January 30, 2015

Turn Your Tweets to "Poetry"

....Via the magic of http://poetweet.com.br/?lang=en:
Understands 5%
by TS O'Rama

Due to its religious content.
Should be split into 3 countries.
"Homesick for the Present"
Been hacked by intolerant lefties.
Thanks to '51 iconic recording.
Aires | Catholic World Report
No matter the song she's singing.
More than a week."-Guy Davenport
Funny line from Henry Dieterich
Even better in the original German.
Too soon, making her lazy if rich
True causes of Irish famine:
Effective (in some quarters).
The Sistine stays in the Sistine.
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Work overtime
by TS O'Rama

Or Jeb Bush. I like Rand Paul.
Away from my months-old open one.
And is playing for the long haul.
It's what's supposed to be done!

Praised in Wall Street Journal.
Hasn't studied crime demographics.
It's that Vietnamese cardinal?
National Characteristics

The perception that he is humble.
The reference is too obscure.
The higher education scam/bubble:

Aires - Catholic World Report
Effective (in some quarters).
More than a week, Guy Davenport

Friday Seven

Tired, he wrote. Yesterday's pure prairie league of fatigue led to a sort of mini-euphoria due to and accentuation of my beer-quaffing.

Fell into a new novel, just $1.99 (a Kindle daily deal) and it was all reverie. Wilderness it's called, by Lance Weller. Marvelous collection of words that massaged the brainstem.

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Grow close to the brine
Suckle at her salty tit.

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I read somewhere recently something commonsensical: that if one is not ambitious and thus choose not to make much money then there must be self-discipline to not to consume much; i.e you can't spend what you don't earn. And I think there's a corollary as far as having sex and having kids. If you choose not to have kids then you are in effect choosing to have self-control in the area of sex. Sex and kids are joined, or should be, as firmly as spending and earning.

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Read article via Drudge that boys who have been circumcised more likely to become autistic. Owie - don't cut our pickles!  No causation proven, just correlation but whether true or not there could be a correlation between stress levels felt in adults and whether there was a traumatic experience in early youth.  From a scholarly article titled “Psychosocial implications of pediatric surgical hospitalization”:
The prevalence of childhood surgical illness and injury requiring hospitalization suggests the need for implementation of an applied intervention to decrease levels of anxiety in these patients. When psychological concerns are not addressed in the present moment, potential for long-term negative psychological effects occur. To respond to the psychosocial needs of pediatric surgical patients it is important to understand foundational stages of development. Age is not always directly correlated with developmental stage and attunement to this subtle differentiation is essential. 
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I'm not sure if it's theologically accurate, but I always imagine that when Jesus came to earth he had a choice that was not immediately clear. One that He would have to discern over time. And that is whether to judge the world or to save it. In the OT, there were certainly prophecies of the ghastly day of Judgement, when God would avenge his enemies. (Of course that will still happen, with the Second Coming.)

One Bible commentary opines that John the Baptist was shocked and surprised that Jesus was as mild and merciful as he was. I think John expected the OT prophecy coming true at that particular time.

Jesus certainly had many harsh words for the people of his age. He called them weak of faith, hypocrites, fools, and even wicked. So the time was ripe for judgment, certainly and Jesus would've been well within his rights, as God, to have chosen to destroy rather than rebuild. To not, in other words, die on the Cross. But over time I think He discerned the Father's will for him as coming to save, to redeem, via his own sacrificial death. He saw that Isaiah 53 (“the suffering servant”) applied to him more than the prophecies of Malachi at that time.

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Took puppy Maris on a inaugural walk and she slipped the leash and I had to make a citizen-stop on a car coming and then attempt to wrangle Maris back under leash. Scary because she is only about twenty times faster than me and doesn't respond to voice commands. A bad combo.

Disturbing to read article the other day about the introduction of furry, cuddly robots to seniors for companionship. On the one one hand, I think of how young girls played with dolls and senescence of age suggests a second childhood. On the other hand, doesn't human interaction provide something intangibly greater, much as the bread of Eucharist conveys far more than mere bread? At the very least companionship in the form of living animals seems preferable, let alone humans.

The secular author sounds like recent popes:  “We seem determined to give human qualities to objects and content to treat others as things....Artificial pets don't require cleanup, are lovable and responsive, and never die..Technology is seductive when what it offers meets our human vulnerabilities."

