You see here the miracle of secularism: no conflict, no hate caused by religion, no vicious bigotry...
Yes, I support much of what is called "traditional" because I think it's good. But I'm not really that into the Latin Mass. Beautiful, yes, but beauty is not always a benefit in worship. After all, look at the grotesque figure above the altar of a Catholic Church (or somewhere in there, if said church is the "modified" sort).
I know not all "traditionalists" are as rabid as this. All those I know personally are not. But people who talk like that are just plain nasty.
PS. Someone explain about the "Untouchables." I know they were lawmen out to bust the Capone empire on Chicago, but other than that...
|You Are Cookie Monster|
Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.
You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.
You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking
How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"
I was sick on Sunday - had some kind of cold which gave me a headache. The bad side was that I felt bad and had to miss Mass. The good side is that I got some reading done - although nothing I haven't read before.
I reread Dune for the fifth or sixth time, and now have decided to inflict you with a review of it. It's going to be long in the gestation, however, as dealing with the freaky pyschology and wacky religion of Frank Herbert (let us not mention the drugs) is certain to be tough. However, the heart of the story - boy forced to save the world at the end of a complicated chain of events, planned and otherwise - is excellent. The best thing is that there is free will - although the hero sees into the future, there are multiple possibilities, and he cannot know all the paths ahead. This is important in the later part of the book.
It's called "Kitty Looking Out Upon Landscape Illuminated By Burning Trees Causing Global Warming And Bad Grammar Now." Note the symbolism of the box (which originally stored coffee), the near-empty kitty food bowl, and the upturned wagon. It is a powerful of statement. I am selling unsigned prints at $200 each. Add $30 for signatures.
Here's another, showing that hubris is more common than I thought.
God's College is pretty darned good though.
Sometimes I hate this generation, and tell myself it's the dregs of history, that it couldn't get worse. And then I see things like this, from the 60s.
Or so I suspect.
Those who govern Ch--a may take note.
Which raises the question: how was St. Paul a Fascist-Marxist before both Fascism and Marxism existed?
If each line of this blogpost is a century,
and this is St. Paul's century....
...then this is the century in which Fascism and Marxism were created.
Shows that just having a professorial position at Oxford doesn't prove that you can talk sense.
Of course, any amount of bull is allowed in defense of You Know What Sort Of Deviations.
(Speaking of which: I liked that little "crosshair" dot for the i in the sign. How better to seem nice and civil than to stick crosshairs into political messages?)
Hat tip, of course, to Diogenes.
I'd rather give my cash right to Catholic Charities. After all, the government may decide the poor really, really badly need "emergency contraceptives" - and if that happens, what can I do about it?
Some &*(%^Y*^Y*()%Y*)%#*)Y*)#$ jerk has invented a thingyjig where - without opening any pop-up window - annoying images just come out of the page. At the Site Meter page, for instance, three boxers with video-game consoles for heads just started bouncing around the screen.
Government-sponsored religions are going the way of the dodo. Not only are they effete in comparison with "underground" religions, they are not aided by the Internet, which makes covert evangelization easy as pie.
It's cheaper just to declare open season for evangelists. Let the best religion win, I say.
Nowadays, we need mass murderers, abductors, global warming, and nuclear bombs under the bed.
On a brighter note: SCIENTISTS FIND MOST EARTHLIKE PLANET YET!
I await eagerly Gliesian messages: "Greetings to earth! We have come to drop off huge spaceship for HISTOR THE WISE to fly around in and blow our enemies up with."
As brutally graphic as the last one was, I felt I needed to make the point.
In the May issue of First Things, there's an article by Ross Douthat on modern TV shows and their spiritual elements - spiritual in the sense of relating to morality, religion, and virtue.
He opens by summarizing the condition of 1950s film culture: two fairly small groups repeatedly clashed over morality in movies.
Certain directors would introduce profanity or other objectionable things, certain "conservative Christian" groups would protest, and the resulting fuss would drive up movie sales. Next time, the directors would introduce worse profanity, or a little nudity - anything to annoy the "conservative Christians."
Douthat doesn't say it, but I will. This was just another version of "Chicken," where winning depends on scaring the opponent. The directors risked financial ruin; the religious groups, the downfall of public morality. In each film, they charged at each other, risking collision to get what they wanted.
