June 30, 2022
Classical Education is Coming Back
It must be "Classics Thursday." The Washington Examiner has run a great opinion piece about the salubrious return of classical education, with a GKC kicker.
What is now commonly referred to as a “classical” or “liberal arts” education has been relegated to a handful of predominantly religious private schools. But this “old” form of schooling is experiencing a rebirth of sorts. While public schools and many private schools have found themselves embroiled in controversies over critical race and gender theory, coronavirus mandates, and virtual learning, a cohort of so-called classical schools, primarily Catholic or evangelical Christian but even some charter schools, have seen a steady trend of growth dating back to the early 2000s.
The Renaissance and Greek Paideia
I just assumed this essay at Antigone would reference Werner Jaeger and his Early Christianity and Greek Paideia, but no.
But hey, this Cambridge dude might have some worthwhile things to say, especially since he focuses his analysis on the development of the modern world, which is a primary focus here lately. Jaeger, to my knowledge, didn't venture much later than about 400 AD.
June 29, 2022
For the Love of Mustiness, Save the Bookstores!
Bookstores are on their heels. Getting hit first by Amazon and then COVID? You might as well use both shotgun barrels to kill a toad.
Still, they’re adapting. Used bookstores seem like they're doing okay (I base this solely off my haphazard strolls around various cities like Boston and Charleston . . . please assume nothing empirical, reliable, or even responsible in that statement).
I think used bookstores offer a unique appeal.
When you find a good used bookstore with reasonable prices, you've find a gem. When I walk into a good used bookstore, I quickly take in my surroundings, looking for indications that it offers more than trashy romances. If so, I plunge into a serene sense of urgency: I want to find some out-of-print or normally-expensive books (the urgency), nothing else matters (the serenity). I smell the musty bindings and the only question is: how long can I keep standing? But that's just the start of it. The third part of the magic is finding the books you want, or maybe stumbling across books that you didn't even know existed, but, upon glancing through it, want. And if you see it's reasonably-priced, well, it's excitement time.
The above was prompted by a neat little essay at Front Porch Republic about how a small town bookstore was barely saved from the Amazon-COVID thrashing by, among other things, launching a successful GoFundMe campaign. The rescue event is now the subject of a documentary that is available on Amazon for $5.99.
It sounds like the new classics website is going well. They provided a nifty overview of their first year. They didn't provide links to many of the articles they reference. There's this one, for instance:
a graduate student’s article on Roman comedy has received over 160,000 readers
Well, that's great, but give me a link! I see that, and I'm thinking "Ah, Satyricon, Heh, heh. That classical pornographer Petronius. Now I can go read some porn because it's, you know, scholarly. No pruriency; no confession. Perfect." But alas, no link. Now I'll have to resort to the Google Machine.
But regardless, it looks like a great project. I've bookmarked it and hope to start feeding from it soon.
June 28, 2022
The Cockroach Portfolio
That's the new thing . . . or is poised to become the new thing. I've followed financial analyst Dylan Grice for years. He always seems to have an unorthodox look on things, without veering into the whacky. In this podcast episode (transcript), he advises people to engage in cockroach investing: Cockroaches are ignorant, but they know how to survive. We, too, are ignorant about pretty much anything anymore. We need to look for ways to keep our principle alive.
Your starting point is that you don’t know anything. I don’t know the future. I don’t really know what the valuations of stuff are. I don’t know the relative attractiveness. I don’t know anything and maybe I don’t even want to know.
I just want to have the most robust portfolio I possibly can do, given I don’t know anything. The way you do that is you just slice your portfolio up into four buckets and one of those buckets you just fill it up with equities and the other one you fill it up with bonds, and the other one you fill it up with cash, and the other one you fill it up with precious metals [and Bitcoin].
And each six months or three months or 12 months you rebalance it so that all of those weightings are 25% each and that’s all you do. I think that’s your starting point.
June 27, 2022
Raving Toward Truth
Is it me, or are people pretty angry about Roe getting overturned (yes: irony, irony). One person said it's "judicial activism." I said to a friend, "No, it would've been judicial activism if the Court ruled that abortion is murder and, therefore, no state can allow it to occur. Imagine how frustrated these folks would feel then."