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What if the mother's love, sometimes discredited for its bias, was God's too?

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Here are things that people do that make me feel served, that make me feel like I should be working harder to make others' lives better:

    Symphony musicians
    Lyrical writers
    Massage therapists

They say the mark of artistic excellence is that it looks easy even though it's hard, i.e. Joe DiMaggio instead of Pete Rose. But that doesn't inspire me the way it does when I see someone working hard and doing something well, like a violin virtuoso with electrically-charged moves and head bobs, or a writer who jams novels with evocative scene-settings (spare me a spare Hemingway), and massage therapists who knead and tenderize muscles with verve.

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Found on the web:
One of the things that is lost when there is too much wealth or when values are misunderstood or we have become accustomed to injustice, to this culture of waste, is the capacity to cry. This is a grace we must ask for. -Pope Francis
And…
    We students read his The Crisis of Our Age (1941) in which he developed his then famous theory of cultural cycles. He argued that cultures move from ideational forms in which transcendent truth claims and moral norms are the organizing principles of social life, to idealistic cultures, which blend ideational and “sensate” aims, to sensate cultures, which focus exclusively on sensory perceptions and experiences. This latter stage rejects transcendent values and slides into decadence and chaos, out of which is born a new ideational culture. The transitions between cycles are characterized by violent upheavals. Sorokin thought the period of World War II was such an upheaval, one which marked the end of a sensate cycle and presaged the dawning of a new ideational phase.

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Too too funny, from Jonah Goldberg:
My buddy James Lileks writes about how left-wing students at Berkeley (sort of redundant, I know) are starting to turn on Marx, not because of his potted theories of the dialectic, his crude reductionism of man to homo economicus, or even the fact that he set the foundation for turning the 20th century into an abattoir. No, Marx is bad because he’s just another dead white guy. The students write in the school paper:
We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

The Black Community

It's sort of fascinating to me how communal the African-American community is. I mean but wow, just the voting record alone (i.e. 90-95% for Democrats) puts Catholics to shame given that we can't even agree to refrain from voting for a pro-abort politician.  

What's the secret? Black community seems to thrive in part due to shaming ("Uncle Tom" and "Aunt Jemina" for those accused of going outside the fold), skin color over materialism, efficiency or safety, and a shared history of persecution (and a lively sense of current persecution).  There's even a substitute national anthem! Sometimes you have to wonder at how much our melting pot has melted, and whether e pluribus unum is a convenient fiction.

Some selections from the book  Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit: 
Most black Detroiters do not measure their lives, or their city, by the yardsticks of the American middle class. [Mayor] Young may not have provided them with the safest streets or most efficient services; nor has he been able to raise their standard of living. But he has given his constituents something even more valuable: a feeling of empowerment and personal worth. Detroit is one of the few places in the country where blacks can live in a sympathetic, black-oriented milieu.
Kim Weston sang black America’s national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” This, too, is standard Detroit practice. On occasions when the presence of white dignitaries makes “The Star-Spangled Banner” necessary, the master of ceremonies invariably follows it by saying, “Now we will sing our anthem,” and “Lift Every Voice” is performed.
Unfortunately for [candidate] Barrow, these same qualities were interpreted by blacks as a lack of ethnic authenticity. In a city where blackness is equated with street-smart militance, he didn’t seem like the real thing...Unexpectedly, he veered off into a defense of his own racial authenticity. He mentioned the fact that he had been born in Black Bottom and raised on the east side, in a black neighborhood, and he recalled boyhood trips to the segregated South. “I remember having to drink out of the colored water fountain,” he said, his flat Michigan inflection taking on a southern tone.
This was Detroit, not America, and in the black polis, all politics are ultimately about race. The mayor did not object to competence (a good case could be made that he is a far better manager than Barrow), but it was beside the point. To him, the issue was, as always, protecting Detroit’s black integrity and independence from the suburbs.
A television reporter picked up a red-and-gray booklet from a coffee table and began to thumb through it. Entitled Hit the Road, in honor of Young’s famous challenge to the city’s hoodlums, it was written by someone called “King George” Cunningham, Jr., and published in 1974. Several of the journalists gathered around and guffawed at Cunningham’s overblown prose. “Look at this,” one said, turning to page 19, and read aloud: “Thank you, Jesus. We’ve got a new god, Coleman.”