Take a look at TV Guide and you'll see who lost the game.
Four favorite saints:
- St. Dominic - my patron saint.
- St. Gabriel Possenti - shot a lizard from yards away to demonstrate to Garibaldian bandits that no, sacking a certain village won't be simply tolerated. How much cooler can you get.
St. Jerome - Grumpy, bookish, hung out with pet lion: my role model.
St. Thomas Aquinas - anything I say well, is influenced by him. Hopefully.
Blesseds are SO 20th Century. How 'bout Venerable Bede?
One that should have been a saint:
John Calvin. Had he been one, the Wars of Religion would have been a little fuss in Germany, and we might have dodged the determinist bullet - no Communism, no lassez-faire, no Freudian pyschology, and no "ARE YOU SAVED?" nonsense.
The folks I tagged have already responded. Except MULIER FORTIS....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...
St. George's feast day was just the other day. So don't feel down, folks.
When is St. Bilbo's feastday? Or St. Bard the Bowman's?
Now I'm talking like a real Lord of the Rings nut. Darn.
Or, to be exact, Satan with a human face.
In Middle Eastern cultures, where nonviolence is not valued but honor is, Satan encourages suicide bombers and a culture that approves of it.
In Western cultures, where nonviolence is valued but fortitude is not, Satan encourages abortion, euthanasia, and a culture that approves of neither.
Then he sics them on each other.
Mauldin, an infantry sergeant with the 45th Division of the Army, drew the "Willie and Joe" cartoons for the U.S. Army's official paper, the Stars and Stripes, and Up Front is primarily a collection of these cartoons. However, along with the cartoons is his description of the warfront (primarily Italy) and the context of the cartoons, which are based on his own experiences. He writes well and describes the war vividly.
I had read in a newspaper article that many American soldiers in Iraq are able to play video games in their spare time. At first, I thought this was "soft." I had no right to think so, but I did.
However, Mauldin's lines on drinking in the Army changed my mind. He mentions that soldiers (including himself) tended to drink when they were "homesick or bored," since "other recreational facilities are crowded or unavailable." This was made worse by the lack of a limited liquor ration, which impelled American soldiers to buy lots of low-quality local alcohol. It goes to show a)you shouldn't judge something you don't know well, and b)things do improve over time.
So that's one thing I gained from Up Front.
People in tasteless liturgical vestments.
For one thing, Roman collars and pectoral chains don't really mix.
My favorite is the "White chasuble with floral print and red trim plus purple undergarments." Out of my nightmares, I tell you...
Hat tip to Mulier Fortis.
|You Are 73% Tortured Genius|
Well, as lots of people have a fuss over the Motu Proprio that's supposed to come out soon, allowing the "Tridentine"* rite to be celebrated by any obedient priest who so desires...I'll just drop my two cents in.
My theory is that the Motu Proprio is to be released once either: a) the SSPX caves in on something important, like the validity of several Vatican II documents, or b) a significant liberal group or clique starts obeying the Pope. However, the former is more likely.
Let's view it in a political sense. The MP is something both liberal and traditionalist are interested in - the latter is excited, the former worried. Merely saying there is a MP in the works can be used as a goad. The traditionalists can be told: "Obey us or this Motu Proprio stays in a desk at the Vatican." The liberals can be told: "So, you don't want the Motu Proprio coming out, huh? Well, then, do what we say!"
Of course, traditionalists are more likely to be affected by this, as liberals will usually just abandon ship for the Nutty Church of Sumpin'. So I expect some valuable concession by the SSPX will precede the Motu Proprio's release.
Of course, this does not deal with the religious or cultural effects the MP could have, nor does it mention that the Holy Spirit could throw a curveball (Cf. Pope Vigilius) that defies political common sense. It's just a theory on the subject. After all, part of the Pope's duty is politics, and the MP is political as well as religious in significance.
*I put quotation marks around "Tridentine" because many people do not like the name, and, although it is the most common word used for the pre-Vatican II mass, it isn't quite accurate. The Tridentine rite did not originate in the Council of Trent. It was an Italian rite that the Council chose as a worldwide standard.
First, a prayer for those killed at Waco, and in the Oklahoma City bombing.
