Essential Knowledge II

I wish I had a name to go with the ZMan’s blog, but he seems to be in business around DC, and having done that myself, and having read how forthright his writing is, I understand.

This is an example, arguing that you/we can’t understand the present without a firm understanding of the past, and like it or not (that’s mine, not his, interjection) that’s largely Western Culture’s history (and now we’re back to his thesis) and Western Culture’s history can’t be understood without knowing religion, and specifically Christianity (and Judaism and Islam, but I just want to refer you to his article, not write a precis).

I’m familiar with most of his suggested sources, and agree that they’re the best way for an athiest/agnostic/lapsed member to start.

Read it. Please.

Twitter and Me and Very Strange Business Decisions

I had a Twitter account very early on. It’s deleted now, and all the related emails that I’ve gotten from Twitter, so I’m not sure exactly when, but sometime in 2008. I “tweeted” maybe twice or three times before this summer, then I discovered The Strobist site and got excited about moving beyond “available light” photography. The Strobist has an amazing amount of information, including detailed tutorials, on using off-camera flash. Great resource, strongly recommended, but this is about Twitter. Sort of. Continue reading

Back Again

There was a time, years ago, when there were fairly frequent, short posts here, mostly of the TOTD (Thought of the Day) variety – pithy sayings, sentences or paragraphs gleaned from the day’s Internet prowling or the evening’s reading. Then the day came when I realized that, for the most part, those pithy sayings tended to be, well, possibly impolitic given the nature of my business arrangements (my primary client being the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, or CSAT, in essence not only Federal bureaucrats but almost entirely social workers). So, like a prudent if not courageous undercover something-or-other not at all progressive or even liberal (unless maybe Classical Liberal), I censored myself. Or, as Archie Bunker would say, “Stifle yerself!”

So, enough deep background. I see that I told this story in more detail just a few months ago here so have a look if you’re interested. Today’s point, and I do have one, is that FaceBook and I are having a partial parting of the ways. And this is to tell why. Continue reading

Back In The Game

Well, now I know that at least one person other than Me, Myself and I drop in here…I was asked to moderate the first spam comment in literally years this morning. Something about “arena oxides” and how much the princess, their friend, was edified by the deep thinking and perceptive helping nature that I displayed in a post a few days ago, accompanied by a gibberish email address and several links that even I am too timid to follow. I guess I should thank Google for the exposure.

On Discipline

David Warren’s “Essays in Idleness” blog is usually at least amusing or interesting, and not uncommonly thought provoking. I don’t know him personally, but I have the feeling that he’d be somewhat uncomfortable being described as “profound”, so I won’t do so. Today, he’s at least worth quoting:

“A lot of time has been wasted by busybodied fools arguing that someone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare; that someone other than Homer wrote Homer. (“Another poet of that generation who happened to have the same name.”) The time would be better spent reading such authors. The same is true, generally, of the Church Fathers: better to read them in their breadth, and not with a view to pursuing small vexatious points — inevitably to factional ends.”

Do yourself a favor and read the entire article here

Why Add to a Blog in 2016?

Why, indeed? When Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media silos exist out there, where Everybody is following Everybody else, why write something new to add to something as old-school, so Last Year or Last Decade as a blog, where arguably nobody will see it?

Well, trust me, I’ve tried to share “socially”, at least on FB. I resisted joining that Place where Youngsters Talk Past Each Other for a while. My tipping point came sometime in the spring of 2012 while I was visiting Maryland to stay with my ailing Father. My first night there, my baby sister (who lived next door to him) dropped in and said, “Congratulations!” I was grateful for the kind words, but didn’t know why I was to be congratulated. “Because Caitlyn is having another baby – you’re going to be a Great-Grandpa again!” It turns out that any family news is now shared on Facebook and nowhere else. OK, I may be a Canuck by choice, but I’m not going to be Canute, ordering the tides to cease. I joined Facebook and tried to play the game.
Continue reading

September 10, 2001

It’s a stretch to remember what concerned me fifteen years ago, on September 10. 2001.

William Butler Yeats wrote Easter, 1916 in part describing Easter Sunday, April 23, 1916, the day before the Easter Rising, and how after Easter Monday:

  He, too, has resigned his part
  In the casual comedy;
  He, too, has been changed in his turn,
  Transformed utterly:
  A terrible beauty is born.

And W. H. Auden, in September 1, 1939 covered the same ground as Germany poised to invade Poland:

  Uncertain and afraid
  As the clever hopes expire
  Of a low dishonest decade:
  Waves of anger and fear
  Circulate over the bright
  And darkened lands of the earth,
  Obsessing our private lives;
  The unmentionable odour of death.

I can’t help noticing a significant difference that we face today, however.

The Irish Republic was established three years after the Rising, and WWII had come to an end in just under six years after the invasion of Poland, long, terrible years that they were in both cases, but the still the denouement was achieved.

And here we are, fifteen years later.

I had no idea. Did you?

Have you found the poem describing September 10, 2001? Is it too soon?

h/t to Gerard Van der Leun

Moral Authority

When I heard that Pope Francis had visited the Little Sisters of the Poor last night, I heard Martin Luther King’s voice saying his words from Birmingham Jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

He deserves his propers for doing that.


Emmet Fox challenges “believers” to accept that miracles are a necessary part of the gospel story, and likewise challenges “skeptics” to consider that they are a natural part of a universe that science doesn’t fully comprehend.


Now, one must extend every sympathy to the special pleadings of a man enthralled by the beauty and mystery of the Gospels, but who, in the absence of the Spiritual Key, seems to find his common sense and all the scientific knowledge of mankind flouted by much that these Gospels contain. But this simply will not do. If the miracles did not happen, the rest of the Gospel story loses all real significance. Continue reading

The American student

Our educational system is about crowd control, but there is no small cabal of Lex Luthor-style evil geniuses that cackle with glee at their plan. The somnolence and mediocrity go all the way up and all the way down. The Secretary of Education herself would be horrified if she made a gun out of a Pop-Tart. — James Chastek