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    Meyers
    September 19, 2014
    Royal Caribbean’s cruises will soon be adding robotic bartenders that can shake drinks, cut limes, and precisely measure alcohol. While Carnival Cruises announced they will soon be adding plumbing.

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    Friday
    Possibly one of the most bizarre drinking snippets I've seen in awhile: "Pair that up with a gin martini flavored with borage flowers after Solemn Vespers on Sunday afternoon and you're set!" Link. Borage has a cucumber-y taste. I had it volunteering all over my Back to Eden garden this year. I let it run since it's supposed to attract bees, plus I kinda liked its blue flowers, but I'm not a big fan of its taste. I don't see myself putting the flowers into my gin any time soon, but you never know.

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    Conan
    September 18, 2014
    Last week Nike suspended Ray Rice's contract and today they suspended Adrian Peterson's contract. So now Nike is down to Oscar Pistorius and Kim Jong Un.

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    Fallon
    Hillary Clinton's supporters are calling on her to be more herself, after some of her recent appearances seemed to be too scripted. Hillary said, "I don’t know where you guys get this stuff. Shrug and shake head."

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    Thursday
    Ruminations on the Fall of Rome Belloc wrote, “The Catholic Church was the only subsidiary organism that had risen within the general body of the Roman Empire.” Belloc’s idea that the Catholic Church was an organism that grew out of the organism of the Empire is important. Combine this with Belloc’s observation (which he emphasized a few times) that the biggest part of the expansion and unification of the Roman Empire “was all accomplished in the lifetime of a long-lived man. Carthage and Corinth fell to Rome in the 140's BC, and Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in the 50's BC." Although Belloc doesn't say it, it's almost as if he's saying that Divine Providence was in a hurry to get everything into place, so the world would be ready for the spread of Christianity. And although I can't read the mind of Providence, that's what I think happened. Greek learning provides the tools to understand (though not fully, of course) the reality that is Christ. The Empire provides unification, stability, and communication. The Savior comes. News of the Savior is able to spread because of the unification and stability provided by the Empire. Questions about this odd Reality called Christ are able to be debated and explored with the tools of Greek philosophy (keep in mind, it wasn’t until Thomas Aquinas that anyone really understood what God’s name as revealed to Moses (“I Am Who Am”) made any sense from a philosophical perspective; it’s hard to fathom what people would have thought about the paradox that is Christ, Who, with alarming credibility, actually embodied and carried out previous wild myths about gods coming to earth through virgins). The faith needs an organism, a host, to survive. The Empire was the organism that allowed it to come into existence and start. The Catholic Church was the subsidiary organism that allowed it, and has allowed it, to continue. The organism idea is vibrant today, and is accurate, and it does a lot to help Catholics understand themselves today. John Zmirak recently used it in The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Catechism (Crossroad Publishing, New York, 2012), p. 134: "We are grafted into a lively, thriving tree that was planted before our births and will go on growing once we're dead. The plant is the only beanstalk that reaches to heaven. We can climb it or not."

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    GKC Wednesday
    September 17, 2014
    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. Chesterton Short(s) In 1909 the English humor magazine Punch printed the following couplet by Hilaire Belloc: French is my heart and loyal and sincere Is, and shall be, my love of English beer. …along with Punch's suggestion that the other half of the Chesterbelloc should have given his latest novel the title, The Man Who Was Thirsty. [Robert Speaight, Hilaire Belloc, p. 236]

