June 05, 2009

Clippings from Readings....

A few offerings found lately from my read pile:

From the New York Times:
George Orwell took up a similar question in 1937. In “The Road to Wigan Pier,” he explains why unemployed folks reject the sort of frugality you prescribe — here, a wholesome, inexpensive diet in favor of 1930s junk food: “When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty.’ There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three pennorth of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice cream! Put the kettle on and we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! . . . Unemployment is an endless misery that has got to be constantly palliated, and especially with tea, the Englishman’s opium.”

From Bill Luse in the latest Christendom Review:
Even if, by the end, [Terri Schiavo] was blind (as we are told she must have been) and the shadows gone, they came to her daily and kissed her on the cheek, stroked her hair, and spoke to her, and maybe she heard them from afar, as a baby in the womb hears mother’s voice, and knew they were her friends because we all know when a thing intends good to us. There was no agony of waiting because time meant nothing. Time was her friend, too, the fluid in which she swam, as do we in our dreams. The soul, no matter the state of its temple, needs love, which is its life. I like to think that God reached down into the womb of her unawareness and fed her daily, bathed her in it every night, while you and I pursued the things of this world, wrung our hands over her pitiable fate, and, glorying in our own ‘awareness’, wondered if she should really be here.

From "Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body (Granados and Anderson):

Where love is missing, the question of meaning lacks the air it needs to catch fire. Later on, when Andrew asks for Teresa's hand, this harmony of mutual understanding restores the balance she lacked on that nighttime hike. It makes her receptive to the signal of love, which is even stronger than the signals nature broadcasts to us through the silent majesty of the mountains at night. In a word, the experience of love is the birthplace of wonder, the first step along a new journey toward the fullness of meaning. If we had to choose a scene that captures the essence of wonder, we might pick the moment when a child discovers the presents his parents have laid under the Christmas tree for him. Or the face of the
mother who holds her newborn child in her arms for the very first time. No matter which picture we choose, though, the point is always the same: Wonder can be born only in the matrix of love. Even the amazement that fills us when we behold the marvels of creation makes sense only in light of the experience of love, as we will try to show in the following chapters of this book...John Paul's message to us, then, is that the source of wonder is not far from our everyday experience, but that it reveals its presence in the experience of love that accompanies every person from the cradle to the grave...Let's go back for a moment to John Paul II's warning against separating faith and life. All too often Christians have reinforced this separation by treating their own religious experience as a foreign body alien to everyday life. Some critics of Christianity have mistaken this caricature for the real thing and have complained that the Christian religion destroys happiness and spoils the enjoyment of life by teaching man to seek fulfillment in some faraway heaven. This objection overlooks the truth that man's quest for his identity starts from the experience of love. If love is the starting point of the human quest, then man depends on a revelation—the revelation of love—in order to find happiness. Because man's quest itself begins in love, this revelation does not blindside him like a thunderbolt out of the blue. Rather human experience is open to this revelation, tends toward it, and is an expectation of it—not in some future Beyond, but in the midst of our everyday involvement with the world around us. We don't need to escape mundane human life in order to experience love's radiance and light; we can bathe in its warmth right in the midst of our humdrum daily occupations. Now, Christianity, like love, is a revelation that man can't contrive on his own. Moreover, Christian revelation, like love, happens right in the midst of our earthly space and time: “And the Word became flesh..."

From a NY Times review of the novel "Brooklyn":
During a long-ago solo trip to Rome — a self-­assigned distraction after a difficult breakup — I remember opening George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” while sitting at the window of a high room in a cold albergo (once a nuns’ cloister) as strains of conversation floated up from the courtyard. Describing her protagonist’s new start in a new town, Eliot wrote of the relief that “minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love” may feel on finding themselves in a “new land, where the beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas — where their mother earth shows another lap.” In such a setting, she wrote, “The past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories.” For Silas Marner, this “exile” was self-sought. But for Eilis Lacey, the biddable daughter at the center of Colm Toibin’s new novel, “Brooklyn,” her leave-taking from Enniscorthy, in Ireland’s County Wexford, and her resettlement in New York in the fall of 1951 are imposed on her by her energetic, well-meaning older sister, Rose. Young, docile and incurious, unscarred by heartbreak or reversals of fortune, Eilis has no desire or need to quit her widowed mother, her friends, her familiar surroundings. Her “old faith and love” are intact, and she seeks no distance from her memories.

From "Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens:

There was no wind to make a ripple on the foul water within the harbour, or on the beautiful sea without. The line of demarcation between the two colours, black and blue, showed the point which the pure sea would not pass; but it lay as quiet as the abominable pool, with which it never mixed. Boats without awnings were too hot to touch; ships blistered at their moorings; the stones of the quays had not cooled, night or day, for months. Hindoos, Russians, Chinese, Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Genoese, Neapolitans, Venetians, Greeks, Turks, descendants from all the builders of Babel, come to trade at Marseilles, sought the shade alike--taking refuge in any hiding-place from a sea too intensely blue to be looked at, and a sky of purple, set with one great flaming jewel of fire. The universal stare made the eyes ache. Towards the distant line of Italian coast, indeed, it was a little relieved by light clouds of mist, slowly rising from the evaporation of the sea, but it softened nowhere else. Far away the staring roads, deep in dust, stared from the hill-side, stared from the hollow, stared from the interminable plain. Far away the dusty vines overhanging wayside cottages, and the monotonous wayside avenues of parched trees without shade, drooped beneath the stare of earth and sky. So did the horses with drowsy bells, in long files of carts, creeping slowly towards the interior...

From "The Yankee Years" by Joe Torre:

The game [baseball] that depended largely on washed-up former players and reassigned company men to build a 25-man roster became a multibillion-dollar business that attracted well-educated minds to build organizations, even systems. When Beane, for instance, promoted David Forst, another Harvard grad with a sociology degree, to replace DePodesta, he posted an opening for Forst’s former position as an assistant general manager. He received 1,500 résumés, including one from a chap who wrote, “I apologize, but I won’t be available until June because I am completing my astrophysics degree from Oxford.” Beane wound up hiring Farhan Zaidi, a PhD in economics from Cal Berkeley who earned an undergraduate degree in behavioral economics. “Guys that maybe 15 years ago spent four years at Goldman Sachs and then moved on to private equity are applying for jobs with baseball teams,” Beane said. “I remember when I sheepishly had to inform Farhan wasting his time on things I don’t have time to waste my energy on. Factions are starting up again.” Said the Indians’ Shapiro, “Don’t make the mistake, whatever is happening now, to think those teams with resources don’t have a distinct advantage, particularly with how the Yankees were for a brief period of time and how the Red Sox are now.” Teams moved beyond the popular conception of Moneyball long ago essentially because on-base percentage was no longer an inefficient market. So if all teams now recognize on-base percentage as well as the value of young players, what is the next inefficient market to exploit in order to make up the ground on the Yankees’ growing edge in resources? Beane laughed and said, “Just saying that gives me a headache. Every part of the game is measured now versus the dollar investment. It’s about turning over every rock. It’s more and more difficult. I think that’s a good thing. I have no chip on my shoulder about being antiquated.” The race is always on.


William Luse said...

You have all these going at the same time? When do you find time to work and blog? Drink Guiness? Conversate with the wife?

(Thanks for the mention, btw.)

TS said...

Oh tis no trouble at all though needless to say, I have trouble finishing books. I read parts of books a lot of the time, a bad habit perhaps that I've fallen into due to the ease of acquiring reading material.