April 23, 2012

Diaristic Wanderings Monday



Feel a tinge of nostalgia for an old John Denver song, "Poems, Prayers and Promises". It wasn't as big a seller as most of his others but there's something memorable about it nonetheless. Through the magic of iTunes I can purchase it for .99. Ninety-nine cents to indulge a memory seems like a good deal. (I assume the royalties go to his so out-of -the-spotlight offspring or wife.) Denver died before the era of smartphones and iTunes. I wonder what he'd think about the technology, to be free'd from tapes and discs.

I listen to "My Sweet Lady" as well. It doesn't have the same impact, knowing that the person for whom he wrote it became his ex-wife not too long after. Back in the '70s I thought Denver's romanticism (and not so much God) was the answer to the open infidelity of the heavy rockers. I think after the divorces of so many seminal figures that I eventually realized that romanticism can't be an end in and of itself and that it's not enough. God alone, as Amy Welborn's husband used to say, and even with God it's rough (i.e. the failed marriage of uber-Catholics the MacFarlanes).

My modus operandi for life in general was less of a give-it-to-God/pray like hell philosophy and more of a systematic observation of successful people and copying their tendencies and characteristics. But what I failed to realize was how complicated people are. How we can't be reduced to machines such that if I do x, y will result. As they say with mutual fund prospectuses, "past results don't guarantee future performance." Not to mention that you can seldom draw a straight line between cause and effect in a multi-variable world.

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Ross Douthat in "Bad Religion" proposes that heresies prop up orthodoxy like the flying buttresses prop up medieval Gothic churches. Orthodoxy suffers like nobody's business if state-sponsored, which is perhaps why the Catholic faith is (paradoxically) stronger in heretical America these days than Catholic Europe. Orthodoxy is at its strongest when it's slightly rebellious.

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I got to do a little surreptitious traveling yesterday. Got to observe people who, on the surface at least, are different than me. I'm pumping gas at an inner city neighborhood and a woman out of the blue starts yelling something (it seems the disadvantaged are often not afraid of decibels). I thought it was directed to me but it turns out to be at a guy slumped against the wall of the gas station. She was very critical of him and seemed something of a harpy, although when he started urinating against the wall I felt more inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. Anyway it was like watching a real-life COPS episode without the cops.

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Saw two mothers walking their kids on leashes. Hyp-mo-tizing to see that. Understandable given how one of the kids seemed hellbent on racing into the busy four-laner.

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Almost instinctively I reach for the lame beers like Budweiser when the drinking day is almost done. Expired Budweiser beer tastes strangely like circus peanuts. But it matters less at that point, which reminds me of just how modern ancient Israel sounds when the Bible says that at the wedding of Cana the cheap stuff is held till the end!

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Stopped by the market for more of the world's greatest product (beer) and was graced by the woman in front of me allowing me to go in front of her since I had so little. A very nice gesture! Still I had to wait for what felt like forever while the lady already being checked out dithered and dathered with the usual I've-got-all-the-time-in-the-world attitude of those free from social media addictions. There's nothing quite so white knuckly for me as grocery shopping lines. At the risk (okay, the risk approaches 100%) of sounding ridiculous given that complaints in the first world would be dreams of third worlders, I don't much like that there's no line for "15 items or less". You're now expected, apparently, to check small numbers of items out yourself, and I have bad luck operating those. Hie me from now on to the beer drive thrus! (An old joke: "The problem with instant gratification is it's not quick enough.)

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Amazing piece by Matthew Lickona on the Mel Gibson situation as linked by Darwin Catholic and Bill White. Of course I have to take issue with the hopeless ending since even Mel can be saved, though given that he's a radical Traddie, you'd think Mel would have a bit more fear of judgment.

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