The Traditional DE Blog (est. 2004)

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August 1, 2021

Youngest son, Max, turns 18 today. Old enough to fight our endless wars, not old enough to buy a beer.

If you missed it: Satire Saturday: Alleged Sex Slaveholder Tom Bombadil in Custody.

Satire Sunday: Scourging of Shire Scoured from YouTube.


July 30, 2021

Company to Make Weightless Barbells?

Maine brewery will make non-alcohol beer only.

Far out. I hope it works for them. Here are a few other oxymoronic and/or nerd business ideas:

Non-movement treadmills

Vision-free binoculars

Books without pages

I know people like non-alcoholic beer, but I don’t get it.

Years ago, I was reading a book about how to play poker. The author was an accomplished gambler, and I remember he made this point (which he was adamant about): Poker sucks if there’s no gambling involved. There are, he said, many great card games that don’t involve gambling and poker isn’t one of them. Gambling is the sine qua non of poker.

To me, beer without alcohol is like playing funzies. If you don’t want to drink alcohol, great. I respect that.

But why drink beer? There are a ton of great non-alcoholic beverages out there, ranging from sodas to juices to teas. Why drink beer unless you want a small buzz?

Again, it’s obviously a matter of taste and, therefore, largely rests beyond criticism, but I just don’t get it.


July 29, 2021

I call this one, “Early Sunrise Over My Miniature Greenhouse on My Half-Acre Garden in Southwest Michigan Delight.”

July 28, 2021

“Serfdom still existed in Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, until it was established by the new [Yugoslavian] government in early 1919.” Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures, p. 203.

July 27, 2021

July 26, 2021

The Weekly Eccentric

Scientism, Sowell, and Slavs.


July 25, 2021

Pressure Mounts on Tolkien Estate to Finish Legolas-Gimli Tale

LGBTQI+: “It’s time to make explicit what everyone has always known” Link.


July 24, 2021

I’m re-activating The Daily Eudemon Mastodon account. Follow by clicking here.


Satire Saturday

Department of Civil Rights Investigating the Prancing Pony


July 23, 2021

A sober BYCU: Yerba Mate.


July 21, 2021

One-Thing File

Boredom is nature’s way (our soul’s way?) of telling us we should be doing something else with our time.

So, as humans evolved we would get bored, and it was a way that our mind sort of told us ‘Hey, whatever you’re doing with your time right now, the return on your time invested has worn thin.’ So, it’s this evolutionary discomfort that’s like, ‘Hey, go do something else. This isn’t productive, what you’re doing.’

Econtalk, Michael Easter on the Comfort Crisis

July 20, 2021

“It’s a Wild World.” Cat Stevens

Just in case your day is going well:

As the sun set in Tanzania on a September evening in 2014, Jeff Leach inserted a turkey baster filled with another man’s feces into his rectum and squeezed the bulb. The feces, he said, came from a hunter-gatherer who was a member of the Hadza people and lived nearby.

Mr. Leach said he was trying to “rewild” his microbiome, giving himself microbes that can protect against chronic and autoimmune diseases that plague people in Western societies — including obesity, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome. The theory relies on the idea that people like the Hadza have diets and lifestyles that are more like those of ancient populations, and harbor such microbes. Channeling tropes that could have come from colonial era literature, Mr. Leach said the man he got the feces from “had only recently dined on zebra and monkey.”

The New York Times

July 19, 2021

The Weekly Eccentric

My third attempt to launch a weekly TDE column of sorts. Let’s hope to takes root.


July 18, 2021

Satire Sunday

Legolas canceled for misappropriating dwarf culture.

No: TDE hasn’t become a satire site, though I hope to post satire pieces frequently.


July 17, 2021

Satire Saturday

Tolkien’s Beorn new symbol of the LGBTQI+ movement.

(With a little postmodern philosophy thrown in.)


July 16, 2021

BYCU post, under the guise of a Gardening Journal entry.


July 15, 2021

For the One Thing File

The more “advanced” your civilization, the less likely you are to recover from mental illness.

The schizophrenic in rural Brazil is more like to recover than the schizophrenic in New York City.

Unregistered, Episode 171.


July 14, 2021

Coffee, Addiction, and the Rise of Modern Business

Great discussion about coffee, with a heavy Marshall McLuhan/Lewis Mumford segment in the middle:


Facing East

Thus we all look to the East at our prayers, but few of us know that we are seeking our own old country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East. St. Basil

Look toward the east, O Jerusalem,
and see the joy that is coming to you from God!

Baruch 4:36

Clip taken while on vacation last week in Alpena, Michigan. Sunrise, facing east . . . but not praying (smile). I’m not sure why the sun was red, but that’s what prompted me to take the video.


July 13, 2021

What historical era produced the greatest aggregate of human intelligence?

My own choice would be for the middle and late 18th-century London, where Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, James Boswell, David Garrick, Charles James Fox, Adam Smith, David Hume, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan walked the streets. These men knew one another well and, with the exception of Hume, belonged to the same club, which met on Friday evenings at the Turk’s Head Tavern, at 9 Gerard Street, off the Strand. (In his Dictionary, Johnson defined a club as “an assembly of good fellows, meeting under certain conditions.”)

The most notable among these wits were those of Johnson and Edmund Burke, of whom Johnson said “his stream of mind is perpetual.”

Joseph Epstein, Gallimaufry: A Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits


July 6, 2021

Fueling the Culture Wars

Kevin Drum makes an obvious observation: If you hate the culture wars, blame the Left. They’re the ones who have veered from the mainstream the most since 2004. Drum then presents charts and such to prove his point.

The problem with this is, it’s nothing new and you don’t need charts to prove it. You just a modicum of historical perspective. The push to the radical has always fueled the Left, from the French Revolution Jacobins to Lenin to BLM. It’s in the Left’s blood. It wants western civilization changed or smashed (depending on what Lefty you talk with). That’s why the Left has always hated the Catholic Church. Western civilization is the Catholic Church.

July 2, 2021

BYCU

I enjoy making mixed drinks, but sometimes, I just want to grab a good drink from the fridge, pop it open, and relax. That’s simply not possible with liquor (unless you like it neat . . . I don’t).

Fortunately, the market is responding well to this problem. There are more and more pre-made drinks on the market. So far, none of them are as good as the simplest and cheapest gin and tonic (with fresh gin), but they’re getting better. And now, Tanqueray has entered the field. I’m optimistic . . . and a bit excited.

After launching in select markets last year, Tanqueray’s Crafted Gin Cocktails in a Can are finally going national. The Gin & Tonic, Sevilla Orange Gin & Soda, and Rangpur Lime Gin & Soda are all hitting bars, restaurants, and retailers across the US starting today. 

The classic G&T features Tanqueray London Dry Gin (naturally) and an “aromatic” tonic, while the Sevilla Orange Gin & Tonic boasts a burst of citrus goodness with notes of peach, rose, and juniper. Finally, the Rangpur Lime G&T has got lime and hints of botanicals, like ginger. You can snag the cans, which have a 6.0% ABV per 12-ounce can, for $14.99 a 4-pack.

July 1, 2021

Rand Paul On Natural Immunity

June 30, 2021

Random NFL Thoughts

  1. What the &*!x is going on? Why this relentless barrage?
  2. Is anyone willing to say what’s obvious: Homosexuality is a psychological disorder and homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Or homosexuality is normal and gay acts are not disordered. That’s the obvious question. Relentlessly papering over it and saying the question is settled doesn’t settle it.
  3. The mere fact that there’s a need for The Trevor Project condemns homosexuality. If gay youth commit suicide at an exceedingly high rate, that means gay youth are psychologically troubled. Period; end of debate on that point. Now, why they’re psychologically troubled, that’s a subject for debate. The postmodernist (actually, the critical theorist) would say the societal structure has told gays that they’re abnormal, which then creates psychological problems; if we can change the structure (maybe by relentlessly papering over the question?), we can stop the suicide. The Judeo-Christian tradition would say homosexuality is just psychologically problematical and, like any problem, other problems accompany it (the alcoholic is more likely to be a wife-beater). Either way, you don’t want to be gay.

June 30, 2021

Gardening Journals

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an unfriendly gardening year. First, a drought, which was an annoyance and required a lot of irrigation work. Now, seven days of rain, high humidity, and high temperatures, which might, literally, kill off my garden.

Here’s the problem: I’ve been striving to establish a “wild garden,” which pretends to be a garden that grows whatever volunteers. It has a real “devil may care” persona. But it’s a poseur, at least at this stage. The wild garden requires a lot of discipline right now.

The wild garden is based on open-pollinated seeds, welcoming ground, and no weed seeds. You allow the plants grown from OP seeds to go to seed and blow all over the place . . . onto ground that has no weed or grass seeds. So that means you have to keep the weeds and grasses from going to seed. The idea: Over the course of a few years, the garden will be thick with good plants that have propagated themselves and will overwhelm the weed seeds that would otherwise win the war.

Though my pessimistic hunch is that I’ll end up with a lot of both, if I’m going to pull it off, I need to exercise vigilance when it comes to weeds.

And the last seven days have made vigilance impossible.

At a time when the weeds are vigorous. They love the rain, heat, and humidity.

And then, when the weather is supposed to clear up, I’m facing a lot of family commitments.

So, my back is against the wall.

I might have a few hours to work on the problem this weekend. I have a full tank of propane fuel for the Red Dragon. I have my weeding hoes sharpened.

