Really, this could be fun.

Via the always-amusing Babylon Bee:

Expanding its wide range of fantasy offerings like baseball, football, and basketball, popular website and sports news empire ESPN has finally added free fantasy preaching software to its website, sources confirmed Monday.

ESPN’s proprietary software will track stats like conversions, Greek words utilized per minute, arm movement, and Scripture references in real time.

…“If you like the idea of a fantasy league, but you’re more interested in John Piper’s exegesis than Le’Veon Bell’s rushing yards, this is the program for you,” ESPN.com’s head programmer John Charles told reporters.

Part of me wishes this weren’t parody. Alas, it will probably languish in the bin of Fine Ideas, alongside Star Trek-style transporters, that shoe-parade system (about 1:33) I’ve never forgotten from Home Improvement, and the revival of drive-in movie theatres (considering the caliber of Hollywood’s present offerings, that last one is presently crushed at the bottom of said bin, but that’s another post).

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Please don’t be this person.

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Glenrio is absolutely one of my favourite places along Route 66, particularly the Longhorn Cafe. The famed painted glass panels on the cafe have stood alone for nearly as long as I’ve been alive—but alas, no more:

…many Route 66 enthusiasts still were deeply disappointed to learn Monday four window panes that spelled “CAFE” at the long-abandoned Longhorn Cafe in Glenrio, Texas, recently were stolen.

Nick Gerlich noticed the missing glass during a visit to the Route 66 ghost town along the Texas-New Mexico border.

He said in a Facebook post he saw no evidence of broken glass at the scene, leading him to deduce the panes were carefully removed and pilfered.

There’s a photo of the vandalization at Route 66 News. As Ron notes, it is a small loss in the scheme of the world, particularly considering what we were all thinking about yesterday and the devastation wrought by Harvey and Irma in recent weeks.

At the same time, I wonder if things like this apparent theft in Glenrio, small though they are, sicken us not just because of the loss, that others present and future won’t be able to enjoy what we’ve enjoyed, but because they make so apparent our very much not being ‘basically good’. We are saddened by the vandalism and her sibling, looting, but perhaps we are also, and more deeply, grieved by such a blatant expression of sinfulness and selfishness, whether we recognize it as such or not.

At any rate—please don’t be the sort of person who apparently stole these panes. What are the silly but true cliches—take only pictures (unless you buy something, and by all means, when it comes to souvenirs and tasty food, buy away on the Mother Road, and support those businesses!) and leave only footprints? Let us respect our past and consider the future.

Is this day different for you?

Seventeen years ago, the date September 11th had no special meaning. It was my boss’ birthday, but other than that, until mid-morning on September 11, 2001, it was an ordinary day.

How hard it is to learn that ordinary days are marvellous, undeserved blessings.

Subsequent to the evil, hateful, murderous terrorist attacks of that morning—one I remember finding particularly beautiful while heading to work—September 11, and the days leading up to it and those following, have been very somber for me. There is a true pall over it, one that, almost unexamined, prompts me to wear all black, something I only do when mourning the loss of a loved one. But of course I love my country, too, and she was cruelly wounded that day. So many people lost someone they loved, representing just about every walk of life in this nation; some of the stories, I still recall with grieved clarity, and pray for the survivors. I don’t go wall-to-wall with mourning (perhaps we should? Or is prayerfully, thoughtfully going about our daily business, remembering the clarity with which evil expressed itself that day—which, in honesty, is pretty much what I do—a better tribute?), but you’ll never see me at a party or cheery get-together of any sort on September 11. It would feel disrespectful, callous, unserious.

Of course, we live in unserious times—odd many times over, after such an event and its brethren in Paris and London and Mumbai and on and on.

Just thinking about that day—about the horrified, primal screams—screams—emitted by the ABC newsman, a grown adult man, talking to my local affiliate as the second plane hit the second tower, about those towers sliding down against that still bizarrely beautiful blue sky, with so many lives still fighting within them—a pit forms in my stomach, a lump blocks my throat, and tears sting the backs of my eyes. I think for many of us, September 11 was a formative day, no matter our age. So it would only make sense, I think, for the anniversary of that day to affect us deeply.

