Saturday, April 29, 2017

Archaeological News [Photo at the Link]

Archaeologists find what may be the oldest depiction of the Virgin Mary
The Dura-Europos excavation site in Syria is still threatened by war, but the wall painting is safe in a museum at Yale.

"Settled" Science Once Told Us That Such Waves Didn't Exist

Quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves

Early in My Career I Lost a Parishioner to Postpartum Hemorrhaging; Anything That Addresses This is Welcome

Inexpensive Drug Prevents Deaths in New Mothers, Study Finds

Wow, This is a Remarkable Advance

Mud DNA means we can detect ancient humans even without fossils

I've Returned to Real Books Myself as They Don't Require Generated Power to Operate

'Screen fatigue' sees ebook sales plunge 17% as readers return to print
“There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness, or fatigue, from so many devices being used, watched or looked at in their week. [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”

Archaeological News

But the dig site turned out to be even more revelatory—and now, with a paper in the journal Nature—controversial. See, this site wasn’t just catnip for the paleontologists, the diggers who study all fossils. It soon had archaeologists swooping in to study a number of stone tools scattered around the bones, evidence of human activity. After years of debate over the dating technology used on the mastodon, a group of researchers now believes that they can date it and the human tools to 130,000 years ago—more than 100,000 years earlier than the earliest humans are supposed to have made it to North America.
This is controversial not just because of the dating techniques, but because many academic positions, grants, and reputations are based on the current notion of when humans arrived on the continent.  There is also a pinch of what is sometimes called "political correctness" to the current theory, so don't expect contrary evidence to be warmly embraced.

More here from the Washington Post.

Friday, April 28, 2017

My Parents Were Staunch Democrats

My grandfather was a union shop steward who was devoted to FDR, my Dad the treasurer of the county's Democratic Party, my mother the Democratic representative to the local school board. Sometimes, the proverbial "smoke-filled room" was my parents' living room.  But, as they were Mid-Westerners, they would neither recognize nor be welcomed by the current party.  November's election did not surprise me.  It should not have surprised the party, either.
And what I am here to say is that the midwest is not an exotic place. It isn’t a benighted region of unknowable people and mysterious urges. It isn’t backward or hopelessly superstitious or hostile to learning. It is solid, familiar, ordinary America, and Democrats can have no excuse for not seeing the wave of heartland rage that swamped them last November.
Please consider reading the whole thing.

Yes, But First They Must Be Destroyed

Can the Liberal Arts Be Saved?

Actually, they've already been all-but-destroyed after the gradual take-over of the disciplines by neo-Marxists who think that everything is political and that the chief feature of the humanities is to identify victims of...well...whomever is this week's Emmanuel Goldstein.

Once the current iteration of the liberal arts is gone, those of us who remember the power, efficacy, and liminal beauty of the humanities may still be around to help with the restoration.  If not us, then our students.  Either way, they'll be back and stronger than ever.

Another view here:  As the classical university unravels, students seek knowledge and know-how elsewhere.


An Interesting Crime Stastistic


It Would Be Even More "Awesome" If People Wouldn't Overuse the Term "Awesome"

Actually, Life Is Pretty Awesome
Even Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men of his time, could not prevent his mother-in-law from dying of tuberculosis. Today, people don't even get tuberculosis.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Way With Words, Certainly

Everything You Know is Wrong

Popular belief that saturated fat clogs up arteries is a myth, experts say

I Would Laugh, But There Have Been People Who Have Actually Asked Me About This

At publishing time, Atkinson had moved on and was performing a Google search on her smartphone to find out what chapter of Luke contained the account of the little drummer boy playing his drum for Jesus.

Unpopular Thoughts

The music group Yes was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in my hometown.  No.  I've never found any of their songs to be listenable.  Not one.  Horrible stuff, really.

I think if I were going to the trouble and expense of having my gender surgically "re-assigned", or even if I were simply going  to dress from now on as a woman, that I would choose a forename that didn't sound like one chosen by a twelve-year-old girl.

Robert Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died recently.  A beloved cousin, an old friend with whom I was a first year teacher, and various pedagogical colleagues over the years have all loved, LOVED, that book.

Not only do I find it ponderous and dull, but I think it the best example of how to take a delicate metaphor, that life is like a motorcycle journey that requires occasional tune-ups, repairs, and maintenance, and beat it to death. Really, I mean kill it with fire.

