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Madame Bovary (A Blurb)

Quite actually, a good book is worth the reading posthaste and a terrible book is hardly worth the mentioning. Therefore, why all the hem-hawing over lengthy reviews? Although the following is not a remonstrance, it may be an adequate resolution. For the purpose of keeping them short and to the point, we submit our blurbs:

"Horridly futile as a work of fiction and only slightly diverting as a game of 'find the bovine references'." -P. Tippin




Madame Bovary
by Gustave Flaubert


The Seaboard Parish (A Blurb)

Quite actually, a good book is worth the reading posthaste and a terrible book is hardly worth the mentioning. Why all the hem-hawing over lengthy reviews? Although the following is not a remonstrance, it may be an adequate resolution. For the purpose of keeping them short and to the point, we submit our blurbs:



"A superbly refreshing read! With this book in hand, one is allowed to stroll with the wisest of tutors." -P. Tippin

"Some of the most honest fiction I have read—beauty layered on truth layered on beauty." -R.E. Tippin


The Seaboard Parish
by George MacDonald

New York Movie (An Oil Selection)

New York Movie

Oil on Canvas, 1939

Edward Hopper

"The tide of the twentieth century was flowing in a different direction altogether. It was the picture palaces, their fronts so brilliantly lighted, inside so mysteriously dark, that provided our true churches and chapels. There we sat, separately or clasped together, in scented darkness (in those days attendants during intervals squirted perfume like Flit over the heads of the patrons in their seats) and worshipped our tribal gods: sex, money and violence as they were projected on to the screen and entered into our own minds and bodies. Thus the new gospel was propounded in the beginning was the Flesh and the Flesh became Word; to be carnally minded is life dying in the Spirit to be re-born in the Flesh. There was no more ardent acolyte than I, and yet, trudging homewards late at night along the empty tram-lines, a fearful sense of desolation would fall upon me. I strained my ear, but heard only the sound of my own footsteps; I peered ahead, but saw nothing except the tramlines reaching into the distance."

--Malcolm MuggeridgeJesus Rediscovered

For more items of this nature please visit our Oil section here but not here.


The Ironic Era: An Update From a Foreign Correspondent

As the first number of months and seasons of the Ironic Era have come and gone and upon it words have been written (see here, here, or here for a few examples), an update from a rather delinquent correspondent may be proper. Seeing as eras are less like pushing a stroller and more like being dragged behind a large dog, one must try to get a glimpse of street signs before the neighborhoods become completely unfamiliar. However, like street signs, the following are purely academic.

The Ironic Era found in the neighborhood of public discourse:

Street Sign # 1: "The Irony"
Once we categorized individuals, decisions, and actions (with a thought to truth for finding the best ones). Now the category (after truth had been dismissed or the need for it "gotten over") is the only meaning. The irony is that the category has overtaken as truth any truth it tried to described or reflect.

Street Sign #2: " Working Definition"
The ultimate pursuit and seeming success of categorization of thought and culture (without the foundation or aim of truth) rendering individual sincerety non-superlative and bringing individual doubt as to the transendence of the idea beyond category. The aim being to attain to the supreme position of passive observation and commentative critique while enjoying the best physical and emotive parts of any ideology. The irony is that the act of categorization is seen as above the need for truth or meaning. This in no way impugns categorilationist's impregnable position as most reasonable and unquestionable!

Street Sign #3: "The Assumption"
The assumption is that people assume their roles in categories or groups out of imitation of that ideal and then the irony seems to come when the person is ascribing to a catagory and not to the truth that would naturally find its outworking in creating some action that could be described by that category. Thus, the precipitative loss of sincerity or allowance there-of.

Street Sign #4: "Mistakable Synonyms"
Categoriomatic Era, Personification Era, and Axiomatic Era.

Street Sign #5: "Central Peripherals"
Pursuing the most reasonable and enjoyable life by having established its meaninglessness, people have come around to searching for fulfilling peripherals in life simply leaving the foundation to those they would dismiss as unreasonable (but whom they base their hope for final meaning if push came to shove). In other words, if nudge came to a gun at the back of the head the fall-back is that "surely one of these ridiculous sincerists has a correct undergerding of logic and truth and hopefully I picked the right one."

