I’d say that I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction about the same, though for different reasons. Right now I’m reading Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline” and Jane Austen’s novel, “Sense and Sensibility”. I’m also reading “The Story Of A Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux. I’ve always been interested in novels and poems because they allow me to travel to other places and time frames. I can permit my imagination to get entirely out of control. A well written novel or poem also can teach interesting lessons about human nature. Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” and Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” are exceptionally good examples of this. One problem with Dostoyevsky, though, is that he tends to be exceptionally didactic. Reading something of his always makes me feel as if it’s written in the form of a thinly disguised theology and philosophy lecture.I’ve always enjoyed seeing how many different symbols I can see in various works of literature. Two of the most famous examples of symbolism in classic western literature are a bookworm character, who reads a story within the story, a convention begun by Cervantes in “Don Quijote”, and travel, begun by St. Augustine of Hippo in his “Confessions”. Among works of non-fiction, I especially enjoy biographies, and classic works of theology and philosophy. By now I’ve read very many biographies of a wide variety of famous people, including writers, politicians, musicians and saints. Although I only have thirteen credits in philosophy, and no college credits in theology, I’ve always had quite a voracious interest in those fields. As a lay Carmelite I’ve read all the Carmelite classics I’ve been able to find. Since I really like to get involved in a good debate about the culture war, reading these kinds of things keeps me well informed.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been quite a most hearty eater. My niece, Bridget, and nephews, Michael and Sam, have frequently passed remarks about how it’s so difficult for anyone to find out about my tastes in food because I always eat anything that’s put in front of me. I can remember that when I was a kid in Jackson Heights I’d always considered strawberry my least favorite flavor of ice cream, and I’ve never been crazy about spaghetti or most kinds of seafood. As a youngster I’d never liked liver but a few years ago I ate some with onions, when Uncle Frankie made it. I quite enjoyed it. Lasagna has always been my favorite food, and home made apple pie my favorite pastry. I now attend a church where a very large number of the parishioners are from Hispanic countries and the Orient. It’s quite enjoyable for me to go to their parties and fund raisers because I can try all kinds of exceptionally funky new foods. I enjoy going to restaurants with distinctive menus because then I get a chance to try new things ranging from goat to buffalo. There is only one problem with my eating habits. I have quite an insatiable need to finish each and every single last morsel on my plate, no matter how difficult it is for me to handle it. I should suppose it is a kind of a neurotic quirk. People have often complained that it strikes them as more pathological than conscientious. Of course I have absolutely no patience whatsoever with the vegetarians’ insatiable need to run our lives. I defiantly reject absolutely everything they stand for. The very idea of animal rights is simply insane anyway.
“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little,” purports Edna Ferber. I can most certainly believe that. Deficiency has a tendency to lead to frustration and resentment but so does excess because when someone has entirely too much of something, however good and enjoyable it is, it invariably becomes stale. People even take each other for granted that way too. It’s part of mankind’s dark side. Each of us always gets bored and loses interest in anything that’s been around too long, or is too easily available or too plentiful. Economists refer to it as utility. It’s always best to do things with a sense of moderation. When someone neither overdoes nor underdoes something it increases significantly his ability to appreciate it. I’ve always seen this in my own experience. Nothing takes away from my enjoyment of something than the feeling that it’s always been that way and that it will never change, whether it’s a television, show, a job, a school or anything else. That’s why vacations, weekends, and other occasional changes of routine can be quite helpful. Each of us should at all times be restricted to a very strict budget, financially and otherwise. It’s the common condition of mankind to lose interest in things. That’s why we have such things as planned obsolescence in salesmanship, and style and fashion in everything. People are perpetually dissatisfied and excess only makes it worse.
Dear Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. once looked “…to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” That’s exactly what most certainly did not happen in the 2008 and 2012 elections. People stooped to voting for you only because you’re black. You’re not even entirely black anyway. Voting for someone simply because he’s black is precisely as unethical as voting for him just because he’s white. You’re in favor of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, reverse discrimination and all the rest of the liberal agenda. How could anyone with your ideas possibly be even the least bit worthy of the presidency or the Nobel Peace Prize. You once claimed that you wouldn’t want either of your daughters to be punished with a baby just because of her having made a mistake, as if having a baby is a bad thing. You’re a follower of characters like Saul Alinsky, who wholeheartedly advocated the abandonment of morals and ethics as impediments to political success. Alinsky’s book, “Rules For Radicals” is dedicated to Lucifer. Most recently you showed the United States military absolutely no respect whatsoever by expecting them to hold your umbrella, and by saluting them with a coffee cup. This letter is only a very brief synopsis of the reasons I could never condone your being President.
I walked into the Coffee Nut Cafe on Park Avenue at around nine thirty this morning, fully expecting it to be yet another droll ordinary day. That was not to be. From out of nowhere a legendary World War One flying ace walked in and ordered a large cappuccino. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Over the course of the past nine months I’ve frequently seen him in town but never in all my born days could I possibly have expected to meet him. I tried to say hello. He politely nodded and smiled.
“My deah, I should like a lahge cappuccino,”
was the only thing he uttered the entire time he was there among us. His speech and demeanor were so authoritative and intimidating. We were all hoping he may have been willing to stay for a while and tell us a story of all his grand and glorious exploits. It was not to be though. Everyone has always wanted his autograph. Perhaps at least one of among us shall be so fortunate as to be able to gain his confidence. We’re so proud to have him even living among us. He’s quite a colorful fellow. Until then, though, we shall be happy merely to hope for the very best. He’s Long Beach’s most distinguished character. We hope he stays a long time among us.
I think I’ve always been somewhat good at accepting negative criticism, though my patience has its limits. Unfortunately if someone confronts me with something that strikes me as exceptionally difficult to handle I tend to feel quite self conscious and to resist the need to attempt to get things straightened out. My lifelong resistance to difficult change has always worked against me. Brutal honesty is objectively much more important than taking entirely too tactful an approach to things. The older I get the more capable I am of dealing with negative criticism as long as it’s fair. I virtually always assume that the complaints I get are based upon an entirely neutral objective assessment of the circumstances. I try always to treat others entirely appropriately. In return I also fully expect to be treated the same way. Although there are all sorts of things happening inside me that seem desperately to want to prevent the free and unfettered acceptance of negative feedback, I can understand that it’s an unavoidably necessary part of getting things done. Alas all reproofs can’t be gentle for fear of hurt feelings. When it’s legitimate it must never be understood as an ad hominem attack. I just try always to suck it up and to get it over with.
I’m miss alcohol. Welcome to my world only if you behave. Like drugs, and life in general, I’m both good and evil. I can show you quite a good time or send you straight to hell. Please extend me an invitation to parties and other functions. My rule is life’s rule. It’s all about text, context and subtext. My flair for variety is notorious. I’m bitter at times, often sweet, known throughout the world, a lovely servant and an ugly mistress. My rules are life’s rules. I’m not called spirits for nothing. Spirits are both good and evil.