March 04, 2011


+ Have I shared with you the painting-a-day site of German artist Edward B. Gordon? This is one of his recent striking paintings--I love the way he plays with light, even though these are small, he captures light with ease, intensity, and levity. The one above is called "The Resignation" and reflects the current events in Germany.  Many of his paintings deal with theater--those are my favorites.

+ Alex Soyer was the Jamie Oliver of his day (the 1850's).  So why haven't we heard of him before? Because we don't eat kidneys, I guess.

+ In the midst of a rather crazy fashion week, The Courtier has a long, elegant piece on the stylishness of Jesus.

+ While reading celebrity notes and correspondence is awfully fun, it's letters like this one, from a New York lawyer who is requesting a suspension of trial because his daughter is expecting, that make me keep visiting Letters of Note.  Be sure to read to the end, for the Judges response.  Also, I learned several new Yiddish words--always a good thing.

+ A dad and his five year old sent an HD video camera into space to record the wonderful journey. It's well worth watching, though a little dizzy-ing.

+ Julie has a new column on Patheos.  About Books.  And Faith. And awesomeness.  Go. Read!  Incidentally, her first paragraph, about the sanity of faith, reminds me of the only quote Muriel Spark gives about her conversion to the Catholic faith in her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae.  I shall have to dig up the exact quote, but it says something like "I became Catholic because it fit with everything I ever knew."

+ "I don’t think there’s anything I like cooking quite as much as breakfast for house guests. Because if they’re sleeping in our house, we’re obviously fond of them, and who better to cook for than the people you’re fond of? Especially at the start of the day, when everyone is still a little soft, before any crap gets in the way. You can hear them coming up the stairs from the guest room-slash-dungeon in the basement, trying to be quiet, and then the shower turns on, and while it runs, you can sneak out of bed and into the kitchen and grind the coffee, boil the water, get started." --Orangette

+ Speaking of breakfast: I love puffy pancakes, buckwheat, and things with apples.  But 14 eggs seems a little extreme.

+ It seems Pope Benedict's amazing meditations on Medieval women are over, alas. (They were so awesome, and I hope someone will be compiling them into a book soon [hint, hint Ignatius])  What's next? Well this week he talked about my dear, beloved St. Francis de Sales.  Hurrah!  I never knew this story, so I just had to share:
During his tranquil youth, while reflecting on the thought of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, he had a profound crisis that drove him to question his eternal salvation and God's predestination in his respect, thus suffering as a true spiritual drama what were the principal theological questions of his time.

He prayed intensely, but doubt tormented him so strongly that for some weeks he could scarcely eat or sleep. At the height of this trial, he went to the church of the Dominicans in Paris, opened his heart and prayed thus: "No matter what happens, Lord, you who have everything in hand, and whose ways are justice and truth, whatever you have established in my regard ... you who are always a just judge and merciful Father, I will love you, Lord [...] I will love you here, O my God, and I will always hope in your mercy, and I will always repeat your praise ... O Lord Jesus, you will always be my hope and my salvation in the land of the living" (I Proc. Canon., vol I, art 4).

The 20-year-old Francis found peace in the radical and liberating reality of the love of God: to love Him without asking anything in return and to trust in His divine love; not to ask any longer what God will do with me: I will simply love Him, regardless of what He does or does not give me. Thus he found peace, and the question of predestination -- which was being discussed at that time -- was resolved, because he no longer sought what he could have from God; he simply loved Him, abandoned himself to His goodness.
How amazing is that? With that as his foundations, it's no wonder his writings are so intensely practical. He settled the big question with a total act of faith (and love), so he could focus his attentions on the question of our daily life: how do I act lovingly in the most mundane and simple difficulties. (As an aside: in one letter to a lay woman he signs it saying "May Christ be your heart and your life." That is, still, my favorite toast.)  Read the whole talk here.

+ Photographer Jonathan Blaustein has taken to photographing one dollars worth of food from around the world.  It's a fascinating series.  I was struck particularly by the organic grapefruit (1) from a market, and the conventional grapefruits (4) from a super-saver. The conventional grapefruits are hideous and deformed and probably not very tasty, either.  On the other hand, you only get ten organic blueberries for a dollar (below).  Sometimes the gourmet/organic/whole foods world is quite a racket. Also, he manages to make a wilty salad from Burger King look somewhat appetizing.

Jonathan Blaustein

Me, Elsewhere: Dr. Seuss on Little Lamb Books (you might discover something new!)

UPDATE: J has posted on Gershwin on 12. We're several weeks late on this, but, that's ok! If you're at all interested in Gershwin, hop over.


  1. Thank you, ma'am! I have only read one Muriel Sparks book and it was as difficult to get through for me as any fiction Flannery O'Connor wrote. So that's an interesting comment. I'm looking forward to seeing the quote. :-)

    Also, as you know (probably) I love Edward Gordon. He was one of the first current artists to let me share his work with others. So wonderful ...

  2. Oh, Spark is wonderful, but can be difficult. And creepy. I'll have to think about what Spark you should read.

  3. Another awesome clippings....

  4. thank you so much !!!

    best, Edward