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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon

Look at that rood screen.

Gloucester Cathedral

As a cleric, you know you've arrived when you're assigned one of those stalls with its own illumination.

Lenten Wave #20

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks. - Phillips Brooks

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Journey of Guitar Solo (THE INSTRUMENTALS - Episode 1)

Good News

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall 3 Percent 

Not to make Episcopal heads explode, but most of this is due to...fracking.

Lenten Wave #19

Where streams of living water flow
My ransomed soul He leadeth,
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love He sought me,
And on His shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Two Blocks from Where I Grew Up; a Block from Where My Sister Works

Man shot and killed by Euclid police did not have weapon

Four Blocks from the House in Which I Grew Up, in the Park Where I Would Throw a Ball with My Dad

Teen charged as adult in killing at Euclid anti-violence rally

In Science Fiction Stories, This is When the Horror Begins

Bots Are Learning to Chat in Their Own Language


March 17th is also the feast of St Gertrude of Nivelles, the patron saint of cats, who protects against rats & mental illness.

The Feast of the Great Scotsman

St. Patrick, of course. We prefer to spell it Padraic, just so you know.  I also understand he had something to do with Ireland.

[I know there are those who will tell you that he was English, but the border that existed in the area from which he was kidnapped was indistinct in Padraic's day and, let's face it, given his intelligence, fortitude, and canniness, he really seems much more Scots.] 

Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Outside of St Patrick's Cathedral in my fire department uniform during the St. Patrick's Day parade with one of the many people from Glasgow who wanted to get their picture taken with a Yank wearing a Glasgow Celtic FC scarf. He may have been slightly inebriated. "C'mon the Hoops!"

Lenten Wave #17

The Lorica of St. Patrick

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Lenten Wave #16

You visit the earth, and water it. You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water. You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows. You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers. You bless it with a crop. - Psalm 65:9-10

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

No Surprise, Really

Alcohol and caffeine created civilization

If They Were Musicians, It Would Be So They Could Get Better Gigs

Humpback Whales Are Forming Mysterious 'Super-Groups', and No One Can Explain 

Lenten Wave #15

"The desert is beautiful," the little prince added. And that was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs and gleams.... "What makes the desert beautiful," said the little prince, "is that somewhere it hides a well...."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), The Little Prince

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Editorial Note

Sometime in the last few days, The Coracle passed the 300,000 mark in the number of individual views of the page.

It Was Only a Matter of Time

Massive Recall Issued for Ineffective “COEXIST” Bumper Stickers

[Older] Archaeological News

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet

As I often note in the archaeology classes I teach, most of the discoveries of the late 20th/early 21st centuries have been due to happenstance, coincidence, or human foible.  Rarely are these discoveries the result of carefully planned expeditions.

Lenten Wave #12

"Nothing visible is eternal." —St. Ignatius of Antioch

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yes, and I Work for One or Two of Them

Americans have lost faith in institutions: Everything about modern life works against community and trust.

Christian Students Often Tell Me of the Subterranean Practice of Their Faith. This Explains Much.

Selective private colleges have become religious schools. The religion in question is not Methodism or Catholicism but an extreme version of the belief system of the liberal elite: the liberal professional, managerial, and creative classes, which provide a large majority of students enrolled at such places and an even larger majority of faculty and administrators who work at them. To attend those institutions is to be socialized, and not infrequently, indoctrinated into that religion….

What does it mean to say that these institutions are religious schools? First, that they possess a dogma, unwritten but understood by all: a set of “correct” opinions and beliefs, or at best, a narrow range within which disagreement is permitted. There is a right way to think and a right way to talk, and also a right set of things to think and talk about. Secularism is taken for granted. Environmentalism is a sacred cause. Issues of identity—principally the holy trinity of race, gender, and sexuality—occupy the center of concern. The presiding presence is Michel Foucault, with his theories of power, discourse, and the social construction of the self, who plays the same role on the left as Marx once did. The fundamental questions that a college education ought to raise—questions of individual and collective virtue, of what it means to be a good person and a good community—are understood to have been settled. The assumption, on elite college campuses, is that we are already in full possession of the moral truth. This is a religious attitude. It is certainly not a scholarly or intellectual attitude.

Lenten Wave #11

"Seek not to understand that you may believe, but to believe that you may understand." —St. Augustine


I mention from time to time the aggressive chickens that used to live at the family farm and how it was generally the youngest of the cousins, once he or she was five or so, who would be in charge of them.  The chickens were psychotic, of course.  I still have small scars on my forearms from their pecking.  I remember being thankful for younger cousins to whom I could surrender the duty.

