Sunday, March 27, 2011


My last post was a simple good-bye, but somewhat bland and vague. After making my daily pilgrimage to "Cost of Discipleship", I came across this very beautiful poem, which encapsulates best all that I am feeling about blogging here, and thought it would be a better sign-off:

Silence by Edgar Lee Masters

I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea,
And the silence of the city when it pauses,
And the silence of a man and a maid,
And the silence for which music alone finds the word,
And the silence of the woods before the winds of spring begin,
And the silence of the sick
When their eyes roam about the room.
And I ask: For the depths
Of what use is language?
A beast of the field moans a few times
When death takes its young.
And we are voiceless in the presence of realities—
We cannot speak.

A curious boy asks an old soldier
Sitting in front of the grocery store,
"How did you lose your leg?"
And the old soldier is struck with silence,
Or his mind flies away
Because he cannot concentrate it on Gettysburg.
It comes back jocosely
And he says, "A bear bit it off."
And the boy wonders, while the old soldier
Dumbly, feebly lives over
The flashes of guns, the thunder of cannon,
The shrieks of the slain,
And himself lying on the ground,
And the hospital surgeons, the knives,
And the long days in bed.
But if he could describe it all
He would be an artist.
But if he were an artist there would be deeper wounds
Which he could not describe.

There is the silence of a great hatred,
And the silence of a great love,
And the silence of a deep peace of mind,
And the silence of an embittered friendship,
There is the silence of a spiritual crisis,
Through which your soul, exquisitely tortured,
Comes with visions not to be uttered
Into a realm of higher life.
And the silence of the gods
who understand each other without speech,
There is the silence of defeat.
There is the silence of those unjustly punished;
And the silence of the dying whose hand
Suddenly grips yours.
There is the silence between father and son,
When the father cannot explain his life,
Even though he be misunderstood for it.

There is the silence that comes between husband and wife.
There is the silence of those who have failed;
And the vast silence that covers
Broken nations and vanquished leaders.
There is the silence of Lincoln,
Thinking of the poverty of his youth.
And the silence of Napoleon
After Waterloo.
And the silence of Jeanne d'Arc
Saying amid the flames, "Blessèd Jesus"—
Revealing in two words all sorrow, all hope.
And there is the silence of age,
Too full of wisdom for the tongue to utter it
In words intelligible to those who have not lived
The great range of life.

And there is the silence of the dead.
If we who are in life cannot speak
Of profound experiences,
Why do you marvel that the dead
Do not tell you of death?
Their silence shall be interpreted
As we approach them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

From Crossway:

The Life and Mission of St. Patrick

Patrick was raised in a nominally Christian home in Britain during the collapse of the Roman Empire. At 16 he was captured by Irish pirates and taken to the west coast of Ireland. The trauma of slavery turned him to the Lord, and he strove to spend each day in communion with God. Six years later he escaped and returned to Britain. After a time of theological study, Patrick felt the Lord’s call to return to Ireland as a missionary to his captors.
Despite strong opposition from both the Irish and his Christian contemporaries back home, Patrick speaks of “thousands” converted through his ministry, including sons and daughters of Irish kings, from the worship of “idols and filthy things.” This success came from Patrick’s deep understanding of what Scripture teaches regarding missions and a steadfast dedication to his work.
Patrick’s work firmly planted the Christian faith in Irish soil and left a deep imprint on the Celtic church that would grow up from this soil. The central place that the Bible held in his thinking helped initiate an impetus among the Irish toward literacy. In fact, this impetus was so strong that by the seventh century the Irish had become major participants in “bibliocentric literacy,” a key aspect of Roman Christianity in late antiquity. Throughout the sixth and seventh centuries, Celtic Christians evangelized the British Isles, Gaul, and central Europe with a passion that matched that of Patrick, the father of the Irish church.
“In the light, therefore, of our faith in the Trinity I must make this choice, regardless of danger I must make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, without fear and frankly I must spread everywhere the name of God so that after my decease I may leave a bequest to my brethren and sons whom I have baptized in the Lord—so many thousands of people.” – Patrick
Excerpts modified from Rediscovering the Church Fathers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Live News from Japan

We have a beloved family in Yokohama. They contacted everyone through Face Book to let us know that they are all right. Yokohama is south of Tokyo. Damage there was minimal. Here are links to live streaming news coverage, first person uploads and an incredible photo slide show.:

YokosoNews on UStream
NHK World Live (English)
Gizomodo Live Uploads
NYT Before and After Photos

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cutting out in style

Lent is most often associated with cutting out certain foods. For people struggling with their weight, Weight Watchers has always made actually watching what you eat the basis of their organization. Its point system is both a carrot and a stick for encouraging self-control. They even have their own low calorie versions of high fat, high calorie foods, like cakes, pasta and other things which derail a diet.

But now WW has begun to rethink the whole calorie counting thing by replacing the point system - a system which allowed you to indulge in a higher calorie treat after having reduced the 'points' elsewhere in your diet.

