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Hell, I didn't even make it to Cambridge weekend before last, and that's more my scene. Cambridge NY, I mean.

Was reading Guy Davenport last night while the Better Half (as they are known) had the DemoCon on in the next room; she turned up the sound for Teddy and Michele. I have to give Ted credit, especially as I can only assume he is making his peace with God as best he knows how. And, disgusting as I have found him, he is certainly a class act compared with the Clintons, and if the Demos return to the spirit of Camelot, it will be all to the good. Bobby at least was a comparatively admirable fellow, and even JFK did some good. My reaction to Michele Obama is pretty much that of Justin Raimondo, so I will let you follow that link to Taki's site.

I feel a lot better about the whole Obama thing now. Though I don't want Biden as president, I really don't.

I was rewarded before I slept by some wonderful Davenport anecdotes of JRR Tolkein. And Thomas Merton, who could, even in his hermitage days, put down a half dozen martinis -- though not at the hermitage, I hasten to add, or with his Roman collar on. What a metabolism! I'm sure holiness helps.
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One of you has asked, and perhaps some of you have wondered, just what the hell is this neocon-paleocon thing. Isn't neocon just a word used by anti-Semites to smear everything good, clean, and decent?

I think not. But I do need to make myself clearer. So I have gathered up some of the essays Taki has been kind enough to publish, or at links to them, in an order that makes sense, an order that, I imagine, might do for a book:

Take a look and let me know what you think. If you do now you will miss the ads for hypnotic mind control, lose nine pounds in eleven days, get ripped abs in thirty three.

Of course it's a personal take. Nothing in it about Oakeshott. Or about not only Strauss, but Voegelin, as a neocon. Or when and where the tern neoconservative appeared in print. (In a book, it was in one by Peter Viereck in the middle '50s, referencing a magazine reference by Will Herberg to Reinhold Niebuhr. Good to know, because it all goes back to Reinhold's debate with his brother Richard in the '30s. And Reinhold was, with Rabbi Heschel, I think, the originator of the pernicious myth of Judeo-Christendom, that Christians must withdraw from public view and discourse everything in their faith a Jew might object to, everything, that is, about Jesus as other than a mere prophet of the Social Gospel.)

I fear that there might be more research ahead of me, and this at a time of my life that I am more anxious to communicate what I already know while I am still able. I wonder if it might not be better to stick to autobiography, to give otherwise abstract ideas some kind of human resonance. But my life, viewed from the outside, has not a great deal of biographical interest.
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Who knows?

Maybe if I unfriend some massive feeds (or unfeed some massive friends) it won't be such a chore to check in here. Then, of course, it would be just my luck to get another job that requires me to keep on top of them.

As before, if you have something in a personal entry you want to call my attention to, please comment.

I will be checking in more regularly, even posting.

Most of my posting has been links to stuff I was publishing on line anyway, and my writing has been for other things of late.

I think a lot of my online presence will be through Squidoo, a good place to set up web pages, I think. My first effort, very much a work in progress, is an investigation, from an educator's point of view, of mind control. I got interested in this at the end of last week when I started noticing the ads for conversational hypnosis, underground hypnosis, tantra, and, of course, ripped abs.

All of these are instructional products in electronic format, so that there is no cost of manufacture, and the creator, distributor, and affiliate internet marketer split the revenues. This is a business model that appeals to me, and of course would appeal to me more if my stuff on line got more traffic. But that is an issue that concerns me anyway -- the things I write are important, damn it, and more people oought to read them, damn it, and not just the sort of people who read Taki. Oops, forgot to say "damn it!"

For all of you who hated Charlie the Unicorn, I was going to post Vangelis' and Irene Pappas' version of the Paschal Troparion. Maybe another time.

