Dumas the Cook

When I was a youth I loved The Three Musketeers. I eventually read all million-plus words of the full series, though none of it was as satisfying as the original. I didn’t read a work as ambitiously long until I tackled the Prose Lancelot years later. 

It turns out that Dumas also wrote an ambitious cookbook. Like Chesterton he was a man who greatly appreciated the table, so it’s probably pretty good stuff. 

Good Evening

Gandalf responded to “Good morning!” rather explosively in The Hobbit. I mean that it is a pleasant evening, and I hope that yours is good also. I’m not suggesting that it is an evening to be especially good upon; but it is Good Friday, so I suppose it’s good in that way too. 

I’m frying chicken. There seems to be a full moon rising. I had time for a motorcycle ride late this afternoon, and for a moment all seems well. 

Will no one rid us of this pestilent free-speecher?

Can Elon Musk be stopped? They'll pull out all the stops to try. He's an existential threat, according to their own sniveling, hysterical complaints. Tyrants throughout history have seen this clearly.
If you are offering policies that really benefit nobody but yourself, you have to lie about them, and you must prevent anyone from complaining about it.

Do they care what they say any more?

When Texas Gov. Abbott first started threatening to ship illegal immigrants to blue strongholds, my concerns were only two: I don't want my own allies to join in the ongoing use individual immigrants as pawns in political theater, and I don't want to hear empty threats. The White House inadvertently made an almost valid point by observing that Texas has no authority to lock anyone up on a bus for transport.

This week Abbott resolved both concerns by following through, and by bussing only consenting immigrants to D.C. The White House rather adroitly, if not very credibly, took the line that they were pleased as punch. “So it’s nice the state of Texas is helping them get to their final destination as they await the outcomes of their immigration proceedings,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. The White House got several local communities to make public statements about how thrilled they were to welcome their new neighbors. These protestations may conceivably have been genuine; I wouldn't mind welcoming some immigrant families in my own neighborhood, as long as we were too overwhelmed by numbers and everyone understood that the goal was to assimilate, get employed, and stay off welfare. It was perhaps a little embarrassing to the D.C. spokesmen that the bus was full of single men, not families, but hey. They can meet nice girls here.

Today, however, the Department of Homeland Security showed that it hadn't been read in on the routine. Chris Magnus, head of Customs and Border Protection, complained that Texas can't just be bussing illegal immigrants to distant communities and dropping them off without asking first--that's the feds' job. Abbott was "hurting the government’s efforts to coordinate how the migrants are released." Abbott was "taking actions to move migrants without adequately coordinating with the federal government and local border communities"--again, exclusively the feds' prerogative. He objected that Texas was "interfering with those immigration proceedings by moving the migrants around to places the government may not be able to track"--like the nation's capital? I suppose Mr. Magnus will get some help revising and extending his remarks today.

A Beautiful Morning

More wrench-turning this morning. I actually like vehicle maintenance as long as nothing goes wrong. This morning I set up my grandfather’s old air wrench, which is a joy to use. If I had a better compressor, I imagine that there’s little it couldn’t handle. As it is, even the little compressor is adequate to most jobs. 

Little stuff today: an oil change and rear brakes. Hopefully it will be a pleasant job on a beautiful morning. 
UPDATE: And it’s done, a little before noon. 

A Blackfoot Looks at Conan

His experience was very similar.
Imagine you’re a Blackfeet kid growing up in the windswept pastures twenty miles east of Midland, with no other Blackfeet around. Like Conan the Wanderer, -the Adventurer, -the Outcast, I was out in the trackless wastelands, far from civilization. The way I saw it, we’d come up the same. Conan’s homeland of Cimmeria was high and lonely? From our back porch in West Texas, I couldn’t see a single light. Cimmeria was packed with formative dangers? Every third step I took, I found myself entangled in barbed wire or jumping back from a rattlesnake. And when I mapped Cimmeria—the land Conan spent decades away from—onto my world, it could have been Montana, where the Blackfeet are.

For some values of "free"

A Princeton professor says he “envision[s] a free speech and academic discourse that is flexed to one specific aim, and that aim is the promotion of social justice, and an anti-racist social justice at that.”