And another prayer in gratitude for the American victory in the Revolution.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We place with joy a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, --
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
And what I have to say about it is:
The murderer lost his mind. We don't know why. For an unknown reason, God let him shoot 32 college students, then himself. Some evil and some good will result. No amount of well-meaning laws, however reasonable they may in fact be, will prevent such incidents from occurring. However, any amount of prayer will help. Despair will hurt.
God save the souls of Cho Seung-hui and his victims.
The year: 3000 AD. Science has reached the peak of its capabilities: not a thing about the physical world remains that we do not fully understand. Then the Magical Club, a well-funded clique of former scientists, artists, and others, starts seeking government money for research into "preternatural sciences," code for magic. They give amazing demonstrations of their power - and a few veiled threats - to the Solar Federation.
Simultaneously, a bunch of monks ("backward" and "obscurantist," as the news outlets of the time remind us) start denouncing this as evil. However, the presence of one monk at a Magical Club demonstration screws everything up. Of course, the Magical Club has to Do Something.
Maybe our country isn't in total thrall to Satan yet.
Speaking of "thrall to Satan," in the Dallas Morning News there was an article on foreign responses to the VA Tech shootings; the London Times asked why Americans "tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year..."
We don't seem to condemn "thousands of innocents" to death, London Times; we do condemn thousands of innocents to death every year. And folks make good money doing it, too. And a large lobby protects the Constitutional right to own abortifacents and abortion equipment.
And don't get all hoity-toity about it, either. We need a hand out of the Pit.
2. Why should a ‘folk’ group have a sound system roughly the size of a Rolling Stones tour ca. 1976?
4. Why are folk groups nearly always ‘led’ by a woman - not very inclusive is it? (and if you are so keen on actuosa particpatio why is everything pitched for castrati?)
5. Why do folk groups dress for a midweek trip to the pub rather than an encounter with the Lord God Almighty?
6. Why does every intro start “Dum-dum-dum-dum-chinga-dum-chinga-dum-chinga….”?
7. Is there no folk setting for Faith of our Fathers or Sweet Sacrament Divine? (It’s always Eagle’s Wings and the like)
9. Do you really have to start loud conversations immediately after Mass in/in front of the Sanctuary as you dismantle your equipment and as other people are making their thanksgiving after Mass?
10. How do I get rid of you?
Thanks for reminding us, Happy Catholic!
O'course, I did post this glittering jewel of poems up for no reason...surely a Divine Purpose guided me and my keyboard that night.
But, excessive amounts of poetry are harmless, so here's another.
The Rolling English Road
Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.
I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their bayonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.
His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.
My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.
- G.K. Chesterton
One bit of advice that I give poets (from a lousy critic and worse writer): watch your rhythm. Poems are made or broken on rhythm.
While y'all are at it, here's another Chesterton poem.
2001: A Space Odyssey
By Arthur C. Clarke
Let me first elucidate one basic principle of my literary work, namely:
That genre known as science fiction, containing as a main feature of its plot the changes wrought in man's life by technological advances, whether those of man or those of nonhuman, ahuman, or superhuman beings, is cool. Particularly those books of the genre which feature swordsmen, enormously fat noblemen, lasers, lots of war and explosions, giant bugs, or good monks.
You can party if you like. I can't stop you, and since God doesn't try to, I don't want to. But turn the music down a notch, will you? It's coming out the bathroom floor.
And just remember: they're not selling the video game. They are selling "Hitman: Blood Money" at Target, if you have infernal cash to burn.
(Signed in God's name,)
Back in the 18th Century, Voltaire and other deist/atheist heretics blasted Christ, in rather well-written books and poems, all arguing that Christianity (and therefore Christ) was evil and not deserving of life.
In the 19th, atheism did its utmost to destroy Christ - it turned biology, economics, pyschology, and everything in the intellectual arsenal upon Him. It hoped to prove Christ a myth, His teachings a "pie-in-the-sky" myth, and His Godhood impossible.
In the 20th, men like Jean-Paul Sarte even denied all meaning in order to get Christ, so desperate were they. They literally cut off their noses to spite the face.
