Month: April 2012


Weekend Miscellany

Glorious day: Very few commitments, other than two girls soccer games. If I get out in time, I’ll stroll over to the high school baseball field and volunteer in the concession stand for awhile. It’s supposed to be 56 and sunny with zero chance of precipitation.

In fact, there’s virtually no precipitation in the forecast for the rest of the month, and it’s already been a dry April. I’ve seen drought references here and there. Are we looking at a potential drought this summer? I’m thinking about getting a rain barrel for the garden. Anyone have any thoughts?

GKC Lecture

This event is taking place just two hours from my driveway: “G.K. Chesterton on Humor,” by Ian Ker. I like humor, I like GKC, and I like Ker. Alas, it starts at 8:00 my time, which means I’d be exiting south Chicago in the dark and getting home around midnight, on a work night. That wouldn’t happen even for a live Elvis show.

I obviously don’t know what Ker is going to say, but I assume he’s going to hammer home the idea that the mind is struck by incongruity. Chesterton pointed that out: incongruity is the fulcrum of laughter. I think this point is well illustrated in today’s comedy world of randomness, when funny guys throw out things from left field for humorous effect.

More Humor

I’m not a big … Read the rest



Walgreens is getting rid of wine. Marie picked me up these bottles of Liberty Creek sweet red. Pretty sweet find. I plan on cracking one tonight, unless I opt for the Barefoot sweet red that Walgreens was also blowing out.

Brutal week. Due to some administrative incompetence, a cracked tooth turned into an infected tooth, so I had to go in for an unexpected root canal yesterday morning. Kinda ruined my day. I felt drinking last night, but I was just too whipped. I ended up going to bed before 9:00.

We’ve all seen the articles about how moderate drinking improves your health, but did you know it also improves your thinking? Now that’s revolutionary, but it might true: “Drinking alcohol may enhance a person’s problem solving skills, according to a new study. Scientists found that men who either drank two pints of beer or two glasses of wine before solving brain teasers not only got more questions right, they also were quicker in delivering correct answers, compared to men who answered the questions sober.”

I plan on solving a few riddles tonight. … Read the rest


notebooks.jpgFrom the Notebooks

In The Guinea Pig Diaries, A.J. Jacobs engages in intense experiments of the subjective sort: he uses himself, the guinea pig, to test ideas and phenomenon. Each chapter of the book describes the results. In “My Outsourced Life,” he wants to know what it’s like to outsource work, so he hires two workers from India and outsources his drab editorial and personal chores. And what did he discover? He discovered that young Americans have some stiff competition on the horizon.

In “Whipped,” Jacobs does everything his wife asks for thirty days, just to find out what it’s like to give oneself fully to another. And what did he discover? He discovered that he started to love her even more than before.

But it’s an observation at the end of the book that really resonated with me. He wrote, “It goes back to a recurring theme I’ve found in almost all my experiments: behavior shapes your thoughts.” It was the same point C.S. Lewis once made. Lewis observed that, even if people aren’t nice or generous or charitable, they can attain the particular virtue if they pretend to be. If they behave like they’re nice, they’ll start becoming nice. Their inner life, in other words, will come to match their outward appearance. In the words of German theologian Romano Guardini, “Gesture reaches from the hand back to the heart.”

In an age … Read the rest


Whew. I have a backlog of great articles to mention. Some new, some a bit older. I’m going to take a triple chomp out of the backlog this morning. Here we go . . .


I’m repeatedly enthused about young Ross Douthat. The Catholic convert and Chesterton fan has written a book about how bad religion is destroying America. Am I tempted to buy it? Sure. It looks good, but I’m going to stick to my guns and hew to a dozen writers and a handful of topics.

Wal-Mart? No, That’s the Government

Wal-Mart leads to hate crime? That’s the theory: “because big-box stores drive away small businesses, they also contribute to the erosion of community values, civil engagement and social bonds, allowing for hate group activity to rise.” Sorry, folks, I seriously doubt that’s the case, though you are onto something. When folks need each other less, they turn on each other more. But that’s why big government is evil. Something like it might occur in a community with a big box store, but the effects of a Wal-Mart are de minimis when compared to the effects of our current State.

This from WaPo?

The Washington Post allowed a great piece of satire to run in its pages recently: Fix income inequality with $10 million loans for everyone! The approach is good enough for Wall Street, why not Main Street? Excerpt: … Read the rest


Anarchists in NYC

Tolstoy, Ellul, Proudhon, Rothbard. Those are just a few of the anarchists that have eschewed violence and revolution. There have been many others. No matter. Anarchists have been consistently painted by the press as violent scoundrels. It raises the real specter of the intertwined pillars of power (government, press, business . . . with higher education recently joining the old boys), but no matter. The important thing to note is that our culture’s knee-jerk reaction toward anarchism is remarkably negative.

The weekend hijinks in New York won’t help matters, of course, but I find it curious that the anarchists attacked Starbucks. Isn’t that the symbol of capitalist privilege? Are these anarchists or socialists? My hunch is, they’re both: socialists who want to achieve their vision through anarchy. Such thinking has a revered place in anarchist thinking (Proudhon and Godwin come to mind). … Read the rest



If you live in northern Indiana or southwestern Michigan, you might want to check out the 9th Annual Men’s Conference in Kalamazoo this weekend. I know the people who are putting it together. You can expect a reverent, orthodox, entertaining, and well-organized event. Patrick Madrid is the main speaker. Event’s Facebook page. * * * * * * * Between the anti-baby forces unleashed by Sanger and the anti-people forces unleashed by Malthus, large families have had their ideological work cut out for them. The effort to cut through the canards is like cutting through a web of thick twine that keeps regenerating itself. Perhaps the strongest cord of canards is the idea that large populations sap wealth. It’s simply not the case. A recent post by an economist at George Mason helps put another nail into this coffin that won’t stay slammed shut. * * * * * * * From the same blog, words that sing to my heart: Politicians are reprobates, so why do we trust them?Practitioners of no other profession are accorded more honor, respect, and (most importantly) power while at the same time being held to such low standards of ethical behavior. Actions that, when committed by the family dog, properly elicit scolding or muzzling or even eviction from the premises are, when committed by an elected official, greeted with oohs, aahhs, applause, and re-election Read the rest