Archives for 2008


The Truth According to Master Puppetji

This segment is on Attachment and Non-attachment and the hidden perils and pearls of each. Master Puppetji has a website too!

Wallace Stevens Illustrated

Rufus McCain in a poem by Wallace Stevens
The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


The Wife, re: holiday weight gain: “Mr. Incredible got back in shape.”

"Hell? That’s where I live." (File Under: Lapsos Make Interesting Artists)

Lovelovelove this profile of raised-Catholic Philip Seymour Hoffman.

“’I heard that Eastwood is saying that this will be his last film as an actor,’ Hoffman said. ‘There’s part of me that feels that way during almost every movie. On “Synecdoche,” I paid a price. I went to the office and punched my card in, and I thought about a lot of things, and some of them involved losing myself. You try to be artful for the film, but it’s hard. I’d finish a scene, walk right off the set, go in the bathroom, close the door and just take some breaths to regain my composure. In the end, I’m grateful to feel something so deeply, and I’m also grateful that it’s over.’ He smiled. ‘And that’s my life.’”

Poem for the Day


I keep my eyes closed. Do not rush me,
You, fire, power, might, for it is too early.
I have lived through many years and, as if in this half-dream,
I felt I was attaining the moving frontier
Beyond which color and sound come true
And the things of this earth are united.
Do not force me to open my lips.
Let me trust and believe I will attain.
Let me linger here in Mittelbergheim.

I know I should. They are with me,
Autumn and wooden wheels and tobacco hung
Under the eaves. Here and everywhere
Is my homeland, wherever I turn
And in whatever language I would hear
The song of a child, the conversation of lovers.
Happier than anyone, I am to receive
A glance, a smile, a star, silk creased
At the knee. Serene, beholding,
I am to walk on hills in the soft glow of day
Over waters, cities, roads, human customs.

~ Czeslaw Milosz


Sonnet Written on the Back of an Oregon Shakespeare Festival Gift Certificate

As part of this year’s Christmas gift exchange,
I wrote this sonnet, Gabrielle, for you,
To tell you that the Bard will rearrange
Your thoughts and fiddle with your point of view.
So you must travel down the road to find
A place to make your travels culminate
In roadtrips of the wheels that turn your mind
And help your heart refuse to hesitate.
The road unravels from your winding heart,
Removes removers from your half-blind eyes,
As if to clear the way to make a start
And take you safely through the land of lies.
.. These lines will burn and leave a trail of ash
.. For you to follow to your Ashland bash.

Without Blessing

Dear children! You are running, working, gathering – but without blessing. You are not praying! Today I call you to stop in front of the manger and to meditate on Jesus, Whom I give to you today also, to bless you and to help you to comprehend that, without Him, you have no future. Therefore, little children, surrender your lives into the hands of Jesus, for Him to lead you and protect you from every evil. Thank you for having responded to my call.

December 25, 2008 message from Medjugorje

Millman’s True Fictions

I’ve read and re-read an extremely fine essay on adoption a number of times since it was first published in First Things in 2004. Recently it came over the transom again, and I thought it a fitting piece for Christmas:

About two-and-a-half years ago, my wife and I sat in a lawyer’s office trying not to think too deeply about the decision we were then making: to seek to adopt a child. As we sat there, listening to the litany of options for how to bring home a stranger’s baby, a joke occurred to me. What is the difference between families today and families a century ago? A century ago, to start a family you’d hire a professional to find you a spouse, and by doing what comes naturally you’d make a baby. Today, to start a family you go about doing what comes naturally in hopes of finding a spouse, and then hire a professional to find you a baby.

Well, a few people still do it the old-fashioned way, but I think he makes a good point. What follows is a beautiful reflection on the meaning of fatherhood; read it here.

The Unbearable Lightness of Inflatable Furniture

If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. ~ Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

History can be cruel. I’m pretty sure this is a generalism with which Kundera would agree; maybe the statement could be refined to read “those people so concerned with making history can be cruel”, or something like that. In any case: people who take themselves very seriously. And who takes themselves more seriously – who is more concerned with making history – than fashion designers? Among them the designers of furniture. In which case Milan Kundera is a victim of fashion, as is so ably demonstrated in this video. Une plaisanterie, indeed.


Finished it.

Well, the First Part, anyway. Eleven months to the day. Sigh. They don’t make bedtime story-readers like they used to. Though I do manage a pretty decent Gandalf.

The Kindle, revisited

I came across this long article in the Fall issue of The New Atlantis, a relatively new journal of technology. The article is about more than just one newfangled electronic device.

The book is modernity’s quintessential technology—“a means of transportation through the space of experience, at the speed of a turning page,” as the poet Joseph Brodsky put it. But now that the rustle of the book’s turning page competes with the flicker of the screen’s twitching pixel, we must consider the possibility that the book may not be around much longer. If it isn’t—if we choose to replace the book—what will become of reading and the print culture it fostered? And what does it tell us about ourselves that we may soon retire this most remarkable, five-hundred-year-old technology?

I still say the very name is sinister – suggesting the start of a fire, which I take as an allusion to book-burning. I still haven’t tried it, and don’t really feel the need to do so. As much time as I spend online, I still prefer my time with a book. Which is itself a wonderful piece of technology. That doesn’t need batteries.

Tom Cruise v The Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret

Has this been done?

Disenchanted evening
Everyone’s a stranger
Everyone’s a stranger
Known only to themselves
So why even try
You’ll try and you’ll fail
Just give up right now fool
Just don’t even rhyme.

Avery Cardinal Dulles, RIP


Eventually the diamond dude returned.
And though we’d pondered running out the door,
our pockets stuffed with shiny rocks, we’d spurned
that option, favoring instead a more
benign and legal route. “We’ll go explore
some other shops, applying what we’ve learned.”

“And maybe we’ll come back this afternoon.”
“I see,” the shopkeep countered, “Well, perhaps
you could put down some money, to the tune
of five dollars, let’s say.” At this the chap’s
expression gave no hint of any lapse
in earnestness. Perhaps he was a loon.

I looked at you and you at me and we
agreed we’d hold onto our five and flee.