January 21, 2015

Reviewer Nails It

Yes! Somebody else sees the naked emperor that is "Forrest Gump". From Rolling Stone:

"This is the same Hollywood culture that turned the horror and divisiveness of the Vietnam War era into a movie about a platitude-spewing doofus with leg braces who in the face of terrible moral choices eats chocolates and plays Ping-Pong. The message of Forrest Gump was that if you think about the hard stuff too much, you'll either get AIDS or lose your legs. Meanwhile, the hero is the idiot who just shrugs and says 'Whatever!'whenever his country asks him to do something crazy.

Forrest Gump pulled in over half a billion and won Best Picture. So what exactly should we have expected from American Sniper?"

January 20, 2015

Finds Found on the Web and Elsewhere

Here's the thing about biomechanics. Everything is interrelated. How we move at the ankle affects the knee and the hip, then the pelvis and the spine. How we sit affects the pelvis, then the spine above and our legs below. How well our spine moves affects how well our arms move. Beginning to correct things in this chain brings about changes you would not expect. One of the books that I've been reading is Move Your DNA. I absolutely love the point that it makes that what we perceive as normal (because everyone around us moves the same way) is not actually optimal. It's not how we were made to move, and it's not the best we can do. We can do better....I don't know if I can fully explain this on a biomechanical level, but it is a cascade of effects. 
Fully understanding the dignity of the human person is not easy, but it is so important. I can't help but think that some of this horrible violence is because people do not understand their own dignity and worth, much less someone else's. Certainly, there is a chaos that is happening with regard to what we consider "okay" in terms of relationships and having children. We are not even certain what all effects these are having on people in day to day life. 
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Fascinating thoughts from art historian Kenneth Clark on the history of the female nude:
Since the earliest times the obsessive, unreasonable nature of physical desire has sought relief in images, and to give these images a form by which Venus may cease to be vulgar and become celestial has been one of the recurring aims of European art….
Following Plato's example, we might call them the Vegetable and the Crystalline Aphrodite. These two basic conceptions never quite disappear, but since art involves the application of laws, the distinction between the two Aphrodites grows very slight; and even when most unlike one another they partake of each other's characters. Botticelli's Venus 'born of the crystalline sea of thought and its eternity' has a piercing strain of sensuality; Ruben's Venus, a cornucopia of vegetable abundance, still aspires to the ideal. 
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Who's up for an international conversation about Islam?  Because, you know, if we just had a national conversation on race it would clear everything up.

Bill O'Reilly made a trenchant point the other day:
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar [writes]:
“Knowing that these terrorist attacks are not about religion, we have to reach a point where we stop bringing Islam into these discussions. I know we aren't there yet because much of the Western population doesn't understand the Islamic religion.”
That's true. But here's what Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is missing: Much of the Muslim world does not understand the Islamic religion. Take Pakistan, for example. It allows the Taliban – major human rights violaters – sanctuary. Is that permissible under Islam? Apparently, the government of Pakistan believes it is. How about Turkey? It will not assist the West in fighting the ISIS killers on its border. Does Islam condone the beheading of innocent people? Doesn't the Koran state that a good Muslim protects the innocent and fights against injustice? Apparently the Turkish government does not understand the Islamic religion either. I could give you dozens of other examples from wealthy Islamists funding al Qaeda and ISIS to Sharia law being used to abuse women on a massive scale.

January 16, 2015

Too Funny

From Jonah Goldberg:
It’s true that the Obama administration has had remarkable success playing word games. They “created or saved” millions of jobs — as if that was a real economic metric. (For what it’s worth, I do or save 500 pushups every morning).

Short Takes Friday (as begun by Jennifer Fulweiler)


Interesting comments from ebook reader subscription firms:
Zacharius of Kensington: Data we receive from subscription services is very interesting. Some people take 6 months to read a book.
Scribd:  Lots of people get two thirds through a book and don’t finish. Surprising.
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Sighted on Zippy Catholic:
"This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian. Only technical details are missing." – Wolfgang Pauli, caption for a blank page
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Am impressed by the regnant glow of John the Baptist's humility. Just before his rightly famous “I must decrease, he must increase,” there were other piquant quotes. I'm moved by the fact St. John was moved by being merely the “best man” at a wedding. He'd effectively played matchmaker, asking his countrymen (the bride) to give up their sins before the coming wedding banquet, and then introduced them to the man next to whom he was not worthy: “The very reason why I have come, with my baptism of water, is to make him known to Israel.” When John's disciples seemed disgruntled at the attention Jesus was getting, John told them:
“A man must be content to receive the gift which is given him from heaven, and nothing more.” (Knox)
Alternative rendering:
“A man can only have what God gives him…He who comes from above is above all others.” (NEB)
I love the matter-of-fact humility where John sort of shrugs and says, “I only have what I've been given. I'm not God.” Nor can we, though we enjoy playing god in our daily life.