It would be one thing if the book were simply witless and overlong, but its regard for Zen was such that I lost all interest in that particular school of Buddhism simply by reading it.

Speaking of music, how come Pete Seeger could never have a hammer?  They're cheap and ubiquitous. You can buy a serviceable one for less than ten bucks.  I'm guessing it was because he was a Communist. He was probably waiting for someone else to buy it for him.

Now, excuse me, as I have to go yell at some kids who are on my lawn.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This is What They Get for Dropping Australian Rules Football

'Bloodbath' in Bristol: ESPN could cut 70 people

The Future, Ladies and Gentlemen

I'm hoping the attacker's name is Magnus, for reasons that would be understood by comic book fans.

Archaeological News

Mexico's ancient city guards its secrets but excavation reveals new mysteries

It's not Biblical, of course, but it's an old site I worked decades ago.  Like most large sites, there is still much to be discovered.

I'd Be Happy If They'd Just Put Down the Dang Phones

Why Teaching Proper Manners to Kids is More Important Today Than Ever

Another American Hero

Man arrested trying to 'save' beer from fire

The Decline of the West Captured in Seven Syllables

In the loftier precincts of progressive journalism, higher education, and the non-profit world, those hecklers tend to be proponents of “intersectionality,” a voguish theory purporting that power is inextricably linked to aspects of identity like race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and that an individual’s “marginalization” is thus determined by their accumulation of various traits. Across the country, pseudo-intellectual totalitarians posing as outcasts regularly intimidate earnest but spineless liberals into capitulation. From the Oscar red carpet to Yale University quads, whoever shouts the loudest and claims victimization on account of more facets of their identity can expect to get what they demand, regardless of the quality or even logic of what they have to say.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

You Mean Humans Write Those Execrable Scripts?

Writers Guild Members Vote for Strike Authorization With 96% Support

Writers in Hollywood have been mistreated since F. Scott Fitzgerald's day.  Still, it's preferable to and more lucrative than digging a ditch.  Since screenplays are largely dull-witted, plodding, unoriginal, and derivative, I'm not sure how to put a fair price on them.

Biological Truth: Men Are Wired to Protect

Husband hailed 'hero' after fighting off 'eight-foot' shark that mauled his wife

Pro tip:  Shark snouts are made a sturdy cartilage.  It's best to use some form of blunt object, if possible, rather than a bare fist. When necessary, though, if you go Mick Fanning, do so with fists of fury.

Well, That's a Bit Harsh

One Could Substitute "Art" With "Literature" or "Religion" and the Article Could Still Be Accurate

The Death of University Art Programs

Warning: As this deals with contemporary academics, like naughty children, they engage in occasional vulgarities.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This incredible animation shows how deep the ocean really is

Easter Saturday Wave

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

That's it for the waves.  Our regular broadcasting schedule will return after we take a break.  It's been a brutal quarter with returning from overseas, leaving a long-time job, moving, starting anew, meeting the new parish and my staff, Lent, hosting the bishop, and Holy Week, and all packed into twelve weeks.  Also, surf's up!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Elevation of the Host by Berault, 1890

The Elevation of the Host by Miranda, 1666

San Francisco Celebrates Earth Day

Massive power outage hits San Francisco, shuts down businesses, BART station, cable cars, traffic lights

Archaeological News

Ancient stone carvings confirm that a comet struck the Earth around 11,000BC, a devastating event which wiped out wooly mammoths and sparked the rise of civilisations.

We All Know This Guy

Area Man On Personal Mission To Explain Why Universally Enjoyed Things Are Bad

Easter Friday Wave

Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I Used to Play the Harmonica Driving to Gigs


Granted, the harp is less cumbersome, but it takes two hands to play properly.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How Many Days Has It Been Since I Exploded Some Episcopal Heads?

Well, this ought to do it:

Feminism is over, the battle is won. Time to move on
It should be celebrating its triumphs. Instead it has descended into pointless attention-seeking

The New York Times Discovers Something We've Been Doing for Five Years Now

It's a Nice Night for Surfing

Easter Thursday Wave

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yes. Next Question, Please.

American Atheistic Materialism: A Creed of Despair?

