ENTRY 1275 | April
He who heeds instruction
is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof goes astray.
He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who utters slander
is a fool. When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but he who restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the
righteous is choice silver; the mind of the wicked is of little
worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for
lack of sense. The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds
no sorrow with it.
from Proverbs 10,
from today's lenten Orthodox
Calling it a writer's journal might be a ploy to throw in anything
from comments on the weather to the kitchen sink; who am I to judge
my own motives? The weather today is brilliant "brilliant"
is a favorite adjective of the Brits, a sort of equivalent, I gather,
to "fabulous" in American gay parlance. And I'm coming to
appreciate that there is more "Brit-ness" among the Northern
Irish than I had expected. Of course the BBC is the main source of
broadcasts both televised and radioed, and even my steady diet of
BBC shows via PBS when I was back in California affected my speech
and thought patterns, so how could Britness not affect everyone here?
Anyway, the weather is brilliantly sunny today with scattered clouds;
all the snow on the roofs beyond St. Mary's Church of Ireland is gone.
And the kitchen sink is compact, as the whole kitchen is, but we're
not reduced to having to discuss that yet.
the kitchen's compactness suggests it may be time to say a bit about
the differences between Irish (or "Anglo-Irish") and American
cultures. Where to begin? Since I'm eating my lunch, consisting of
a bowl of soup, as I write, "soups" will do. Here the dominant
brand of soups is Heinz and I've yet to see a Campbell's soup (the
market leader in the United States, I'm mentioning for any readers
on this side of the North Atlantic...and though Heinz dominates several
other market niches in the United States, its soups have never been
able to challenge Campbell's there). H.J. Heinz, I read years ago,
came up with his "57 Varieties" slogan by seeing something
similar on a company sign from the window of the Tube in London; though
the main logo is the same, the products here are manufactured by H.J.
Heinz company U.K., which is not mentioned as based in Pittsburgh,
And not only
are the market-leading soup brands different, the soups themselves
are much different (though I noticed last summer that the tastes in
soups are apparently different from Pennsylvania to California, too,
even if Campbell's dominate in both parts of the the country, based
on the fact that the types of soup most seen in California shelves
are much less apparent in Pennsylvania, and vice versa). Perhaps the
most "foreign" soup I've seen here is "Royal Game"
(from Baxter's, not Heinz), which I've tried and did not find to be
too gamey. There seems to be a lot of beets in the soups here,
whereas I don't recall beets in any American soups. And "root
vegetables" sometimes figure high in the names of soups; "zesty"
is not an adjective I've seen on any of them here and I can't remember
seeing "garlic" as part of any soup title.
food-selling rules, though British products list their ingredients
on the labels, I have not found a list of nutrients and their values,
which I have relied upon heavily especially since my diagnosis as
diabetic (carbohydrate content, especially, I have considered a lifesaver).
I had read long ago that "English muffins," which I believe
became common throughout the United States in the 1970s and are available
in all food stores there now, are not found here. What we call muffins,
I have read, is called "crumpets" here. But I bought a package
of crumpets a few days ago and they are about half as thick as an
English muffin and less "bready." I did see a package of
just "muffins" in the store next door this morning, but
those were bigger than the "English muffins" we know in
the States, maybe a cross between an English muffin as we know them
and a hamburger bun. And speaking of hamburgers, ground beef is sold
here as minced beef, even though it looks the same as our ground beef
and nothing like our minced ham (is that still used anywhere in America
as another name for "balogna"? Or was my mum the only one
who used that term for baloney?).
could go on but I'm sure everyone still reading is sufficiently bored,
so I'll keep the rest for other journals.
photo is also from my tour around Belfast, taken by Trevor Buchanan
on Sunday afternoon. Here I am standing in front of St. Mark's Dundela
Church of Ireland, the church whose rector was, at the turn of the
20th century, the Rev. Thomas Hamilton, CS Lewis's maternal grandfather.
Lewis was baptized here by his grandfather, and a stained glass window
was given to it by him and his brother Warnie, in memory of their
Scripture is yet another passage dealing with sins of the
tongue. If I were younger and didn't think I had enough book topics
to write on for the rest of my life, I'd add one to my list on passages
like this one that I've been finding in both Old and New Testament.
I had to think about "He who conceals hatred has lying lips,"
but when it broke through the fog, what a deep lesson it teaches.
How often do we speak "tongue in cheek," or flatter when
we want to attack or berate; how often do we cover our disdain and
dislikeeven hatredunder words that drip compliments or
approval in order to disguise our true attitudes or to not alienate
bystanders we don't want to let see us as we truly are?
who utters slander is a fool . . . but fools die for lack of sense."
Sometimes our slander can kill us literally, but other times death
may be the delayed judgment of a just God who knows how hurtful our
slander may be, killing otherseither metaphorically or worseby
saying things that are not true or based on rumor or self-righteous
words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains
his lips is prudent." Speaking too much is always a sign of trying
to cover over sins and ignorance; saying lessoften, even, saying
nothing is always wiser, always prudent.
§ § §
If you missed
my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here.
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