Month: February 2013


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)

Here is an excerpt from the diary of C.S. Lewis for May 14, 1922: “I read Chesterton’s Magic through. A pleasant little play—I am not sure I understand it. Afterwards I began to read The Road to Endor, the account of two British officers’ escape from Yosgad in Asia Minor by means of faked spiritualism. The irony of reading this and Magic on the same day was quite unintentional.” [All My Road before Me, 1922-1927, London: 1991, pp. 34-35]

Something for Lent

The Times newspaper asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”. Chesterton answered, “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton”… Read the rest



We’re such a wealthy country. We should give it away: “DHS reported how relatively few immigrants are being turned away on the grounds that they are likely to become a “public charge” — or individuals who depend on welfare programs — despite a 100-year-old law that’s supposed to prevent this.” Link. * * * * * * Anyone know: Is my sarcasm in the last blurb the official position of the USCCB on such matters (albeit more intricately nuanced)? I’m kind of under the impression it is, but heck if I know. * * * * * * * I guess one of the cooler Stations of the Cross is situated about an hour away from me. I pass it all the time (though I normally pass it on a freeway that is about 15 miles to the north): Treasure on the Detroit-Chicago Road: Historic Stations of the Cross. My law office is situated on the same road, so that makes two holy spots on the same stretch of highway. * * * * * * * This can’t be. Just because you watch a violent movie doesn’t mean you go out and kill some one. Haw, haw, scoff, haw: “Teaching parents to switch channels from violent shows to educational TV can improve preschoolers’ behavior, even without getting them to watch less, a study found.” Link. * * * * * * * Funny Fallon: “Scientists have discovered a species of fish that surrounds itself with uglier fish in order to look more attractive. However, scientists could not identify which sorority it belongs to.”

Something for Lent

“[D]o what is asked of you quietly, peacefully, without hurry, and without vexation.” de Caussade… Read the rest



I’m being increasingly drawn into the Twitter world. I’ve encouraged my children to open Twitter accounts for the simple reason that the 140-symbol limit forces economy of words. If you’re composing a tweet, you’re forced to think, “Okay, what’s really relevant here? How can I push the gist of this thought succinctly?” After many years of listening to rambling stories from my children and from self-indulgent adults who never heeded the old lesson that brevity is the soul of wit, I find Twitter a unique form of stylistic grace.

In case you’re wondering why I don’t Twitter, wonder no more: I do. But it’s for professional reasons. You can find my professional tweets at my law firm’s blawg

Weekend Tweets

Herewith, a few of my favorite tweets over the weekend.

First, Philosophy Bites featured a string of tweets about Diogenes. I only re-produce the G-rated ones here:

Alexander the Gr8: ‘If I wasn’t Alexander, I’d like to be Diogenes’ Diogenes: ‘If I wasn’t Diogenes, I’d also like to be Diogenes’

[H]e spat in the face of a rich man who told him not to spit on his floor

Diogenes’ spitting story reminds me of the one about GEM Anscombe removing her slacks when told that ladies couldnt wear trousers in the bar

Diogenes walked into a theatre against the flow of a crowd leaving. ‘Why?’ someone asked. His response ‘This is what I’ll always try to do.’

Diogenes was asked which wine he most liked to drink – his response ‘someone else’s’

Diogenes burst into Plato’s lecture on man ‘the featherless biped’ holding a plucked chicken shouting ‘Look! A Man!’

Next, a few from “Sports [Things] No One Says

I have no idea when Michael Jordan’s birthday is. How old do you think he is?

When is … Read the rest

Something for Sunday Morning

“Without patience our expectation [of the spiritual life] degenerates into wishful thinking. Patience comes from the word ‘patior,’ which means ‘to suffer.’ . . . What seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door.” Henri J.M. Nouwen… Read the rest


Hell, the World, and Tattoos

The world is a better place if you don’t care if the world is a better place.

Tolstoy criticized a thing he called “family narcissism,” which he described as the mindset that says “The world can go to hell, just as long as everything is alright with my little Andre.” Thing is, the world, as far as I’m concerned, can go to hell, just as long as everything is alright with my little [fill-in all seven kids’ names].

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want the world to go to hell, but it can go to hell for all I care.

And why don’t I care? For a simple reason: there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s outside my control. It’s not even within my “sphere of influence.” If I care about the world, nothing happens, so why care? It just leads to disappointed hopes, frustration, and even anger or ill-will toward others.

I ascribe to Nock’s notion that I have one responsibility only: to present the world with one improved unit. If I do that, I’ve done my job as far as the world is concerned. If everyone took care of that small (but pretty delicate and intense) task, the world wouldn’t need anyone to care.

If a person takes care of that one task, which entails attention to his family (you can’t present the world with one improved unit if you flunk your primary role in life), his family will normally fall into line, with the result that he helps present the world with even more improved units. At that point, a person is exceeding his obligations to the world. If that person then has sufficient time and energy to assist in local matters, good for him: One’s locality falls within his … Read the rest



Man, I find this really hard to believe: “Researchers at Granada University in Spain have found that beer can help the body rehydrate better after a workout than water or Gatorade.” Link.

I used to drink beer after working out. It was often a recipe for disaster. The hangover would be far worse than normal. I always attributed it to the combination of two dehydrating activities in one day. Maybe it was something else, but I’ll never again follow a hard workout with a hard bout of drinking.

Something for Lent

“Worldly people would take it for granted that a serious contemplative life must clash with a very busy life. But it does not.” Thomas Dubay, Saints: A Closer Look. … Read the rest

Valentine’s Day

BYCU: Special Edition

Looking for a unique Valentine’s Day gift for that special lush? Here are ten recommended chocolate beers. The whole idea of chocolate beer strikes me as appetizing as ketchup on ice cream, but if you’re into this sort of thing:

Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout
Bison Organic Beer’s Organic Chocolate Stout
Fort Collins Brewing Chocolate Stout
Odell Brewing Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout
Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout
Harpoon Chocolate Stout
Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout
Thomas Hooker Chocolate Truffle Stout
Southern Tier Brewing Company Choklat
Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Something for Lent

“Some scholars speculate that ‘Good Friday’ comes from ‘God’s Friday,” as ‘good-bye’ was originally ‘God be by you.'” Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon. … Read the rest


“The Irish bookmaker Paddy Power quickly issued odds on the cardinals considered most likely to succeed Benedict — with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops, Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was converted from animism by Irish missionaries, Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson of Ghana and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, among the early favorites.

“The longest odds offered by the bookie are 1,000/1 on the Irish singer Bono, who is not Catholic, and the Irish television star Father Dougal Maguire, who is not real.”

Link. … Read the rest