January 16, 2015

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.

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

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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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”.


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.


Bill White said...

Regarding the puppy's name, the first thing I thought was that it was short for Roger Maris.

TS said...

True, I've had others mention that too. Which I guess isn't too bad since he was the last non-juicer to hold the single-season home run record.