Month: September 2013


Humorous, Informative, or Frustrating

Some may have noticed that TDE has gone back to its roots: multiple postings during the day. This won’t necessarily be a regular occurrence, but it will happen often. Throughout the day, I run across things that I find humorous, interesting, or frustrating. I used to set them aside for the next day’s blog post, but with the new TDE, that doesn’t work. So now, when I run across such things, I’ll just toss them on TDE without much fanfare. The result will be anywhere from one to five TDE posts per day during the week. I’m still pondering what to do with TDE on the weekends. I’m thinking about opening it up to guest bloggers, but I’m not sure. In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions.

The picture above is the HIF trademark photo. I took it myself. It represents the random nature of the HIF posts.

I know, photography isn’t my thing.

Digging the Next Five Weeks

After Lent/Easter and Advent/Easter, the next five weeks might be the most holy of the year. The Feast Days are impressive: St. Jerome (9/30), St. Therese (10/1), Guardian Angels (10/2), St. Francis (10/4), St. Bruno (10/6), St. Theresa Avila (10/15), St. Ignatius (10/17), St. Luke (10/18), All Saints Day (11/1), All Souls Day (11/2).

October is also the month of the Holy Rosary. I downloaded a digital copy of St. Louis de Montfort’s book last week (I bought a hard copy years ago and, of course, didn’t read it and now I can’t find it). Fortunately, the download was only 99 cents. I started reading it and discovered that, according to … Read the rest

From Reddit’s Today I Learned:

“TIL Sugarcane is the world’s largest crop. In 2010, it was cultivated on about 23.8 million hectares, in more than 90 countries, with a worldwide harvest of 1.69 billion tons.” Link.

“TIL that the island of St. Kilda in Scotland was so isolated that its people had not heard of Britain’s king when it was rediscovered in 1746, and still practiced Druidism into the 19th century.”

“TIL that renowned neo-Nazi skinhead activist “Nicky Crane” had been secretly working as an amateur gay porn star whilst still a neo-Nazi activist.”… Read the rest


“A North Carolina woman stabbed her roommate’s ex-boyfriend because she claimed he wouldn’t stop playing Eagles music. He’s OK, but apparently she stabbed him with those steely knives but she just couldn’t kill the beast.”

And Ferguson: “Right now a postage stamp costs 46 cents. But they’re proposing to raise it to 49 cents. That’s only an increase of 3 cents. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you multiply it by all the people who send letters, it could bring the post office upwards of $30.”

And Fallon: “Tea party Senator Ted Cruz gave a 21-hour speech on the floor of the Senate. During his protest, Cruz actually read from the book “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. Democrats were like, ‘When will this end?’ But then Chris Christie said, ‘When do we get those eggs and ham?'”

And one more Fallon: “A study found that New Yorkers are some of the most honest people in the world. In fact, today I saw a lady drop a $20 bill and this guy said with complete honesty, ‘I’m gonna take that.'”… Read the rest


Great Merton anecdote: “Over Labor Day [in 1938, the year before he was received into the Catholic Church], Merton and Joe Roberts went to Philadelphia, arguing over mysticism and the Catholic Church, drinking so much that it took several days to recover.” Mott, The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, 118-119.

That happened to me once. I was probably in my early thirties. I drank copious amounts of beer and started talking to other people (some of them sober) about mysticism. The next day, I was sick as a dog and felt pretty stupid. In retrospect, I realize now that my sickness was, in part, triggered by the gastritis that plagues me to this day, but the odd juxtaposition–intense drunkenness and a desire to talk about mysticism–did occur, just as it apparently did with Merton.

Drink and mysticism go together like love and sex. Excessive drink is the desire to attain mysticism illegitimately, just as fornication is the desire to attain eros illegitimately. I think it’s a metaphysically-natural occurrence. It’s not right, but it is natural.

Read the rest

I appreciate Pope Francis’ efforts to emphasize the Church’s pastoral mission, but I wonder if he appreciated that he was giving hope to the hopelessly left-wing in the RCC. I’m seeing more and more articles like these popping up. Liberal Catholics have asked to meet Pope Francis to add their views to talks next week on changes in the Church, hoping the conciliatory tone he has brought to the papacy will allow more open decision making.

The RCC Left simply doesn’t get it: Women ordination, gay marriage, abortion, contraception. Those things aren’t up for negotiation. We can talk about what to do with gays in the Church, but we can’t talk about gay marriage. Such a thing is an oxymoronic monstrosity in the (immutable) teachings of the Church.

Poor Francis. He tried to be a nice guy, and now he’s going to start getting pummeled by the MSM for it, but he should’ve known there’s no winning with these people. There’s only capitulation and defeat. Anything less, and they’re disgruntled. … Read the rest

Clives Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard discusses at length the ideal “knight of faith” in Fear and Trembling (probably the pioneer work of existentialism). Kierkegaard’s knight of faith is a man who fits in everywhere among everyone. He is happy with, suited for, whatever confronts him:

This man takes pleasure, takes part, in everything, and whenever one catches him occupied with something his engagement has the persistence of the worldly person whose soul is wrapped up in the such things.

He later talks about the knight of faith coming home to a special meal prepared by his wife and devouring it with an enormous appetite. But, Kierkegaard observes, if “his wife doesn’t have the dish, curiously enough he is exactly the same.” Everything is enjoyable to the knight of faith, as he just looks out, without looking at his looking out, taking it all in, enjoying it all.

It’s a very existentialist idea, of course. Or I should say “existentialist ideal.” It’s a perfectly-Zen way of looking at the world, but a way attained by very few.

The same idea(l) is found in non-existentialist thinkers, like C.S. Lewis. Drawing on the thought of a little-known Australian philosopher named Samuel Alexander, Lewis touched on a very similar point, but from a completely different angle. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis discussed the crucial difference between enjoying and contemplating the enjoying. According to Lewis,

[E]njoyment and the contemplation of our inner activities are incompatible. You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment. Of course the two activities can and do alternate with great rapidity; but they are distinct and incompatible. . . The surest way of spoiling a

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GKC Short

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 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)

The American critic Malcolm Cowley, attempting to define the so-called “Lost Generation,” once drew up a list of “literary childhood diseases” which he published in Canby’s Literary Review of October 25, 1921. These afflictions begin with “a bad case of Chesterton,” contracted at about age sixteen; Oscar Wilde is a complication; and before the patient recovers he is “overwhelmed” by Bernard Shaw. Health is not restored until the patient has “dipped into Freud and Marx.” [Hans Bal, Malcolm Cowley, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993, pp. 182-83]

[TDE Editorial comment: Yikes, I don’t know anything about Cowley, nor do I want to.]… Read the rest