And I’m bringing in a new weapon: The Hoss Single Wheel Hoe, with Winged Sweeps. It’s supposed to arrive today. I’m assured the Winged Sweeps are “bruisers” when it comes to pulling up and cutting weeds. I hope to have a chance to see for myself.

(Note: If you decide to try the Hoss yourself, I’d suggest buying directly from the Hoss site, not Amazon. It’s about 12% cheaper overall to buy that way.)

June 29, 2021

One Thing File: Bears have made an enormous comeback in the United States, which is a great sign of ecosystem vitality. Bears, as I understand it, are an “indicator” species. If bears, which sit atop the ecosystem in the United States, are healthy, everything below them is probably healthy.

Bear meat is also really good to eat. Its flavor also varies wildly, depending on the bear’s diet. A man once killed a bear that was subsisting on blueberries. The meat was purple and had an entirely different taste.

All this on the most recent edition of The Joe Rogan Experience. If you had told me the episode was about bears and hunting, I never would’ve listened. I’m glad I clicked on it because I was too brain-dead and tired to listen to anything else.

June 26, 2021

Satire and Punching Down: TDE to Enter World of Satire

Wow, Babylon Bee stepped into the spotlight this month. First, there was the big announcement that its CEO, Seth Dillon, will be speaking at the 40th Annual Chesterton Conference. As if that weren’t enough, the Bee then catapulted into the spotlight when the New York Times capitulated on its claim that the Bee peddles misinformation. And then Mailchimp disabled its account, leading to more publicity.

And now, we learn that the forces of the Left, with its Silicon Valley artillery, are taking aim at satire in general, presumably realizing that laughter is really discrediting their beliefs. Seth Dillon tells the story in the Bee’s recent e-newsletter:

Facebook recently announced they’ll be moderating satire to make sure it doesn’t “punch down.” Anything that punches down—that is, anything that takes aim at protected targets Facebook doesn’t want you joking about—doesn’t qualify as “true satire.” In fact, they’ve made it clear they’ll consider jokes that “punch down” to be hatred disguised as satire. They write: “Indeed, humor can be an effective mode of communicating hateful ideas.”

Mere days after this announcement was made, Slate published a piece accusing us of having a “nasty tendency to punch down.” This is not a coincidence. Having failed in their effort to lump us in with fake news, the media and Big Tech are looking for new ways to work together to deplatform us. They now hope to discredit us by saying we’re spreading hatred—rather than misinformation—under the guise of satire.

It all cements me in my decision that I reached earlier this month: TDE needs to launch a satire page (or feature, or arm, or category . . . I’m still mulling over how best to present it).

A unique angle has been chosen. Articles are in process. Look for the feature to launch in late July.

June 25, 2021

Tomorrow is Josemaria Escriva’s feast day. “How,” I wondered, “can I tie that into BYCU? If I had to guess, Escriva didn’t drink, or if he did, he presumably drank in extreme moderation.”

Drinking with the Saints figured it out for me. Escriva was referred to as the “founder,” but he stressed that God founded Opus Dei. He would joke, “The best Founder I know comes in a bottle.”

The bottle? Fundador, which is Spain’s largest export brandy and is available in more than 30 countries.


Pictures from the Gardening Journals (I wish I had thought to get a pic before I took down a huge pine tree and started to lay down tarps to kill the grass):

Garden December 2020
Garden June 2021

June 23, 2021

For the One Thing File: A person’s walking pace is the number one predicter of longevity (the faster the longer).

David Sinclair, author of Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To, on The Joe Rogan Experience last week.

Of course, I have no clue if he’s right, but he seems like he knows what he’s talking about.


June 21, 2021

Lefty Matt Taibbi writes about lefty Bret Weinstein and the terrible turn America media and elites have taken over the past four years (bold mine).

In the years since Weinstein left Evergreen, the American cultural and political establishment has undergone a change in thinking, tracking with the warning Weinstein delivered to congress. The Trump election inspired a loss of faith in democracy, Charlottesville defamed speech rights, and Russiagate was an ongoing argument against due process, with many of the same people who opposed Dick Cheney’s spy state suddenly seeing themselves as aligned with the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA in the war on Trump.

Weinstein in his testimony talked about a movement that targeted the liberal concepts that traditionally bound us together, one being the “marketplace of ideas.” By 2021, the “marketplace of ideas” was regularly being portrayed as a trick, a tool for repression designed to conceal the fact that, as the New York Times put it last year, “good ideas do not always triumph in a marketplace of ideas.”

Thus instead of argument and debate, many now believe we should use force and influence to achieve objectives. This is just what Weinstein described at Evergreen: eschewing argument, accumulating power for its own sake instead. It’s in light of this cultural shift that we’ve seen a movement in favor of censorship, with erstwhile opponents of corporations posturing as libertarians, filling social media with arguments about how private companies should be free to do what they want.

When Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify teamed up to kick Alex Jones off the Internet in the summer of 2018, most of the left cheered. The obvious fear, however, was that moderators would develop mission creep. The DarkHorse incidents show we’re there. Whether or not one agrees with Weinstein about the efficacy of ivermectin, or the idea that the Covid-19 vaccines carry unreported dangers, anyone who follows his show recognizes that his is nearly the opposite of an Alex Jones act. He and Heying’s shows are neither frivolous nor abusive, and they clearly make an effort to be evidence-based, interviewing credentialed authorities, typically about subjects ignored by the corporate press.

This is exactly what independent/alternative media is for: tackling third rail subjects that, for one reason or another, can’t find a home in traditional media. Often, it takes scoops initially dismissed as silly conspiracies by what ABC reporter Jon Karl recently described as “serious people,” a classic example being Gary Webb’s famous CIA cocaine trafficking story.

Time magazine editor in rejecting that one told reporters on that “if this story were about the Sandinistas and drugs, you’d have no trouble getting it in the magazine,” while Newsweek years later called a U.S. Senator, John Kerry, a “randy conspiracy buff” for saying the Contras in Nicaragua were engaged in drug trafficking. Only years later, in the small San Jose Mercury-News, did the story come out, and even then it took years before the coke-for-guns tale truly broke through in popular media.


June 20, 2021

Summer Solstice

Happy first day of summer. It’s the longest day of the year.

I always try to stay outside until it’s dark on this date, just to take it all in, but mosquitoes normally force me indoors. Given today’s humidity, I suspect the same will occur this evening. We’ll see.


June 18, 2021

BYCU

The Fall of Stroh’s

In response to last month’s post about the rise and fall of Schlitz, a TDE reader reminded me of the fall of Stroh’s (which bought Schlitz shortly before it fell completely dead). You can read the story here: How to Blow $9 Billion: The Fallen Stroh Family.

Peter Stroh’s grand vision of a thriving U.S.-wide brewer failed to materialize. It largely missed the boat on the biggest industry trend in a generation: light beer. And Stroh’s core product–cheap, watery, full-calorie beer–was a commodity. But saddled with debt, Stroh couldn’t afford to match the ad spending of its bigger rivals, Anheuser-Busch and Miller. Unable to spur demand through marketing, Stroh turned to price, introducing a 15-pack for the price of 12 cans and a 30-pack for the price of a case of 24. While the latter had legs, it wasn’t enough to outrun the shrinking margins.

Meanwhile, an ambitious family from Colorado began moving into the Stroh markets. “It became a competition between Stroh and Coors,” says Scott Rozek, a former director-level employee who spent 12 years at Stroh. “At that time there were four big breweries in a three-brewery industry–there was really only room for three.” By the end of the 1980s Coors overtook Stroh as the country’s third-largest brewer.


June 17, 2021

Tolkien: Multiculturalist

A reader sends this along: Tolkien and Diversity, a seminar sponsored by the Tolkien Society.

Yes, it’s real.

Now, Middle Earth was a remarkably diverse place: men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc. But I don’t think that’s what the seminar is about based on the first topic listed: “Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings.”

There’s something queer strange in me that makes me want to watch this. And I just might. In fact, maybe I’ll see if I can contribute. A few topics I’ve been working on during my free time:

Oppression in Tom Bombadil: Goldberry and the Sex Slavery of Monogamy

Strider and the Rangers: Dirty Mike and the Boys in Middle Earth

Taking Diversity to New Levels: Legolas and Gimli and Gay Love

Celebrating Polygamy: Aragorn, Arwen, and Eowyn

The Joy of Voyeurism: Merry Watching Eowyn during the Celebration of Polygamy

The Barrow-Wight and Repressed Sexuality: What Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry Really Experienced in There

Boromir: Male Patriarchy, period.

Gandalf and Saruman: Politics as Shield for Spurned Sexual Advances

Wood Over Wood: The Destruction of Orthanc and Phallocentric Middle Earth Culture

Not Just Oliphaunts: Celebrating Harad and Inverting the Racial Binary

Smashing Eurocentric Taboos: What Really Was Happening in Bag End


June 15, 2021

classic brown coupe beside tree
Photo by Anton Imbro on Pexels.com

Move Over, BLM. There’s a Parking Revolution Going On!

The current episode of Econtalk delves into the most mundane topic ever: city parking. I almost didn’t listen to it, but thought, “Maybe there’s something unexpectedly interesting here.”

There was. Lots.

Cities have been getting parking wrong. They need to charge market rates for on-street parking, pricing it so there are always one or two spots available on each block. The increase in charges will be small per parking spot, it will raise a lot of money that can be turned back into the neighborhood, and local developers/businesses will adjust accordingly.

And if you do the opposite—offer free parking and force developers/businesses to offer off-street parking—you’re probably furthering urban blight. Heck, you might be the primary reason it exists in some cities.

