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Squee! Dover Books has issued a little Chesterton anthology - including his drawings - edited by Dale Ahlquist.

I didn't know they had so many Chesterton books in their catalog. I see The Coloured Lands is 60% off....

William Deresiewicz:

A graduate student at the time, I was as arrogant as they come and didn't think there was much anyone could teach me about life—especially not Jane Austen, the godmother of chick-lit. Imagine my surprise when she taught me not just how to grow up, but how to be a man.

Like so many guys, I thought a good conversation meant holding forth about all the supposedly important things I knew: books, history, politics. But I wasn't just aggressively sure of myself. I was also oblivious to the feelings of the people around me, a bulldozer stuck in overdrive.

In fact, I was a lot like Emma, the heroine of that first Austen novel I read—was forced to read, actually, because I thought her fiction sounded trivial and boring.

Via Joe Carter at First Things, whose Carter's Theorem states "that all complex behavior of advanced mammals can be explained by reference to the novels of Jane Austen."

Kat wonders to which religious orders the Houses of Hogwarts correspond: Hufflepuff = Benedictines; does Ravenclaw = Dominicans or Jesuits?

Eat, Pray, Love Review Round-Up

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I've been blessed to have many people point out with interest, reviews of Eat Pray Love before I made the mistake of innocently watching the movie. I have tried to read the book as it sits next my bed and stopped and started and stopped. I could tell you what I find offensive, but so many people are doing much better job than I am, so I'll share.

First, via Dinka, we have Time Magazine's review. Dinka was also generous enough to quote the money phrase on her Facebook page:

His take on Liz's year abroad as a whole, in fact, might have been that beautiful white people enjoy listening rapturously to moral lectures and fortune-cookie affirmations delivered by the old, the unattractive or the darker-skinned.

Next, Barbara Nicolosi at Church of the Masses with Fawn Pander Blather:

At its core, Eat, Pray, Love relates the tedious pilgrimage of a selfish, immature narcissist (don't think of that as a redundancy as much as an emphasis) who manages to evade true spirituality (in the sense of sacrifice and repentance) true connection with other persons (in the sense of sacrifice and repentance) and plot points (in the sense of sacrifice, and well, repentance.... Note to self: There's a great new talk on the core of the successful transformational story arc there....).

The events of the past year (and I promise I will post an update, I just have yet to figure out how to find the words) have left me with negative 300 tolerance of the notion of ending marriages to "find yourself". It's an open wound for me. I'm pretty much outraged that modern culture finds this acceptable. I could write a million entries on what's wrong with this concept, but for now I'll just say I have a real problem with hit books and movies celebrating such selfishness.

The last is Eat, Pray, Love...why bother? I think this one spoke to me most of all:

For me, it was a morality tale of a different kind: a warning against spiritual smugness. As I watched EPL, I wondered to myself, “How could someone so hungry for answers spend four months in the cradle of Christianity and not encounter a single soul who could — lovingly yet with an appropriate sense of urgency — show her the truth path to God? She found language lessons — what about FAITH lessons?”

I didn't understand this at all, and it disturbed me. I saw it as a slap in the face of my Italian/Catholic culture, which sort of brings us back to the Time Magazine quote.

I suppose I'll try again to read the book. Julia Roberts annoys the heck out of me, so I'm almost 100% sure I'll skip the movie.

So Harry Potter, again.

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Priests will soon be 'inundated' with exorcism requests, asserts author

“Soft forms of occultism are like Wicca and New Age,” he explained, adding that “Harry Potter contributes to that with over 400 million books being sold.” The popular book series, he claimed, has helped educate “younger generations in the language and the symbolism of the occult.”

Although many young people have treated the books merely as “entertainment,” he observed, “it actually leads them more deeply into occult practices.

I have a lot of respect for Fr. Euteneuer, so I don't want to undermine anything he has to say, but I can honestly say that I have sadly, known many people who have opened the door free and clear for Satan in their lives, and I can't think of one who did so via Harry Potter. Sometimes I wonder if people get so caught up in issues like Harry Potter and dress wearing because they are easy roads to take in our spiritual lives. Or maybe I'm not that wary of Harry Potter because even though I enjoyed it, I thought it very silly and the people I associate with find it equally silly.