Street Sign #6: "The Orator"
The orator of the ironic era cannot be questioned if he is able to turn on the questioner and dismiss what they are saying by simply pointing to its cultural context and origins, its categorical position.

Street Sign #7: "Not the Postmodern Era Anymore"
Because words lost their meaning in the postmodern era, in the ironic era the one who has power in public discourse is only the one with the greatest knowledge of cultural quips, trends, connections, anecdotes, and parties. One's public cultural afluence and thus influence is based on the ability to wax discerningly uprejudicely eloquent on cultural connections and not on absolute worldview and meaning.

Street Sign #8: "The All-Important Response"
The emotional response to the visual is the meaning when the postmodern graffitti has been left to the next era. Words and messages are subjective, but by gaining the greatest widespread personal response to effectively done visualization, (filters, graffics, filmography, social environment images, cinematography) the key to success, power, and cultural affluence (which is influence in the ironic era) is wielded and an emotional response of categorical empathy can be achieved!

Maybe the mapping of another neighborhood will be performed in the future. However, now, as always, yours faithfully,

-A foreign correspondent


A Well-Known Wall

Now, I know that what happens in my life and the activities that I would often relate are not uncommon. In fact, they are quite common, but just in this fact lies the value. While some find inspiration in the supposed fantastic, I would argue the common is just the fantastic that God chooses to allow the most people to experience.

Just such a common activity of gardening was commenced and enjoyed this past weekend with my wife and children. The subject of gardening has already been grandly stated by Stuart Busenitz here. Being speechless (or rather write-less) after his defining treatment of the topic, I am left with only a peripheral matter, that of the garden wall.

I must say our particular garden "wall" stretches that imagery to the limits. I constructed it this week by burying four large studs and screwing in 2x4's and 2x6's to establish what some may describe as a box around our garden. This wording may be more accurate, but it takes all the romanticism out of a garden wall. With the job completed, the results pleased the eye and delineated the garden. Rabbits could jump it and blackbirds could thwart it, and, yet, the garden was better for being marked out and stated clearly. Now we have a garden!

Upon surveying and ruminating on the completed "walls," I could come to no other strong purpose for them other than in delineation. Our garden wall is defined by what it defines; a noble, but humble position. As a glass aquarium, picture frame, or book binding, the value is solely in the defining.

At this point I am reminded of another garden. The Secret Garden, or at least it was until Mary Lennox found it out, in the work by Frances Hodgson Burnett. While this was a most wonderful garden, one only appreciated it because of the wall that so clearly defined and guarded it. The wall was nothing in itself, but what magic it made when serving its purpose of defining.

No one, however, would say that Mary, discovering the wall, had seen the garden. This I am very much afraid is where we stumble upon the problem. People seem to mistake the wall or the definer for the defined. For, again, no one would say the traveler who stood before the great wall of China had experienced that vast land. And yet, and yet, we do this very thing quite often.

Like this great oriental wall, There are two different kingdoms separated in our midst: the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Heaven. In many ways the wall that runs between and defines the two is the moral law upon our hearts. Now don't stop here, for while the wall that is the law is immovable and steadfast, it is not the kingdom of heaven as many would claim. It is the definer, the delineation between harmony and rebellion. On the other side of that wall is a vast and majestic land. The wall, however, is what one must see first as he approaches this glorious kingdom and it is much more daunting and impenetrable than the Great Wall of China. People seem to end up thinking of the Kingdom of Heaven as simply impossible rules to keep, but they are unfortunately looking at the garden wall covered in vines.

No one would say the traveler who stood before the Great wall of China has experienced that vast land.
No one would say that Mary Lennox, discovering the wall, had seen the secret garden.
No one should say that he has seen the Kingdom of heaven in the law at the border.

No, what one really needs is The Gate!

Phillip Tippin
During the storms of spring
Roeland Park, KS

Painting: Stanley Spencer, Hoe Garden Nursery 1955