Feeding Frenzy at the Book Sale

Hello, dear readers!  I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting as regularly as I used to on this website.  So, I promise a few more serious articles in the future.  At the moment, there’s a book sale going on at the Eastern Branch Public Library in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.  They shall be running this book sale until the end of this week.  After reading what I deemed a sufficient amount of Plato and a book on the Hellenistic Age, I went down to browse the books here.  On the way in, a sign saying “one dollar per bag” intrigued me.  When I asked the cashier to explain precisely what this meant, she replied that all the books I could fill in a rather large bag would cost one dollar.  In a most abrupt manner, I snatched a bag and began perusing the books.  It began with a volume of Wordsworth’s poetry and ended like this:

IMG_0562Well, three of those books I got for other people.  My sister dreams of going to Switzerland and has an interest in designs of all sorts.  Therefore, that book on how to design gardens and the one on Switzerland were for her.  Then, the picture book on Bl. Pope John Paul II was given to my grandmother.  The rest intrigued me in one way or another, and one day I intend to read them.

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The books on Tokyo, Japan, and Ireland I got for myself, thinking that one could at least walk about the streets of Akihabara, admire the cherry trees of Kyoto, and be seated in a classic Dublin pub vicariously–even if yours truly finds it doubtful that such a trip can be made any time soon.  Though, a good friend of mine also dreams of going to Japan, and it might be possible to pool together enough money in a few years.

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Some of these other books demonstrate my eclectic tastes.  I’ve always wanted to read Theodore Dreiser, if only to see why his books have been added to the list of perennials.  So, you can see Sister Carrie in the second picture.  I also love histories of war.  People show their true colors when placed in such stressful circumstances.  As Joshua Chamberlain said: “War makes good men great and bad men worse.”  So, I have a history of an American Civil War battle, WWII in the Pacific Theater, the Roman Civil War toward the end of the Republican period, and Theodore Roosevelt’s account of his actions in the Spanish-American War.  Also, I couldn’t resist adding Walter Lord’s account of the sinking of the Titanic to my collection, A Night to Remember.  I’ve also read his history of Midway.

The rest of the items on the table reflect my tastes in literature.  I’ve always loved Dryden’s wit and want to read more of him.  I picked up the Dorothy Sayers work because I want to give her another chance.  I found her writing style a bit pretentious and overly judgmental in the first work of hers I read.  If I don’t like it, I’m sure I can find someone else who will.

So, has anyone else gone on a book shopping spree lately?

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Nominated for the Liebster Award

Well, I offer great thanks to circlecitadel for nominating me for the Leibster award.   Actually, he nominated me a long time ago; so it’s about time that I wrote this post.

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Here are the requirements:

1)Post the Liebster award graphic on your site.
2) Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
3) The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
4) In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5) The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers (We’re guessing for our nominees) for a Liebster award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
6) The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.

Without further ado, let’s go to part 3, 11 fun facts about myself:

  1. I consider myself a semi-conservative Roman Catholic.
  2. A Bookworm
  3. My personality may be described as INFP (Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceptive). Therefore, I have a strong desire to help people, but am completely socially awkward—as any of my friends may tell you.
  4. I started learning Japanese after I discovered a talent for Latin. But, my main drive for learning Japanese was so that I could read Inuyasha in the original language.
  5. One friend described me as the most sarcastic person he knows. This bothered me for a long time, because I never thought of myself as sarcastic beforehand. Nevertheless, he was completely right.
  6. I’m a very big fan of tea. So much so that I’ve purchased a couple of books on it and my friends have described me as “a creature which subsists on tea.”
  7. I collect nicknames like they’re going out of style: Jay-Ray, Mustache Joe, the Bear, Sneaky Joe, Doctor, the Anime Pope, and the Vatican Assassin have all been applied to me.
  8. My friends remember me for always telling them stories about Nathan Bedford Forrest, my favorite character from the Civil War next to Joshua Chamberlain.
  9. I wrote a first draft of an epic fantasy novel, but never made it work.
  10. I always considered viking sagas as equal to comic books in entertainment value.
  11. When I was younger, I was in the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets.  

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Now, to answer the questions circlecitadel has about me:

1. How long have you been blogging? About 13 months now.

2. What is your favorite food? Nothing beats good Mexican food. Burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, flan, etc.

3. What type of music do you like most? 80’s rock and pop music. You can’t beat the 80’s!

4. Who inspires you most? Right now, it’s between St. Joseph and Padre Pio. It’s hard for me to choose between the two. When I was young, I would have said Theodore Roosevelt.

