There ought to be a law against that!

I was travelling for business in a large city in the southern U.S. earlier this week, and found myself standing on observation deck of a large building taking a break by surveying downtown development. The attorney standing next to me pointed out that a very large yacht docked the pier right below us was owned by a visiting eccentric. He proceeded to tell a story.

Apparently, this gentleman was in a business meeting a while back and asked to be excused. "I left my cat in the car and I don't want him to get overheated. I'll be right back." The gentleman returned with a full-grown lion in tow. The beast got a bit animated, mounted the table, and began to roar--much to the alarm of the others present.

The attorney went on to explain that the gentleman has, in fact, several lions which roam around his (very large) yacht. I reacted with incredulity. "Isn't there a law against that?" Apparently not. "Well, there should at least be a local ordinance or something!"

A fellow employee reacted strongly in turn. "Well, I suggest that people who think like that should move to countries--where there are more jails!" (My fellow employee is an ideological conservative deeply involved in the Republican party and the Federalist Society.)

Suddenly, I realized that my law school experience has made me unconsciously "liberal." Something of an epiphany.
Which liberal arts colleges in the Midwest (1) are Christian (or as Christian as the 'Dale) and (2) have strong faculty/regular offerings in American history?
My wife has started blogging—again! :)

Update: Unfortunately for general readers of this blog, she considers it "private" and I have been asked not to link (at least for now). I can, however, share the link with some family and friends. :)


Another very good restaurant in the Akron area is the Inn at Turner's Mill.
Marsha says that these Wileys have fads or, what's worse, "fleeting obsessions." :( "You go off the deep end on one little thing for a while." Well, maybe. But it still sounds bad.

On the other hand, I have started sight-browsing Homer again. LOL


Friendships that are acquired at a price and not with greatness and nobility of spirit are bought, but they are not owned, and when the time comes they cannot be spent.

Il Principe

For in the order of things it is found that one never seeks to avoid one inconvenience without running into another; but prudence consists in knowing how to recognize the qualities of inconveniences, and in picking the less bad as good.

When evening has come, I return to my house and go into my study. At the door I take off my clothes of the day, covered with mud and mire, and I put on my regal and courtly garmets; and decently reclothed, I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them lovingly, I feed upon the food that is alone is mine and that I was born for. There I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours, I feel no boredom, I forget every pain, I do not fear poverty, death does not frighten me. I deliver myself entirely to them.

Machiavelli, "Letter to Vettori," 10 December 1513 (trans. Mansfield).
Apparently, The Passion is being seen pretty widely and potentially with good apologetic effect in Qatar.


Loebs for Renaissance Studies

Check out the developing scope of the I Tatti Renaissance Library! I'm especially eagar to see the forthcoming editions of Pico, Cusa, Petrarca, and Savonarola.


Good times!

Marsha and brother Samuel and I are sitting around drinking and drinking and drinking old fashioned. We are very happy soon. Pleased I am that you are reading my blog. Nice personages and good times make for great drinks.

We are going or watch CLERKS!


An interesting Russian beauty contest story.
Update: Scalia seems to have "learned his lesson"

I still think that my comments about the papal posture of the High Court are pretty valid, though.


BBC reports that magician and prophet Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal, Persona) is afraid of his own films.
Scalia and the Court

Whatever legal justifications may exist for the Scalia tapes incident, The incident is iconic of a judiciary which believes itself to be infallible and beyond question. The members of the Court continue to behave in a manner that resembles nothing so much as a council of haughty prelates.

Indeed, the Court is the true analogue of the papacy in America, both in terms of its relation to the Presidency, its relation to the American federal system as a whole, and its overall posture as a social-reforming moral authority eager in the wake of '37 to wash its hands of this-worldly economic matters.

And yet are not the powers and perogatives of the Court a fiction, blown up from the winds of imagination in Marbury just as the scope and action of the papacy were conjured up ex nihilo in Dictates Papae hundreds of years before? All of the anticlerical arguments in the history of the West can be made equally against this Court and the judiciary that it crowns . . . Protestants speak of the see of Rome as a cabal and a tyranny; they do not see the instant reality that we are all beholden to an American curia which interdicts us from justice, and righteousness, and from kissing the Son of Man?


