Month: January 2018


Really Random

Ceiling. TrastevereWhew. January 31st. We made it. Of course, I heard someone say that February is the longest month of the year. It begins in January and ends some time in April.

Ceiling. TrastevereThis article says Jim Rogers is investing in agricultural commodities. “‘The agriculture sector has been a disaster for 35 years. Things are so bad. The average age of an American farmer is 58, the average age in Japan is 68. And do you know that the highest suicide rate in the UK is in the agricultural sector?’ As a result, he argues, there will be a shortage of agricultural products in the coming years.” Here’s the problem with that: When you’re positing such a long-term lead-up to the bull condition, that tells me the bull can still be many years away. Timing is everything and no one can time.

Ceiling. TrastevereBut I respect Jim Rogers. He likes precious metals but cautioned readers once silver went over $30 an ounce (prompting me to get out of that market, thank goodness). Of course, Rogers owns his own commodities fund, so you have to take anything he says about commodities with a grain of salt. It’s also worth noting that, as far as I know, he completely missed the China meltdown a few years ago.

Ceiling. TrastevereThis is fascinating stuff: “Eric Kurlander wants us to understand Nazi ideology as an outgrowth of occultism, characterized by endemic beliefs in parascience, magic, ­astrology, ­crackpot theories of racial origin, and other weird notions. There exists an extensive literature on Hitler and the occult, but Kurlander’s new book is the most ambitious offering to date. It is likely to be … Read the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereAncient Coptic manuscript of the Book of Acts can now be read, thanks to x-ray imagery. Link.

Ceiling. TrastevereIrony? Pope Francis has issued an apostolic constitution with regard to ecclesiastical universities. It’s called Veritatis Gaudium, meaning the joy of truth. Link. Thankfully, the document doesn’t have an impact on JPII’s Ex corde Ecclesiae.

Ceiling. TrastevereI’d be tempted if I weren’t knee-deep in other gardening reading material: “The Founding Gardeners offers a fascinating look at the revolutionary generation from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen and farmers.” Link.

Ceiling. Trastevere“Plantsman.” I like that. It’s manlier than “gardener” and “faggot.” But I don’t think I quite fit the definition, at least as explained at Wikipedia. “A plantsman is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable gardener (amateur or professional) . . .”. It’s clear from the entry that it pertains more to someone knowledgeable in botany, which ain’t me. It also implies an obsession with plants for their own sake, which definitely isn’t me. If I’m not growing it for eating or money, I’m afraid I don’t have much interest. I’m lucky to be able to identify an oak tree, and when it comes to houseplants, I can scarcely muster a turn of the head. … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereWhat a beautiful January weekend. I played basketball and did a little gardening yesterday in shorts. A sweatshirt, yes, but shorts.

Ceiling. TrastevereI read yesterday that, when you reach age 100 in Barbados, you get a stamp in your honor. I’m not sure what they do with their Harvey Weinsteins who reach that age.

Ceiling. TrastevereI’m a University of Michigan alumnus. Other than a short infatuation with MSU when Magic Johnson was there, I’ve always rooted for U of M football and basketball. I like Tom Izzo. I don’t really care for Mark Dantonio because I think he shows little class when he argues publicly with kids from other teams. Although I always rooted for MSU teams second to Michigan until young adulthood, I can’t root for them anymore because of the abject hatred I’ve encountered from MSU fans. All that being said, there is no way, no freakin’ way, Izzo or Dantonio fostered a culture of rape at MSU. ESPN and fellow media travelers have latched onto one pervert and now want to blow it up to reflect on the whole university, including its athletic department, and they’re really, really reaching to do it. I have no doubt that D1 athletes rape and take advantage of drunk girls, but it certainly isn’t restricted to MSU.

Ceiling. TrastevereThat being said, I would point out one thing about Dantonio: He admitted early on that he has to recruit thugs in order to compete. I forget this exact words, but it was something like, “We’re close to OSU, UM, and ND. The best players–the best athletes with the fewest blemishes–want to go to those schools, so we … Read the rest


Thadurday Ramblings

Good “Unregistered” podcast last week. Russell interviewed Christopher Ryan, one of the oldest hippies. It’s safe to say Ryan is a leftist, but one of the intellectually-honest kind of goodwill. That, quite frankly, is the genius of Russell’s podcast: He finds guests who hold controversial views, often loathsome to me, but they’re such decent guys, I want to hear them out. There have been one or two exceptions, but for the most part, it holds true.

Ceiling. TrastevereIt’s interesting: I think, without exceptions, all his guests have two things in common: they’re erudite, and they hate the culture on college campuses. His guests on the right hate the campus culture for obvious reasons. His guests on the left hate the campus culture because they find it embarrassing. All acknowledge that it’s all idiocy all the time.

Ceiling. TrastevereChris Ryan is a critic of modern living (which makes sense: he’s the last hippie). I’m not sure how many parallels I’d find between Ryan and Nassim Taleb, but they both harp on a specific point: Modern culture is filled with chronic stress, and it’s terrible for us. Ryan and Taleb say our body is meant for stress: the tiger bouncing out of the woods, us reacting for an intense five minutes, then us relaxing for a long while until the next intense round of stress occurs. In modern life, everyone is stressed all the time: what if I get sued, what if I lose my job, can I get my kids through college, do I have cancer, is my wife going to leave me, etc. The health effects are undeniably horrible. Ryan apparently has spent … Read the rest


Holy Beer Font, Batman!

Wow, I gotta have it: 2018 Drinking with the Monks Calendar. (Amazon link). I haven’t been this excited about a calendar since . . . Okay, I’ve never been excited about a calendar (though I greatly enjoy the Fellowship of St. James Calendar of the Christian Year).

This drinking calendar will be in my Amazon cart shortly. I can’t resist:

Sirach 31:28 reminds us, “Wine drunk in season and temperately is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.” The monks depicted here have that same gladness, and the detailed artwork points to the fact that our religious brothers need the occasional chance to unwind as well!

With that calendar, combined with Zmirak’s The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey & Song, I’ll never be short on BYCU material again.

Read the rest


My notes from a Theology on Tap lecture

476 to Charlemagne

476: It wasn’t the fall of the Roman Empire. The Senate was still in session until 600 AD or so. If you had asked the average citizen in, say, Lyon France, what he was, he would’ve said a Roman.

It’s a significant issue because, if the Roman Empire never fell, what happened to it? I’m inclined to believe its soul passed into the Catholic Church, and it’s symbolized by the fact that Leo the Great had to deal with Attila in 452. The Church is, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, a Thing . . . The Thing, just like the Empire was a thing and, to most minds, The Thing. A tangible thing.

But still, that Roman Senate wasn’t doing much by 476 . . . and much less by 600, basically a town council. And that Roman citizen wasn’t getting anything from Rome, which by 600, was probably a town of maybe 20,000, instead of a million, leaving large swaths returning to nature . . . like Detroit today. The decay reminds me of my brother-in-law’s father-in-law, who came straight from Italy. You go to Rome now, everything is preserved, etc. That’s a new thing. When my brother in law said he wanted to visit the Coliseum, his father-in-law protested. “It’s an old dump. When I was a teenager, we would shit in the Coliseum!”

Italy was basically a war zone, with the proper Roman Empire out of Constantinople, Lombards, Ostrogoths and others fighting for control of it.

The Lombards emerged victorious, and they harassed Rome, leaving Gregory I (540-604) to deal … Read the rest