Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let's See Them All Again


I think I am a good man, but... all over the world they say I am a bad man.

Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you....Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
--Annie Dillard

A New Heaven and a New Earth

To My Mother
---by Wendell Berry

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

Irene and me

I was going through some ancient scrapbooks recently and found this snapshot I took with my old Brownie. I remember it well: we were picnicking in Modesto and Irene had just discovered I'd put Miracle Whip on our bologna sandwiches instead of real mayonaise. Say what you will, she could be difficult at times.

But that was then and this is now, and vice versa. As Samuel Goldwyn reminds us, since the old days "we've all passed a lot of water under the bridge."

Radical New Cure for Depression

The only cure for depression is suicide.

This is not meant as a bad joke but as the serious proposal of suicide as a valid option. Unless the option is entertained seriously, its therapeutic value is lost. No threat is credible unless the threatener means it.

The treatment of depression requires a reversal of the usual therapeutic rationale. The therapeutic rationale, which has never been questioned, is that depression is a symptom. A symptom implies an illness; there is something wrong with you. An illness should be treated.

Suppose you are depressed. You may be mildly or seriously depressed, clinically depressed, or suicidal. What do you usually do? Or what does one do with you? Do nothing or something. If something, what is done is always based on the premise that something is wrong with you and therefore it should be remedied. You are treated. You apply to friend, counselor, physician, minister, group. You take a trip, take anti-depressant drugs, change jobs, change wife or husband or "sexual partner."

Now, call into question the unspoken assumption: something is wrong with you. Like Copernicus and Einstein, turn the universe upside down and begin with a new assumption.

Assume that you are quite right. You are depressed because you have every reason to be depressed. No member of the other two million species which inhabit the earth--and who are luckily exempt from depression--would fail to be depressed if it lived the life you lead. You live in a deranged age--more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.

Begin with the reverse hypothesis, like Copernicus and Einstein. You are depressed because you should be. You are entitled to your depression. In fact, you'd be deranged if you were not depressed. Consider the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved for once and all. Would you trade your depression to become any of these?

Now consider, not the usual therapeutic approach, but a more ancient and honorable alternative, the Roman option. I do not care for life in this deranged world, it is not an honorable way to live; therefore, like Cato, I take my leave. Or, as Ivan said to God in The Brothers Karamazov: if you exist, I respectfully return my ticket.

Now notice that as soon as suicide is taken as a serious alternative, a curious thing happens. To be or not to be becomes a true choice, where before you were stuck with to be. Your only choice was how to be less painfully, either by counseling, narcotizing, boozing, groupizing, womanizing, man-hopping, or changing your sexual preference.

If you are serious about the choice, certain consequences follow. Consider the alternatives. Suppose you elect suicide. Very well. You exit. Then what? What happens after you exit? Nothing much. Very little, indeed. After a ripple or two, the water closes over your head as if you had never existed. You are not indispensable, after all. You are not even a black hole in the Cosmos. All that stress and anxiety was for nothing. Your fellow townsmen will have something to talk about for a few days. Your neighbors will profess shock and enjoy it. One or two might miss you, perhaps your family, who will also resent the disgrace. Your creditors will resent the inconvenience. Your lawyers will be pleased. Your psychiatrist will be displeased. The priest or minister or rabbi will say a few words over you and down you go on the green tapes and that's the end of you. In a surprisingly short time, everyone is back in the rut of his own self as if you had never existed.

Now, in the light of this alternative, consider the other alternative. You can elect suicide, but you decide not to. What happens? All at once, you are dispensed. Why not live, instead of dying? You are like a prisoner released from the cell of his life. You notice that the cell door is ajar and that the sun is shining outside. Why not take a walk down the street? Where you might have been dead, you are alive. The sun is shining.

Suddenly you feel like a castaway on an island. You can't believe your good fortune. You feel for broken bones. You are in one piece, sole survivor of a foundered ship whose captain and crew had worried themselves into a fatal funk. And here you are, cast up on a beach and taken in by islanders who, it turns out, are themselves worried sick--over what? Over status, saving face, self-esteem, national rivalries, boredom, anxiety, depression from which they seek relief mainly in wars and the natural catastrophes which regularly overtake their neighbors.

And you, an ex-suicide, lying on the beach? In what way have you been freed by the serious entertainment of your hypothetical suicide? Are you not free for the first time in your life to consider the folly of man, the most absurd of all the species, and to contemplate the cosmic mystery of your own existence? And even to consider which is the more absurd state of affairs, the manifest absurdity of your predicament:lost in the Cosmos and no news of how you got into such a fix or how to get out--or the even more preposterous eventuality that news did come from the God of the Cosmos, who took pity on your ridiculous plight and entered the space and time of your insignificant planet to tell you something.