The lesson: Nothing is free. Everything comes with a cost. Before you insist on something coming free, identify the cost first, then think about the reverberations of that cost.

Quite frankly, this episode is a stunning example of how a small government mandate can huge, often devastating, impact.

Encouraging: The economist’s ideas are taking hold in many major cities around the world.


June 10, 2021

Steyn at Hillsdale

Mark Steyn is featured in the recent issue of Imprimis: Our Increasingly Unrecognizable Civilization

Look at just three things we have lost. 

One is equality before the law, something absolutely essential to a free society. In its place, we now have politicized law. If a policeman fatally shoots someone, whether his name is released to the public depends on whether the shooting is consistent with the preferred narrative of the ruling class. A policeman recently took down a young woman who was threatening the life of another young woman with a knife, and that policeman was immediately identified—indeed, his photo was posted and he was threatened by NBA superstar LeBron James on Twitter. On the other hand, we know nothing of the policeman who shot dead an unarmed woman in the U.S. Capitol on January 6. His name will apparently never be released to the public.

June 9, 2021

Godfather of Harlem, Season 2 is Abject Trash.

I really enjoyed Godfather of Harlem, Season 1. When Season 2 came out, I eagerly renewed my Epix subscription and started watching.

Wow, it’s awful.

The producers tried mightily to weave the current BLM/Wokeness culture into mid-1960s Harlem, but at the sacrifice of character and plot development. The thing is now just a faint imitation of Season 1.

Just awful.


June 8, 2021

The current issue of The New Criterion reviews Jason L. Riley’s Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell. Man, I wish I wasn’t on a new book moratorium.

“Another thing that distinguishes Sowell from all too many other economists is his insistence that theory be tested in the real world. Gunnar Myrdal, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974, for instance, argued that third-world countries could not develop without extensive foreign aid and much central planning, despite the fact that post-war Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore did exactly that in the late twentieth century.

“I got no sense,” Sowell wrote,

‘that Myrdal actually investigated these theories of his and compared them with anything that actually happened. I myself, of course, started out on the left and believed a lot of this stuff. The one thing that saved me was that I always thought facts mattered. And once you think that facts matter, then of course that’s a very different ball game.’

“Myrdal and his type are essentially theoretical in their approach to economics. Sowell, like Stiller, Hayek, and Friedman, is empirical, demanding real-world proof, not just elegant ideas.”


June 4, 2021

June 3, 2021

We Like Short, Shorts . . .

Zero Hedge has assembled a new basket of stocks: The Most-Shorted Stocks. The theory? If Wall Street starts shorting company stocks too much, the Reddit memo stock brigade will bid it up, so you want to hold these stocks, in hopes that you’re holding the next GameStop stock when it rockets.

Unfortunately, I accessed this basket yesterday about three hours after Zero Hedge posted it. I went into my account and checked out four of the stocks: three of them were already up that day by over 10%, as much as 45% for the day (and the fourth was up “only” 4% . . . I placed a $25 bet on that one), so either (i) Zero Hedge is absolutely correct, or (ii) Zero Hedge created the buy frenzy.

Bob Gaudio was the pianist for “The Royal Teens.” Gaudio later became the main creative force and member of “The Four Seasons.”


May 27, 2021

The Schizophrenic Attitude to Cryptocurrency

Nobody really knows what to think. From the July 2021 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance:

From PayPal’s peer-to-peer payment app Venmo has begun to offer its users an entrée to cryptocurrency, expanding its suite of money-management tools. Venmo’s more than 70 million customers will be able to buy or sell four types of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. They can also follow crypto trends and access in-app guides and videos to answer commonly asked questions. You can buy and sell cryptocurrency using funds from your balance with Venmo or a linked bank account or debit card. You can also choose to share your crypto transactions with friends through the Venmo feed.

And

I think most people should just watch [investments like Bitcoin] the way they watch sports: as entertainment. It’s too hard to be a successful speculator or a successful trend follower. Generally, the leaders of the trend are the ones who make money and get out at your expense. You have to ask yourself, Do I understand this investment, and how is it going to enhance my financial security over the next five, 10, 20 or 30 years? If the answer is I don’t know, you should just walk the other way.

May 26, 2021

Perhaps the Best Econtalk of the Year

Jason Riley, Thomas Sowell biographer, about race in America.

Related: Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell.

Excerpts from podcast:

“[A] Gallup poll released in 2020 showed that 81% of black Americans said they wanted police presence in their neighborhood to remain the same or to increase. This is 2020.”

“A poll in 1993 taken by Gallup found that 82% of black respondents said the criminal justice system doesn’t treat criminals harshly enough. 75% of blacks wanted more cops on the street to combat crime. 68% said: build more prisons so that longer sentences can be given.”

“So, we can talk about the talk about the defund-the-police movement. We can talk about what the activists are saying. But we cannot pretend that these folks are speaking on behalf of the black rank-and-file. Based on the empirical data that we have, they are speaking for themselves. And, too often, the media has interpreted what they’re saying as speaking on behalf of all blacks.”

“[I]n 1971 police in New York City shot 300 people. By 1991, 20 years later, that had fallen to 100 people. By 2019 it had fallen to 34 people.

“So, police use of lethal force has declined by roughly 80%, 85% in the nation’s largest city, with the nation’s largest police force, over the past half century.

“And, New York is no outlier. You’ll find the same stats in Los Angeles and Chicago and Detroit and Cleveland and Oakland. You go down the line. Police use of lethal force has declined, especially among minorities.

“Yet we have groups out there claiming the exact opposite: that it’s increasing. That it has become an epidemic. And, I really think that this is largely a function of the media dropping the ball and refusing to put things in perspective and cite the sort of data I just cited.”


May 25, 2021

Dollar Tuesday

What’s coming? Inflation or deflation? How inflation turns into deflation.

If deflation is coming, you want no debt and lots of cash. If inflation is coming, you want debt and little cash. So what to do?

Beats me. If you have the means, I’d follow the solid advice to have a minimum of six months of living expenses in cash, preferably a year. I’d then stock up a year’s worth of living expenses in alt-inflation assets: precious metal (or audited PM stocks or PM vault shares if, like me, you don’t like to hold the actual metal), treasury shorts, and crytpo-currency (in that order). All the while, I’d participate in a run-of-the-mill 401k or IRA, using customary Wall Street mutual funds.

What I wouldn’t do? I wouldn’t run high on debt, with very little in cash, counting on my 401k and house value to build my wealth and secure my family.


If you haven’t been watching, cryto got massacred over the weekend. So much so, I couldn’t resist and had to buy more (“buy when there’s blood running in the streets”). It’s rebounding nicely but if you don’t have any Ethereum, it’s trading at half its previous highs. It’s a nice entry point.

And some forecasters think Ether will overtake Bitcoin in total market cap. It’s called “The Flippening.” I’m not clear on what that means for Ethereum’s price, but it’s pretty obvious from the estimates that it means the Ether price will soar.


May 23, 2021

You don’t see this every day: A podcast episode about Etienne Gilson’s Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages.


May 21, 2021

BYCU

Trappist monks vows don’t include kicking ass and taking names in court.

Well, I exaggerate, but they will defend the water source for the world famous Belgian ales:

For a decade the monks of Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy, in Rochefort, south Belgium – one of only 14 abbeys in the world producing Trappist beer – have been fighting with a quarry owner over the purity of the local spring water.

The monks have doggedly claimed that plans by Lhoist, an international company run by one of Belgium’s richest families, to deepen its chalk quarry and redirect the Tridaine spring risked altering the unique taste of their celebrated drink.

Now, thanks to a deed dating back to 1833, it appears that makers and drinkers alike need no longer worry. A court of appeal in Liège has confirmed that while the quarry owner also owns the spring, it does not have the right to “remove or divert all or part of the water which supply the abbey.”

The Guardian

May 18, 2021

Tuesday Trifles

Ben Wallace is the only undrafted player to get inducted into the hall of fame.

Petoskey, Michigan, held a job fair last week. 60 companies looking for 500 employees. Four people showed up. (Michigan’s unemployment rate is over 20%.)

Governor Newsom tries to buy his way out of a recall.

What about that $5 million ransom paid to terrorists (“hackers”) last week? Paid by a utility company? That needs to be explored deeply. Some say it was the equivalent of Pearl Harbor . . . and the U.S. just rolled over and died.


May 16, 2021

When asked if he’d rather go to heaven or listen to a lecture about heaven, a theologian responded, “I’ll take the lecture.”

That’s a joke from this valuable book: The Mindful Catholic (2018). I’d been looking for a book like this for years. Orthodox (former Benedict Groeschel student), open to the mindfulness idea (which is normally infused with Buddhism and stained with syncretism), and updated for current science about how our minds work.

I’m only half way through it, but as of now, highly recommended.


Please Don’t Let It End

As the pandemic finally winds down, I’ve been getting the eery sense that some people don’t want it to. I’ve had that sense for a year now. After it became clear that we had flattened the curve, we weren’t going to run out of respirators, and hospitals would not be over-run, people kept supporting restrictions. When it became clear that the mortality rate from COVID was less than the flu and therefore simply wasn’t an extraordinary risk, people kept wearing masks.

I used to think it was just political. The Left was vested in the COVID narrative, so Leftists insisted we stay the course.

I also thought there was a large amount of virtue-signaling and general pleasure in telling people what to do, feeling superior.

But now I think there’s something more. Mental illness? Weakness? Lack of character? I really don’t know, Professor Bidziszewslki senses it too. He calls it “fragility.”

