Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Couple of Items

I'm probably going to vote today, because the idea that the Party of Death might take things over makes me want to puke. Meanwhile, Zippy will be setting himself before the Blessed Sacrament invoking a Providence Whose intervention might be the only thing that can translate my vote into something meaningful.
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I have discovered that, after opening a bag of barbecue potato chips, I have great trouble closing it up again, at least until the bag is empty. This a recent phenomenon which, like all cravings (e.g., blogging), will eventually be replaced by another. Not long ago I had a similar problem with unsalted cashews. Before that it was popcorn. On occasion these latter two cravings demanded feeding at the same time.
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So I'm poking around the art supplies in Michael's, scoping out vine charcoal, when this melodius female voice behind me says, "Ohmigod. Did you know that Strathmore uses windpower to make its drawing paper?" I turned around. She's maybe college age, with sandy hair; not noticeably attractive but not ugly, either, which always helps. "No, I didn't," I reply in a reserved tone. I don't like being bothered when I'm poking around. I want to find it and get out. I also don't care about windpower. It won't move my car. "I'm sorry," she said, "I know you don't know me from Adam but I just had to say it. I think it's so exciting." I nodded and went back to the charcoal, thinking, "You mean Eve."

So I'm driving home and wondering what the windpower does. Provide the electricity to run the paper plant? Inside of which a lot of nasty chemical stuff still goes on she'd rather not know about? I hate youthful idealism. Some people never outgrow it. Like Al Gore. When I get home I Google Strathmore. I hate her for making me do it. And there it is on their website, second item down, about which they enthuse:

100% Windpower - 30% post-consumer fiber - Acid Free
This environmentally friendly, heavyweight drawing paper is perfect for finished works of art. This bright white paper is the artist's choice for working with pencil, pen, charcoal, or pastel. Micro-perforated for easy sheet removal.

But only one kind of paper is produced this way. All the rest must be oil, coal or nuclear powered. So what's windpowered paper? 30% post-consumer fiber is fancy talk for recycled. You're getting someone else's leftovers. Which means inferior quality. And I still can't figure out what's environmentally friendly about it. That young woman's going into the booth tomorrow and vote a straight Democratic ticket. I just know it. Now I really hate her.
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Temporary idiot of the week, example 1:

It’s counterintuitive, but often the case, that you get less religious as you get older. Well, perhaps it’s not really counterintuitive: Other passions fade, why shouldn’t religious feeling?

Because it's not a passion. Or a feeling. Example 2:

...the experience of raising two kids — mine are now 13 and 11 — was one I found de-spiritualizing.

De-religionized by his own children. Well, you've got to blame somebody. Why not your kids?

We have a religious module in our brains, and with little kids you can actually watch it waking up and developing, like their speech or social habits.

Some of us, upon witnessing this, find it evidence of the miraculous. Then there are those who, upon discovering that their children will not represent a new macro-evolutionary leap of speciation, find the process repetitive to the point of boredom. It's all so...natural. De-spiritualizing. I hope his kids read that stuff when they get older. Maybe they'll have advanced enough to be bored by it. All examples provided by John Derbyshire, ex-half-hearted Anglican and conservative columnist for National Review, explaining why he doesn't love Jesus anymore.
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I think I finally found a picture of Jeff Culbreath's homestead:

The cows are just offscreen in the pasture to the right, grazing among the apricot and peach trees. The chickens are in that offshoot from the main house nearest the road. The castration tools are kept in that shed in the back. The goats are behind that little fence in the background. You can't see them because a hungry cougar has sent them fleeing in panic. Jeff and the wife and kids are inside saying a rosary before the fireplace, but he heard the goats' bleating and is preparing to exit the front door, shotgun in hand. The cougar's as good as dead because he doesn't like having his rosary interrupted. The kids don't want him to kill the cat, but he tells them a man's got to protect what's his. After the evening's excitement is over, he'll retire early so's he can get up and go into the city to sell businesses that cost more than my wife and I make in three years. On the whole it looks like a pretty cozy life. Some guys get to live it; the rest of us just dream.

Well, that's all for now. See you again God knows when.


Jeff Miller said...

I think you might have Lays Syndrome - you can't eat just one.

TS said...

Derb also made some really odd comments about the image of God, as if that's a literal image.

It's interesting that someone so mathematically-inclined (he's written books on the subject) could so nakedly put emotions as the forefront in his decisions.

Btw, good chuckle at: "When I get home I Google Strathmore. I hate her for making me do it."

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

Consider yourself fortunate. It is only because I had not forewarned you that you did not get my vote in this election as being far more qualified than many of the bozos on the ballot. In fact, you'd have been write-in on about three offices. Pretty tough gig to play--but then someone's gotta do it.

Next election, however, consider yourself warned.


Steven Riddle

Mama T said...

1. I may never buy Strathmore drawing paper again.

2. My experience is exactly the opposite of Mr. Derbyshire. The experience of becoming a parent was extremely "spiritualizing" (what a stupid word) for me, and has been for large numbers of the people I know. Anecdotal, I suppose, but certainly no more anecdotal the the Derb's. He makes me crazy.

3. Most of the older folks I know, at least the ones with any "religion" to begin with become more spiritual as they age, though they may be a little quieter about it, and maybe less involved in a church (though I think that is largely due to physical reasons). Partly I think it is like that old saying, "Nothing like a hanging to concentrate the mind." I think it's a matter of "settling in" to your faith. I am much quieter about my Catholicism now than I was 10 years ago as a convert. However, I'm a *deeper* Catholic than I was once.

Not less "spiritual", just differently "spiritual".

