July 10, 2009

Today's Blog Post

Another stream o' consciousness post feels right as we linger on this cuspidor of the weekend. Without further ado...

Saw Pelham with my brother not long ago and it was, in the universal parlance, "okay". Modern movies are often sort of blah. Even with Up there seemed a lot of middle section that was flabby, i.e. pointless chase scenes. I suppose that was for the kids, who all love chase scenes. Fortunately my wife and I have been lately riveted by HBO's John Adams. We watch a half-hour or 45 minutes each night before bedtime and it really puts you into another world. I guess we're suckers for movies where actors don olde timey costumes.

Peggy Noonan, who never had much love for Sarah Palin, hatcheted her in today's WSJ. It felt a bit mean-spirited, a bit of "kick 'er when she's down". Of course Peggy probably sees it as the best time for a teachable moment, the most opportune time to explain why conservative love of Palin is irrational. Noonan's column is persuasive. Palin is someone I really want to support, given how pro-life women politicians are irrationally hated by the elites, and yet it's clear that whatever trajectory Palin was on as Governor of Alaska and then possibly senator and beyond - seemed ruined by the desperate act of McCain reaching for an elixir of youth. I said at the time that I thought it would either ruin or make Palin and it seems more the former. McCain reminds me a bit of Billy Martin when the latter coached the As in the 1980s - ruined a lot of young arms by bringing them up too early and burning them out.

Noonan, in realpolitik fashion, seems to value thoughtfulness over courage and goodness, intelligence over ethics. For her not to mention Palin taking on the corrupt members of her own Republican party in Alaska seems a sin of omission. That is precisely what the Republican party has desperately needed since at least 1999. Of coruse Noonan's not alone - Americans ended up choosing the thoughtful if vague and ethically-suspect Obama over the courageous if self-righteously ethical McCain.


The travel itch has really returned of late (i.e. the last 3-4 months). It's been nine years now since my last trip overseas. While beach vacations are wonderful they are as different from sight-seeing vacations as donuts from steak. This most recent itch was reading about Amy Welborn's trip and Steven Riddle's impending one; arm-chair travel only exacerbates the pang and in that sense is about as helpful in sublimating travel desire as Playboy does the sexual kind. I'm thinking NYC in the fall, which is about as close to international travel as I suppose it gets on short notice.

Reading of the great William F. Buckley's hard end in his son's book was an eye-opener. The lingering, torture of emphysema. Perhaps it was even harder than it needed to be (we are often are own worst enemies) and if so it's not surprising given the way WFB lived couldn't really prepare him for the end. He wouldn't, on paper at least, be a good fit for old age and its limitations. He was an adventurer, a sailor, a man with a zest for life and not a great deal of patience. His last projects on Goldwater & Reagan were ones that really filled him up, that he needed. One can underestimate the need we all have for projects. Perhaps we should all assign ourselves a few. I wanted to emulate him given his appealing generosity, erudition and love of life but perhaps it was saints that should've received more of my attention and adulation. That's not to say WFB wasn't a great man; besides, I likely put too much value on the avoidance of mental anguish and that return to childhood dependence in very old age.

James Schall likes the new encyclical:
After reading Caritas in Veritate, I said to myself that the general Catholic and world population has no idea of the brilliance of this pope. Of course, I said that when I finished Spe Salvi, Deus Caritas Est, Jesus of Nazareth, and about a zillion other writings by Pope Ratzinger. God must be amused that the brightest man of our time is the Pope of Rome... Aside from not touching on labor union corruption or the potential totalitarian nature of the ecology movement, this latest encyclical is simply great... Benedict is eloquent on the defects of modernity, but also on its potential. Like Spe Salvi, which I think is a greater document, it places man within this world in such a way that he is not imprisoned within it. I particularly loved Benedict’s initial reminder that everything about us is gift-oriented.
I'm not in a particular hurry to read this one. For what it's worth, Spe Salvi spoke to me far more than Deus Caritas Est, probably because I didn't understand the latter.

A fellow Catholic blogger recently lost his dog and writes a vivid post, as did another Christian blogger, friend of Hokie Pundit as I recall.

I was thinking of the word "skullduggery" and crossed it with "cloak and dagger", ending up with the malapropism "skull and dagger" in describing to my wife the scene at my desk yesterday. At our shop we are easily amused, or shall I say scandalized, such that if someone sets up a meeting with me directly without going through my ebullient and effusive boss than said boss becomes distraught, and sees, sometimes, ill motives.

I rather like his protectiveness, which is certainly a new thing. All the bosses I've had in the past were, to put it mildy, rather uninterested in my Lotus Notes calendar.

So yes a foreboding wind crossed the plains of Cubeland yesterday, with him whispering that only at the next beer-drinking session could he tell me the backstory to his flawed relationship with the person who had the audacity (of hope!) to set up a meeting with me sans him. I look forward to that beer-drinking session Thursday as the Yalies do upon the promise of induction in the Skull & Bones society. What deep, dark secret could be lingering between my boss and the young lady with the strong accent that I'd originally assumed to be Russian but turned out to be Hungarian or Czech or one of those Eastern European countries? Stay tuned, readers, and you too may be privvy to next week...

My mother-in-law began reading a book that came out in the '90s and wanted my opinion. I went on and on, using the term "false prophet" and thanked her for asking my opinion. Few things gives me more pleasure or make me feel more useful than knocking down heretical reading material being perused by the innocent. It's like asking some barroom bore to pontificate about whatever barroom bores pontificate about.

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