March 07, 2013

This & That Edition 4,211

Gleaned some posts from my Google Reader feeds yesterday. (Bolding of the previous sentence inspired by Brandon Vogt's blog.) Came across a handsome post from one Curt of Jester on a Vatican website tribute to Pope Benedict XVI, a surprisingly beautiful tableau in e-bookish form. Sixty-two pages of pictures and painful teaser quotes containing links to his talks or encyclicals or homilies (I say 'painful' because there's no way to absorb even half of the content of all the links). And who knew our own Jeff Miller had been tapped by the Library of Congress as one of the prime sources of papal material? He self-deprecatingly referred to it as possible spam. I await my spam any day now, Libe o' Congress!

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Our dog is absurdly polite. When we first got him (he was 6 years old at the time), it took him a couple weeks before he would soil our backyard (he insisted on going on other people's property).  And now he'll wait until I get up from the recliner for some reason before standing quietly by the door. I let him out he'll pee for ten minutes. He's the opposite of our cat, who will scratch the door loudly in ten minute increments in order to gain access to the house or yard. 

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Still some cardinals not in Rome, but I'm not in a hurry to have a new pope. It seems fitting that there not be an immediate successor. Sort of like how its unseemly to marry right after the death of a spouse? Am slowly processing things and I'm grateful for the chance to pray for the electors. Lino Rulli thinks we shouldn't be without a pope this long even. I suppose. As Catholics we're supposed to have a shepherd but what's the all fire hurry?  Though at least the cardinals ought to have been all there by now. I'm not a big fan of meetings but really now, twelve cardinals hadn't made it to Rome by Tuesday and even today there's a straggler? I think it's safe to say that they've taken themselves out of the running. No way anybody will vote for a dude who can't say goodbye to Pope Benedict or get there for the initial meetings. Seems indicative of a cleave in Christianity between theory and actuality: in theory the cardinals wear red to show that they'd be willing to be martyrs, but in actuality some aren't even willing to make it to the conclave on time.

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What I don't get - but haven't explored at all and so will likely misrepresent his position totally - is why some think Cardinal Burke will be pope while at the same time subscribing to St. Malachi's prophecy that this is the pope who will apostatize. Are they saying they expect Cardinal Burke to be Judas? 

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Monday of this week went lightning fast though due to enjoying a CNBC special about Google. Yes I got paid to watch an entertaining and compelling news show. It was a meeting notice sent to the whole company, so I made an executive decision to accept the meeting and trundle off to the big auditorium. Learned about the environment of Google, about some of the key players, how they distinguished themselves from other search engines, how fantabulously successful they are as a company (“the most successful of all time”) and about how we don't use a search engine for free - we give up our privacy in exchange for information. All that data is stored and can be used against you. “We tell search engines things we wouldn't tell our doctor, our priest, our spouse.”

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Been looking at The Vatican Diaries, a book that Julie Davis on Facebook said she wanted to read. It looks like yet another must read for me. An inside look at the Vatican, and how loose a federation it is.
“I appreciate that…at the end of the day, the Vatican is marked more by human flair and fallibility than ruthless efficiency…The Vatican remains predominantly a world of individuals, most of whom have a surprising amount of freedom to operate…there's a significant population of minor officials, consultants, adjuncts and experts who see themselves as protagonists in their own right.”
I like that “protagonists in their own right”.


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In the '80s I saw our culture as flawed primarily because I couldn't find a girlfriend and had career worries. Certainly any culture that couldn't provide me a girlfriend or a stress-free income had insurmountable difficulties as compared to, say, the arranged marriages in Asia and the “15-hour work weeks” of the typical hunter-gatherer “society” of 17,000 B.C. I had grievances, let's just say.

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It's just crazy how fast weeknights go by these days, even if admittedly often drink-aided. I'm under-read, under-led and underbred but not underfed or under-wed. I'm popeless but not hopeless. I'm in reading arrears but compensated via beers. “He wasn't cheated on beers,” is not the most edifying of epitaphs but surely accurate.

Drank something different last night, a Magic Hat Pistil made from dandelion petals. A nice change-of-pace beer from the more bitter, more hoppy and higher alcohol beers I'm used to. And who can resist a spring seasonal in early March?  (As you can plainly see, I didn't give up beer for Lent.) 

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Libraries. Reading a nostalgia-tinged piece made me want to write about my own libraric experiences. I remember borrowing books and reading them by candlelight under the staircase in our house. How beautiful that book on St. Peter's Basilica was; many years later I bought it and well, it wasn't as beautiful as I'd recalled. Books have changed over the years - better quality photographs particularly. Still, though, the ease of buying used books online makes me want to try to find old volumes of my past library, like the 1953 (I think?) edition of my mom's favorite, Terhune's Lad a Dog. But I'd probably never look at them even if I could track them down. How many times do I look at my baseball cards these days? Close enough to never, although cleaning out my desk at work I found some old basketball cards. The USA “Dream Team” from '92. Worth something like $2. The card market has tanked.

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I was bemused to hear the play-by-play of the Pope emeritus's first free day: some piano playing, watched television, did a lot of walking. God bless him, he's certainly entitled. He finally reached the level of authority where he could fire himself. Sure different than the way the secular world works!

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It was also interesting to see how Jesus interpreted the famous passage, “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” In Matthew 21 it seems like the “stone rejected” was the Gentiles. I've always thought of it as referring to Christ, which of course it also does, but in this context it's interesting Jesus says immediately after, “Therefore…the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” And the fruit of Christianity seems to have been borne mostly by the Gentiles despite the Apostles all being Jewish.

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 Really liking this iPad app called Day One for journal-writing purposes:



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