The difference between a non-suicide and an ex-suicide leaving the house for work, at eight o'clock on an ordinary morning:

The non-suicide is a little traveling suck of care, sucking care with him from the past and being sucked toward care in the future. His breath is high in his chest.

The ex-suicide opens his front door, sits down on the steps, and laughs. Since he has the option of being dead, he has nothing to lose by being alive. It is good to be alive. He goes to work because he doesn't have to.

--Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos, The Last Self-Help Book

Friday, January 30, 2009

the world around us

A few years back, the National Gallery held an exhibition of Spanish still-life paintings. One of these paintings had a physical effect on the people who sauntered in, stopping them in their tracks; some even gasped. I have never seen an image have such an impact on people. The painting, by Juan Sánchez Cotán, now hangs in the San Diego Museum of Art. It showed four fruits and vegetables, two suspended by string, forming a parabola in a gray stone window.

Even if you did not know that Sánchez Cotán was a seventeenth-century Spanish priest, you could know that the painter was religious: for this picture is a visual testimony of gratitude for the beauty of those things that sustain us. Once you have seen it, and concentrated your attention on it, you will never take the existence of the humble cabbage—or of anything else—quite so much for granted, but will see its beauty and be thankful for it. The painting is a permanent call to contemplation of the meaning of human life, and as such it arrested people who ordinarily were not, I suspect, much given to quiet contemplation.
--T. Dalrymple

In the footsteps of giants

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush in December during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled in a ceremony at the Tikrit Orphanage complex.

Assisted by children at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown replica of one of the shoes hurled at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad.

The shoe monument, made of fiberglass and coated with copper, consists of the shoe and a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high. The shoe is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide.

The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure -- unveiled Tuesday -- in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.

"Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush's war," al-Naseri said. "The shoe monument is a gift to the next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist."

"When the next generation sees the shoe monument, they will ask their parents about it," al-Naseri said.

"Then their parents will start talking about the hero Muntadhir al-Zaidi, who threw his shoe at George W. Bush during his unannounced farewell visit."

By tradition, throwing a shoe is the most insulting act in the Arab world.

UPDATE 1/31/09
Iraq shoe sculpture is removed

The director of an orphanage in Iraq said the shoe sculpture set up to honour the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush has been removed.

Fatin al-Nassiri said Iraqi police told her the statue had to be removed because government property should not be used for something with a political bias.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I was interested to read in the local newspaper how the proprietors of some stores are preventing hooligans from gathering outside to intimidate and rob customers. They play Bach over loudspeakers, and this disperses the youths in short order; they flee the way Count Dracula fled before holy water, garlic flowers, and crucifixes. The proprietors had previously tried a high-pitched noise generator whose mosquito-like whine only those younger than 20 could detect. This method, too, proved effective, but the owners abandoned it out of fear that it might damage the youths’ hearing and infringe upon their human rights, leading to claims for compensation.

There is surely something deeply emblematic about the use of one of the great glories of Western civilization, the music of Bach, to prevent the young inheritors of that civilization from committing crimes.

This example, incidentally, bears out a story told by the great Belgian Sinologist, Simon Leys. Leys was sitting in a café where other customers were chatting, playing cards, or having a drink. The radio was on, tuned to a station that relayed idle chatter and banal popular music (you are lucky these days if popular music is banal only). But suddenly, and for no apparent reason, it played the first movement of Mozart’s clarinet quintet, transforming the café into what Leys called “the antechamber of paradise.” The customers stopped what they were doing, as if startled. Then one of them stood up, went over to the radio, and tuned it to another station, restoring the idle chatter and banal music. There was general relief, as if everyone felt that the beauty and refinement of Mozart were a reproach to their lives to which they could respond only by suppressing Mozart.
--Theodore Dalrymple

Now, as a treat to the remnant, go to:
"'Brother Boulder,' there was honeyed olive branch in his radio voice, 'would you please say a closing prayer for us?' The tactic was bold.

After an agonizing silence, Boulder finally arose and made his way to the front of the room. When he arrived, he seemed to have found his resolve and, to the relief of everyone, turned decisively and faced the [Gospel Doctrine] class. With ritual solemnity, he tilted his round face earthward and held it in commanding obeisance until all present fell into a cough-stifling, child-threatening silence.

What happened next can be recounted. It cannot be conveyed."


