Monday, December 20, 2010
It is nearly Winter, officially, but truly it has been with us here in Wisconsin for some time now. I'm tired of it already, unless it snows a lot. The cats have begun their Winter Sojourn. Instead of scampering under the deck, eating grass, hunting voles in the roadside ditches, or chasing rabbits: they sleep, eat, and beg.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sven Birkert's poignant prose evokes the subtle joys of communing with books in the company of fellow book lovers ("Bye-bye Bookstores," op-ed, Aug. 6). No less a public figure than Sir Winston Churchill took comfort in the midst of books when he urged, "If you cannot read them, any rate...fondle them. Peer into them...let them fall open where they will...Set them back on the shelf with your own hands...If they cannot be your friends, let them at any rate by your acquaintances." A bookstore browser expects freedom and, despite the public setting, some basic privacy. No Big Broher scrutinizes choices for thought crime, wheile the browser peruses this title or turns away from that. And the browser assumes that the books, unlike their digital substitutes, cannot be edited as they wait to be browsed.Reaching for a book is a symbolic and literal grasp at freedom, untethered to the whim of some cyber-gate-keeper. It is bearing arms oneself versus surrendering their use to an impersonal authority. It is driving one's own car where the spirit leads, regardless of where and how the elites think you should go. It is the gesture of a citizen, versus that of a slave. It is opening one's mind to the wide field of ideas and information without the risk that one's mind will be shut off at the flick of a switch.I'm bitterly clinging to my books.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I have the most amazing rocking chair in my shop. You've never seen anything like it.
I also have a request: I have written a very brief survey on a project I'm working on (I wasn't really abducted by aliens, but after I get going on this project you'll wish I had been). Take you two minutes to fill it out. And as a SPECIAL BONUS for taking the time, I've written an essay WITH PICTURES about this amazing (Did I say amazing?) rocking chair. Did I mention the essay comes complete with PICTURES?? Ah, guess I did.
You can take the survey, and grab a link to the essay, by just clicking on this:
Many thanks, and be kind. Be kind.
Oh, and comments. I love comments. In the survey.
I mean, I was just standing in my shop, spaced, trying to remember what tool I was looking for or why I'd just walked from the staining room to the millshop, and suddenly...
...that's right. I was abducted by aliens. What day is it? Who mowed my lawn? Why are my golf clubs in the garage? And what is all of this strange furniture doing in my shop?
You wake up in the morning, grab your face, say: "My name! What's my name??"
This getting old is serious business.
Meanwhile, a daughter has gotten her temporary driver's permit. I'm just sayin'. A son is talking about coming home from the Mexican wars for a spell. Another son has more schemes and plans than Mr. Obama hisself. Most have to do with glory and fame, but in the meantime, he's waiting tables. You got to keep the money moving.
I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
"Here’s the point: It is precisely the wrong response to go on the attack against the media. The only response that should be made is to express total and complete outrage and complete and very public remorse for the sexual abuse of children at the hands of priests. Period. And keep saying it. Over and over, ad naseum. Back the words up with actions and provide the proof of action. An absolute zero tolerance policy on these behaviors must be adopted everywhere and applied every time."
The psychology of uncertainty really does matter. As long as those in industry and commerce hear that the government is the solution to the problems that they supposedly created, browbeaten individuals will not take risks and begin hiring. All the populist rhetoric, all the sympathetic statistical gymnastics from the liberal pundits, all the euphemisms of “jobs saved,” still won’t change the fact that American business believes Mr. Obama wants to take more of their money to redistribute rather than empowering them to hire and make a profit.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
"The men worked fifty, sixty, even seventy or more hours a week; the women worked all the time, with little assistance from labor-saving devices, washing laundry, ironing shirts, mending socks, turning collars, sewing on buttons, mothproofing woolens, polishing furniture, sweeping and washing floors, washing windows, cleaning sinks, tubs, toilets, and stoves, vacuuming rugs, nursing the sick, shopping for food, cooking meals, feeding relatives, tidying closets and drawers, overseeing paint jobs and household repairs, arranging for religious observances, paying bills and keeping the family's books while simultaneously attending to their children's health, clothing, cleanliness, schooling, nutrition, conduct, birthdays, discipline, and morale..."P.3
To take the burden and have the powerAnd seem like the well-protected flower
An excellent wife, who can find?She is far more precious than jewels,The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain.She does him good, and not harm,all the days of her life.She seeks wool and flax,and works with willing hands.She is like the ships of the merchant;she brings her food from afar.She rises while it is yet nightand provides food for her householdand portions for her maidens.She considers a field and buys it;with the fruit of her hands she plantsa vineyard.She dresses herself with strengthand makes her arms strong.She perceives that her merchandise isprofitable.Her lamp does not go out at night.She puts her hands to the distaff,and her hands hold the spindle.She opens her hands to the poorand reaches out her hands to the needy.She is not afraid of snow for her household,for all her household are clothed in scarlet.She makes bed coverings for herself;her clothing is fine linen and purple.Her husband is known in the gateswhen he sits among the elders of the land.She makes linen garments and sells them;she delivers sashes to the merchant.Strength and dignity are her clothing,and she laughs at the time to come.She opens her mouth with wisdom,and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.She looks well to the ways of her householdand does not eat the bread of idleness.Her children rise up and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her;Many women have done excellently,but you surpass them all.Charm is deceitful, and beauty in vain,but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Give her of the fruit of her hands,and let her works praise her in the gates.Proverbs 31
Thursday, April 1, 2010
In our melting pot of peoples, languages and backgrounds, Americans are not noted as examples of “high” culture. But we can take pride as a rule in our passion for fairness. In the Vatican where I currently work, my colleagues – whether fellow cardinals at meetings or officials in my office – come from many different countries, continents and cultures. As I write this response today (March 26, 2010) I have had to admit to them that I am not proud of America’s newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Or is it? You make the call.
