April 07, 2015

Tidibits of Varying Quality

17th century British citizen's (author Richard Burton) view of the national sins of various countries:

    Britain: laziness
    Italy: luxury and riot
    Spain: superstition and jealousy
    Germany: drunkenness
    Northern Europe: gluttony & intemperance

Times and reputations change! I certianly don't equate Germany with drunkennes.


I headed to Cincy on Easter listening to David Brooks on C-Span (later I would hear an interview with author of a book on James Madison, and then White House correspondent Ann Compton - so a goodly measure of Brian Lamb, God save him.)

Easter's gospel passage went, “[Jesus] is going ahead of you to Galilee; that is where you will see him.” and I thought of this in terms of saying to us “Jesus is going ahead of you to Heaven; that is where you will see Him.”


My Catholic triumphalism can appear in strange places.

I'm mailing a Bible to an amazon.com customer. I have it wrapped, but the mail guy thinks I'll save money if I put it in a smaller package. So he finds one, opens my package and removes the book. Stares at the cover of the Didache Bible.

“What's a Didache Bible?” he asked, saying “Didache” twice trying on different pronunciations.

I wasn't prepared to answer, and it's a bit complex. The Didache is a document from early Christianity, a sort of early catechism, while the new Didache Bible is the biblical text with commentary from the Catechism.

“It's a Bible with early Church commentary,” I say, somewhat inaccurately.

“Is it Christian?”


“Says here 'Catholic' on it.”

“Same difference!” I say.

“No, not at all,” he says with vehemence.

“Catholics are the originals… Accept no substitutes!” I counter, smiling.

He drops the subject, figuring no doubt I was a hopeless case.


Giddified by a freebie: Poetry Magazine's latest is free download. I read a black-centric poem and thought: it's awfully hip to be black.

This was also brought home by a press conference yesterday in which a black UK star called the white Wisconsin star a “n-----”. Which is the ultimate compliment, at least in the minds of some on Twitter. (One wag said it would've been great if the Caucasian player who was dubbed an honorary N-word responded by saying, "That's mighty white of you."

Even I, a middle-aged white conservative, find myself occasionally thinking white male politicians over 50 seem boring and stale, likely because I've been trained by the culture to view over 50 white men as boring and stale. I try to resist it, but if I'm trying to resist that, imagine an undecided voter?

That being black is cool is hardly controversial. Even a liberal NY Times writer recently said that Obama would likely not have been so attractive if he was white. That's surely part of the appeal of guys like Herman Cain and Ben Carson. Republicans are so desperate to be cool, that we'll take a long, hard look at somebody with no political experience if they're sufficiently tan. There are, what, six black Republicans in the U.S.? And two of them have run for president now. I guess they think the Republican party needs their coolness factor.

Police departments are surely the last vestige of having complete resistant to coolness, so it's not surprising that they draw the angst. The final frontier for African-American activism is surely police departments and criminal justice system.  Or, at least that's the next frontier.

One thing seems obvious: there's little forgiveness in black hearts for what they or their ancestors went through. Perhaps understandably, but still sad. The race problem will be a problem long after any and all remaining white prejudice is gone simply because the community is now built on that sense of grievance. 


On Holy Saturday I had a sudden desire to tweet “hope everyone's Lent was lenttastic!” A bit flip so I foreswore it.


Got a thirty minute massage the other day. Tight left shoulder was her expert diagnosis, and I submarined under the blue yonder, under distant blue waters, wondering where I left off in Odyssey and Moby Dick.

I thought of kayaking the Darby last fall. I thought of Samovars and Sam overs. I thought of snorkeling Cozumel, at our old place. I thought of how much of a tip to give her.  I thought of Belize, that fetchingly foreign name, how exotic it sounds. I thought of how tight I felt and if I was insulting her by not letting go more fully.

Was amazed by her dexterity, professionalism and the care that came through her fingers. You had the feeling that she sees the wonder in the human body, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

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