May 02, 2011

Quick Takes (Now 55% Longer!)

Osama bin Laden was living in a mansion not far from the Pakistan capital and right next door to the military academy? Pretty far from the conventional wisdom he was living like a hermit in caves and subsisting on grasshoppers and wild honey.

* * *

I don't get the paranoia on the part of the right or the left concerning George Soros and the Koch brothers (respectively). Rich people have free speech too and can spend their money on political causes if they want to.

* * *

The sky is full of spring poignancy and coolness; the wind picking up in anticipation of (yet another) potential rain. It feels so fresh and full of potential; May means never having to wear a coat (or at least rarely). I look at a sky so tall and inwardly grin at the distinctions made among houses: 8 ft v 10 ft v 12ft ceilings. One can go outside and achieve more than hundred-foot ceilings!

The visually rich corner of the backyard is the fountain flanked by flowers and I set my chair towards it instead of towards the green blankness of the flat-grass. How rarely do I face east or west. If necessity is the mother of invention then surface appearances are the mother of convention: it simply looks better to have the chairs facing towards the back lawn instead of towards the house. So inertia means that I usually just look into the green abyss.

* * *

Yesterday felt special given the ceremony making Pope John Paul II blessed. I am surprised but gladdened by the attention it’s gotten in Catholic circles and elsewhere given that it’s not a canonization but a beatification. It got mentioned by our priest today at Mass and, slightly more surprisingly, by ABC’s “This Week”. A priest on television said that declaring someone “Blessed” means we are sure they are in Heaven, but I thought that’s what canonization was. Regardless, I’m heartened by the recognition of the late Pope and feel like maybe I should’ve taped and watched the EWTN coverage of the beatification. Al Kresta thinks that the reason Princess Diane’s death got so much more coverage than Mother Teresa’s was that the world doesn’t recognize Christian values and priorities. It seemed a trifle unfair given that a) Pope John Paul II’s death received massive secular news coverage and b) Princess Diana’s death was so shockingly unexpected compared to Mother Teresa’s. I’m far from a defender of the secular media, but new editors respond to the unexpected with more coverage.

* * *

Can’t seem to put down a book located in German Village and subsequently purchased on Kindle. It’s the age-old story of the fall of the Roman empire. The author doesn’t seem capable of a dry page; he cuts to the chase and writes interestingly if not exactly sympathetic to Christians. He suspects the reason that the empire fell was that due to losing land and tax revenue at a time when they couldn’t afford either. He makes the point that for Rome the defense budget was THE budget, to a certain extent, and there wasn’t our huge health and education spending. Thus any decline in revenue meant fewer mercenaries could be hired, or troops paid. Not good when you’ve got Vandals and Goths at your back.

* * *

Am strangely addicted to Twitter on iPod. Such a colorful, succinct aggregater of real-time micro-posts. It’s full of little aphorisms and inspiring words by those more spiritual than me, as well as links to interesting news articles. It’s so addicting that here I was half-tempted to buy a whole ‘nudder instrument (color Nook) in order to enjoy it on a bigger screen (7inch versus 3.5 inch). Of course with an iPad I could have the additional option of having a writing instrument. (Ah...I recall the days when a ‘writing instrument’ was a simple as a pen and paper!)

Was pleased to listen to the sermon at Westminster for Kate & William, as well as the beautiful music from the boys choir before and after. Sublime sounds such that I headed over to iTunes to see if there was a royal wedding soundtrack. Nope...

3 comments:

Darwin said...

Well, come on now, don't be coy: What is title of the book on the fall of Rome?

TS said...

Oh, yeah, I could provide the author & title 'eh? It's called "The Fall of Rome" by Ward-Perkins...

Darwin said...

Ha! On looking it up I see this is the book I checked out of the library back in my bachelor interlude last year, yet returned to the library unread when my stack came due.

I'll have to try it again.