I think he just has an advance case of either despair or sloth.

Blesss his heart, as we would say around here.

Blessings to YOU sir!

Jeff Culbreath said...

1. That's a beautiful painting. Wish I really lived there.

2. Except that I wouldn't want a train running through my yard.

3. I'm sorry to have misled anyone into thinking I live a cozy life. It is a good life, but you really don't want my problems (and I'm not telling you what they are).

4. My latest post notwithstanding, Derbyshire's words are an appropriate reminder of what is wrong with the English.

5. Hurry back!

William Luse said...

Jeff M, I had another kind of Lays Syndrome when I was younger but can't go into details.

Ts - The part that got me was his belief that because, say, stone age man and modern man have different genomes, one can't have been made in God's image. I wanted to ask if Stone Age man had a full complement of human chromosomes, which would let him into the club despite any variations over time. But I decided not to waste mine by writing an email that would not be answered. The poor fellow's so burdened by biology.

Steven, thanks for the vote of confidence. Write-in's the only way I'd make it because I can't do the smile-for-the-camera thing. I'd do better in an appointive office, something to do with national security where I could be in charge of torture policy. But never fear - I'd choose Zippy as my closest advisor.

Terry, I'm with you on the spiritualizing effect of children. That part of his essay was the most depressing.

Jeff C. - you wouldn't want a train running through your yard? Excuse me? Those are wheel ruts left by a 56 Ford pickup parked behind the house in an abandoned stable. Mr. Art Appreciation.

Ellyn said...

I have, at times, been demoralized by my children. But never despiritualized.

(PS - I thought those were train tracks, too. And wondering how the train could pass so closely to the building made me very, very uncomfortable.)

William Luse said...

If they don't look like ruts, then I've failed. Now I'm really depressed.

Didn't you even wonder where the cross-ties were?

Ellyn said...

I thought it was a "magic" railroad? No cross-ties needed?

(So much for all the years I put in watching Thomas the Tank Engine and playing on the floor with the BRIOs...wait a minute...BRIOs don't have cross-ties...perhaps that is the basis of my skewed thinking...)

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

Even worse than all that, I just noticed--Strathmore hasn't a clue about the different between energy and power. The wind provides energy not power--power is a rate of use of energy, therefore you can't use wind power for anything.

A reason to boycott the product if no other--scientific illiteracy and its proliferation.



Peony Moss said...

1. I thought they were ruts.

2. Derb? Sloth, I think.

3. BRIOs don't have cross-ties but the Thomas brand track does.

William Luse said...

Ah, I can always count on Peony to save my feelings. I don't know what Brios and Thomas brand tanks are but I'm glad she does.

Derbyshire is certainly slothful in a peculiarly relgious sense, but he has a great deal of energy (by his own account) when it comes to science and math. The observable nature of these things (including his unobserbable evolutionary assumptions) seems to overwhelm the religious impulse. He even says that the more you know about biology, the natural, the less room you're able to find for the supernatural. As I wrote to TS, he cherishes a sort of irreverent reverence for the demonstrable. He probably thinks his observations insightful, but they seem to me so lazily typical of our age. He's just another doubting Thomas.

Steven, Terry - don't boycott Strathmore. I figure the wind thing is just a response to some of their artsy-fartsy eco-wacko patrons. They still make plenty of varieties of fine drawing and watercolor paper torn straight from the rainforest, doused in chemicals, and processed in plants whose chimneys pump the smoke skyward.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

I boycott Strathmore by default--I never buy any art supplies, but in priciple I'd be willing to boycott them unless they changed "power" to "energy." Because that's just the sort of snooty elitist I am. :-D



William Luse said...

All right, Steven, I can understand standing on principle.

Something else occurs to me: "30% post-consumer fiber" sounds like something you'd read on a cereal box. Which would mean that you were eating somebody else's...oh, what's the word I'm looking for?

TS said...

I think Derbyshire's refusal to see Stone Age man as made in the image of God is really telling because it betrays the sort of rank prejudice that is his stock in trade, that which is his primary image of who he is. He is British & intelligent, therefore he looks down on those not British (especially the Irish) and not intelligent. So it's not surprising that he'd look down on Stone Age man and judge them unworthy of being made in the image of God. Or Terri Schiavo. Or anyone who isn't a post-Enlightenment Brit basically.

William Luse said...

I thinks you is probably right. There's an arrogance to his tone (even in responding to Wesley Smith) that gives that elitism away. By the way, you sent me a link to Novak's response which made me want to throw up (the response, not the link). Isn't he just so conciliatory, so compassionate, so understanding of the other's difficulties? I always suspected he was a wuss and now I know it.
I do remember that Derb was in favor of doing Terri in. The only rewarding part of it was that in their Corner arguments, Ramesh Ponnuru beat the hell out of him.

TS said...

Yeah, really the only surprising thing I've sent you recently is Novak's reply, at least surprising to me. I don't get it. I think there are two schools of thought on atheism: One is that it's a condition that was brought upon you through no fault of your own. Novak's response suggested that view, as if Derb had just caught leprosy.

The other view is that atheism is due to pride, obtuseness to what St. Paul referred to as the clear signs in nature, and a simple rejection of the gift of faith. (Derb, being baptized, has that gift.)

Perhaps the answer is somewhere between the two extremes but Novak's reply was the opposite of my initial reaction, proving that he's either far more of a saint than me (more likely), or that his wussification factor is higher than expected.

William Luse said...

Probably the latter. When Heather MacDonald vented, the same tone pervaded his comments at FT. There's never any sense that, finally, he's fed up with the whole phenomenon.