Month: April 2018


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereI haven’t weighed in on the Alfie Evans for simple reasons: it’s so sad, I don’t like to think about it; it’s so wrong, it makes me angry to write about it; it’s so obviously something I’d oppose, no TDE reader would be surprised to by my views. The British government’s position was common sense at first: we pay for all medical care, so we make all the decisions. It’s paternalism, but it’s the logical denouement of their state-run society. I pay for all my kids’ things, so I make all the decisions. But when they wouldn’t let someone else take over the medical bills? That’s when it got really, really scary. You’re dealing with a moral disconnect that’s so severe that it’s not even governed by logic: it’s governed purely by power. This incident should open the eyes of every person who is not morally bankrupt. RIP, Alfie. As Dostoyevsky observed, no person ought to be manure for future generations, but maybe your fate will fertilize the sense of outrage our culture needs to cultivate against the western state.

Ceiling. TrastevereMark Steyn on the moral debacle. “[I]t is not the baby but Mother England that seems increasingly brain-dead, and for whom it might be kindest simply to unplug…”.

Ceiling. TrastevereOn a brighter note, spring is here, and things are looking pretty well in the produce field. Due to the cold weather, I’m not going to meet my goal of having enough produce for Max to sell by May1st, but with a little luck, we should have bags going out the door by May 15th with full production by Memorial Day.

Ceiling. TrastevereHappy birthday to my eldest, Alex. He’s 25 today. Age marches on.

Amazon Deals of the DayRead the rest


I measure my stress level by how much this does or doesn’t happen to me: “Work destroys your soul by stealthily invading your brain during the hours not officially spent working.” Nassim Taleb

Probably why I’m getting so much tail: “Sexual patterns that have emerged as a result of the decline of monogamy have seen a greater level of sexual choice for an elite of men and a growing celibacy among a large male population at the bottom of the pecking order.” Angela Nagle, Kill All Normies

The fifth gospel: “The power of charity and kindness is of incalculable value in making Christ known to people.” Benedict Groeschel

“Just as Kirk believed God would punish America for the inhumane atrocities it committed during World War II, [Paul Elmer] More believed World War I was the gods’ punishment for nineteenth-century liberal arrogance, hubris, and pride.” Bradley Birzer, Russell Kirk, American Conservative

Hence the problem with government: “A community is an organic reality which springs from being one in heart. There needs to be a cause, a reason which makes a group band together in the first place.” Catherine Doherty. The more government does, the less we need community for. The more the State does, the more society declines. (Highly recommended in this regard: Frank Chodorov, The Rise and Fall of Society.)… Read the rest


Brews You Can Use

The Spring Flurry continues. Not much time for blogging this morning. Just a few items:

Our President and Pope tweet . . . and gas stations hold wine tastings. Nothing is sacred any more, not even grime.

I never really thought of it, but I suppose this guy is right: “The bartender is the only person in the place whom everyone must obey. While the owner can set policy, it’s the bartender who makes the decisions on the ground: who gets served first, who gets the good pours, who gets cut off. The bartender is the only one who can claim the authority to set the volume level. The bartender gives and the bartender takes, so the bartender will be obeyed.”

The article is really a screed against loud talking, which I agree with. I still stand by my rule of thumb: the louder the person, the dumber the person. There’s an inverse corollary between loudness and intelligence. Yes, I run into exceptions (the smart person who is simply a bore, for instance), but as a general rule, I think it holds. … Read the rest



Ceiling. TrastevereWhew, whatta week. Nonstop obligations . . . all of the non-billable sort, which for a lawyer, is like giving money away. I get a reprieve today and tomorrow.

Ceiling. TrastevereGreat podcast at Econtalk: Jonah Goldberg on the Suicide of the West. Lots of interesting analysis of current events. One segment I really liked: Someone once observed that every culture is constantly invaded by barbarians: children. Families are the first line of defense from these barbarians. In light of the breakdown of the family that has occurred, where does that leave us? The prognosis isn’t very good. The interlocutors don’t see a way out of our culture’s downward spiral and, truth be told, neither do I, but I believe in the supernatural foundation of the Catholic Church. I hold a mystical (irrational) belief that It will lead us out of this mess, though I have no idea how.

Ceiling. TrastevereAs long as I listened to two Jews talk about modern culture, and since I invoked Russell Kirk’s ghost earlier this week, I pulled his Enemies of the Permanent Things off the shelf and re-read the pages on Max Picard (a Jew). I’ve read those dozen pages a dozen times. They might be my favorite Kirk writings, though the unusual prose of The Conservative Mind still captivates me today, thirty years after I first read it.

Ceiling. Trastevere“A sense of humor can exist only in a world of faith. For in humor is a trace of the smile with which God observes the mistakes of man. That trace of God’s smile, in man, is our sense of humor.” Max Picard. In light of Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, and 2.5 million other irreverent comedians, I don’t know if I agree with him, but like everything Picard writes, it’s worth pondering. … Read the rest


More Notes

The increased wealth that started to accumulate after 1000 gave us the most famous saint after the apostles: St. Francis (b. 1182). Also: St. Dominic (b. 1170). Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries: other mendicant orders: Augustinians, Trinitarians, Servites, Carmelites.

