Month: July 2018


misc-rambling-picMore Miscellaneous Rambling

misc-rambling-picGreat idea: “Justice also requires that all of those in Church leadership who knew of the former cardinal’s alleged crimes and sexual misconduct and did nothing be held accountable for their refusal to act thereby enabling others to be hurt.” Bishop Michael Olson. Man, that’d clear things out. There’d be no one left to give us footnotes 351 and other gateways to normalizing gay marriage.

misc-rambling-picOr heck, we can just start with these two: “When Pope Francis was elected, [McCarrick] became an eminence grise, whose lobbying helped elevate several of the new pope’s choices for high office in the American church — including the new cardinal archbishop of Newark, Joseph Tobin, and the head of the Vatican dicastery for family life, Kevin Farrell, both of whom considered McCarrick a mentor.” Ross Douthat.

misc-rambling-picEveryone realizes, of course, that this is going to fade away quickly. McCarrick is a homosexual. He’s protected by the Vatican Pink Mafia, political correctness, and the mainstream media. No one in the establishment wants to see this get a full airing, much less the Roman Curia. McCarrick is gone; now it’s time to move on and focus on social justice issues. There are no longer any moral abominations, except, of course, environmental ones.

Random Blurb from the Notebooks: In one of his last essays, “The Eclipse of Reality,” Eric Voegelin said that a man who has lost touch with his being, like the man hemmed in by the vacuous pressure of mass society, will strive to find some “mode of life that he can experience as real. His life may then assume such behavioral forms as libertinism, … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereShew. It’s been a whirlwind of activity since returning from Alpena. Mostly, garden stuff, but also work and family. Michael (#4) returned from a two-week mission trip to Mexico City, where he visited Our Lady of Guadalupe daily and played soccer with kids at the city dump (where they live with their families, sifting through the garbage, looking for anything of value that they can sell). I think he had a deep experience of some sort. He came back a changed person . . . and the person who left was a pretty decent fellow.

Ceiling. TrastevereRadical change at the produce site: I’m going Back to Eden, which, for me, basically means: Dump thick piles of wood chips everywhere. A friend of mine owns a tree-cutting business and has ties to other cutters. He put the word out, and they’ve dumped about ten loads of wood chips at the site. The kids and I have been slowly carrying them, dumping them 6-8 inches thick in the problem areas (e.g., along the hose runs, where I can’t flame the weeds away) and along the edges of the site, creating a frame-effect. The immediate goal is to stop grass from invading from the edges, stop weed seeds from blowing in, and stop the lawn mower from blowing blades into the produce area. As a micro-experiment, I’ve set up three smallish beds for fall plantings and surrounded them with wood chips. We’ll see if the invasive grass and weeds subside, though I’m not sure late summer is the best time to experiment. The mid-term goal is to cut down the size of the cultivable area, so … Read the rest


I took my annual pilgrimage to Alpena, Michigan, returning Thursday evening. Alpena is a neat little city on the shores of northern Lake Huron. The picture above is a bit Potemkin, as evidenced by this picture that I took after turning around in that exact same spot, but it’s still a neat town:

It wasn’t my traditional family vacation, which is normally hard on a guy like me, but it’s alright. I got my eldest daughter betrothed, which is great. Her boyfriend showed up from Boston and surprised her with a proposal:

Read the rest


In his modern classic, The New Science of Politics, Eric Voegelin wrote about the tendency of modern political movements to throw the highest human efforts behind earthly progress and noted that the result is a sacrifice of the human spirit in exchange for earthly goods: “The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world-immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit.” Voegelin was referring to political movements, but the observation applies equally well to individual souls. In fact, it applies first to individual souls, then to society, since, as Plato pointed out, society is man writ large. … Read the rest


Black magic is similar to selling one’s soul, a magical practice colorfully passed down through the centuries in the Faust legends and literature.

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), Johann Goethe (1749-1832), and Thomas Mann (1875-1955) all told the Faust story. The stories, though distinct and expressing the writers’ different philosophies, revolve around the same theme: A man willing to give his soul in exchange for earthly gain. In Marlowe, Faust makes a pact with the devil (Mephistopheles) in order fulfill his immoderate ambitions—to conquer Africa and Spain, to be the great emperor of the world, to make a bridge over the ocean. When the devil comes to claim his soul, Faust cannot bring himself to repent of his error because repentance would mean renouncing his power. The devil drags him off shrieking and physically tears him apart. In Goethe, Faust’s desire to understand the secrets of the universe (a desire which had, significantly, already moved him to experiment with the occult) motivates him to make a pact with Mephistopheles. Goethe’s Faust is saved at the end because he learns to love. In Mann, Faust (named Adrian) makes a pact with the devil in which he gives up joy and love in return for success as a composer and communion with the deeper powers. At the end he dies a madman ravaged by syphilis.

Soul-selling stories like the Faust legends are fascinating because the protagonist is so twisted that he is willing to barter that which is of infinite value (his soul) in exchange for finite goods (earthly success). It’s very similar to the black magician. His desire for earthly goods is so warped that he is willing … Read the rest