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Well I am checking in here again. But this time, for the first time, I am not going to be able to scroll back over the pages and pages of days and days of posts. I therefore must ask you to leave a comment if there is anything you think I ought to know, or just want to tell me.
Sorry. To make up for my lameness, I will post this, which I owe to Srsti:
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The bad news (for some) is that I am not posting regularly yet. The good news, known to all you paleocons out there, is that John Zmirak, author of the new Grand Inquisitor comic book, has blogged our last visit to Turkish Bellydance Night at the Sushi Bar. Perhaps I should say, Turkish Music night with eclectic bellydancing. Or Brooklyn Turkish Fusion. Or something. But here's the link -- scroll down in the comments to see my links to the troupe and the band:
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I am a Catholic American. When I was a little kid, knee high to a trilobite, some folks still had a problem with that. My mother was one of them. As long as I was a Catholic like my father (and her own mother as a little girl in Ireland and on the lower East Side), I couldn't be a real American like her father, a bookbinder replaced by a machine, disowned by his family for marrying out of caste, who spent his days in the nearest tavern. "Pop" Palmer died at 78, and four years later I was born and named for him, or at least that was my mother's intention. The priest baptized me in Latin, as was the custom in those dark days, and pronounced "Frank" so that it sounded like the nickname ("Frenchy") of a (doubtless) dirty medieval Italian beggar.
Read more... )

The opening paragraphs of the remarks I presented part of at[ profile] seraphimsigrist's little East Village gathering this afternoon; see his entry for the picture. More later if you like. And maybe even if you don't.

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Destentified.  Took a Tylenol 3 in the waiting room afterwards for when the local wore off, but have not needed a second, at least so far.

Curiously, the stones blasted out of my bladder two weeks ago turned out to be uric acid of the sort that tends to form in the joints of my left foot, rather than the calcium oxylate that was growing in my kidney.

So everything looks good for Sunday as far as my health goes, and Srsti has picked up the tickets, which I understand have our names in bar code.  I do hope they included Maya's full name as I submitted it;  her married name is not on her driver's license.  I think I have a marriage certificate in a sock drawer just in case.

I haven't been walking this comfortably in weeks  --  or is it months?  Seems like years.

On the Vatican front, I was pleased to see several Copts and maybe even a Nestorian at the ecumenical service at St. Joseph's on live TV this evening, but disappointed that none was presented to the Pope.  Armenian is about as exotic as they got.  Is it because the Armenians are Chalcedonians, monothelite rather than monophysite?  (Is this geeky, or what?)
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Although my daughter is (or was) one of the notorious Bleacher Creatures, I have never been inside the Stadium, though I once changed trains there conducting some Sough Bronx adult education students to the Coney Island aquarium. Divine Providence, in the form of a cat-loving Baviarian pianist gives me one last chance before they tear it down. (I was at the Polo Grounds only once, for the last game between the Giants and the Dodgers. The real ones.) The last -- I hope -- of my surgical procedures will have been Friday afternoon, giving just enough time -- again, I hope -- for the internal bleeding to stop or get under control. There's nothing in the press about a book signing, which is probably just as well.

This will be my third Papa in person.  39 years ago, I went to see Montini at Castelgandolfo with Potter the Peircean and his mother  --  and a decade later I was attempting to cross Broadway at Chambers late for work when the Polish gentleman rode by in his white Popemobile.  (Pacelli, Roncalli, and Luciani I only know from TV.)

Am I supposed to bring pocketfuls of holy stuff to get blessed or what?  Or Yankee memorabilia?  I can't recall anything like that with the Dalai Lama at Columbia, who, by the way, couldn't finish his own joke because he kept cracking himself up.

As you may know Maya and I go to something called School of Community on 96th Street a block this side of the mosque, and Benedict attends one in his private quarters taught by one of his domestic staff, so the wife, the Pope and I are on the same page  --  pretty much literally.  I like the idea that the Servant of the Servants of God, and the teacher of their teachers, is himself glad to be a student, and of his pastry chef (as I like to think) at that.  (I do hope he gets his birthday strudel tomorrow.  It should be less of a problem than it was during the conclave.)

This morning I got an email, which I didn't much expect, to pick up our tickets Friday.


Apr. 9th, 2008 03:01 pm
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I have a Friday morning appointment for a procedure than should remove the cause of the discomfort I am still experiencing.  On the other hand, I can't predict the discomfort, pain might not be too strong a term, of the procedure itself or during the following days, never mind the anxiety leading up to the undoubtedly minor (in comparison with the big deal in the hospital a week ago, or even the failed procedure last month) event.

