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Archive for January, 2011

And they have the following exchange. Fantastic Sunday reading.

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

I note what you say about guiding our patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïf? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.

The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle onto the Enemy’s own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient’s reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it “real life” and don’t let him ask what he means by “real”.

Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy’s!) you don’t realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear What He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said “Quite. In fact much too important to tackle it the end of a morning”, the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added “Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind”, he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man’s head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of “real life” (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all “that sort of thing” just couldn’t be true. He knew he’d had a narrow escape and in later years was fond of talking about “that inarticulate sense for actuality which is our ultimate safeguard against the aberrations of mere logic”. He is now safe in Our Father’s house.

You begin to see the point? Thanks to processes which we set at work in them centuries ago, they find it all but impossible to believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes. Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things. Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see. There have been sad cases among the modern physicists. If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don’t let him get away from that invaluable “real life”. But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is “the results of modern investigation”. Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

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Weekend tunes

UPDATE: My newborn nephew is in a few scenes of this movie. We’re all hoping his scenes stay off the cutting room floor. The two degrees of separation with Betty White is wonderful…It airs Sunday ya’ll. Dig it.


Charlotte's been reading a book of Marion Barry quotes.

Just some music for today. We have soft flakes slowly falling again. Hope it enhances your weekend plans and not the other way ’round.

Thank you Mr. Bartender. You reminded me and introduced me to some good things.

Bohemian Rhapsody on ukulele. That’s what I said.

Track 10…I forget to do this sometimes…

A new one for me. Love it.

Skater punk-pop is pleasing. And alliterative.

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Snow day in the hood.

Since I drove the parkway yesterday I’m just counting my blessings that the only real struggle I faced was getting up a hill in the neighborhood that wasn’t well traveled. I almost didn’t make it. Apparently, had I left even a few minutes later, I wouldn’t have.

I’m home from the office but have been given a little cut and paste project so fighting the snow day malaise. I might try to take a walk up the street to this little establishment because they have decent wireless in certain spots. So, ya know, if you’re bored…Also, that huge pot of beef stew I made Monday was a genius move. Just sayin’.

In any event, here’s some things:

To all you haters who scoff at the wonder that is the peaceful protest — and the freedom granted to make fun of the protest du jour — find some gratitude in your hearts. You could live here.

New favorite expression I might be going to hell for liking: “Jesus H. Christ on a Cool Ranch Dorito.” (h/t Zimmer. Miss you freak.)

Fascinating. (h/t C. in charge)

I hesitate to post this because it comes from a place that has failed to impress lately. Which reminds me, adults behaving like children = not sexy. Childish < child-like. But I digress.

While 4,000 responses is probably a small sample size when considering the number who listen to NPR, this graphic is interesting. Particularly the one from the self-identified independents. Because I'm thinking it reveals less that independents are lovers of the policy tendencies of the current administration and more a move for liberals and Democrats to identify as independents. Which is a whole lot more thought-provoking. But that's just a guess.

Speaking of the SOTU, Paul Ryan does appear to be a big square when juxtaposed next to the fabulousness of Obama. Obama is definitely the cool kid. Never been happier to have a fondness for nerds in my life, no disrespect intended Congressman…

Also, Boehner’s was a lighter shade of lavender (and man was I happy to see him sitting back there, holding back tears. Did I mention I like that he cries?). Some say the purple is a visual representation of bi-partisanship. Blue + Red = … These are the kinds of things politicians have to think about I guess…

Well raise my rent. (h/t C. Bailey)

Heh. No kidding. I don’t know. Maybe the kids are savvy this way. But I think dating is not the same thing as sleeping together. The younger generation, apparently, does not. Now get off my lawn.

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Getting strength back.

Hey. Much to do but here’s a check in.

I stole this from a friend. I dig it.

First, Momma, I’m sorry for being all self-involved. Thanks for calling me on it.

I steal all my great links from Hot Air. Like this one. The Proverbs at the end are wonderful.

Two opposing views of our new BFF China. My Pops has been saying for years — partially to assuage my fear of a very rich and powerful China — that they are a country that faces a sustainability problem because a huge number of their citizenry are starving to death. This article would indicate he is correct there. It would also indicate some truth in my counter argument to Pops — that they are a strange new hybrid of Communism and Capitalism (on the surface, opposing ideologies) and are therefore not to be trifled with. It would appear from this article that their philosophy of Communism — center rule, powerful elite — is driving their “lawless capitalism.” Further proving that balance is a necessary element of leadership. See, regulation can be a good thing. I think the difference here is that the difference between good leadership and bad is that good requires work, nuance, commitment, and — I know it’s hard — simultaneous belief in freedom and oversight. Our system is not for the lazy, to be sure.

