Friday, July 30, 2010

Magic clean up

Not to minimize the Oil Spill in the Gulf, it is/was a disaster. But now many are wondering where the oil is. They are saying that Mother Nature is doing her job and cleaning it up. Early on this was something the CEO of BP said would happen. He was pilloried and sent to Siberia for telling the truth.

Everyone is all agog that Mother Nature can clean up the "worst oil spill like ever".

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.” GKC

But she can't clean up global warming?!?! Because "they" think she is a solemn mother who rewards and punishes without rationality.

There is another man-made disaster in my area at Grand Lake St. Mary's. The water has become life threateningly toxic. People are warned not even to touch it. If people or pets drink from it they could die.

We are not talking about Pelicans but cats, dogs and children.

This is a man-made disaster through local large farm run off of manure and fertilizer. And one columnist is blaming those who like to Bar-B-Que pork or like eggs for breakfast for this disaster.
I do not think he is being tongue-in-cheek.

I do not recall anyone blaming those who like to drive for the gulf spill. But I am sure someone did.

There is no company to extort a super fund to help those businesses and people effected. But it was caused by big factory farming. This why I and others fight CAFO's whenever they try to move into our area.

If they manage to clean this up it will be done with tax dollars, dollars our state does not have.

Mother Nature will not clean this one up alone.

Please pray for those in the Grand Lake St. Mary's area.

Anne Rice Leaves Home

I once wrote clerihew about Anne Rice's rediscovery of her Christian faith:

Anne Rice
found a pearl of great price.
But she had to make money first
dwelling on an unnatural thirst.

I was skeptical. Sure enough, she recently rejected Christianity, declaring:

"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian."

A few years back she wrote about her return to Christianity in Called Out of Darkness.

I guess she's heading back into the darkness.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Christian booted from counseling program

This is a case where a Christian student in a counseling program was assigned a homosexual client. The client wanted his/her lifestyle to be accepted; the counseling was for another reason.

The student did not deny the homosexual treatment. She simple referred the person to another counselor because she did not feel as a Christian she could condone the individual's actions. The person would have gotten what he/she wanted from another counselor - yet the university felt this Christian needed remediation (i.e. indoctrination) or to be dismissed.

Christians face persecution across the word, including in the U.SA.

Judge rules against Christian banned from Eastern Michigan counseling program :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canadian Anglicans vote to unite with Rome

I'm not sure of the numbers who will really come home, but this is just another sign of what's happening.

Canadian Anglican Catholic group votes to unite with Rome :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Leaping Lizards It's Hilly On The Air

One of our local public radio stations has a little feature called, Conrad's Corner. Where Conrad Balliet reads a few poems with a quick bio of the poet. Usually he reads from the works of local poets with occasional readings from the world famous both short and long dead.

This week I got a pleasant surprise when I heard him introduce our friend Hillaire Belloc.

Conrad read three poems of Belloc's, the first was this:

The Frog

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As "Slimy skin," or "Polly-wog,"
Or likewise "Ugly James,"
Or "Gap-a-grin," or "Toad-gone-wrong,"
Or "Bill Bandy-knees":
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All That Jazz

Uncle Gilbert and I part ways on how we feel about the art of the early twentieth century. I like it and he moved a lot of ink against it. Yet I often use his "negative" view point quotes (a lot to choose from there) to describe the art of the later half of the twentieth century to today. So he was right about it I just think he was premature. Can you say prophet?

One would think his attitude of modern visual arts would map over to the other modern arts - but not so fast white boy. True he did not particularity like Jazz:

“I have formed a very strong impression about jazz. It does express something; and what it expresses is Slavery. That is why the same sort of thrill can be obtained by the throb of savage tom-toms, in music or drama connected with the great slave land of Africa. Jazz is the very reverse of an expression of liberty, or even an excessive expression of liberty or even an expression of license. It is the expression of the pessimist idea that nature never gets beyond nature, that life never rises above life, that man always finds himself back where he was at the beginning, that there is no revolt, no redemption, no escape for the slave of the earth and of the desires of the earth. There is any amount of pessimistic poetry on that theme that is thrilling enough in its own way; and doubtless the music on that theme can be thrilling also. But it cannot be liberating, or even loosening; it does not escape as a common or vulgar melody can escape. It is the song of the treadmill.”

GKC might not have loved the actuality of Jazz but he liked it's idea, as he uses the word in a positive way in many of his essays.

But he loved modern dance. I use the word love because his writings on modern dance were in the form of poetry and poetry is the language of love.

Although possible, I do not know if Chesterton ever saw Isadora Duncan or Ruth St. Dennis perform but he must have seen their influences.

