Sunday, March 25, 2007

16 down, 34 to go

I read Kim, by Rudyard Kipling. It tells of a boy, Kim O'Hara (known as Little Friend of All The World for his wandering ways) whose father was in a British army regiment until he died. Kim hangs about in 19th-century Lahore (then in India, now in Pakistan) until he meets a lama, in search of a river into which the Buddha reputedly shot an arrow once. He accompanies the lama on this search, but is sidetracked when he collides into his father's former regiment. By an interesting chain of events, Kim ends up recruited into the "Ethnological Survey," the British spy service, which is busy trying to handle rebellious local rulers and the Russians, who then were competing in a "great game" for much of Asia.

It meanders all through India, and the trip scared me. I feared that my bones would be found on the side of a New Delhi road, or somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas (although the prospect of being shot by Russian "surveyors" didn't faze me). However, I survived, and shall give it 3 stars. Then again, I may be being unfair to the book. Oh well. I'll read it again, and maybe review it.

Fifth Week of Lent Bulletin

It's not my lucky day. I just deleted my post. Twice.

I went to the Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner up in Dallas yesterday. It was nice. I also mixed concrete for a swing set yesterday. That was very nice.

The Sucrose Inquisition sentenced 40 different farm animals (attending a Church of Jumbuck meeting) to burning at the stake Wednesday. I broke it up - can't afford to pay damages if any critters get killed.

The Church of Jumbuck is moving from my shed to a former doughnut shop in North Richland Hills. Hope they can afford it.

Adios! I return tomorrow to the Homeschool Experience!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The religious pictures are from the cathedral in Mobile, AL. I intended to post them a long time ago, but I never did.

Fourth Week of Lent Bulletin

That's what you get for lovin' me
That's what you get for lovin' me-eee
Everything you had is gone
As you can see
That's what you get for lovin' me.

Apropros to nothing - just thought I'd put them on. Bob Dylan sounds pretty nasty, doesn't he.

Anyhow, I'm at the tail end of a sickness. It hit me on Sunday, and laid me up in bed until Wednesday. Everyone else was sick too, even H.L. Crawdad, whom you can see above in my bookbag. "Just bury me here, Dom," he said. "NOT IN MY BOOKBAG!" I yelled. "IT'LL STINK UP MY SCHOOLBOOKS AND...oh, sorry, H.L. Shouldn't have been yelling." Anyway, H.L. Crawdad got over it. Here he is on my newly cleaned table.

I'm not actually in the NRA. H.L. is.

We haven't heard, seen, or osmoted anything concerning the Church of Jumbuck for quite a while. As you remember, the last news was that the Sucrose Inquisition was after them. Perhaps they got sick in mid-attack.

Here's some pictures:

The "Hatchet Window" of my parish.

The enclosed bit rather looks like a knife, does it not?

More pictures in another post. It's hard to handle these pictures and text.

Important News! I read The Wealth of Nations! Many the time I feared they would find my bones by the eBook I was reading it from, but I finished it. All five books. I grew to like it, but I'm not reading it again until they make me study classical economics in college. And it's got five stars now. Once I get back on my feet, I'll write a review.

Another Important News! I will be visiting Christendom College in July. When it comes along, you'll hear all about me and Crawdad's adventures in real time, via this blog! You'll hear all about the quaint customs of the locals of Virginia, the incidents and studies at Christendom, and (hopefully) a bit on Washington, D.C., where I hope to visit. Speaking of the locals, aren't they the ones who invented wampum?

Maybe I should stop making fun of Virginians. They started the Civil War, and I've got relatives up there.

I read America: The Last Best Hope by William J. Bennett while I was sick. It's a history, but only the first installment is published. It goes from discovery to World War I. It gets five stars (although the style occasionally is annoying). And it's awful informative.

Well, that's all. Happy belated St. Patrick's Day and Erin Go Bragh!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

15 down, 35 to go

I read Rerum Novarum and The Bridge of San Luis Rey over the week. The first gets 5 stars, as does the second.

RN gets the stars because, hey, it's a papal encyclical full of vitaminey, juicy goodness. The BSLR (as I've taken to calling it) is merely a great short novel on five eighteenth-century Peruvians who die when a bridge collapses.