Is this day different for you, in any way? Truly, there is no judgment here; I’m honestly curious as to how September 11 affects others. Some may wish to do all they can to ignore the grief hanging over the day, because of all the pain it brings; alas, perhaps some of you cannot at all, having had a loved one murdered in New York or Pennsylvania or DC. Again; I’m just curious as to how other Americans mark the day, if at all.

Cities, Virtue, and Corruption

A trio of reads to share with you this Eclipse Monday. (Can’t you tell how cheery they are from the post title?)

Whatever this cost...

Masonic Temple of Springfield, Ohio.

First, a review of the new book Rethinking Modernism and the Built Environment, a collection of essays edited by Almantas Samalavicius. As you likely know, I’m not a fan of modern architecture, and in fact would consider myself an enemy of its inhumanity.

As Samalavicius sees it, the challenges cities face are not only “unprecedented levels of urbanity,” but the homogenizing effects of “economic globalism” and how they have reduced or erased local and cultural diversity. Moreover, this is not a new, 21st-century phenomenon.The large-scale reconstruction of Europe after World War II, he says, “demanded cheap and functional buildings, and that was what architectural Modernism seemed to be able to offer.”

…as summed up by Nikos Salingaros, author of Principles of Urban Structureis that “By removing urban complexity, the simplistic Modernist model has destroyed our cities.”

A brief review, but worth reading. If you’d like another (less pricey) read along the same lines, Thomas Wolfe’s From Bauhaus To Our Haus is quite worthwhile indeed.

Architecture influences those living around and within it, and our own hearts, of course, influence architecture (as it is out of human hearts that building designs spring). So I can’t help but see this excellent Daniel Greenfield piece, Virtue and the Moral Fall of Civilization, as related to the modern state—and small, if increasing rebellion against—of architecture.

A civilization is not a mechanical endeavor, but a moral one. The virtues that uphold a civilization, the ability to reason, to work hard, to study how to solve a problem, to sacrifice now for future gain, to cooperate with those outside the tribe, to value truth, beauty and goodness for their own sake are individual, but they are also social. A society that cultivates these virtues in people can prosper. As society loses these virtues, it grows dysfunctional. It loses winnable wars, it squanders vast wealth, it loses its work ethics, its ability to cooperate and to plan for the long term. It slowly dies.

Barbarians are not savages because they wear loincloths or bones through their noses, or even because they lack the majority of these virtues, but because they lack the ability to appreciate them. A barbarian who appreciates civilizational virtues can become civilized, but a civilized barbarian may wear a suit and tie, but is still a savage because he cannot even appreciate the virtues of his ancestors.

As a civilization declines, it becomes barbaric.

Continue reading

Century Mark, Plus Happy Garden Stuff

Hey, last week I finally managed to put 100 items in the shop! Considering all we’ve been through and all that has gone on over the past several months, it was a big deal to me, anyhow.

Not one to ignore milestones, I made sure it was a favourite:

Packard 900-Series Light Eight Coupe Roadster

This handsome (almost remarkably so, considering the car is unrestored) ’32 Packard remains one of the most memorable automobiles I’ve ever photographed. She was a lucky find at the end of a very long day!

One of my other loves being gardening, this morning I was overjoyed to find the first zinnia of the season blooming away. Hurrah! (Alas, the lens on my phone was apparently quite smudged, but life goes on. You get the idea, and I was/am so happy.)

Carousel Zinnia

Since we moved in so late in the year, we got the garden going even later (mid-June); with lots of unused space therein due to this fact, I decided to fill said space with flowers. Continue reading

But my drea—!

Right now, my hometown pizza favourite, Little Caesar’s, is airing a terrifically funny commercial.

I actually do laugh out loud every time we see this. Also…Is anyone else wondering if the practical, thoughtful, and smart Mike Rowe was the inspiration for this ad?