June 29, 2012

Jonah Goldberg on the "Decision"

From Jonah Goldberg:
"Why do you keep calling it a tax?" Justice Breyer asked the solicitor general during the oral arguments for Obamacare last March.

The whole room burst into laughter.

But apparently not Chief Justice Roberts.

Despite the fact that pretty much every lower court found this tax claim laughable; despite the fact that President Obama indignantly insisted it wasn't a tax; despite the fact that the administration largely ignored the tax question in its defense of the law; despite the fact that the Congress made every effort to insist the mandate penalty was not a tax -- short of carving "this is no tax" with a potato peeler into their collective foreheads . . .

Justice Roberts concluded it is, in fact, a tax.

...

Yes, yes: I know. Already numerous people I respect are praising Roberts for playing the "long game" (See: Jay Cost, Sean Trende, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al.) I get the argument: The decision rolled back the Commerce Clause; it created new political limits on expanding government (in effect, everything the nanny state wants to do now has to be called a tax to get over the constitutional plate); it restored the reputation of the Court so that future conservative decisions will be more readily accepted; it showed Roberts is the tortoise and Obama the hare.

Meh.

Look, I'll be delighted if all these things turn out to be true. But as a conservative, I'm skeptical of these three-carom-shot approaches to politics. I remember all of the people who wondered whether it would be better if McCain lost in 2008 (including me!). It turns out Ed Koch's mother was right when she told him, "It's always better to win than to lose." Everyone hailing Roberts's brilliance is in effect congratulating Jack for bringing home the magic beans -- before they grow into a giant stalk. He traded the cow of overturning Obamacare now for some "long game" beans that might one day grow into something cool. It is an un-conservative tendency to credit one man with being able to plan that far out into the future.

The argument you hear a lot is that Roberts was a genius for figuring out how to gut the Commerce Clause while still preserving the Commerce Clause. But you know what else he could have done? He could have gutted the Commerce Clause and overturned Obamacare! How? By simply ruling what he believes and signing on with Scalia, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas. Instead we're being told that win-lose is better than win-win. Not. Buying. It.

Moreover, what Roberts did is not in his job description. Whatever his motivation -- whether it was to defend the Court's reputation or his own, or if it was to deliver some ingenious slow-acting poison to the Nanny State -- that's not what justices are supposed to prioritize. If he's the umpire he claims to be, he should be umping.

Now, I'm not naïve. I understand that the justices take politics -- internal and external -- into account. But they're supposed to hide it better.

Let's Play...Why's My Bookbag or E-Reader Equivalent So Heavy?

From True Freedom by Cardinal Dolan:
“Just to live is itself a gift from God. Every morning when I wake up I am so happy to be alive for another day that I cherish the opportunity that I’ve been given.” That, to me, is still one of the best definitions of the dignity of life that I’ve ever heard. It summarizes the beauty and dignity of life itself.

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Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it, and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself.
From David DiSilvia's Introducing the Apocrypha:
The authors of Matthew and James appear to have had some familiarity with Ben Sira. For those inclined to view the Jesus tradition in Matthew as historically reliable, this means also that Jesus himself drew on Ben Sira's sayings in his preaching. Since Ben Sira was a Jewish sage resident in Jerusalem-and one whose work was well known to the first- and second-century rabbis-it is not surprising that those ministering in a Palestinian setting should show some familiarity with this wisdom collection. Jesus' emphasis in the Lord's Prayer that our forgiving other people's sins against us goes hand-in-hand with God's forgiveness of our sins against God (Matt. 6:12, 14-15) is not attested in the Jewish Scriptures. It is, however, a noteworthy emphasis in Ben Sira: Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Does anyone harbor anger against another, and expect healing from the Lord? If one has no mercy toward another like himself, can he then seek pardon for his own sins? (Sir. 28:2-4) Knowledge of this background is very instructive. It shows that some of the highest ideals of Jesus were formulated neither de novo nor in opposition to Jewish sages but in keeping with their finest expression.

when Jesus invites, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; ... and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30), he uses language and a literary form very similar to that of the earlier wisdom teacher: Draw near to me, you who are uneducated, and lodge in the house of instruction.... Put your neck under her yoke, and let your souls receive instruction; it is to be found close by. See with your own eyes that I have labored but little and found for myself much serenity. (Sir. 51:23, 26-27) Jesus' use of similar language may have invited the hearers to view him as a teacher of wisdom and of interpretation of Torah and to view attaching themselves to his group of disciples as a kind of attachment to a wisdom school.

