Random quotes

“I’m a married man, as you know, Peter. A comic figure, the married man kept by his wife.”

“We all have to be kept by somebody, you know. Better one’s wife than a person of low character.”

Lord Peter Wimsey in The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers, BBC production, 1973.

The statistics on crime and guns are often confounding. Nationally, guns account for 60 percent of all homicides; and yet gun violence has been declining for the last decade. The murder rate in Texas has dropped from 16.9 per 100,000 in 1980 to 4.8 in 2015 — an astonishing decline. In California, the most restric­tive state in the country for gun ownership, the murder rate is exactly the same as in Texas. The states with the lowest homicide rates are North Dakota and Wyoming, which have very permis­sive gun laws; and lowest of all, at 1.6 per 100,000, is Vermont, which has ‘constitutional carry’ — i.e., anyone over the age of sixteen can carry a gun. (Vermont is one of thirteen states where permits to carry concealed weapons are not required.) Chicago, which has highly restrictive gun laws, also has one of the high­est rates of gun homicides in the country, but it doesn’t compare with the District of Columbia, which tops the charts in both restrictive gun laws and gun homicides.

Lawrence Wright, God Save TexasAlfred A. Knopf (2018), pp. 150-152.

I once tried to explain the problems faced by faithful Catholics to my good friend Eric Metaxas. [author of good books on Bonhoeffer and Wilberforce] “Imagine you felt your salvation depended on staying inside a Church with apostolic doctrines, which is run by liberal Protestants.”

John Zmirak at Stream (quoted by Fr. Z).

 

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Agellius sells out

If you’ll excuse me for commercializing this blog, this business is run by someone close to me. He designs and sells travel bags and accessories, specializing in anti-theft features. He recently lost a couple of large buyers and is therefore clearing out his inventory at deep discounts. In all sincerity, he is one of the kindest, most generous people you would ever want to meet. His stuff is not Gucci or Chanel, but is very well made with quality materials, and he stands behind his products. I get nothing for endorsing his business.

Integralism and Ralliement

Laodicea

Ralliement

“[T]he principle of the separation of the State and Church … is equivalent to the separation of human legislation from Christian and divine legislation. We do not care to interrupt Ourselves here in order to demonstrate the absurdity of such a separation; each one will understand for himself. As soon as the State refuses to give to God what belongs to God, by a necessary consequence it refuses to give to citizens that to which, as men, they have a right; as, whether agreeable or not to accept, it cannot be denied that man’s rights spring from his duty toward God. Whence if follows that the State, by missing in this connection the principal object of its institution, finally becomes false to itself by denying that which is the reason of its own existence. These superior truths are so clearly proclaimed by the voice of even natural reason, that they…

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The all-natural, organic conundrum

I was in Sprouts Market the other day and noticed the decor. It was made up to be like the interior of a barn or an outdoor farmers market. The way they achieved that effect was to use a lot of unfinished wood and green and orange paint. Sprouts sells of a lot of organic stuff, all-natural this and no-hormones that. Evidently people who shop there like this kind of thing: farms, wood, nature. They’re concerned about things like global warming, industrialization and de-forestation.

I wondered if this presents a conundrum for them: They like to be surrounded with natural materials, not synthetics. All-natural cotton or hemp clothing, and natural, not synthetic wood furnishings. But all this wooden decor means that trees had to be cut down to make it. Either that or you have to manufacture fake wood finishings. Isn’t this a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation?

In the last couple of years on HGTV there has been a show about “tiny houses”. At first the idea was to build homes with just the bare minimum of space needed to live in, so you have less area to heat and cool, cutting down on your “carbon footprint”. But then the trend started turning towards tiny houses on wheels. That way you could up and relocate without much trouble, or travel around and see new places while taking your home with you.

This is what we old folks used to call a motor home or a trailer.

The problem with motor homes and trailers is that they are industrially mass produced. And that’s bad. Plus they use big engines to haul themselves around, causing a lot of pollution. Huge carbon footprint. Much better to live in an all-natural tiny home. That you haul around with a truck. With a big engine.

Not only must mobile tiny homes be hauled around with trucks, but something made entirely of all-natural wood is heavy. Industrial-scale RV manufacturers have spent decades figuring out the lightest, most efficient materials with which to build motor homes — aluminum and plastic are generally lighter than wood — and also have designed them to be reasonably streamlined, all of which translates to lower fuel consumption. Whereas not only are tiny homes on wheels made entirely of wood, they’re also not designed with aerodynamics in mind. Usually they’re just big, heavy (but fashionable!) wooden boxes on wheels.

Again the conundrum: Mass-produced items are efficiently produced items, efficient to make and efficient to use. The manufacturers have every incentive to make them so, in order to increase both sales, and profits on sales. But people who build their own mobile tiny homes out of all-natural wood — who evidently can’t bring themselves to go RV shopping — what is their incentive?

Adoremus in Aeternum

I heard this song at Mass this morning (with my son in the choir). Lovely and inspiring.

