Archives for August 2007

Walker, Apocalyptic Ranger

New Favorite T-Shirt

Try the braided garlic loaf. Also, the sandwich loaf. Also, the pastries. Also, everything. The place is run by a guy from my high school class. It’s wonderful.

Korrektiv Summit IV: A Baptism

The Korrektiv kids discuss the doctrine of original sin.

Henri, Rufus and Quin pose with the newly baptized Joan of Arc McCain.

St. John the Baptist, Pray for Us

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

And finally…

…a word in defense, even if it is oblique. Alec Guinness, in recounting his conversion to Catholicism in his memoir Blessings in Disguise, tells a story from the days when he was filming The Detective (a film based on Chesterton’s Father Brown stories). Guinness, still in his priestly costume, is walking back to his hotel in France as it gets dark:

“I hadn’t gone far when I heard scampering footsteps and a piping voice calling, ‘Mon pere!’ My hand was seized by a boy of seven or eight, who clutched it tightly, swung it and kept up a non-stop prattle. He was full of excitement, hops, skips and jumps, but never let go of me. I didn’t dare speak in case my excruciating French should scare him. Although I was a total stranger he obviously took me for a priest and so to be trusted”

The boy takes his leave as they pass his home, “and I was left with an odd calm sense of elation. Continuing my walk I reflected that a Church which could inspire such confidence in a child, making its priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable could not be as scheming and creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, long-absorbed prejudices.”

Of course, such a story carries a note of deep sadness today. The scandal has indeed been scandalous. But it is a good story, all the same.

While I’m at it…

…I may as well include this bit from Fitzgerald’s The Crack-Up:

“The easiest way to get a reputation is to outside the fold, shout around for a few years as a violent atheist or a dangerous radical, and then crawl back to the shelter. The fatted calf is killed for Spargo, Papini, Chesterton and Henry Arthur Jones. There is a bigger temporary premium put on losing your nerve in this regard than in any other.” Hoo!

Iron Strengthens Iron…

…so I suppose it’s worthwhile to post, after highlighting that bit from Chesterton in my collection of ’20s-’30s Vanity Fair, some word against against the man from the same volume – i.e., from one of his contemporaries. The magazine asked various worthies to name “the ten great writers whom they find most thoroughly boring…we have all heard about the people who don’t know much about art, but know what they like.’ Here we present you with a number of people who know a great deal about art, and who know what they don’t like.”

Christopher Morley guessed – correctly, I think – that the magazine, “in asking this appalling question hopes to be answered, not by a list of such classic bores as Carlyle or John Stuart Mill or Dr. Frank Crane, but by the names of contemporaries. This, obviously, will lead to a rousing hullaballoo and healthy irritation.” (Bonus points for using “hullabaloo.”)

Morley didn’t list Chesterton among his ten bores, but Ernest Boyd did. Here is Boyd’s opening: “One is tempted to begin at the beginning and list all the five-foot bookshelf geniuses, Homer, Virgil, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and so forth, but here is an opportunity to be indiscreet. So, instead of taking refuge amongst the defenseless dead, I will mention my imperfect sympathies amongst the moderns.”

Chesterton has good company – Boyd goes after Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and Joseph Conrad, among others. Here he is on G.K.: “Gilbert K. Chesterton, the cheap punster in excelsis, strenuously engaged in persuading clean-limbed Englishmen that there was ever such a place as ‘Merrie England,’ full of beer and Catholicism.” It’s a charge worth answering, I think. Any experts out there willing to take it on?

And before you dismiss Boyd, please note this dismissal of D.H. Lawrence: “the average Briton in the toils of sex, a sad spectacle.”

"Out of either devotion or desperation…"

Apparently, Owen Wilson stopped into a Catholic church before bottoming out. The post title is taken from Us Weekly’s account of the visit. (Not that I make a habit of visiting Us Weekly, mind you…)

Lo, I am become Hipster, the destroyer of worlds…

Saw Wilco last night at San Diego State’s Open Air Theater. Oh, my. I don’t think they were terribly impressed with the crowd, but they still put on a hell of a show. Easily one of my top three concerts ever. Loved the way they could pull sounds from Pink Floyd, the Allman Brothers, Squeeze, REM, Skynerd, They Might Be Giants (!), Hendrix, et. al., and make it all their own. A very happy birthday present.


I know I’m late to the party on this one, but the “Release the Deviant” Scion billboards have finally gotten me to post…

Lovely. A car ad that sells the notion that its buyers are creative types. But not just creative types – creative types superior to the rest of the world – the Sheeple. And not just creative types superior to the rest of the world – creative types superior to the rest of the world who may therefore slaughter and terrorize the rest of the world however they wish. Nietzsche, anyone? I wonder how the man would feel about being used to sell cars.

Oh, look! There’s a game as well!


First Son has been enjoying Ye Olde Family iPod Mini of late, and driving everyone to distraction with his near total departure from communal life while he’s listening. Boy is elsewhere. So when I see two people, both wearing iPods, dancing together, I don’t just think, “Wow, it must be difficult to synch your iPods so perfectly that you can dance next to each other and not look like a human hiccup.” I think, “Nope – iPods are not communal – or rather, earbuds are not communal. Stop pretending otherwise. While you’re at it, stop shaking those maracas as if the music you’re hearing isn’t entirely digital.” Grumpy old Dad, signing off.

Man Cuts Apple in Half With Boomerang!

my being leans against my spinal K

The Origin of Mythology

He smoked cigars in the confessional….

Please Stand By

Technical difficulties with Ye Olde Internet Connection. Back tomorrow, hopefully.

The Gods

Rome continues its drive to become the most religious show on television (or at least, on DVD – season two is finally out). [SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT.] Vorenus curses his children to Hades, and seconds later, they are kidnapped and sold into slavery. Later, Vorenus blasphemes the gods for the sake of worldly influence, and within weeks, all around him is war and terrible solitude. Later still, his friend Pullo, who is genuinely (if simply) pious, says the gods are tricking him, leading him back to Rome to see Vorenus when Vorenus isn’t there. But who IS there? A woman who tells him that Vorenus’ children are not dead, but enslaved – so there is hope for the despairing Vorenus. Servilla is captured by Atia while she is praying to a Mother Goddess. Atia tortures Servilla and promises to kill her, but throughout, Servilla continues to pray. And eventually, she is delivered. The list goes on. There are varying attitudes toward religion – some see it as a tool, some see it as nonsense, some see it as reality. It’s complicated, and it’s interesting, and it comes off as a perfectly natural part of life, not some freakish add-on. I’m a big fan.

Best Site Ever

A quick sampling of Psalmus 23:

1 Psalmus David Dominus reget me et nihil mihi deerit
1 A psalm for David. The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.

2 In loco pascuae ibi me conlocavit super aquam refectionis educavit me
2 He hath set me in a place of pasture. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment:

3 Animam meam convertit deduxit me super semitas iustitiae propter nomen suum
3 he hath converted my soul. He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name’s sake.

4 Nam et si ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis non timebo mala quoniam tu mecum es virga tua et baculus tuus ipsa me consolata sunt
4 For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me.

5 Parasti in conspectu meo mensam adversus eos qui tribulant me inpinguasti in oleo caput meum et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est
5 Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it!

6 Et misericordia tua subsequitur me omnibus diebus vitae meae et ut inhabitem in domo Domini in longitudinem dierum
6 And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.