April 16, 2004

Friday Hodge-Podge of Sale Items -  50% off; volume discounts in select markets

This is an occasional Friday tradition where we visit the "staging area" of wannabe posts, posts that just didn't quite make the blog. Here I exercise mercy and give them their fifteen seconds of fame. Call it the land of misfit posts:

"It is in the nature of civilization that it must be in constant conflict with barbarism. Very few empires have been the result of a deliberate ambition. They have grown, inevitably, because it has been found necessary to expand in order to preserve what is already held. The French had to annex Algiers because it was the only way in which the Mediterranean could be made safe from pirates. Empire moves in a seties of 'incidents,' and these 'incidents' mean that it is impossible for a country to live in isolation. Barbarism means constant provocation."
-----From "We Can Applaud Italy" (1935), in The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh.
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I recall Billy Graham saying his constant regret is not "being prayed up enough". If prayer is the oxygen of the soul, as St. Padre Pio said, then we're all chronically gasping for breath!
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I was thinking the news of a recent devout Catholic’s marital woes; I realized anew the truth of the clich√© that no two marriages are the same. The two who-shall-become-one have a fingerprint all their own. Two country singers were apparently happily married when they became fabulously wealthy and famous in the “oil boom” of the ‘90s country music landscape: Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. And both marriages went through tremendous strain with the avalanche of money and women and fame. But Jackson’s endured and Garth’s failed. What was the difference? We look for formulas in a world that resists formulas as vampires do garlic.
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Stepson calls his mother. "Did Tom spill ketchup on my bookbag?" His mother: "No...I'm sorry, I did." (Rant ensues.)
Now what fascinates me about this little exchange are two things. One is that he owns what looks to be a plain, firecracker-red burlap bookbag. But turns out there's nothing plain about its worth -- $400. Now I'm sure he got a "deal", although I'm skeptical how the word "deal" can ever be used in connection with a originally-priced $400 bag. I guess the name is "Prada" or "Pravda"; it's some sort of elite name brand that people feel compelled to own so that they can report its original price. My take on the matter is that since the bookbag has been present in the kitchen about 50% of the time during the past two years, it's downright miraculous that nothing has been spilled on it before. That's worth $200 right there.
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Robert E. Lee
-steady, even-tempered horse "Traveler"
-devout Christian but saw slavery as allowable
-aristocratic Virginia cavalier
-died of natural causes

Abraham Lincoln
-mercurial wife Mary Todd
-struggled with faith, but understood the evil of slavery
-poor, born in log cabin
-murdered
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Why do I knock my head against the wall trying to reconcile the irreconciliable? Paul tried valiantly to communicate it to me in Romans 9 & 10 but all I could come away with is that God hardened Israel's heart and Israel hardened herself against God, leaving me back at square one.
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Last year I read Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Last American Man", the story of the modern American frontiersman Eustace Conway and I was struck by how similar his true story is to the fictional “Ladder of Years” by Ann Tyler. In both cases you have someone living by themselves in hermit-like conditions. Both initially exult in the freedom and isolation. But eventually both strive to enmesh themselves again in families and relationships, messy as they might be.
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"Knowing your love for hearth and home, Mystery Blogger Not Exposed hooked me, fileted my Ham of Sole, and left me wishing I had belaid (belied?) my plans and gone." - Ham of Bone, regretting that he didn't go to Larry's bar, as well he should.

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