Nick posted one of theses poems here THE JAZZ

My favorite line is: "She looks nearly as pretty as when she is not dancing..."
They should have known something was up when he pinstriped his buggy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What Were They Thinking Department

Fund Raising idea gone bad.

It's not like anyone was using it anyway.

The sauna idea was good because it can get hot in there.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bentley's Clerihews - found a copy

I just received a copy of the 1981 Oxford University Press edition of The Complete Clerihews of E. Clerihew Bentley. (It's out of print, but I found a like-new copy on line).


It includes the illustrations that Chesterton did for a number of the early poems. It also contains some poems that I either hadn't seen before, or read so long ago I didn't remember them.

There's a nice introductions by Gavin Ewart that includes a few clerihews by some other poets.

I've already read through the book, and will continue to dive back in.

A nice find.

Edgar Allan Poe
Was passionatley fond of roe.
He always liked to chew some
When writing anything gruesome.

(From the back cover)

Friday, July 16, 2010

To Vacate

Going camping for a week with my daughters and the grandkids. Long ago my bride admitted she is not a roughing-type-of-gal but me and the kids love it - camp smoke in the cloths and everything, we will miss her.........

Very low tech week. Swimming, hiking, fishing, reading and bacon.

Until I return here is a little camp song.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In and Out of the Cave

"The common sense of the child could confine itself to learning from the facts what the facts have to teach; and the pictures in the cave are very nearly all the facts there are. So far as that evidence goes, the child would be justified in assuming that a man had represented animals with rock and red ochre for the same reason as he himself was in the habit of trying to represent animals with charcoal and red chalk. The man had drawn a stag just as the child had drawn a horse; because it was fun. The man had drawn a stag with his head turned as the child had drawn a pig with his eyes shut; because it was difficult. The child and the man, being both human, would be united by the brotherhood of men; and the brotherhood of men is even nobler when it bridges the abyss of ages than when it bridges only the chasm of class. But anyhow he would see no evidence of the cave man of crude evolutionism; because there is none to be seen. If somebody told him that the pictures had all been drawn by St. Francis of Assisi out of pure and saintly love of animals, there would be nothing in the cave to contradict it. " GKC Everlasting Man

When Picasso first saw the cave paintings at Lascaux it is reported he said, "We have learned nothing."

When teaching my Humanities class I often quote from Everlasting man. Last year when archeologists found a flute that was 30,000 plus years old I was in the throws of such a presentation. Man has always been in search of the higher things. The only way to express those things is through the arts.

We can recreate that flute from the same type of bone using the same type of tolls used by the caveman and learn what kind of sound was made by that flute BUT we will never know what kind of music was played by those early seekers.

Then again, in the future, someone may wonder what kind of music was played on a 3 string guitar and an old wooden box? And they will come across Seasick Steve. CaveMan blues.

When you evangelize timing is everything

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery Store.
As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked,
"Son, can you tell me where the Post Office is?"

The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street a coupla blocks
and turn to your right."

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town.
I'd like for you to come to church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."

The little boy replied with a chuckle. "Awww, come on...
You don't even know the way to the Post Office."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a CATHOLIC politician? whod a thunk it

"Human law is law only in virtue of its accordance with right reason: and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is not law at all, but rather a species of violence..." [Aquinas, Summa Theologica I-II Q93 A3 ad 2]

"In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it." GKC

Most politicians are the modern types of reformers and their visionary powers can not see past tomorrow's headlines.

However Chris Christie, the Gov. of New Jersey, is looking past that headline. He may be the only politician who not only says he is against abortion but knows that the state should not be in the killing business. He is cutting Planed Parenthood from the state budget. He also is embracing the concept of subsidiary.

Could distributionism be far behind. Maybe, if he survives the the political fist of PP.

While at the same time the Current Occupant, always deviating from right reason, is increasing funds to the death mills.

$25 million fund established by the new health care law to assist pregnant women. $250 million to Planned Parenthood.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just cause we did it before.....

Dad29 left a comment on my post "The Sanger Parade Marches On":

"Yah, well.

In the early 1900's, the Progressives in Wisconsin called for mandatory sterilization of the "feebleminded."

At that time, the Progressives were all Republicans. The Catholic Bishops rallied the troops--and since then, the Democrat party has dominated Wisconsin elective offices. "

True, forced Sterilization of the of the mentally disabled happened in more that half of the states in this country up to the early-mid sixties. The rest at least thought about it or did it without anyone knowing.

Not sure why he mentioned Democrats and Republicans the split is pretty even in the states that practiced this act. Heavy on the Democrat side in the South.

One public service article entitled:

North Carolina Law, little used, makes small dent in problem: Public information is vital to success of Eugenics.