Easter Wednesday Wave

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Archaeological News

A long lost 16th century civilization has been unearthed in rural Kansas — all thanks to a plucky teen who helped archaeologists confirm the incredible discovery.

Good for this kid.  I became interested in archaeology when, as a child, I discovered a mess of arrow heads in our backyard.  They reside still, as far as I know, in the storage rooms of the Natural History Museum in Cleveland.

It Must Be the Nadir of One's Worldview to be Mocked by The Simpsons

Archaeological News: There is a Lot Out There, Still

Egyptian archaeologists discover eight mummies in 3,500-year-old tomb near ancient city of Luxor

It Used to be Called "Muscular" Christianity

Early feminist theology misinterpreted "muscular" as meaning male, rather than physical, engaged, and active, so the term was sent down the memory hole in an effort to be "inclusive".  [When one starts using quotation marks around terms, we know we've moved into dangerous linguistic territory.]

It is being resurrected through a variety of recent books, meant mostly for conservative Catholics and Protestants, as Dynamic Christianity.  This quotation, however, sums up the eternal truth about how we are to be in the world, but not of the world.
We need to remember that Christianity is a dynamic faith, not meant to be lived in a defensive crouch. The political and social challenges of our present moment are formidable indeed, which is precisely why Christians as a group must not withdraw. The society they live in still needs them. We need to bring to the table the vast wisdom and resources of our faith, charting a path forward for all our compatriots and not just the chosen few.
Unfortunately, far too many of my ordained colleagues think that being engaged in contemporary life as a Christian means repeating Democratic Party talking points.  In recent decades, that has simply left those who do not see life through the synoptic lens of a political party feeling dis-invited from the Episcopal Church.  [I brought this up once at a clergy meeting and was met with the reply, "So?  We don't need those people."  Yeah, that may be the problem in a diocese that is 1/3 the size it was twenty years ago.]

In reality, being an engaged Christian is more complicated than being a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian.

Easter Tuesday Wave

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wouldn't This Be Assault? I May Cancel My Subscription.

An Interesting Op-Ed from Today's NYT

OUR intervention in Syria required me to be fully serious last Sunday, but now it’s time to return to this column’s ongoing series of implausible proposals, Easter Sunday edition. Which means I’ll be proposing — yes, I’m that predictable — that many of this newspaper’s secular liberal readers should head en masse to church...

But this equilibrium may not last, and it may not deserve to. The campus experience of late suggests that liberal Protestantism without the Protestantism tends to gradually shed the liberalism as well, transforming into an illiberal cult of victimologies that burns heretics with vigor. The wider experience of American politics suggests that as liberalism de-churches it struggles to find a nontransactional organizing principle, a persuasive language of the common good. And the experience of American society suggests that religious impulses without institutions aren’t enough to bind communities and families, to hold atomization and despair at bay...

You say you’re spiritual but not religious because you associate “religion” with hierarchies and dogmas and strict rules about sex. But the Protestant mainline has gone well out of its way to accommodate you on all these points...

Finally, a brief word to the really hardened atheists: Oh, come on. Sure, all that beauty and ecstasy and astonishing mathematical order is because we’re part of a multiverse or a simulation or something; that’s the ticket. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real. Sure, your flying spaghetti monster joke makes you a lot smarter than Aquinas, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King. Sure....

Dear Ordained Colleagues,

Since open debate about social issues is frowned upon in my professional circle, let me offer these just to be contrary.  Both are valid perspectives worthy of consideration.

No institution or agency has done more to help the poor than Walmart.


They mean well, but most of my ordained colleagues are East Coast whites; many with inherited money.  They tend to live in a cultural bubble that permits them the ability to see the world as does a college sophomore.  In their bubble, Wal-Mart is always evil, socialism is always good.

[A reminder of The Coracle's purpose: "Just about every parish weblog at the time presented parish information and links to official statements made by the local diocese and the national church offices. They tended to the prosaic.  So, I thought it would be lively to present counter-arguments or perspectives not usually reflected in parochial weblogs, especially as most Episcopal Church thinking in those days [and these] was/is simply a re-statement of whatever was/is read in the New York Times or heard on National Public Radio.

