Month: June 2014

Reddit

From Reddit’s Today I Learned page: “TIL that Johnny Cash, while working as an Air Force radio operator in Germany intercepting Soviet broadcasts, was the first American to report the death of Joseph Stalin.”… Read the rest

Monday

Miscellaneous Rambling

I’ve returned from vacation. All-in-all, it wasn’t a good one. Great people, but no activities that really interested me and shabby accommodations. And worst of all: I got there and realized I’d brought myself with me, which is a sure recipe for disaster. I also forgot my stomach medicine, then drank a lot of vodka anyway, and ended up with acute gastritis, to the point that I thought I might have to go to the hospital. It took me three days to recover, but I’m feeling chipper now and am glad to be home. * * * * * * * Another great list from Listverse: Top 10 Shocking Historical Beliefs and Practices. The list includes wife selling, opium for babies, and using human skin for commercial purposes. * * * * * * * Gardening note: If you’re looking to plant some stuff late in the game: “For mid-summer planting . . . Bush Beans and short-vine Peas, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Kale, Scallions and some heat-resistant Lettuce varieties such as Tintin Baby Romaine, Rouge Grenoblois Batavian and Danyelle Red Oakleaf.” From John Scheeper Kitchen Garden Seeds e-newsletter. * * * * * * * I planted mustard spinach (grows well in the South), Little Gem lettuce, Australian Yellow lettuce, bush beans, and push peas yesterday. Since most of my garden is now in containers, I have the luxury of moving heat-intolerant varieties into the shade. … Read the rest

Sunday

Theodore Dalrymple was apparently two hours from my house last month but I didn’t know it. I doubt I would’ve made it to the lecture anyway, but I would’ve liked to have had the opportunity. No matter: His speech is printed here and is worth reading: “The Worldview that Makes the Underclass.”

Three excerpts:

“By the time they are 15 or 16, twice as many children in Britain have a television as have a biological father living at home. The child may be father to the man, but the television is father to the child.”

“Heroin addiction has been presented by officialdom as a bona fide disease that strikes people like, shall we say, rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction quite baldly as a chronic relapsing brain disease—and nothing else. I hesitate to say it, but this seems to me straightforwardly a lie, told to willing dupes in order to raise funds from the federal government.

“Be that as it may, the impression has been assiduously created and peddled among the addicts that they are the helpless victims of something that is beyond their own control, which means that they need the technical assistance of what amounts to a substantial bureaucratic apparatus in order to overcome it.”

“Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they … Read the rest

Saturday

Nassim Tale: “Never listen to a leftist who does not give away his fortune.”

Enter leftist Gene Nichol:

A controversial, outspoken law professor who frequently bashes Republicans and specializes in poverty issues as a self-proclaimed champion of the poor earns $205,400 per year – for teaching one class per semester [at North Carolina University]. . .

His wife, chief of staff for the UNC Health Care System and the UNC School of Medicine, earns $407,000 annually. Combining his and his wife’s salary, the couple makes at least $612,000 per year.

But wait: Maybe they give it all to charity?

Nope, I guess not:

The Nichol family lives in a Chapel Hill home with a tax value of more than $1 million. They also own a bungalow on the beach at Emerald Isle, valued by Carteret County at more than $512,000.

It’s much better to let the government do your charitable work for you. You get to feel good about yourself and keep your money.

Read the rest

I was never a Michael Jackson fan, but I mastered the moonwalk under the tutelage of another stock boy while working at K-Mart as a teenager. I didn’t realize the move had been invented thirty years earlier. Here’s Bill Bailey:

Read the rest

Friday

BYCU

For those TDE readers who are in the dating world, this is for you: 40 Catholic Pick Up Lines. Some of them are pretty lame, but my nineteen-year-old daughter had identified these as her favorites:

I’m no Joseph… perhaps you can help me interpreting the dreams I’ve been having about you?

So last night I was reading in the book of Numbers, and then I realized, I don’t have yours.

Are you a penitential season? ‘Cause I’d give up anything for you.

It’s Palm Sunday, may I hold your palm?

I think I’m called to marriage, can I call you sometime?

What’s a nice girl like you doing in a confession line like this?

I’m doing my Marian consecration this year. Next year, I’d like to be Marian you.… Read the rest

Kimmel

A piece of rock ‘n’ roll history was sold yesterday. Some of Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics from 1965 went up for auction and got $2 million. Paying $2 million for Bob Dylan lyrics is a good way to know that Bob Dylan would have hated you in 1965.

The reason the Dylan lyrics are so valuable is because if you buy them, you’ll be the only one in the world who knows what Dylan is singing.… Read the rest

Thursday

Kontent from the Kindle

“Georges Simenon,” Nassim Taleb observes in Antifragile, “only wrote sixty days a year, with three hundred days spent ‘doing nothing.’ He published more than two hundred novels.” In the same chapter, Taleb wrote:

[T]he great French poets Paul Claudel and Saint-John Perse and the novelist Stendhal were diplomats; a large segment of English writers were civil servants (Trollope was a post office worker); Kafka was employed by an insurance company. Best of all, Spinoza worked as a lens maker, which left his philosophy completely immune to any form of academic corruption.

This part of the book jumps around a bit, but his point seems fairly simple: write what you want, when you want. Don’t write to someone else’s standards or to please others. When you do that, you’re merely prostituting yourself. If you have a separate job, it doesn’t matter whether people like what you write, so a job, which most writers consider drudgery that saps time and energy away from their art, can actually be a liberating thing.

His point with Simenon is a bit more complex, but basically it relates to his belief that we should be terribly active or at leisure: sprint or stroll, study hard or sleep, peddle hard or glide (that’s how Arnold rides, I remember reading lately). Avoid jogging and TV. Load your life at the ends, with a narrow middle. Your life–activities, investments–ought to resemble a barbell.

My apologies for the humorless prose in this post. Humor comes to me best when I’m thoroughly acquainted with a subject. I’m still working my way through Taleb. … Read the rest