It tried to inform the public this was a good idea with such quotes as:

"An animal breeder, if he took the time to study our technique in perperuating the race, would likely shudder and use strong language. He knows better that to permit his scrub stock to out breed his best blood lines on a two-to-one basis.
In the past we have made (and still making some half-hearted stabs at correcting the imbalance in our birth rates. The use of contraceptives has been urged to help bring the birth rates into balance. Yet contraceptives have back-fired on us. Generally speaking, they have been accepted only among the class of persons who represent our best mental stock." (emphasis mine)

The last quote was the basis for the movie Idiocracy

North Carolina's rules were simple:

The Eugenics Board will order an operation:

1. Where it is to the best interest of the patient, mentally, morally, or physically.

2. When the operation is for the public good.

3. Where the operation has been requested by the guardian of a mental case.

4. Where the patient "would be likely, unless operated on, to procreate a child or children who would have a tendency to serious physical, mental or nervous disease or deficiency."

Oh yes they also call on the founding fathers to back them up:

"When William Penn observed, "Menare generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children," his readers smiled and nodded, "How true! How true!" In the past two centuries we have come to learn just how true this observation is. We continue to quote William Penn and nod our heads but we no longer can afford to smile."

The important point in Dad29's comment was that the Bishop's did rally the troops and ended this practice, at least by state law. As they recently did in Louisianan and are continually working to end abortion both in and out of our two party system.

Dad29 pick up a copy of G.K. Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Improving Chances for Success

When my eldest son wanted to join the military, each branch of service courted him with hefty sign-on bonuses and no entrance exams. They were hungry for warm bodies.

My son joined the Air Force because they gave him the best deal.

Now that my youngest son is considering the same move he asked the recruiter about sign-on bonuses.

The Sargent told us that the because of the current economy there is no need for monetary incentives to get people to join. And he would have pass an exam. It is the only job out there right now that doesn't lay people off.

Schools have seen this trend and are adjusting the curriculum accordingly.

What's Right With The World

Good article by Gerald J. Russello

Little Emperors

"We can always convict such people of sentimentalism by their weakness for euphemism. The phrase they use is always softened and suited for journalistic appeals. They talk of free love when they mean something quite different, better defined as free lust. But being sentimentalists they feel bound to simper and coo over the word "love." They insist on talking about Birth Control when they mean less birth and no control. We could smash them to atoms, if we could be as indecent in our language as they are immoral in their conclusions." (GKC: "Obstinate Orthodoxy" The Thing)

An interesting series of essays and articles about China's one child policy from an unexpected source.

The essays from the the the Little Emperors themselves are the most heart wrenching.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

You know those times when you find a jug of milk in the back of the refrigerator that you KNOW has gone bad but you smell it anyway?

The Mike Wallace interview with Margaret Sanger is like that.

Sanger begins with: "I was what I would call a born humanitarian."

Later she says, "
I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world--that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they're born. That to me is the greatest sin -- that people can -- can commit.."

full transcript here

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Sanger Parade Marches On

When Barbara Harris began her story on how she adopted her children I paid attention because it was a similar story of our path to adoption. We both received children from drug addicts who knew they were incapable to raise that child. I soon found that we both reacted differently from this similar experience.

Where as when we found out the birth mother was pregnant again we located another family seeking to adopt. A word of mouth network began and several children of women in trouble have been adopted. We are no longer in the loop but referrals are still happening - no web site needed.

Now Barb took a different tact. She thinks these types of women should not breed. She has set up an organization to pay these women (and men) to be sterilized.

"Hey Girls, just say yes to this little procedure and we will give you $300.00" Her business is death and business is booming. Now she exporting, starting in the UK

"More children for the fit, less from the unfit - that is the chief aim of birth control." Margaret Sanger 1919

In that same vien a Louisiana State Rep., John LaBruzzo is putting together another program to help society: "What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generation welfare," he said.
He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid gender discrimination, vasectomies for men. This program would pay the volunteers $1,000.00.
It could also include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

Fortunately the state legislature put the kibosh on that - for now.

Final thought:
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live." Deut. 30-19

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Cinematic Bookends

It has been argued that Fellini's Satyricon does not fit well in his body of work. Some call it his best and others laugh at that notion. But all agree that this film was not your typical sandal and spear roman epic and is still the best presentation of the pre-christian world ever put to film.

Fellini really captured that time in history that Chesterton labels; "Pan was nothing but panic. Venus was nothing but venereal vice."

The film shows a life devoted to sensation and personal freedom devoid of any transcendent meaning.

This is why GKC also reminds us "Pagans were wiser that paganism; that is why the pagans became Christians."

It took about 1200 years to cleans us of the pagan era as outlined in Chesterton's book on Saint Francis. ushering in the Christian era.