It turns out that a lot of people who were blogging and engaged in Internet commentary had the same idea and online discussions, debates, and arguments became the contemporary equivalent of the Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park or the Oxford Student Union; a place of free thinking and freely exchanged opinion.  It was refreshing, especially since both churches and universities were becoming more and more monolithic in their ideology and more and more intolerant of any deviation from a preferred narrative.  Suddenly, my readership, which was around 6-20 people a week, reached over 300+ a day, and increasingly from international sources....

As The Coracle has been in its current form since 2008, it has developed as an eccentric forum for religious and Christian news not often found in the mainstream, for archaeological developments, circumstances of a gently humorous nature, of inspirational people in danger of being lost to history, of uncommon sources of music, and of occasional commentary, especially when such commentary may be contrary. 

Oh, and surfing."

More here.

Stray Thoughts from Holy Week

Even people who are shy about singing in church can really belt out "He is Risen" when it's the processional hymn on Easter morning.

It's remarkable how many people introduce themselves to me on Easter Sunday as members of the parish. I've been here three months and have never seen them before.  The word "member" has broad meaning, apparently.

Note that if you speak to me after the liturgy that I'm only staying awake at this point out of propriety and politeness.  My fatigue shut off my brain after the sermon.

On Good Friday, in the quiet of the meditative liturgy, I often notice for the first time a subtle and beautiful architectural feature in the church.

I run on so much adrenaline during Holy Week that the day after Easter Sunday [which is called Easter Monday] I feel as if I have a hangover.  I'm told that's consistent with adrenaline poisoning, but that diagnosis wasn't from a physician.  It was from a guy I was sitting next to on the subway.

Conversation stopper:
"Now that Easter's over [it's not over for fifty days, but whatevs], are you taking some time off?"
"Sort of.  I have a colonoscopy on Wednesday."

Two Blocks from My Sister's House, a Block from Where I Used to Ride my Bike on Saturday Mornings to Compete in the Junior High Bowling League

Son finds his parents shot at their Cleveland auto dealership, couple pronounced dead at the scene

Come to think of it, when this was a Chevy dealership, I bought my 1972 Impala there.

Easter Monday Wave

Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Last week was Holy Week and this week is Easter Week.  That often confuses people, as the days of Easter Week, too, have their own collects and lections [scripture readings].  So, last Monday was Holy Monday and this Monday is Easter Monday.  It's simple, really.

[My computer wants me to spell "lections" as "lesions".  My computer is an atheist, of course, and a verbally ignorant one, as well.]

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday Wave

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless others now.
- Teresa of Avila

O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Resurrection will be offered today at 8:30am and 10:30am

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Holy Saturday Wave

New advent of the love of Christ,
Shall we again refuse You,
Till in the night of hate and war
We perish as we lose You?

From old unfaith our souls release
To seek the kingdom of Your peace
By which alone we choose You.

O wounded hands of Jesus, build
In us Your new creation;
Our pride is dust, our vaunt is stilled,
We wait Your revelation.

O Love that triumphs over loss,
We bring our hearts before Your cross;
Come, finish Your salvation.

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week Schedule:

Easter Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Wave

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week Schedule:

Good Friday at 7pm
Easter Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maundy Thursday Wave

"You can't change the shape of a wave; you can only ride it.  Now, choose your wave and surf it.  Surf it until you fall or until the sand crunches under the board's nose."

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week Schedule:

Maundy Thursday at 7pm
Good Friday at 7pm

Easter Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

British Surfers Share the Waves with History's Oldest Surfers

Dolphins ride waves and leap in the air astounding surfers off Sennen Cove in Cornwall

Those of us who have surfed the two coasts of the USA know these guys well.

Well, That's Radical

You can't be Christian if you don't believe in the resurrection, says former Queen's chaplain

About half of the people with whom I've worked don't believe in the Resurrection, and they are regular attendees at worship. Weird, isn't it?  It's as if believing in such would make others think them superstitious dolts.

I have two bachelor's, three master's, and two doctoral degrees, in a mixture of disciplines both sacred and secular, and have no difficulty in understanding the meaning and power of resurrection; or of admitting it.  Or of bragging, apparently.

Holy Wednesday Wave

“If I am mistaken, that means that I exist.” —St. Augustine

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week Schedule:

Maundy Thursday at 7pm
Good Friday at 7pm

Easter Sunday at 8:30am and 10:30am

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Canada Figures It Out

Canadian Member of Parliament on the world-wide persecution of Christians

If We've Reached the Point Where Christians are Being Beaten on the Sydney [Sydney!] Commuter Trains, It's Not Just in the Middle East

There is a war on Christianity. The West must stop being scared to say so 

I should say, it's not just in the Middle East and among the faculties of American universities.