The mental composure of a great many university students these days is fragile.  You would be surprised by how many miss classes, and how many classes they miss, because of depression or anxiety.  Student health administrators send letters to faculty asking them to excuse the absences of perturbed students, allow them extra time on tests, and make a variety of other accommodations for them, because their discomposure is considered a disability.

For that matter, the equanimity of a lot of other citizens is pretty fragile too.  They were anxious before the epidemic.  They have been anxious because of the epidemic.  According to therapists interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, now some of them appear to be anxious because the epidemic is tapering down.  Its windup hints at the possible loss of rules that not only soothe and comfort them, but also reassure them that their anxieties are appropriate.

May 14, 2021

The Dirty Mojito

Well, I think I nailed the Cuban Mojito on my first try.

Step One:

.75 shot of lime juice

.75 shot of simple syrup

2 shots of rum

A basil leaf, six mint leaves, a few cilantro twigs

Eight ice cubes

Put into shaker and shake (shaker up around your ear; white-man overbite facial expression)

Step Two:

Fill tall glass 1/3rd of the way with ice

Add batch of cilantro, basil leaves, and mint leaves, holding same to side of glass

Add more ice to 2/3rds

Pour in contents of shaker

Top with club soda

The above picture is what it looks like after you drink it. It is a phenomenal drink and supposedly fairly healthy, at least within the realm of drinks that pack a punch.

The Drunken Botanist


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Taki Mag takes apart racism at the Oscars. Excerpt:

[W]ho can forget the absolute catastrophe that occurred later in that same show, when the Academy’s greatest shot at racial redemption was bollixed beyond repair. Moonlight, a film about black (check!) Hispanic (check!) immigrant (check!) gay lovers (check check!), won Best Picture, but desiccated dementia mummies Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read the wrong winner. Moonlight had earned very little at the box office, almost certainly due to its tagline “Blacks, Drugs & Anal Sex: See It or You’re Hitler,” so the producers had been counting on that win to keep their molasses-paced X-rated Afterschool Special from slipping into obscurity.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Matt Taibbi’s new piece is excellent: Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It.


J.D. Vance is running for Senate. He’s a smidgeon too much to the Conventional County Club Republican left for my taste, but just a smidgeon. He’d get my vote.


Monday, May 10, 2021

Fr. Damien’s feast day is today. For some reason, my otherwise-reliable Fellowship of St. James Calendar of the Christian Year doesn’t list it. Very odd. Maybe they’ve been taking editing hints from AOC. (Just kidding . . . It’s a Touchstone publication. They’re solid, to say the least.)

The Calendar also says the RCC celebrates the feast day of Job today. I didn’t know the RCC had feast days for Old Testament figures, but it does . . . kinda. EWTN flushes it out.

Wikipedia says my old church, Missouri Synod Lutheran, celebrates Job’s feast on May 9th. That was entirely new to me . . . the idea that Lutherans have any feast days.


So, MSN will now use robot curators to suggest stories to its browser users. If its algorithms work like Medium.com’s, it will be rabidly leftist, but it’s hard to believe AI can be much more leftist than the human curators MSN has been using. From England:

Staff who maintain the news homepages on Microsoft’s MSN website and its Edge browser – used by millions of Britons every day – have been told that they will be no longer be required because robots can now do their jobs.

Around 27 individuals employed by PA Media – formerly the Press Association – were told on Thursday that they would lose their jobs in a month’s time after Microsoft decided to stop employing humans to select, edit and curate news articles on its homepages.

Employees were told Microsoft’s decision to end the contract with PA Media was taken at short notice as part of a global shift away from humans in favour of automated updates for news.


Sunday, Mother’s Day

No blogging today. You might say I’m “detained.”

Friday, May 7, 2021

BYCU

Are you looking for the best spring cocktail? Vinepair has provided a list after polling 14 bartenders.

I only recognize five of the drinks, have only drank two of them, and only make one of them: the Tom Collins. But it has this helpful advice for the Tom Collins fans out there:

Sometimes I’ll add a dash of Angostura bitters or absinthe to spice things up a bit. Or if I’m feeling lazy, gin and soda with a squeeze of citrus does the trick just fine, too. It’s a template that allows for easy tinkering, depending on your mood. Spring and gin go hand in hand as far as I’m concerned. Here’s how we make Tom Collins’ at the bar: 2 ounces of gin — preferably London Dry but Old Tom is great, too — and 3/4 ounce of both lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake briefly but firmly. Double strain into a chilled Collins glass and top with 2 ounces of soda water. Fill with ice. Garnish with a cherry and orange twist.” —Carlo Caroscio, Bar Manager, Backbar, Somerville, Mass.

The article also had an easy suggestion for making Tom Collins variations: flavored vodkas.

The mixed drink I find myself enjoying the most this season is a classic Tom Collins made with Absolut Mango Vodka in place of gin. You can also easily swap out the mango vodka for any other flavor you prefer. This drink was introduced to me by one of my respected mentors, Andrew Willett, who taught me to keep an open mind and helped me realize there is a place for flavored vodka. My preferred recipe is: 2 ounces of Absolut Mango Vodka, an ounce of lemon juice, and 3/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with ice, and top with about 2 ounces of soda water.” —Harry Chin, Lead Bartender, MW Restaurant, Honolulu


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Job

It’s my patron saint’s feast day today: Job the Long-Suffering. I will have been married 30 years this August.

And yes, it’s the same Job (from the Old Testament). It’s an Eastern Orthodox feast day.


I shouldn’t read a soundbite quote and label someone a full-on moron, but . . .

Bishop Robert McElroy defended President Joe Biden receiving Holy Eucharist, arguing that those who would deny pro-abortion politicians Communion are overlooking racism. “Their logic is that abortion and euthanasia are particularly grave evils … and they involve threats to human life,” he wrote. “But why hasn’t racism been included in the call for eucharistic sanctions against political leaders?”

Link

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

In Praise of Satire (but does Our Current Milieu Defy It?)

The new issue of The New Criterion leads with an editorial against woke culture, using the satire of Jonathan Swift as its launching point; the Babylon Bee as a mid-point; and concern that our present situation defies satire and deserves only ridicule as its end-point.

The political and moral contours of our situation make initiatives like The Babylon Bee so valuable. The Bee is intended as a satirical site, and its satire can cut very close to the bone. Consider some recent headlines: “Media Relieved To Be Covering The Good Kind Of Riots Again,” which speaks for itself. “Sesame Street Introduces ‘Todd,’ A White Male Muppet Who Is Blamed For Everything.” The story is not by Ibram X. Kendi, the author of the bestselling anti-white diatribe How to Be an Antiracist, but it would take a sharp man to tell. Or how about this one? “New Disney+ Premium Service Will Send A Satanist Drag Queen To Your House To Teach Your Kids About Communism.” You might need to check on that—right after you digest Disney’s announcement that it is adding to several classics from its children’s catalogue, including DumboPeter Pan, and Swiss Family Robinson, a disclaimer advising that the programs contain “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

I seem to recall that Hilaire Belloc raged when a historian wrote a massive history of the Middle Ages and didn’t mention the Mass even once. How could anyone cover those 1,000 years and not mention the thing that was central to those 1,000 years?

The non-Catholic phenomenon continues. Consider this piece, where an “art critic” marvels at medieval paintings that show a “dog smoking a joint.” A momentary glance shows that it’s not a joint but rather a candle . . . and the dog holds it along the edge, not at the tip like someone toking a joint. But no matter, the art critic finds it really funny and worth exegesis.

The dog, incidentally, is a symbol of St. Dominic:

Before Dominic was born his mother had a dream in which she saw Dominic born under the appearance of a white and black dog, holding in his mouth a torch which illuminated the world. We are told that on the day of his baptism his godmother beheld him, in a vision, with a brilliant star gleaming on his forehead. These two stories have found a place in the coat of arms of the Order, on the shield of which is to be found the dog with his torch, and the shining star of the saint’s baptismal day.

The Birth of St. Dominic

Monday, May 3, 2021

Massive and Weird

Reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. So, what prompted me start reading a 950-page work of fiction that I doubt I’ll finish?

Like all decisions in life, it was an amalgamation of things:

Russ Roberts at Econtalk spoke favorably of Wallace’s essays, so I bought Consider the Lobsterand enjoyed it.

It enjoys both cult classic and regular classic status among readers.

It came out over 20 years, thereby meeting Nassim Taleb’s recommendation: never read a book unless it has been out for at least 20 years.

And the final nail in the coffin? I read an essay about it that said there are 100 pages of footnotes (to a work of fiction) and even the footnotes have footnotes. That sold me.

Greatly enjoying so far . . . at page 30 . . . but it’s weird fare.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Happy Easter, to our Orthodox brethren.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

No time for blogging today. It’s World Naked Gardening Day. I gotta get hoppin’.


Friday, April 30, 2021

BYCU

At what point of maturation does a person not feel compelled to make a statement with every public action?

Introducing “Torched Earth Ale” from New Belgium:

The Colorado-based brewery has put together the less-than-ideal beer as a way to highlight the importance of preventing climate change; it’s brewed with the limited ingredients that would likely be available in a climate-ravaged future, and it provides a sobering (no pun intended) glimpse of what craft beer fans can look forward to if they don’t act now to reduce carbon emissions and fight global warming.

