Web Gleanings from July

Several articles I’ve read lately strike me as worth sharing.

Boredom is a topic that comes up a lot, maybe more so in summertime, when some people have more time to be bored.  In “The Quiet Alarm” Andreas Elpidorou explains why  “Boredom is precious, but there’s nothing particularly good about being bored. Its unpleasantness is no illusion, its subjective character no taste worth acquiring. We should give thanks for it – and avoid it like the plague.” 5161~Girl-Reading-Book-Posters

I’m not sure what I think about all of this; perhaps Boredom is so related to Time that it’s one of those realities that I could muse on for a long time and get more and more confused – but never bored! Read the whole article here.

The threat of boredom comes to mind when I think of cocktail parties, but David Brooks uses them as a metaphor for the exciting “online life” in his article “Building Attention Span”: “Being online is like being a part of the greatest cocktail party ever and it is going on all the time….” He says that “This mode of interaction nurtures mental agility,” or what he calls “fluid intelligence.”

He contrasts that with “crystallized intelligence,” which is what we get more of in offline learning, “…the ability to use experience, knowledge and the products of lifelong education that have been stored in long-term memory.” This kind of learning leads to wisdom, and goodness knows we need that. Read the whole article here.

Fr. Stephen Freeman’s retheotokos Decani monasterycent article “Why the Orthodox Honor Mary” begins a discussion that continues in the resulting comments,  contrasting the humility and submission of Mary as something to recognize and emulate, with the actual veneration of her as an aspect of our worship of God.

A fascinating bit of Bible exposition is in the comments where Fr. Stephen explains Jesus’s words to Mary at the marriage of Cana, and the meaning that becomes clear when you see that they hearken back to the story in I Kings of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. Read it all here.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn8.openculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/28001845/Emily-Dickinson-Coconut-Cake.jpgTo end on a lighter note, how about some coconut cake to have with your iced tea on a summer afternoon? (If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, even better – just make that hot tea.) This picture of Emily Dickinson’s Handwritten Coconut Cake recipe, and the accompanying text, do encourage me that if I get back into the kitchen more, it won’t necessarily mean a lessening of my writing output. I do wonder what the form of the coconut ingredient is intended to be, but it would be fun to experiment with one of my favorite foods.

As I write, the sun has yet to emerge in my cool corner of California, but by mid-afternoon the situation will probably have changed enough that I could sit outdoors with some tea and some more reading material from which to glean. Happy reading to you, too!

5 thoughts on “Web Gleanings from July

  1. I read the article on Mary earlier today, I think I follow something on facebook that linked it. I really appreciated it and the glimmer of understanding it gave me. Coconut cakes sounds really yummy!


  2. I haven’t gotten around to reading the articles yet, but the idea of boredom, to me, is quite amazing. I think the only time I would be bored would be if I was forcibly detained somewhere I don’t care to be…like a cocktail party. Leave me to my own devices and I don’t know the meaning of the word! I bet you don’t either, Gretchen. That’s because we have an inner life! Woke up feeling a little crummy, so I think a nap is in order before undertaking a lot of reading. Have a wonderful day in your garden, drinking tea and reading! I hope to do likewise. 🙂


  3. I have often pondered the word, “boredom.” I was never bored even as a child. I think boredom happens to people who are used to being entertained. Now with iphones attached to peoples hands, I think it might get worse. I do think social media is like a cocktail party.

    This morning was perfect. I always think of afternoon tea parties, but right now you would melt as the heat is going on this first day of August.

    I read your last post. I think your visit with you grand daughter was a perfect way to spend time. I think you are having a lovely summer. Happy reading, and I would love to have coconut cake in the garden.


  4. Such an appropriate title for this collection of your thoughts and the articles that you winnowed. “Gleanings: things, especially facts, that are gathered or collected from various sources rather than acquired as a whole.” And yet it is the whole and underlying foundation that weaves wholesomely in your wanderings.


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