Month: July 2016


Returning from vacation today. Nine days in Alpena, Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula. Splendid trip.

If you get up there, I highly recommend Munising and its Falling Rock Cafe. No drinking, just nice fun. Live band playing classic country tunes, good sandwiches, board games, books for sale, lattes. And a nice little Mountain Dew buzz.

And you can talk to locals who have heard the Sasquatch stories. My kids talked to a couple of teenagers who were there when the “Finding Bigfoot” TV crew came through. They said it was pretty funny stuff: “There’s a squatch in those woods.” They baited Bigfoot with pasties from a restaurant we ate at.… Read the rest


Dorothy Day

St. Johnny Appleseed:

“[T]here is a Russian saying that if a man plants 3 trees in his life he will never go to hell.” Dorothy Day.

Of course, according to The Smithsonian, Johnny wasn’t a saint. He was just a good businessman who planted and cultivated orchards, which he would sell to frontiersmen, who could then show the government they were homesteading the lot.

And his apples weren’t any good for eating. They were good for making hard cider (maybe he was a saint?), but that was about it. … Read the rest



“Kirk first encountered the Shroud [of Turin] while offhandedly visiting the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Torino, Italy, in 1957 when he attended a Mont Pelerin Society conference. Here, he claimed, he encountered the face of God. ‘The face was wondrously distinct, almost accurate as a plaster death mask: a strong face, composed in death, with long straight hair, and bearded,’ he remembered. This stood not only as a monument to faith, Kirk believed, but to the Roman Catholic Church itself, having protected this fragment of cloth for nearly two thousand years of history.”… Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereThat Kirk quote yesterday got me thinking about George Gissing’s The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft. It’s a beautiful little book, one that tugs at every wannabe nerd who can’t be that nerd because the affairs of the world keep him strapped to the table, like a confined Frankenstein. If you’re the bookish sort who would like nothing more than to hole up in a simple cottage with a collection of books and a notebook for the rest of your life, get a copy of it.

Ceiling. TrastevereThere’s a nice little Wikipedia entry for The Private Papers. The references at the end include a link to Paul Elmer More’s introduction to the work. I shouldn’t have read it. Based solely on the picture painted by Gissing in that semi-autobiographical papers, I vaguely assumed he lived an enchanted simple life. Not so. Rather, he lived a short life of “sordid poverty and Unmerciful disaster.” That really bummed me out.

Ceiling. TrastevereBut regardless, I agree enthusiastically with More’s final words from the introduction: “The meditations of Henry Ryecroft are grave without being heavy, learned without being pedantic, wise and sceptical without being being frigid; the little book is one of the rare treasures of English literature.”

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Interesting introduction to absinthe:

“THE NOTORIOUS ABSINTHE, which scandalized late 19th-century Europe, was embraced by the literary and artistic café society of the mid-1800s. Purportedly addictive, it was the drink of choice for artists, writers, and poets, most notably Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Rimbaud, and Verlaine. All had quite the passion for the “Green Fairy,” so named for the signature cloudy green color and alleged hallucinogenic properties. Wormwood is the ingredient in absinthe that was thought to be the cause of such visionary inspiration, as well as the insane actions of creative types. Van Gogh evidently was partaking of the aperitif at the time of the infamous ear incident.”

The Ultimate Bar Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Cocktails

I’ve never tried absinthe, and I can’t say I’m inclined to. I always thought it was a type of liquid marijuana, albeit weak. I also thought it was illegal, though a quick Google search brought up a dozen sites that claim it is now legal. From Wikipedia:

In 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) effectively lifted the long-standing absinthe ban, and it has since approved many brands for sale in the US market. This was made possible partly through the TTB’s clarification of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) thujone content regulations, which specify that finished food and beverages that contain Artemisia species must be thujone-free. In this context, the TTB considers a product thujone-free if the thujone content is less than 10 ppm (equal to 10 mg/kg). This is verified through the use of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. The brands Kubler and Lucid and their lawyers did

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