HT: Patrick Madrid via Facebook

Deal Seeking Mom brings news of a free download of a cookbook by Rachel Allen ("one of the hottest TV chefs in Ireland", per Harper Collins) (and it's really an abridged version with recipes "selected by Kerrygold", but it's still free.)

The coupon code is KGLD-0319-2010-RACB and is good for the first 10,000 downloads. (Well, only 9,999 at most; I've already downloaded my copy.)

Proceeds go to Chawton Cottage:

Peony's seven quick takes

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Yes, I went to the grocery store yesterday -- I'd lose my DC-Metro cred if I didn't -- and yes, it was a madhouse. It took twenty minutes just to find a parking spot, and inside the carts were almost gridlocked. One of the staff mentioned that it was "worse than Christmas" and that it had been like that since 7:00 AM.

There was plenty of milk, bread, and T.P. -- the holy trinity of pre-snow panic -- but there were some other items that were completely cleaned out:

  • bulk garlic

  • bulk red potatoes

  • packaged white mushrooms

  • packaged cremini mushrooms

  • any andouille sausage costing less than $16.99/ lb

Seriously, what is up with the garlic?!


What a mean Mommy I am! I made Hambet study all his spelling words as if he would have his spelling test on Friday before I told him that school would be out.


We've been having wet fluffy snow for around six hours now. The real monster snow is supposed to be starting shortly....


Hambet and I started The Horse and His Boy this afternoon. Although I'd read the Narnia books when I was a child, for some reason only a couple of them "stuck" in my mind, so now I'm getting to enjoy with Hambet the one-more-chapter-pleeease! thrill of reading them for the first time.


Is anybody else watching the new version of Emma that's been on Masterpiece Theater? The conclusion is this Sunday. This version's Emma is growing on me -- I like her liveliness -- and Harriet is very good, but I am sorry to say that I am disappointed by Miss Bates.


I've been invited to be part of a new group blog! Feminine Geniuses launches this weekend. So far, I've only contributed some coding and a little collection of feminine-genius readings, but I hope to have a real post up soon.

"Biography for Beginners"

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Nifty! You can read this ground-breaking book online here, complete with the original illustrations by G.K. Chesterton.

How to Change Your Mind

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Neuroplasticity? The Church was way ahead of the curve on that one, too:

The beginning of a New Year—and a new decade—is an an excellent time to try something new. As you make your list of resolutions and goals I want to recommend adding a simply [sic] four step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind.

After reading the entire post the vast majority of readers will snicker at such a hyperbolic claim and never implement the method I outline. A smaller number will consider the advice intriguing, my assertion only a slight exaggeration, but will also never implement the method. A tiny minority, however, will recognize the genius behind the process and apply it to their own life. This group will later say that my claim was an understatement.

Right now, my vision for 2010 involves embroidery, paint, and training my brain to crave cleanliness and order. This could fit right in with that....

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Blah blah Internets blah blah easily distracted changing the way we think ooo linky to Amazon blah blah hold on let's read this more carefully (emphasis added):

The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.

...In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.”

Cf. Leisure: The Basis of Culture acedia, any one of the swarms of ignorant pundits out there.

" is important to reserve a certain time each day for meditation on the Bible so that the Word of God will be the lamp that illuminates our daily path on earth."
Plus comments on scholasticism

Sarah Palin's book for $9.00?

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That's how much it is at this writing!

Proceeds go to the Pansy Fund.

Geoffrey Chaucer cracketh me uppe:

Ich wente up to bedde and sadlie closid my eyes, while Philippa burned our beste candles readinge of teenage sparklie vampyres. She was already on to the next oon, Compline....

In this fyne book of sparklie vampyres, Bella Cygne moveth from Essex to Yorkshyre to lyve with her fathir, who ys a sheriff and escheator.... Ther is considerablie moore sexual tensioun than in Piers Plowman.

Yt is reallie very good. Ich did reade al of Vespers, right through to Compline and ich have just startid Matins. This ys absolutelie the beste teenage sparklie vampyre love storye ich haue evir reade.

Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
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Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies