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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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.

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Fantasyland

Gem

Oh, to stumble over (or better yet, be invited to) a stable of old cars in this state!

The video is a glimpse at sixty untouched old cars, having long been stored away in the West of France. Come February 6, they’ll be auctioned off at the Retromobile Salon in Paris. I love photographing classic cars, period, but cars such as these in an environment such as this…oh, what a dream! Yours truly could probably spend two full days shooting these cars (who couldn’t?), lovingly capturing every detail.

Wink and a smile to the wonderful fellows at The Old Motor—who also have some knockout stills of these old beauties (from Remi Dargegen) for you to ogle.

Squandering Time Online

Snuggle Time

All snuggled in for a recuperating nap!

(This post was originally scheduled for Friday, but I waited to put the images in…and then my browser imploded, and it took me two days to figure out what was going on. So here you go, albeit a few days later than intended! It is also apparently National Cat Day, hence the cat stuff.)

The other night, a girlfriend and I were discussing how different our lives are than those of our ancestors at the turn of the last century—from the 19th to the 20th. As big-time history nerds, this is a topic both of us have pondered quite a bit, especially since the advent of smartphones; as my husband has pointed out, it is pretty incredible to think that we wander around with the sum of human knowledge in our purses or pockets.

"You don't have any important calls to make, do you? Of course not."

“That sum of human knowledge stuff will have to wait until my nap is over, human.”

My friend was not so sure of this, but I was (of course!) happy to clarify—we have the capability of delving into the sum of all human knowledge via our phones. It is simply that not many choose to do so. There are a lot of distractions that quite easily pull us away from study and seeking after knowledge. There’s not an entire category of websites known as “time wasters” for nothing!

Today I’ll share a few of the sites I’ve been squandering time on instead of using that time to study with you.

Why? Because after spending ten-ish hours driving to see my doctor and back (last) Tuesday, I did indeed spend some of my recuperation time (for some that’s no big deal, but I tire pretty easily) simply meandering around online. Continue reading

Three Things

Three Potato, Fou-Nope. Just three varieties.

Just some random thoughts today. And those shopping carts indicate it’s a smorgasbord!

One: Free Visit Day

Just in time for Saturday’s (that’s tomorrow!) fee-free day at America’s National Parks. As our fine-weather weekends (at least in most of the country) are swiftly coming to an end, find a local National Park to visit and head on out! Not to be outdone by the great outdoors, the Smithsonian has designated tomorrow as Museum Day Live, meaning you can get free admission for two at participating museums from sea to shining sea—just in case you’re rained or snowed out of your favourite park.

In The Bedroom

Two: On Kindles and Reading

A while back I finally succumbed to the modern age and downloaded the Kindle app for my phone and laptop. A book-lover since birth, the idea of reading on a computer screen (which dries out one’s eyes anyhow) was at first completely unappealing, but the prospect of having a small library in my purse when stuck in traffic or waiting for a late physician was, in the end, too much to resist. Continue reading

A Virtual Tour of The Library of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Where there's smoke there's fire

“Where there’s smoke there’s fire”, Russell Patterson, circa 192?. Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-01589

First of all, I apologize for the lateness of this post. I have been having serious battles with my computer all week (we’re at around 18 kernel panic shutdowns thus far), and today has been no exception. Let’s just all say a quick prayer and cross our fingers that this post is not going to have to tide you over for weeks and weeks. 😉 Saving my work has become a serious tic now, though; this seems to me both good and bad.

There have been repeated threats that I was going to talk about an amazing resource for history lovers, art fans, architecture buffs, and really just about any living human being—the Library Of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)—with you, and today seems like a good day to do so.

How this massive online source of art, photographs, old books, sheet music, and more came to my attention I really can’t recall, but it was a most fortuitous day. The collections offered are fairly astounding in their breadth and depth, and if you ever need something worthwhile with which to devour your time, the PPOC is it.

Belle Isle Park, Grand Canal

Belle Isle Park, Grand Canal (Detroit, Michigan). Circa 1880-1899. Detroit Publishing Co., publisher. Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-det-4a05260

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