Jacob at Ritual Coffee House on Irving asked me my favorite music . . .

. . . I had nothing immediately to say, often finding myself unable or unwilling to pronounce my favorite anything on short notice — fellow asked me once my favorite poet! Shakespeare, I muttered after a pause, not liking the question at all. He named Blake, about whom I had recently read in Yvor Winters that he was profoundly anti-Christian. This stopped my interlocutor cold, he being profoundly Christian himself while loving Blake. See? you can get in fights over anything if you pay attention.

As for Jacob, standing at his vintage platter-player (!) and stack of vinyls, I finally remembered, yes, my favorite was big-band swing — In the Mood, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, Frenesi and the like, Betty Grable’s husband Harry James, Glenn M., Eddy Duchin, Artie Shaw, Benny G., even Xavier Cugat, whom I danced the night away to at the Edgewater Beach Beachwalk. We could stroll out the pier on a summer night and look at the moon. Before it got all filled in, you know. And who trademarked “Roomful of Roses“? I heard him too.

As for Jacob and his new place (1821 W Irving), who got me thinking about all this, go there for a cup on your way to the Irving Brown Line stop a few steps away, except it’s on the other side of Irving! So what? Go there anyhow, and order up your coffee and a platter of your favorite music. If you can come up with one.


What did Thomas Aquinas say?

About whether god is alive or dead:

Is God alive? This seems a silly question in the light of God’s knowledge and truth. It is plain enough to us that a dead man cannot follow an argument nor give a rebuttal, a fact that makes abuse of the dead a safe outlet for a coward’s malice. Only the living can understand.

Yet again and again men [and women!] have played the game of living with a dead God, making Him a symbol, an impersonal cosmic thing, a promise of the future, or a product of the hands or the minds of men. It is very much to the point in our time to ask: is God alive? And, if He is, how much of life is there in Him?

Farrell O.P S.T.M., Walter; Healy S.T.D., Martin J. (2015-09-23). My Way of Life (Kindle Locations 370-374). Ravenio Books. Kindle Edition.

See what this marvelous little book does? It puts questions worth cogitating. Get hooked on such matters, and you are on your way to reading further (and to a fuller life while you’re at it).

(Note that this is adaptation of what T.A. wrote, in Latin of course, in the 13th century, when Latin was de rigueur. Here recast by Walter Farrell, O.P.)

Faith and morals, Francis, faith and morals

When the heaven will he get that? (And shut up about world politics)

And he might also review his defining down of the office to which he was elected.

As in this: “I don’t see myself as anything special… I’m a sinner, I’m fallible.” Nothing special, eh? Might he tone down his own populism?

On the other hand, he need not remind us he’s fallible, with off-cuff commentary on a regular basis. When he’s gone, will he have left the papacy in shambles, as Obama has left the Democratic party?

And they knock Trump for his tweets.

Illinois blues: The zombies are coming!!

Also known as fiddling while the state burns with deep fiscal fires.

Illinois’s state lawmakers are busy these days, but not with trying to reform the pension system or improve Springfield’s dismal bond rating. Instead, they’re moving to designate October 2017 as Zombie Preparedness Month.

This may sound like a joke, but it’s (un)deadly serious: A resolution adopted by the state House last month contends that “while a Zombie Apocalypse may never happen, the preparation for such an event is the same as for any natural disaster.” Residents are urged to “create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours.” Other items to have on hand in case of marauding zombie hordes: “medications, tools, electronics, sanitation and hygiene, clothing and bedding, important documents, and first aid.”

But what about the state’s fiscal apocalypse, which is not only happening right now but has plunged Illinois into a bona fide financial disaster?

Read the rest of the bad (non-) news from Chicago lawyer Gerald Skoning in Wall St. Journal.

And weep, you blue, blue denizens of The Prairie State.

(For more about Illinois Blues, read a little book about it which illustrates How The Ruling Party Talks to Voters.)