February 25, 2010

Various & Sundry

I haven't been watching the Olympics but this picture, on the front page of the Dispatch, caught my eye:

...as did this recent New York Times article on breweries:

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Long-neglected, my journal, my journal (to be said as "my country, my country" or "My Antonia, My Antonia")...Yes I wrote not recently and superstitiously feel that is the reason for the lack of sleep. Mostly I had that old-fashioned craving for literary sustenance, having watched too much television political and otherwise (i.e. 24). Sleeping is no way to go through life isn't quite as memorable as fat, drunk & stupid but it applies.

But enough of sleep, that blaguard of infidelity, that chieftain of muse-ish inconstancy, that hidebound of rearguard obstinacy! My hunger for poetry doth increaseth, even for the lyrical prose of The Shadow Country. I hunger for the Other-touch of words on paper, old-fashoned paper extravagantly presented in hard-cover as witnessed recently in the redolent public library. I picked up Cardinal George's book on what it means to be Catholic and The Long Fall starring a familiar type: the pleasingly hard-boiled dectective who is not too far afield from yesteryear's hardened cowboy.
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Lents perenially provoke the question: "is this difficult enough?" which is always answered in the negative though it's not the right question. I feel vaguely shamed by Aaron's heroic giving up of alcohol during Lent, which certainly seemed imprudent given that he just has a new child and will already be giving up sleep. Ideally I'd make Lent not about me but about Him and not measure myself against others or past disciplines but as preparation for the future. "I must decrease, He must increase" is the reason for the season.

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I scarce see my wife anymore given her long working hours combined with visits to young Sam and her Christian small group. But it's worth it to hear how much visits to the grandchild re-energizes her, how it refreshes her from work. It was startlingly similar to what my boss said about the photo of Sam in my cube, how it gives him a great peacefulness to look at the little guy.

And so what does Sam look like? How can one describe such a young member of the human race without falling into cliches? His features are all so minituarized but perfect in their trueness to form, brand new ears and eyes and hands. He has the perfect amount of hair, but then I would say that being a proud grandpa. His scalp is neither bald nor overgrown but looks as if he's just came from a haircut from a skilled barber. He looks not particularly like one parent or the other yet but like...himself. A new creation.

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"As countless theologians pointed out, it was only because of His divine nature that Jesus' sacrifice was "perfect" and efficacious...Had Jesus been simply an exquisitely holy man, His martyrdom would not have accomplished much." writes John Zmirak in one of his books, to which I add that believing in His divinity is what makes the Incarnation, in my opinion, even more incredible than the crucifixion. It's infinitely impressive for God Himself, with all He had to lose, to come to earth given that the best day on earth is mere shadow in Heaven. It's telling, as Zmirak points out, that the point at which we bow during the Creed is at the Incarnation and not the crucifixion or Resurrection.

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Sometimes you just want to drink and read a bit, as Tom of Endlessly Rocking recently wrote:
"I've also set some ridiculous goals for this coming year, and need help in managing my time. I can tell you that every eight weeks or so I plan to fly away somewhere and just sit for around four days, staring at an ocean, say, and reading and drinking..."
But no vacations in sight for me given my recent Florida trip. Being Lent, this seems appropriate.

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