Arimathea
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O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
Wednesday, March 9, A.D. 2016
Joao and the Penguin

The Daily Mail features this charming story from Brazil: “‘I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me’: Bird swims 5,000 MILES every year to visit Brazilian man who nursed it back to life after he found it covered in oil and dying on a beach.” Those Daily Mail titles are a drag, but the stories make for perfect clickbait and, in this case, heartwarming satisfaction.

From a certain perspective, the world is but a series a remarkable miracles. We just have to decide to look.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, March 9, Anno Domini 2016
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Thursday, February 11, A.D. 2016
TARDIS in the Garden

We are almost halfway through February, and I am already getting cabin fever. My winter sowing gallons have been outside since New Year’s, and I have already begun growing some of the early inside sowing species. I wish that I had a proper greenhouse, but we all make do, no?

Speaking of dream gardens, it seems that some Doctor Who fans have allowed their enthusiasm to escape out the back door:

The Daily Mail features another gardening fan’s TARDIS shed: “Something for the back YARD-is: Mother uses Doctor Who Tardis as garden shed but this one is no bigger on the inside with just enough room for a wheelbarrow.” Just imagine what substitutes as a hedgehog in her garden . . .

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, February 11, Anno Domini 2016
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Monday, February 8, A.D. 2016
The Heavens above Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Enjoy this time lapse video of the sky at Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai:

Lovely footage.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, February 8, Anno Domini 2016
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Monday, November 2, A.D. 2015
BeeWithMe

As you may know, I have been raising Blue Orchard Mason Bees (Osmia lignaria) for several years now. I have mentioned them before in “Spring Arrives Slowly.” An online store where I have bought supplies for this garden-friendly hobby is Crown Bees, which specializes in different species of native pollinators. Check them out; they are a treasury of information. The folks at Crown Bees do not see the company simply as a commercial venture but rather as a horticultural and agricultural crusader in the eco-conscious sustainability revolution. To spread the word, I am posting their bee-awareness campaign picture:

If you have the proper habitat for native bees in your neighborhood, consider becoming a bee farmer! It is fun, educational, beneficial to nature, and beautiful.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 2, Anno Domini 2015
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Tuesday, September 1, A.D. 2015
Camera Trapped Nature

Matt Miller in Cool Green Science showcases some gorgeous photographs by camara trap photographer Jonny Armstrong: “Camera Trap Meets Studio Lighting: Stunning Images and the Story Behind Them.” Awesome.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, September 1, Anno Domini 2015
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Friday, July 17, A.D. 2015
Sexist Monkeys

The BBC news reports on blatant sexual discrimination suffered by Kenyan women in “Monkey misery for Kenyan women villagers.” The article actually uses the term “sexual harassment” in covering the monkeys’ rampages; I hope that its inclusion was tongue in (red) cheek. From the article:

They estimate there are close to 300 monkeys invading the farms at dawn. They eat the village’s maize, potatoes, beans and other crops.

And because women are primarily responsible for the farms, they have borne the brunt of the problem, as they try to guard their crops.

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu’s women have tried wearing their husbands’ clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

“When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men,” resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website.

“But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don’t run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops.”

In addition to stealing their crops, the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women, they claim.

“The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us,” said Mrs Njeri.

The article is a goldmine for irreverent commentary, which I in an unusual deferment to good taste will leave to readers. What I find most interesting, though, is how other species—even seemingly unintelligent ones—recognize sex in other species. I have noticed this throughout life with pets. How do they know? For I expect creatures like rodents and parakeets to know better than American womynist professors, but exactly how do they know, even acknowledging that they remain unburdened by leftist twatwash. Very curious, indeed. The world is a fascinating place.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, July 17, Anno Domini 2015
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Thursday, May 21, A.D. 2015
Cave Man’s Best Friend

Happy Ascension Day!

Drudge knows his canine-loving audience well because he often features dog stories on his site. Today, we read in The Telegraph that “Dogs have been man’s best friend ‘for 40,000 years.’” The article does not explain much about the recent finding as published in Current Biology—an unfortunately common trait of mainstream articles on science. You may read the abstract and the original article (perhaps through your school or local library system): “Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds.”

Speaking of dogs, I recently read Notes from the Dead House (Записки из Мёртвого дома), and I found the passages about the prison dogs quite moving. Well, the novel as a whole is moving—I continually marvel at how perceptive Fyodor Mikhailovich is in his writings—a truly inspired sage.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, May 21, Anno Domini 2015
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Thursday, March 26, A.D. 2015
Spring Arrives Slowly

Happy springtime—de ephemeride if not yet fully de facto. I hope that you are having a fruitful Lent. I do not have much to write; the events of the day repel me so much that I do not have the desire to write about them. I find myself longing for some terrible catastrophe qui écrasera l’Infâme! So, I turn to distractions—or, rather, toward reality in the midst of this age’s delusions.

One such refuge for me is gardening, and there are sure signs of spring hereabouts. The lawn and the beds are full of hundreds of crocus, squill, and aconite flowers. The dwarf iris, primrose, and hellebores have proudly displayed their riches to spite winter’s greed. The hyacinthoides, Byzantine gladiolus, and daffodils are announcing their imminent arrival. This week, I have spotted some wild mason bees beginning to use my reed stations (in my mason bee “homes”). I have not yet put out my harvested bee cocoons from last year—it looks like the fruit trees will not blossom for a few weeks, and it might be a late release this year.

