Month: June 2014


I thought I long ago ran this great quote from Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America, but apparently not. He is quoting John Randolph:

“No government, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, can be fit to govern me or those whom I represent.” He was right. A nation stretching three thousand miles over mountain and prairie and desert is ungovernable from a single city set on a coastal swamp. Or at least it cannot be governed with a sensitivity to local conditions, an intelligent awareness of the cultural diversity inherent in any healthy society. It can be governed by the brute force of an Internal Revenue Service and a Department of Homeland Security, but it cannot sustain the Republic’s spirit.

Read the rest

More Kindle Popular Highlights

Kontent from the Kindle

“We degrade God when we attribute our own ideas to Him, out of annoyance that we cannot fathom His ways.” Dostoyevsky, The Idiot. 139 highlighters (as of 6/15/2014)

“Of all forms of insolence there is none more flagrant than that of the degraded poor receiving charity which they have come to regard as a right.” George Gissing, The Nether World. 10 highlighters (as of 6/15/2014)

“The civilization of a country consists in the quality of life that is lived there, and this quality shows plainest in the things that people choose h talk about when they talk together, and in the way they choose to talk about them.” Albert Jay Nock, On Doing the Right Thing. 8 highlighters (as of 6/15/2014)

“It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it.” Seneca, On the Shortness of Life. 95 highlighers (as of 6/15/2014)

“The greater intellect one has, the more originality one finds in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men.” Pascal, Pensees. 160 highlighters (as of 6/15/2014)… Read the rest

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Just saw it. The family was going, so I felt compelled to attend. Besides, I liked the first movie so figured this one would be at least halfway decent.

My review: Terrible.

Flat, canned dialogue. Worn-out humor shticks. Predictable plot. Slow and stretched out scenes.

I might never see an animated movie again. I’m stunned at how pedestrian this movie was when compared to the rave reviews it’s garnering from critics who are a helluva lot more knowledgeable than I am about movies.

All I can say is, I was utterly, relentlessly, bored. The 90 minutes felt like three hours.

F.… Read the rest


Random Quotes

Max Beerbohm’s older brother, Herbert, was a funny guy. Once, when a man walked past him groaning under a grandfather clock he was carting on his back, Herbert said, “My good fellow, why not carry a watch?” (Joseph Epstein, Partial Payments).


“[A] friend in power is a friend lost.” The Education of Henry Adams


“No man, however strong, can serve ten years as a schoolmaster, priest, or Senator and remain fit for anything else.” The Education of Henry Adams


“There can be no greater impropriety than questioning the quality of another person’s religious faith.” Joseph Epstein.


“Never listen to a leftist who does not give away his fortune or does not live the exact lifestyle he wants others to follow.” Nassim Taleb


Waugh, a stickler for good style and grammar, on the prose of less-rigorous writer: “To see him fumbling with our rich and delicate language is to experience all the horror of seeing a Sevres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee.”


“The modern injunction to ‘be oneself’ implies one’s having a suitable self to be.” Joseph Epstein


“The greatest enemy of the church today is the state.” Dorothy Day (1975)… Read the rest


A Random Passage

Cardinal Henry Newman, writing about his religious conversion, autobiographically describes the state of mind that led me to agnosticism in virtually all things secular (especially politics and anything I read in the press) except those I see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands:

I could not continue in this state, either in the light of duty or of reason. My difficulty was this: I had been deceived greatly once; how could I be sure that I was not deceived a second time? I then thought myself right; how was I to be certain that I was right now? How many years had I thought myself sure of what I now rejected?

Apologia pro Vita Sua.… Read the rest


I’ve read a fair amount by and about Ronald Knox (including the many passages about him in Joseph Pearce’s splendid Literary Converts), but I never knew he was a prankster. From Listverse’s recent “10 Outrageous Broadcasts That Caused Mayhem“:

In an incident that preceded Orson Welles’s broadcast by 12 years, Catholic priest and BBC commentator Father Ronald Knox shocked Britain by saying that mobs of angry unemployed workers had revolted in London. Knox vividly described the destruction of Big Ben and key government buildings, along with the lynching of a minister. Although he subtly hinted that the broadcast was a hoax, his audience—still mindful of the recent Russian Revolution—were taken in.

Concerned listeners swamped the BBC with calls. It didn’t help that a heavy snowfall hampered the delivery of newspapers, adding to their anxiety.

After the hoax was cleared up, Knox received heavy criticism but was not punished. He continued making hoax broadcasts, with BBC later honoring him when they made his prank the standard for all future April Fools’ Day broadcasts.

Read the rest



And maybe it works in reverse: plug in those brewing benefits now and avoid those medical problems later:

“A team of researchers is working out a new way to turn the brewery waste into orthopedic devices, leveraging substances naturally found in spent grain for bone grafts and implants . . . Researchers said that a cheaply acquired residue from beer brewing, called bagasse, contains chemical components that are also found in bones, including phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica. Once processed, those substances can be used to promote bone regeneration or provide support, or even as bio-coating for medical prosthetics.” Link. … Read the rest