But now, they've stopped fighting. They've stopped arguing. Instead, they've started fantasizing, "Ooh! Ooh! What if we could, you know, shoot Jesus, hee hee hee! How edgy! How fun! How delightfully pleasant!" They don't want to tear, coax, seduce, or badger mankind away from Christ. They want to spit on Christ. They're two millenia late for that, so they pretend - like kids.
They have awfully bad timing, however. For Christ is risen and regards this as a stupid devils' joke. Which it is. And Christ cannot simply permit devils' jokes.
I'm Saint Justin Martyr! Yo! You’re St. Justin Martyr! You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.
You’re St. Justin Martyr!
You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.
Hat tip to Mr. Mike Aquilina. Apologies to the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Another quiz, this one from Raulito:
What about kissing?
Hat tip to the dunadan.
First, the movie is three hours long, counting the trailers. There is no intermission, and two hours into the film you start expecting the end every time the screen goes blank. Of course, it didn't. It usually displayed various quotes, their favorite one being "You seduced me, Lord, and I was seduced." After my inner Puritan shut up, I decided it was a good quote.
Second, the film occasionally gave off "flower patterns" and got blurry in spots. Very annoying.
That is all I have against it. The film is good in showing what life in a Carthusian monastery is like. It's not devoid of modern technology (electric clippers, plastic scrubbers, and light bulbs make cameo appearances) but it's very quiet: no visitors, little noise, and only periodic chatting. (The chatting is provided courtesy of the Carthusian laws, which prefers keeping Carthusians sane to enforcing an ideal.) They split their days between praying (alone and in groups), eating, and working - on gardens, herding, and general maintenance. The neat thing about this is they are not going nuts because of their silence, but are enjoying it.
This, of course, has a religious cause. Nothing other than the fear (or love) of God would make anyone choose a Carthusian way of life. Or so I judge from my knowledge of myself.
At the end, one of the Carthusians - a blind priest - is interviewed. He said, in essence, that most people have no reason to live, since they don't care at all about God or what He wants of us. This reinforces the theme of the movie: nothing but God satisfies, so Carthusians aren't fools for concentrating on God.
Overall, I would recommend watching it. Don't know whether I'll watch it again.
Next time I watch it, I'll buy more candy and drinks to tide me through. Something with caffiene is recommended, as a friend of mine who watched it nodded off a number of times.
I've read one of her books (The Da Vinci Hoax, to be exact) and I didn't notice anything that remotely suggested she'd be like Jadis the Witch of Narnia...
Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut...I NOW KNOW THE TRUTH! NOT ONLY IS SHE AN EVIL KID-ATTACKING LADY FROM CHARN, SHE USED TO LIKE SCIENCE FICTION! UTTER, PURE EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She looks reeal nice, though! "A dem fine woman," as it says in The Magician's Nephew.
Speaking of Science Fiction: I'm reading the book version of "2001: A Space Odyssey."
I will be seeing "Into Great Silence" or whatever it's called. I thought it was "Into the Silence" but maybe that sounded too like a horror film.
Here's something for y'all to try: take 3 fathoms of rope (18 feet for those gentle readers who DON'T KNOW A DADGUM THING ABOUT ROPE!), tie them toether at one end, then braid them together. When done, seize the loose end together with a string of floss.
Now you have a braided rope! Some three times stronger than your old one, plus it's more easily gripped by the hand.
The Dallas Mavs have won 65 games. Only one team out of 12 that have done so lost the championship after that. So...I'm EXCITED! Especially after they goofed against the Heat last year...
Here's an article from Apologodzilla - I mean Mr. Mark Shea. It's about the classic inability of this age (maybe all ages) to realize that 2000 years ago, people were not as dumb as we are. Hat Tip to Cathy of Alex.
Well, that's all for tonight. Three books coming in by the 18th - reviews as necessary.
So, I'll just drag out this quote from the Song of Songs (I read it for Religion class):
"The flash of [love] is a flash of fire, a flame of Yahweh."
Compare it to "Ring of Fire." Not to justify the circumstances of the song, of course - just pointing out what seems to be a scriptural reference in one of Cash's songs.
This by Diogenes,
And this by a commentor on CAEI who apparently worked in science and received federal grants for his work.
It seems the ideal of the detached, objective scientist, who ignores politics and debates as far as possible so he can concentrate on some aspect of science (dull or not) has been abandoned.