They are going to a more 'organic and naturalistic kind of diet' after having figured out that not all calories are equal. From Mercola:

Some generally good sources of protein (though you need to find out your nutritional type to really tailor your foods for optimal health) include:

  • Eggs (ideally, raw organic and pasture raised)
  • Grass-fed beef and bison
  • Pasture raised, organic chicken and ostrich
  • Raw grass-fed dairy products (raw milk, raw-milk cheese, and so on.)
  • Wild-caught, mercury-free fish (only eat this if you can confirm via lab-testing that it's not polluted)
 When choosing protein sources, it's extremely important to find high-quality varieties.

These would be grass-fed (not grain-fed) organic meats, raw (not pasteurized) dairy products, and wild-caught (not farm-raised) fish you know is not contaminated with mercury and other pollutants.

Because while protein is very healthy, you will not be doing yourself any favors by eating grain-fed beef (which is the most widely available in supermarkets), pesticide-laced chicken, or mercury-rich fish, so please pay careful attention to the sources of your protein, and how they're raised.

Now just look at this ridiculous list. I guarantee you will burn through your wallet and gasoline just trying to locate 'locally raised' ostrich and bison - if you are lucky enough to live near any farm that raises such animals.

Raw milk is not available in MOST STATES, where selling it is considered a crime.

And good luck with finding a lab to test your 'wild caught fish'.

After burning several calories laughing at the preposterous unreality swirling around the snobbisphere, I shall try to simplify my own changes:

It starts with water. I drink only water now. Sometimes more than 48 oz. a day. Cool, clean filtered water. I would be content in just drinking the tap water, but it tastes awful.

I was addicted to diet soda. I really mean that I was crazy addicted to the stuff. I don't know if it is the aspartame or the caffeine or a combination of both, but I burned through two cases in a week. I was up to drinking five or six a day in some cases.

As a result of this one change, here is what I noticed about my body and health::

  • I think more clearly. I am more focused.
  • My joints don't ache as much, and I can climb stairs without pain. This was a hindrance in my daily life.
  • I am less hungry.
  • I have an appetite for more raw vegetables and fruit, and not so much for processed sugar and flour concoctions. I notice what I eat, now that I drink only cold, clean water. 

I tried to enjoy a diet soda the other night, my preference having been Coke Zero. It was awful. It tasted funny,  and did nothing for me. I have completely broken this shackle in my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tasty Infidelicacies Café is Closed for Lent

If you are looking for the café known as Tasty Infidelicacies, it is closed for Lent. Instead, I shall be paring down, reassessing, and walking a different kind of trail for awhile. Necessary things always intrude to make you decide what is important and what isn't. Right now, all the pretty adornments, the goo-gaws that tell me who comes here and who reads, how many visits and the various noises and detractions are gone. Hopefully not forever, just for now.

We are all feeling a little more apprehensive this year, the specter of Unspeakable Evil is rising from its sepulcher and making its presence known far and wide, and the only way out for me as a Christian, begins and ends with the Cross. I shall try to write things in this space with that in mind. If you are feeling so inclined, tell me about it in the comments section.

For now, I am reminding myself  how sin sick I am by saying  "God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bad Parenting, redux

The world is getting crazier and crazier. I am not going to finger-point or make any judgments about the people in this story, because I had this toddler once, a very persistent and mischievous little girl who liked to sneak out and walk the buff.

I wonder if any of the people involved have regrets.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Livres Sans Borders™

In light of Border's recent announcement that it is declaring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, I am posting a link to Bernie's article on why it is a good thing for Borders Books to close, and a re-post of why I essentially thought the same thing. Hopefully, all the links are still good.

Via The New Individualist: Here's the most cogent fisking of Borders' decision not to permit the April/May edition of Free Inquiry on its shelves, due to the anticipated threat of violence against their customers and employees. Hyah. Preemptive grovelling. Just. Great.

But hey! What do I see? Look at the magazine cover's lower right-hand corner. Seems to me there oughta be a fatwa on that apostate's head. Hmmm, maybe I am just paranoid. Surely, the appearance of Ibn Warraq's article about questioning the Qur'an isn't another reason to keep the magazine off of the shelves of the Ann Arbor, Michiganistan-based book store's shelves? Naaaaah.

I think what I will do is this:

Instead of writing any letters of protest to Borders, whose gray suits are sending out personalized form letters "explaining" their actions, I'll just go and pop myself up a bowl of hot buttered popcorn, and rent "High Noon".....yep. I can probably learn alot more from the movie than I can from the news. Besides, if you haven't seen the flashing banner to the right, below the 9/11 flashing banner, well, you must be reading this blog for the blog, and not the ads!

Ssssshh: Disclaimer: Yours very truly used to work at a large bookstore chain in the southern US of A, and I will tell you from experience, it is much better to buy your books from Amazon. All of the books in the bookstores, at least when I was working at this chainstore, including Borders are shipped through the Ingram warehouse in Nashville.
Talk about a monopoly! Also, if you haven't noticed, much of the publishing world is practically owned by Bertelsmann, and it is damn near impossible for the aspiring writer to get published. The only time you should go to a book store is for the coffee and to read a magazine. My personal magazine recommendation is the April/May edition of Free Inquiry, and I would recommend the Grande caramel moccachino with extra whipped creme.