Of course, it could simply be the more noble act of pandering for profit.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Miami

Has anyone else (tried to) watch One Night in Miami? I got through the first 30 minutes but couldn’t take anymore. It’s bad. I mean, comically bad. Amazon hyped the crap out of it, but it’s quite possibly the worse movie I’ve seen in 25 years.

Granted, I only watched the first 30 minutes, but that was enough. If anyone has watched the entire thing and tells me it gets a lot better–a plot line develops, they bother to use quality backdrops, the acting becomes passable–let me know.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

DC a State?

Pat Buchanan breaks down the problems with making DC a state.

Making D.C. a state would send two Democrats to the Senate indefinitely. But it would violate the constitution and compact under which the nation was founded. And it would start a stampede for other disfiguring alterations, like packing the Supreme Court by adding four new justices.

Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and American Samoa could soon follow and enter claims to become states of the American Union.

And a second unraveling of the republic would begin.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Wild Gardening Note: I forgot to mention last week: It’s crucial that you always use open-pollinated seeds (heirlooms). Hybrid seeds don’t reproduce.

BTW: My self-seeding greens (“volunteers”) are now over 100. I’ve stopped counting.


Immigrants Don’t Like It Either

For the One Thing File: No immigrant wants to come here.

That’s from yesterday’s Econtalk episode: “Roya Hakakian on A Beginner’s Guide to America.”

Ms. Hakakian points out that every immigrant is being forced to leave their country. Every person, by nature, wants to stay at their home, in their customary surroundings, with friends and family. But circumstances make that impossible.

That seems obvious now that she said it, but I can’t say I ever thought of it like that. In addition to the One Thing file, I should probably add it to my file of basic observations that every person should acknowledge because, even though they don’t settle the debate, it gives us one common point of agreement, like the observation that many of us lived under a form of totalitarianism in 2020.


Monday, April 26, 2021

Anti-Fragile

The Burning Platform dude is bearing down for economic armegeddon. Of course, it seems to me that he’s been bearing down for years now and his predictions haven’t come true. Still, everything he says makes sense.

And what does he say that makes sense? Just this: Everything is in a bubble and the economy makes no sense and everything is obviously about to collapse. He says Dogecoin is a joke but is worth billions; the stock market is higher than anyone dreamed it would be; real estate prices are through the roof. Even baseball cards, he notes, have entered a bubble.

His advice? Make yourself as anti-fragile as possible. For him, that means paying down debt, buying a generator for his house, and taking control of his IRA (presumably, so he can buy precious metal stocks, but he doesn’t say that).

My response: You’re right . . . maybe, probably, perhaps.


I was talking with a friend yesterday about my very small Dogecoin investment from last December. It has returned 10,000%. If I had bet real money on it, I could retire now, but I’m satisfied that my gains were enough to buy me a small generator. I’m holding onto it and my friend was curious why I don’t just liquidate the entire thing since even I don’t “get Dogecoin, believe in Dogecoin, or want Dogecoin.

My response: I don’t get, believe in, or want any investment anymore, but the cash has to go someplace. I might as well keep it in the casino where, if diversified enough, it could pay-off.

And in the meantime, I will continue along the track counseled by Burning Man and try to make myself as anti-fragile as possible.

Tonight, another few rows of potatoes go into the ground.


Saturday, April 24, 2021

Running Woman

Limited time for blogging this morning.

Yesterday was Daughter Day: helped eldest daughter close on her first house in Ann Arbor, attended youngest daughter’s high school tennis match, then trekked over to Hillsdale College to watch middle daughter run in the steeplechase. Four of her siblings, two grandparents, one cousin, and three uncles/aunts came in to watch the 10:46 minute affair, most coming from the Detroit area. Such is the running passion of my in-laws.

She’s in Hillsdale blue in the following ten-second video.

She ended up finishing fifth out of about 80 runners. It was only her second try at this odd event.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Poverty

From the One Thing File: We started measuring poverty during the LBJ administration, which had declared war on poverty. In order to know the enemy, it had to know how many enemies existed. The measure it came up with? Calculate the cost to eat for a year and multiply by three. If your household income is less than that, you’re in poverty. The test is still used to this day. Econtalk


Sunday, April 18, 2021

LOTR: $465,000,000

The Amazon Lord of the Rings series hype just keeps getting bigger. It now appears that it’s going to be one of the most-expensive TV show ever: $465 million to produce Season One alone.

And what’s even better: It appears it can’t go woke, at least not much. The rules of engagement prohibit it (maybe the Tolkien estate was so disgusted by Hobbit movie debacle (the “Hobacle?”) and its inclusion of a heroine female elf, that it took a firm line on this one?):

“The Tolkien Estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenorean expedition, is returns to Númenor,” Tom Shippey, a Tolkien scholar, told the German fansite Deutsche Tolkien “There he corrupts the Númenoreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same. But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That’s what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created, it is necessary to remain ‘tolkienian.’”

So, we won’t see naked hobbits, but I think we are going to see a lot flesh.


Friday, April 16, 2021

BYCU: Mojito Time?

I can’t say there’s a lot of drinking on my horizon. I’m still detoxing from Vegas, and I’m rattled with allergies right now, the effects of which mimic COVID symptoms, which makes me persona non grata at the local watering holes.

On top of that, hell season starts tonight with Tess’ first tennis match. It should be a fairly temperate hell season, though. I have no high school seniors and Max opted to get his first real job instead of doing a sport. When you have only one kid in a sport, you kind of look forward to the events, knowing you won’t have six a week for the next six weeks.

So even though there’s no drinking on my horizon, the garden is calling me to the tempter. I’ve been wanting to make the ultimate mojito, basing it on what I drank in Miami two years ago. On a trip to Little Havana, I bought a mojito, and it was amazing. It was filled with greens (looked like seaweed, to be frank). I think the greens were mint, cilantro, and basil but I’m not sure.

Well, this spring, I’m gonna try to find out. My mint is thriving, the cilantro is volunteering all over the place (I try to let all my greens go to seed and blow all over the place; it’s part of my “wild garden” effort, which I plan to write about extensively later). I also have basil that I’ve grown from seed in my grow station.

I’m greatly tempted to take my first stab at a killer mojito recipe later tonight and start tracking the results.

I’ll keep y’all apprised.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A few final Vegas notes

1. According to my tour bus driver, he couldn’t get a job in a Vegas casino because his grandmother was third cousins with Bugsy Siegel. The guy didn’t strike me as Jewish, and I’ve come to question some of the “facts” he spouted while on the trip, but I suppose it’d make sense. If you really want to root it out, you gotta be thorough. Pete Rose, after all, still isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

2. If you go to Fremont Street East (the emerging downtown “hot spot”), try Evel Knievel Pizza (a/k/a “Evel Pie”). It’s really good, if you like thin, greasy pizza. Lots of Evel memorabilia.

3. When Steve Wynn built the Wynn, he spent $1 billion on the air circulation system. This is another “fact” from my bus driver, but I’d heard before that Wynn spent a ton of money to make sure the air was as pristine as possible. My bus driver said you can notice a difference in the skin of the long-time workers there.

4. The newest casino, Circa, on Fremont Street downtown has a Wynn vibe. It apparently also has the Wynn-type air.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Return Eudemon

I returned from Las Vegas last night. I’m a bit groggy this morning, to say the least.

Expect a full-blown Vegas post/essay tomorrow morning, maybe later this evening. There’s a lot happening in Vegas . . . a shocking amount: bouncing back post-COVID, three major areas of development, Vegas reinventing itself yet again. I suspect the City of No-Substance will crack the million citizen mark before the end of the 2020s (currently, it has almost 600,000 residents . . . almost entirely consisting of people living off the entertainment industry).


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Call Me “Michigan Fats”

I bought a Connelly pool table last week. I think it’s the San Carlos model, which retails for about $4,000. I bought a used one, refurbished.

I’m fortunate to have a “pool table guy” right in my small town. He was the one who “turned me onto” Connelly, calling it the “Cadillac of pool tables.” He was able to get me a 7’ table for $2,400, which included new felt and bumpers and sawing apart and removing the 1969 8’-Brunswick table that I inherited from my parents when I bought their house (which they bought in 1969). The seller also included a set of used balls, three new cues, and chalk.

I really wanted to preserve that Brunswick. If Connelly is the Cadillac of tables, Brunswick is the Rolls Royce. The felt was 52-years-old and the bumpers dead, but I had dreams of refurbishing it along the lines of something you’d see on Pawn Stars.

But the pool guy nixed it. He said that, for starters, mine was a really weird Brunswick. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if my parents paid $20,000 in today’s dollars fir it, but it was so odd, he wasn’t even sure it was a Brunswick. He had to crawl under it to confirm that it was, indeed, a Brunswick. Then he noticed the bumpers are no longer manufactured, and the ball return carriage (a rarity in domestic pool tables) is probably no longer available. When he took off the top of the table (the first step to replace the felt), the whole carriage snapped, which he warned me could happen.

He couldn’t even estimate how much it would cost to refurbish, and it was nothing he wanted to cancel.

So I unleashed him on the Chicago-to-Detroit route, looking for a replacement. After a few months, he found me the Connelly.

I’m not working on my game, preparing for my trip to Vegas in a few days, where I plan to enter a few tournaments (just, you know, to say I did). Marie is rolling her eyes.


Happy Easter

“When the disciples saw the risen Christ, they beheld him as a reality in the world, though no longer of it, respecting the order of the world, but Lord of its laws. To behold such reality was different and more than to see a tree or watch a man step through a doorway. To behold the risen Christ was an experience that burst the bounds of the ordinary. This explains the extraordinary wording of the texts: the strangeness of Christ’s ‘appearing,’ ‘vanishing,’ suddenly standing in the middle of a room or at someone’s side. Hence the abruptness, fragmentariness, oscillation, contradictoriness of the writing–the only true form for content so dynamic that no existing form can contain it.”

