Thursday, December 23, 2021

Sounds familiar.



Incidentally, I notice that our professors, trying to show off to their students, rant and rail against the state and against law and order, while expecting the same state to punctually pay their salaries, pensions and family allowances, so that they value at least this kind of law and order.

Make a fist with the left hand and open the right hand receptively--that is how one gets through life.

--From Eumeswil, by Ernst Junger.

Just in time for the Christmas Season.

The excellent Preserving Christian Publications is reprinting an affordable hardback version of Dom Prosper Gueranger's classic The Liturgical Year.


This is the Newman Press version from the 1950s. The first six are available, and I have the first three. 

These are excellent reprints. Some pages are a little lighter than others, but not so much as to impair readability. And the typeface is, despite the smaller size of the volumes, not in "go blind-pt" type.

Packed with prayers from the Eastern and Western Catholic traditions, saints days and fascinating details of liturgical history, it is well worth the investment. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christopher Johnson, Rest in Peace.



One of blogging's early greats left our vale of tears in November. 

From the comments section here, November 12

MichelleH said... 
I am posting as a former library co-worker of Chris'. I don't know exactly when, but he has indeed recently passed away. I apologize for not having more information but that is all we were told. 

I know he had been battling chronic illness and difficulty with internet access. 

His passing is a heavy blow. A kind gentleman and a keen, witty writer, he deserves to be remembered. His personal kindnesses to me and mine certainly are.

Memory Eternal, Chris. 

May the Lord rest the soul of His servant Christopher, and give him the peace and joy of Heaven.


Monday, December 20, 2021

Prayer request.

The sister of my middle son's godfather passed away from coronavirus yesterday. 

The family is devastated, especially since it happened on the date of her father's birthday party and because of the season. 

Prayers for her soul and healing and consolation for her family and friends would be appreciated. Her name was Sharon. 


Friday, December 17, 2021

Nice of AP to publish a papal press release under its corporate byline.

Nicole Winfield covers the Vatican for Associated Press.

Sometimes, she has committed actual journalism. More on that in a second.

Here, she covers for the Vatican in a gooey puff-piece which omits almost every whiff of corruption surrounding the pontiff's inner circle and assorted pals. There is a nod to the disastrous trial of Cardinal Becciu...but even that deletes references to the pontiff's involvement in the land deal gone wrong and the prosecution's Nixonian attempts to cover it up.

And she would know about that...because she wrote the last link immediately above. But that wasn't worth a mention here? Curious.

Of course, it could be multiplied with all sorts of other problematic issues...starting with selling out China's Catholics, or Don Mercedes, or lying about the Chilean abuse scandal, or rewarding a guy who lied to his face about sexually harassing seminarians with a Roman cetera, et cetera, et cetera

But no, he's supposedly gone into "no more Mr. Nice Guy" mode.

Those who have been paying attention have known that since the start. He's nice to those in his favor.

Still, I have to admit: La Civiltà Cattolica couldn't have written a better Style! piece.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

An interpretive key to history.

Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they don’t see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

--T.S. Eliot 

Hat-tip to the formidable Tom McDonald for the find.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Wars and rumors of wars.

This is a pretty solid analysis of our situation

I am borderline isolationist when it comes to military adventures around the globe, but we have made commitments to allies. And we just tossed one former ally (and several thousand American citizens and legal residents) to theocratic wolves straight from the seventh century.

So our word is not seen as anything other than a shaky bond at best.

Leadership-wise, we went from a loose cannon to one that is worn out. And next in line is a Chauchat.

Pray unceasingly for peace. 

Does not compute.

Michigan as the 2021 football champions of the B1G?

It's not possible.

But it really happened. I saw it.

There's film and everything.

I am still trying to understand it, but it's the best possible bafflement. Georgia is a beast, and a wounded one. But we're here, and that was unimaginable in September.


But we weren't done, apparently. There was still Sunday to consider.

The Lions winning their first of the season on the last play of the game? Walking off instead of being walked off?

Not the DETROIT Lions, right?

No, really--our Detroit Lions:


Good. This team has earned some joy after so much heartbreak. 

And Steelers fans, enjoy an early Christmas present. Your tie is fast fading from memory.

As for the home team: if worse comes to worst, 1-15-1 is a lot easier to bear than a second sixteen loss season. And after an infusion of top-of-each-round draft talent into a band of energetic scrappers who have rarely quit despite the mounting losses...maybe a fast return to mediocrity is in order. 

Which, given my life of Lions fandom (1 whole playoff win), is all I dare let myself hope for.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Someone finally solves the "Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?" argument.

And that someone is me.

The answer is: "No, of course not."

My reasoning:

“Set at Christmas” does not "a Christmas movie” make.

Look at it this way: if you remove the Christmas setting or framework of a film involving the holiday, do you still have basically the same movie or do you have something different?

If the answer is “different,” then it’s a Christmas movie.

Debate resolved!

I’ll fling a controversy grenade on my way out: 

Using the same rationale, It’s a Wonderful Life is not a Christmas movie, either.

A "strict parent."

When you sell your soul, you find yourself saying evil things like this.

I have an idea: how about America start acting like a strict parent and cut Ray Dalio's allowance? Mindsets like this--abroad and here--are why I don't have any particular beef with soaking the rich.

