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Archives for August 2005

Parting Shot…

…afore I venture off into the mysterious Midwest…

So we’re sitting in urgent care, waiting for Third Son and The Wife to emerge (it’s been that kind of day), and I’m trying to pass the time with the Remaining Three by swapping lies. My first one got a good response: “I’ve never seen any of you children before in my life, and I don’t know why you keep talking to me.” My second was aimed right at First Son, whose desire for wealth is remarkable. “I’m actually the richest man in the world; I just act like I’m poor out of love for you children – so you don’t get spoiled.” First Son, without hesitation, made like he was holding a gun to his head and replied, “Tell me where your money is or I’ll shoot myself.” Very shrewd child, that.

Lord, Have Mercy

From the NOLA blog:

HELPPP from writes:

5851. BAPTIST HOSIPTAL EMERGENCY
by Jillybean82, 8/31/05 16:52 ET
Baptist hospital has been taken over with guns. it is horrible. I talked to my friend who is a nurse. she was screaming that is terrible. there are bodies just everywhere. people are stealing all there supplies.

i don’t know how to get this information to the news station. This is first hand information.

there is 25ft of water in the hospital. Please please help.

– Jilljill0782@aol.com

Hello, I Must Be Going…

…I cannot stay/I came to say/I must be going…

That’s right – just after traffic has started to pick up ’round the Godsbody homestead, Mr. Godsbody has to go and get fidgety, start talkin’ bout squatters, and head off for parts unlinked…

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be spending a week in darkest Wisconsin, roaming the Hundred Acre Wood, er, Johnsonville compound as it plays host to my 10-year college reunion. I’ll also be doing a lil’ research for Book Two.

IN THE MEANTIME…I’m putting my brother Mark in charge of the blog. Expect an uptick in intelligence, and a certain German density to the sentences.

Ten years…Judas. Dom over at Bettnet has just announced that he’s gonna be the new editor of Catholic World Report, and it looks like he graduated the same time as I did. Oh, I get all goose-pimply just thinking about the humiliations that await me in Wisconsin…

Actual conversatioon with former classmate:

“I read your book.”
“You did? Thanks a lot!”
(Crickets.)

Yessir, gonna be a hoot! Keep those martinis coming, and tell the kids not to put the fireworks in their mouths once they’re lit…

Jesus in Arby’s

While dining at Arby’s, 21-month-old daughter pauses in her escapades about the restaurant to point at a metal crossbeam in the window frame at kid-height near our table. She bounds up to it and grabs hold of the horizontal beam with both hands. “Cross!” she says. “Jesus!”

Rough Night

Half an hour of late-night arguing with the eight year old First Son about suffering, one that drove him to the point of saying, “If God hadn’t created, there wouldn’t be evil!” I told him to pray for those who were suffering, to focus on love and not on “not liking God.” I’m glad he didn’t see the accounts of looters trying to break into a Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

Lickona on Percy

Over at Godsbody, Mr. Lickona advises a reader on which Walker Percy novel to read next.

Devastation

First Son, upon witnessing photos of New Orleans.
“How many people have died?”
“Never mind, son. What matters is that many, many people have had their lives devastated.”
“Why is God doing this?”
“I don’t know.”
The wife: “Sometimes people get so wrapped up in stuff that they forget about the things that really matter, like love. Maybe God wants to help people remember love. God loves the poor; he sends special graces to them.”
“It seems like too harsh a punishment.”
“It’s not a punishment, son.”
“It’s the end of the world!”
“No, son. It’s not. Go say a prayer for them.”

Not the best handling. He caught me off guard; I was still floored by the wreck.

A Reader Writes!

“I’m in a bit of dry spell as far as reading goes. I’m thinking about taking up Walker Percy again. I’ve read the Moviegoer (liked it, but found it to be a bit obscure) and once started the Last Gentleman. When I started LG, I was a bit burned out on the post-modern “what is wrong with man” genre, and set it aside. Fast forward a two or three years, and I never went back to it.

Everyone seems to have an opinion as to where one should start with Percy. Given your literary-street cred, I’m asking you – LG, or Love in the Runis? Any other suggestions? “

Dear Reader,
I’ve said it before – flattery will get you everywhere. “Literary street-cred,” indeed. If you’re burned out on “what’s wrong with man?” you’re going to have trouble with rather a bit of Percy – it was his stock in trade, the question he spent his life answering. (I really enjoyed the approach he took in Lost in the Cosmos – though it’s not a novel.) This was perhaps most evident in Last Gentleman and The Second Coming – the latter of which can be slow going, despite its not inconsiderable charms (Allison).

For the very finest in zany laff riots, go with Love in the Ruins. Yes, the racial stuff is a bit dated, but the book has some pure, pure comedy – “Father Kev Kevin sitting at the vaginal console, reading his Commonweal” – oh, my, yes. A wonderful story. Gets my vote. Some think it his finest work.

Lancelot is a dark, dark book – a detective story of sorts – still asking “what’s wrong with man” but venturing into more violent territory. Probably not the place to start.

The Thanatos Syndrome – the one you can find in most used bookstores – was a favorite of literary biographer Paul Elie. It’s another mystery/thriller of sorts, but much lighter in tone and more straightforward in the telling. It’s the sequel to Love in the Ruins – of sorts. Read Love then this, then get back to us with a report.

While we’re at it…

…on the subject of Waugh, Sis-in-Law has a post over at True Motherhood which talks about what broke Sebastian…

Diversity

Amy’s up earlier than I am – dratted time zones – and she’s first mentioning that Godspy has an interview with David Scott, author of The Catholic Passion: Rediscovering the Power and Beauty of the Faith.

She excerpted one quote; I’ll excerpt another:

***

In addition to John Paul II, which writers have influenced you the most over the years?

In high school and college I read tons of fiction and poetry. I don’t do much looking back, but if I did I think I’d find that Dostoevsky and Melville, who were my favorites, first stirred the religious impulse in me. The Confidence Man and The Idiot were huge for me at one time. When I was coming back to the church, of course, it was John Paul, especially the first two social encyclicals, and the trilogy on the Trinity. Ratzinger’s two letters on liberation theology were important. I read Neuhaus’ Naked Public Square when it first came out. That was powerful. It changed my orientation to the culture and opened my eyes to a whole dimension of the faith that I’d never thought about before.

Dorothy Day was probably my biggest influence. I spent an entire winter in a library every night reading and photocopying everything she ever wrote in The Catholic Worker. A lot of that went into a book I did a few years back. She showed me how Catholicism could be a total way of life. Because she was such an incredible reader and was always writing about what she was reading, she was my gateway into this whole world of Catholic culture-novels, social theorists, artists, poets, philosophers. I wanted to read everything she read. And I’m still trying. In recent years, Daniélou, De Lubac, and Ratzinger helped lead me deeper into the church fathers and the treasures of the liturgy. Mauriac’s novels and prose remain important. At the moment, I’m on an Evelyn Waugh kick.

***

What the poor devil doesn’t know is that what he’s calling “an Evelyn Waugh kick” is really, most likely, the first throes of an Evelyn Waugh addiction. But leave that aside for the moment. I think it augers well for Scott that he can cite Dorothy Day and Richard Neuhaus as influences without even bothering to note the differences in their political bents.