This is Not New

Attacks Shows ISIS’ New Plan: Divide Egypt by Killing Christians
A line of wooden coffins borne by Boy Scouts, and marked with the word “martyr,” filed through the doors of an ancient monastery on the outskirts of Alexandria on Monday. A mournful drumbeat accompanied the procession. The coffins held the remains of some of the 17 people killed on Sunday in a blast at the gates of St. Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of Christendom in Egypt. It was perhaps the most ambitious of the two attacks because the Coptic patriarch, Tawadros II, had been inside the church at the time.

Holy Tuesday Wave

“Faith is to trust yourself in the water.  When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown.  Instead you relax and float.” – Alan Watts

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Looks Like I Got Out of Maui Just in Time

Brain-Infecting Worm Booming in Popular Vacation Destination

They Ruin Church Services, Too

Huntington Beach, CA: Perfectly Good Bonfire Ruined By Worship Leader Who Just Happened To Have His Guitar

I'm glad I've never been the guitar guy.

But, Why?

BBC: A chicken embryo with a dinosaur-like snout instead of a beak has been developed by scientists

Holy Monday Wave

“It is not what you are nor what you have been that God sees with all-merciful eyes, but what you desire to be.” – The Cloud of Unknowing

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Speaking as an Apiary Veteran, This is True

Colony Collapse Disorder, the belief that honeybees, an important pollinator, are being killed off in droves, has been good for environmental fundraising but hasn't had a scientific foundation.

Palm Sunday Wave

“You can’t know your direction if you don’t know your origin.” – Alan Watts 

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Archaeological News

Did archaeologists find the royal banqueting complex of King Herod the Great in Jerusalem?

I Cannot Build a Congregation in a Failing State

Well, that's my excuse, anyway.

Wall Street Journal: What’s the Matter With Connecticut?

Retailer of the Month

We Buy and Sell Real Human Shrunken Heads (Tsantsa Tzantza)

Lenten Wave #39

"There is no one so uncivilized, and of such a crude disposition, that, raising his eyes to heaven, he does not understand from the very magnitude of the objects, from their motion, arrangement, constancy, usefulness, beauty, and temperament, that there is some providence — though he does not know by what God’s providence all the visible universe is governed." —Lactantius

Friday, April 7, 2017

Lenten Wave #38

"If you believe what you like in the Gospel and reject what you do not like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." —St. Augustine

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Archaeological News

Section of 2nd Temple-era column found at Temple Mount dig

It is Ever Thus

Pop Hits Are Picking Up the Tempo: A new analysis of top-10 hits finds instrumental introductions have dramatically diminished over the past three decades.

I appreciate that this may be another occasion for lamentation about the younger generations and their attention span, but this has been done time and time again in popular music. The so-called "Vegas style", back when performers in the gambling lounges were paid by the song, was to drop one verse from a song and "up" its tempo in order to squeeze more songs into a 45 minute set. Pop music survived.

Lenten Wave #37

...The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.  - from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sparse Posting for a Bit; We're Moving Into a Busy Time of Year

Lenten waves will continue, however.  Just like real ones.

When You Think About It, It's Not Really That Strange

The Strange Persistence of Guilt

Lenten Wave #36

The Windhover
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! and the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I've Had It Twice and Would Really Not Mind a Vaccine at All

Lyme disease is set to explode and we still don’t have a vaccine

I Regret to Note That Despair Over One's 'Social Inferiors' is Rather Common Even in Mainstream Protestantism

The election of Donald Trump should have been a wake-up call for the left. Instead, we have seen a doubling down on the very strategies that guaranteed his victory in the first place. Trump supporters are scorned and derided with increased vehemence, Brexit voters are still smeared as racist, and the working classes are urged to know their place and vote in accordance with the instructions of their technocratic masters. It would also appear that the word ‘Nazi’ has been redefined as ‘anyone with whom the left disagrees’. I’ve never met a Nazi, although I’m assured by many of my liberal friends that you’re never more than six feet away from one.
With Theresa May polling better than ever, and Marine Le Pen gaining ground in the run-up to the French elections, now might be a good time to reflect on where we on the left are going wrong. It seems to me that we have two options. We could return to our traditional objectives and strive to redress social inequality and thereby improve the lives of working-class people. Or we could continue this bourgeois obsession with identity politics and see where that gets us. I know which I’d prefer, but something tells me I’m not going to get my way.