*
...these texts open up to our view the three centuries concerning which the Protestant and Jewish canonical Scriptures are almost completely silent. In so doing, they become indispensable for a more accurate grasp of the world of the New Testament.

From Jim Lynch's "Truth Like The Sun":
“Many people move here as an act of hope,” he began. “Or they happen upon it on a glorious day and can’t resist the idea of living here. Still others come here on the run from someplace else, chased by something they probably can’t describe. They pile up along our waterfront like birds tempted to follow the sun farther west, and they want more from life...

*

“Guess I’ve never quite got over the thrill of a midday beer.”

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The mistakes I make always come back around. Truth is like the sun, isn’t it? You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.”

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a medicine cabinet that doubled as a time capsule. Milk of Magnesia, Vitalis, Vicks VapoRub, Castile soap.

*
Roethke might simply be too much of an iconoclastic oddball for these people, but then the man started reciting hypnotic, mournful poems, as if channeling the dead.

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

Quick Takes

A tad "graspy" I was when I bought my first Kindle. Buying e-books meant, necessarily, I was totally dependent on the device. I still coveted owning books even in virtual form (which hardly seems a form of ownership at all), but what worried me about the Kindle was that it would flop and they'd stop making them and my Kindle would break and I'd be out of luck. I'd have a library with no way to read it. I thought of trying to purchase security by buying a second Kindle, to lay aside for a rainy day. I shouldn't have sweated it so. Fortunately I didn't waste the money since better Kindle versions came soon enough at a smaller price.

*

Equatorial heat. New Guinea heat. Aborigine heat. 100 degrees and I'm sitting on the back porch, scorched. It feels good, at least for a minute or two, like a hot bath or sauna.

Managed to walk 2.5 miles today in order to burn a few calories. Went to the lovely and talented Goodale Park, where the grass was all straw-colored and laying down due to the stress of having so many visitors there during Comfest festival last weekend.

Walking down those winding pleasant paths, I was reminded how similar it felt to my alma mater's "Slant Walk". The sterling sun and mature trees, even the same Georgian architecture in the glimmering distance. I wondered how much was mere sentiment, this desire to go visit my old school and walk her paths, even though this felt on a level of similitude that makes me wonder if the drive is worth it. Can't I squint my eyes and believe I'm there? Or is that the sort of thinking that gives us "virtual confessions" and "virtual sex" and all the other modern abominations?

So the staccato of the water sprinkler on the front lawn plays while the sun spritzes through the droplets of water in a splendid way. It's nice to be riding high in the saddle weather-wise; every eve is special and incandescent in a way impossible in chill January or February.

*


I didn't make it to "CommunistFest", as the downtown Columbus festival known as Comfest (from "Community Fest") this year. There's something about these liberal ecstasies that intrigues me, in the same way that Woodstock has some weird cache. I can't put my finger on it; perhaps there's just the fact that there were people then, as there are people at Comfest, willing to put themselves out there, put themselves on the line, to risk rejection. There's something compelling about a person not willing to play it safe, be it a writer or a boobie flasher.





Daring sun
Dashing shade
You dance like the love
Fred and Ginger made.

*
Sunday mass featured a visiting priest from a Wisconsin diocese who was plugging "Food for the Poor", a "hot" charity of late. I'm a tad surprised that our pastor is publicizing what seems to be an alternative to Catholic Relief Services. He must know something I don't. I like that Food for the Poor focuses on this hemisphere and that 97% of the money goes to the charity. The only negative thing, it seems, is that it doesn't give in the name of the Church, and thus in the name of Christ, like CRS does.

June 28, 2012

Ouch, That Hoit!

Disappointed as most of my compatriots by the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare. There's a strong desire to psychoanalyze Roberts, since he's the only really surprising vote. Who knows what he was thinking, but the tendency is to think he'd gotten a taste of criticism (in the form of the decision about "corporations are people" and campaign funding) and didn't much like it. Humans are social animals, and it's pretty hard to ignore the socialability aspect.