Yes, I know--they have lawyers and accountants to help their cash escape capture. And I'm certainly no friend of the idea of a beefed-up IRS which will invariably audit the hell out of the middle class instead of the connected.

But, in principle, yes--sign me up for the billionaire tax. I long since stopped being an unpaid apologist for these sorts of people:

"As a top down country what they [China] are doing is--they behave like a strict parent."

Why could motivate someone to say something so heartless and stupid like that? 


Per Axios, just a week ago Dalio’s firm announced that it had raised more than a billion dollars to launch its third investment fund in China

While Arendt's thesis is open to challenge, it seems pretty clear to me that in America, evil wears the most banal of guises. We're quite ok with that--so long as evil is well-dressed and deals in civil, soothing and ambiguous rhetoric.

Meanwhile, the poorest of the poor are spending a fifth to a quarter of their income on water and sewerage bills.

 Analysts developed a slate of policy recommendations they said could limit burdensome water costs and improve service.

Among their recommendations: Permanently prohibit water shutoffs for poor households.

Michigan communities were ordered to stop water shutoffs when the coronavirus pandemic hit last year. Detroit — where years ago the water department conducted a controversial shutoff campaign to amid its financial crisis — will continue its moratorium through 2022

A shutoff can be the last straw for families facing expenses they can't afford, creating problems ranging from stress to poor hygiene to lost parental rights, Read said. 

As well as banning shutoffs, analysts recommended utilities and state policymakers find ways to help households struggling to pay for water services, including forgiving existing debts, discounting services or providing well and septic system repair grants to needy families. 

They also recommended: 

  • Addressing gaps in technical and financial capacity among Michigan water and sewer utilities by providing funding and expertise to cash-strapped utilities. 
  • Improving data collection by requiring Michigan utilities to report on their finances, infrastructure and maintenance plans.
  • Requiring utilities to seek input from the communities they serve before making infrastructure and planning decisions.
  • Have the state take a larger role in utility oversight to ensure public health protection, water quality and appropriate water rates.

While water affordability is an acute problem in Detroit and other Michigan cities, it is not solely an urban problem, the analysts cautioned. Low-income residents of the Thumb spend 20-25% of their incomes on water and sewer bills; low-income residents in portions of central Michigan and the western Upper Peninsula spend 15-20%.

Michigan residents who have private water supplies, such as septic systems and wells, also face challenges. Analysts found about 20% of wells and 27% of septic systems in Michigan are in need of repair and replacement.

Water bills have certainly shot up in our humble suburb, but thanks be to God it doesn't eat a quarter of our income. But I know people who have experienced water shutoffs, and it left scars. 

Capturing some of the Dalio class' cash might help. Especially when you consider how many good-paying American jobs they have connived in shipping over to Xi's realm.


The Women Show the Way.

The Women's Tennis Association cancels its Chinese tournaments in protest of the treatment of their colleague and probable rape victim, Peng Shaui.

Here is the statement.

It shouldn't be remarkable, but it is.

And in related news, cheers to the students at the Catholic University of America, who have secured a commitment to divest from companies profiting from the destruction of Uyghurs

Watch them like hawks and make sure they do it, student activists. It's going to take unrelenting pressure and years to achieve. 

And now to the boos: the unutterably corrupt International Olympic Committee wonders what the fuss is. They talked to Peng and she sounded great!

Christiane Amanpour, committing journalism, notes that the IOC hasn't bothered to release the video of the call.  

And, finally recognizing that they are being seen as the cash-worshiping whores they are, the IOC insists they really care, had a second call with Peng and are engaged in "quiet diplomacy."

Translation: they are going to grind their teeth at the WTA, fake empathy and pray to Mammon it all blows over.

Wait and see.

And if the plans for the interior of Notre Dame de Paris are in fact a Pantheism Epcot, then you can bay for the heads of Catholic diocesan bureaucrats to put a stop to it.

What is interesting about The Architect's Newspaper article is this: underneath all of the framing about traditionalist anger and pouncing conservatives, there's a recognition that what has been described is a bad idea. 

Hence the repeated reminders that none of the proposals are unalterable and much could change:

“What they are proposing to do to Notre-Dame would never be done to Westminster Abbey or Saint Peter’s in Rome,” lamented Paris-based architect and urbanist Maurice Culot to The Telegraph. “It’s a kind of theme park and very childish and trivial given the grandeur of the place.”

As mentioned, none of the features detailed above are set in stone and church officials will publicly reveal proposed changes to the church’s interior on December 9 when a host of approaches under consideration come under review by France’s National Heritage and Architecture Commission. Like any other culturally and historically sensitive restoration project of this scale, much could change between now and 2024.

A parting thought: pace Maurice Culot, I do not have much difficulty imagining the powers that be doing the same thing to Saint Peter's. 

The past several generations have seen Catholic tastemakers doggedly trying to replace one form of kitsch (real or imagined) with their own vision, which comes with a much shorter use-by date than they think, itself turning into kitsch. 

What stops the Vatican from doing so is the loss of tourism income. 

Which itself proves that tourists from across the globe do not need LED light shows to appreciate Catholic houses of worship and art.


Down with covid.

  That's both a confirmed-PCR diagnosis and my general feeling about the situation. Anyway, my case and that of my eldest son are the wo...