A friar, Brother Juniper, assumes that they died either because they are extremely evil or because they are extremely good. To prove it,he catalogues their known deeds to find out whether their good deeds outweighed their bad. The end result is a huge book of doubtful orthodoxy and negligible value. The narrator goes into greater detail, recounting their lives and the effect their deaths had on those who knew them. Three of the five who die have disordered affections for other people, and they die right after taking some decision to destroy that affection and replace it with charity. The two others were innocent people damaged by their disordered affections, who ironically provoked the others into charity.

The conclusion is that charity - suffering for another's good - is the only affection that justifies life. Not a bad book for Lent.

By the way, I'm almost finished The Wealth of Nations. Smith just showed his colors as an Enlightenment liberal when he announced that SCIENCE! (to use Mark Shea's term) taught to the people would prevent "enthusiam" and "fanaticism," by which he means the attitude of peope before 1688 and after 1789. All in a discourse on religion which, truth to tell, only is justified insofar as religion is connected to politics.

All the same, most of Smith's book is not ideology, but very sensible economics. Put another way: on economics he's right, unique, and blazes new trails; on everything else he's a mirror of the 18th Century, quite as cracked as that century was.

Guest Post: "The War That Wasn't" by H.L. Crawdad

Dear readers of this blog,

H. L. Crawdad, an Arachno-syndicalist turned writer and good friend of mine, offered to post a book review on The Third World War on my blog. As it would save me a lot of non-renewable brain cells, I accepted, deciding it couldn’t possibly bother you readers. Then I decided it wasn’t fair to pop writing of unknown quality at you without warning. So I read Crawdad’s essay, and found it quite as good as what I regularly write. So I could rest easy again. Enjoy!

Histor the Wise

The War That Wasn’t

“The Third World War” is a fictional book about a war in 1985. But, whoever wrote it – apparently someone named General Sir John Hackettetal – is convinced that it happened. He is so convinced of his truth, he fabricates evidence for it. One example: the first chapter of the book cites a history of the U.S. Cavalry written in 1986, some eight years after the publication of the book itself. Perhaps time runs different in England, where “The Third World War” was written.

The plot is as unlikely as the evidence. Two nations – the USA and Russia – are at war, and apparently they don’t like each other. Why they hate each other Hackettetal never tells us. So from the beginning, there is no motive provided for anyone’s actions. However, the mistake would be pardonable, IF THE FIGHTING ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE EITHER IN RUSSIA OR THE USA! Instead, the countries (which, for some odd reason, have the nicknames “First World” and “Warsaw Pact” – the latter being a romantic name for a lady crawdad) pay other countries, primarily in Africa and the Middle East, to fight each other with imported weapons and suchlike. Three important countries are South Africa (which the US used to like), Iran (which the USA likes) and Yugoslavia (undecided).

Russia seems to be winning at the beginning, since its African countries are beating South Africa and they have countries close to the USA – specifically Jamaica and Cuba. The US only has Iran (sort-of close by Russia), Western Germany (right by East Germany, which Russia actually owns), and somewhere else, I forget where. France is on both sides, and England is on the USA’s side but doesn’t want to fight anybody. Then England changes its mind, just in time so that Russia can invade Yugoslavia. The USA invades Yugoslavia back and blows up three (3) Russian tanks.

They then call it a victory.

The Russians, however, are worried. After the Second World War (which really happened), they conquered Poland, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, and East Germany, but now those countries want to rebel. The Russians decide to keep them from rebelling by conquering some more countries. They also have a big argument about military organization, revolving around whether lieutenants should think or not. I say let them think; it can’t hurt.

Anyway, they invade West Germany, trying to get all the way to the Dutch coastline and the tip of France. Apparently France and Russia have an understanding. Fortunately, they don’t get that far, and the Poles rebel. In retaliation for this traitorous rebellion, the Russians fire a nuclear missile at Birmingham, England. The Americans fire another missile at Minsk, in the Ukraine. Then a bunch of Russian officials try to kill each other, somebody lets Ukraine and Poland free, and Russia collapses. America wins and Hackettetal starts talking about riots in the English countryside. That anticlimax is the finest part of the book, from a literary standpoint. I do not read from a literary standpoint.