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    September 16, 2014
    What, is it Tolkien's birthday? Another Tolkien blurb at a popular website popped up today: 10 Good Dads Who Changed The World. Excerpt: "2. J.R.R. Tolkien: "Lots of dads tell their children bedtime stories, but Oxford professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a master of the art. His lucky kids—John, Michael, Christopher, and Priscilla—drifted off to rambling tales that included goblins, elves, dragons, and wizards. A new character was introduced after Tolkien was grading his students’ test papers and realized he’d written something on a blank page in a student’s exam book: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” The professor had no idea what hobbits looked like or how they lived; those details evolved in his bedtime stories about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who loved to eat good meals, smoke his pipe, and whose comfortable hobbit hole had everything he needed—except adventure. "Tolkien and his children had a favorite bedtime book, The Marvelous Land of the Snergs by E. A. Wyke-Smith. Snergs were a small, sturdy people living in a hidden kingdom, and they influenced Tolkien’s vision of Bilbo. Hobbit tales were also influenced by the children, especially Christopher, who was a stickler for consistency and complained if dad accidentally changed Bilbo’s front door from blue to green. "Eventually, a publisher expressed interest in Bilbo’s adventures, and Tolkien polished up the story. The Hobbit was published in 1937 and was so popular that the publisher asked for a sequel. Christopher (by then grown up) became his father’s assistant on the sequel, The Lord of the Rings, which took over a decade to complete. Christopher helped with typing and drew maps for the book. Most importantly, he was still an important audience for hobbit tales. Even during World War II, when Christopher was serving in the Royal Air Force, Tolkien mailed him the newly written chapters. Finally published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings became the most popular fantasy fiction of the 20th century. Those continuing adventures of hobbits made Tolkien one of the most influential authors in the world."

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    Humorous
    H.I.F. Twenty jokes for nerds. A few of my favorites: A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “make me one with everything”. A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. “You mean a martini?” the bartender asks. The Roman replies, “If I wanted a double, I would have asked for it!” Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender asks “Do all of you want a drink?” The first logician says “I don’t know.” The second logician says “I don’t know.” The third logician says “Yes!”

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    Interesting
    H.I.F. "TIL Christopher Lee received Tolkien's blessing to play the role of Gandalf, if a movie was ever released, but he played Saruman instead. He was also the only person involved with the Lord of the Rings films to have actually met Tolkien himself." From Reddit's "Today I Learned" page.

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    Monday
    September 15, 2014
    Miscellaneous Rambling Can I ask an un-Catholic question? Are people in America really starving? My priest assures me they are, so I obediently donate regularly to the parish food pantry. The liberals assure us they are, since it's very hard to live on the amount of money provided by food stamps (it never crosses their minds that the food stamps are supposed to supplement a food budget, not be the food budget; and, of course it never occurs to them that perhaps food stamps do a lot more harm than good and, at the bottom line, are more about transferring wealth to the convenience store and fast food industries). * * * * * * * But where are these hungry people? Migrant workers, I suppose, which are largely invisible to me, but if I were to go to, say, Calcutta, I'm assured I'd readily see the starving all over the place. Why don't we see them in America? * * * * * * * One place I'd like to see them so I could call the police: in my town's community garden. I rented a plot there this year ($10 for a sizable slice of soil), and someone has been stealing squash from it. It really bums me out. If they're starving, they could just ask me (maybe I'm invisible to them). I think I'd help them out: "Here's $5; go buy yourself some squash; please leave my non-gmo, organic squash alone." But to go and just take it? That takes the fun out of having a garden. * * * * * * * So much so that I started digging up my Mom's spacious back yard last Saturday. She and I are going to grow squash (edible ornamentals, delicata, and butternut) in a trellised 75-square foot area. I'm providing the labor, seeds, trellising, compost, and fertilizer. She's supplying the land, plus she's tossing her compostable scraps out there. Land, of course, is all important, so it's a good arrangement, especially since my family will eat the bulk of the squash.

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    September 14, 2014

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    Sunday

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    After Abortion
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    Bethune Catholic
    Betty Duffy
    Book Reviews and More
    Catholic Blogs
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    Crossroads
    Decent Films
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    Get Blogs
    Gilbert Magazine
    Godspy
    Happy Catholic
    Mark Shea
    Mere Comments
    Michelle Reitemeyer
    More Last Than Star
    National Catholic Register
    New Advent
    Phat Catholic
    Pillar and Fire
    Post Modern Papist
    PowerBlog
    Pro Ecclesia
    Quaffs and Quibbles
    Reasoned Audacity
    Reconnaissance of the Western Tradition
    Roman Catholic Info
    Ruri et Orbi
    Scheske at Catholic Exchange
    Scholium
    Shadow of Diogenes
    Signs of the Times: Salvo Blog
    Some Have Hats
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    The Drunken Dollar
    The Impractical Christian
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    Uncovering Orthodoxy
    Victor Lams
    Video Meliora
    Vita Mea
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    What's Wrong with the World
    With Both Hands
    Within the Garden
    Without Having Seen
    World Wide Words

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