Romano Guardini

Holy Saturday

Nyssa, Tolkien, and Gibson

By killing Jesus, Satan had swallowed God’s bait. He didn’t know he had swallowed the Godhead, thereby inviting Full Being into his fortress of nothingness and bringing about the ontological fall of his nothingness. In the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa: “The Godhead hid under the covering of our human nature so as to offer an easy bait to him who sought to exchange us for a more precious prize. And the aim was that just like a greedy fish he would swallow the hook of divinity together with the bait of the flesh. Thus life would come to dwell in death, light would appear in darkness, and thus light and life would achieve the destruction of all that stood against them.”

You can imagine Satan’s smile as Jesus was sucked into the abyss. After watching Jesus enter hell, Satan was probably about to turn his attention back toward earth. But according to an ancient homily from Holy Saturday, Jesus, upon entering hell, met Adam, took his hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper and rise from the dead, and Jesus will give you light. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.”

Thus the terror was reversed: The tormentor, Satan, became the tormented; the tormented, Jesus, became the tormentor; hate, the weapon of the first tormentor, was replaced with love, the weapon of the second tormentor.

It’s difficult to imagine the full terror that raced through Satan as he realized what was happening, but there’s an excellent literary analogy toward the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the torment that befell Sauron, Tolkien’s literary parallel to Satan. The hobbit, Frodo, bearer of the Ring that was the source of Sauron’s power, had sneaked into the middle of Sauron’s kingdom, Mount Doom, and stood at the abyss of the Crack of Doom, home of the only fires fierce enough to destroy the Ring: “The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him . . . and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash . . . Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung. From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his strategems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, [Sauron’s] whole mind and purpose . . . was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, [Sauron’s highest servants, the Ringwraiths] hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.”

But they got there too late. The Ring had been destroyed, and with it Sauron’s power.

Like his literary personification Sauron, Satan must have streaked southwards—downwards—to hell, only to watch helplessly as his evil work was undone. Ontologically speaking, man’s path to being had been restored and the path to nothingness, though still open to those who choose it, had been redirected to the path of Heaven. The path to full existence was opened to any person willing to accept the redemption—the restoration of man’s being—effected by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Good Friday

“Think of how you are your whole world. Emotionally, psychologically: everything revolves around you. Even your attempts to be selfless are selfish . . . ultimately serving yourself. You can’t escape.

“And then you might see how you can be the sole cause of all His suffering. You are your world, so His death was only for you.” Anonymous

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald

“The cross cannot be defeated. . . For it is Defeat.” G.K. Chesterton

On those who hate Christianity: “They do not dislike the Cross because it is a dead symbol; but because it is a live symbol.” G.K. Chesterton

“[A]s long as sin remains on earth, still will the Cross remain.” Fulton Sheen

“God has given us our lives as wheat and grapes. It is our duty to consecrate them and bring them back to God as bread and wine–transubstaniated, divinized, and spiritualized. There must be harvest in our hands after the springtime of the earthly pilgrimage. That is why Calvary is erected in the midst of us, and we are on its sacred hill. We were not made to be mere on-lookers . . . but rather to be participants in the mystery of the Cross.” Fulton Sheen.

“Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam.” St. John Chrysostom

“His Cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how to live, how to use this world, what to expect, what to desire, what to hope. It is the tone into which all the strains of the world’s music are ultimately to be resolved.” Cardinal Newman

“No one ever experienced the plunge down the vacuum of evil as did God’s Son–even to the excruciating agony behind the words: ‘My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Jesus was really destroyed. Cut off in the flower of his age; his work stifled just when it should have taken root; his friends scattered, his honor broken. He no longer had anything, was anything: ‘a worm and not a man.’” Romano Guardini

“Only Christ’s love is certain. We cannot even say God’s love; for that God loves us we also know, ultimately, only through Christ.” Romano Guardini

“Communion with Jesus means becoming like him. With him we are nailed on the cross, with him we are laid in the tomb, with him we are raised up to accompany lost travelers in their journey.” Henri Nouwen

“You are saddened because of the unjust treatment shown your Lord, but yours is still greater sadness because you feel yourself incapable of bearing even small injuries for the honor of Christ.” Thomas A’Kempis

For 3:00: “For all that ever was wrong, is wrong, and will be wrong, the price has been paid.” Richard John Neuhaus


Holy Thursday

“[I]n the agony of Gethsemane the ultimate consequences of our sin had their hour. . . . God permitted his Son to taste the human agony of rejection and plunge towards the abyss. . . Gethsemane was the hour in which Jesus’ human heart and mind experienced the ultimate odium of the sin he was to bear as his own . . .”. Romano Guardini, The Lord

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

NCAA

Man, rough night for my Wolverines. I finally turned it off with 17 minutes left in the second half. The team was nervous, tentative, and missing everything. They lost by only two, merely because UCLA likewise sucked all over the place, with the exception of Johnny Juzang, who single-handedly won the game.

And now it’s time to feed the sacrificial lamb to Gonzaga. Surely those Jesuits out of Gonzaga appreciate the Passover parallel.

If you get a chance, type “Gonzaga” into the Google search bar and look at the “People Also Ask” result feature, in which Google lists four questions that people ask when searching for Gonzaga information. One of the questions is, “Is Gonzaga a Mormon school?” The answer is, “No, and with an average ACT score of 25-30 among the students it accepts, you won’t be able to get in. . . . even if your Dad is a Jesuit,” though I suspect the humor in that subordinate clause will elude.


Monday, March 29, 2021

GKC Short

Jacintha Buddicam remembered fondly her youthful conversations with Eric Blair (George Orwell), a childhood friend, beginning in the year 1915 when Blair, or Orwell, was about 12 years old. “He was crazy about Chesterton,” she recalled, and reported that he had given her a copy of Chesterton’s Manalive. [Jonathon Rose, The Revised Orwell, East Lansing: MSU, 1992, pp. 85-86]


Wednesaday, March 24, 2021

Thinking about The Word

Heard a priest say recently: Jesus is the example of what God is like. That’s why he is called “the Word.” I suppose that’s Christian Theology 101, but I’d never heard it expressed quite that way. Certain things just seem to strike a guy. That one struck me: the love, the power, the sacrifice, the paradox. Exemplified in Christ because that’s what God is.

Here John seeks the root of Christ’s existence: in the second of the Most Holy Persons; the Word, in whom God the Speaker reveals the fullness of his being. Speaker and Spoken, however, incline towards each other and are one in the love of the Holy Spirit.

Romano Guardini, The Lord

(The Lord is the only Guardini book available at Audible, incidentally.)


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Proto-Mel

From Malcolm Boyd’s Christ and Celebrity Gods (1958).


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Some Sunday/Patrick’s Day Humor

Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to heaven he said, ‘Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!’

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, ‘Nevermind, I found one.’


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Miscellaneous

I’m taking Max to the first round of the NCAA tournament tomorrow in Indianapolis. Ticket prices are all over the board: Baylor v. Harford: $14. Loyola v. Georgia Tech: $389. A bit of a discrepancy makes sense (Chicago to Indy is an easier trip than Waco to Indy), but a $375 swing? Wow.

Funny line from Tom Wolfe, talking about how, when adapting a book to a movie, Hollywood doesn’t give much voice to the author of the book: “The author’s job is to run up to the fence, grab the bag of money, and run away from the fence.” (Not an exact quote.)


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget to micro-aggress against anyone who fails to wear green.

As always, I reproduce GKC’s classic verse about the Irish:

For the Great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad.

The Ballad of the White Horse

(Click title to read the rest)


Monday, March 15, 2021

Gardening in Late Winter, Michigan

Whew. 100 plugs in. 100 plugs lost . . . possibly. I hadn’t heeded the weather forecast, so when I woke up to “feels like 16 degrees,” I uttered an utterly Lenten-unlike phrase and got dressed. I carried frozen pots into the greenhouse and covered the row of plugs. They all looked pretty rough. I could practically hear them screaming at me, likewise using Lenten-unlike phrases.

We’ll see how they look tomorrow morning. Maybe they will forgive me.

The exigencies of gardening in Michigan during the late winter. It serves me right.

You can attribute the brevity of this morning’s post to the emergency situation.


Friday, March 12, 2021

How to Make the Perfect Mint Julep

Courtesy of Will Percy and Lanterns on the Levee

“First you needed excellent bourbon whisky; rye or Scotch would not do at all. Then you put half an inch of sugar in the bottom of the glass and merely dampened it with water. Next, very quickly—and here was the trick in the procedure—you crushed your ice, actually powdered it, preferably in a towel with a wooden mallet, so quickly that it remained dry, and, slipping two sprigs of fresh mint against the inside of the glass, you crammed the ice in right to the brim, packing it with your hand. Last you filled the glass, which apparently had no room left for anything else, with bourbon, the older the better, and grated a bit of nutmeg on the top.”


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Schulz Saves America

I’ve been meaning to mention: I think Andrew Schulz’s Schulz Saves America might be a comedic masterpiece. It’s funny, fast-paced, and groundbreaking. He employs an approach that I’ve never seen in a major comedy production. I’ve seen similar approaches on YouTube, but not quite like this.

The mini-series (four episodes, each under 20 minutes) is relentlessly political, but he strives hard to be neutral, taking shots at both sides.