I'm listening to the '68 (live) version of "Folsom Prison Blues," by the way. Dunno why. It suppresses my righteous indignation something good.
Now it's "Long-legged Guitar Pickin' Man." The Cashes sang a lot of songs about marital troubles ("Cry, Cry, Cry," "Jackson," "It Ain't Me Babe," and now this one). I now know that I don't like "L-lGPM." I like "Cry, Cry, Cry," though. Even though I don't have an unreliable girlfriend, let alone adulterous wife.
Okay now, compare and contrast the first five lines with the rest of the post. Which is more entertaining? Which is more worth knowing? Which is better written? Which betrays Histor's obsession with Johnny Cash music?
Johnny Cash's house burnt down just the other day.
I know he's dead, but that doesn't mean we should torch his house.
- "Bull Rider" as sung by the Man in Black.
So I could do some practice for the FAITH AND HISTORY CONTEST on my real birthday. Hey, it was what I chose.
It was good. Had my friends over, played Ultimate Frisbee, scuffed my knee, ate brownies, shot the breeze some, overall a satisfying party.
Now, maybe I'm a simpleton, but my current life (with sin, SAT, drivers ed, and similar worries removed) is a pretty good approximation of Heaven in my opinion.
Oh, and I got a Risk game. Pretty cool "vintage" one.
stored in antiques and
miserly hoarded prudently amassed by a Baptist minister. (So he could repay the church that hired him - and lodged him in a mansion!)
Camels. Needles' eyes. You know the drill.
|You Belong in Paris|
Various folks got to my website by an internet search over the last 100 visits, and I just feel like making comments upon them. Some searched for:
brave new family chesterton ebook - I would buy the print version, personally.
G.K. Chesterton poem calvary - Never heard of it, but it sounds interesting.
"the prayer of the frog" socrates - Socrates wouldn't be caught dead praying to some freakin' frog. Cut it out!
france nuclear doctrine - Hmmmmm. I'm guessing it's "hit Alta California, Spain, and every other wine-producing region in the world so we can establish a monopoly." It's just a guess. Then again, maybe it's this.
franky brother bad canadian border hospital blood blood - Sounds like either a big fan of "Highway Patrolman" or some autobot typed that in.
Just Easter Sunday I remarked to my pastor: the reason so many churches resemble gyms is that, in case of persecution, we will be accustomed to clandestine worship ("Aw, honey, I'm just going to the health club...where else would you go on Saturday morning?").
For no reason AT ALL...I am popping this poem at y'all.
The Cremation of Sam McGee
- Robert W. Service
There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold,
The arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see,
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows,
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell,
Though he'd often say, in his homely way, that "he'd sooner live in hell."
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze 'til sometimes we couldn't see,
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we laid packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," said he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess,
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no, then he says with a kind of moan,
"It's that cursed cold, and it's gotten hold, 'til I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead, it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains,
So I want you to swear, that foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."
Now a pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail,
And we started on at the streak of dawn, but Ah! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee,
And before nightfall, a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half-hid, that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given,
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say, "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate my last remains."
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long, night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows - oh man! how I loathed that thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow,
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low,
The trail was bad, and I felt half-mad, but I swore I would not give in,
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Then I came to the marge of Lake LeBarge, and a derelict there lay,
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the Alice May,
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum,
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-e-um."
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire,
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher,
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared - such a blaze you seldom see,
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so,
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why,
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear,
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near,
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said, "I'll just take a peep inside,
I guess he's cooked and it's time I looked..." then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heat of the furnace roar,
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said, "Please close that door!
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm -
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."
There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold,
The arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see,
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge I cremated Sam McGee.
by Sinclair Lewis
I read Babbitt in about 24 hours. You mind as well know that about it. However, it's a great book, worthy of a long read
George F. Babbitt, of the fictional city of Zenith, is a real-estate agent in the 1920's, and a blandly weird character. He tends to put obvious contradictions in his speech, like this comment he makes on the news:
"And we got no business interfering with the Irish or with any other foreign government. Keep our hands strictly off. And there's another well-authenticated rumor from Russia that Lenin is dead. That's fine. It's beyond me why we don't just step in there and kick those Bolshevik cusses out.*"
By the third time Babbitt contradicts himself, it's not so much funny as annoying.
