Friday, October 24, 2014

Why Are We Living Together Again?

Paul F. Tompkins, whose style I adore, and John Mulaney talked about many things on Tompkins' YouTube show, Speakeasy. Most of the video is about stuff I don't really care about, but so enjoyable are the two of them to watch that I watched all twenty-five minutes of the show.

At one point (right here) they discuss getting married. Tompkins said that even after living with his girlfriend for years getting married was an immediate change. They agreed that their relationship was a lot more powerful, and the word "wife" much mightier than "girlfriend".

Mulaney mentions that now he feels like he is looking after his queen. "Oh, that's my queen. I have to look after my queen."

"Wife is good. I like the word. Do you like saying the word 'wife'?"

Can I be forgiven for wondering why the heck people live together in the first place? I suppose as an arrangement for regular sex it has more dignity than hooking up, especially if you are thirty or forty years old. I don't think I'd have the emotional tools to pull it off, though. I'd either very quickly need to marry her or need to kill her.

Someone explain this to me. And don't say "practice" or "we have to make sure she's the one". I somehow think that's not how Tompkins or Mulaney would explain it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Today We Celebrate Brutus' Assassination of Julius Caesar

Brutus tried to save the public thing
Which at the time was oligarchal still.
At interest usurial he used to lend,
So he thought the families better than a king.
His freedom to exploit he did defend,
Octavian took it from him with twice the will.

That was my little ditty about Brutus' motivation for killing Julius Caesar. Hope you enjoyed it.

The legacy that Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger has, thanks to William Shakespeare, is that of being the noblest Roman of all. But he was really a politician who was angry that one man had turned out to be too good at the game they were all playing, that of consolidating power and riches. A republic such as the Romans had is only a res publica for the politicians and bankers. Brutus grew rich by lending at high interest to provincials while he was governor of Cyprus. He took advantage of the power system of which he was a part, to which he had been highborn.

Let today be a day for Christians to remember that there is no salvation in the State. We ought not to seek to be kings or senators, although we may be such things. Let us instead seek to live humbly, to do justice, and love mercy.

We live in a nation of Brutuses, of politicians who are bankers and bankers who are politicians. Do not be deceived by the fact that we are ruled by a few instead of one. There are good and evil kings, and good and evil senates. We should not be proud of our government because it is not a dictatorship, nor because it is a "democracy". Let Roman Christians love Rome, and let American Christians love the United States, but let us always remember that we belong to another Kingdom, a better Kingdom. 

The question to ask is, do Rome or the United States submit to King Jesus?

Brutus and Julius Caesar are cut from the same cloth, the fabric of powerlust, which we are not to be a part of. (Armies are more honorable than assassinations because assassins are part of the machinery they claim to fight.) And let us remember that our weapons are not the weapons of this world.

The things that we tolerate, the things we do to each other and allow to be done to others, for these things we will be judged. Do not think that we can escape judgment by changing leaders. Instead we ought to pray for mercy from God. Look away from elections, and look to worship of Jesus. That is our revolution: worship.

Micah 8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

The voice of the Lord cries to the city—
    and it is sound wisdom to fear your name:
“Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it!
    Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
    and the scant measure that is accursed?
Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales
    and with a bag of deceitful weights?
Your rich men are full of violence;
    your inhabitants speak lies,
    and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow,
    making you desolate because of your sins.
You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not preserve,
    and what you preserve I will give to the sword.
You shall sow, but not reap;
    you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
For you have kept the statutes of Omri,
    and all the works of the house of Ahab;
    and you have walked in their counsels,
that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing;
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Sausage: A Poem About Marriage

Homemade Sausage 
A Poem About Marriage

A plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

As every maiden chaste well knows,
The best to marry's a man of the land.
He'll be good when he plows, sure when he sows,
And know how to handle her lusty demands.

A salumista's daughter married
The salt of the earth, a farmer's son.
And once she over the threshold was carried
He learned what a prize of a woman he'd won.

"I have skill beyond a normal bride's,"
She said as he put her down.
"My father's delight when my mother had fried
His sausage just right could be heard 'round the town.

"When I came of age my mother's instruction
On how to make bangers I heeded full well.
Her recipes all on sausage production
I'm eager to try if you'll lay down a spell.

"The men in this county all talk without end.
It's butchers, and pigs, and who's biggest herd.
But now that I've come, seen the size of your pens,
You've got so much meat it's almost absurd.

"Yes, a plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

"I can make you kielbasa, the specialty of Poles.
I'll smoke it for days, the tenderest meat.
I'll squeeze it and grind it, then press into rolls.
The pop and the spurt when you bite is a treat.

