Friday, February 16, 2007

Good 'ol Tommy A.

A good friend recently recalled Thomas Aquinas to my mind. Volumes have been written by this great thinker--and undoubtedly volumes more will follow. For today, I offer you all a few quotations--plucked from his vast corpus literi--by this most intellectual of saints in an attempt to introduce him to those of you who know him not, and inspire those familiar with his work to read him again.

"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever."

"It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes."

"It is possible to demonstrate God's existence, although not a priori, yet a posteriori from some work of His more surely known to us."

"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures. "

"Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious."

"Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them."

"Reason in man is rather like God in the world."

"Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine."

"The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing."

"The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false."

"There are wars where no one marches with a flag, though that does not keep casualties from mounting. Our hearts irrigate this earth. We are fields before each other."

"Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do."

"We can't have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves."

"Whatever is received is received according to the nature of the recipient."

There is so much more. Discover him, if you will.

Be Well,

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith, RIP

In what feels like a fitting end to a twisted tale of fiction, Anna Nicole Smith has been found dead in her hotel room.

But Ms. Smith was not a work of fiction; she just played one on TV. Everything about her was...there is no other way to say it...larger than life. From her most notable physique, to her television series—from her stereotypical ditz-iness, to her marriage and subsequent widowhood with its incumbent oversized inheritance—the gal lived the vida loca in a way that virtually defined the self-absorbed media generation we live in. It is Anna Nicole’s world, and we just live in it.

Or is it better to say that we are a world of Anna Nicole’s? Her life certainly had its tragic moments and Hollywood glamour. Anna's tabloid appearances were marked by the excesses many crave, and seemed to be interrupted only by those who would "out-Anna" her. Paris and Brittany have certainly tried. We view their wretched experiences in slow-motion reply again and again. They are the court jesters of our age—the minstrels that entertain us and then move on, having failed to truly move us at all.

Today, however, we take pause. One of our clown-princesses has left the stage with a final, tragic bow as she follows her son, so recently departed. Regardless the excesses and comic faults, we find it is easy to believe that she did love her son--perhaps even cherished him. But it is evident that she lacked the ability to fully understand that love or communicate it through deed and sacrifice. Perhaps now, joined again—loose the mortal coil so fragile and flawed—mother and son may find peace in the arms of grace.

Now, Paris and Brittany (et al) will be forced to compete with Anna's bizarre mix of truth and calumny, the rage of media fervor that will no doubt drip red with the salacious details of her final days, and the coming conspiracy theories that will spare us not. Unfortunately, I suspect that they will compete very well indeed.

Anna Nicole Smith, dead at 39--Frebruary 7, 2007. She is survived by her four-month old daughter. RIP.

- Huckleberry