Lenten Wave #35

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." - Martin Luther

Monday, April 3, 2017

No, That's Absurd

NYT: Do Seas Make Us Sick? Surfers May Have the Answer

Although I did contract listeria in Southern California once, but that wasn't the ocean's fault.  That was the result of poor municipal care of the sewer systems.

This Will Not Be Popular News

Psychology Today: Vegetarian diets are correlated with an increase in mental health problems

Lenten Wave #34

"Not only in faith, but also in works, God has given man freedom of the will." —St. Irenaeus

Sunday, April 2, 2017

This Reminds Me of Ray Bradbury for Some Reason

Norway to open a doomsday vault to preserve World's information

This is an Interesting Perspective

When political commentators talk of the emergence of a post-truth world, they are really lamenting the end of an era when the truths promoted by the institutions of the state and media were rarely challenged. It’s a lament that’s been coming for a few years now. Each revolt of sections of the public against the values of the elites has been met with the riposte that people are no longer interested in the truth. What the elites really mean is that people don’t care about their version of the truth. So when the French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy asserted that people have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth’, he was venting his frustration at an electorate that no longer shares his values.

Unfortunately, There is a New Term to Describe Our Times: Aliteracy

People who can read and, in the case of at least one, can hector her viewers about the proper ideological perspective, yet choose not to read.
But then things got weird. Not only were the five panelists not bookish types, they weren’t even great readers, at least of novels (which is what they were discussing). Wab Kinew got the ball rolling in the prelims by announcing that while he reads “a lot” it was “mainly nonfiction.” I wonder if he was counting the internet. Then Stephen Lewis offered up his own mea culpa: “I don’t read, it’s the scourge of my life, I don’t read. I read reports from morning to night, I’m a philistine around literature.” Despite this confession of ignorance, however, Lewis still admitted to being in “awe” of Margaret Atwood, whose book, The Year of the Flood, he was promoting. Samantha Bee was next to chime in: “Let me tell you something, I’m a mother of three children and I don’t get to read.” No time, I guess. Moms have it tough. Then Olympic sprinter Donovan Bailey let us know something that we had, by now, probably already guessed: “I don’t read, or I don’t read a lot.”

Writers, Too

Many famous scientists have something in common—they didn’t work long hours.

Lenten Wave #33

"Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever."  -Herman Melville

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Today's Best News is From Cleveland

Cat cafes are popular in many cities, but none are in Cleveland yet.

Kangaroos are Jerks, By the Way

Good Luck with That

EU Boss Threatens To Break Up United States.

I really enjoyed this quotation, especially as it reveals a remarkable ignorance of the greater American public:

"In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU." 

Speaking as one who is Ohio born and raised, and who was once a resident of the state of Texas [and who has had a cousin serve as its governor], I will paraphrase Bogart in Casablanca: "Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade."  There are certain parts of the USA that I wouldn't advise a European to try and direct, too.

Of course, Juncker sometimes has distractions to his official schedule.

I Can Support This

For those surprised, especially given that a fair number of my ordained colleagues think Communism is the nazz, I would note that the only ideological group that ever tried to kill me with guns [oh, and a machete] were the Communists.  Like Communism itself, it didn't work out too well for them.

Yep, I Still Miss Australia

"Don't go into the flood water": Huge man-eating shark found on road as Australia is battered by Cyclone Debbie

God's Greatest Creation? Irony.

Clapton's Guitar

Slowhand's "mongrel" Stratocaster is among the most famous guitars in history. Here's the story.

About Time the Media Took a Closer Look at This Guy

Consultant to Chief Wahoo protester Robert Roche charged with embezzling federal money designed for Native Americans

Chief Wahoo is the logo for the Cleveland Indians [see above].  It is based on a caricature from one of the local Cleveland newspapers that appeared back in the days when Louis Sockalexis, the first American Indian [aka Native American] in the major leagues, played ball in Cleveland.  The Indians, as a team, are named in his honor.