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Interesting article in the newspaper discusses Generation X   We are said to have demanded and got a better work-life balance than generations previous in part due to one song: Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle.  I think to deny the power of popular culture is a mistake and that haunting three-minute song seemed to sear its way into our collective consciousness.

The article says those born in the mid-1960s watched the "fires of social upheaval" and "chaotic convulsions....The 1970s oil crisis, for one, had knocked the wind out of the global economy and helped trigger a stock-market crash, soaring inflation and high unemployment...The younger baby boomers and Gen Xers share a sense that it’s a cruel world out there, that the economy is not unlimited,” said Paul Taylor, a senior fellow with the Pew Research Center.

You'd think that those who realized the economy is not unlimited and that things are precarious would save more money, just as folks raised during the Depression would later do, but I'm not sure the savings rate of GenX'rs is anything to write home about.

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I see our state governor's daughters, depicted with him at his swearing in, in the Columbus Dispatch.  One is wearing a dress short as the late Little Jimmy Dickens. It's the style these days I suppose. I check Twitter to see if anyone has commented inappropriately (because that's what Twitter's for) and one ne'er-do-well says the gov's daughters are "boots".

I have no idea what that means, of course, but via the miracle of the internet can instantly decode slang.  Hipsters beware, we can read your thoughts.

I'm old enough to remember a baseball player called Boots:  Boots Day. Played for the Expositionals (Expos).

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Killed some time the other day watching Joe Biden administer the oath of office and pose for pictures with the new Republican senators. It was oddly compelling if only for watching a political master glad-hander in his glory, his face Botox'd and plastic surgically enhanced. He's a throwback to the old Irish pols of yore. He greeted the children and family members as if they were God's gift to the world, and so they are.

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I read a Christianity Today article that said most sin is simple excess. The sin of anger is when it gets carried too far, into bitterness or rage or unforgiveness. The sin of sadness or despair is when it becomes excessive. The sin of lust is sexual desire excessive and contrary to reason.

In fact “contrary to reason” seems the key. To be reasonable is practical and thus kind of boring but surely quite religious and moral. Virtue is often the “middle way” between extremes.

I read yesterday of the almost superhuman chastity of Joseph, son of Jacob, in Egypt. How the Pharaoh's wife begged him to have sex with her. And he loved his wayward brothers without bitterness. Joseph really seems like THE saint of the OT. You can have your Elijah and Jeremiah and maybe even Job. Joseph seems otherworldly in terms of forgiveness, maturity and love. He seems like a New Testament figure.

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Embarrassing that MLK's children are constantly suing each other. The latest is that the two brothers are suing the sister in order to sell MLK's personal Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.

It's interesting that it's come to this - the selling of the most personal objects left. All his personal papers have already been sold for tens of millions of dollars. Hard to underestimate the need for greed.

If the brothers have their way, which they likely will, what will the sons and daughters of Martin Luther King have to pass on to their children of a sentimental value? It's ironic the great preacher of peace and harmony couldn't pass that down.

MLK used the court system to try to effect justice on behalf of his people, and his children appear to use the court system to fight among themselves for their own benefit. You can see the devolution of society right there. Jesus wanted to make things right for us, with no benefit to himself. MLK wanted to make things right for African-Americans. MLK's children want to make things right for themselves. A metaphor for our age.

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Heard priest homily the other day - he said what he finds most moving/inspiring about the priesthood.  It's that grown men cry in front of him when they realize the love God has for them.  That makes it for him.   He asked when was the last time we cried over the same realization.

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Suggested to Steph another potential name for our new puppy: “Maris”, short for “Stella Maris”, a title of Mary's and the name of a dog we met in Hilton Head. Surprising to me, she loved it and moved it near the front of the list, right up there with “Faith”.

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Blogs mean never having to say you're sorry for asterisked segues.

