My three oldest children and brother urged me to watch "Breaking Bad." They all love it. I've dedicated almost all of my TV-watching time to it over the past ten days and have squeezed in the first three episodes. I find it disagreeable. Very gory, a fair amount of sex, slow-moving plot. Great acting and some hilarious lines, yes, but overall, I give it a "4" out of ten. One of my sons tells me it gets better after episode four, but that strikes me as a replay of those (well-intended) people who tell me, "This Catholic retreat will be great, unlike the first three you attended that all absolutely sucked." I'm sorry, but after three tries, it's time to conclude that there are different strokes for different folks and this stroke ain't for me. I might give it another try, but I'm leaning against it. * * * * * * * If you hadn't heard about it, check out this story about Gordie Howe's amazing recovery from stroke . . . using adult stem cells. I heard about it on Catholic radio two weeks ago and then a TDE reader sent me the link. * * * * * * * Speaking of hockey, check out this amazing goal:
Another sports item: "Watch every shot of Klay Thompson's record-breaking 37-point quarter." Amazing performance. * * * * * * * I'm not much of a NBA fan, though if the Pistons are good, I start watching more. That hadn't been an issue this year because the Pistons started off 5-23. But then they got rid of one of their highest-paid players and went 12-3. A classic case of "addition by subtraction," though this weekend's loss of Brandon Jennings is really going to hurt. * * * * * * * And heck, as long as I'm on the topic of sports, check out this neat story about street-football in Harlem: The Carver Mobb.
This Pope has given me some pause, but the rabbit comment didn't bother me. I think he basically said what everyone (well, every informed Catholic) already knows: You can use NFP to help regulate the size of your family if you have legitimate reasons for using it. The "legitimate" reasons don't need to be compelling. They just have to be legitimately "good reasons" and not rationalizations.
Vatican on Francis' "rabbit" remark: "The Pope is truly sorry that it created such disorientation." More: http://t.co/AZtQPt5o4s
Corroborative evidence about the innate goodness of natural family planning:
"Men who find themselves in the company of fertile women are more likely to make creative attempts at sentence structure to signify their mating fitness, a study has found. Researchers discovered that when young men talk with a woman who is in the fertile period of her menstrual cycle, they react to small changes in her facial skin tone, vocal pitch and scent. The changes activate their mating goals and cause them to shift the way they speak." Link.
"The Lamps are Going Out." Pretty good piece by Theodore Dalrymple. Almost as an aside, he summarizes the socio-political problems with fiat money. There's a lot to think about packed into this passage:
Fiat money has accustomed governments to the idea that they can go on borrowing and spending money forever without ever having to pay it back. This alters their attitude to deficit spending, which is not as the occasion requires (as Keynes envisaged), but permanent, the way we live now. And it alters the whole character of the citizenry as well. For them prudence becomes foolishness and foolishness prudence; speculation is necessary for all who do not want to end up impoverished, and there can be no such thing as enough, even for those who are not greedy by nature, for money is no longer a store of value. More, more, more is necessary, if you want to keep what little you already have.
Brews You Can Use
There's been some pretty good BYCU material out there this year. If your garden, like mine, has volunteer borage all over the place, consider this: borage fizz. My youngest son, Max, really likes to cook. I might turn him loose on making borage syrup, I will then take over by adding the gin and drinking the drink. * * * * * * * For years I've wanted to read Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. It strikes me as one of those books that will give me a good idea about what it was like to grow up in (much) simpler times. Alas, something else is always topping it in my attention index. Besides, who drinks dandelion wine anymore? * * * * * * * A few people, it turns out, and one Ohio winery is actually manufacturing it, using, an Ohio TDE reader tells me, Amish children as coolies to pick the dandelions. * * * * * * * In case you take that last phrase too seriously, the winery isn't forcing Amish kids into labor. The kids, I'm led to believe, like to pick the dandelions and sell them to the winery, the way urban kids search for returnable cans. Let's not call the Department of Labor on this one. * * * * * * * My oldest son, Alex, turned me onto Comedy Central's "Drunk History." It's pretty funny. The show is pretty simple: get a real historian real drunk, then have that person narrate an episode of history. I've only watched a few episodes, but it's one of those things I'd watch more often if I had time. You can find a decent sample here (PG content).
A Random Passage
This HLM passage cracked me up for some reason: "Once, in a Madrid café, the two of us encountered a Spanish marquis who wore celluloid cuffs, suffered from pediculosis and had been drunk for sixteen years." Teachout, ed., The Second Mencken Chrestomathy.
Great book, btw:
Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the "Tremendous Trifles" column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He gave me permission to use them here. I hope y'all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.
The Winter 1995 issue of In Review magazine was dedicated to children's author and artist Hilda van Stockum. Stockum is quoted as follows:
When I was nineteen, I went back to Amsterdam to study art, and there, in a library, I found G.K. Chesterton, who has since been my guiding light among mortals. I bought all his books, and felt how the sweeping broom of his intellect was cleaning the attic of my mind. [Book of Catholic Authors, 1943]
According to In Review co-editor Jean Ann Sharpe, Chesterton's "brisk intellect and spiritual acuity came at a crucial time for the young artist raised in an agnostic environment; it fanned to flame the spark of spiritual perception already alight within her."
The New England Patriots take on the defending champs, the Seattle Seahawks. Idina Menzel from the movie "Frozen" will sing the national anthem, and Katy Perry will perform at halftime. It's the first Super Bowl targeted specifically at 7-year-old girls.
Catholic Men's Quarterly, a one-of-a-kind general interest men's magazine written by Catholic men for Catholic men. Makes a great Father's Day gift.
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