Thrice-Damned Fools

Via American Digest and Legal Insurrection
"An eco-maniacal opera, inspired by Elmer Fudd with music by Richard Wagner. Any resemblance to the classic "What's Opera Doc" with Bugs Bunny is entirely intentional.
"The incandescent light bulb is, in fact, scheduled to become unavailable in the US at the end of 2011.
"Ride of the Valkyries and the Tannhauser chorus have been desecrated before, but this brings the offense to a new level, at least I hope so."

Which brought to mind this scene from Chapter Seven of Ayn Rand's 1937 futuristic novella, Anthem:

"Our brothers!" we said. "We matter not, nor our transgression. It is only our brother men who matter. Give no thought to us, for we are nothing, but listen to our words, for we bring you a gift such as has never been brought to men. Listen to us, for we hold the future of mankind in our hands."

Then they listened.

We placed our glass box upon the table before them. We spoke of it, and of our long quest, and of our tunnel, and of our escape from the Palace of Corrective Detention. Not a hand moved in that hall, as we spoke, nor an eye. Then we put the wires to the box, and they all bent forward and sat still, watching. And we stood still, our eyes upon the wire. And slowly, slowly as a flush of blood, a red flame trembled in the wire. Then the wire glowed.

But terror struck the men of the Council. They leapt to their feet, they ran from the table, and they stood pressed against the wall, huddled together, seeking the warmth of one another's bodies to give them courage.

We looked upon them and we laughed and said:

"Fear nothing, our brothers. There is a great power in these wires, but this power is tamed. It is yours. We give it to you."

Still they would not move.

"We give you the power of the sky!" we cried. "We give you the key to the earth! Take it, and let us be one of you, the humblest among you. Let us all work together, and harness this power, and make it ease the toil of men. Let us throw away our candles and our torches. Let us flood our cities with light. Let us bring a new light to men!"

But they looked upon us, and suddenly we were afraid. For their eyes were still, and small, and evil.

"Our brothers!" we cried. "Have you nothing to say to us?"

Then Collective 0-0009 moved forward. They moved to the table and the others followed.

"Yes," spoke Collective 0-0009, "we have much to say to you."

The sound of their voice brought silence to the hall and to the beat of our heart.

"Yes," said Collective 0-0009, "we have much to say to a wretch who have broken all the laws and who boast of their infamy! How dared you think that your mind held greater wisdom than the minds of your brothers? And if the Councils had decreed that you should be a Street Sweeper, how dared you think that you could be of greater use to men than in sweeping the streets?"

"How dared you, gutter cleaner," spoke Fraternity 9-3452, "to hold yourself as one alone and with the thoughts of the one and not of the many?"

"You shall be burned at the stake," said Democracy 4-6998.

"No, they shall be lashed," said Unanimity 7-3304, "till there is nothing left under the lashes."

"No," said Collective 0-0009, "we cannot decide upon this, our brothers. No such crime has ever been committed, and it is not for us to judge. Nor for any small Council. We shall deliver this creature to the World Council itself and let their will be done."

We looked upon them and we pleaded:

"Our brothers! You are right. Let the will of the Council be done upon our body. We do not care. But the light? What will you do with the light?"

Collective 0-0009 looked upon us, and they smiled.

"So you think that you have found a new power," said Collective 0-0009. "Do all your brothers think that?"

"No," we answered.

"What is not thought by all men cannot be true," said Collective 0-0009.

"You have worked on this alone?" asked International 1-5537.

"Yes," we answered.

"What is not done collectively cannot be good," said International 1-5537.

"Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past," said Solidarity 8-1164, "but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must."

"This box is useless," said Alliance 6-7349.

"Should it be what they claim of it," said Harmony 9-2642, "then it would bring ruin to the Department of Candles. The Candle is a great boon to mankind, as approved by all men. Therefore it cannot be destroyed by the whim of one."

"This would wreck the Plans of the World Council," said Unanimity 2-9913, "and without the Plans of the World Council the sun cannot rise. It took fifty years to secure the approval of all the Councils for the Candle, and to decide upon the number needed, and to re-fit the Plans so as to make candles instead of torches. This touched upon thousands and thousands of men working in scores of States. We cannot alter the Plans again so soon."

"And if this should lighten the toil of men," said Similarity 5-0306, "then it is a great evil, for men have no cause to exist save in toiling for other men."

Then Collective 0-0009 rose and pointed at our box.

"This thing," they said, "must be destroyed."

And all the others cried as one:

"It must be destroyed!"

Then we leapt to the table.

We seized our box, we shoved them aside, and we ran to the window. We turned and we looked at them for the last time, and a rage, such as it is not fit for humans to know, choked our voice in our throat.

"You fools!" we cried. "You fools! You thrice-damned fools!"