*  (hey, there's one right now, stage left!)

Hope via St. Basil:
If we devote ourselves to imitating the saints, then no matter which virtue we feel ourselves lacking, we can fine in Scripture, as if in a medical clinic, the proper medicine for our particular ailment. Whoever is focused on chastity, for example, can reflect on the history of Joseph in the Old Testament. We learn from him chaste actions. We find him well disciplined - firm in self-control with regard to pleasure - and we see him making virtue a habit.

January 09, 2015

Pope Francis & Mullarkey

I used to find First Things blogger Maureen Mullarkey worth reading, but lately she's been shrill, seeming to have a sort of Catholic Hierarchy Derangement Syndrome -- particularly with respect to Pope Francis and Cardinal Dolan.

She writes of Francis: "Megalomania sends him galloping into geopolitical thickets, sacralizing politics and bending theology to premature, intemperate policy endorsements."

And the same day I saw that, I read the thought of the day from Pope Francis as if in response:
Christians should be the first (and often we are not!) in rejecting the hasty identification of maturity with adaptation. Jesus, no less, was considered by many people of his time the paradigm of the maladjusted and, therefore, the immature.
By the way, R. Reno has responds to criticisms of Mullarkey here.

January 07, 2015

Of Dogdom & Bams



So went to a local restaurant overlooking the city and river. The river was shockingly low as a result of dams being removed. "It's a much healthier river," said the waitress, but not quite as scenic I thought.  A spiritual metaphor, perhaps.

Afterward we headed to theatre for Unbroken, the big bestseller about a guy surviving WWII.  The movie nearly broke me vicariously

I had low expectations, figuring it would be depressing, and it's always a plus to have low expectations going in. First, though, there were gobs of advertisements for coming attractions with Mom humorously panning each one loudly.

The movie was sort of like The Passion of the Christ meets Chariots of Fire. There were long - torturously long - scenes of torture. Forty-eight days lost at sea. Japanese prison camp. Solitary confinement. Working to exhaustion hauling coal. Mentally abused by sadistic guard with hinted-at homosexual tendencies.  (SPOILER alert full steam ahead!)

The beginning was like a different movie altogether - boy delinquent finds running as an outlet and ends up as high school runner in 1936 Olympic Games, finishing first.

Later his "toughest battle" was severe PTSD; he tried booze and psychiatrists to get over his thirst for revenge but eventually, via Billy Graham, found Christ and ended up going back to Japan and forgiving his captors. (The sadistic guard would not meet with him.)

From Cincy Enquirer Paul Daugherty's blog:
"We saw Unbroken. It was slightly better than OK. No match for the book, which was meticulous, compelling and fabulous. Not sure how I could watch this tale of abject heroism and not feel especially moved. But that's what happened."
Oh the perils of reading the book before seeing the movie. No such issue for me.

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Christmas always seems very shortlived despite the billing of twelve days, or even more given the liturgical season. To me it feels like even the Church has seemingly moved on what with the Sts Stephen and John days and Holy Family feast. Of course you can't just have the Christmas reading every day.

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Feels magical to have this transportive Kindle, a screen that takes me to places I want to go - like the life of Heather King, the deck of the Pequad, the novel All the Light We Cannot See, Scott Hahn's new book on the birth of Christ.

I also relished the mood-altering drug of the OSU victory against Alabama. And nice to have the national championship game to look forward to, although this game felt like a national championship given who we beat (number 1 team). Even the name - “Bama” - feels powerful and forbidding, the first syllable being the aggressive “bam”. Their program has the scent of college football divinity about it.

Their crowds occasionally look a bit dorky. Kind of white and bourgeois; the guys sometimes dressed in blazers -- they look like they all belong to an old school '50s-era fraternity. I think how fascinating it would've been to have gone to a truly Southern college, like Ole Miss or Alabama. Whatever regional differences remain would likely linger there. Perhaps poverty is the only guarantor of difference, because the newly wealthy south attracts so many outsiders, diluters if you will. Pockets of real regional difference probably center in Appalachia and the Indian reservations of the West, at least the ones without casinos.

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Death, taxes and Sunday babysitting. The three things beside the theological virtues that endure. Vegas won't even take odds on them because everybody dies, pays taxes, and we, at least, babysit on Sundays.

But it's a-okay because it's nothing God and beer won't bring me thru. At least I have the right order there.