The truth is stranger than fiction in that we all couldn't imagine that Roberts would be the deciding vote. That said I would've gone with Roberts as the second most likely to uphold (after Kennedy). Perhaps it's hindsight, but I always thought he was more of the judge's judge than a strict constitutionalist, which is to say he's a bit more into pragmatism. In other words, willing to wiggle on what "tax" means.

In general it sure seems as though Democrat-appointed judges are more lock-step with the liberal cause than Republican-appointed judges with conservative philosophy. There certainly was no liberal judge on this court who was going to vote to repeal Obamacare. You can say that Republican-appointed judges are more impartial than Democrat-appointed judges and that the price of being good, in this world, is often a lack of success. On the other hand Scalia is good AND right so they're not mutually exclusive, ha.

It's just beyond me why Democrats continue to enjoy auto-liberal votes from authentically liberal judges while Republicans don't enjoy the same advantage when Republicans win the presidency. Perhaps that's why the Tea Party, God bless it, was invented. It's a necessary response to a tipped playing field in which the gentlemanly Orin Hatch blesses the Democrat- SCOTUS nominee while Ted Kennedy pledged jihad against any conservative with a paper trail. Asymetrical warfare indeed.

Perhaps it comes down to Republican presidents just not being that firmly committed to the social issues (because we know that social issues = abortion and abortion = that which must be protected by liberals at any cost, and the Supreme Court has been, unfortunately, the decider on abortion. To put it simply, Democrats want abortion more than Republicans want it outlawed.)

June 25, 2012

Links & Stuff

Interesting review of The Marriage Plot by Fred of Late Papers.


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First Things links to an article in support of leisure. It's said that it's a mark of civilization decline that we can't find enough things to fill our time without work. It's a new thing, the article says, where we don't have the capacity for play, for spontaneity, but instead engage in passive consumptions to fill time, like watching tv, listening to the radio, etc... Although it seems like we've been declining for quite awhile since Baudelaire said more than a hundred years ago that work is necessary to avoid despair and boredom. I wonder how much of the cause is as simple as our preference for sedentary activities. We've evolved to run long distances, being made to outrun prey not in terms of speed but endurance.

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Elsewhere spotted:

Sum­mer is in full swing. Blog­ging grows light, I grow fat­ter, and sobri­ety grows scarce. It’s a good thing. Peter Lei­thart on the author of sum­mer, Ray Brad­bury:
"He is at his most exot­ic when explor­ing the mys­ter­ies of a sum­mer evening in a small mid­west­ern town. Street­lights blink on, fire­flies flick­er over the yard, cicadas and crick­ets chirp in the warm air. As you walk down the side­walk, you can hear the clat­ter of dish­es through open kitchen win­dows, the creak of swings and rock­ing chairs and the mur­mur of the men sit­ting in the yel­low dome of light on the front porch­es, a whiff of tobac­co smoke hov­er­ing over­head."
*

Recently been fascinated by the deutercanonicals, specifically ol' Ben Sira. Bought "An Introduction to the Apocrypha" by a Protestant writer, an impulse purchase if there ever was one. But I'm fascinated by that period between the end of the OT canon (Malachi) and the beginning of Christ's time. Those three centuries have a lot of things going on in them, and it's worth seeing the context of the Jewish state of mind leading up to Christ.

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Me Glad I'm Not in Ireland:

   

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"Feelin' hot, hot, hot!" So goes the ultimate cruise ship hymn, one that I feel juiced by only retroactively. When the song is playing in the hot sun under a "cabana" of drinks, it strangely seems trite or forced, a sort of "mandatory party". But now, thinking about it, it makes me feel good remembering the music and wishing I were there NOW, celebrating, and feeling the RARENESS of being inside one of those special 2 vacation weeks a year, 2 out of 52, that great 4%. How often do I really feel the heightened moments of that 4%? A much better question is how often do I feel the heightened moments when receiving the Sacrament?

June 21, 2012

Heirloom Comedy

from Zondervon Press!  

       The Biblioholic's Bible!

You've seen the bible for teens, the bible for car mechanics, the bible for pre-menopausal women. And now at last... the bible for compulsive book buyers!

