Month: January 2020

Friday

IMG_3150Brews You Can Use

My apologies for the lack of posts this week. Marie and I are moving into my parents’ house. We have a lot to do in order to get it ready. She’s been carrying the bulk of the load, but this week, I had to “step up” and do a lot of work. Normally, I get pressed for time because of external commitments that I can’t control (mostly, kid functions), but this week, it was all self-imposed.

I woke up this morning to this headline. Talk about a PR department’s nightmare: Google searches for ‘Corona beer virus’ surge as news of coronavirus spread across US.

But I’d believe it (that Corona beer gives you the virus). Corona, in my humble opinion, is the nastiest swill ever concocted this side of the gates of hell. I only tried it once. I was literally startled at the taste. I assured the bartender that it must’ve gone bad. He assured me that it hadn’t. He just chuckled and said, “That’s how it tastes, man.”

Speaking of Nasty Drinks I: I can definitely say beer, even if stored in brown bottles, goes rotten after 20 years. For some reason, I kept five bottles of Honey Brown in a dark spot in my home office all these years. I unearthed them while moving my 3,000-book library to the new house. My son, Alex, tried one last weekend and made the same face I made when I tried Corona. It was pretty funny, though I am a bit worried he may have contracted the honeybrown virus.

Odd: I thought they had making Honey Brown, but the Google Machine tells me it’s still in production. It sounds like there may have been short gap in production when the company switched lines . … Read the rest

Tuesday

Like Camus’ hero Sisyphus, Salinger’s two novels look at nihilistic man, the man who has given up the possibility of finding a meaning—a response—from the universe’s wall of indifference. The novels are based on the condescending, though largely accurate, presumption that modern society consists of individuals who have unconsciously decided they’ll never find meaning in their lives and who, in lieu of meaning, wallow in the banality and vulgarity that Chesterton warned about. This is the thrust of Zooey Glass’ severe reaction to his mother’s plans to send Franny to a psychiatrist: European travel, elections, mass media, and other “gloriously normal” things might sustain the rest of society because society has effectively given up on meaning and has therefore settled for such things in substitution, but they are shallow and hence aren’t fit for a sensitive soul like Franny’s. Salinger snarled at such things because he saw that they’re banal.… Read the rest

Monday

SHOW NOTES

First Segment

I’m working my way through Lawrence Cahoone’s 700-page anthology of postmodernism.

He starts the book out by excerpting key passages from writers who helped frame the modern mind, whose main gist, as I read Cahoone is: Modernity was obsessed with reasoning. Rationality. Empiricism: faith that science would bring us to the promise land (what CS Lewis referred to as “scientism”). The pre-postmodern writers are the building block of modernity that helped erect this modernist foundation, like Kant and Descartes.

And Condorcet. Condorcet! Yes! This moron was a pioneer of modernity, and he is the poster boy of the ridiculousness of secular progressivism. Through his faith in reason, he wrote, “Nature has set no term to the perfection of the human faculties.” “The perfectibility of man is truly indefinite.” He was also one of the earliest examples of the saying, “Revolutions eat their own.” He was a big fan of the French Revolution, but then it turned ugly. He was arrested and put in prison, where he died nine months later, presumably by suicide. And he apparently didn’t even own an island with girl prostitutes.

He is one of the main “unconstrained visionaries” referenced in Thomas Sowell’s excellent little book, A Conflict of Visions.

In A Conflict of Visions, he examines two diametrically opposed world visions: the unconstrained and the constrained. The unconstrained vision looks at the world as infinitely improvable. Things can always be made better. The constrained vision looks at the world as one of limitation. Whether due to original sin or simple human frailty, the constrained vision says, “We do the best we can, but we aren’t great, so tread carefully.”

I would say that it’s “liberal” and “conservative,” but that would be too simplistic . . . and entirely inadequate in … Read the rest

Choose Wisely (a joke)

A man is at a cocktail party. An angel appears and reveals to the crowd that the man had recently risked his life to save a little girl. The angel announced to the man in front of everybody: “You may choose one: Greatest wisdom, greatest wealth, or greatest fame.” The man thought for a minute and then chose wisdom. The angel said, “Done,” then disappeared. All the party guests gathered around and saw a warm glow develop around him. They waited silently and just watched him, sensing that he was pondering something great. After a minute he pronounced, “I should have taken the money.”… Read the rest

Friday

That scene was shot at Neir’s Tavern in Queens. It might be the oldest bar in New York City. It almost shut down, but thanks to some help from the City, whose red tape was apparently indirectly forcing its closure, it’s going to stay open. You can read the heart-warming story here. I really like this quote:

“This area doesn’t have the money to build their own community center, but they had Neir’s Tavern.”

