Friday, April 10, 2009


I wonder how many people would look at this day as the most important day of the year? One of the deepest problems with western civilization in the heights of these days is its appalling nearsightedness. It has concluded that pop culture and mass culture, the acceptable production of our consumerist times, are the pinnacle and subsistence of existence. You know, rock stars, movie heroines, Abercrombie and Fitch, iPhone, and a myriad of other superfluous and silly things that we think we can’t live without. It assumes that man is the solution for all his stupid little needs. All of these amount to so very little in the larger scheme of reality.

There was a time when the calendar of western civilization was governed by the events of the religious year. Moreso, the calendar of western civilization was governed by Christianity. Not because of some religious hegemony, but because the culture as a whole really did understand that Jesus the anointed rose from the dead (by affirmation of Tacitus, Josephus and Saul of Tarsus), and as such it should shape all existence under his messiahship. (For the modernist who wants to wretch at this, I suggest reading some older history books; i.e., those written before 1900, and not modern. The new ones have been corrupted with the most insidious and self-absorbed scientism and revisionism. Man is so remarkably arrogant.) The calendar moved from Advent to Lent to Pentecost to Whitsunday and so on. The progression of time was marked by the significant occurrences in the history of mankind. Not those anchored in a scientific interpretation of the universe, but those that mark the promise and inauguration of renewal.

Today, the darkest and most difficult and most necessary of days, is the best of all. The Jewish messiah, the so-called anointed, was executed by civil determination, bearing in his person and body the terminal sentence of mankind as declared by the bar of absolute and perfect justice. According to Christian tradition, all things pointed forward to this day, and all things point back to this day. In exchange, mankind receives not judgment, but blessing and gifting which leads to renewal and hope. It is because of this that western civilization stands out from all others as being the most vigorous, the most creative, the most dynamic, and the most productive of all other civilizations. We have yet to see the endpoint and the fruit of such a hard and significant day of sacrifice.

Want to know why this day is declared “good”? Because, once, everything justice demanded was satisfied, and what was left in its place was undeserved and unearned love. How could anyone explain that?

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
Micah of Moresheth, Oracles
Richard Gamble, The Great Tradition
Gioachino Rossini, String Quartets
Pat Metheny, American Garage

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dinner (revised)

I'm in recovery mode in greater St. Louis.

I had a heart attack on Friday. But I’m not sure it was really a heart attack. The cardiologist who did the catheterization said it was a mild heart attack, but another cardiologist who works in a different hospital says its only a heart attack if there is muscle damage. I didn’t have any pain and there hasn’t been any muscle damage, but there was a plugged artery that they roto-rootered and put in a culvert. But in either case, attack or no, they did this procedure and now I’m in recovery mode.

My dad went through open heart surgery when he was 54 years old. He was six weeks in recovering from it. I had a heart catheterization on Friday (I was awake the whole time), walked out of ICU to the telemetry wing on Saturday, and was home kicking a soccer ball to my granddaughter on Sunday afternoon. I am awed and grateful for the day of medical arts in which I live.

Recovery mode has been a kind of paradigm shift, however. It's one thing when your general physician says you need to watch what you eat because there's too many cookies in your diet, and another when your cardiologist says, "Here's what you'll be ingesting each day for the next year."

When I walked out of the hospital yesterday I was given two sheets of instructions for my medications. This is the craziest stew I've ever had. Each day I get to take: Metoprolol tartrate, Lisinopril, Plavix, Lipitor, Niaspan, Centrum Silver, Aspirin, and these massive Fish Oil capsules (they are as big as olives). I also get to keep on hand some Nitroglycerin tablets. The weird part about that is the only thing I've ever known nitro to be used for was fuel in funnycars. For those of you who don't know much about dragstrips, I can't help you here. I keep looking for a warning label that says "Don't chew: danger of explosion" but I'm not finding it. After I take the meds, if there is room left over, I get to have food.

Have you ever wondered where fish oil comes from? Get this ... herring, anchovy, mackerel, sardine, menhaden, smelt, tuna and sand lance. These are things no one ever normally puts in their mouth, but I guess it’s okay if they’ve been converted to capsule form. And what is fish oil anyway? The polite language on the label says "fish ingredients". What do they do, put the fish in a press and squeeze the oil out? Hmm. Yeah ... that's like "beef byproducts". I've decided to never eat anything that is simply labeled "beef byproducts". We were surrounded by dairy farms when we lived in New York. I've seen the fields littered with cow byproducts. *sigh*... so I'm eating fish byproducts. Smells like fish byproducts. At least its promoted as Mercury Free. I sure wouldn’t want gain weight.

So, aside from listening to the Dove chocolate whisper sweet teases to me, I've been resting, reading, listening to music and harassing my wife. (I want her to be happy when I return to work). I went for a 1-mile walk today. Tomorrow I see my docs to find out what I can and cannot do for the next few weeks.

What comes of this though is the pointed reminder that, actually, today was never guaranteed to me. Now that it’s here, it’s a good day and I’m glad for it.

Today’s Influences and Soundtrack:
Solomon of Israel, Proverbs from the Persian World
Greg Mortgensen, Three Cups of Tea
Isaac Asimov, Second Foundation
Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Symphony No. 3
Diamond Rio, Completely
Jeff Buckley, Grace