Loved this, too:
This case is worth talking about because the investigation - which Sierleja said is ongoing -- is really about a Cleveland man named Robert Roche, a well-known Native American who's received wide attention for his opposition to the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo logo.

Roche has served as executive director of the American Indian Education Center, a Parma-based nonprofit established in 1995 to support Native American causes. I documented in columns in 2014 and 2015 that Roche was under scrutiny by state and federal officials for how he spent tax dollars.
From the parking lot of Jacobs Progressive Field to the U.S. Senate, I'm becoming fatigued with fake Indians.

Lenten Wave #30

"Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ." – Pascal

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Given the Size and Remoteness of 90% of the Australian Continent, This is Plausible

'Sightings' of extinct Tasmanian tiger prompt search in Queensland

A Society That Rejects Values Makes Itself Hollow

They're Still Called Galley Proofs

If the term is unfamiliar, a galley proof is the first draft of a book put together by a publisher.  Galleys are sent back to the author or editor to permit them an idea of what the pages of the finished book will more or less look like.  Galleys are reviewed, appraised, corrected, or completely trashed, depending on what the author/editor sees, and then returned.  Sometimes, if the changes are extensive, a second set of galleys is prepared for review.  Publishers don't like to do this, as it requires twice as much work from the editors and, even though galleys are nowadays electronic rather than printers' proofs, it also requires more work on the part of the clerical staff.

In other words, publishers are exasperated by me.

You see, the submission draft of the book was finished and sent to the publisher in early October, just before my season in Fiji and Australia.  I received the galleys yesterday, five months later.  After such an interim, when I re-read what I wrote, I am sometimes a little surprised at my occasional eloquence [and absence of humility] and more than often appalled at some ham-handed sentences.  This means I re-write things.  A lot.

I'm also obsessive about triple-checking the work done by the publisher, which also delays the process. In my defense, my first publisher, an Ivy League university press, accidentally sent for publication the rough draft rather than the finished copy.  That's also the copy that was sent to reviewers.  It still gives me a migraine when I contemplate some of the grammatical errors that were in the uncorrected version, as does the memory of the editor's secretary's rictus smile when she told me of her foul-up.

Now, since I have a visit by the bishop this Sunday, followed almost immediately by Holy Week, I'm not going to have the time to give justice to the galleys.  They will sit on my desk, waiting, like the Sword of Damocles, reminding me that I have even more work to do on this wretched voluntary chore.  I'm getting too old for this.

So, for those wondering, the book is still forthcoming, after the clearance of the galleys, the selection of cover art and author photo [I dislike photos of myself, so this isn't easy, either], the actual printing and dissemination of the volumes to reviewers and bookstores, and, the part I like the best, the book tour.  I'm too much of a ham not to enjoy the latter.

So, stay tuned....

Lenten Wave #29

“The wave is the signature of every experience of life. By understanding the nature of waves and their characteristics, and applying that understanding to our lives, we can navigate life with a little more grace.”
― Jeffrey R. Anderson, The Nature of Things - Navigating Everyday Life with Grace

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Wages of Sin

Cavaliers out of first place in East after 103-74 loss to San Antonio Spurs

Everything That Informs and Entertains Us is Owned by Only Six Corporations

Click to enlarge

Corporate thought control was a really tired plot device in movies and novels in the 1970's.  I always scoffed at its implausability.   Clearly, I was really, really wrong.
As John Prine once sang, "Blow up your TV".

No Comment Other Than to Note, on the Bright Side, That Chavez's Heirs are Terribly Wealthy. In That Regard, Socialism Works.

After all, Bernie Sanders owns three homes, two of which would easily be described as luxurious. Wealth redistribution is often lucrative for the leaders; not so much for those who are lead.

Lenten Wave #28

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, March 27, 2017

Maybe the Dumbest Thing I've Ever Seen on the Internet, and That's Goin' Some.

You can think about religion simply as a virtual reality game. You invent rules that don't really exist, but you believe these rules, and for your entire life you try to follow the rules. If you're Christian, then if you do this, you get points. If you sin, you lose points. If by the time you finish the game when you're dead, you gained enough points, you get up to the next level. You go to heaven.

Correction, maybe the dumbest observation on Christian theology that I have ever seen anywhere.