When he discusses Black Lives Matter, he points out that the Right hates BLM, which he finds ridiculous. Cops are harassing and killing black youths, he points out, so this movement makes a lot of sense and we need police reform. He then tempers it by pointing out that cops harassing and killing anyone are a problem. He then swings at the Left and says the BLM organization is, “well, kinda Marxist,” which he makes clear is a major problem.

I’ve been listening to and watching Schulz for about six months now, encouraged by my son Michael. The guy’s comedy overall is a bit too dirty for our tastes, but he is funny and, if I had to guess, he has serious libertarian leanings.

On his most recent appearance on Joe Rogan, he suggested we give New York City something ridiculous ($3 billion? $3 trillion?) to bail it out of the COVID mess. Rogan said something like, “That’s real money.” Schulz shot back, “None of it’s real,” which is true.

That, incidentally, is one nice thing about all this stimulus. Everyone is finally asking, “What, exactly, is money? How can we print the living s*** out of it like this and just create wealth? It makes no sense.”

Amen to that. The Austrian economists have been warning about the dangers of central banks and money printing for a hundred years. It’s all just a house of cards that has to crash at some point. The problem is, at what point (2021? 3021?) and what will that crash look like (inflation? deflation?). Depending on your answers to those questions, you take precautions. Pay down debt and hoard cash if you fear imminent deflation. Buy Bitcoin and gold if you fear imminent inflation. Do nothing unusual if you think nothing is imminent.

It’s an insane, time, to say the least.

Schulz brings to it a measure of sanity.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Milo Comes Out of Straight Closet

Milo Yiannopoulos has come out of the straight closet and has declared himself “sodomy free.” LifeSite News has the interview, which is pretty funny, even if the subject matter makes me a bit queasy. I have my doubts about whether it will stick, but so does Milo, so I give him credit. He has an impressive Catholic understanding of the problem.

LifeSite: Last summer you posted on Parler pictures of members of the CHANGED movement, with the caption, “Look at these beautiful souls, rid of their demons and cured of their sinful urges. Can’t you tell they’ve been saved? I can.” Are you now able to add your picture to theirs, with that same caption?

Milo: No, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever be brave enough to declare it a thing of the past. I treat it like an addiction. You never stop being an alcoholic. As for the CHANGED movement, I guess because they’re Californian they don’t see how funny their website is, or maybe they’re dirty non-doms who think God loves you more the gayer you act, but I was slightly making fun of them with that caption. (Walker Percy was right: Modern man has two choices — Rome or California.)

Someone really ought to tell them to use more heterosexual-looking photos on their website. I can share some tips! My followers have been giving me a crash course in all-American straight guy aesthetics, which apparently include growing a mullet and learning to drive stick.


Jeff Riggenbach is the man.

I’ve been “auditioning” various audiobooks since starting my Audible subscription last Saturday. I haven’t really been able to get into any of them.

I then saw that Thomas Sowell’s autobiography was included in my Audible plan, and it is read by Jeff Riggenbach, whose The Libertarian Tradition is one of the finest podcast series ever (and whose Why American History is Not What They Say is a splendid introduction into revisionist history).

Riggenbach’s voice is great, and his cadence is dang near perfect. I listened to the Sowell autobiography for two hours, not missing anything. I think it was the combination of subject matter (Sowell), genre (biography), and Riggenbach’s narration that makes it a near-perfect listening experience.

It prompted me to search and discover that the  Audible Plus plan has a lot of Riggenbach-narrated books, including Russell Kirk’s Edmund Burke, Neil Postman’s classic Amusing Ourselves to Death, and many others.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Gardening, Angst, and the State

Glorious weather. Or Fool’s Spring?

Marie always jokes that I tend to be pessimistic on everything, except for anticipating spring. The groundhog might see a shadow bigger than a building but I’ll swear he saw nothing.

So as of right now, I have 28 lettuce plugs in their permanent homes. But those homes are twelve smallish pots that I can move into cold frames or small greenhouse if the weather turns brutally cold again. I’m also preparing to put about 100 lettuce, spinach, and kale plugs in the ground this weekend . . . but in low tunnels.

It is all feasible. Although nature can destroy any plans or precautions, if you want to put in the extra time and effort, you can accelerate the growing season by at least four weeks and extend it at the end by at least four weeks.

But is it “worth it”? Well, no. But gardening isn’t “worth it” either, if you’re talking just in terms of money. Rampant food inflation costs could change that, but based on everything I read, food inflation won’t hit the U.S. anymore than inflation in general will hit because of all the stimulus.

But is it worth it in terms of existence? Well, yes. I have a theory that a man’s hobby matches the size of his existential angst. Did I mention that my garden is a full half-acre, complete with shed, greenhouse, cold frames, potting station, and two compost areas? You can reach whatever conclusion you want.

And is it worth it from the standpoint of the polity? I watched The Silk Road last Saturday. The founder of that Internet black market, Ross Ulbricht, is a von Mises fan. At one point in the movie, he says that every action that takes place outside of the State is a strike against the State. I had never thought of it that way, but I suppose it makes sense. And if so, one’s garden is a miniature strike against the State. The federal government doesn’t even try (yet) to tax whatever you grow for your own consumption.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Years ago, Benedict Groeschel said it’s a better practice not to break your abstinence on Sundays during Lent.

Last week, Fr. Simon said that not only is that the proper practice, but it goes from sundown on Saturday until midnight on Sunday.

Far out.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

PBS is airing a Flannery O’Connor documentary later this month (March 23). The trailer is excellent:

The first feature-length documentary with full access to the Flannery O’Connor trust, Flannery explores the life and legacy of the literary icon with never-before-seen archival footage, original animations, O’Connor’s newly discovered personal letters and excerpts from her stories read by actress Mary Steenburgen. Featuring new, original interviews with Mary Karr, Hilton Als, Alice Walker, Tobias Wolff, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice McDermott and others, alongside archival interviews of friends and family.

A devout Catholic who collected peacocks and walked with crutches due to lupus, O’Connor’s illness, religion and experience as a Southerner informed her provocative, sharply aware stories about outsiders, prophets and sinners seeking truth and redemption. With her distinctive Southern Gothic writing style and characteristic wit and irony, the film investigates how O’Connor didn’t shy away from examining timely themes of racism, religion, socioeconomic disparity and more. Over the course of her short but prolific writing career, she published two novels, 32 short stories, numerous columns and commentaries, and won many awards, including the National Book Award and three O. Henry Awards, the annual award given to short stories of exceptional merit.

Ken Burns called the film, “an extraordinary documentary that allows us to follow the creative process of one of our country’s greatest writers.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

If you’re interested in The Jesus Prayer (see This Monk was Even More Interesting than the Dos Equis Guy), you should listen to this episode of Light of the East. Light of the East is a podcast of the Eastern Catholic Church, which is a Church that looks, smells, and feels like Greek Orthodox, but in full communion with Rome. It’s a very good podcast that I highly recommend in general, but especially this episode.


We should be all so un-self-consciously reverent. I do a similar thing when I happen across a bar:

Monday, March 1, 2021

I found this passage the most interesting in that James Surowiccki article I linked to on Saturday. Did the regulators crank the capital requirements in order to squeeze Robinhood into stopping the Gamestop purchases?

“But early in the morning of January 28, the centralized clearinghouse raised the collateral requirements by an astronomical amount, because of the incredible volatility and volume of the meme stocks. According to Tenev, in fact, Robinhood was told it had to post $3.7 billion in cash as collateral.

“That was money Robinhood did not have, so if it had posted the collateral, it would have fallen below its net-capital requirements and risked going under (which obviously would have been far worse for its customers than not being able to buy meme stocks). Imposing the ban on meme stock buying got the clearinghouse to lower its collateral demands, and over the next few days Robinhood raised more capital.

“Now, why the centralized clearinghouse raised its collateral requirements by so much is an interesting question that hasn’t been fully been answered. But that it did so, and that Robinhood was left with no choice but to impose a buying ban, isn’t disputed at this point.”


Sunday, February 28, 2021

I linked to Ryan Holiday’s 100 Very Short Rules for a Better Life yesterday. Here are 25 of them that I believe in the most.

1. Wake up early.

3. Forget about outcomes — focus on making a little progress every day.

4. Say no (a lot).

5. Read something every day.

6. Don’t watch TV news.

7. Comparison leads to unhappiness.

8. Journal.

9. Strenuous exercise every single day.

10. Character is fate.

12. Get up when you fall/fail.

13. Prove your life’s philosophy with actions over words (and that’s not easy).

17. Do a kindness each day.

24. Do your job well, whatever it is. Because how you do anything is how you do everything.

29. The best thing you can do for your work is take a walk.

30. The present is enough.

31. You are what you repeatedly do.

32. Have a philosophy.

33. Make time for philosophy.

43. Biographies are the best way to study the lives of the greats.

52. Never go a day without some deep work.

83. Don’t talk about projects until you’re finished.

93. Relax. Whatever it is, you’re probably taking it too seriously.

95. Wrap up each day as if it were the end of your life.

99. Ego is the enemy.

100. Stillness is the key.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Lock him up and throw away the key.

But give him a metal first. The man set a new world record.

“A drunk driver in Oregon is thought to have recorded the highest ever blood alcohol reading, hitting .77 percent – more than nine times the legal limit in the state. . . . Anything over .40 can be fatal, with experts from Stanford University’s Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, saying a reading between .35 and .40 means a person would typically lose consciousness and could be on the brink of a coma.”