Excerpts:
"And if you lost a book - would you not leave the 99 in search of the lost one?"

*

"What does it profit a man to gain the entire Library of Congress but lose his immortal soul?"

*

And then Simon Peter began to read to the soldier from the latest Dan Brown novel. But Jesus said, "Those who live by the mediocre novel, shall die by the mediocre novel." And so Peter put the book down and Jesus healed the soldier, removing the abomination from his memory

*

....and he spent all his inheritance on cheap magazines and dissolute books. One day, while reading an Andrew Greeley novel, he thought to himself: "Even the servants of my father's house enjoy better reading material. I will go back and ask his forgiveness."

And before he was home his father walked to him, hugged him, and gave him a Faulkner first edition. His brother became jealous. "You've never given me a Faulkner first edition!" And his father said, "You are always with me, and all my books are yours."

*

It happened that there was a great book festival in Cana. But soon all the good books were sold. Mary said to Jesus, "They've no more books!" and Jesus said, "What concern is that of mine? My hour has not come." But his mother said to the festival organizer, "do whatever he tells you." And Jesus had them bring reams of blank paper. When the organizer looked, the paper was beautifully bound into books of surpassing quality. One man exclaimed, "Usually this late in festivals only the overstocks are left, but you have saved the best for last."

*
Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, and it was so dark he couldn't even read.

June 20, 2012

Of India Paper and June Light

8:40pm and the sky, on this eve of Midsummer's Night's eve, is bright, straightforwardly so, in a spring 6pm kind of way. By 8:58 we're clearly on the down slope, the lightning bugs already out though I can still easily read. The longest day of the year and, as has been my recent custom, I aim to "close the joint". Me and Kindle against the world, fighting the dying light. Who does not feel the echoes of Junes' past, of those profligate end-of-school days which baked into our very marrow the expectation of release and relief?

The fountain runs to my right and the water sprinkler to my left, the scent of water in the air. I read long of Jim Lynch's "Truth Like the Sun", a novel with enough verve and wordplay (and lighter subject matter) to match my mood; I've put "The Newlyweds" on hold - admittedly after events have taken an ugly turn. Call me a fair weather fan, or at least a fan of fair weather. I also bought "In Praise of Hangovers" for $1.99, mostly on the basis of its oxymoronic title. The author wrote well of beer in a previous Kindle Single and this one started off interestingly when he described the jolt of an absinthe-fueled jag.

My kind of weather. Yes indeedy it's the awe-inspiring laser heat show in Columbus today, with a 95 spotted on the ol' thermometer. Fortunately there's a good breeze which helped to make the 2-mile run manageable, even though it was as slow as the ace of spades. If I were moving any slower I'd be jogging in place.

So a pristine sun of perfect vintage. The longest day of the year is always an occasion of lament although, truth be told, I've been mainlining every square inch of after work time as it is.

*

Continued window-shopping of expensively crafted bibles. They're made for Anglicans, I assume, since these aren't Catholic bibles and it feels inappropriate for simple, unadorned folk like Baptists or Methodists to purchase these creations when the money could be used for the poor. Would undercut their argument that the Vatican should sell all its paintings.

Calfskin, goatskin bibles with exotic-sounding "India paper", which is said to be the perfect bible paper. All this reverie prompted by the influence of a blog called Bible Design, which is to bibliophiles what the Food network to foodies. Like the idea of looking more than buying, although if there were a Catholic bible made like these I'd likely take the plunge.

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I feel a thirst for a Jeff Culbreath post for reasons unclear. The ol' Trad man living on the edge of fiscal disaster always seemed someone who, if he didn't exist, you'd have to invent him. Here is a flesh and blood Council of Trent Catholic, a living remnant of an earlier age, a time traveler. But alas the blogging fire has mostly spent itself, as it has with ol' Jim Curley, who lives a nearly Amish life compared to mine.

The Time of the Fireflies

Lightning bug on the left, middle:



Obama Plays Clinton

Feel the same sort of dismay at Obama's latest gambit as I did in the bad ol' good ol' days of the Clinton administration. Clinton used to engineer these fantastical feats of political jiujitsu, enabling him to escape any politically dire situation including his own impeachment (at least impeachment in the only form that matters, i.e. removal from office). Wild Bill had a field day getting himself into and out of scrapes, and he had that utterly shameless gene in him that makes for many a successful pol. And now Obama took a page out of Clinton's book with a "look what I found rebound" executive order basically ordering Hispanics to vote for him. Obama has that shamelessness too.

