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    Reddit
    July 4, 2015
    I made my first post to Reddit this morning. It's currently in the top spot in the "Catholicism" subreddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/Catholicism/comments/3c3bof/i_cant_tell_whether_st_francis_is_blessing_this/?ref=share&ref_source=link Gotta love those little, if inconsequential, dopamine rushes. I didn't take the picture to capture the humor. I took it because I liked the look of that Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and wanted St. Francis in the background. When I went to post it to TDE this morning, the position of his hand struck me. Francis with Black Seeded Simpson

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    Happy Fourth

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    Friday
    July 3, 2015
    Brews You Can Use This is a pretty neat article, though it's depressing that the subject matter even exists: Ten Places in the USA You Can Legally Drink on the Street. Since most people are on holiday today, I'm not going to comment much on the piece, but as a public service, here are the ten spots. I'd like to check them all out, even though most of the cities below don't allow drinking on their streets, but rather allow drinking on certain streets. I've marked with asterisks the places where drinking (according to the article) is truly allowed on all streets: Lincoln, Nebraska Kansas City, Missouri Indianapolis, Indiana* Huntsville, Alabama Fredericksburg, Texas Butte, Montana* Savannah, Georgia Memphis, Tennessee New Orleans, Louisiana* Las Vegas, Nevada*

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    Thursday
    July 2, 2015
    Nietzsche-274x300 I've long been fascinated by Nietzsche, in the sense that I've always found him wildly wrong and wildly right, wildly reckless and wildly insightful. That being said, he's enough of a nut that I've taken the time to read only one of his books (and I can't recall which) and various excerpts from my Viking Portable Nietzsche. An extensive reading in Nietzsche is on my intellectual bucket list, but alas, that list is so long, it's more of an intellectual idiot list. Most of my knowledge of Nietzsche comes through the lens of real scholars, mostly de Lubac and his (excellent) Drama of Atheist Humanism. I've long felt a bit guilty that I'm drawn to Nietzsche's ideas. It turns out I'm not alone. In this piece, Bradley Birzer also identifies Nietzsche as one of his "guilty pleasures." He then, in the form of a primer, goes on to explain three of Nietzsche’s most important ideas: 1. "All modern drama in western civilization stemmed from the conflict found in the mythology of Apollo (order) and Dionysius (chaos)." 2. "Nietzsche considered Catholicism to be the greatest enemy yet invented and imposed upon the nobility of man. Its most important representative, he feared, was Pascal. . . . Catholicism, he believed, represented the only true Christianity. Lutheranism and Protestantism were merely halfway houses between Catholicism and full-blown paganism." 3. "Nietzsche himself believed that his ideas had taken him, mystically, into another universe or plane of existence, confirmed later, at least as he believed it, by a vision of Zarathustra, a pre-Christian Persian priest and prophet, within and next to him. Henri de Lubac has done the best job of exploring this side of Nietzsche in his Drama of Atheist Humanism. And though he despised Catholicism, Nietzsche even believed his collected writings to be a fifth Gospel, obviating those of Sts. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John." I don't know enough about Nietzsche to form an opinion about whether Birzer's primer is right or wrong, but it looks accurate enough. And I trust the good professor in such matters.

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    GKC Wednesday
    July 1, 2015
    Chesterton 2Chesterton Short(s) Petty good piece at the Imaginative Conservative on GKC and Norman Rockwell. "Humility is particularly necessary in the case of Norman Rockwell, because his work itself has become trite. We think we know the pictures, so we do not ever bother to look. If they are to do their work of prompting us to a fresh perspective, and helping us to recover the things that have become trite, we will need to actually attend to them. "Once we start to look at the pictures, we can see that they do give us a fresh perspective on the world. Another quick turn to Chesterton is called for. Consider how Chesterton describes Charles Dickens:
    Herein is the whole secret of that eerie realism with which Dickens could always vitalize some dark or dull corner of London. There are details in the Dickens descriptions—a window, or a railing, or the keyhole of a door—which he endows with demoniac life. The things seem more actual than things really are. Indeed, that degree of realism does not exist in reality: it is the unbearable realism of a dream (Charles Dickens, 65)."