Link.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

For the One Thing File: From Econtalk’s interview with John Cochrane.

Actually, two things: (1) We had a vaccine in January 2020 that was safe and effective, but the FDA refused to approve it.

(2) There is a simple, over-the-counter COVID test. It’d cost $2, maybe $5, but the FDA has refused to approve it.

The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] continues to regulate tests, taking a long time to improve them. The most recent–imagine how this would have gone if you could have a little paper script test that you can take at home, costs two to five bucks, you can find out if you’re sick; your employer can use this to find out if you’re sick, send you home; you know who’s got it, you know who doesn’t.

Why don’t we have that? Because the FDA refused to approve it, continues to refuse to approve it. The one that has finally after close to a year into this, let out of the barn, it does so still requiring a doctor’s prescription, $50 bucks, and enrolling into an app.

Now by what possible right, you may ask, does the FDA not allow you to know what’s going on inside your body and not allow a company to sell you that service? A test can not hurt you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

I would add that, if you don’t think the censorship movement is part of the Great Reset, you’re wrong. I can’t prove it, but you’re wrong.


Matt Taibbi Points Out Highly Troubling Aspects of the Censorship Movement

The drumbeat grows to censor Fox. Politicians are increasingly using implied threats against social media to kill their enemies. Matt Taibbi (a lefty, keep in mind) ain’t having it.

This sequence of events is ominous because a similar matched set of hearings and interrogations back in 2017 — when Senators like Mazie Hirono at a Judiciary Committee hearing demanded that platforms like Google and Facebook come up with a “mission statement” to prevent the “foment of discord” — accelerated the “content moderation” movement that now sees those same platforms regularly act as de facto political censors.

Sequences like this — government “requests” of speech reduction, made to companies subject to federal regulation — make the content moderation decisions of private firms a serious First Amendment issue. Censorship advocates may think this is purely a private affair, in which the only speech rights that matter are those of companies like Twitter and Google, but any honest person should be able to see this for what it is.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Well, let’s hope the long February is over. The temperatures are supposed to warm in southern Michigan today as a warm front moves in, bringing temps in the thirties and low forties.

I knew it had been a harsh February, but I didn’t realize just how much snow had accumulated until I walked behind our downtown district and saw huge piles of snow that the City had removed. The piles were probably 15-20 feet high and massive.

February’s harshness was further brought home to me Saturday morning, when I woke up to see the snow around my backyard trampled badly, like a bunch of kids had played back there. I realized that deer had come over from the neighboring cornfield to my back deck, which is surrounded by ivy. They had eaten the ivy vines on two large trees and had dug into the snow to eat the ivy along the ground.

Deer, according to the Google Machine, don’t love ivy but they’ll eat it in a pinch, and I’m guessing these deer are in a pinch. I hadn’t seen any deer all of January, but now, in late February, they’re making their appearance as they have to wander further and further because their normal food sources are covered by snow.

I just hope they leave before I have to start putting my lettuce plugs out. As of right now, my half-acre garden is all smooth snow. They have no idea I have spinach and kale overwintering in the front beds. I’m not terribly optimistic the plants will survive this brutal February, but if they do, I don’t want to train the deer to expect food here.



Saturday, February 20, 2021

I happened upon a book by Leonard Cheshire, “Pilgrimage to the Shroud” at a book sale, good summary here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/a/g-l-cheshire/pilgrimage-to-the-shroud/
Very moving, so I googled the author — pilot war hero, convert to Catholicism, founder of facilities to help the disabled. https://www.rcdea.org.uk/centenary-mass-for-leonard-cheshire-will-start-campaign/
Good bio here: https://www.biographyonline.net/military/leonard-cheshire.html
Probably the only person considered for sainthood who opened a Pink Floyd concert: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/former-raf-pilot-leonard-cheshire-and-former-pink-floyd-news-photo/145594594.

KH


Friday, February 19, 2021

Elon Musk weighs in on Bitcoin some more, as the weird investment passes $53,000 per coin:

To be clear, I am *not* an investor, I am an engineer. I don’t even own any publicly traded stock besides Tesla.

However, when fiat currency has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere.

Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money. The key word is “almost”.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 19, 2021

There are other positive Bitcoin signals out there as well, leading Zero Hedge to conclude $100,000 Bitcoin is coming.


Drinking Matters

What are y’all drinking for Lent?

This one is always a quandary for me. According to Fr. Simon at Relevant Radio earlier this week, the thing you “give up” for Lent must be a source of pleasure, bad for you, and not sinful. He said that a person couldn’t give up getting drunk because that’s sinful.

Although I never heard anyone list those three requirements, I think I always intuited it. Whenever someone would suggest that I give up alcohol for Lent, I always declined. My reason?

I think drinking is good for me.

I’m not going to link to the scores of articles that talk about the health effects of moderate drinking. I just point to scores of scars on my soul that have accumulated over the past, say, 72 hours and assure everyone that the alcohol helps heal the scar tissue. I need it for my emotional health.

I wouldn’t give up alcohol for Lent any more than a parish should empty its holy water fonts (a form of idiocy my parish took for a few years until the bishop told them to knock it off). Holy water is a sacramental. It’s good for you, unless you’re Dracula or L-Squared (a Leftist Liturgist).

And yes, such things are the province of the Left. The Left is never happy, so it always wants to innovate and change things in an image they approve of.

Oh well, the weekly “BYCU: Drinking Matters” column shouldn’t devolve into politics.

But it does make me want to drink more.


Ash Wednesday, 2021

We have arrived at the stage of life when we must realize that the hour-glass is rapidly running out, that the pendulum of life is coming to a stand still, and that time will soon be no more. With death an eternity without end begins. Every year, on Ash Wednesday, the Church solemnly reminds us of these eternal truths.

Clement Henry Crock

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Hockey has a huge goalie problem, according to Hall-of-Fame goalie Ken Dryden.

The problem? The goalies are simply too big. Their padding allows them to block everything they can see. Even the notorious five-hole is now gone. The result? The offense has had to adjust to a swarm and obfuscate approach to scoring, resulting in clusters around the net. Scoring itself hasn’t dropped, but the open ice play has.

I think he’s right. I’ve grown tired of watching hockey and I used to watch it fairly frequently. The NHL’s decision to cave to political correctness didn’t help matters, but if I’m being honest, I started to lose interest years ago. Maybe part of it is the fact that I can’t even see what’s going on when goals are scored. It’s just a bunch of dudes gathered around the net, trying to poke the puck in.

Dryden, incidentally, thinks the problem would be easily remedied: just widen the nets by six inches on each side and six inches higher.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Maybe I jumped the gun a bit, but I couldn’t resist planting my favorite lettuce: Jester. The stuff is amazing: tastes great, weathers heat . . . and weathers the cold.

This picture is from two weeks ago. They’re nearly big enough to get baby leaves at this point, but the weather is nowhere close to transplanting them, not even into the greenhouse.

The seedling pots are pretty big, though. I’m hoping I can just harvest straight from the pots.

If not, I’ll lose a crop (32 seedlings total), but oh well. Among Jester’s other traits is prolific seed production. I have at least a thousand seeds from last year alone.


It’s freezing out there. Yikes.

I’ve been able to use one of my favorite lines a couple of times today: “It’s colder than Marie’s heart after I gave her gonorrhea.”


Sunday, February 14, 2021

So what’s this “Whimsy on Steroids” and “the traditional TDE Blog” all about?

Well, the revamped Daily Eudemon has been well received, but a few of you have said you missed the more informal (“authentic”?) TDE, where I just wrote whatever was on my mind, even if it bordered on the narcissistically autobiographical.

Some also miss the traditional “scrolling” blog, where the bulk of the most recent posts are all on one page.

This new page is designed to address both “complaints” (wrong word, but close enough).

The content will be “traditional TDE”: references to my hangovers, my family, gardening, whatever I’m reading now, and excerpts from my writing journals. All of TDE is fairly whimsical, but this page will be full-blown whimsical just like TDE has traditionally been. It will be “whimsy on steroids.”

It will also be presented in the scrolling blog format, with the newest on top.

It’s odd: The “scrolling” blog is hugely out of favor these days. The popular website theme designer, mythemeshop.com, doesn’t even appear to offer that option. The only option is what you see on the homepage of TDE: individual articles that you must click in order to read.

So I’ve “jimmy-rigged” a widget to turn it into a scrolling blog. It’s going to be a work-in-process, but I’m optimistic that it’s going to work.

For those who liked the traditional TDE, you may want to bookmark this specific page. It will get updated frequently.

The rest of The Daily Eudemon site, incidentally, will continue as well. There will be tweaks here and there, but Feature Essays, Tweets, the Quote Machine: they’ll continue. (The “Briefs” section, however, may get subsumed into the traditional TDE blog; I’ll continue to mull it over as I proceed with this work-in-process.)


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Michael Malice on perhaps the biggest problem with COVID: The crisis has given some very bad people some very useful information about how much people will put up with.

If Fauci told people that dog urine prevents COVID, people would be on Twitter asking what breed’s urine is best.

See Malice interview on Rogan, right at the beginning.

BTW: Yesterday’s interview with Elon Musk yesterday was deadly boring, unless you’re really into rocket ships. I bailed out after 15 minutes, scrolled forward a half hour, and they were still talking about something engineering related. Maybe it picks up in the second half of the 3-hour interview, but I couldn’t get there.


New feature coming soon: The traditional Daily Eudemon.

Snippets, quotes, random, thoughts.