--Neal Chandler, "Benediction"

minding mother

The day I rediscovered Mother Teresa's words, the so-called war on terror had just cranked up, and the Rumsfeld/Cheney Crew were dignifying the call to violence with rhetoric so over-the-top it abrogated divine authority, "Operation Infinite Justice" being the most spectacularly sad example. What a grounded, utterly human antidote, [her]words, "We can do no great things--only small things, with great love." What a relief! Mother's advice gave me permission to do stuff like play with my kids and go fishing again.

This may seem digressive, but I actually live Mother T's advice when I fish. No joke. On big Montana trout rivers, you often see fly fishers trying to "do great things" by "fishing heroically," making great long casts out into the giant flow as if they're thinking OPERATION INFINITE TROUT! But we who like to actually catch trout scarcely glance at the vast flow. Instead we parse the river, slicing off a tiny slice known as a "feeding lane" where, if a trout is holding and bugs are hatching, you target a single trout, repeatedly rising. In huge Western rivers, three or four hundred feet wide in places, I'm talking about a ribbon six inces in width. Yet this ribbon, believe me, is where all the rising trout get hooked.

A fly-fisherly stragegy you could import from Montana in order to keep "making a difference": every morning, look for "ribbons." One person in need. One deft paragraph to complete. One smile for a stranger. One small thing you sense could be done with full-on attentiveness and love. And after you finish it, look for another one. Ad infinitum.
--David James Duncan

George W. Obama Speaks

And then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, heeee's back!
Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, rebuking the Bush administration, urged Washington to cease using the phrase "war on terror," which he calls "misleading and mistaken." This term implies a unified, international enemy, when there is none in reality. It encourages war psychosis, fear, and employing the military to deal with problems the West "could not kill its way out of," writes Miliband. But promoting the canard of "terrorism" was the central ideology and raison d’être of the Bush administration, a ship of fools steered by crypto-fascist neoconservatives and Christian evangelical fundamentalists. It failed at everything except one thing: propaganda.
--Eric Margolis
We demand windows...and a series of windows, even of doors....Good reading...can be described either as an enlargement or as a temporary annihilation of the self. But that is an old paradox; 'he that loseth his life shall save it.' We therefore delight to enter into other men's beliefs...even though we think them untrue. And into their passions, though we think them depraved....Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality....In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself....Here--as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing--I transcend myself, and am never more myself than when I do.
--C.S. Lewis

Is this hilarious or is it just me? German schnorrer Peter Altenberg--when one of his many young loves tearfully protested that his interest in her was based only ("nur") on sexual attraction--replied: "Was ist so nur?" (What's so only?).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I would really appreciate it if whoever is hacking onto this site would respect my privacy and stop posting this photo. Thank you.
"It is not true that life is one damn thing after another – it's one damn thing over and over."

– Edna St. Vincent Millay
Even Fabio has a bad day now and then, hard to believe.
The Annunciation

The angel and the girl are met.
Earth was the only meeting place.
For the embodied never yet
Travelled beyond the shore of space.
The eternal spirits in freedom go.

See, they have come together, see,
While the destroying minutes flow,
Each reflects the other's face
Till heaven in hers and earth in his
Shine steadily there.
He's come to her
From far beyond the farthest star,
Feathered through time.
Immediacy of strangest strangeness in the bliss
That from their limbs all movement takes.
Yet the increasing rapture brings
So greater wonder that it makes
Each feather tremble on his wings.

Outside the window footsteps fall
Into the ordinary day
And with the sun along the wall
Pursue their unreturning way.
Sound's perpetual roundabout
Rolls its numbered octaves out
And hoarsely grinds its battered voice.

But through the endless afternoon
These neither speak nor movement make,
But stare into their deepening trance
As if their gaze would never break.