The writing style is very complex and boring. It reminds me of when I was owned by an editor of encyclopedias. He would sit at work reading the Encyclopedia Americana out loud, and I would crouch in his office aquarium and long for death. However, the book did talk about tanks and armored cars and bombs and chemical weapons, which I find rather interesting. There was an exciting bit about Russians sneaking into an airbase in Germany and shooting people. Unfortunately, an equal and opposite effect was achieved by the bit on television during the war. (Apparently wars are a good way to make Western movies popular.) Then it has a bunch of appendices. I didn’t bother to read them. If they were worth reading, why weren’t they in the main part instead of the appendix section?

I don’t want to be mean to General Sir John Hackettetal. (Especially since he probably gets teased about his name and all). Most history books – and I have read many – are boring. A fictional history book would probably be even more boring than usual. But this one actually makes a good bedtime book, as the quote below shows:

“In NORTHAG, British experimentation was proceeding on lines closely related to the new concept now under discussion in Germany, with light anti-tank defenses exploiting the possibility of ATGW deployed far forward. The system of frontier defense thus created, with counter-penetration forces deployed in further depth, was beginning to be thought of , by many British and some German officers, as a possible replacement for, or at least a modification of, the full doctrine of ‘forward defence’, however the term was interpreted, which had hitherto prevailed. It was still largely experimental, but over several years of continuous exercises it had been showing considerable promise.”

The Third World War shall never again leave my nightstand.

H. L. Crawdad is a freelance columnist whose articles have appeared in the Mobile Register, the Houston Chronicle, The San Antonio-Express-News and other newspapers throughout the Southern US. He has 1 wife and approximately 59 children, all of whom have moved out. This essay was never before published, and is copyrighted ©2007, H. L. Crawdad & Works.

Second Week of Lent Bulletin

Stand in the Light;
Step into Freedom;
Healing Balm;
Bearer of Hope,
Restoring Spirit;
Clothed in Love;
Imaging Love:
Empowering Lives;
Passion for Justice;

(I could say it was part of a litany in praise of Sen. Barack Obama, but for this next one)

and who could forget David Haas'
"Voices that Challenge".

Dredged up by Gerald Augustinus.

First, a confession: I forgot to fast and pray per my vow. I'll have to make it up this Friday. That's the bad news. The Good News is twofold: H.L. Crawdad got his essay done, and the Sucrose Inquisition released me Monday morning when I identified myself. They apologized profusely (I'm their boss), and promised never, never, never to get near me with a squeaking toy again.

They were last seen Saturday at dusk, heading in the general direction of the Church of Jumbuck, armed with a copier, a sqeaky rubber duck, and their trusty soft cushions. God help us all.

Read this if you have any interest about politics. In my opinion, conservatism's innate tendency to be the Champion ofthe Status Quo is coming out now, with defenders of what 45 years back was abhorrent jockeying for nominations in the Republican Party. Of course maybe people will get sick of the current society and stop voting for people who perpetuate it. Some people are actually doing that.

Now this is a nice example of the "position then evidence" attitude so much in evidence among, say, Kennedy-Assassination maniacs. If you find a historian using that, then throw his book into the nearest high-temperature-producing device.

Well, folks, I mind as well provide some prayers, translated by the ICEL from Latin.

Grace before meals:
Dear God: we like food. We like the food you give us. We like Jesus because he gives us food. Amen.

Grace after meals:
Thank you, God, for giving us stuff. You will not die. Amen.

Guardian Angel Prayer:
Dear angel, God told you to follow me around. Please don't get lost. Please tell me what to do. Amen.

Now let us speak of other things.

This is NICE:
Scroll down to the bottom of this link, and see what you find.

(From the same folks: the Tabasco-Sauce Holster!)

Not nice at all:
The picture actually looks more like, uh, uh, Elizabeth Gold from The Spy Who Came in from the Cold than Mary. Besides, it's filthy ugly. If I were Elizabeth Gold, or Mary, or whoever the statue's supposed to be, I would sue for libel. Then again, Gold didn't wear those floppy wing sleeves. Nor would Mary have, according to the unamious testimony of everyone from early Christians to 12-century sculptors to Velazquez to Our Lady of Guadalupe to Bernadette Soubirous.

Next week's essay: A Short Story concerning a Bookcase.

Subverting the Dominant Paradigm since 2006!

The Other Huge Nation That Celebrates the Woman's Right To Choose And Doesn't Think It Hurts Anyone allows people to visit me online. Try it out!

H/T: Mr. Jay