Here’s the other. I gotta say, I didn’t get much out of the negative, capitulating tone of this piece. Increasingly, this kind of approach just seems like the last vestige of the truly shallow. Sigh.

I’m sorry, but I just like this guy. He takes no sh*t. I would like to be better at that.

Want.

To me, they’re not mutually exclusive. Ask me sometime.

State of the Union and a Ryan response? Guarantee that Ryan being named the responder will dictate the rhetoric of the SOTU. The only thing worth watching for is a true indication that our President is actually rethinking some things — or just playing a part. He’s really not that opaque. We’ll be able to tell…

Caddyshack keeps coming up, whether due to discussions about this great show, this great movie or the fact that one of the youngsters in the office saw it for the first time recently. Here’s to the great ones.

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I forgot how much I like this song. Oh Huey Lewis…you’re so awesomely 80s…Go Steelers! (I finally decided…)

Also, stolen from Mr. Joseph (who’s obviously a Jets fan), a Sunday Funday funny:

“Dear Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant, so cuddly, but still omnipotent. Even though I know you are a Chiefs fan, please find it in your heart to help guide the Jets to victory today against the rapist Ben Roethlisberger and the evil Steelers. If you do so I promise to stop making fun of the mentally ill for an entire week.”

UPDATE: This is certainly kind of a bummer link to post in the company of Believing in Love, but I just found it and it’s important to throw it out there. Not because Gosnell’s a butcher (which he is); nor because I’m a hard-core Catholic pro-lifer (personally yes. That’s as far as I go because I think some things are between an individual and God. But I can say I’m not sure the decision should be legislated at all. And most certainly should not be — not squishy on this — paid for by taxpayers.); but because CNN, as Ed Morrissey points out, uses the most ridiculous euphemism for murder I’ve ever seen. I generally like CNN but dang…it’s not incendiary to call it murder since that’s what he’s actually being charged with…

“CNN’s Martin Savidge introduces the segment rather oddly, saying that Gosnell is accused of “destroying viable fetuses.” Certainly Gosnell faces charges of performing illegal third-trimester abortions, but he faces murder charges for killing babies, not “viable fetuses.” The babies Gosnell murdered survived to birth, which means they no longer were “fetuses” at all. They were, both legally and morally, live infants requiring care. Instead, Gosnell and his staff stabbed them with scissors or cut their throats to kill them.”

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Need to know basis

So, I think moving forward, I need to keep track of the little lessons I’m learning about this new town I’ve decided to call home (at least for another year. We’ll see what happens from there…And Pops, while I think Texas is a great idea, I don’t think I have the emotional wherewithal to start over again within a year of doing it the first time. Also, I really miss my dog sometimes). After spending some time last night with some former school mates, the first lesson of DC is thus:

#1 — Never reveal too much.

Here’s what I mean — I have a friend that legitimately cannot reveal too much about his job (high level of security and all that). But, if I know him, he wouldn’t even if he could because he understands this city. And one of the things that drives people here is competitiveness. And many, many people here it seems find out information about what you do, where you live, who you know, etc. etc. and use it as a way to convince you that you’re not quite living up to the DC standard. Presumably so that you will understand that they, in fact, are living up to that standard. Sigh. So, best to stick with the bare minimum when revealing facts about yourself. At least until you know who you’re dealing with. And sometimes, as I’ve learned recently, even when you do. But I’m now even more determined to survive this city, become at least moderately successful and still maintain a healthy sense of humility and humanity. Just to prove I can. Seriously, that’s my goal.

Anyway, on an up note, I think I’ve convinced a friend of mine to go with me to a restaurant in Cleveland Park that I’ve been wanting to try almost since I moved here. We’ll be hitting the cafe. I think he wants to try the burger. Not sure yet what I’ll be having but the former restaurant reviewer and foodie in me is very excited. This place is consistently mentioned as one of the best places to eat in DC…

Aw, yeah man.

Also, welcome to my world.

And, Mrs. Sanders is simply brilliant. (h/t C. Bailey)

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Disclaimer: I do not endorse the opinions of this product’s spokesman. However, I do think he’s funny as sh*t. And have totally gained new respect for some ladies I know who sent this in an email. (h/t You Know Who You Are Girls) Also, given my recent kvetching about all the cleavage I see every time I leave the house I think it’s safe to say, after seeing this, that I’m sorry I suck guys. You’re right. They should be free.

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