Speaking of Osmia lignaria, Crown Bees has created a new native bee online “community,” Bee with Me. If you are interested in raising bees but do not have the time or resources to look after honey bee colonies, you should consider mason bees. They are easy and rewarding—and rather charming with their gentle dispositions, industrious habits, and beautiful metallic blue bodies. Different regions have different native mason bees, and there are suppliers that will sell you the appropriate cocoons for your area if there is no longer a significant wild population near your home. I started raising mason bees four years ago, and their numbers increase each year. The downside is that they are active for only a short spell—less than two months. In addition to my little masons, I would like to begin honey bee keeping, but I keep deferring the project. Maybe next spring . . .

The other treat that I have to share is “What Plants Talk About” from Nature. You may watch the entire episode on PBS. I found it informative, surprising, and delightful, and I wonder what Aristotle would have said about the vegetative soul had he known.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, March 26, Anno Domini 2015
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Friday, February 27, A.D. 2015
Red Pandas in Snowy Cincinnati

I hope that you are having a fruitful Clean Week.

Myself, I am already looking forward to Pascha and to spring. Indeed, the weather may make us reconsider the meaning of White Lent (typically used for Advent). It is too late to be this cold!

At least, the Cincinnati Zoo’s red pandas are enjoying themselves. Behold my brother’s favorite animals:

Enjoy the snow—and be thankful for it. It’s keeping your plants and bulbs insulated from the arctic air.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, February 27, Anno Domini 2015
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Thursday, February 5, A.D. 2015
Animae Bestiarum

A thread about the souls of animals has appeared on the Orthosphere in Dr. Bertonneau’s “Article of Interest.” I give the usually insightful Mark Citadel (who is just wrong in this case!) some rubbing:

I don’t understand people’s apprehension about recognizing the souls of animals (even of spiders) or plants, for that matter. It is obvious that they have souls — they are alive! They “breathe.” Myself, I wonder whether even particulars that modern science considers inorganic have souls. (I err on the side of caution.) There is a long history of recognizing different levels of souls, just as there are different levels of pretty much everything. Remember the anima in animal!

Mark, does your qualification (“in the meaningful, immortal sense”) mean that the only true life is the life of the mind, following Aristotle’s understanding that the intellectual part of soul is the only one that may exist apart from the body? Such would dismiss anything that is necessarily enfleshed as “unalive,” which Aristotle doesn’t do. Be it far from me to deny that the theoretical life of the philosopher or the spiritual life the saint are superior to other modes of earthly existence, but the Lord has given us a bountiful order, from spiders to Saint Felix of Nola. It strikes me as perverse and quite modern (but I repeat myself) to flatten being out, and then this error compounds its folly by clipping away all inconvenient (to the reduction) aspects of the world from the mashed paper model that it has made of reality. “There is the mind of man — and then there is mechanism. Nothing else!”

A hearty, honest assessment of the world doesn’t tremble at the thought of granting beings lower in the divine order their rightful place on the ladder. Civilizations that kept such an image of the world’s hierarchy did not fall prey to men like Peter Singer. Rather, we are such dupes! We modern fools, we modern fooled! The human / non-human dichotomy is an impoverished Cartesian reduction — and, as Bertonneau notes above concerning dogs, such a reduction has historically had a tendency to devour the distinction between man and matter, as well. Nihilistic mechanism isn’t satisfied to exempt man from its colorless, vapid suffocation. All will become dull atoms in the void.

I understand where people are coming from when they draw that line under humanity and say that things below it are on a lower order of being that while not entirely mechanical, does not share the kind of free will we enjoy as human beings.

I understand where people are coming from when they draw that line under billionaires and say that people below it are on a lower order of economic wellbeing that, while not entirely destitute, does not share the kind of riches we enjoy as billionaires.

See the problem with these statements?

we enter dangerous territory when we start affording animals the status of having souls, in the true sense of the word. As I said this has horrible implications, for instance animals would become accountable for their actions and so when a pack of dogs ripped a fox apart they would be committing a moral evil.

Why does this follow? What is “in the true sense of the word”? By the true sense of soul, you appear to mean human soul. But one can affirm all sorts of souls without equating them to human souls, just as one can acknowledge all sorts of intelligences without equating them to human intelligence, and so on. Moreover, why does moral accountability follow from having a soul? The life-principle and the moral faculty appear rather distinct.

I have many nasty suspicions about contemporary Western man, and one is that he believes that the world is meaningless and without life. Various groups in the West have their special exception to this view — some admit larger sections of reality than others. The Calvinist has the heart and mind of the elect. Everything else is the outer darkness. The Kantian has his rational agent. The Latin has his sacramentalism, which often appears rather stingy to me — invoking a place for God in so few places and under such restrictions. Is it any wonder that such a snuffing out of the really real has triggered ill conceived backlashes such as the neopagans champion? As I note above, though, the more common tendency has been to throw out the exceptions. The human mind loves simplicity and uniformity — just make it all matter in motion.

You may wish to revisit some related posts of yore:

“Do Elephants Have Souls?”

“Man’s Best Friend”

“Spider Hunting”

If you do not know why I mentioned Saint Felix, read the book review of Saint Felix and the Spider on Beauty of the Picture Book.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, February 5, Anno Domini 2015
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