---Edwin Muir

Fra Angelico, ca. 1430, Tempera And Gold On Panel, Prado, Madrid, Spain
A life devoted unto God, looking wholly unto Him in all our actions, and doing all things suitably to His glory, is so far from being dull and uncomfortable, that it creates new comforts in everything that we do.
... William Law
The columnist Arnaud de Borchgrave, writing in The Washington Times, reminds us that the militant Islamist movement didn’t begin in the Arabian deserts among the camels. It began with an Egyptian student of American literature named Sayeb Qtab at the University of Northern Colorado. In 1952 Qtab had his epiphany at a church dance. On this seemingly innocent occasion, he was revolted by the way American women adorned their faces, exposed the shape of their bodies, and danced chest-to-chest with men to the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” With a prophet’s eye he saw horrible decadence in the scene and was alarmed at the thought that it threatened to spread around the world, engulfing Islamic culture and morals as it went. Returning home, Qtab spread his message, and it resonated with his fellow Muslims.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In his memoir, BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE, Alec Guinness speaks of his conversion to Catholicism. His hostility to the Church began to melt away once when he played a priest in a movie being filmed in Burgundy. At the end of a day's shooting, still in costume, he was walking back to his quarters when a small boy greeted him as "mon pere," seized his hand, and walked with him, chattering happily until their paths parted. Then the boy bowed slightly, saying, "Bonsoir, mon pere," and darting through a hedge. Guinness was impressed by "a Church which could inspire such confidence in a child, making its priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable."
Nietzsche, in one of his disconcertingly piercing aperçus, wrote: “‘I have done that,’ says my memory. ‘I cannot have done that,’ says my pride, and remains adamant. At last—my memory yields.”
"I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks, "Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks. "Yes," I say, "it will. It is because the nerve was cut." She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. "I like it," he says, "It is kind of cute." "All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works." — Richard Selzer (Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery) (Don't miss this book)
Dear Mr. Pope,
I don't know any other way to say it than to just take a deep breath and come right out with it. What I am going to ask will seem at first quite insane. But I assure you I am no maniac. I want to come and listen to your heart for the space of one hour at a time when it is convenient for you. While I know that at first this request will seem strange to you, I pray that you will say yes. You have no idea how important it is to me.
Yours truly,
Hannah Owen

(For the exciting rest, tune in at )

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sesshu-a favorite.

the red kite

The story is about a Chinese man who had been smoking four and five packs of cigarettes daily. To no avail, his wife, his mother, his doctors pleaded with him to stop. Then one day he received a letter from his son asking him to give up his life-threatening habit. Immediately he did. "Anything my son asks," he explained, "I must grant, for unlike other men who have fathered sons, mine has returned to me countless times the gift of life."

His son had been seven years of age when the terrible Cultural Revolution swept through China. The father was suddenly imprisoned in his own office. For the next several years the father didn't know why he had been branded a class enemy or how long his sentence. He had no idea of what was happening in China or to those he cherished

Many a long night he contemplated suicide. Only one certainty prevented him. At dawn--summer, spring, winter and fall--he could peer through a crack in the boarded window daily and see a tiny vermilion kite in the sky. Sometimes it hovered at eye level. Sometimes it soared into the heavens. Sometimes it was barely visible. That familiar sight never failed to inspire hope. For always he knew...someone was sending him a message. Someone on the outside waited faithfully. Someone cared. And so the father held onto life as tightly as he had once taught his son to hold on to the tether of his kite.
--------Mosaics-a Chinese legacy, Bette Bao Lord (great name
LeConte Stewart
In his book “Akenfield, Portrait of an English Village,” Ronald Blythe records the life stories of the inhabitants of a tiny (population 298) East Anglian village in Suffolk County, England. The names of the village and villagers have been changed, but the harshness, isolation, and beauty of their lives shine through their memories and observations. “Fred Mitchell,” and 85-year-old horseman (ploughman), recalls his difficult childhood:

“I never did any playing in all my life. There was nothing in my childhood, only work. I never had pleasure. One day a year I went to Felixstowe along with the chapel women and children, and that was my pleasure. But I have forgotten one thing—the singing. There was such a lot of singing in the villages then, and this was my pleasure, too. Boys sang in the fields, and at night we all met at the Forge and sang. The chapels were full of singing. When the first war came, it was singing, singing all the time. So I lie; I have had pleasure. I have had singing.”
"I still find myself shaking my head in amazement as I watch Minitrue pursuing and extending its party line with the assurance, serenity, and matter-of-factness of the Soviet media propagating the Stalinist world-view in 1938. On January 19 one of MSNBC's left-wing operatives, Andrea Mitchell, interviewed "openly gay" Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson about the Inaugural festivities and the prospects of the Obama regime, and she led off by asking the Right Reverend what he thought of Obama's choice of Pop Preacher Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the Inauguration. Warren, though hardly a threat to the System, has not yet fully endorsed its homosexualist program, and in her opening question Miss Mitchell described him as a "divisive" figure.

"Divisive"? Ignorant viewers were afforded no background on the civil war in the Episcopal Church or the damage that that ancient institution has suffered, actually leading to schism, thanks to homosexualists such as Robinson. No: it's normal people who are "divisive" now, in the eyes of our masters and their mouthpieces.

