Happy thanksgiving

Mixed bag . . .

Blithe Spirit

Over the sidewalk and through the doors . . . to McDonald’s on Clark, a few blocks from the house, 11:30 or so yesterday. Place hopping, full of families, 50-ish cronies and others, chatting, laughing.

Beggar by the door, inside where it’s warm, quiet,  reaching into bin as people dump trays on way out. Inspects items, in case something worth while.

I’d refused him a buck a day or so ago, we both then seated at counter near the door. Irish-looking guy, red-faced and roughly dressed but warmly enough and not tattered. 50-ish, bloodshot eyes. Not here, I’d said. On the street another matter.

Happy thanksgiving.

Overhead Silent Night . . . ’round young virgin . . . sleep in heavenly peace.

Beggar man looks over at counter, where Mexican women, mamas the lot of them, work. As if called over. Returns shortly, holding something in hand, heads for door…

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Policeman in Maigret book blows the whistle . . .


It’s what policemen did when a suspect was getting away in 1950s Paris. So the incident in Simenon’s Maigret and the Man on the Bench. He wanted to alert other cops in the neighborhood.

Whistles all had same sound, I’m sure, so blowing it was just to get them looking for a running man or woman. Didn’t work this time in this 1953 book, 2/3 through it. Man got away.

Now excuse me, I have to get back at it. The book, that is.

Am I the only 85-year-old who . . .

. . . thinks more than he used to about dying? Who has night thoughts fended off by boyhood prayers? Who writes books in his sleep but nowhere else? Is it just me?


Night thoughts? Try Edward Young, with these four lines in blank but metered verse:

Procrastination is the thief of time,
Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
A child of his age — the 1840s — he counts on an eternity, notice.
Also: Am I the only red-blooded Ham-erican who, when he reads about major mistakes by leaders elected or otherwise, imagines himself in the same situation doing better?


Sermon one, Hector at Mickey D’s. Sermon two . . .

Blithe Spirit

Hector’s bicycle had a flat — tricycle rather, with baby trailer containing I don’t know what, maybe spare clothes, etc. I’ve seen him tooling down Clark Street, fedora hat on tight, making his way as to getting from one place to another, but also as to getting on in the world.

 $10 It would cost him, money he didn’t have. In the ’70s, a flat was fixable for a buck, he said. So there he is now, without the necessary, a victim of inflation.

 Victim of a lot of things, apparently. Caught in an “ambush” in Iraq as a Marine, he got his leg and hip shot up and now has titanium, he told me, plus a plastic knee-area replacement, all of which gives him a lot of pain. He ran out of meds once and lifted some, spent five years in prison, he also told me, the…

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Do not laugh at end-of-world predictions, says Pope Francis

Blithe Spirit

This from Pope Francis on global destruction gives us a flavor of his worldview:

161. Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to
coming generations debris, desolation and filth.

The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world.

The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences.

He truly wants to save the world, lives in fear of the Apocalypse. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, he fears evil in the worst way. Which coming from a Pope is scary, and I…

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Second-guessing sermons: Giving mystery its due

Blithe Spirit

I do believe such second-guessing is a worthy pursuit, especially for former preachers who can be seen sometimes squirming in the pew. (He made his bed and lies in it, procrustean though it be.)

That said, I wonder if this 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B, should be a time for considering ours as something of a mystery religion. I’d start with the reference in First Kings, 19 to the “broom tree” under which Elijah sat, pooped, after a day in the desert.

What kind of broom tree? Whisk? Push? Floor? Venetian blind?

I jest, of course. But the Sunday reading is often hard enough to grasp without having to deal with so odd, if helpful to Elijah, a protuberance.

As a preacher, I would pounce on this broom-tree business as one of many mysteries we are presented with in this thousands-of-years-old literature. I would make something of that, voicing my…

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Same-sex-attracted Roman Catholic priests, what about them?

Blithe Spirit

I speak of percentages here. What per cent of RC priests are same-sex-attracted (SSA) compared to priests and other ministers of religion who have the marriage option?

Would RC ordination of married men or legitimization of a priest’s taking a wife — just one, until death they were parted — reduce said percentage?

Would such a change in RC customs reduce the influence of SSA priests and bishops in the councils and consultations of clergy members, as in undercutting support for SSA-friendly moral teaching and practice?

Loaded question that last, brimming with certain assumptions.

Such changes, of course are in no way guaranteed, assuming they are in order, the church being an imperfect institution, the Body of Christ on earth after all, not (yet) in heaven.

May I pursue these questions in later posts? I may just do that.

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Cincinnati murder by policeman. Some questions.

Blithe Spirit

Questions after reading yesterday’s Cincinnati murder by policeman story:

1. Murder charge? Wow.

2. Mentality of 43-year-old man who refused to show license and instead handed over bottle of gin? In what society has he been living? With how narrow a frame of reference? How many of his background and experience would have gone along with the cop?

3. What is campus cop doing stopping a driver a mile from the campus? What is cop’s history? His demeanor pre-shooting with alleged murderous intent? He should have backed off as car drove away? Gotten out of the way? How was he caught in the door?

4. Dead man was acting like a damn fool but not damned enough to be shot?

5. Prosecutor Deters: First in hundred such cases he has handled in which he sought indictment. How does this differ from previous 99? Why this time? Climate of opinion due…

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McCarthy: Pastors, staffers prepared to deal with Supreme Court marriage decision – Illinois Review

Blithe Spirit

McCarthy: Pastors, staffers prepared to deal with Supreme Court marriage decision – Illinois Review.

Frequent commenter to this blog Margaret McCarthy covers  Daniel McConchie, Vice President of Government Affairs for Americans United for Life, in a Grayslake IL presentation, including threats to conscience, including:

Here in Illinois, [where] Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness is faced with a lawsuit over employment discrimination by Colin Collette because he was fired when he married his male partner.

In Illinois, we have had The “Illinois Right of Conscience” [as] one of the strongest protections for religious objections . . . successfully used to protect a Catholic pharmacist from civil penalty when he refused to supply a customer with abortificient drugs.

Currently, SB 1564 . . . passed and . . . before the General Assembly, would weaken those protections.

Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Dennis Byrne gave us a look at this book in April…

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From destruction economic benefits? Not on your tintype.

Blithe Spirit

Break something, pay to have it fixed, fixer uses fee to buy things, etc.? Not quite.

The Broken Window Fallacy and “Blessings” of Destruction in the Real World

  • Mises Daily July 14 2015
JULY 15, 2015Matt Palumbo

TAGS Booms and BustsHistory of the Austrian School of EconomicsPhilosophy and Methodology

In the early nineteenth century, Bastiat posed the story of a young man who throws a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. We’re told that this may have a bright side — that the baker must now pay a glazier to fix the window, who will then use that income to spend elsewhere, creating a ripple effect that benefits many.

Such thinking is reminiscent of what would later be used to justify the logic behind the Keynesian multiplier. Keynes would later write in the General Theory, “Pyramid building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth.”

The Opportunity Cost…

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