January 28, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 3.12.11

Take me out to the ballgame. That is, if the ballgame is in the Phoenix area over the weekend of March 25. Your rambler will be in the Phoenix area that weekend for a little Spring Training action. And an In N Out or two. Should you be so inclined to get together for lunch on Saturday, March 26 and/or a baseball game that afternoon, email me at jeff@internetmonk.com so we can make arrangements. In the meantime, we have much to discuss today, so let’s get to rambling, shall we?

First of all, we should all to prayer for Japan. As I write this, the quake’s magnitude had been increased to a 9.1. Thousands were still reported missing on Japan’s northeast coast, where the tsunami hit. And the nuclear reactor at Fukushima is close to a meltdown. This is a horrible situation. You will no doubt know more about this as you now read this. Pray.

What would C.S. Lewis have to say about giving up sweets for Lent? Especially Turkish Delight. Lewis saw the tension between feasting and fasting that is seen in Scripture. There is a time for both, says Devin Brown.

Emotions or reason? Is man a divided being, or can emotion work with our mind? David Brooks has an excellent commentary on this here.

Can iPads, iPhones, laptops, the internet and WiFi help us think more deeply? The Pope hopes so. In remarks he will deliver on World Communications Day in June, Pope Benedict XVI will address this issue. Here is an excerpt from what he will say:

It is not only a matter of expressing the Gospel message in contemporary language; it is also necessary to have the courage to think more deeply — as happened in other epochs — about the relationship between faith, the life of the Church and the changes human beings are experiencing.

Still awake? Why? A recent study shows that taking a 45 minute nap can help lower your blood pressure. I’m not feeling as guilty about those “power naps” I find myself taking in my chair during the day. Or those long naps I take in bed when I get out of my chair. As a matter of fact … yawn!

I have a pair of Koss Pro4AA-T headphones that will make you weep just to hear great music through them. My speakers are bookshelf Canadian-made PSB (Paul S. Barton) models. I love music. I love great music. And now I think I know why. Great music makes you feel good. And that is good enough for me.

Happy birthday this week to Andy Gibb; Bob “Take Me Back To Tulsa” Wills; Lou Costello; Willie Stargell; David Gilmour; Rob Reiner; Tammy Faye Bakker; Townes Van Zandt; Mickey Dolenz; Barbie; the Ford Mustang; and Chuck Norris.

Yes, for the first and most likely last time, we present you with our top five Chuck Norris jokes. Enjoy.

5. Children are warned not to run with scissors. Scissors are warned not to run with Chuck Norris.

4. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

3.  To be or not to be. Only Chuck Norris knows the answer.

2.  Chuck Norris has already been to Mars. That’s why there is no sign of life.

1. Chuck Norris once went missing in Iraq. That’s when George Bush launched the search for weapons of mass destruction.


  1. Brook’s article is very insightful. He notes that in our education, we focus on things like grades and IQ scores, while ignoring character development and emotional sensibilities. I think this is the most serious failing of our educational system and our parenting. We should be training children to have certain emotional responses to certain things (contempt for cowardice, joy at truthfulness, etc…), but are content to give them information (which is easier to teach and to measure). But as Peter Kreeft has noted elsewhere, morality is an act of the emotions and imagination, not primarily the reason. And what good is a well-educated scoundrel?

  2. The Japan thing hits me especially hard, I’m getting ready to move there for my new job in just over a week. Fortunately none of my friends live near the areas destroyed by tsunamis.

    • It shook me up, too. I’ve been planning a trip to Tokyo for the summer to help some missionaries in Japan that my church supports. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and by the time I get there, things will probably be back to normal, but it’s still scary to see such a thing happening. Please, iMonks, pray for Japan and that somehow God will use this for good and his glory.

  3. Chuck Norris: Guns carry him for protection.

  4. Love the Saturday Ramblings, Jeff! Hey I think you linked to the wrong David Brooks article. I think this is the one you meant to link to. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/books/review/book-review-the-social-animal-by-david-brooks.html

    By the way, I believe Brooks was interviewed on the Colbert Report this week if anyone is interested.

    • Dan, the NYT is very touchy about people linking to their articles. It worked at midnight when I was posting this, but now it doesn’t. Your link does not work either. I have removed the story.

      So…here is the deal. We are not divided beings. We have both reason and emotions to guide us. The one area Brooks leaves out is our spirit. We are a trinity–mind, soul, spirit. Or body, soul, spirit if you want to divide it that way.