Rather worse is his morality. "He serenely believed that the one purpose of the real-estate business was to make money for George F. Babbitt," and as a result overprices his lots. He views any form of charity work as an opening-wedge for Socialism (which he fears more than Satan, God, or death). He views religion as a business designed to train business men who won't cheat, and brings to his city a preacher who saves souls at ten dollars apiece. He wastes most of his money on luxuries, is obsessed with his car, and tends to neglect his wife Myra and children Verona, Ted, and Tinka. And he never thinks about any issue: he picks up whatever position his social set has, whether on free verse, immigration, or adultery.
Not surprisingly, he is dissatisfied with his life.
But, of course, he doesn't touch his moral life. He never asks himself, "Why am I here?" He never says a word on the purpose of life. Instead, he tries everything but self-examination. He gets into politics (where he does well), society (where he does less well), and wandering off into the wilderness (where he does lousy). He then loses control of himself when his best friend Paul Riesing (also dissatisfied with his life) gets jailed for shooting his wife.
Babbitt committs adultery and lives a double life for a while. He tries, but fails, to become a political radical. Ultimately, he gives it all up - nothing he found is worth the bother of getting it, and besides, he likes being a shallow little...Babbitt.
Babbitt is interesting because Babbitt is extremely familiar. He is the incarnation of the Flesh (as in 'the world, the flesh, the devil). He shows all the vices - greed, hypocrisy, laziness, lukewarmness - that people normally suffer when left to their own lights. And he fails to get rid of them, because even when he appears to sacrifice popularity to make a principled stand, he really is just trying to please himself. But by his continual selfishness, he is doomed to doing nothing he wants to do (as he tells his son Ted at the end of the book).
And all I have left to say is: Five stars.
*As a matter of fact, "interventionists" from many countries, including the USA, tried to prevent the Red Army from gaining control of Russia in 1918-20. They had little effect. But we did try!
"I think now, looking back...We didn't fight the enemy.
We fought ourselves.
And the enemy...was in us."
By the way, I did fulfill my Lenten obligations, having read the section of Divine Intimacy destined for Lent. Good stuff. I also quit blogging and surfing the Web, as I intended.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, celebramus modo bacchantium!
Well, not literally "modo bacchantium"...I'm exaggerating.
By the way, guess who attended Easter Mass with us? Ho Chi Minh the junkyard statue! He didn't quite get what it was about, but he was quiet...and hey, he is a junkyard statue, what do you expect? Brains?
Alright, more later.
Guess what I found?
The Christian Vegetarian Association. (Apparently they don't believe in the Real Presence - Jesus, being human, was an animal in the sense that we are all animals. On the other hand, they hopefully make exceptions for God.)
Now, I consider vegetarianism the way I consider celibacy, which is as a scary sacrifice that spiritual giants perform. I know a lot of giants. Of course, the CVA doesn't think it's scary - they think it's the best thing since sliced bread. (Sorry.)
Well, of course, I had to do a fisk of their FAQ page.
The Christian Vegetarian Association is an international, nondenominational ministry of Christians who find that a plant-based diet benefits human health, the environment, the world’s poor and hungry, and animals.
Arrange in proper order of priority: your body fat; global warming; your uncle who's about to starve under a highway bridge; edible animals.
We believe that the Holy Spirit inspires us to live according to our deepest, faith-based values—our “calling.”
The calling of married men is to raise holy children and strengthen their wives on the road to salvation. The calling of college students is to assume the duties they bear to their fellow men. The calling of vegans is to eat tofu.
We find that Christians care, often deeply, about world hunger, human well-being, the environment, and animals. Since a plant-based diet helps address these concerns, we see it as an opportunity to honor God.
And besides, eating tofu is cheaper and easier than serving vegetable soup to the homeless, washing an orphan's hair, picking up litter, or feeding the cat.
How is vegetarianism good stewardship?
By turning up your nose at a perfectly fine peace of chicken, you, er...
Jesus preached, “For I was hungry and you gave me food.…[A]s you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:35, 40 RSV).
