May 02, 2012

Diaristic Wanderings


A surprisingly warm and humid eve, one I initially spent voraciously reading "Hitlerland", an account of Germany from 1918-1940 taken entirely from the American visitors, diplomats and journalists who were there. Oddly fascinating to see who predicted Hitler would "go viral" and who didn't. One poor German Jew lost his life at Dachau, always saying that Germans would eventually wise up about Hitler. (Trusting people, even in a democracy, may not be the wisest thing. Just ask any of the million American aborted fetuses last year.)

Anyway I love buying books, perhaps almost as much as reading them, and so I impulse-purchased this "Hitlerland" despite having a hundred and one others in front of it. The trick to book buying and reading is to read faster.

Am relieved to learn that I'm not lazy, I'm just dopamine-challenged. So says a new study that says dopamine levels are low in those who see small challenges as large ones. Lord, is there free will anywhere anymore? If free will was a stock, it'd be downgraded to "Sell at any price" by now.

Also tempted to buy Jonah Goldberg's new book called, "The Tyranny of Cliches", which dismantles liberal "truths" that they see as self-evident. It looks to be a tasty read if only because Goldberg is a pretty interesting writer. Most of the cliches are self-evidently false to me already, so there's an aspect of fishing in a barrel here, but I read the first couple chapters and he made it interesting. He defends the Catholic Church in one chapter (such as on Galileo) - he's getting the truth out.


Tumblr is sort of fun - it appeals to my collecting impulse. It *feels* like I'm saving all these pictures even though it's sort of ephemeral in that it's really saving 1's and 0's on some server using software that could be bought and closed down tomorrow. Not quite the same as saving a butterfly in the pages of a thick book. It all reminds me of e-reading. E-books are yours and yet... are not yours somehow.


The air smells of summer. Actually lilacs, but that's close enough. The temperature is warm and it's still reasonably light out now at the advanced chronological time of 8:43 in the evening. Of course we've crossed into May which means these sorts of evenings will grow increasingly common. I still can't believe it's May given how cold it was just last weekend: 45-degrees with a cruel wind. I have weather whipsaw; call me a chiropractor.


We can put a man on the moon, or at least could back in the day, but I can't get my diocesan newspaper delivered to me. Three times over the past 18 months I've called my parish office to explain the error, given that I did pay for the Catholic Times, and each time the office worker promised to rectify the situation, which was never rectified.

Meanwhile I feel out of the loop, missing some good stuff like George Weigel's columns and local Catholic news. (One time they even had an article on Catholic blogs.) They do have editions online in pdf form but I rarely think to go out and dislike reading long form articles on computer. But decided to download the latest issue to my Kindle and I read it and was interested to learn that there's an 8-day trip to Medjugorje coming up. I'm not a big Medjugorje fan but it's been a lifelong dream of my Mom's so I'm wondering if I should take it with her and Dad if they want to go. Then too there's a pilgrimage to Rome/Florence and Vienna that looks even more tantalizing. Only been to Europe once, back in '96, and I'm starting to feel the itch again.


At a retreat once we were asked what were the characteristics of God. Rather than spout the "cliche" of love I said "surprise." God is surprising. But what is most surprising about Him is his love. It's not fairness or justice that is surprising, rather it is that He loves and cares for sinful us!

I loved the Psalm from the other day's mass, Psalm 87. How melting this finish: "and while they dance they will sing: ‘In you all find their home.’" What is more surprising than Emmanuel, God-with-us? And while the psalmist praises those of Zion, we see a paradox: "Babylon and Egypt I will count among [those of Zion]".

Meanwhile the first readings have cheering, as so many during Easter are - we read of gospel success. Of Gentiles streaming towards the Lord. Now that's a refreshment, in our day of spiritual decline.

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