Steph took one boy to the animal shelter for potential dog adoptions. She said that he was a good test case, to see if the dog would get along with him (and thus kids) and I couldn't disagree. So I held down the fort with a Will-a-thon, listening to Five Little Monkeys endlessly. Second circle of Hell they play that song repeatedly by the way.  Later I peeled off for a well-earned 30 minute run. Running never tasted so good.

One thing is self-evident: Steph without a dog is like Columbus without the Buckeyes, New York without the swagger, Texas sans pride, policemen without Dunkin' Donuts, me without vacations. It simply does not compute.

The first option Steph presented me with was two 12-week pups, a brother and a sister located about an hour away. Both golden retrievers, so that was right, but both way too young and one too many. This was the very definition of a non-starter, and I dismissed it immediately. Words cannot express my distaste at the thought of having not one but two puppies, and thus facing a two-year slog of double-trouble in the form of chewed artifacts and semi-destroyed furniture. A worse idea can scarcely exist.

Wasted a couple hours watching the ever dubious Bengals drop yet another playoff game. “One and done” should replace the “Who dey” motto. “Who dey” being whomever they play in the playoffs.

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Read more about that perennially interesting foreign country: Detroit, Michigan from the book Devil's Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit. This chapter on churches leaves you just gaping in astonishment that such color can exist in these semi-homogenized United States. Honestly it reads like fiction. A Sunday night service the author attended had no less than four collections, one unabashedly announced as going towards a Mercedes Benz for the pastor. You simply can't make that up. At one point, the pastor cuts his white robe into squares and sells them for $5 a piece. Again, that seems fictional. An excerpt:
Boyd’s church is more elaborate than most, but it is still a modest edifice for a man who claims to be in direct, personal touch with God: blond wood pews, a small altar and walls decorated with neon signs—DIVINE GOD and 7 (God’s perfect number)—that look like beer advertisements. Adjacent to it is the House of Holiness, a combination sacristy, meditation facility and boutique where Boyd meets with congregants. When I went to see him on a Saturday afternoon, there was a long line of people ahead of me. As I waited I browsed through the merchandise in his store, which runs to the exotic. Holy hyssop bath oil ($5.00), hyssop floor wash, Voodoo dolls ($3.25), Jinx Remover, Triple Strength Cast-Off Evil Incense, Holy Vision Bath Oil ($5.25), High John the Conquerer Soap (“It conquers all evil forces”), and cards inscribed with the Reverend Boyd’s revelations (sample: “I am, I am in perfect harmony with the law of prosperity”) for $2.50.
Now tell me that doesn't make for riveting reading. Boyd also sells winning lottery numbers, or at least predicted winning lottery numbers. Your mileage may vary.

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So the search continues. Two strikeouts on the golden retriever rescues we wanted. Impatience isn't conducive to acquiring the crown prince of dogdom. There's a reason they call them “golden”.

I left messages at both shelters (one near Cleveland, the other here) and was collins'd (i.e. from Phil Collins, as in the song "no reply at all"). I called both back around 3 and lo and behold both dogs were on hold already. One golden retriever rescue service requires a "home visit", a blood-signed vetting from your veterianian and an oath to become vegan. You really can't make it up. The continuing humanization of canines continues apace.

Love v. Life



Recent highlight was surely the gestation of some superabundant Love, specifically the eye-opener in the Lit of the Hours we say on feast days, and how it applies not just to our attitude towards God, but God's attitude towards us, as contained in this line:

“For your love is better than life.”

Didn't Jesus in fact trade his life for our love? For the Father's, surely, but also for ours? I've said that prayer so many times and today it hit me for the first time in that reciprocal way and not seeing it merely as an instruction from God that we see His love as worth more than our life but that He did so first.

It's ridiculous, but I always seem to be surprised when I (re-)learn that God loved us first and that He really lives up to what He preaches in the Bible and Church. There's no "do as I say, not as I do" with God.

From the Spencer monks:
It’s a wonderful insight to grasp the core of Jesus’ message by realizing the magnitude, the depth, the comprehensiveness of the divine embrace, of Jesus’ ardor for you – you as beloved of God. It can be spiritually inebriating if you let it touch you as deeply as Jesus intends to touch you. But there is more! The more here is simply the realization moment by moment that each of us is always and everywhere the beloved of God, someone with whom God is madly in love.