The series of micro-screeds in this NY Post article is pretty good. I especially liked this one:
“Women of America: Take the pledge. Because SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade, we cannot take the risk of an unintended pregnancy, therefore, we will not have sex with any man — including our husbands — unless we are trying to become pregnant,”
That's pretty good. She almost nailed truth. She just needs to change one word in that last clause: "unless we are willing to become pregnant."
You can listen to it here:
June 26, 2022
Poetry ought to be timeless, I suppose, but I thought this contemporary-affairs one worth a link: Poem for Cardinal Pell.
June 25, 2022
"this is a fearful, hopeless and even nihilistic time."
Recently the Southern Poverty Law Center and Tulchin Research commissioned a poll of 1,500 Americans to measure belief in various reactionary sentiments, including the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and the idea that trans people are a threat to children. Because misogyny is so ubiquitous in far-right spaces, Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the S.P.L.C., decided to add a question about feminism.
Predictably, most young Republicans agree with the statement, “Feminism has done more harm than good.” What was astonishing was how many young Democrats agreed as well. While only 4 percent of Democratic men over 50 thought feminism was harmful, 46 percent of Democratic men under 50 did. Nearly a quarter of Democratic women under 50 agreed, compared with only 10 percent of those 50 and older.
“In a poll of a lot of really shocking and disappointing findings, people’s responses to feminism and gender roles was the most shocking and disheartening,” said Miller. “I just didn’t expect to see those numbers.”
It's the kids. The 20-somethings are less than impressed with their 30-something elders. Gen Z, in other words, loathes Gen Millennial and its baby-boomerish self-obsession and whining.
Me? I'm rooting for Gen Z. Heck, I personally put seven soldiers into the field.
June 24, 2022
This pic has recently resurfaced around the Internet: The Boston Bruins' huge bar tab after they won the 2011 Stanley Cup.
June 23, 2022
I spend a lot of time in my garden. I tell myself that it's edifying, but a large part of me says it's no different than folks who spend the equivalent amount of time on the golf course. An obsession is an obsession, with all the joys and shortcomings it brings.
But I've always consoled myself with my observation, "I don't bring my gardening tools with me on vacation." But such a thing is now possible: Eco-friendly farm stays are "a thing."
A farm stay is an accommodation where you book a bed, room, or lodging on a working farm. You may be able to stay for free or a reduced rate by helping out with some of the work around the farm, like feeding the animals, collecting eggs, or weeding around the crops.
Now, the nerd-truth be told: I enjoy weeding. I agree with Carol Deppe that it's a meditative art. But to pay someone to weed their crops? I'm afraid that's a level of nerdiness I simply don't understand.
June 22, 2022
I'm Embarrassed to Admit This But . . .
I'm looking forward to the Beavis and Butthead movie sequel that I just heard about on JRE:
Eatin' More Chikin
According to Kiplinger, we are eating more chicken. U.S. chicken consumption is now 67% higher than beef and 94% higher than pork.
Globally, chicken eatin' is risin'. At this rate, by 2030 it will be the most popular protein for the first time on record.
The rich make money from homelessness
The mother of a drug-addicted, homeless young man told Shellenberger that he describes San Francisco as “Pleasure Island” in the movie “Pinocchio”:
“On one side of the street are people giving you food and clean needles. On the other side of the street are all the drug dealers. It’s like getting all the candy and treats that you think you want. You think you’re having fun. But little by little it’s taking away your humanity and turning you into something you were never meant to be, like how the kids start turning into donkeys in ‘Pinocchio,’ and then end up trapped and in cages.”
What kind of sick society would do this to people?
One possible answer: a society that rewards money-grubbing narcissists with no concern for their fellow man, masquerading as giants of compassion. There’s a ton of money to be made in the helping-the-homeless business. As the formerly homeless Wolf told Shellenberger, “[The homeless nonprofits’] whole intention is to keep more people in this cycle because they’re getting money for it.”
June 21, 2022
It was a brutal May/June: a barrage of high school graduation and other social commitments. Now I have no commitments until the last weekend of July. This was me as I walked away from my final graduation party last weekend.
Happy Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year. It won't get completely dark here in southern Michigan until 10:00 PM. It makes it tough to adhere to that 10:00 bedtime, but I enjoy the long days. They stretch out lazily, which is a good thing once in a while.