"I'll make you chorizo, with paprika or chili,
It'll be just as spicy as you can bear.
All the fire I've got 'til your tongue is burnt silly,
And a few hours later the spice is still there.

"Speaking of spice, and the meat that you own,
The steps for andouille are simple to do.
A more salut'ry sausage has never been known,
The fat makes you strong, and the wine well will too.

"When a hot dog or wiener's made simply and right,
I know you'll be pleased that I know how to bake.
Slide it into my bun and take a big bite,
With a bit of the relish from the pickles I make.

"Yes, my relish will prove it's true:
I'm good with cucumber too."

"It's said better's the wurst when times have been hard,
Just give me one hog, we'll be happy and filled.
For even bologna, with its cubes of pressed lard
Is healthful and tasty when seasoned with skill.

"For the times that are lean I'll make winter salami;
If you must be up early it will be chipolata.
For the times that are easy a sausage romani;
If you'd like times of quiet I can make soppressata,

"Marriage, my husband, is an oath and a pledge,
With contracts and duties for wife and for man.
Be sure every day tend my garden and hedge,
Trim the bushes all regular to keep me in hand.

"A plump wife loves her sausage well,
And loves with generous ardor,
But only if you keep her shelf
And cupboard fully lardered.

"For I delight in sausage, and you delight in me,
And if you give me sausage, I will delight in thee.

"So go you out from home each day,
Give me all the meat you breed.
When you return at night to lay,
You'll know your farmer's seed
Has taken hold with winsome worth:
And yet more sausage-makers
will walk upon this earth."

As you can imagine the farmer was pleased
To hear such a speech from his spouse,
They held on to each other until they released,
Professing their faith 'til they shook the house.

The Perfection of Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Two Things About Christians & Plagues

Well, people seemed to be settling down a bit about the whole ebola crisis thing (may I not come to rue those words). Nonetheless, the probability remains: if not ebola, some plague or another will strike us at some point. Plagues are a thing that come upon man, in all their horror, and Christians ought to think of how they'd behave if a plague were at our doorstep. Do not think that all our magics and sciences will save us, as great a blessing as they might often be.

I do not wish to oversimplify anyone's situation or responsibilities, but, speaking as the Christian father of five, I would like to lay out two simple facts two think about when facing plague, waste, pestilence, war, and persecution.

When a plague comes upon a city, Christians stay behind.

And when a plague comes upon a city, Christians are blamed.

What might this mean? For one, that when God's judgment comes upon a people, we don't get to blame the pagans. The example of our fathers is to take the brunt of God's judgment on ourselves, and intercede for and serve these others, even as they revile us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How To Go On Dates With Your Spouse

This post is in response to a request. I love getting requests for topics (email me if you have one), both here and at the ol' YouTube channel, and I try to respond to as many as I can.

Request posts are usually fun and challenging, since it's usually on a topic in me ol' wheelhouse, but coming at me from a slightly different angle than normal. This one is extra-specially fun and challenging, not to say flattering, because it's on how to go on a date and my own wife told me I should write it! Victory and wifely affirmation!

So here I am, starting this post off with a little braggadocio and a little establishing of the bona fides. Wifey says that my approach to romance and going on a date is worth sharing with the world. Hey, I let another praise me. And then I pass it on.

You can see that I'm as pleased as punch to be praised by wifey in this way. I hadn't realized I was so good at going on dates, especially since it seems that we never get to go out. But apparently I'm a master, and I'm here to share my craft with you.

I am going to propose a certain way of looking at going on a date with your spouse, then explore what how that attitude might unfold practically. Whether you are young and childless and "going out" is an easy and frequent thing, or whether you are seasoned and weathered like wifey and I, with each date we manage to go out on being a precious treasure, I think this approach will help the romance without being desperate (for the busy parents) or contrived (for the young and free).

This past month wifey and I were able to go out on two dates (mirabile visu!). If we get one date a month we count ourselves blessed, which can put a lot of pressure on one evening, especially for wifey, for whom just leaving the house some weeks is a treat. The first date was a disaster, mostly because we can both be jerks. But for the first time in our fourteen years of marriage we had a conversation about what a date was, and what our expectations for one were. It was eye-opening for both of us. Our second date was, of course, marvelous. After we had that conversation, wifey said that she'd never thought of a date in the way I'd explained it, and told me that the blogosphere needed to know about it.

So here I am.

Very often a date, especially when it's a treat, is seen as "we can finally do that thing we've been wanting to do" or "I can finally go to that restaurant I've been dying to try". We've really been wanting this, or even we've really been needing this.