The Union of Philosophical and Christian Virtue

Virtue, according to the ancients, involved duty, loyalty, mercy, justice, and, ultimately, being willing to lay down one’s life for one’s beliefs, the greatest of all sacrifices. One understood that one lived in a community and worked for the common good (the res publica). Plato defined virtue as “conformity to a standard of morality.” The great Roman Senator and republican Marcus Cicero wrote in his On Duties that one “must believe that it is characteristic of a strong and heroic mind to consider trivial what most people think glorious and attractive, and to despise those things with unshakable, inflexible discipline.” Furthermore, he stressed, one must “endure reverses that seem bitter” and “to endure them so that you depart not one inch from your basic nature, not a jot from a wise man’s self respect.” John Adams, certainly one of the greatest of the American Founding Fathers, differed little in his understanding of virtue: it is, he argued “a positive passion for the public good.” Further, it can serve as “the only Foundation of Republics.”

The Christian understanding of virtue parallels the classical understanding nicely, though it focuses on grace rather than will. St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians that the three great Christian virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity. God distributes these, then, according to His Will, through His Economy of Grace. “For just as in a single human body there are many limbs and organs, all with different functions,” St. Paul wrote, “so all of us, united with Christ, form one body, serving individually as limbs and organs to one another.” Gifts such as teaching or speaking “differ as they are allotted to us by God’s grace, and must be exercised accordingly.” Our gifts should be for the common good, the Body of Christ—that is, the Church.

Cavs Fans are Supporters of Education

Dad trolls son with bad grades sign at Cavs game

Given the Popularity of Hip-Hop, This Should Not Be a Surprise

Sell-out festivals and book sales up … it’s poetry’s renaissance 

Before I left for my season in the South Seas and Australia, I pre-loaded daily poems on The Coracle so that the weblog wouldn't be shut down for nearly three months.  When asked, before I left, if The Coracle would be active during my absence, I informed the inquirers of the poems.  Their faces fell.  I guess they wanted photos of kangaroos or something.

[Actually, I think I did post photos of Aussie flora and fauna upon my return.]

Anticipating, upon my return, that the motley collection of post-modern poems would have a viewership so low that my web traffic would be all but killed, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the numbers stayed the same and, in some cases, actually outscored most of The Coracle's postings, save for the Friday biographies [still our biggest "seller"].

Lenten Wave #27

" … the world is a work of art, set before all for contemplation, so that through it the wisdom of Him who created it should be known …"
—Basil, from Exegetical Works, On the Hexameron

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Controversial Observation of the Week

Sgt. Pepper is actually pretty dull.  [Ducks.]

Liverpool Plans Festivities to Honor the Beatles Classic

The Inherent Call in "Little Gidding"

Faced with the encroaching dark, Eliot despairs of solutions that are merely political, economic, or cultural. He witnessed through two world wars the results of empty ideologies, the vanity of human ambitions, and the violence at the heart of man. Instead of political solutions, Eliot offers a renewal of the Spirit. Little Gidding begins and ends with the imagery of pentecostal fire. Western society can only be renewed through a renewal of spirituality. It is not so much that our brains have calcified, but that our hearts are hardened. Eliot contends that only through prayer and penance can a doomed society be saved, that redemption occurs first on the individual level, and that then, as individuals are transformed and renewed, that same fire of life might spread like a wildfire and reclaim the world.

I Stopped Teaching in the US Precisely Because of the Absence of Analytical Thinking

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed.

Why College Graduates Still Can’t Think

One of the commenters observes that business schools teach analytical, aka critical, thinking better than humanities programs do nowadays.  This is because the simplest worldview of Marxism, that society is always divided between victims and victimizers, has polluted the discipline.  Any objective observation is regarded as being supportive of a status quo that favors the victimizers.

It's unworkable gibberish when applied to either rational thought or reality.  Since Marxism is disinterested in either, as is obvious in its failure outside of university walls, all it has done is demolish an academic discipline that, in its true form, enabled this weblog editor to work in academia, ecclesia, business, and finance.

Lenten Wave #25

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein

Friday, March 24, 2017

As Confirmed by Guinness

The fellow whom you can barely see in the midst of the mist? He rode what is now recognized as a biggest wave ever surfed. It's in Nazare, Portugal.

Lenten Wave #24

"I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation."  - John Wesley