Answering Miss Mitchell's question, Robinson said he was "very disappointed" that Warren would be appearing. Now, Robinson himself gave the invocation at one of the Inaugural Obama-Worship Services, the "We Are One" concert on the Mall, held January 18. But by official definition, no divisiveness can attach to Robinson's appearance or, more generally, to an event proclaiming that "We Are One." If We Are One, then of course We can have Only One Opinion about important matters such as homosexualism and its political promotion. Accordingly, Miss Mitchell interviewed no one who considers Robinson a "divisive" figure. (By the way, this sort of psywar is what our adversaries are referring to when they warble about promoting "diversity.")" Nick Strakon

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Five Thousand Dollars (US $5,000.00, in 2040 currency, adjusted for inflation) to the creative genius who contributes the best additional lyrics to this song (around which I am building what some might call a dynamic motivational seminar). Consideration will be given to the length of the proposed additional lyrics. The winner will be invited to lead the seminar participants in learning the new verses! Do you have confidence? Prove it. OK, here's to get you started:

I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me
--Fraulein Von Trapp-Andrews

Today's Anecdote (courtesy of Samuel Johnson)

"I called on Dr. Johnson one morning, when Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, was conversing with him. She was telling him where she had dined the day before. 'There were several gentlemen there,' said she, 'and when some of them came to the tea-table, I found that there had been a good deal of hard drinking.' She closed this observation with a common and trite moral reflection; which, indeed, is very ill-founded, and does great injustice to animals -- 'I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves.' 'I wonder, Madam,' replied the Doctor, 'that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.'"

I continue to receive a lot of inquiries about this photo, so much so that I find it somewhat disruptive to my greater Work. Yes, that really is me, circa 1954, and, yes, that really is Irene Papas. More of the story at a later time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”
-- Ambrose Bierce

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Worrying is praying for what you don't want."
—Chris West
"Be as sure of it as you are that God lives: at the least good deed done here in this world, the least bit of good will, the least good desire, God laughs and plays."
--Meister Eckhart

"Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs die in earnest."
---Bion, Greek poet, 100 BC

Friday, January 9, 2009

“This Do in Remembrance of Me”

Blinking out into the April brightness
One Sabbath after church,I heard a Saint expound to a politely listening friend,
“With us, the sacrament is just a symbol.”

“Just a symbol.”
All the sunlong day and starlong night
Those slippery words shadowed me.

True enough: the bread but bread.
Yet the body offered up was real,
Its shattered nerves most verifiable
As pain spiked along the net.

Right enough: the water nothing more
But the shed blood pulsed power-poor,
Streamed swift, then slow, to dry and cake
Down racked arms and flanks.

How pallid the bread when pale the memory.
Yet sweet the nourishment when we his Spirit summon
By rich remembering.

Every symbol has two halves.
But to us falls the matching.
What match we, then, in sacramental token?
What fit we to the water, and the bread?

---Elouise Bell, Ensign April 1980, 9

"Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others."
---Groucho Marx

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still angry after all these years. Come on, Irene, let it go.
It is by affliction chiefly that the heart of man is purified, and that the thoughts are fixed on a better state. Prosperity has power to intoxicate the imagination, to fix the mind upon the present scene, to produce confidence and elation, and to make him who enjoys affluence and honors forget the hand by which they were bestowed. It is seldom that we are otherwise than by affliction awakened to a sense of our imbecility, or taught to know how little all our acquisitions can conduce to safety or quiet, and how justly we may inscribe to the superintendence of a higher power those blessings which in the wantonness of success we considered as the attainments of our policy and courage.
... Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky:
A horror of great darkness at broad noon
I only I.

Yet give not o'er
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
As Sherlock Holmes once said, “Watson, when I say you are instructive, I mean that I learn from your mistakes.”
Criminal gang exchanging secret handshake. What do all their faces have in common?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Whatever energies I may or may not have, I know one thing for certain: That I could not devote them to anything else I should think entirely worth doing. Indeed, nothing else seems interesting enough, nothing to repay the labor, but the telling of my fellow man about the one man who is the truth, and to know whom is life. Even if there be no hereafter, I would live my time believing in a grand thing that ought to be true if it is not. As facts can take the place of truths; and if these be not truths, then is the loftiest part of our nature a waste. Let me hold by the better than the actual, and fall into nothingness off the same precipice with Jesus and John and Paul and a thousand more, who were lovely in their lives, and with their death make even the nothingness into which they have passed like the garden of the Lord. I will go farther, and say I would rather die forevermore believing as Jesus believed, than live forevermore as those that deny him. George MacDonald