Now, today, many are saying, we are beginning the postchristian era. This I have been trying to deny to no avail because the evidence is so overwhelming. Thus brings us Terry Zwigoff's film, Art School Confidential. Again critics were divided on to whether this is a good film or not but it is an excellent example of the post-christian era (something they do not even notice) and as such it is just as unsettling as Satyricon.

Again, a film that shows a life devoted to sensation and personal freedom coupled with a pursuit of fame and fortune at any cost all devoid of any transcendent meaning. This film also shows the art world today in all its empty chaos. The artists today are still trying to deconstruct something that has been deconstructed a hundred and fifty years ago. They are deconstructing with out any philosophy, understanding or sense of beauty.

The sixties brought us a back-to-nature "pagan" way of life, it's "high point" was Woodstock and then it went ugly very fast. As GKC said, "Whatever natural religion may have had to do with their beginnings, nothing but fiends now inhabited those hollow shrines."

I think both movies should be seen but I warn you it will not be a feel good evening of cinema.
Also Felline is a better film maker and much is lost on the small screen where as Art School Confidential works just as well on the small screen because postchristian ideas and ideals are small.

Monday, July 05, 2010

What would Gene Autry say?

Chesterton, spoke poetically about cheese;

Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
England has need of thee, and so have I--
She is a Fen. Far as the eye can scour,
League after grassy league from Lincoln tower
To Stilton in the fields, she is a Fen.
Yet this high cheese, by choice of fenland men,
Like a tall green volcano rose in power.
Plain living and long drinking are no more,
And pure religion reading "Household Words",
And sturdy manhood sitting still all day
Shrink, like this cheese that crumbles to its core;
While my digestion, like the House of Lords,
The heaviest burdens on herself doth lay.

Yet curiously silent about Harmonicas.
I think this would have gotten his attention.

A New Friend Found

Leafing through my new yard sale How-To-Build-Furniture book my Bride said to me, "You know I would Like some chairs to put under our big maple in the back yard."

"There are some plans for Adirondack chairs in here."

"Well, I saw, on a show, the other night where they used Arts and Crafts style chairs outside and it looked real nice."

For those of you not married let me translate that statement: 'I want Arts and Crafts chairs and nothing else will do.' There were no Arts and Crafts style chairs in this book. Another twentyfive cents wasted.

At times I really believe that HGTV is a tool of the devil.

"Stickley or Morris style?" I asked.

"You pick."

My research got waylaid when I found an entry that couples William Morris with G.K.C. and there I found a kindred spirit, Jennifer Pierce. She writes a very interesting series called GKC 15 Minutes at a time. It begins here.

Jennifer has a respectful love of Chesterton and the series is a wonderful read as she weaves modern art, theater, and pop culture through the lens of a Chesterton world view, quoting him liberally.

The down side is her site has an annoying pop-up that keeps asking you to register. You can hit cancel and keep reading.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

“There can be comparatively little question that the place ordinarily occupied by dreams in literature is peculiarly unreal and unsatisfying. When the hero tells us that “last night he dreamed a dream,” we are quite certain from the perfect and decorative character of the dream that he made it up at breakfast…….Dreams have a kind of hellish ingenuity and energy in the pursuit of the inappropriate; the most omniscient and cunning artist never took so much trouble or achieved such success in finding exactly the word that was right or exactly the action that was significant, as this midnight lord of misrule can do in finding exactly the word that is wrong and exactly the action that is meaningless.” GKC

Why I highlighted that particular phrase is because last night I had a powerful dream. In this dream I came up with an invention for a train car that would be able to transport fruits and vegetables, from California to parts east, without spoiling. In it I saw many schematics, innovative insulation techniques, and I was able to see and solve the previous problems that others did not.

When I awoke I gave this dream some thought and decided it would work. I got up in search of a pencil and then remembered that this “thing” had already been invented and was working fine, they call it a refrigerator car.

It was then I recalled Chesterton’s essay on dreams.

Sometimes it is better to wake up and know you are a fool as opposed to finding out later in the day.

A Merton Clerihew

In his early life Thomas Merton
was often uncertain.
He ended his consternation
through contemplation.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

This Looks Like Fun

Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype

In his autobiography G.K.C. mentions "the well-known and widespread national game of Gype".

Specifically, Chesterton mentions, "I myself cut out and coloured pieces of cardboard of mysterious and significant shapes, the instruments of Table Gype; a game for the little ones."

Almost 100 years later, Eternal Revolution has published Table Gype as an abstract strategy game with a random element.

If you have this game I'd love a review.

Maybe a Gype Tournament at the Chesterton Conference. with muffins as a prize for the winners