Father J. is back to Barcelona (Girona, actually) tomorrow without any dental work having been done for him at NYU, despite his extensive evaluations just before their Spring break and the expectation of appointments Monday and Tuesday.

The website I was working on went down the tubes thanks to a server migration and it took some work on the part of the host before I could reinstall successfully.  It's back now in rudimentary fashion, and I will do things slowly, and the way I was beginning to wish I had done it the first time.  At the end of which my little chowder and marching society will have more than it ever wanted, and I will be a bit more of a Drupal geek.  Which is what I always wanted to be when I grew up, back in Jersey in the '50s.

Meanwhile I am immersed in <i>The Lost Science of Money</i>, which I lugged home exhausted from the monetary reform conference at the Ron Paul HQ Sunday.  It is remarkable how hospitable the RP folks are to the discussion of the Federal Reserve system even from a nonlibertarian, anti-Austrian, social welfarist, fiat money point of view, a point of view I find unexpectedly persuasive in spots.  And I may come out of this able to read Pound's middle <i>Cantos</i> with something approaching interest.  I already see his obsession with the Rothschilds less connected to the European anti-Sems than with his father's professional concern with the minting of precious metals.

And of course local history is involved.  August Belmont, the father of the subway, was not only the Rothshild's American agent, but the chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1868, who may well have worked to throw the election to Grant when his own candidate failed to endorse the gold standard.  So says the fascinating Alexander del Mar, anyway, whose works I have located on Google.  One of those names you see in Pound, and wonder what Pound saw in them.  (Mussolini being an extreme example.)

Belmont's was the only private car on the IRT...
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Thank you for your good wishes.  Got home around eight last night minus two stones but with something called a stent inserted up into the kidney.  This time it shouldn't be in there long enough for stones to grow on it like rock candy on a string.  The radiologist (not the pretty one) noticed something he didn't like in the EKG which will be the topic of further discussion.  Evidently something that isn't threatening to do anything, but which will have to be taken into account if my heart should ever, in Mel Brook's immortal phrase, attack me.  Indeed, it's the sort of thing it leaves behind when it does, but if it did I was paying attention to something else at the time, though as far as I know it's not the sort of thing you would miss.  Unless you're mostly Irish or something.

I am pleasantly sleepy and will take advantage of the fact, and of the fact that the web site I would be otherwise be working on seems to have been disabled by a server migration.

The air coming in the bathroom window smells good;  it's a happy time of year, and maybe I can get away with unsealing the bedroom window.

Cheers, all.

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Tomorrow.  The hospital, not the president.  The one where I was training doctors and nurses in computer operations.  (The nurse who left me on the bedpan for hours took an early retirement rather than learn something new.)  The hospital named for the fellow whose grandson (or something) was the first (?) Bishop of Newark, and the founder of Seton Hall.

I show up at 7:30 for a procedure at 9:30.  This one should work, unlike the one a couple of weeks ago, and may even (I may be permitted to hope) entail less pain during and after.  And if it works, of course, ordinary living should be a good bit less onerous.  At this point I can't even imagine that.  Wish it for me anyway.  Should be out around noon, maybe walking a little funny.  In time for lunch at one of those little Greek diners if I am up to it.

The Asus eeepc is proving just the thing to carry around in my shoulder bag, especially when I do on-site college inspections.  I wish there were more free wifi hotspots around, but there's the Gigi Cafe across from the subway station, not to mention the Bowery Poetry Club.  I was happy to get SILC working on the livingroom desktop and actually connect to a server, but of course nobody was actually on.  Then again, why should they be?  IRC is esoteric enough to keep the vulgar out, and encryption is just the icing on the cake.  Still, I like the idea for some reason.  Then again, I thought ICQ was fun back around 2000.

More later, maybe.