      That, by the way (and going totally off track here) is how we were taught where I received my undergraduate degree. It was a “whole man” education: Body, Mind, Spirit. And I think that was and is a very good approach to higher education.

      Thanks, Dan. Sorry to all that this link did not work.

    • David Cornwell says

      Caught part of the Colbert Report and Brooks was very interesting, insightful.

  5. David Cornwell says

    My dad who died about 14 years ago was known for his naps. When he was home he could sit down in a chair and be asleep very quickly. His grandkids still talk about this today. And on Sunday afternoon, after church, we truly rested. After my mom finished Sunday dinner of course! We would play, read, take naps, talk, or do nothing. When we were teens, we would walk over a mile to youth group in the eve. My mind probably improves these experiences after all these years, but they truly were not bad. Back in the day….

  6. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    Good stuff on Lewis and the Christian disciplines of BOTH feast and fast. One of the earliest Christian traditions regarding regular fasting was to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays (see the Didache on this). In some circles, there’s still an element of this. For example, in traditional Anglican spirituality, the penitential Litany is added to the morning prayers on Wednesday and Friday. And I think the Orthodox often do some sort of fasting. So, with that in mind, and to fight the spiritual side of my gluttony, I’ve taken to doing a partial fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. But Sunday? That’s a day for feast and celebration in thanksgiving 🙂

  7. Isaac (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    Regarding the digital media, one of the best things this has done for me is to make old, forgotten books of our spiritual fathers readily available. I may have never had access to some of the wisdom of those who’ve gone before had it not been for digital media. God bless iBooks and God bless CutePDF and God bless Epub2Go. With those tools, I can carry around a mighty library of Christian wisdom on my phone. And other wisdom, too. Like all my D&D books :p

  8. Christians make up a small percentage of the Japanese population, but there are several congregations in the Sendai prefecture, including Evangelical Free, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox. But compassion should be universal.

    • Yup, Sendai has relatively more Christians than other parts of Japan. It’s also (well, was) one of the more beautiful cities in the country.

    • “Each one lost
      is everyone’s loss you see
      each one lost is a vital part of you and me”
      – Bruce Cockburn

  9. I’m not sure that technology lends to deep thinking. John Wesley prided himself on being a man of one book (the Bible). I believe Saint Francis de Sales recommended choosing one book and meditating upon it. Having several hundred texts on one ereader may be convenient but distracting, leading to shallow understanding over large number of subjects, a post-modern major-general.

    But ereaders are making classic literature – including the ancient writings of the church – even more accessible to everyone. This is a good thing. Even a shallow exposure to a greater world outside the realm of contemporary evangelicalism is better than nothing. Even John Wesley, although a man of one book, was well read across a wide spectrum of classic Christian literature. Deep-and-wide should be the goal.

  10. I love David Brooks for this reason. A lot of the cutting edge research in political psychology (one of my fields) echos what Brooks often writes about. I’m going to embrace a stereotype here, but as a woman, I love that political scientists are now starting to admit that emotion in and of itself does not hinder good decision-making. Actually, we now know that if a person completely lacks emotion, they are actually quite irrational and unable to function. Instead, emotion is an inevitable part of everything we do, whether or not we realize it at the time, and can be both a good and bad influence.

  11. The David Brooks article seems very deterministic.

    • Hmm. I didn’t read the articles but he didn’t come off that way in the TV interviews I saw.

      • “The deeper level of the mind also holds a great store of information, coming from genetics, culture, family and education. ‘Our thoughts are profoundly molded by this long historic flow, and none of us exists, self-made, in isolation from it.'”

        Is that not classic Skinner?

  12. Chuck Norris never has to file taxes. Every American is a dependent of Chuck Norris.

    Chuck Norris has won every military medal except the Purple Heart, because Chuck Norris cannot be injured. So when he decided he wanted a Purple Heart, Chuck Norris ripped the still-beating heart from one of his enemies and pinned it to his own chest.

  13. “We may think that what we believe and do is largely under our conscious control, and we may believe that we should try to increase this control by the conscious exercise of reasoning and will power, but Brooks says that this is all wrong. Nondeliberate emotion, perception and intuition are much more important in shaping our lives than reason and will. Knowledge of what makes us tick, Brooks argues, does not come primarily from introspection but must rely on systematic external observation, experiment and statistics.” – David Brooks

    Is it fair to assume from this that Brooks is saying that the self is not the center of the world, that external perspective is necessary, that truth is not a matter of personal experience or opinion?

  14. Chuck Norris counted to infinity…twice.

    Some people watch paint dry. Chuck Norris looks it dry.

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