Perhaps ironically, it also gave us the Crusades. With increase wealth, came the increase ability to go on the offensive. For centuries, Europe had been defending itself, but now it found itself reborn, youthful, strong, and vibrant.

The emergent Seljuk Turks gave them the impetus. These Muslim converts were kind of like today’s ISIS: militant and uncompromising. They took over large parts of modern day Turkey and couldn’t understand why infidels were allowed to make pilgrimages to the Holy Lands, so they started attacking these unarmed groups.

The Pope responded by sending armed guards, whetting an appetite for war.

There were also calls from Constantinople, today’s Istanbul, for help against the Turks.

Eventually leading to Pope Urban II’s call for a crusade.

The Crusades were temporarily successful, resulting in the establishment of crusading kingdoms that lasted nearly a hundred years, but they were eventually vanquished by Muslim arms and demographics . . . just as will happen with Europe. … Read the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereI ran a quote by George Scott-Moncrieff. Who’s he? He was Russell Kirk’s friend, whom Kirk praised in his autobiography, The Sword of Imagination. “Scomo” was “the worst-dressed gentleman in all Scotland, indifferent to circumstance, endowed with the consolations of philosophy.” In other words, my kind of guy, though I have decent clothes, find myself too wrapped up by circumstance, and forget frequently to take consolation in what I’ve learned from philosophy. But otherwise, my kind of guy.

Ceiling. TrastevereI’m not sure any of Scomo’s books are still in print, but you can find some pretty good deals at Amazon. I bought This Day a few years ago and have found it edifying. I also read his Burke Street but, truth be told, I remember very little about it.

Ceiling. TrastevereHappy birthday to my Mom today. I don’t think she’s a Scomo fan, but she does frequent TDE. A woman of high-caliber tastes, she.

Ceiling. TrastevereI always tell myself I need to go back and read more Kirk, but I never get around to it. I’m about a third of the way through Brad Birzer’s excellent biography and I think I’ll finish it some day. Right now, the before-after line is October 2025, assuming I’m graced to live that long. … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. Trastevere“I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.” Johnny Cash, Sunday Morning Coming Down. It’s one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs, and I was living it yesterday after a fundraiser for Max’s Catholic Heart Work Camp trip this summer. Whew, it was pretty bad, but I was able to finish getting my home-based flower beds ready and plant nearly 50 more lettuce plugs yesterday (with Marie’s help).

Ceiling. TrastevereMy lettuce optimism last week may have been a little too high. After assessing the crop yesterday, I’m guessing I may have lost as many as half of the lettuce plugs to the winter storm last week. Quite a bummer.

Ceiling. TrastevereWhy, George Scott-Moncrieff asks, don’t more people surrender themselves to God? It’s because “we are fankled in our desires.” G. Scott-Moncrieff, This Day. “Fankled.” That was a new word to me, but I kinda like it. It means, from what I can figure, “tangled confusedly.” That would be the passions and their impact on the heart.

Ceiling. TrastevereMarie told me yesterday morning that Pope Francis had apparently established a new holy day, possibly of obligation (she said the blurb she saw was confusing). In my hungover sour disposition, I snarked, “Earth Day?” But no, it’s Mary, Mother of the Church. I couldn’t, incidentally, find anything to indicate it’s a holy day of obligation.

Ceiling. TrastevereI am blessedly ignorant of most things pop culture, but when things like this escape my notice (which it did), I begin to think I should pay a little bit more attention: “Hip-hop artist Kanye West was criticized by the left for his support of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race. But anyone who thought that would lead him to walk away from conservative ideas found out recently … Read the rest


Gardening Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereI don’t know if it’s a testament to Salanova lettuce, a trait of lettuce in general, or a gardening miracle, but it looks like all, or almost all, of my 47 lettuce plugs survived last week’s high winds, freezing temperatures, snow, hail, and freezing rain. Only one looks like it’s going to whither to nothing, and I even give that one a 5% shot of survival. There are about 15 others that show signs of wear, but they should make it. The rest look pretty good.

Ceiling. TrastevereLots of compost hauling yesterday from the field to my yard, where I am preparing flower beds from scratch. When I paid the bulldozer to scrape my new field, he left the scrapings in piles around my field. Over the past 12 months, the piles have decomposed, leaving big mounds of very good–not great, but very good–compost. I’m guessing I have over 100,000 pounds of compost out there. Marie and I used my brother’s truck to haul about a ton of it back to my yard.

Ceiling. TrastevereUnfortunately, the compost mounds are eroding fast. I was keeping the grass and weeds from growing on it (by tarping and burning) so they wouldn’t blow weed seeds on to the field, which no doubt contributed to the eroding. I’m going to let the back half “grow wild” this year, in hopes that it’ll slow the erosion.

Ceiling. TrastevereI saw on the Weather Channel that the midwest east of the Mississippi is expected to have a cool May, an average June, and a cool July. I have a ton of tomato seedlings coming up. I’m hoping we can get them in the ground after danger of frost passes. I remember a few years ago, we were getting frost warnings Memorial Day weekend. If that happens, my first … Read the rest