Friday, February 9, 2018

Scouting the hinges of history

I like Thomas Cahill's perspective. This is from the introduction to his book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization," which I've read once before, but am reading again:

"We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage-- almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance.

"In this series, The Hinges of History," I mean to retell the story of the Western world as the story of the great gift-givers, those who entrusted to our keeping one or another of the singular treasures that make up the patrimony of the West...

"The great gift-givers, arriving in the moment of crisis, provided for transition, for transformation, and even for transfiguration, leaving us a world more varied and complex, more awesome and delightful, more beautiful and strong than the one they had found."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Quotable Mr. Warren

David Warren, writing another of those little gems he calls "Essays in Idleness"--

"The moral order is no more subject to revision than the observed physical laws. It might be explained differently, to one generation or another. But what is wrong is wrong at all times, no matter how many people are doing it; and what is right stays right, no matter how few. It is among the beliefs of post-modern nicompoopery that this order is subject to human choice. But attempts to alter what is founded in Nature will never end well."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude needs a giver

...Perhaps most noteworthy is the clear religious tone of the Thanksgiving proclamations. [President Abraham] Lincoln did not call for vague, general gratitude of the sort we find in modern Hallmark cards. Rather, he called [in 1863] for “thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens,” and even more strongly in 1864, “thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” Lincoln couldn’t have been clearer in his belief that thanksgiving must have an object, and that the proper object—the Giver to whom thanks is due—is Almighty God.

(from How the Civil War Gave Us Today's Thanksgiving and What it Can Teach Us, by Jayme Metzger in The Federalist)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Entertainment, times two

I agree with Sheila O'Malley, who reviewed the movie Megan Leavey for the late Roger Ebert's web site: This war biography and canine hero film is worth watching. I really enjoyed it the other night (and in fabulous company, too!). It's a thoughtful tribute to war dogs and their handlers.

On another note entirely, the Weasel Watchers have another current events forum up, and that's worth reading, if you're in the mood for political commentary. We watchers don't always agree with each other, but we do try to write thoughtfully.