Soybean prices are at record highs. Now >$10/bushel! Apparently, it's partly due to strong sales to China. I think Senator Kerry should make soy prices a campaign issue. LOL You know, like gas prices. Maybe he can promise beans in every pot.

A very good restaurant in the greater Akron area is the Bistro on Main in Kent.


Elfman and Batman

Danny Elfman's score to the 1989 Batman was something of an icon for my brother and I growing up. My mother saw the film in the theatre, hated it, and forbade us to see it. (We eventually rented it while she was on vacation.) Just now, as a sit here listening to the score on CD, it all seems very clear to me. As an adolescent, I exulted in the heady, percussive score with its grand, romantic sweeps, its surging, almost p hallic themes for brass; there was something elemental and dionysiac about Elfman's music.

Or maybe I've become what Cynthia Nixon's character calls a "dimestore Camila Paglia."
Dialogue from Network (1976)

--You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal – that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians. There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! Petro-dollars, Electro-dollars, Multi-dollars, Reichmarks, Rubles, Yen, Pounds and Shekels! It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a collage of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale! It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children, Mr. Beale, will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and famine, oppression and brutality – one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel, Mr. Beale.

--Why me?

--Because you’re on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Network is surely one of the greatest films of all time. It is great because, in the middle of 1970s, it is deeply prescient of the realities of the millenium. With perhaps Citizen Kane and Ivan the Terrible, it is for film what Nineteen-Eighty-Four is for literature: social prophecy and political philosophy Every moron who watches FOX News should should read the script for FOX that is Network.
Oh it was sad, oh it was sad / When the great snow came down . . .

Overnight, we got about 6" of snow here in Stow—or as we like to say, Stow in snow. LOL
Gary North on The Passion:

Gibson is doing what no other movie producer in history has ever attempted. He has self-consciously attempted to make this a universal movie: equally closed to all grammatically, yet equally open to all through subtitles. We are all equally dependent on the subtitles. We are all equally riveted (or appalled) by what we see on-screen.

This is not an American movie. This is a universal movie. I have never heard of anything like this before. This movie is to movies what the Latin mass used to be to Roman Catholic liturgy. It is a self-conscious attempt to separate the film's words from today's linguistic context, and also tomorrow's, no matter who you are or where you live. Gibson, by adopting an Aramaic screenplay in the name of historical accuracy, has universalized the film. A Protestant would not have attempted this. Only a Latin mass Catholic would have. Gibson understood what language is all about.

As a Protestant, I rejoiced at Vatican II's liturgical reform. I knew that this shift to the vernacular would do more to de-legitimize Catholicism's claim of universality than anything the church had done since 1054 (the East-West split). A vernacular liturgy was John Wycliffe's reform. I could not have been more pleased. So far, I think I have been correct. The Roman church is now as plagued by guitars as Protestant churches are. Nashville has invaded Rome.

Mel Gibson is not pleased. I regard The Passion as his personal statement sent to Vatican II's surviving promoters: "This story is worth telling in a dead language. It is better told in a dead language." On this point, I side with Mr. Gibson rather than Mr. Wycliffe. But remember: it's a movie. That's entertainment.


Mr. Danckaert has some thoughts on Greek poetry. This reminds me that we all need to read more Greek lyric . . .


Berman is very interesting.
Movin' on

After some beautiful views (views that are a better use of tax dollars than most things), the rover Spirit will shortly begin its journey to the Columbia Hills.

To me, the rover missions are the closest thing to the Moon landings that I've lived through—and probably the most thrilling since Voyager 2 at Neptune. So pardon my mania... :)
Know Arabic? You're in the Army now . . .

The Selective Service System is drawing up contingency plans for a special skills draft. At the top of the list are people with expertise in Arabic, Fasri, and certain kinds of computers.