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    Tuesday
    June 30, 2015
    brownsonnew Dosoyevsky, Brownson’s junior by eighteen years, would write on a theme similar to Brownson’s concerns about humanitarian democracy. Just as Brownson worried that North American progressives would sacrifice men on the altar of the abstractions known as “Man” and “The Rights of Man,” Dostoyevsky feared that the European progressive’s equivalent idealism, “Reason,” would demand bloodshed and the trampling of individual’s natural rights. Dostoyevsky was always concerned about the individual man—his real sufferings, his real relationship to Christ, his intimate friends and families—as opposed to the radicals of his day who derided such things as secondary to the creed of progress. In his masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov, for instance, his character of penetrating intellectual insight, Ivan Karamazov, says of the progressive dreams to build an earthly paradise for man, “I don’t want my body, with its sufferings and shortcomings, to serve simply as manure for the future harmony.” Likewise, in The Possessed, Dostoyevsky pokes fun at a progressive named Kirilov and others of his progressive ilk: “Mr. Kirilov has already demanded that more than one hundred million heads roll so that reason may be introduced in Europe, and that considerably exceeds the figure proposed at the last peace conference. In that sense, Alexei Kirilov is ahead of everyone.”

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    Received in an Email
    June 29, 2015
    A YOUNG BLONDE GIRL IN HER LATE TEENS, WANTING TO EARN SOME EXTRA MONEY FOR THE SUMMER, DECIDED TO HIRE HERSELF OUT AS A "HANDY WOMAN" AND STARTED CANVASSING A NEARBY WELL-TO-DO NEIGHBORHOOD. SHE WENT TO THE FRONT DOOR OF THE FIRST HOUSE AND ASKED THE OWNER IF HE HAD ANY ODD JOBS FOR HER TO DO. "WELL, I GUESS I COULD USE SOMEBODY TO PAINT THE PORCH. HOW MUCH WILL YOU CHARGE ME?" DELIGHTED, THE GIRL QUICKLY RESPONDED, "HOW ABOUT $50?" THE MAN AGREED AND TOLD HER THAT THE PAINT AND BRUSHES AND EVERYTHING SHE WOULD NEED WERE IN THE GARAGE. A FEW HOURS LATER THE BLONDE CAME TO THE DOOR TO COLLECT HER MONEY. "YOU'RE FINISHED ALREADY?" THE STARTLED MAN ASKED. "YES," THE BLONDE REPLIED, "AND I EVEN HAD PAINT LEFT OVER SO I GAVE IT TWO COATS." IMPRESSED, THE MAN REACHED INTO HIS POCKET FOR THE $50 AND HANDED IT TO HER ALONG WITH A $10 TIP. "THANK YOU," THE BLONDE SAID, "AND, BY THE WAY, IT'S NOT A PORCHE, IT'S A LEXUS."

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    Everybody Out!

    Monday
    Miscellaneous Rambling Strange days indeed: Detroit casino sponsors garden to produce seedlings for Detroiters to replant throughout the city. * * * * * * * I'm stunned at the growth of urban gardening. Last week while driving home from northern Michigan, I saw a billboard for a "rural urban agriculture" tradeshow. It's a great development, with absolutely no downsides that I can discern. * * * * * * * No matter how discouraged I get at the federal government, a significant part of me says you can't keep the American spirit down. Urban farming is just one symptom of that relentless spirit that de Tocqueville marvelled at. * * * * * * * The New Evangelization, I suppose: Fraternitas, a Catholic online pub. * * * * * * * The Patient Will See You Now. The transforming business of health care. One of the best Econtalk podcasts of the past few years. Fascinating. Based on some online research after listening to this podcast, I think I can get my cholesterol checked for under $40. * * * * * * * Have breast cancer concerns? Pay $249 for some peace of mind . . . or notice that you need to be extra vigilant. It beats the $4,000 that the mainstream medical establishment charges for such tests. * * * * * * * Tell Congress: Pass a Constitutional Amendment defending traditional marriage (sign the petition). Quixotic? Probably, but no more so than voting every four years and thinking it makes a difference.