Usually, the response to these memories from the Shemanese (Connecticut Caucasians) is to inform me that the chickens they had as children were never that way, that they always had good relations with them, etc.

(I miss the tribe and The Big Flat, sometimes.  Tribal people are rarely know-it-alls.  It's not considered a virtue.)

Of course, the chickens they're describing tend to be australopes or brahmas, who are docile fowl, and not RIR, leghorns, or, especially, NHR, that have a different and lower regard towards humans, cattle, and other chickens.  They're positively prehistoric.  One can never explain to a shemanese that Indian chickens on the frontier who live in flocks of hundreds have a different attitude than the handful of egg-layers that are kept basically as family pets.

Which is why I read this brief article with interest:

The Surprising Lessons My Family Learned from Raising Chickens

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Favorite Expression of the Month

Last month it was "sparks debate", which translates into, "What journalists are talking about to one another but no one else is really all that interested in".

This month's is "I can envision a scenario".  Well, we all can, of course.  My granddaughter is particularly good with "envisioning scenarios" when she's playing with her dolls.  It translates into, "I can make up stuff if there is nothing else to go on".  I've heard it from politicians, journalists, and fellow clergy during the last fortnight, in each case the "envisioned scenario", or made up stuff, neatly ratifies a point they're trying to make for which there is no empirical evidence.

Diamond Ring from Rome, circa 400 A.D.

Forgotten (Recent) History

Days of Rage is important, because this stuff is forgotten and it shouldn’t be. The 1970s underground wasn’t small. It was hundreds of people becoming urban guerrillas. Bombing buildings: the Pentagon, the Capitol, courthouses, restaurants, corporations. Robbing banks. Assassinating police. People really thought that revolution was imminent, and thought violence would bring it about. 

One thing that Burrough returns to in Days of Rage, over and over and over, is how forgotten so much of this stuff is. Puerto Rican separatists bombed NYC like 300 times, killed people, shot up Congress, tried to kill POTUS (Truman). Nobody remembers it.

Although, I would hasten to point out to the reviewer that not all of us have forgotten this.  In fact, if the reviewer 's teachers had been worthwhile, he would have known about it, too.

Archaeological News

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

This is Against the Law?

A Connecticut man’s distaste for the Kardashians has landed him in jail.Carl Puia, 74, was arrested on Monday for destroying several of Kim Kardashian’s “Selfish” books at a Barnes & Noble in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

 Connecticut is rapidly approaching Florida and Ohio in weird.

'Bout Time

Cursive Writing Is Making a Much-Needed Comeback in Schools

Other than its absence is favored by lazy teachers, why did it ever get dropped?

Lenten Wave #8

"A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water." - Proverbs 11:25

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lenten Wave #7

"Water is also one of the four elements, the most beautiful of God's creations. It is both wet and cold, heavy, and with a tendency to descend, and flows with great readiness. It is this the Holy Scripture has in view when it says, "And the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul, if it should have received the grace of the Spirit."  -John of Damascus

Monday, March 6, 2017

There's Something Kinda "Cleveland" about This

Cavaliers lose new centre Andrew Bogut 1 minute into debut

In Reference to an Earlier Post

Jeanne, a long-time reader of The Coracle, in response to our oft-stated desire for a flying car, forwards this link:  The Aerocar

It also features early flying car champion, Hollywood's Bob Cummings.  In addition to starring in the first Hitchcock movie I ever saw [The Saboteur], and employing a staunch Episcopalian in one of his TV shows [Ann B. Davis], he also starred in the first of the Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello surf/beach movies, 1963's Beach Party.

The New Philistines

Ahmari was raised in Iran while the “cultural revolution” busied itself purging the academy and cultural institutions of anyone who might “create the wrong kind of art, or hold the wrong opinion about [it].” The revolutionary vanguard spent its time in libraries blacking out images of nudes. “That a theocratic police state could be this afraid of Renaissance nudes in books taught me early on about the power of great art and its connection to human freedom,” writes Ahmari.

But what has that to do with the art of the West, where artists are free to create as they please, and critics to write what they want? For well over a hundred years the smashing of traditional forms has become business as usual in the world of high art and, as for subject matter, anything goes. Only of late has a retraction of freedoms been promulgated, and – setting aside reactionary religious forces such as Islamism – this urge to censor and restrict has come from inside the art community itself, which consistently seeks to impose a worldview that aligns with prevailing theories of social justice.

Lenten Wave #6

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them." - Thomas Merton