That's fine as far as it goes. There's nothing wrong with wanting a little relief, or a little treat, or a little variety. But often the wife can feel like she's owed something, and the husband can feel bound to provide that, or, archetype-of-all-archetypal-marriage-memes, the husband is left trying to guess what the wife wants out of her evening out. And if both are trying to maximize date payoff, things can get stressful.

Husbands and wives, you may have noticed, are not very much alike. Some spouses share interests, but many do not. It is not often that you find a married couple who have both been dying to go to the same new steakhouse, or see the same movie, or visit the same museum.

It is easy for a date to become about what one spouse wants, or, more commonly, to be a compromise between what each would like to do. Now, compromises in marriage are no bad thing, but they are not at all necessary here.

Let me suggest to you that, instead of seeing a date quantitatively, husband and wife should look at an evening out exactly as they would look at a dance.

The dance of a date means that the husband leads, and the wife responds. Importantly, this is not the same as doing what the husband wants. Nor is it guessing what the wife wants. Instead, the husband, who has studied his wife all these years, makes a plan for the evening completely geared towards her, and he leads her through that plan. The wife then responds, not by having specific expectations, but by allowing herself to be delighted by whatever he has chosen for her, confident that, clumsy or graceful, he has chosen everything for her enjoyment, not his.

You can see that, if you are one inclined to feel pressure or stress over a date, this would disarm any traps that might be waiting. Everything is for the wife, but she is not stressing about maximizing enjoyment because it's not her agenda, it's his. He has taken the lead in the dance, but, let's be honest, he's not on the dance floor for any other reason than that his wife wants him to be. At least, that's how dancing is for many of us men. The responsibility is his, but the fact that the agenda is his means that the wife is approaching the date as a gift, not as something that is owed or deserved or needed.

A fun way to do this, by the way, is for the husband to be coy about what the plans are. This reinforces the dancing husband-as-lead role, and increases the play of surprise in delight. Sure, wife might think that you're going to eat, or that a movie or a walk in the park might be included in the evening, but she doesn't know. She has few expectations, but is responding.

Of course, the fact that there's a plan doesn't mean it needs to be stuck to. Husband can call an audible if he likes; he responds to her as he leads. And if she doesn't know exactly what was going to come next, she doesn't even have to know that husband called an audible. She only knows that somehow this evening he knew exactly what she wanted.

So that's it. Dates as dances. That's what my wife wanted me to share, and it is done. Leave a comment below telling whether this is helpful or not, and how it resonates with your past experience. What were your best dates like? Did they look like this? Does this seem easier or more difficult than what you've been doing? Or is this too way too obvious, and you've been doing things this way since you were eighteen?

Happy loves, folks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

May Christians Have Tattoos? Discuss.

Well, this guy thinks he's hilarious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review of Tom Eltang Virginia

Danish pipe maker Tom Eltang has partnered with Smoking Pipes and Cornell & Diehl to launch four new tobaccos. This is part of Cornell & Diehl's new identity reflecting a new ownership group. You can find reviews of their new Cellar series here and here on my site. I have all four of the Tom Eltang tobaccos, and will review them on this here. The first is the Tom Eltang Virginia.

The Virginia is a very straightforward red Virginia and burley blend. The tin gives off a very strong classic red Virginia scent, that pepper vinegar-Tabasco-ketchup craziness that cures our ills. The smoke itself is much more impacted by the burley than the aroma is. While not enough to overpower the tobacco, the burley ensures that the blend doesn't become dangerously ambitious (don't worry, not all the Eltangs are as straightforward as this one). It's very woodsy, campfirey without being acrid, with just a touch of the salt air that emerges from Virginia-dominant blends like Stokkebye Navy Flake.

A really nice smoke, but not one to blow you away. But then again, not designed to blow you away. Recommended.

Reviews of the Tom Eltang Mixture, English, and Sweet & Mellow to follow over the next few days. Happy puffing!

Also, as if I hadn't mentioned it enough, don't forget to pick up my ebooklet, Christian Pipe Smoking: An Introduction to Holy Incense.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Christian Pipe Smoking Now Available For Download!

Hey, my first e-book, written in cooperation with another Brazilian-American bundle of pipe-smoking joy, Uri Brito, is now available for download at Amazon!

It is an apologetic of joy for that most delightful of degustatory experiences. An essay of sass, a versification in poetic veracity, a true offering of fellowship to you and praise to God. We hope you enjoy it, brief as it is.

A review of Christian Pipe Smoking on Gospel Spam.

Another review at the Torrey Gazette.

So buy it already! And happy puffing to you, brother.


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