Month: December 2012



I watched Boondock Saints last night for the first time. Excellent movie. Highly recommended. * * * * * * * Farmers, you’re irrelevant. Just ask the people in Boston and San Francisco. Midwesterners, you suck. Just ask the molders of public opinion in NYC and LA. Rural folk, you don’t matter. Just look at the 2012 election returns. It’s not a good situation, but at least a few people are taking notice of this terribly-backward situation. “Without small-town and rural America, the cities would not – could not – exist. At some point, we may have to remind our urban neighbors just how relevant we are to them.” Amen to that. * * * * * * * Of course, if we started holding back the food, Stalin the federal government would just come take it, possibly leaving the kulaks rural dwellers to starve. * * * * * * * Correction to something I wrote on Saturday: Greary doesn’t lay the blame for nationalist myths on the Enlightenment. He blames philologists of the 18th-19th centuries. I’m pretty sure he accepts the idea that the nationalist ideas started with monarchs attempting to consolidate power in the immediately-preceding centuries, but I might be projecting de Jouvenel’s observations. I haven’t had a chance to go back and re-read. … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“Luke’s Gospel account of the Christmas event is full of activity…And yet, in the middle of the frenetic action, here is this woman wrapped in mystical silence…She demonstrates the necessity of a quiet place within ourselves at Christmastime—that place where we are most ourselves in relation to God. It is a place of silence, not because it is untouched by all the activity of our lives, but because it is capable of wonder. Every prayer begins with silent wonder before it turns to words. Our first response to God is dumbstruck awe at who he is and what he has done for us.”

William Frebuger… Read the rest



I relaxed with the older kids last night and watched Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I thought it was going to be a humorous, campy movie, but it wasn’t. It was a true horror flick. The premise: The South is controlled in large measure by vampire plantation owners and slave dealers, who use the blacks as a steady source of blood, and Lincoln’s civil war efforts were largely driven by the desire to destroy the vampires (one of whom killed his mother). That’s not a bad movie premise, and it’s about as accurate as what many history textbooks teach about this era. * * * * * * * I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I’m greatly enjoying the early pages of Patrick Geary’s The Myth of Nations. The thrust of his book is that the idea of European nationhood is a fiction. Europe has always consisted of migrating groups (tribes, clans, hordes, etc.). The nations of “England,” “France,” “Germany,” and the others were artificial constructs of European governments (and their intellectual backers) that wanted to increase state power during the Enlightenment. De Jouvenel makes similar points in his On Power. I’m really looking forward to moving into this topic more.

Speaking of which: In a time when the relentless march of statehood continues, it’s no wonder politicians hate libertarians. The libertarians, I find, are the only lay people who understand–or at least intuit—that something has gone horribly awry with government. It’s not surprising, therefore, that at least one politician in New Hampshire is horrified that a group of libertarians is trying to make the state a bastion of, … Read the rest


A beer blogger recommended this beer as a good New Years Eve drink. New Years Eve drink? What makes this a NYE drink? The warming cloak? I mean, I understand Halloween beers (the pumpkin) and Christmas beers (the spices) and maybe even Thanksgiving beers (back to pumpkin), but a New Years Eve beer? That’s a bit trite, but no matter. I really dig the name: The Cloak of St. Martin.

Aside: If you haven’t read Gheon’s little book about St. Martin, you’re missing out. It’s excellent, one of the best saint biographies I’ve ever read.

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 the September 1923 issue of The Adelphi, the biographer Hesketh Pearson published what appeared to be a verbatim report of a private quarrel between Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw. (Shaw: “Have you any adequate excuse for not being drunk?”) In fact it was entirely Pearson’s invention. Chesterton was delighted and told Pearson that he ought to write his next book for him. However, the transcript was thought to be authentic by most readers, and to this day it is accepted and often quoted by Chesterton scholars. [Ian Hunter, Nothing to Repent, London: 1987, p. 94]… Read the rest


I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Not much this morning. Just this interesting list of 12 Must-See movies of 2012. I might also add The Hobbit, which I saw last Sunday, but it wasn’t nearly as good as any of the LOTR movies. The primary problem: deviations from the book. The LOTR movies deviated from the book at times, but mostly, in my opinion, because they needed to in order to keep the films at a reasonable length (e.g., the Dead didn’t go to Minas Tirith, but it would’ve been hard to explain how Aragorn came up with a sizable force without going into a lot of detail). The Hobbit, on the other hand, seems to add deviating material in order to stretch out the film. Overall, I found The Hobbit disappointing, but it’s still a good film. … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

“An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

“The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

Edward Hayes… Read the rest