5. Do you have a favorite poet? Let me just say that Ovid rocks.

6. Do you have any pets? Two cats. Both are weird but one is more rambunctious than the other.

7. Do you prefer wine of beer or are you teetotal? I prefer wine, especially a good port like Graham’s or Churchill’s.

8. Do you listen to the radio? When I’m in the car. That’s where I listen to 80’s music.

9. Favourite film? Zulu. One of the best war movies of all time.

10. Favorite table wine? (Originally, this said favorite food, but see above for that) Zinfandel

  1. Religious leader you admire? I admire a bunch of them. St. Olaf of Norway, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Benedict, Padre Pio, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

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Now, for my nominees:

Ashita no Anime – Posts very thought provoking articles on anime. Always with an interesting perspective.

A Rather Silly Blog – An Orthodox Christian blogger with a great understanding of philosophy and theology who occasionally dabbles in anime.

Dusty Thanes – A very good friend of mine. Writes on anything from literature to politics.

Lobster Quadrille – A great and thorough reviewer of anime who always buys the anime he reviews. We need more people like him to support the anime industry.

Black Strawberry – Always writes fun and interesting articles on anime, which do not necessarily have to be on modern ones.

Anime September – A very intelligent and opinionated anime blogger from Hungary.

AngryJellyfish – Tends to post weekly, short anime reviews. We can only hope to see more of the in-depth, humorous posts this blogger excels at in the future.

Avvesione’s Anime Blog – Very, very thorough knowledgeable posts on anime. Often on a weekly basis.

MIB’s Instant Headache – A great critic of foreign films and anime.

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Now, I gotta come up with some questions for them and me. Well, here goes:

  1. Who is your favorite novelist? Alexandre Dumas
  2. What is your favorite literary genre? I have always been a fan of fantasy literature, particularly epic fantasy.
  3. What’s your favorite beer, if you have one? Victory Brewing’s Baltic Porter.
  4. What made you decide to turn to blogging? I just wanted to hone my craft a little bit more.
  5. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas.
  6. Do you have a favorite anime? Rurouni Kenshin, as long time followers of this blog know.
  7. Which country would you most want to visit and why? In my case, I would most want to visit Croatia, because this is where my mother and her grandparents are from.  Yet, I have never had the opportunity to set foot there.
  8. What is your favorite epoch in American history? In my case, this is the American Civil War. I love the personalities which came out of that terrible conflict.
  9. Who is your favorite actor or actress in old movies (pre-1965)? Jimmy Stewart.
  10. What is your favorite story from the Bible, if you have one? Mine is the part of the Passion Narrative with the Good Thief.
  11. Who was your hero when you were growing up? Theodore Roosevelt, as I mentioned above. His bookish ways were combined with a wonderfully adventurous personality.

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Well, there you have it.  I hope that you other bloggers enjoy answering these questions!

St. Leo the Great’s Sermons

A while ago, I took out a copy of St. Leo the Great’s sermons from the library, and found them a real treat to read.  Unfortunately, my studies prevented me from finishing my patron’s works, but I have read enough to gain a feel for his style.  St. Leo may be described as having a wonderful imagination and a virile and a confident Christianity.  Though employing a very traditional spirituality, St. Leo’s emphasis on mercy and gentleness make him very accessible to a modern reader.

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He especially focuses on the fundamental religious acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Of these, he emphasizes almsgiving the most with fasting taking second place.  This may partially be due to the terrible plight of the poor at Rome, but St. Leo makes the excellent point that fasting without charity may be a form of greed: one abstains from indulging in food so that he may indulge himself elsewhere with the money he might have spent on these meals.  Fasting cleanses our soul by enervating the power vices have over us, particularly gluttony and lust; yet, it ought to be further cleansed of greed, envy, and pride by almsgiving.  (This is how I see these two actions destroying the vices.  If anyone can tell me how fasting and almsgiving also destroy anger and sloth, I should be happy to hear it.  But, overcoming these seem to require prayer and hard work–ora et labora.)

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St. Leo often reminds us that we are constantly at war with our foes, the devil, the flesh, and the world.  Our battle with the evil one is portrayed with wonderful drama, especially in one of his Christmas sermons.  Toward the end of this particular sermon, the beauty of God taking human flesh and defeating the devil in the very nature which the devil had defeated in the Garden is more vividly and thrillingly portrayed than anywhere else I have seen.  C. S. Lewis once commented that Christianity makes for a poor story compared to the pagan myths, but, in St. Leo’s hands, Jesus Christ stands head and shoulders above all the pagan heroes, and his glory and valor render paltry even the most interesting tales of the pagan mythology.

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So, I highly recommend St. Leo to you all if you want some solid advice on the spiritual life or a truly exciting vision of Christianity.