Of course, people can get too lazy, like apparently these waiters at a restaurant who were so slow that a customer called 911. He was arrested.
June 20, 2022
Or you can listen to it here or wherever podcasts can be found:
June 17, 2022
Attention: Lovers of the Greco-Roman Classics
New site: Antigone.
It is a celebration of the classics for curious readers young and old. An eight-year-old from China won one of its competitions last year, as did an eighty-eight-year-old Brit. “We are,” the editors write in an “about us” statement, “fascinated by and passionate about Greco-Roman antiquity and wish to introduce as many people as possible to its thrills and its spills, its charms and its challenges.” They go on to note that contributors to the site are “united by a love of Classics.” That’s the distinguishing mark of the site: love of the subject. The New Criterion
Annual law conference in Detroit this week. Marie and I took time last night for a Tigers game. It was quite possibly the most boring game of all time and it was brutally hot, but we got to see Cabrera get one of his 3,000+ hits, enjoyed the skyline, and strolled around resurging downtown Detroit for a few hours.
June 16, 2022
Humor at TDE
I raised at least one set of eyebrows with the, ahem, aggressive humor this week. If you're new to TDE, a word of warning: humor is attempted, often in ironic form.
Humor, as Joe Rogan and his comedian guests observe, entails risk. You have to say something different, edgy, aggressive . . . unusual. That means saying something that is untried. And that means failure occasionally ("Hey, in your case Scheske, it means 'normally'"). Not every joke is going to hit, but you have to take the shot.
June 15, 2022
Rough Days for the Nethers
First, there was the toilet paper crunch in the early days of the pandemic. Then there came the pandemic-boom diaper shortage. And now we have a tampon shortage, no doubt exacerbated by all those men who are now menstruating. [Later addition: Some are claiming this is, kinda, the case. It used to take years for jokes to become real. Now it's just taking hours.)
Folks are responding, though. Stores started rationing toilet paper in 2020. A Senator has called for tampons to be declared "essential goods." And lots of folks are trying to redesign the diaper, though the latter is more spurred by "environmental sustainability" concerns than an ongoing shortage. Of course, we could just kill the babies. That, too, would address the sustainability concerns, but we've been trying that since Malthus rang the alarm bells and it doesn't seem to be good enough.
June 14, 2022
Redeeming the Time
St. Paul uses the phrase twice. What does it mean? Apparently, it means surrendering something that's fine to possess in order to be in right relation to God. Mortification.
I'm not sure how that's how it was used in the post-mortem collection of Russell Kirk essays, Redeeming the Time, which is (I think) the last full statement of Kirk's beliefs. Combined with The Politics of Prudence, it gives a good introduction to his thoughts in general. It also contains perhaps Kirk's most scathing criticism of libertarians, "Chirping Sectarians," which ought to be read by any libertarian who respects his conservative cousins.
Kirk, btw, wouldn't even acknowledge in this essay that they're cousins, such is his scathing opinion. He says they're more closely related to Marx and that "conservatives draw back from them on the first principle of all." Kirk's opinion of libertarians shifted over the years, but I'm afraid this essay must be afforded the heaviest weight since it came the latest.
June 13, 2022
A TDE reader asks if the title to today's column means that the Brethren were hitting people over the head with their erections. It's one of those questions that immediately clog the brain with so many responses, you're left speechless. I've had time to sort it through a bit, so here are just a handful of responses:
- I really need to hang up this blog.
- I really need to get a lot better at writing headlines.
- I really want to meet this woman's husband so I can bow humbly before him.
- I wish I could draw so I could (tastefully, maybe even demurely) illustrate a Brethren wielding such a weapon against his victims.
- The Brethren were "pneumatic antinomians," which means they didn't think anything bodily could affect them, so they indulged in all things with no conscience, including their sexual appetite (which they didn't have, since they weren't bodily . . . they were "pneumatic").
- I suppose "mystical erection" implies the exact opposite of pneumatic antinomianism, so I bear a large degree of the blame here (reference Response 2 above). A member of the Brethren would place no importance on his penis, since he was so spiritual. So I guess he wouldn't have obtained mystical erections. He would've obtained shadow erections, like the erections weren't even a part of him.