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    Sunday
    June 28, 2015
    Free Lunches Related to yesterday's rant: “Children are creating their own black markets to trade and sell salt due to First Lady Michelle Obama’s school lunch rules." Link. It's a good article, highlighting the folly that is the free lunch (which reminds me of something I should've mention yesterday: even the time-honored cliche "There's no free lunch" has been turned on its head). Marie has seen first-hand the enormous waste at those free lunches. She has occasionally gone to them with the kids (all kids in our town get free lunches during the summer) and seen garbage cans filled with the discarded food. Under the regulations, the workers must give the kids everything on the menu, even if the kids don't want it, with the result that the healthier items just get thrown away in piles. It's shameless, it really is, the wasted opulence that is 21st-century America. If there's not a big business interest benefiting handsomely from this big government benefit, I'll eat my underwear. If Pope Francis really wanted to make a contribution, he should dispatch Vatican sources to investigate the waste that is the Socialistic free lunch in America today. He would immediately re-think his criticisms of the free market and begin to realize that the enemy is, as Chesterton pointed out, Hudge and Gudge.

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    Saturday
    June 27, 2015
    streetsign.jpgA Rant "The whole world groaned," wrote Jerome, "and marvelled to find itself Arian." I returned from vacation and marvelled to find the world gay. And found the Supreme Court, led by conservative John Roberts, had again judiciously bent over backwards to save the Affordable Care Act. Let's face it: The Left has won. Socialism and sexual libertinism have swept all before it. None of the (laughable) Republican Party's (laughable) 13 candidates could even muster a slight protest about (laughable) Caitlyn Jenner. In its efforts to "achieve" (insipid verb) "gay marriage" (oxymoron), the modern gay rights movement has completely rejected its Stonewall Riots premise: the idea that the flamboyant and promiscuous gay lifestyle ought to be celebrated instead of repressed. The media has relentlessly pounded away on us that homosexuality is normal and healthy, even though its percentage numbers in the population (2-3%) put it, demographically, in the same range as other disorders, such as alcoholism. From Bruce to the relentlessly-expanding initials of the gay movement (it's now "LGBTQIA"--Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual), the entire movement ought to be a punchline . . . but it's taken seriously. The paradigm has shifted, truths are no longer truth. Even the Catholic Church is teetering (as it has so often in the past), opting for gay-affirming statements rather than reaffirming moral truths held for the past 3,000 years. And Socialism? Don't get me started. You're talking with a guy who is paying over $20,000 a year in health care premiums and deductibles . . . not counting dental and optical. You're talking with a guy who has to spend a week every year just sorting out Obamacare mistakes and tangles (though, truth be told, it's the guy's wife who deals with most of it; the guy just has to hear about it when he gets home from work). You're talking with a guy who knows Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are, by every ideological and historical measure, Socialistic programs . . . but also realizes they pale next to what has happened under Obama. You're talking with a guy who is spending nearly $8,000 a year on cellphone plans and suspects the prices are skyrocketing because the federal government is spraying money to the telcom industry by providing free phones and service to its constituents. You're talking with a guy whose kids qualify for no college aid because he has saved money in his IRA, even though college tuition is impossible to afford because the federal government has obscenely inflated tuition by throwing enormous sums to the universities . . . but meanwhile, government employees with defined pension plans and employer-provided health insurance don't have to count their pension or health care benefits, with the result that their kids are more likely to get college aid. Socialism doesn't work for many reasons, but even if it did work, it wouldn't change a fundamental fact: It's fundamentally unfair. Right out of the box, right away, someone gets screwed. Eventually, the whole system collapses (the USSR in 1991 was predictable in 1917), but immediately, people get screwed, and the non-government-employed middle class is getting screwed royally . . . and still voting for Democrats and liberal Republicans. It's a bigger joke than the LGBTQIA movement, but no one, it seems, sees the joke besides me. Which obviously means the joke is on me. Did I mention I have a garden? A quiet spot where no one (yet) bothers me and I await death with as much stoic calm as possible, exploded only occasionally when I let myself think.

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    Friday
    June 26, 2015
    BYCU Whenever I think of Australian beer, I think of Foster Lager. Because it was my Dad's beer of choice back in the 1980s, it was my beer of choice ("If it's free, it's me"). I loved those big oil cans. When my friends came over during college summers, my Dad would ask them if they wanted a beer, then he'd bring them one of those, much to their wide-eyed joy. But it doesn't look like Foster Lager dominates downunder like it used to. Australia has undergone the craft beer revolution as well: Let's Take a Closer Look at Australia's Craft Beer Revolution: "With so much choice now available, it’s hard to think that only 20 years ago Australia’s beer market was dominated by just three major players. Today, with over 300 breweries producing top quality beer, Australia’s beer market alone hones in over AUD$10 billion per year, with the craft beer market drawing in an astonishing AUD$3,000,000,000 per year."

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