Adoremus in aeternum Sanctissimum Sacramentum.
Laudate Dominum Omnes Gentes
Laudate Eum Omnes Populi
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia eius
Et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri Et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in Principio et Nunc et Semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Adoremus in aeternum Sanctissimum Sacramentum.

We will adore for eternity the most holy Sacrament.
Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him all ye peoples.
Because his mercy is confirmed upon us:
and the truth of the Lord remains forever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
We will adore for eternity the most holy Sacrament.
Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him all ye peoples.

 

I indulge my short attention span

Last night before bed I washed the little case that I keep my earplugs in and set it down next to the sink. When I woke up this morning, it was still too dark to see in the bathroom with the light off. I took my earplugs out, walked into the bathroom, and put my hand exactly where the case was, no feeling around for it, but reaching out and grasping it just as if it were broad daylight. I was surprised I even remembered exactly where I put it, let alone that I could put my hand directly on it without even seeing it. Our bodies are incredible.

I’ve been reading the book “Emotional Intelligence”. It talks about how the immune system learns and adapts just as the brain does. I would have thought that the immune system was controlled by the brain, but apparently they’re two different systems, so much so that the discovery that they are actually connected in some ways was newsworthy.

For the past year and a half or so, I have been blogging less. I don’t know why. I’m not having ideas, and when I have them I have trouble writing them down. That’s also about the time I changed jobs. Since then I seem to have a shorter attention span. Hence this rambling from one topic to another. It seems to be the only way I can write more than a paragraph at a time.

This morning while praying the rosary I experienced a sort of timelessness. I don’t mean anything mystical, just that the usual time pressure that I feel was absent. Usually from the time I wake up until I go to bed, I’m feeling the pressure of too many things to do and not enough time (as everyone does, I assume). Even when I’m relaxing, or trying to relax — which, believe me, I do enough of — I’m still feeling time pressure. But this morning, possibly because I woke up so early, I had the sense of there being plenty of time. With my windows open to let in the cool morning air, I could hear the mourning doves cooing back and forth outside, in stereo, one on the left and one on the right. I could hear my son stirring in his bedroom next to mine, then settling back down. My wife outside turning the water on and off to water her “pets”, which is what she calls her plants. I have things to do today, but if I don’t get started for an hour or two it will be fine. So these next two hours, and especially the next 20 minutes or so while praying the rosary, are pressure-free. I can meditate and pray and praise God for the cool breeze through the window, my healthy wife and her healthy plants, the birds cooing and chirping, my son enjoying a late sleep on a Saturday morning.

This is one thing that I think will be precious to me in heaven — no time pressure. Plenty of time to meditate and praise God without the feeling that I’m neglecting other things. The one thing necessary.

Some Mormons have told me that they believe heaven will not be a static state, not a place of rest and timelessness but of continued activity, continuing marriage and being given in marriage, continued child-bearing and raising of a sort, continued striving for this goal or that, and even worrying and suffering. If it’s all these things, I can’t help thinking that there must be time-pressure as well, or at least the potential for it; more things to do than there is time in the day. If not, why not?

In the traditional concept of heaven, our peace and happiness have a source: our spiritual union with God. God being eternal and infinite, we can enjoy timelessness to our heart’s content. We don’t have to be anywhere or do anything, since there’s nothing that will wither and die without our attention, like our plants or our pets, our children or our car. If my meditations are fruitful — and they will be — I can feel free to continue in them for the next 20 minutes, or hours, or years, without anything else suffering from my lack of attention.

This evening we’re having my Mom and her boyfriend over for a late Mother’s Day brunch. It’s neither Mother’s Day nor brunch since it will be at dinner time. We don’t take my Mom out for brunch on Mother’s Day, since the restaurants are crazy crowded. Instead we invite her over and cook for her, which she likes since she prefers home-cooked food anyway. We postponed it this year since we were out of town on the actual Mother’s Day, attending my son’s graduation from college. If I don’t stop this scribbling pretty soon, I won’t have time to change the spark plugs on my car, balance the checkbook, and go to the store to buy some good Irish whiskey to serve before or after dinner. Things will suffer. There are limits. In heaven at last we’re spared from limits, at least as regards time and things suffering and decaying.

On making the worst of the past

Now, do not do me the injustice of thinking that I am by nature or inclination a laudator temporis acti [one who praises past times]. I am not the man to be looking for the golden age in the days gone by. God forbid ! But I count it the worst form of scornful ingratitude to indulge in boastings over our advance by making the worst of the past, and speaking of the generations behind us as if they were conspicuous only for their ignorance, their grossness, their vices, and their brutality.

” For we throw out acclamations of self-thanking, self-admiring,
With— at every mile run faster— ‘Oh, the wondrous, wondrous age ! ‘
Little heeding if we work our souls as nobly as our iron,
Or if angels will commend us at the goal of pilgrimage ! “

Augustus Jessop, England’s Peasantry and Other Essays (1914).