: March 2012


streetsign.jpgThree Items

Anybody know much about Jacques Ellul? I was embarrassed to tell a loyal TDE reader that I’d never heard of him. He wrote over 50 books and over a thousand articles. He thought of himself as a Christian anarchist and was interested in technology and culture. It sounds like he’s kind of Rothbard and McLuhan wrapped up into one. I’ve ordered two of his books. I’ll let you know what I think.

So Keith Olbermann leaves another network. There are few people who strike me as an ass like Olbermann, and I don’t think it’s because he’s a flaming liberal. His personality is just obnoxious, and based on little nuggets I hear occasionally, it appears that the people who work with him agree.

In light of the Trayvon Martin affair, Pat Buchanan points out some awkward facts about race and crime. He’ll no doubt get branded a racist (oh wait, he already has been), but his facts reveal a fundamental truth: If you’re a rational being, you’re going to be a little more nervous around a young black male than, say, an old white guy. Excerpts: “Black males between 16 and 36, though only 2 to 3 percent of the population, are responsible for a third of all our crimes. . . . Geraldo Rivera had a point. Whenever cable TV runs hidden-camera footage of a liquor or convenience store being held up and someone behind the counter being shot, the perp is often a black male wearing a hoodie. . . . The real America is a country where the black crime rate is seven times as high as the white rate. It is a country where white criminals choose black victims in 3 percent of their crimes, but black criminals choose white victims … Read the rest


Pretty cool old wine ad I stumbled across yesterday. I took Marie to see “Jersey Boys” last night, so blogging is light. Great musical, btw.

Making Atheists

It’s hard to believe in a benevolent creator when you hear stories like this:

Among the casualties of the Argyle building fire last month were 6,800 wine bottles and 1,400 beer containers at The Wine Merchant.

All of them, full of beverage, are headed to a landfill, Wine Merchant co-owner Dan Matheny says. Their total value has not yet been assessed, but some individual wine bottles were worth $700.

All were contaminated with smoke from the Argyle, located just north of The Wine Merchant.

Wine corks and even screw caps are made to breathe to aid aging, he said. So the bottles breathed in the smoke. The contamination worsened when heavy smoke shut down The Wine Merchant’s temperature controls, exposing the wines in the ensuing days to the weather’s temperature fluctuations from freezing to near 70.

Corks, screw caps and bottles contracted and expanded in the rising and falling temperatures, allowing yet more smoke to seep into bottles.

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“Adults use email.” It seems like an odd thing to say, but I’ve been saying it to my teens. They use Facebook to communicate, with the result that they don’t check their email, even when they’re expecting emails from potential employers, coaches . . . or me. “Adults use email.” It flows off the tongue naturally after awhile. * * * * * * * The J. Geils Band and Catholic higher education: Thomas Moore College in New Hampshire (Zmirak’s hangout) is moving to Massachusetts. It will occupy agricultural land that used to belong to John Geils. * * * * * * * Funny Conan: “In Germany, a court has ruled that German police are allowed to racially profile citizens. But don’t worry. It’s Germany, so things shouldn’t get out of hand.” * * * * * * * Everyone’s talking about the Obamacare hearings at the Supreme Court and how they’re a train wreck for the administration. Sample. I’m not buying it. The Supreme Court, especially Kennedy, likes to surprise people. I’m predicting that the individual mandate gets upheld, 5-4. Just my gut instinct, born mostly of my pessimistic views of this country. I can’t imagine something as Statist as Obamacare getting struck down. * * * * * * * Quirky Corner: “In 1938, a pair of young cartoonists naively sold the rights to Superman to DC Comics for a paltry $130. Now, their cashed check is on the auction block — and could sell for millions.” Link. * * * * * * * This happened in my county: Two druggies are manufacturing meth on a river island. They flea cops on a paddle boat. That’s hilarious. I mean, I’ve done quite a few turns on a paddle boat. It ain’t … Read the rest


Stupid little hobby.

The Hunger Games last night. No time for blogging. Just this great little pic I took of an assortment of signs at a northern Indiana Italian restaurant last Saturday:

The movie, btw, is great. I didn’t read the books, so rest assured: you’ll enjoy the movie even if you didn’t read the books. The movie (and book, I’m told) is anti-State to the core. I love the depiction of the poverty-stricken outlying districts and the subsequent juxtaposition with the capital city, where opulence flourishes . . . at the expense of the districts. It reminds me that northern Virginia is now the wealthiest area in the United States (surpassing, I believe, even Silicon Valley). … Read the rest


The record: We went to war with Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction. After we won and searched, we found no weapons of mass destruction. But leading up to the war in Iraq, Saddam acted like he had weapons of mass destruction, even though he knew it meant war and that he would lose.