Mar. 11th, 2008 04:04 am
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In the midst of excruciating pain and narcotic fog I learned of the death of a dear old friend from whom I had been unhappily estranged.  Yesterday I learned more of the circumstances of her death, which brought her close to me in a way she had not been before.  I should probably tell you that I am speaking of a woman of old WASP stock, as in Santayana's classic Last Puritan.  A year or two behind Hillary at Holyoke, too austere to have been a hippie, more like the very serious single women of earlier times who turned to pacifism, vegitarianism, Theosophy.  Not a Quaker, but on reflection I am not quite sure why.

I posted this on the Yahoo group for my high school class:

  From the newsletter of
 Blessed Sacrament
 Roman Catholic Church
 Memphis TN:

 Adoramus Te
 December 2006

 Happy Birthday to us!

 This newsletter was first issued in December
 2005. Father Bravata had discussed sharing
 spiritual insights as well as parish news, but his
 vision had yet to become a reality.

 The moving force behind that first issue was
 Elli Light, an RCIA candidate who got the ball
 rolling. Retired from The Commercial Appeal as
 a copy editor, Elli was an intelligent woman and
 a talented writer. She died in September shortly
 after coming into the Church.

 We thank God for sending Elli to share her many
 gifts with us during her short time here.

 Rest in peace, Elli!


 Cathy R______ found this on the parish website to which the obit had
 led me -- it was distinctly odd to see that her memorial service was
 at a Catholic church. I put in a call to the church office, and they
 got back to me at the end of the day. Elli enrolled in RCIA (the
 Roman Catholic program for potential converts) in 2005, I guess
 shortly after the removal of much of her intestine (cancer?) and her
 retirement from newspaper work. Because of her generally poor health
 the Bishop gave the pastor special permission to give her Communion,
 but too late -- she was suddenly admitted to the hospital and she
 was already on a ventilator when he got there. He was able to hear
 her confession, confirm her, and give her the sacrament of the sick
 before the end. That's what I remember, anyway. It was all so

 Elli was on a spiritual quest as long as I knew her. The college year
 she spent in India she did an extensive comparison of Shankaracharya
 with Nagarjuna in which the latter came out ahead, but told me later
 that it's all in John of the Cross. There was the Vietnam War and the
 smuggling of potential draftees to Canada. There was the Gurjieff
 commune, her experience of which prompted The Record to assign her to
 the local followup to the Jonestown massacre. There were the years of
 Reichian analysis, and perhaps some Jungian work as well, and the New
 Age books she worked on at Harper and Rowe, her working as a freelance
 yoga teacher -- my roommate and I were among her (few?) clients.

 I used to think Elli was PC before there was a name for it. When the
 late Bill Buckley began to appear on educational TV, he reminded me of
 her, though of course from the other side of the alleged spectrum. It
 seemed to me that her model was that Mrs. Roosevelt whom he so
 publicly hated and despised. If you knew Elli as a political being,
 you will smile to think that she chose Joan of Arc as her confirmation

 But Catholic? It is easy to see Elli as part of the Church of Thomas
 Merton, Dorothy Day, Catherine Doherty, Bede Griffiths. It may be
 much harder to see that Church behind the Catholic Church of the
 headlines and the movies. If you are curious, perhaps one of these
 names will be a clue.

 As we say on Mulberry Street,
 Eleanor Jeanne Darc Bird Light
 Memory Eternal, Eternal Memory
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I saw her last on Wednesday, June 23, 1965;  it was the day we were graduated from high school.  I don't recall speaking to her then, or, indeed, before that.   But she remembered that over the years Elli had spoken of me as a friend, and I thought so of myself, though I had not seen her since some time in the late '80s or early '90s.  Jane  --  I know Jane since third grade, but have not seen her for a couple of decades  --  Jane was worried that she hadn't heard from Elli for a couple of years, and called Cathy.  Cathy remembered that Elli had been in Reichian therapy for many years, and called the Reich institute in Maine, and they told her that they had received a legacy from her when she died, on September 6, 2006.  Under what circumstances, I have no idea.

