But my posts were, for the most part, focused more on science, history, or whatever else had caught my attention. And not so much about me and how my faith affects what I do each day.
Which is where these ‘journal’ posts come in.
And that reminds me.
If you pick journal from my Categories drop-down menu in the sidebar — you’ll get the usual title link, date posted and the first few dozen words.
Anyway, I’ll keep these daily journal posts focused more on me and less on everything else. That’s my plan, at any rate.
Which brings me to what I’ve done today.
Let’s see. I woke up — which is always a good thing, and yet again another topic — and did my usual ‘first thing after rebooting brain’ prayer. Then I ate breakfast and didn’t get much done before lunch.
Pretty much routine.
Wait a minute. I left something out. I also went through my (routine) morning prayers. Which I occasionally forget about until well into the afternoon. Or evening.
But today I remembered them.
This afternoon was mostly chatting with number one daughter, then researching and writing the current “Dr. Faustus” post. After which came supper, reading part of a chapter in a mystery novel and now writing this post.
I’ve got another set of prayers — two Divine Mercy chaplets — to do before the day’s out.
Maybe the ‘Catholic’ angle of those prayers is obvious. Or maybe not. Either way, I pray because I think it’s a good idea. Sort of the spiritual equivalent of flossing my teeth, which sounds weird. Never mind.
But my faith’s engaged while researching and writing, too. And that’s still more topics.
A song from the Sixties has been on my brain’s Top 40 Golden Oldie Earworm list for the last week or so:
People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world….”
(“People;” Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill (1964))
That started me thinking. Are people who need people lucky? Should they be lucky? Just what is luck, anyway? And for that matter, are there any people who don’t need people?
Thoroughly answering any one of those questions would take a book. A whole lot of books, more likely.
I’m trying to keep these ‘journal’ entries short, so thorough is out, superficial is in.
Human, Yes — All Alike, No
I’m not one of those folks who likes getting together with a few hundred close personal friends every other day or so.
Don’t get me wrong. I like people just fine.
But trying to have a coherent conversation with a varying number of people, while sorting other conversations into categories like ‘ignore,’ ‘engage later,’ ‘engage now’ and ‘switch to other group’ ???
That is not my idea of a good time.
And I’m certainly not someone who starts going through social withdrawal after maybe three days without at least a few hours in a crowded room.
But I’m human. We’re social critters. “Needing people” comes with the territory.
I can sympathize with folks who really do need people: people who are physically close, not ‘close’ only in a virtual sense. I’m also willing to accept that not everyone is like me. For which we should all be thankful. And that’s another topic.
That said, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions haven’t cut into my social life all that much.
Before ‘social distancing’ — a poorly-chosen phrase, and that’s yet another topic — started becoming a cliche, most of my social life was online.
It still is.
If I thought that online communities were “pretend communities” and folks weren’t real people when they connect with each other through post-industrial tech —
Well, I don’t. And I’m pretty sure that I’m a real person, even when I socialize online.
I’ve talked about that, and other seemingly-obvious stuff, before:
I took that other picture September 2, the day I got back from the hospital. ▷
But I didn’t finish the post I’d taken it for until October 5, 2020.
Taking the picture and getting it ready for posting took maybe 10 minutes, tops. Writing the post took about a month.
Partly because it’s one of those where I talk about the main topic — whatever that is — plus the science, history and occasional weirdness behind the topic. Or around it, as the case may be.
And partly because I’d been really sick. But not from COVID-19. I’d been experiencing an old-fashioned staph/strep/cellulitis infection. (October 5, 2020)
The face mask I’m wearing in today’s photo is from Sauk Centre’s Walmart. And that brings me to one of the two things I was going to talk about today.
The Masked Minnesotan, Unmasked! (or) Common Sense Strikes Again!
This household does much, but not all, of its shopping at the local Walmart.
That could mean we’re witless pawns of Big Store, mindless minions of a megalomaniacal mastermind — or folks living with a limited budget.