Bingo! Let's give up meat and feed the poor lots of filet mignon, chicken wings, and roast-beef subs. Poor people eat the best off our tables. We sacrifice for our fellow men. God is happy, we're happy, the poor are happy - what's not to like?
Yet, while tens of millions die annually from starvation-related causes and close to a billion suffer from malnutrition, 37 percent of the world’s harvested grain is fed to animals being raised for slaughter; in the United States, the figure is 66 percent.
And, I may point out, the number of people starving to death in America is almost nil. Most Americans get plenty of food - albeit greasy, unhealthy food.
Converting grains to meat wastes 67-90% of grains’ proteins, up to 96% of their calories, and all of their fiber.
Albeit animals proteins are more efficient sources of protein. And fiber is indigestible - it just helps clean the sewage system.
Since it generally takes far more grains to feed a meat eater, worldwide meat consumption greatly increases demand for grains.
But the people fed on meat tend to be healthier, as meat is a one-stop fix for nutrition. Without meat, you have to plan your menu, and how many starving poor people have the time for that?
Because land, water, and other resources are limited, growing demand for meat increases the cost of all food, and the world’s poor become increasingly unable to afford food of any kind.
The question is: should we give stuff to the poor, or should we give them discounts at the grocery store?
The apostle Paul wrote that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), and it follows that we should care for our bodies as gifts from God.
Meat being part of a healthy, normal diet...
The largest organization of food and nutritional professionals in the U.S., the American Dietetic Association, has endorsed well-planned vegetarian diets. The ADA notes that vegetarian diets are associated with a reduced risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, lung cancer, and kidney disease.
Not to mention schizophrenia, flu, and leftist leanings.
In contrast to the predominantly plant-based Mediterranean diet that Jesus ate,
Remember the miracle of the loaves and tofu?
modern Western diets (heavily laden with animal products) put people at risk. For example, animal foods tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which elevate blood lipids and increase the risk of heart disease, by far the #1 killer in the West.
Then again, that's because we eat too much meat. If we slacked back on the meat and shipped it all to Africa or North Korea or something...
Because farmed animals are bred to grow quickly and given little exercise, their flesh is particularly high in saturated fats. In contrast, polyunsaturated fats in plant foods generally improve one’s lipid profile and reduce heart disease risk.
St. Paul on the phone: he wants to know what in heaven a lipid profile is.
Numerous studies show this.
The study is always right.
The Cornell-Oxford-China Project found that rural Chinese, who eat much less animal fat and protein and derive the bulk of their nutrition from plant sources, have far less heart disease mortality and much lower cholesterol levels than Americans or Chinese people in cities who eat a more Western diet.
In rural China, they die from famines. Or the government.
Regarding obesity and diabetes, fiber in grains and fructose sugar in fruits help people feel full,
What does this have to do with Christianity again?
which discourages overeating. In study after study, vegetarians weigh less and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight than their meat-eating peers.
It's worth noting that St. Thomas Aquinas (Fatty Aquinas, his enemies called him) is in heaven and 90 percent of movie stars are, at best, still in purgatory.
Regarding bone health, animal proteins are heavily laden with sulfur-containing amino acids, which acidify the blood. The body neutralizes the acid by leaching calcium from bones, weakening the bones. In contrast, vegetables and fruits contain base precursors that neutralize acids and protect bones. Harvard Medical School’s Nurse's Health Study of 77,761 women, who were followed for 12 years, found that milk consumption did not reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Tear down those "Got Milk?" posters!
The routine use of antibiotics to prevent infections in crowded, stressed animals promotes dangerous antibiotic resistance among bacteria. Furthermore, high-speed slaughterhouse operations predispose meat to bacterial contamination. In 1999, the CDC estimated that food poisoning sickens about 76 million Americans annually and kills about 5,000.
A 1 in 15 million chance of dying from food poisoning. Compare that to the likelihood of dying from snowboarding, promiscuous activity, and reading Christian Vegetarian Association bulletins.
A year later, the CDC found that about 86 percent of reported food poisoning outbreaks derived from animal food sources.
Most people don't eat moldy bread, you know.
Other human health concerns that derive directly from factory farming include consumption of pesticides, hormones, heavy metals, and dioxins that become concentrated in animal fat, and “Mad Cow” disease.
A'course, pesticides used on factory-farmed grains has no effect.
BREAK - IT'S GETTING LATE YOU KNOW!
Seriously, the problem with the CVA is they give up meat in order to, well, fulfill an agenda. Vegan hermits don't have an agenda. They give up meat for the same reason they are celibate - because they can concentrate on God, not roast beef.
And if hermits want to feed the poor, well, they haul out some baskets and head to the rough side of town with a load of food. This has the advantage of having an immediate, direct, effect on actual living people.
I know where a Sisters of Charity place is. Email my dad and we'll give you directions.
PS. Another installment next week. Their theology promises to be worse than their economics and biology.
A milestone of my life. I drove my folks home from church in - DRUM ROLL, CARDINAL! - the Big Blue. Thank God nothing disastrous occurred, despite the Furniture Gremlins putting, well, furniture on the road. And - how I love this - I made Mr. Moose fall right onto the gear shifter when I pulled out of the parking lot. To quote Cyrano de Bergerac, "I made another enemy today!"
Aw heck, he's not a real enemy. He's just a stuffed animal. But, hey, I'm an irenic chap, and I'm out of practice.
And, thanks to Dad, I discovered the most wonderful website - the B-Movie Catechism. Robots, monsters (with glowing eyeballs, so everyone can tell where they are), and obese ventriloquists' dummies (won't link, thank you very much) - all making me glad I don't watch TV. However, there is still - ah, certain books. On the up side, and finding the religious significance in a film about robots blowing bubbles is better than finding the Revolutionary War allusions in "The Twelve Days of Christmas." And did you know the mystic Ann Catherine Emmerich claimed that the Passover meat Christ ate on Holy Thursday was flavored with garlic? I love garlic. I hate vampires, who violate Isaiah 7:13. (Read "mock" for "weary").
I'm working on The Confessions of Saint Augustine. He starts it out with a good big litany to God, who, unlike most autobiographers, is an interesting character whose activities are fascinating and not a little dramatic. Not to say Augustine isn't interesting (although he's not dramatic, not yet). He had to read the Illiad - something conspicious on my to-read list by its abscence. He took away from it a sort of ambivalent attitude towards adultery. Homer was quite a lecher, apparently. Then he went off to college, in that renowned party city Carthage. (It hadn't lived down its human-sacrificing past, apparently; unlike Mexico City.) Due to money concerns, his parents had to slack off on the monitoring. Fill in the blank.
O Bliss! O Joy! The horsemeat industry in the US has finally shut down: killing horses and selling their body parts for the use of humans is no longer legal. Doing the same to humans, however, is still legal, provided it is done under the auspices of properly licensed medical professionals, or for artistic purposes.
The horsemeat industry acually had quite a presence in North Texas. I suggest somebody look into the rat-meat industry. Hey, didn't they do it on sailing ships?
Take a look at this. I aced it (they teach us right at Chez Histor!) although I didn't get the bonus one (#18: Writing a song about how wonderful and caring you are.) Then again, I'm no good as a songwriter.
Say, remember a looooooooooong time back I threatened you with a short story about a bookcase? Well, you still shall get the story (next week), but probably not the bookcase. Couldn't fit. If you want a decent story, here's one. Anyone who comments "I don't see no p'ints about this blog..." deserves a good whack on the head with a palm leaf. The whole palm leaf, I mean.
Well, the Church of Jumbuck is now based in a former doughnut shop in North Richland Hills. They found a 55-gallon drum of glazing, and they got to keep it. And now they have insurance against Inquisitorial attacks.
The Sucrose Inquisition accidentially ambushed an antiques store ("Um, Histor, it did look like a Baptist church...") but - luckily - I was in the area and shooed them out. Then I bought a huge statue of the late Ho Chi Minh made out of iron pipes and car fenders. In my defense, it was the only thing I had the cash for. And boy, was that guy grateful.
"But how do you know it's Ho?" I asked.
"It said so. [sotto voce] By the way, he really likes 60's music. Especially Jefferson Airplane."
Well, maybe we'll hit it off. You never know.
I took his gun away (rusty pipe it may be, but...) and put him by the front gate. I can't wait till the school bus comes along tomorrow.
Adios, leales sujetos!