I've finally gotten a business web "presence." Is that right? Presence? REAL presence? Ok, anyway. I've slogged together something that is halfway respectable but not too respectable, as is my wont. Please feel free to take a peek. It features lots of photos of past work, in hopes of encouraging future work. I do like to work.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
No, not THAT Barth. I'm reading John Barth again, after a twenty-five year hiatus. He of CHIMERA and THE FLOATING OPERA. He's gotten older, mellower, less flashy. He's more reflective, more given to thankfulness. Not really too bad for an atheist.
"...What do I know, having lived with the woman for only twenty-plus years and in the world for some forty before that?...I know that now we're in love and trouble, is about all--the love abiding, the trouble not--and that in this couple's chemistry neither of those precludes the other. Given the closeness of their connection, the differences between them, the amount of time they spend in each other's company, and the very little time they spend apart, these domestic storms used to beset them once or twice per season, interstitched with passionate reconciliation and overarched with indubitable love. In latter years, the love and commitment have, if anything, grown; time, experience, fatigue, and reciprocal understanding have happily decreased the frequency, duration, and damage (if not the occasional intensity) of such in-house blowups. Perhaps for that reason, they have still a way of taking us by surprise: The emotional fuel-air mix builds almost imperceptibly in the house until some spark--typically a thoughtless word of mine, some small thing done or neglected, inconsequential in itself--blows the roof. Our adrenalines surge; each charges the other with initial provocation; we watch and listen appalled as the angry words scarify; we exhaust ourselves in the night (What home-brewed tempest ever didn't rage past bedtime?)...Thanks be, then, that since this pair's early years together such full-blown storms have come to buffet them ever more rarely. Both of them are abler than once they were at containing and deflecting the inevitable frictions of conjugality. Weather the storm you cannot avoid, goes the old sailors' proverb, and avoid the storm you cannot weather. Every lasting marriage follows those advisements..."
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Wall Street Journal had an article back on Feb. 9 entitled HAPPY COUPLES KISS AND TELL.
Find the middle ground.Be funny.Keep (some) secrets.Never, ever give up.Stay alive (More on that one in a sec).
Monday, February 15, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
"Conflict is never pretty and always entails agony; and there are those who hold that in the church all conflict should be avoided at all costs and tranquility should be purchased at any price, and they deem such clotted calm the very peace of God. But the evangelists' account of the contradicted Christ tells us plainly that the church cannot avoid conflict if she be the church of Christ. It tells us that men must take the agony of conflict and bear the brunt of controversy if they are the Christ's. We cluck our disapproval of the bitter controversies of the past and rejoice that such things can no longer happen here. Perhaps our reluctance to face conflict is one of the reasons why we see so puny a Christ and think our God and His kingdom so small."
"'When God begins a thing,' Luther says somewhere, 'it always looks as if nothing will come of it.' He chooses out the least of all nations to be His peculiar people. He makes His Messiah a Servant who goes down in defeat and death. And His kingdom comes as an unspectacular 'stone cut by no human hand,' no match for the bright and splendid and mighty magnitude of the powers of this world. And so His revelation always strikes sparks of contradiction when it comes to man...'"
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
As we bobbed out in the ocean, very near us pelicans by the dozens were busy attacking the fish feeding just off the beach. This gives you an idea of the dive bombing these crazy birds were into. As soon as one had a fish in its copious beak, a seagull would land on its back and try to steal the fish. I could get within a few feet of these birds as they dove--sometimes from 30 feet in the air--crash landed, speared a fish, gobbled it down while being harassed by seagulls, and then without fail they would wiggle their tail feathers in tingling delight. Or maybe the live fish in the belly just tickled, I'm not sure.
The beach at Lo de Marcos is perhaps two miles long, with a user friendly shark net 200 yds out. This is brown sand, not the white glorious stuff of the playas in the Yucatan. Still, very nice, and with partly cloudy skies and 75 degree weather, it was particularly suited for our northern skins. In the Yuc, we burned.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Well, we had to find a place to stay.
I had read about a nice little beach hamlet north of
Bucerias, called San Francisco, so over the mountains and up the coast we went. We found a very crowded, claustrophobic
San Francisco all right, with expensive places to stay. The tourists had found it. Drat.
There was nothing for it but to continue to drive north. The boys were still lost to the world, unaware of the growing discomfort Deb and I were feeling at not really being sure of what wewere doing. Over another mountain, down into a valley we drove. I came to another hamlet, and just decided to turn left. Right away, the vibes were better. This was a quieter, cleaner, less touristy place. Half a mile into town I came to a nice looking bungalow, called Tortuga, The Turtles. It had the most beautfiful VACANTE sign out in front! Better, it had prices that were half what we
were paying in PV! Not a word of English was spoken by the elderly manager, but he showed me a nice two room bungalow with a nice kitchen, back patio, right on the pool. Sold. The room wouldn't be ready for an hour, could we come back? Somehow the idea was conveyed. So off to the beach we went. The boys we depostied under some palms trees, took a swim and a walk, and then headed back to claim our room. And there we stayed for three comfortable, interesting, relaxing days. Aside from the nail I took in a tire, requiring the services of the local nail-in-tire-repair guy (No, really. He knew what he was doing!), it was all good. Colin became the bungalow’s residence translator, and Deb, Colin and Jeremy took part in cooking enormous Mexican breakfasts: refritas, fresh hot corn tortillas from the local tortilla factory, fresh mango and pineapple, eggs with hot peppers, and mucho hot salsa. Camp coffee, Mexican pastries, and guacamole. Feasts, my friends! Feasts.