Month: October 2012


I recently ran across this passage by Fr. Benedict Groeschel: “The account of the Ascension brings us to the edge of physical matter. No scientist would ever be so foolish as to give an explanation of the nature of physical matter, which is one of science’s great mysteries. Therefore, any appeal to physics to deny the Resurrection or the Ascension is absurd. We do not know what matter itself is.” The Rosary, Ignatius Press (2003), p. 79.

I’ve never claimed to be a philosopher, but I have read a lot of philosophy–though perhaps more in the vein of Otto West than Etienne Gilson. Yet I’ve never stumbled across this (seemingly) fundamental philosophical issue: What is matter? There’s the question of how do we categorize the matter we see (the problem of universals); the problem of what, ultimately, is there; the problem of knowledge in general; the mind-body problem; free will; etc. But I don’t recall reading about the nature of matter. I suspect I have, but I either simply don’t remember it or I didn’t know what I was reading about (reference back to Otto).

PM Revisited

I get inquiries occasionally about metal investing. I don’t write about it as much as I used to, primarily because I scaled back my metal investments after silver went north of $30 an ounce. I had planned on accumulating a lot more precious metals, but I didn’t like the stress of storing it: for safety reasons, I didn’t like to keep it around my house. So I put the bullion in a bank safe deposit box and stopped buying once the box was full (then shifted over … Read the rest

Picture Tuesday

The kids’ jack-o-lanterns:

I discovered last weekend that the iPhone 5 camera has a “panorama” setting. I took these pictures on Sunday: one from my front yard (facing our neighborhood), one from my back deck (showing my dormant garden).

And finally, received in an email:

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I was flipping through a backlog of magazines on Saturday while watching the excellent slate of sporting events. I ran across all sorts of interesting stuff, like this ranking by Forbes of the best cities to do business. The following metropolitan areas ranked 1-10: Provo, UT; Raleigh, NC; Fort Collins, CO; Des Moines, IA; Denver, CO; Ogden, UT; Lincoln, NB; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Nashville, TN. * * * * * * * Three California cities (Stockton, Modesto, and Merced) are in the bottom five. * * * * * * * Is it a coincidence that the best cities to live in are in “red states” and the worst places are in “blue states”? Hardly. Society breaks down when government ramps up. * * * * * * * From the same back issue of Forbes, more evidence that, hopefully, the higher education system as we know it is breaking down under the assault of the Internet. The system would have collapsed a few years ago, and tuition prices would have fallen through the floor, but a corrupt and compromised accreditation system keeps a jackboot on the neck of online schools. . . . in hopes of keeping their clientele fat and happy and wholly unaccountable for skyrocketing tuition expenses. But that might be changing because, now, the elite schools are launching online learning. The accreditation Nazis might have a hard time saying that the likes of Stanford and Duke don’t meet the minimum requirements. … Read the rest



You want to revitalize the Catholic Church? Get rid of the organ, says this op-ed piece. I don’t agree with a chunk of it (goodness knows, we don’t need more folk guitar music in church), but overall, it’s a pretty cogent and funny piece. * * * * * * * Great bar tricks to win free drinks from friends. * * * * * * * “Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president. This news surprised many elderly Americans who thought they were the same person.” Ferguson. * * * * * * * You been over to Unz lately? Man, they’re adding all sorts of old magazines every week. Yesterday, I saw The Abolitionist. I clicked on it, thinking I’d get some anti-slavery thing, but instead realized I was reading a radical libertarian magazine from 1970-1971. It was a short-lived rag. I didn’t read much of it, but based on what I saw, it was pretty off-color. * * * * * * * Am I the only one who’s kind of hoping the NFL implodes by its own hubris? Between the pink onslaught and the Thursday night games, I’m really getting fed up with professional football. * * * * * * * This blogger sympathizes with the dilemma of not voting versus voting for the lesser-of-two-evils. His solution is simple: If you live in a state where your vote won’t make a difference (e.g., if you’re in California), then vote your conscience. Otherwise, you’re stuck with the dilemma. * * * * * * * Unfortunately, Michigan is definitely a swing state.