Princeton presumably has some bright people on its faculty, so they should be able to work out that speech and academic discourse aren't particularly free if they're "flexed to one specific aim." He's free to flex his own speech toward that aim, of course. The problem arises when he "flexes" everyone else's to the same rigid direction.

I wouldn't censor this dolt, of course. I confine myself to ridiculing him. I'd even debate him if he'd up his intellectual game, starting with figuring out what words mean. "Flexing to an aim" is a seriously weird form of discourse.

Aquinas on Anger, Fin

This is the last article on anger, and I'm going to go through it a little differently because I want to talk about the Greek a bit. It is a technical question on the psychology, to whit, are the species of anger correctly assigned?

Here are the objections.
Objection 1. It would seem that Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 16) unsuitably assigns three species of anger—"wrath," "ill-will" and "rancor." For no genus derives its specific differences from accidents. But these three are diversified in respect of an accident: because "the beginning of the movement of anger is called wrath cholos, if anger continue it is called ill-will menis; while rancor kotos is anger waiting for an opportunity of vengeance." Therefore these are not different species of anger.

Note that this middle species, menis, is the term Homer used for the wrath of Achilles. I suppose the Trojans should be glad they didn't see his kotos

To say that no species derives its specific differences from accidents is to say that all species differences are substantial. Aristotle divided the world into substances and attributes. A substance, classically, is the kind of thing that can reproduce itself -- man, horse, dog, but somehow also by extension stone, Accidents are qualities these substantial things have that they might not have had: a big stone, a grey stone, a buried stone. So what this objection is saying is that it's only accidental that an anger has 'just begun,' or 'has continued a while.' We'll see how Aquinas responds.

Objection 2. Further, Cicero says (De Quaest. Tusc. iv, 9) that "excandescentia [irascibility] is what the Greeks call thymosis, and is a kind of anger that arises and subsides intermittently"; while according to Damascene thymosis, is the same as the Greek kotos [rancor]. Therefore kotos does not bide its time for taking vengeance, but in course of time spends itself.

The Greek thymos is often translated as "spiritedness." Plato gives it as one of the three parts of the soul, below reason but above the base inclinations. He assigns it as the chief attribute of the warrior "Guardian" class in his ideal city, ruling over base people but being ruled and directed by those few who are guided chiefly by reason.

The -is is similar to the -icitis that you get in a medical diagnosis. Your appendix is a good thing, or at least not a bad one; appendicitis is a diseased condition of the organ. It is proper to be spirited; but anger is a diseased form.

Objection 3. Further, Gregory (Moral. xxi, 4) gives three degrees of anger, namely, "anger without utterance, anger with utterance, and anger with perfection of speech," corresponding to the three degrees mentioned by Our Lord (Matthew 5:22): "Whosoever is angry with his brother" [thus implying "anger without utterance"], and then, "whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca'" [implying "anger with utterance yet without full expression"], and lastly, "whosoever shall say 'Thou fool'" [where we have "perfection of speech"]. Therefore Damascene's division is imperfect, since it takes no account of utterance.

OK. Those are the objections. What does Aquinas say about them? He says that the division is correctly given, citing Aristotle as an authority to reinforce some Christian authorities. He replies to each of the objections in technical ways.

These questions of psychology aren't very interesting: 'how is joy divided into technical parts?' I can't get very excited about it, but read it if you'd like and ask questions if you'd enjoy. The Greek, though, is pretty fun.

More wildlife

My same lurking neighbor caught an excellent portrait of one of the three alligators who live in our pond. This one's getting big. He stays politely in his area and has never menaced our cats or dogs, thank goodness.


On Palm Sunday, an etymological reflection of just how important the Ancient Greek world was to the Church. Both of the leading terms still used today derive from Greek, not Latin or Germanic forms — nor Aramaic. So too “Basilica,” not as common but used widely for very important churches. 

I would have told you that ‘kirk” was Germanic, being a Scots word related to “church” but derived from interaction with the Scandinavians (cf. Iceland). And it is, but based on an even older word derived from the Greek.