Amen to that. A genuine bar is better than an institutional community center any day. I get a hankering to hang out in a bar four days a week. I get a hankering to hang out at a community about as often as I get the urge to kick myself in the scrotum. I have nothing against a community center, of course. It’s just a pale substitute for traditional gathering places like a good bar. … Read the rest

Thursday

Gay Thursday

I discovered this evening that my backyard might be responsible for the stunning victories of the LGBT movement over the past 10 years. The Stryker Corporation out of little Kalamazoo, Michigan, is largely to blame. It’s a stunning papertrail of money. If accurate, it’s also disturbing. We always knew the American mind was weak and malleable. (Question: What kind of person goes from being repelled by homosexual activity to supporting gay marriage in ten years? Answer: A vapid person.)

Jon Stryker is the grandson of Homer Stryker, an orthopedic surgeon who founded the Stryker Corporation. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Stryker Corporation sold $13.6 billion in surgical supplies and software in 2018. Jon, heir to the fortune, is gay. In 2000 he created the Arcus Foundation, a nonprofit serving the LGBT community, because of his own experience coming out as homosexual. Arcus has given more than $58.4 million to programs and organizations doing LGBT-related work between 2007 and 2010 alone, making it one of the largest LGBT funders in the world. Stryker gave more than $30 million to Arcus himself in that three-year period, through his stock in Stryker Medical Corporation.

I guess it’s thanks to Kalamazoo, Michigan, that I can read sentences like this one that I saw in the New York Times a few hours ago:

Ms. Regan is a 40-year-old chef from Indiana with a Michelin star who last summer published “Burn the Place,” perhaps the definitive Midwest drunken-lesbian food memoir.

The “definitive” Midwest drunken-lesbian memoir? Is that right next to the definitive East coast drunken-Rastafarian pedophile memoir? Or maybe the definitive Northern stoned-midget wrestler memoir? How many such memoirs have been published? I have no idea, but I can’t believe it’s much more than, say, one.

Oh well. Our gay universe continue … Read the rest

Wednesday

A few semi-noteworthy tweets from my surfing last night. The sad thing is, I found only three such semis in 20 minutes of scrolling through Twitter.

Learn something new every day: There’s a wild horse problem out west. I saw at Twitter, which was retweeted by a friend I trust on such matters. I’d handle it myself, channeling those Bustin’ Bronco spirits of mine, but I’m kind of busy right now and my back is bothering me.

Interesting tweet from Brad Birzer: “Just received my royalties from the Christopher Dawson bio, July-December, 2019: $12.73. Now, you all know how I make my living.”

This was neat to see yesterday: “Neuhaus and his merry band of unrepentantly religious public intellectuals launched First Things thirty years ago.” I was a charter subscriber (pretty sure I was . . . memories fade). I’ve been meaning to renew my subscription, now that time seems to be opening up a bit for me. … Read the rest

Tuesday

At the end of The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus meditates on the “absurd hero” Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology. Sisyphus was a crafty man who repeatedly betrayed and disobeyed the gods. As punishment, he was sentenced to an eviternity of rolling a huge rock to the top of a hill. Every time he got the rock near the top, it would roll back down. Sisyphus would then have to walk back down the hill and start pushing the rock up again.

Camus’ meditation centers on Sisyphus’ mindset at the times he walks down the hill to get the rock after it rolls down. During these relatively leisurely moments of reprieve from pushing the rock, he can reflect on his condition: “I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness.”

This, Camus muses, is when Sisyphus can think about his horrible state of existence. It’s in the reprieve that Sisyphus has the leisure to see the acuteness of his quintessentially absurd existence: The aspiration to get the rock to the top and its predestined frustration. The myth is tragic, Camus explains, but only because its hero, Sisyphus, is conscious of the absurdity of it all.

But Camus also says that Sisyphus is happy because he is aware of his tragic situation. He understands his fate and understands he can’t avoid it, so he ceases to expect that he’ll ever succeed in getting the rock over the top. In other words, he negates all hope. It’s frustrated hope that makes the punishment hard, Camus says, so if hope is negated, the torture ceases. And then Sisyphus can … Read the rest