I think it’s the ‘limited budget’ thing.
But if the ‘Big Store’ conspiracy theory was right, I’d be a mindless minion: so what would I know?
Oddly enough, I haven’t seen the ‘Walmart will destroy us all’ response to a company offering communities stable employment and affordable products presented as a conspiracy theory. Not that I’ve seen.
Walmart as a dire threat to downtown business, yes. A fear of Walmart destroying businesses by attracting new customers into town identified as a conspiracy theory, no.
I had a few things to pick up in Walmart yesterday, was parked and in the store before I realized that I’d forgotten to bring a face mask along. Dummkopf!
Walmart has a face mask policy — which probably has its own entourage of conspiracy theories, and I’m not going to wade back into that.
Anyway, there I was. No mask. Unwilling to go home, get one and return. Which would have made sense.
Instead, I rearranged my coat into a sort of oversized neck gaiter: went to the employee tasked with watching the entrance and told her this was her chance for telling me to leave.
Instead, she handed me a face mask. The one I’m wearing in this morning’s photo.
So I thanked her, re-rearranged my coat into its normal configuration, put on the face mask and finished my errand.
I figure that free face masks explains a good fraction of the masked Walmart customers. But, since a great many have been wearing other varieties, certainly not all.
I haven’t been keeping track, but it’s been quite a few weeks now that the vast majority of folks in Walmart have been wearing face masks. Which I take as a sign that common sense eventually prevails.
Or maybe it’s proof that the Illuminati-Pixie-Walmart overlords have enslaved us all. By making us wear face masks. No, I do not think so. I really do not think so.
Moving on again.
Dawn of My Daily Journal
I’ve had a ‘journal’ category for this blog since October of 2019.
As the category’s description says, ‘journal’ posts are “… more about me, less about (almost) everything else.”
That’s the idea, anyway.
Fast-forward to earlier this month.
The news was, as usual, full of election-themed sound and fury, topped off by their view of the January 6 U.S. Capitol incident.
Meanwhile, some dude’s Ottawa dorm room project had grown into an “underground newspaper” and was reporting that THEY POPE ARRESTED THE POPE!!! The story included the usual trimmings: sex, crime and The Vatican Suppressing The Truth.
And enough folks were taking the guff seriously to warrant a ‘lets get real’ CNA piece.
Maybe repeating the post’s clarifications is in order:
Pope Francis wasn’t arrested
The Vatican wasn’t blacked out
Military officers and/or the FBI haven’t put the Pope in a secret prison
And, seriously: the Illuminati are not really a front for the Leprechaun-Pixie cabal.
There is no Leprechaun-Pixie cabal. Seriously.
Of course, if I was a mindless minion of the Leprechaun-Pixie cabal, disguised as one of the Illuminati disguised as some guy living in central Minnesota — that’s what I would say!!
Which is why I occasionally discuss conspiracy theories, but don’t consistently spend time trying to show that they’re a bit silly. I suspect that no amount of garlic and wooden stakes will stop some conspiracy theories, once they get rolling. And that’s another topic.
Anyway, I had something to say each day after that “The Pope Wasn’t Arrested…” thing.
I’ll soon have done a dozen daily posts. I think this is the eleventh.
What’s Ahead? Good Question
Some of my entries, like yesterday’s, are probably far from being a normal ‘journal’ post.
But this is my journal.
I’m more likely to talk about current events in the context of natural law and ancient history — and how that affects me — than I am to perorate on the proliferation of pepperoni pizza.
Today’s started out being about yesterday’s ‘mask’ experience and now it’s here.
Tomorrow’s? I’ve no idea where that will go.
A couple more things, and I’ll be getting coffee and start (again) on the next “Faustus” post.
First, if you’re looking for more of these ‘journal’ entries : pick journal from my Categories drop-down menu in the sidebar. You’ll get the usual thing: title link, date posted and the first few dozen words.
“‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe….”
(Jabberwocky,” Lewis Carroll (1871) via Wikipedia)
On the whole, I prefer being alive. Particularly when I consider the alternative.
I don’t consistently enjoy the moment I’m in: whatever is “now.” Relishing some of the “nows” I’ve experienced would have been reason for concern, and that’s another topic.
But life, being alive? That’s good. Even when it’s been bad.
Remembering that life can feel good helped me talk myself out of my first suicidal impulse, decades back. So did remembering that I’m very stubborn. I’ve mentioned that before. (January 22, 2019, July 7, 2018)
But that’s not what I’m talking about today.
If it was just me thinking that ‘alive’ was better than ‘dead,’ I might have a hard time convincing myself that my preference mattered.
Mattered to anyone other than myself and the folks around me, anyway.
Thing is, it’s not just me.
As a Catholic, I’m expected to see human life as special, sacred, a gift from God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258, 2260)
As if that doesn’t make things awkward, I should also see every human being as a person.
As a platitude, ‘love thy neighbor’ seems sufficiently fluffy. Acting as if I think it matters is where it gets hard.
Particularly when doing so means being counter-cultural.
Our Rules, Unchanging Principles
I drive on the right side of the street and stop at intersections marked with a red octagon: because my culture’s rules say I should.
And because the rules make sense.
Folks in some parts of the world drive on the left side of streets for the same reason.
Minnesota traffic regulations are an example of positive law, rules we make up. And change, when our circumstances change.
Positive law had better change as our societies change, or we’d be stuck with rules that no longer make sense. (Catechism, 1957)
Then there’s natural law: ethical principles written into reality’s source code. Natural law doesn’t change. When positive law reflects natural law, life works better. Ideally, positive law — rules we make up — would reflect natural law. (Catechism, 1950–1974)
When positive law, our rules, doesn’t quite match natural law, we’ve got problems. Which may have inspired Chickenman’s ongoing quest: opposing crime and/or evil. (June 6, 2020)
Homicide, Hammurabi and Motives
Murder, killing an innocent person, was a bad idea when folks like Ur-Nammu and Hammurabi enforced their law codes.
It still is. Which is why it’s illegal. It was, at any rate, as defined in 2020 Minnesota Statutes Section 609: and probably still is.
What’s changed over the millennia is how murder gets defined. Which depends partly on who is, legally, a person.
I strongly suspect that killing a slave would be at most the equivalent of a misdemeanor in many cultures. Equivalent, maybe, to burning autumn leaves in a smokeless zone.
Happily, my culture outlawed slavery about a century and a half back. We’re still working through issues stemming from that practice, but I think there’s hope that we’ll resolve them. For one thing, slavery is now unfashionable. And that’s yet another topic.
One more thing. Slavery is a bad idea and we shouldn’t do it. Ever. (Catechism, 2414)
But my culture still thinks that killing some innocent folks is okay. Provided that they’re too young or too sick to deserve life. That’s a bad idea. (Catechism, 2270–2275)
Motives for our legal homicides may seem nice.
Slogans like “every child a wanted child” and “death with dignity” may no longer be in vogue, but I’m guessing that the ideas are still in play.
I’m glad to be in a family whose members aren’t likely to kill me because they feel sorry for me. And that’s yet again another topic.
Fitting In: Or Not
My awkward circumstances don’t stop with how I see abortion and euthanasia.
I see all human life a precious, sacred. Even when the human has done something very wrong.
That puts me at odds with a fair fraction of folks who’d reasonably be expected to agree with me over whether or not it’s okay to kill someone who’s too young or too sick to matter.
Maybe my life would be easier, if I ditched my principles and settled into one of my culture’s sociopolitical pigeonholes. Easier, maybe. But I think it would be a bad idea.
I'm a sixty-something married guy with four kids in a small central Minnesota town. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run a business and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters.
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