It's not really in the liberty-loving Republican gene to kneel before the king, but in this case the kingmaker, at least, are the Hispanics. Republicans, like it or not, have to wake up and smell the Mexican and Central American coffee. You have to pick your battles and I'm not sure illegal immigration is a good one to pick. I loathe ethnic group politics as much as the next dude but sometimes you have to cave in the interest of the greater goal. Don't cave on social issues, or the deficit, but immigration seems, well...caveable.

June 19, 2012

Interesting Comment on Catholic Bibles blog

"Mercy and peace to all. I am an Orthodox Christian and I echo the sentiment that the deutero-canon (aka apocrypha) is important. For example, some protestants today believe that to be physically healed all we have to do is pray about it and we'll be healed. And so every once in a while you read in the paper about these kids who've suffered and died because their parents refused to take them to the doctor. Now to be fair this is a fringe of protestantism but this is where such thinking leads. If you read Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Sirach) chapter 38:1-12 you'll see how it talks about the God-given honor due a physician. But...they took out the deutero-canon sometime after the 1769 KJV."
That reference in Sirach 38 goes:
Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; 2 for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king. 3 The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired. 4 The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them. 5 Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that its power might be known? 6 And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. 7 By them the physician heals and takes away pain; 8 the pharmacist makes a mixture from them. God’s works will never be finished; and from him health spreads over all the earth. 9 My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you. 10 Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. 11 Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour, and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford. 12 Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; do not let him leave you, for you need him. 13 There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, 14 for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. 15 He who sins against his Maker will be defiant toward the physician.

June 18, 2012

Delayed Appreciation

Via Ellyn of Oblique House fame, I found this rousing link about the feast of the Sacred Heart. (And another post on the author's distaste for images of the Sacred Heart.) I appreciate the feast much more nowadays, which is sort of ironic since I went to a school named for the devotion, a fact completely and utterly lost on me at the time. (May as well gone to "Dover Elementary" for all I knew of the devotion.) In a similar vein, I'm ten times more appreciative of my baptism than when I was a kid.

June 11, 2012

Various Canons of Scripture

Found via Catholic Bibles:

What's in Your Bible? Find out at BibleStudyMagazine.com


UPDATE: Inaccurate (see comment); proof again you can't trust everything on the internet.

Hierloom Spanning the Globe

From about eight years ago:

    Spanning the Proverbial Globe to Bring You the Constant Variety of Posts

I was talking with the nurses at the hospital the other day, and we were discussing how different expectant moms are now than they were 20 years ago. Then, many moms were willing to bear pain to protect their babies from drugs, and it was sometimes difficult to help them through labor. Now, most come in wanting and expecting a painless childbirth, and even for the easiest of labors they want all the drugs available...I just had 2 post-abortive women tell me that they don't feel guilty about their abortions (though they grieve for themselves that they won't be mother to that child) because by aborting the child they saved the child from pain. - Alicia of Fructus Ventris

But one thing that has disturbed me has been the number of people who, at bottom, don't seem to really believe in grace or mercy. People, in fact, who habitually tend to regard mercy as weakness and charity as stupid softness. I shouldn't be shocked, of course. I'm the one that continually says that it is the Church's teaching on mercy, not sex, that is the most offensive and obnoxious item in its entire corpus of teaching. At the same time, we constantly hear demands for "holy priests". Great souled priests full of wise counsel and abundant pastoral mercies. People like "Father Joe", the Benedictine who saved Tony Hendra's soul and who brought a rather sleazy creature of the 60s back to a serious practice of the Faith after he had been nabbed making out with a married woman and then spent the next couple decades indulging himself in the normal plethora of Baby Boomer indulgences. There have been a number of raves about this book, and for good reason. - Mark Shea

Attempting to lead people in an intellectual manner without the glue of social interaction invariably has its risks. At the end of the day, I'd rather argue with someone face to face than over e-mail. I'd also rather argue with someone who trusts me (and whom I trust) than with a stranger, since both sides will treat the discussion with charity. Lask of honesty and trust can lead to sophistry and lies on the part of the speaker and stubborness on the part of the interlocutor. ... Let us not accept the mistrust and dishonesty that has caused public political discourse in this country to turn into shouting matches. Let us speak truly, with confidence and not hubris, while at once being open to the possibility that our friends here are correct and can lead us to the Truth. - Alexander on Mark Shea's blog.

The essence of blogs - publishing one's unedited and immediate thoughts and comments to a wide range of people - is somewhat at odds with humility. - commenter Ellen Hughes on Mark Shea's blog

I'm an evangelical who has managed to make it to London, and have a feeling that Rome is my final stop, if you follow my drift...One of things that I love about Rome is the Pope. It's hard to describe the respect - affection?! - I have for him. My friends think I'm nuts (and on the road to heresy, of course), but "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" was the most Christian modern book I've ever read. - commenter on Mark Shea's blog

"People are complex," as they say, and complexity makes for both good story-telling and fruitful meditation. How can honor and nobility co-exist with a willingness to kill to preserve slavery? That's an important question without a simple answer. - Tom of Disputations

My hometown of Chico, California, is possibly home to a miraculous weeping image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While I'm not exactly a chaser of miracles and apparitions, I have no reason to doubt it. The Virgin weeps: we should be worried if she didn't. - Jeff of El Camino Real

First, resist the impulse to buy into the myth of self-righteous dissent. This has a long tradition in both our culture and its Christian circles. With both Jesus Christ and Martin Luther as handy patron saints, self-righteous dissenters imagine themselves the glorious would-be saviors of a rotten and God-forsaken establishment. Though this is sometimes the case, it is rarely so (in fact, it is less the case with even Jesus and Luther than many think). This mentality is responsible for a lot more broken institutions and abused individuals than revivals and redemptions. It feeds pessimism and cynicism among the dissenters and fear and intimidation among the institutions. This is, not least, because it assumes that God is behind you and has abandoned them. Don't go there — not yet, anyway, not as long as there is even a remote chance that (a) the Spirit still dwells and works there and (b) you might need some correction. - Telford on Camassia's blog

But when Your Sweetness added in your letter that you will continue to importune me until I write that it has been revealed to me that your sins have been forgiven, you demanded a thing both difficult and useless. Difficult certainly, because I am unworthy of having a revelation made to me; and useless as well, because you must not become secure about your sins, except when on the last day of your life you shall be able no longer to bewail those same sins. - St. Gregory via Bill of Summa (non)Minutiae

A slogan for Planned Parenthood, 'Keeping Minorities - Minorities'. - Jeff Miller

Diaristic Wanderings

I rescued the weekend from tragic anti-climax by heading out at 5pm on Sunday to the lakes at Prairie Oaks park, kayak in tow. Riding the rippled waves, I felt close in spirit to the egret who skimmed the same waters, similarly free to randomly travel the lake's surface (unlike those poor pedestrians on shore). No forest paths, no double-yellow lines, nothing to keep me from free-wheeling and figure-eighting. I ran the gamut past Dog Beach to Goose Poop island, by the shore of wild yellow flowers to mid-lake of glinting sunshine. Those diamond glints prompted songs to mind like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", playing in the calypso silence. My biceps were complaining but I had the rhythm. I overcome the inertial, narcotic slouch of brew and book, as much as I like those things. Sitting under the welcoming shade of the umbrella, I salute the sun's slow descent while fingering the ocean's pulse from five hundred miles away: I can feel the salt in my blood and the brine in my brain.

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The sky at 8:34pm is still bright. Humorously I see a shaft of light hitting the peach tree, a well-aimed sun-shot from between the obstacles of numerous trees. It lends a sort of ambiance to the festivities, a sun so strong it can burn through trees.

The yard looks exceptionally good. The flowers all in bloom and the garden laid out with landscaping material to keep down weeds. There's hope, for once, of a garden "under control" from a weed point of view. Normally what I do is simply allow the tomato plants to eventually shade out and dominate the weeds but I like this approach better. The black material makes it look like the garden is dressed for a black tie affair.

There's a great smell to the yard now after the planting of the herbs - rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and such.

*

My work goal this week has been given unto me: to reconcile two reports. The problem, however, is that only one report exists, the other one being a rumor wrapped inside a vague recollection. Which makes this exercise sort of tricky.

I erroneously felt confident that addressing the underlining concern of the existing report would be sufficient. Wrong. So I feel a bit forlorn, having no one who can detect the smell of ridiculous and thus come to my aid. It's grist for a DILBERT cartoon which isn't a bad thing because I really haven't had grist for one in a long while. At least since my chair fiasco.

Besides, it is high time I start matching ghost reports. Phantom reports are reports too! In this climate of diversity, it's important that invisible reports be given the respect and acknowledgment that visible ones receive.

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In my quest towards well-roundedness, read an article in AMERICA magazine decrying the Paul Ryan budget. I'm not that well-versed in social justice issues, finding church teaching on it confusing, but the article makes the claim that where people or institutions fail then the subsidiarity principle is abolished. It's an interesting difference in perspective: the Right sees subsidiarity as meaning what CAN be done on a local level should be done there. End of story. The Left sees subsidiarity as meaning that if someone can't (won't?) do something, then a bigger entity like government has to be called to action. I guess there's the rub. Who defines what someone (or some entity) can or can't do? One could say that the failure of that person or entity is proof positive in itself. But doesn't the foreknowledge that there's a safety net change the behavior of that someone or that entity such that it's more likely for them to need it? The problem is that as soon as the bigger organization kicks into action, the smaller organization (or individual) loses all incentive whatsoever. Anyway beyond my paygrade.

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Absorbing television in the form of "Mountain Men", a story of these loners in the Alaska, Montana and North Carolina wilderness who live Thoreauian lives close to the bone. Then "Amish: Out of Order", the story of the spiritual quest of ex-Amish dude named Moses. To be honest, these ex-Amish - presumably the black sheep of their flock - look like darn good Christians (though admittedly the show is set-up to portray them that way so that you have a good versus evil where the good is the ex-Amish and the evil is their families). But assuming these kids are great the price sure is steep; shunning your own children if they leave the Amish is a hard and brutal thing. Speaking of kids, having them used to seem to me a vote of confidence for the set-up of the present society, when it could rather be seen as a trust in God that all will work to the good.

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On the Kindle e-reader:

Shakespeare, Auden, Luse and Dolan
in the wink of an eye
brought to the eye.

June 04, 2012

June, Oh June.....

The breath and breadth of June is upon us.  We Ohio mortals live now in the splendor of the approaching summer equinox. I make tracks on this rare day off for Glacier Ridge park and spot a fat green frog semi-submerged in the wetland lather.  I traipse in temperate sunshine down a path shared only by the occasional bicyclist in their unitards. 

Briefly I transgress, trespass, taking my dog along a no-pet route. I'm stopped by a comely rangeress, who runs a finger through her hair fixing errant locks while waiting for me to arrive at her truck and to (very gently) reinforce the rules. 

At the car at the end of the hike I take Buddy's leash off and he takes off like a shot towards the cattail'd pond where something had recently caught his eye (or nose).  I was miffed to be taken advantage of; in a generosity of spirit I'd trusted him to get in the car when I undid the leash. A minor betrayal perhaps, much like mine in taking him on the no-pet path. 

No time to drink my lunch, so I haste now to the hops. Meanwhile little roosts of tomato plants perk their heads higher against the measuring instrument of their 3 foot cages. Gaily green, they hue the hoe'd line. 

You get your money's worth with an off-day in June. The light is tireless, indefatigable. There's no sense of hurry. The sun is easy and free and so an hour or two spent indoors cheats you out of nothing since there's plenty more where that came from. Even now at 5:22pm I can barely tell the difference between 1pm, sun-wise. The back patio is alit in earthly glory with riots of flowers like flocks of flags.

The backyard looks splendid under the aegis of the old maple.  On the hike I spied a house with a huge backyard with clumps of land "let go", as in gone to nature, gone to pot. And it looked no worse the wear, the grass neatly cut right up to the edge of plant wildness.  It's always a figure of wonderment to me, watching the randomness of seed and plant take over from the manicured lawn. Everyone should have a little wildness in their backyard, a little ten by ten spot unmolested by mower and left to grow to opulence.