Month: April 2014



Perhaps the most interesting (and disturbing and scary) article of the month: 10 Lesser-Known American Mysteries. Excerpt:

Imagine a place, so rugged and desolate, so empty and uninhabited, that it would be “the perfect dumping ground” for a serial killer. Imagine a hot, humid area, where the animals, the insects, and the weather can destroy any evidence in a matter of a few days. This place is the Texas Killing Fields, located just off Interstate 45 between Galveston and Houston. This entire swath of land consists of thick marshes, overgrown patches, and abandoned oil fields. The 40-kilometer (25 mi) area of the Fields borders League City and the nearby Calder Oil Field and is the site of some of the most puzzling murders in the United States.

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GKC Wednesday

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)

Michael Coren relates a priceless anecdote about Chesterton in his biography of H. G. Wells:

Wells was disarmed by Chesterton’s good nature, disturbed by his inability to pigeon-hole the man. On a summers day in 1907, for example, Wells and Chesterton went to Oxford to attend a lecture. Walking together after the address Wells began to harangue his friend about the “bloody hand of Christianity.” The diatribe lasted for over 35 minutes, without Chesterton making the slightest objection. At the end of it he turned to Wells, smiled and said, “Yes, you do have a point.”

Coren’s book is rewarding both for the real low-down on Wells and for the insertion of Chesterton from time to time in the story. [The Invisible Man, New York: Athenaeum, 1993, p. 80]

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I’ve long maintained that people who lead dissolute lives are the first to accuse others of racism or some other odious trait. Theodore Dalrymple makes an observation along the same lines.

As befits an era in which virtual reality is more important to many people than reality itself, the expression of high-flown sentiment is now taken by many as the major part or even the whole of virtue. The most virtuous person is he who expresses the most all-encompassing benevolence at the highest level of abstraction.

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Autobiographical Corner

The kids had Spring Break last week, so we took off on Wednesday for a quick tour of Franciscan University (a college visit for Jack (17)) and Pittsburgh.

On the way, we stopped at the Sorrowful Mother Shrine, in Bellevue, Ohio, which is south of Cedar Point. I wanted to stop years ago, but I normally get to this area only on my way to Cedar Point with the kids, and they’re usually not in a prayerful mood when we’re less than an hour from the world’s greatest ride amusement park.

The Shrine is very neat . . . and free . . . and definitely worth the stop, even though two different GPS devices in our car failed us and we had to find it the old fashioned way (looking at a map and swearing a lot). The Shrine is Eastern Rite. It features a main chapel, lots of little chapels, the stations of the cross, and various statuary across a 126-acre parcel of land. It also has a gift shop (a “must” for any family with smaller children).

We then drove to Steubenville, the Home of Dean Martin, the seventies funk rock group Wild Cherry, Franciscan University . . . and nothing else. The City is a dump. It was depressing just driving and looking around its downtown.

But Franciscan University pretty much knocked our socks off. Regardless of whether Jack attends or not, we’ve decided to make it a regular target of our charitable donations. Consisting of nearly 3,000 students from every state in the union, it’s uncompromisingly Catholic to the hilt. It exudes Catholic goodness. They’ve … Read the rest