If you're feeling wealthy and thirsty this Labor Day weekend, check out a few of these: Top 10 Most Expensive Libations. Excerpt (from the Number 10 slot):
"[A]t $100 a bottle, Sam Adams’s “Utopias” is too rich for my blood alcohol level. It does come bottled in a cute, brewing-kettle shaped bottle, and with an alcohol content of 25% by volume (strongest beer in the world), it gives a bit of bang for the buck.
"However, $7,686 was paid at auction for the first bottle of Tutankhamun Ale. It was developed by Cambridge University scientists who gleaned the recipe from hieroglyphics and brewing dregs from the catacombs of one of Tut’s in-laws. The remaining lot of beer was sold for about $76 per bottle."
Also found Number Two fairly interesting:
"How crazy will the trendy, high-end vodka craze get? I’ve always been fairly certain vodka is all about a cool bottle and a hip name. Now I’m certain. “Diva” vodka seeks to trump all-comers — game, set, and burp. This triple distilled vodka, like many other vodkas, is also charcoal filtered. The charcoal in Diva’s case comes from a different array of carbon bonds; the vodka is filtered through crushed diamonds. But what really ups the price is the custom-made bottle. Inside each bottle is an array of real gemstones, the quantity and quality of which depend on how much you’re willing to pay. A high-end bottle of Diva (“low-end” being $3,700) will cost you more than a million dollars."
"The minds of men always dwell more on bad luck. They accept ordinary prosperity as a matter of course. Misfortunes arrest their attention and remain in their memory." William Graham Sumner, Folkways A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals (1906).
That 100-year-old observation has been borne out by modern science. Winifred Gallagher explored the strength of negative thoughts in her excellent Rapt, Attention and the Focused Life. Unpleasant thoughts and feelings like sadness, fear, and anger occupy our attention more than pleasant thoughts for the simple reason that the negative ones are more powerful. It's a natural inclination and one we need to struggle against, just like we struggle against natural inclinations in many areas of our existence.
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.
In 1922, during his lecture-tour stay in Chicago, Chesterton met with Sinclair Lewis and John Drinkwater to converse over illegal whiskey. They decided to collaborate on a murder mystery, a three-act play to be entitled, Mary Queen of Scotch, with each of them contributing one act. Not surprisingly, the three authors forgot about the project as quickly and easily as they had dreamed it up. [Mark Schorer, Sinclair Lewis, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961, p. 304]
Another great Santayana quote from Epstein: “humanitarians have an intense hatred of mankind as it is.” Epstein then continues Santayana’s thought: “which is of course why they are always so hard at work trying to change it.”
It’s a poignant point that every progressive and reformer ought to consider carefully before they launch another crusade. Just as every Christian should ask himself whether he is about to do X, Y, or Z out of love, every activist ought to ask himself whether Law X or Reform Z is motivated by hate. Every law and reform, of course, is motivated by some level of dissatisfaction with the way things are, and hatred is a sub-set in the circle of dissatisfaction. I think if every politician looked at himself honestly and detachedly, he’d realize the vast bulk of new laws that he favors is motivated by some level of hatred: something isn’t the way he prefers it, so he implements a law to change it to fit his preference. He never, of course, admits this, either to others or himself, instead opting to dress it up in terms like “public safety” and “for the children,” but if he were an honest man, he’d admit that he’s passing these laws because, “Damn it, that really makes me mad.”
Related: Joseph Epstein quote about the thought of Paul Valery: “Valery could think of nothing in the realm of thought ‘madder’ or more vulgar ‘than wanting to be right,’ which is of course what politics is chiefly about.”
I took the family to Cedar Point on Friday. We had a great time. It got off to a rough start: Key roller coasters were out of service for the first part of the day. It was highly frustrating. But I think the humidity and threat of thunderstorms kept the crowds away, so we only had to wait for one ride (called "The Maverick," which is my favorite; the wait was 30 minutes, which is "nothing" compared to the 90+ minutes that, I'm told, people regularly wait during peak times). * * * * * * * A random thought after being shut out once again at confession last weekend: Why is the USCCB pushing the "New Evangelization," when its priests are stretched so thin that they can't consistently administer the sacraments to their existing flock? That'd be like me engaging in an aggressive advertising campaign when I can't even service my existing client base properly. * * * * * * * When that thought first occurred to me, it came to me as a snarky interior joke, but upon reflection, I think there's more to it than sardonic humor. If existing flocks are flocking to Hell because the sacraments can't be administered, why are we trying to expand the flock? Is it so the flock later grows with devout Catholics, resulting in greater vocations, so then, many years down the line, we have enough priests? Could be, but are we then saying, "To Hell with the current flock? We'll take our chances with them?" And if you can't administer to them, can you really expect their mortally-stained souls to be effective evangelizers? At what point does the sacrifice of the current generation turn the current generation into Dostoyevsky's "manure men"? But then again, if we don't get a more devout Catholic client base, then we're screwed further. It's quite the dilemma, yes. * * * * * * * I strive to keep TDE from straying into the vulgar, but this video of my youngest son after too much Cedar Point is pretty funny. (Note: After finishing, Max looked at me and said, "I'm ready for the Mantis now!"):
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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