The whole thing makes no sense. I’m not the first person to analyze this, of course, but it seems to me that there are only two explanations (plus many variations) for this odd confluence of events:

(1) Saddam was, literally, mad and didn’t know what he was doing. This explanation is hard to believe. Saddam ruled a country and ruled it effectively, if ruthlessly. He defended his country and his reign, he tried to avoid capture, etc. In other words, he acted rationally in other areas, so it’s hard to believe that he was completely off his rocker.

(2) We, the American people, didn’t receive accurate information from the media. This is the explanation that makes sense to me, but I don’t know why we didn’t receive correct information. Either the media was misled (accidentally or on purpose), or the media received accurate information, but gave us disinformation (either negligent, recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally). Which one?

Beats me, but let’s look at a different story. After Tiger Woods’ wife tried to beat him with a golf club, the story about the true Tiger Woods came out. He wasn’t a scion of virtue and hard work. He was a cad who didn’t work nearly as hard as the media had led us to believe. We also learned that it was known by people in media, but the media didn’t expose the story.

Why? I don’t know. I’ve heard its because journalists don’t want to expose … Read the rest


Prices and Pot

Menu Prices

When Marie and I were dating, we used to go out to eat for $20, and that normally included a beer for each of us and the tip. I’m talking about middling restaurants, of the Chi Chi or Bennigan’s type. I distinctly remember that $20 was the magic number because, as a poor college kid, I’d always make sure I had at least $20 in my wallet before taking her out.

Those days are gone, obviously, but it seems restaurant prices today are skyrocketing and portions are shrinking. I have little doubt that they’re merely reflecting rising food costs. According to this article, food prices went up 5% last year, but I have a hard time believing it was merely 5%. Based on the restaurant prices I’m seeing, I would’ve thought the increase was closer to 20%. I’ve talked to other people who have expressed similar sticker shock when looking at the menu prices of their favorite restaurants.

Just one of the many times that I’ve scratched my head and grown skeptical that we’re receiving correct information from the media. More on this point tomorrow.

Marijuana and the Church

According to The Atlantic, the Pope denounced drug violence during his trip to Mexico. From the New York Times:

For his audience in Mexico, where Catholics are distraught over the deaths of 50,000 people since the government’s war against drug cartels began in late 2006, Pope Benedict emphasized that Mexico’s violence was caused by greed. The church, he told reporters on the papal plane, has a “great responsibility” in a country that is 83 percent Catholic to guide young people away from that false promise, “to educate the conscience, teach moral responsibility and strip off the mask, the idolatry of money that enslaves

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Best Vocalist

While drinking and enjoying some old tunes late yesterday afternoon, I pondered this question: Who’s the greatest pop/rock male vocalist of the 20th century? Jim Reeves? Marty Robbins? Johnny Mathis? Sam Cooke? Roy Orbison?

I’m talking about pure singing talent, not most popular, the kind of voice that even an opera fan would appreciate as beautiful. The lists that I located online that include Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, or Bob Dylan are prima facie not relevant to my query.


Are you going to The Hunger Games? I am. My family is really into the series. Marie thinks the books are libertarian to the core: it’s what happens when the central government gets too strong and the principle of subsidiarity is smashed. That’s good enough for me and, although I won’t read the books, I’ll get a secondhand appreciation for them through the films.

The books, of course, are part of the dystopian genre, which I enjoy: 1984 (which The Hunger Games might replace as the most popular dystopian story of all time), Brave New World, Idiocracy. I always meant to read the novels of Philip Dick, but I never got around to it.

Catholic novelists should have an edge in this area: as our government and culture turn increasingly against our Catholic heritage, the world will fall apart. If you don’t believe that, you’re not Catholic. If you do believe that, it gives you an edge on what that world will look like, since you know why it fell apart. Any Catholic dystopian writers out there?

If so, now is the time to get that book to an agent. From a newsletter service I subscribe to:

Turns out that in 2012, dystopia is back… at least in the estimation of the bookworms who populate

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