Elli was never a romantic interest of mine, though I never convinced Maya of that, and gave up on the attempt.  She was, however, one of those people with a clearly defined view of the world, philosophy of life, call it what you will, with whom I always felt myself to be in a kind of dialogue.  A dialogue which is now over with the finality that death had for her.  Indeed, it is probably fair to say that she rather despised any other view of the matter, though perhaps not all of us who could conceive other views.

I promised to try to contact Lynda, whom I have seen perhaps once since graduation, and who is now quite the successful businesswoman, as the one best able to break the news to Jane.  And because the last time I saw Elli, she expressed regret at having cut Lynda out of her life for taking a job she took as a form of collaboration in the wicked capitalist system  --  it was, after all, the end of the '60s.  A sad, confused time for our sorry generation.


Mar. 8th, 2008 03:18 am
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As some of you know, I was scheduled for a minor procedure yesterday afternoon.  It was not successful, and something else will have to be done in an operating room presumably under general anaesthesia.  Pain has been a major problem over the last twelve hours, though I haven't had a little white pill for about six, and may try to go back to sleep without one.

In other news, turning the living room upside down in the fruitless search for a notebook with some essential information, I turned up Deely's book on Poinsot and Peirce, which I evidently acquired at the Strand Annex in '02 and promptly forgot about.

It depresses me to think what our civilization lost when Poinsot's Cursi no longer formed the basis of teaching in philosophy and theology.  I well recall how the name of John of St. Thomas, as the founder of postmodern semiology was known in religion, was despised in my undergraduate days, and not only by Methodist ministers teaching in Quaker colleges, for the decline of the Catholic university had already begun.

About what they will have to do with a tiny laser gun inside my body, I will say no more at this time.  Especially as the lovely Raquel will not be involved.
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Bidet. Marked the occasion with a visit to the urologist, and will celebrate Mardi Gras with a CAT scan. We are going after the same stone or stones as three years ago, when we were distracted by the discovery of a malignant tumor. At the moment I am a bit flaky with codein, not that you would notice. I wonder whether lithotripsy is the big deal it was back in '89, when the result put me off red wine for months. Weeks, anyway.

I noticed a new 'blog quoting Abouna Barak (that is how you say Papa Benedetto, isn't it?) mentioning the anniversary of the appearance of the MHT to Alponse Ratisbonne. With any luck his (AR's) cousins missed it. Wouldn't want to tread on any sensitive corns, would we?

And a quote from a former neighbor (though before my time), whose reputed townhouse across the street is the Hineni Cultural Center: You're never too old to get younger.

Pain pill good. Excuse to write stuff I don't have to worry about selling.

Did I mention the wonderful roast pork shank at Zum Schneider, the one with the liter of Aventinus?

Cheers, all.
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A couple of weeks ago some of the very hip were celebrating Christmas at the movies, dragging their kids to a fantasy in which the good children take on an evil empire called the Magisterium originally intended to look very much like the Roman Catholic Church, though the filmmakers decided it would be more profitable to blur the likeness more than a bit. The movie was an expensive flop, and deserved to be. It's one thing to insult a major world religion -- it happens all the time. It's quite another to insult your audience, all of your audience equally, by acting like you're ashamed of your real convictions. Especially when the issues of the Church and the Enlightenment are very real even now.

About a month and a half before that the real Church held up for public admiration and imitation a man who had been for many years under the suspicion of the real Magisterium, or at least what used to be called the Inquisition, a man whose love of liberty, and intellectual acumen in making the case for freedom, were so intense that he had recently won the praise of The Freeman, a journal of opinion more libertarian than, well, than Ron Paul.

As they used to say at the Stadium, and probably still do, You can't tell the players without a scorecard.

If freedom interests you (and it should), or the Christian faith (I hope it does), give us a little click here, and feel free to leave a comment if you like.


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I have taken a short break from philosophy, theology, and the politics
of high culture to infiltrate the young elite's corner of cyberspace
-- as those of you who know me there are already well aware. In my
latest dispatch I lift up the corner of the blanket of silence that
shrouds the conservative, reactionary, libertarian, monarchist, and
Jacobite underground of Facebook. Click here if you dare, and comment
if you will:
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