October 07, 2014

Loose Ends Tied Up with Asterisks

Theodore Roosevelt's reading habits:


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You know the end is nigh when there's a Bible now called “Puppies”. I kid thee not. Inside there's tiny biblical print but full color illustrations of pups. It's the ultimate glurge-ification of the Bible, and seems to treat the Scripture as an adjunct to the pictures of puppies beside neutered Scripture denuded of context. It's fascinating, and understandable, I suppose. Sort of how the halo of nostalgia collects around saints like St. Francis and Patrick, both of whom weren't to be trifled with but now are taken as harmless jolly makers! I have the proverbial mixed emotions since I like saints with smooth edges but at the same time feel uneasy over it.

Puppy Bible in bookstore:


One verse I sense is not singled out for approval anywhere, Puppy Bible or otherwise - from Psalm 119: "It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to know your statues."

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Dire news from The Economist:
[Two economists] recently concluded that 47% of employment in America is at high risk of being automated away over the next decade or two. Messers Brynjolfsson and McAfee ask whether human workers will be able to upgrade their skills fast enough to justify their continued employment.  

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I thought of how God loves little actions, little thoughts of gleam, and how those pre-Christians from 30,000 years ago, those early humans struggling for subsidence, could please God just as much as the devout saint today. Because they too could be humble and be a childlike towards God even in their ignorance. Child-likeness and humility perhaps aren't time dependent. But I feel guilty sometimes knowing about Christ's love and mercy while those before Christ did not. Scandal of particularity I guess.

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I like how every day there's fresh Scripture as if come down from Heaven: the daily Mass readings. It's something to look forward to and feels much less forced or arbitrary than reading it when it's not singled out for attention. Plus I always feel like if a certain bit of Scripture doesn't make it anytime in the three-year cycle then it's probably not that important, though that could certainly be very mistaken. I don't think St. Jerome would approve of that statement.

My pet peeve in books of meditations on the day's Scripture is the inclusion of questions for discussion. Instead of opining themselves on some important item they just throw it out there.
In The Sunday Word this time the New Jerusalem editor asks: “Are the tenants of God's Christian vineyard any better than the previous tenants? Who are they anyway?”

Questions without answers don't interest me as much although they say that "the questions of God are more satsifying than the answers of men".

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Saturday's alright for fightin' they say, but this past one was mostly just alright for sitting indoors. Cold! A real game-changer. Temps started in the 40s and never left, like how the Reds never left mediocrity this season. Definitely not used to it, especially when combined with a zephyr-ous wind. It actually hailed this morning and I trotted out the old chestnut, “What the hail?!” Turned on the heater for first time since April.

But despite the conditions we headed out at the early hour of 9:45am to do something I've always kind of wanted to, and that was to take the 'mules to St. M's for the annual blessing of pets on St. Francis's day. And indeed this time it fell exactly on his feast, which was nice. The 'mules were pretty well-beaved and it helped that Fr. Jeff didn't go on too long. I got a little nervous when I saw there was a reading from Scripture, but it was only a couple verses. Buddy had a few walloping barks, which each time drew smiles from Fr. Jeff. One thing's for sure, when Buddy makes his presence felt, he makes it felt.

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Read more of the tragic story of West Virginia author Breece Pancake. On paper he was a huge suicide risk: alienated artist in the hollows of West Virginia, a man without a country, and his father committed suicide five years beforehand (a great risk factor for sons). So the odds were high. More explicable I suppose but no less sad.

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Read more of Lino Rulli's book Saint. He's more self-revealing in this book than his first, perhaps coming close to oversharing but I didn't mind. I also thought it interesting how he loves to travel and yet hates to leave home. He's been to Russia, China, Peru, Rome, South Africa, Egypt… the list goes on. And on every trip he plays some of his favorite songs, which he listed. And wow, what a melancholic group of songs! They certainly tends toward nostalgia, the maudlin, self-pity, and loss. All of which fit me snug enough in my bachelor days as well. Occupational hazard. Surprised he devoted a chapter to exulting in sleeping in the nude. He's a real evangelist for the practice. Another roommate got him started and he says it's freeing and all. I've never tried it myself.

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The morning commute was gleeful – Terri Gross had country music legend Marty Stuart on Fresh Air and indeed the show lived up to its name. Great stuff about how he talked with Johnny Cash four days before he died.
Marty: “I'm going to Washington this weekend. Anything you want there?”
Cash: “The Washington Monument.”
Later Cash wanted to give things away given his life was nearing its close. “Anything you want in here?” Stuart answered, “Just your love.” Cash said, “You got that.” Very Jesus-y and inspiring.

2 comments:

Tom said...

There's no risk at all that my job will be automated. Someone would be bound to notice what a stupid waste of money it is before the first prototype is demonstrated.

TS said...

Well, there's always the backup career as whiskey taster if that happens!