Mystical Erections, Violence, and Theft. You can listen to it here:
June 12, 2022
American culture is one of "Total Work" (Pieper's term). The sense that we constantly need to be working, to be doing something, is turning us from "human beings" into "human doings." That turn of phrase has philosophical and grammatical problems, but it's clever and it resonates.
You can hear more about this at a very good episode of Relevant Radio's Trending with Timmerie, a show that I didn't much care for at first but is increasingly growing on me.
105 MPH Fastball
I'm not a big baseball fan anymore. The MLB lost me when it realigned in 1994, and whenever I try to get back into it, I just get disgusted by its politics so stay away.
Still, some baseball things catch my attention. I loved to watch Zumaya throw for the Tigers in 2006. That blazing fastball was fun to watch.
But they're saying a kid from Tennessee can eclipse 105, which is the fastest ever (Zumaya supposedly topped out at 104.6). The videos are kind of neat, but the kid's delivery is smooth, not the jittery explosion that was Zumaya's. It's not as fun to watch, but hey: 100+ MPH is 100+ MPH.
June 11, 2022
After an uptick in births in the past year, Ikea is attempting to convince customers in Norway to name their children after its furniture. The Swedish company’s website hosts a bank of more than eight hundred product names that the company insists are also suitable for babies. (Courtesy of The Lamp newsletter)
Liqueur and Rosary
Juan Vicente Pérez Mora, who at one hundred thirteen is the oldest man in the world, said that the secret to his long life is working hard, drinking liqueurs frequently, and praying the rosary twice every day. (Courtesy of The Lamp newsletter)
June 10, 2022
Now you know inflation is real
Podcast episode about legendary drinker, Kingsley Amis, and his book, Lucky Jim.
"Lucky Jim" is the character Jim Dixon, a man who is dissatisfied with his state in life and, through misfortune, is fortunate to break out of it (my understanding, at least; I haven't read the book). Modern Drunkard Magazine featured Kingsley and Lucky Jim in a lengthy book excerpt:
Jim Dixon shared one other trait with his creator, the love of drink. “Kingsley has written often and poignantly about that moment when getting drunk suddenly turns into being drunk,” wrote Martin Amis, “and he is, of course, the laureate of the hangover.”
To wit: “He [Jim] stood brooding by his bed…The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.”
I'm sad to say, I've been there, and that's some funny stuff.
June 9, 2022
Random Quote of the Week
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his wife, “I want nothing to do with politicians—they are not men; they cease to be men, in becoming politicians. Their hearts wither away, and die out of their bodies.”
June 8, 2022
And save me any criticism or praise for linking to Taylor Marshall. I'm neither a fan nor an enemy. I haven't listened to/read enough of his stuff to have an opinion about him.
A moderate tries to become Mayor of LA in order to save it. New York's City Journal has the story.
The Wall Street Journal has described Caruso as a “liberal,” but that’s a stretch. A longtime Republican now conveniently turned Democrat, Caruso is best seen as a pro-business moderate Republican trying to downplay his membership, for example, in the Ronald Reagan Foundation. Yet unlike most GOP candidates here, he also has lots of money. He has spent over $24 million of his own money to reach out to Angelenos.
June 7, 2022
What is a Woman?
I watched the documentary. I highly recommend it. There are at least two knee-slapping moments, as well as a lot of dark, disturbing humor. The whole thing revolves around the inability of many people, including academics, to define "woman" without using the word "woman," and they're totally oblivious (perhaps intentionally oblivious) to the tautological problem.
There's also a marked tendency among people to snicker, "What do you care if a man thinks he's a woman? Tee hee. You're so foolish and insecure." To which Matt responds, I care about truth; I care about children undergoing chemical castration because of an untruth; I care about my ability to speak the truth."
Tolkien's Lifelong Project
While searching for Tolkien paintings, I came across this Wired article about Tolkien's sketches. It begins:
HOW DID J.R.R. Tolkien create The Lord of the Rings? The simple answer is that he wrote it. He sat down in a chair in 1937 and spent more than a dozen years working on what remains a masterwork of fantasy literature and a genius stroke of immersive worldbuilding.
Well, not really. He started work on it in a haphazard form in high school and continued to think and write about it for the rest of his life.