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Do you like the craft beer movement but are stunned by the prices? Costco might have the answer. A TDE reader tells me you can pick up a case of Kirkland craft beer for $20. Not bad, not bad at all. Of course, I don’t know how it tastes, but Kirkland has a reputation for making quality at a low price.

You like mint with your beer? Me neither, but one review says the new Stone Mint Imperial Stout is “fantastic.” “I did not have huge expectations for a mint-flavored drink, but this beer, brewed with fresh mint leaves and chocolate made in southern California, is fantastic.”

I never listened the Grateful Dead while growing up, but I started appreciating their music more about five years ago (I decided to try their American Beauty after the last TV episode of Freaks and Geeks, which revolved around a couple of teenage girls deciding to become dead heads for a summer). Anyway, there’s now a beer dedicated to them:

Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has been jammin’ out on musically inspired beers for the past few years, each containing unique ingredients that reflect the music or history of a particular artist.

The brewery just announced their latest tune-tribute brew, an Imperial Pale Ale called American Beauty (named after the Dead album), crafted to pay tribute to the Grateful Dead.

Link. … Read the rest


Man, gorgeous weather. My garden is now entirely put to bed for the winter. Everything is covered with wood chips, leaves, and/or grass clippings. I’ve dug compost into a few areas that strike me as particularly depleted, and I’ve formed a few compost hills in the garden. It’s looking pretty good. I’ll add some straw for good measure, and I’ll keep composting (I hope to haul in scores of pumpkins after Halloween), but basically, gardening for 2012 is done.

The new abolitionism: Stomp out the sex slave trade? End abortion? No: prohibit the use of all animals. It takes a certain kind to come up with stuff like this.

Kinda related: the history of philosophy in 34 tweets.

I had a few extra minutes yesterday evening before heading out for a meeting, so I surfed some blogs that I hadn’t visited in awhile. I went to Mangan’s and discovered that it’s now invite-only. That’s the second time I’ve encountered an invite-only blog. What’s up with that? I guess I could see the benefit of invite-only, but it seems kind of counter-intuitive. If you’re trying to build traffic, shouldn’t you make it easy for people to access it? Then again, if people get the feeling that they’re part of an exclusive club, maybe that adds to the charm. Hard to say.

I haven’t bought a Joseph Epstein book in years. I love his collections of essays, and he has a new one. I might have to break down and get it. Only $8.69 on Kindle, containing 600 pages of Epstein prose. That’s less than 1.5 cents a page.

After my last “Why I … Read the rest


Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He recently gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.

Chesterton Short(s)

In 1981, according to a local Australian Radio Guide, a radio adaptation of The Man Who Was Thursday was broadcast on April 18, 7:30 P.M., on ABC Radio 2’s “World Theatre.” Chesterton’s novel was dramatized by Tony Evans and featured Edgar Metcalfe as Gabriel Syme and Ray Long as President Sunday. [The Chesterton Review, November, 1981, pp. 360-61.] As some Chesterton fans may recall, an earlier radio dramatization of The Man Who Was Thursday was broadcast on Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater, September 5, 1938 (just a few weeks before Welles’ famous radio recreation of The War of the Worlds). Frank Brady’s 1989 biography, Citizen Welles, offers some interesting sidelights on this broadcast. Chesterton’s novel was the last production of the Mercury Radio Theatre’s inaugural season. Brady credits Welles’ “splendid adaptation” of Thursday (“one of the finest shows of the season”) with the last minute decision by CBS to renew the Mercury Theatre series. Furthermore, according to Brady, “Welles had great affinity for the works of Chesterton and decided to write the adaptation himself, allowing no assistance.” [New York, p. 144]

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