His Majesty has been awfully quiet lately, but I could feeeeel the sourness swelling within him.
I’m reading Jouvenel’s classic work this month. It’s full of impressive insights. So far, the most impressive one has been the epigraph right inside the front cover. (more…)
Providing the best conceivable argument for stadium subsidies, here are interviews with parents of Kansas City newborns, ten months after the Royals played in their first World Series since 1985:
“We’re thinking game six-ish,” says Eric, 33, a sales manager for a local beer distributor. That was when the Royals crushed the Giants 10-0 and forced game seven.
The Edgars, both 32, scored tickets to the 2014 American League Wild Card Game — “the best sports experience of my life,” she says.
As one having 18- and 19-year-old sons, I found this Washington Post piece pitched at my interests and needs as I work out being a father to adult children:
“That’s the one thing my mom is going to do: give me her opinion,” Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span said.
Span isn’t alone. Several Nationals get similar help from unexpected places. Reliever Aaron Barrett receives unofficial instruction in postgame text messages from his brothers. Right fielder Bryce Harper’s father will occasionally call with swing advice. Catcher Jose Lobaton’s wife, Nina, has never played baseball or softball, but after watching his swing for years, she delivers her thoughts in person. Reliever Casey Janssen calls his parents after every appearance, good or bad.
“I joke, but I call my dad ‘The Humbler,’ ” Janssen said. “He can be very pessimistic at times. He’ll just lay it out there. ‘Hey, you’ve got to pitch a little better. You’ve got to throw more strikes. You’ve got to change speeds.’ ”
I was just introduced to the delightful term Mikveh.
There was just a 2000+ year old mikveh discovered in Jerusalem. It is regularly translated as a ritual bath.
But it looks like the difference between a mikveh and a baptismal fount is cultural and academic.
I was unaware of such a common commonality among the Jews. But of course, they would never call it baptism.
I have been on holiday with the family to the town of Hay on Wye, which straddles the Welsh-English border and has about thirty secondhand bookshops – several very large.
Some fifteen-twenty years ago I used to go there every year with my brother, and always enjoyed it greatly – but it is a long dull drive, and the internet has taken the sting out of my hunger for browsing secondhand books.
It is only very seldom that I come across Mormon books on display in shops in Britain. For example when I was in the Oxford branch of Blackwells last year, it being one of the best and most famous stores in Britain, there was only one single book on Mormonism (Terryl Givens’s Short Introduction – and not even a Book of Mormon). Big secondhand stores sometimes have two or three volumes.
But in Richard Booth’s book shop in Hay I came across something of a treasure trove! About 25 books, many bearing the sticker of an English couple name of Reg and Janet Gill, from Poole in Dorset – presumably their library was bought-up as a job lot.
So I had the rare delight of browsing the books before I decided which to buy – much better than buying blind off the web (a practice which has wasted me so much money). In the end I chose three: Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in a 1993 edition, a Teachings of the Presidents volume for David O Mackay, and a ‘Collection of Inspirational Verse for Latter Day Saints’ from 1963.
There were several other books that I would have liked; but I must set limits (financial and spatial) to my addictive book buying, and I was already feeling rather guilty from having also just bought for myself a Blackthorn walking stick – a single sapling straightened and with a handle made from the gnarled root, bent-over.
The efficacy of prayer is not something which can be established empirically, because there is always another explanation for anything – in extremis anything, no matter how apparently miraculous, can be explained-away by mental illness, mass delusion or lying.
But the validity of prayer does need to be confirmed inwardly and personally by each person – and this is typically by a prayer being grated in such a way that we are convinced (even if, as is usual, we would not be able to convince others – that does not matter, because the prayer was of the nature of a private communication between the prayer and God).
However, not all prayers are granted. Why is this?
In a bigger picture, prayer is one way that we are helped in this life – by the interventions of divine powers. And asking for, and getting, such divine help is one of the important rocks of faith. But why do we not receive more help, since life is so difficult?
Such a question can only be answered if we understand the basic purposes of mortal living, and in particular, why life is some kind of struggle for most people most of the time. If we are able to appreciate that life is a kind of educational process, then we may realize why help is provided, and not provided, in the way it is.
When someone is learning there is a time for help – that is what teachers are supposed to do – and there is a time for solitary struggle – for practice, for grappling with problems, for try, try, try again.
So, one important reason that prayers are not answered will certainly be that we are being required to do something from our own resources, because that is the only way we can learn. In effect, in the unanswered prayer, we were asking the divine powers to ‘do our homework’ – when this homework was vital to our learning.
Now, this is not the only reason, nor is it always the reason, prayers are unanswered – but it is surely one of the reasons, and perhaps a neglected reason: prayers are not answered, help is not given, when it is important that we do something without help, for our own good: when we have asked for help instead of participating in the learning process that is life.
This does not mean we should not have asked for help in the first place, because we can’t always know the nature of the situation (if in doubt: ask); but it does mean that when we have asked for help and received a negative answer, we then acknowledge the validity of that reply, and act accordingly.
Note: I feel that the refusing of help to someone who has asked for it, must be one of the most difficult and painful things for the loving divine powers – especially when their refusal to help is misunderstood as indifference or dislike. Parents will know the situation in which they are asked for help by a child, and they could help their child, but the parent knows that such ‘help’ would actually harm the child’s development, and that it is necessary (or, at least, better) that the child is not helped. However, often the child cannot understand this, but feels only a sense of betrayal at being refused help that the parent could have given; and the child reacts with anger and resentment against the parent – may lapse into hatred which may be extreme and lasting. In the end, the parent may simply have to tolerate the situation; in hope that, at some point in the future, the child will recognize that the refusal of help was motivated by love.
Instead of just staring down the pessimistic prospects before us, let’s take a look at some of the amazing wonders this age offers us.
The NYT has nice list of discovered solar systems, all shown to scale, with planets moving at appropriate relative speeds.
The last one listed is ours, so you see how these all compare.
A certain verse about sins being shouted from the housetops comes to mind. Not that I would like to see mine shouted about, still it is hard to have much sympathy for the devil, here.
Hackers are threatening to release names, and all kinds of pervy details and nude photos from pro-cheating website, AshleyMadison. 37 Million different profiles worth, even ones they charged people to officially ‘delete’.
As one twitter commenter put it, It is amazing how much trust untrustworthy people, put into a site for untrustworthy people.
Interestingly, it is a site with more women than men. Odd.
California, and now New York have signed into law, a new standard in sexual consent, called ‘Yes means yes’, at least until someone decides otherwise.
That is not hyperbole. There are now groups passing out consent forms, and recommending photos are taken, in case you and someone special want to do the dirty, or you know, just someone you met 5 minutes ago.
And if anyone objects mid-procedure, everything must stop. One is forgiven for suspecting many of these involved have not had sex in a very, very long time.
The devil’s cruel irony is that violating the 7th commandment doesn’t mean more sex. It means less.
We used to have formal consent. We called it marriage. This another the Morgoth/Sauron inspired twisted corruption of marriage.
They may have left it, but they can not leave it alone.
This is a pile of snow in Boston that has yet to melt, and it is July. It is solid ice at this point, and could easily be around until September. Global Warming and all that, but as ugly as it is, this is exactly how glaciers start, particularly if they get another snowfall before it is gone. Get a few of these, and we got an Ice Age. May you live in interesting times!
In other news, new solar models predict a Solar Minimum, in 2030, the same kind that are associated with the Little Ice Age.
Breitbart reports two things, from the Census Bureau:
“Racial and ethic minorities children under the age of five are now the majority…”
“More whites dying than being born.”