In the preface to the very first entry in This History of Middle-Earth, Christopher Tolkien writes that his father wrote some of the Lost Tales in his High School Exercise Books.
June 6, 2022
the June, 1953, edition of MacKills Mystery Magazine featured G.K. Chesterton's "The Vampire of the Village," billed as "here published for the first time in a British magazine." The announcement must have come as a surprise to the editors of The Strand magazine, who were the original publishers of the story in August of 1936.
New Liturgy of the Hours Set
National Catholic Register recommends the new monthly Liturgy of the Hours subscription from Word on Fire. The subscription is $84 per year. The entire set costs about $150. I'm not sure I see the savings if you plan on continuing with the regimen for more than, say, 22 months.
That being said, the LotH is difficult to "get into." You need to spend a few hours with the instruction manual that comes at the beginning of volume 1, but once you understand the LotH's inner workings, it's not difficult. Still, if your position is, "Hey, I don't want to take a 3-credit hour class to learn how to do the Hours," then this new set from Word on Fire is probably worth it. The $7 monthly charge certainly seems reasonable in light of the sheer girth of each volume (which consists of about 700 pages, if I understand correctly, which breaks down to a penny per page).
I'd also point out that, if you splurge and buy the entire set, it'll slowly become obsolete as the liturgical calendar continues to change. I bought my set about 20 years ago, thinking it'd be something I could pass to one of my children, but I wasn't taking into consideration future calendar changes.
June 5, 2022
Whew. A blistering weekend draws to a close and I've gotten through my sixth high school graduation.
A few weekends ago, I attended the Hillsdale College graduation ceremony so I could hear Jordan Peterson speak. My brother-in-law, who is one of the most affable and accepting guys I know, commented, "Everyone hates graduations, and you're going to your daughter's boyfriend's graduation?" I explained to him my reasons and he understood.
But that struck me: "Everyone hates graduations?"
I was like, "Wait, really? That's not just a 'Scheske-you-introverted-curmudgeonly -piece-of-excrement thing?" I felt a lot better about myself after that.
Today's ceremony took less than 90 minutes, but it was outside and pretty hot. Anyway, the important thing is, I'm only one more high school graduation away from being done with those things until grandkids start graduating, but I'll worry about those when the time comes.
Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.
June 4, 2022
If you're not doing high-intensity exercise, give it serious consideration. Dr. Kevin Majeres at Optimal Work says it has huge benefits in the cognitive area, and that's been my experience.
I normally ride a stationary bike for ten minutes, interspersing three 30-second sprints. I do it every other day (ish).
To be honest, it's awful (Marie: "Boy, it's really inspiring to hear you whimper like a puppy"), but I can feel a difference and it's a lot more time-efficient than jogging for 30 minutes. Combined with getting about 15,000 steps a day, I "feel" like I have a good mix of exercise going.
June 3, 2022
I Don't Know Whether to be Disgusted or Inspired
The beer spa. Soak in beer (or a beer-like herbal concoction) and drink a beer.
June 2, 2022
I discovered this morning that Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) has published a new book. Ramses: A Memoir. I thought to myself, "Ha ha, Dalrymple! What kind of pharaonic hijinks are you up to now? An Egyptian travel book? A story about a London gang leader named after the pharaohs? Ha ha!"
Um, no. It's about his dog. Sigh.
Introducing Bootstrap Farmer
Bootstrap Farmer provides high-quality gardening materials. I was long disgusted with the flimsy but expensive trays offered by garden suppliers. Apparently, so were the guys at Boostrap Farmer, so they started making their own stuff. Their products are first-rate and not much more expensive than the plastic trays that tear and break with the lease pressure.
Anyway, they occasionally run articles or blog posts by their customers. This one is pretty good if you're new to gardening. Ten Things I Have Learned as a New Farmer.
June 1, 2022
I thought this was just clickbait
But it wasn't: Top-Paid LA Lifeguards Earned Up To $510,283 In 2021.
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found 98 LA lifeguards earned at least $200,000 including benefits last year, and 20 made between $300,000 and $510,283. Thirty-seven lifeguards made between $50,000 and $247,000 in overtime alone.
And it’s not only about the cash compensation. After 30 years of service, LA lifeguards can retire as young as 55 on 79-percent of their pay.