Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


New Location

Decided to make a move over to Wordpress. If I decide I don't like it I'll come back here. Until then, posting at:


Make Haste, Make Haste, Haste...

Well, in actuality, I'm not nearly as harried and compelled to make haste as I could be. But sometimes... I've taken to drinking a lot of tea and coffee; Scholastic philosophers and eighteenth century British Imperial economics seem to become clearer under the influence of caffeine.

Anyway, it's the New Year, and I'm resolved to write and blog more, which will likely mean a lot of mostly useless ruminations on whatever I'm reading and writing about in 'real life.' Right now that means Roman religion from the time of the Republic, the history of the British Empire (and, on here anyway, what that history means for the American (in?)formal empire), and philosophical/theological musings from any number of corners and crannies. With that, here's a relevant piece of wisdom from the French 'Christian existentialist' philosopher Gabriel Marcel:

‘There are many reasons for this regrettable state of affairs; one of them no doubt is the gasping, hurrying rhythm of our lives; I am not referring only to the relative absence of true leisure today, but also the increasing incapacity even of genuinely philosophic minds to follow out a long continuous task, the sort of task that requires perseverance and a good wind, in the long-distance runner’s sense. Every student today is forced to get his results as quickly as possible, no matter by how many improper short cuts, so that he can get his degree or his doctorate and land his job. The results of scholarship are measured by a temporal coefficient; the point is not merely to get one’s result, but to get it in as little time as possible. Otherwise the whole value of one’s researches may be called into question, even the possibility of earning a modest livelihood may be swept away. This is a very serious matter, for such conditions are at the opposite pole to those required for the real flowering of the intelligence, in the richest sense of that word.’

Gabriel Marcel, Mystery of Being, Vol. I

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Throw-Away Society

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote in 1970 that consumption had become the axis of culture. The “consumer society” was born. Its midwife was cheap credit. For the first time, ordinary people like my parents didn’t have to wait to buy something until they’d saved up enough money. They got it on the never-never.

Even so, for a time they mostly bought only what they absolutely needed. If we did the same today the economy would collapse overnight.

"Wasting Away"


Paradise Is The Love of God

Paradise is the love of God, wherein is the enjoyment of all blessedness.

The person who lives in love reaps the fruit of life from God, and while yet in this world, even now breathes the air of the resurrection.

In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the One who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised.

St. Isaac the Syrian


O America!

The past few days, through various circumstances, I've had the privelege of wandering about several parts of these United States, both parts known (to me) and unknown until now. Some transcripts from these travels:

In my native Mississippi, my youngest brother and I went fossil and plant hunting along the Alabama-Mississippi state line, where Buckatunna Creek flows down to meet the Chickasawhay River, before their combined waters slowly make their way to the Gulf. We came across some nice limestone glades with lots of fossil shells, clams, and at least one shark's tooth. Yes, Mississippi has rocks and even fossils, though not very many. We get quite excited when we find some. We also went looking for odd plants, as Joseph (he's nine) is currently on a botany kick, and it's long been a hobby of mine. The highlight of our outing was a little bog outside of State Line, MS, where we dug up a dwarf red pitcher plant, one of several insect-devouring plants that inhabits South Mississippi.

Last weekend, my mother and Joseph took a short trip to Chattannooga, TN, which we had not visited in several years. We actually stayed at the venerable Roy Accuff Inn a few miles outside of Chattannooga, in Jasper. The Inn proudly announces "American-Owned"; or rather, it did when we arrived. The sign changed one night to "Owned and Operated by Accuff Family." Not exactly sure why either was particularly significant. At any rate, the place is pretty decent, though I ran out of hot water one morning, which was rather disconcerting. Still the continental breakfast was excelsior.

We wandered about the battlefield on Lookout Mountain, and later drove down to the Chickamauga. On the way there I happened to notice a sign pointing the way to the John Ross House, which lies just behind a gap in the famous Missionary Ridge. I'd never noticed the house before, so we drove over to look at it. It's behind a fence, tours on a prior arrangement basis only, and has a little lake in front swarming with ducks who beg for handouts. John Ross left the house- which is made of sturdy logs and fronts a lovely hillside- to join the other Cherokee on their forced expulsion by the US Federal government in the 1830's. He was himself only 1/8th Cherokee, but choice exile with them. A few years later the remnants of Rosecrans' army would pass by the house before settling into Chattannooga. A few months after that the remnants of Bragg's army would pass nearby fleeing into Georgia, and with them still more things would pass forever away.

Tonight I am in Longview, Washington, with my university's speech and debate team (which has done fairly well in competition, I must say). It is no longer raining outside but it has been for a couple of days. The local folks inform me it only started raining a couple days ago and that it had been sunny and lovely for a couple of weeks. Ah well. Portland, Oregon, had a wonderfuly large- gigantic- bookstore, where I purchased a few things. It was an exceedingly happy place. Longview is not very large and distinctive mainly for the quirky Squirrel Bridge and Squirrel Statue. Rather odd. This is my first time in the Pacific Northwest; interesting place, interesting people. Different. Many of the people I've met have had little if any contact with Mississippians, so that makes for interesting inter-cultural exchange. And of course, we've the whole Storm to talk about, which everyone has heard about. So now people have two things to connect with Mississippi: poverty and racism, and the Hurricane. Well... This part of the world could use more sunlight. We're thinking of going sight-seeing tommorrow, contingent upon the weather, which I predict will involve rain. Makes for magnificent trees though.


Even When the Heart is Slowly Dying

Even when the heart
is slowly dying
the flowers still bloom.

A dewdrop world
hanging suspended in the dawn
and yet, and yet...

In the midst
of the cherry blossoms
there are no strangers.

Issa (1762-1826)


Mountain Music (In Nepal)

Via I came across this music-gathering group working in Nepal: Mountain Music Project. They are working to preserve a style of music from a mountaineer caste in Nepal whose music is strongly reminiscent of Southern Appalachian traditional music and its more modern manifestations in bluegrass. Listening to the fiddle playing and accompanying slightly throaty singer on one of the songs on the site I could have almost sworn it was Southern Appalachian.