Two books

May 23, 2009

I just though I’d mention two books I recently finished reading.

  • Legacy of Ashes: the history of the CIA by Tim Weiner. You kind of get the impression that we’d be better off if the CIA had never been created.

  • The Pursuit of the Millennium by Norman Cohn. It’s about radical groups in the middle ages that thought the end of the world was about to happen. You might be thinking “who cares,” but it’s actually pretty topical. This is in the conclusion, talking about Fascism and Communism:

    Between the revolutionary eschatology of the later Middle Ages and modern totalitarian ‘ideologies’ there is of course one obvious difference. Where the former borrowed the language of Judeo-Christian prophecy, the latter have drawn upon nineteenth-century speculations in the fields of history, biology, and sociology. A naive and explicit supernaturalism has been replaced by an orientation which is secular and which moreover claims to be scientific. In reality, however, the racial theory adopted by National Socialism was wholly unscientific and the simplified version of Marx’s teaching known as Marxism-Leninism (formerly Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism) is hardly less so. Beneath the pseudo-scientific terminology one can in each case recognise a phantasy of which almost every element is to be found in phantasies which were already current in medieval Europe. The final, decisive battle of the Elect (be they the ‘Aryan race’ or the ‘proletariat’) against the host of evil (be they the Jews or the ‘bourgeousie’); a dispensation in which the Elect are to be most amply compensated for all their sufferings by the joys of total domination or of total community or of both together; a world purified of evil and in which history is to find its consummation — these ancient imaginings are with us still.

    In other worlds, all the “progressive” nonsense we here today was already being spouted back in the middle ages. I never realized it went back that far.

Advertisements

Names part 3

May 16, 2009

After I posted about the boys’s names, Julia told me she was just thinking of names for boys one day and “Daniel James” popped into her head, and she liked it. So that’s her version of how Daniel got his name.

So after three consecutive boys, I finally got to pick a girl’s name.

The day-dawn is breaking, the world is awaking,
The clouds of night’s darkness are fleeing away.
The world-wide commotion, from ocean to ocean,
Now heralds the time of the beautiful day.

I’ve always liked the idea behind this hymn, that we’re preparing for the dawn of the millennium. So I picked Aurora, the name of the Roman goddess of dawn, as the name of our next daughter. Since this is a dawn we should look forward to, I added Amanda, which is Latin for “ought to be loved” or “worthy of being loved.” (Also, one of my great-great grandmothers was named Amanda.) Julia thought “Aurora Amanda” was too weird, so I changed it to “Amanda Aurora” and she agreed to that.

My hope is that when Amanda thinks of her name, she will remember that she was held back to be born in the last days to help prepare the world for Christ’s second coming.

NYOS (the charter school the kids attend) has a tradition where each year the senior class makes a video that they show at graduation. Last Tuesday they were working on the video, and they had a dolly-thing to hold and steady the camera, with weights to balance the camera. However, the weights weren’t attached securely, and one of them fell of and landed on Sam’s head.

They tried to convince him that he should go to the emergency room, but he wouldn’t let them so Coach brought him home. I was at home telecommuting (but without a car.) He was still bleeding so I told him to take a shower, but when Julia got home an hour and a half later, it was still bleeding, so after picking up the rest of the kids she took him to the emergency room where they gave him five staples.

Metal head.

Metal head.

OK, so it was a couple of weeks ago, but the pictures are on the computer now.

Before opening the presents

Before opening the presents

All together now!

All together now!

Most of the presents have been opened.

Most of the presents have been opened.

Look at my cake!

Look at my cake!

Easter pictures

May 4, 2009

I’ve been meaning to get the pictures off the camera, but Julia finally did it.

Where are those eggs?

Where are those eggs?

What a haul!

What a haul!

All the cousins with their eggs.

All the cousins with their eggs.

Girl cousins.

Girl cousins.