Month: November 2019

Friday

BYCU

Pain x Resistance = Suffering.

That’s a mindfulness axiom. Pain is unavoidable, but our resistance to it is. If you practice yourself into complete acceptance, the result is no suffering. Anything multiplied by zero is zero. This obviously parallels Christian experience and practice, especially as taught in de Caussade’s classic.

Is there perhaps a drinking corollary? Hangover x resistance = suffering? A study conducted by the University of Salford has found that individuals who overly worry about the pain of a hangover can actually make their symptoms worse.

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Happy Thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving Day originated in New England when the Puritans realized they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.” Mark Twain

“Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.” Samuel Johnson

“Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks.” Shakespeare, Hamlet

“Gratitude is characteristic only of the humble. The egotistic are so impressed by their own importance that they take everything given them as if it were their due. They have no room in their hearts for recollection of the undeserved favors they received.” Fulton Sheen

“Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton

“Giving thank is not weakness but strength, for it involves self-repression.” Fulton Sheen

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.” Sir John Templeton

“Gratitude is a species of justice.” Samuel Johnson

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart

“When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.” St. Jerome… Read the rest

Wednesday

IMG_3150Black Wednesday

Ah, Black Wednesday. I’ve been black on this Wednesday before there was Black Wednesday. I remember speculating with friends back in the 1980s that it might be the biggest bar night of the year. It was like, nobody had become fully cognizant that this evening had become huuuuuuuuuge. Everyone was into it, but nobody realized it was “a thing.”

No more. A Google search reveals scores of “Black Wednesday” specials, with an occasional musing (like this one) about what makes Black Wednesday so special. The four-day weekend yawning in front of most of us? College kids home for the first time since leaving for school? The realization that, even if you wanted to work tomorrow, family pressures are going to force you to stay home . . . so you might as well prepare yourself for the couch? The inconvenient truth that the Thanksgiving holiday itself might be a bit of a letdown, so you might as well light it up tonight?

All the above, I think. At least in my case.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s Black Wednesday, but be sure to tip your bartender or waitress. As my make-believe friends at Modern Drunkard Magazine say, if you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to drink at a bar. Just stay home and have a good time. There’s nothing wrong with that and, in fact, Pabst has made it easier for you and three friends to have a hankering good time: PBR Is Selling A 99-Can Case. It’s $175 and available in these states: Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Florida, New York, South Carolina, Montana, Vermont, California, Wisconsin, … Read the rest

Tuesday

In 1927, G.K. Chesterton spoke in the Great Hall of University College, London. The topic: “Culture and the Coming Peril.” People probably thought he was going to talk about Bolshevism, but he didn’t. The peril isn’t Communism, Chesterton said, it’s vulgarity: “To put it shortly, the evil I am trying to warn you of is not excessive democracy, it is not excessive ugliness, it is not excessive anarchy. It might be stated thus: It is standardization by a low standard.” That was the “chief danger confronting us on the artistic and cultural side and generally on the intellectual side at this moment.” He went on to point out that politics could only remedy the social aspects of the problem. The “deeper remedies” were theological. … Read the rest

Monday

Many writers talk about religious “currents,” but I think that term is too generous. The term “current” implies something sustaining and capable of moving things forward in a meaningful way. It implies the existence of a stream or river—something steady, often deep—where it can run.

That type of symbol doesn’t fit today’s spiritual pond. It doesn’t fit the mega-church movements where ministers vie to aggregate large congregations with gimmicks and watered down religious messages. It doesn’t fit the feel-good messages of preachers like Norman Vincent Peale and his preaching descendants who treat prayer as a route to earthly riches rather than an avenue of grace. It certainly doesn’t fit the New Age religious movement, which is centered on the practitioner’s ego and the pursuit of pleasure. The term “current’ doesn’t even fit much of Catholicism, whose liturgy, in the wake of Vatican II, has been spiritually and intellectually “dumbed down” to make it accessible to the most casual pew dweller and nauseating to all but the sleeping.… Read the rest

Friday

BYCU

Blogging has been light. Okay, non-existent. Lots of life changes, shifting priorities, moving parts . . . whatever. I’m in a transition area, with a pretty firm idea of projects I hope to launch next year, but I need to finish this year’s priorities first.

But regardless, I miss posting the Brews You Can Use column, so I’m going to try to keep that going until a new direction is firmly in place. Here are a few stories now . . . with plans for another post on the glorious Black Wednesday.

In case you’re looking for the newest way to be above the crowd: Natural Wines:

The winery was just a shipping container and a mesh tent, and the work was non-stop. Rozman had grown up in a health-conscious family that nonetheless “had to be reminded that food was farmed,” he said; being in daily contact with plants felt revelatory. Some of the vines had been planted centuries earlier, by conquistadores and missionaries. The grapes were País, a varietal that had fallen out of favor as winemakers turned to popular ones like Cabernet Sauvignon. The methods were traditional, too—the fruit was picked by hand, destemmed with a bamboo implement called a zaranda, then fermented in clay pots. The finished product was startling, in a good way. “At that time in Argentina, Malbec was king,” Rozman told me. The country made lots of homogeneous, high-alcohol wines aged in oak barrels, catering to international appetites . . .

Artisanal wines had already found a following in European and Japanese cities, and were beginning to win converts in the United States, too. Their novelty lay … Read the rest

Monday

The Border

Let’s hope the war not spilleth over.

While American media outlets have been trashing the Trump administration over its abandonment of America’s “noble Kurdish allies” in Syria, they have paid little attention to an extraordinary and alarming development in Mexico. This week, criminals actually declared open season on the Mexican government—and won.

As part of an ongoing campaign against the country’s powerful cartels, Mexican security forces arrested two sons of former Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in mid-October. Presently, the elder Guzman languishes in a maximum security prison in the United States. Mexican officials seemed to believe that taking his sons out of commission might sound the death knell for the rump Sinaloa organization.

It proved to be disastrous. Multiple battles soon erupted between government forces and cartel gunmen in the streets of Culiacan, Sinaloa’s state capital. The cartel attackers quickly freed Ivan, the eldest son. Ivan then launched an all-out siege of Culiacan in an effort to free his younger brother, Ovidio.

PSA

Rates for every streaming service. The death of cable?

PSA II

Wired magazine recommends 31 podcasts. TWE didn’t make the list. But we push on.

Podcasts are now big business. In this post-Serial audio world, journalists, celebrities, academics and yes, anyone else who owns a mixing desk and a microphone now has a regular show. The quality is generally very high but some efforts can still be hit and miss with dozens of podcasts popping up around the same themes or TV shows. To help you out here’s our guide to the best podcasts you should be listening to on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast … Read the rest