Monday 1 April 2013

Liebster award

Ben Trovato of Countercultural Father has done me the honour of nominating me for Liebster Award, the intent of which is to encourage blogs to link to each other and thus to increase their profiles.

The requirements are:

1) Post the Liebster award graphic on your site.
2) Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
3) The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
4) In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5) The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers (We’re guessing for our nominees) for a Liebster award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
6) The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.

(In order to avoid my victims from feeling overwhelmed by such tasks, I hereby, with the all the weighty authority imparted to me as a Google blogger, allow any of the above tasks to be ignored if you can't be bothered.)

So here goes!

1) Done!

2) Thank you, Ben! Quite apart from my eagerness to receive any sort of recognition from any quarter (I'm reminded of a phrase from one of the Richmal Crompton William books which commented on one of Robert's girlfriends as devouring compliments as eagerly as a monkey devours nuts), I'm particularly pleased to get it from a blogger who manages to combine incisive comment with that mature Catholic balance that I can only aspire to. Ben's excellent blog is here.

3) Facts:

i) I prefer rats to hamsters as pets.
ii) Brought up an atheist/agnostic, became an Anglican as an adult, converted to Catholicism.
iii) I was baptized only when I was four. There were two competing explanations I was given for this: a) my father being an atheist didn't want me baptized but eventually did so to smooth my path into a local school with an evangelical head; b) my parents didn't bother at first because they thought I was going to die.
iv) I have never broken a bone. (On further reflection, I have. Damn. But it was only a very small one.)
v) I don't know if it's my favourite book, but David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus still exerts a fascination on me.
vi) Again, I'm not sure whether he's exactly my favourite composer, but Benjamin Britten is probably the composer whose music I find most attractive. (Or perhaps Schubert.)
vii) 'Our song'. Me and Mrs L have always been quite partial to Public Image Ltd's 'This is not a love song'. (That's not a comment on the state of our marriage which is Edenic in its perfection. I suppose we simply enjoy the irony of having a love song which is not a love song. We are indeed that sophisticated.)

viii) Favourite malt: Laphroaig.
ix) Favourite philosopher: Aristotle.
x) I still haven't made up my mind on how to vote in the Scottish Independence referendum.
xi) I'm a rubbish swimmer.

4) Ben's Questions:

What inspired the title of your blog?

I was mulling over the current state of Catholicism in Scotland at a funeral when the singing of In paradisum provoked a minor epiphany: I would blog, I would do so under the handle of 'cum Lazaro' and everything would be all right. (That worked well, didn't it?)

Why should people read your blog?

I try to combine philosophically literate comment on public life with a focus on Catholicism in Scotland. Fortunately,  I also ramble on about whatever hits me at the time, thus raising my potential audience to more than that strange bloke I chat to down the pub. (Given the modern age, I also talk about sex a lot, which provokes much passing traffic, although doubtless leaving said traffic slightly disappointed at what it finds.)

What is your personal favourite post on your blog?

I quite like 'Policing the queer'. It suggests a moral argument for the existence of a slippery slope in same sex 'marriage' that I think both logically valid and not previously acknowledged. In other words, proponents of same sex 'marriage' really ought to be committed to a slippery slope if they're being consistent.

What has been the most popular (most viewed) post on your blog?

Abortion, pictures and virtue ethics.

Which post on your blog has attracted most comments?

Why I am an atheist.

What other hobbies or interests (beyond blogging) are you prepared to admit to?

I'm rather addicted to trashy TV sci-fi and horror.

What are your hopes for the new pontificate?

That it will display another facet of the Church's mission without undoing all the good work of previous Popes. (And I'm extremely hopeful that this will in fact be the case.)

Where is your favourite place of pilgrimage, and why?

St Andrews. It is the most visible reminder of  mediaeval Catholic Scotland, and its links with that common Catholic European culture.

Who is your favourite spiritual author, and why?

My younger self would have immediately answered Dostoyevsky on the ground of his portrayal of the agony of the life. I suspect in a few years time I'll answer Dante on the ground of his portrayal of the tension between our human nature and the divine. At the moment, I'm somewhere between the two.

Which of these questions did you find it most difficult to answer?

The last. I'm not sure what 'spiritual' means, I'm not sure I'm in favour of that sort of thing, and I'm worried that the answer I've given isn't exactly true and isn't well articulated. (But it is an honest attempt.)

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

No, although I came extremely close to joining in my teens. (Dissuaded by my father on the grounds it might stop me getting into the US at some later date.)

5) Other blogs.

This requires three sorts of apology:

i) To those secretly behemothic blogs that I have mistakenly identified as having fewer than 200 followers. Please accept the compliment even if it is misdirected!
ii) To those who have already been nominated by others. Please forgive my lack of attention!
iii) To those omitted. No insult intended: there are blogs I haven't included that I enjoy immensely but haven't included either because I think you're well known already, realize you've been previously nominated or because, as a professional idiot, I haven't included you out of some other very stupid reason! (Such as stupidity.)

i) Spirit of Teuchtar II Catholic, Scottish blog
ii) JabbaPapa's Catholic blog Catholic blogger whom I've long admired for his comments on the Catholic Herald site and elsewhere.
iii) All Along the Watchtower Now a team blog focusing on Christianity, but started (and given its positive atmosphere) by the excellent Jessica Hof.
iv) Armarium Magnum 'This blog aims to be a repository for book reviews, mainly of books on ancient and medieval history'. Doesn't post often but when he does, it's worth reading.
v) A Grain of Sand 'An insomniac Scots Calvinist looks at the Church and the world and wonders where it all went wrong'
vi) Catholic Reading Group. OK. Guess!
vii) The Thirsty Gargoyle Relentless scholarly patience placed at the service of the Church.
viii) Catechesis of Caroline Probably too well known to be included here, but still one of my favourite Catholic blogs.
ix) QuietRiotGirl OK, I suspect many of my readers would find this 'strong meat' (ie wrong) but I admire her intellectual integrity, verve and humour. (And the contrarian in me enjoys her deployment of queer theory to undermine the shibboleths of the modern age.)

6) Questions for those whom I have nominated:

1) What inspired the title of your blog?
2) What is your personal favourite post on your blog?
3) What has been the most popular (most viewed) post on your blog?
4) Which post on your blog has attracted most comments?
5) What other hobbies or interests (beyond blogging) are you prepared to admit to?
6) What's your favourite song?
7) What's your favourite novel?
8) Complete this sentence: 'I think religion is....'
9) How good a dancer are you?
10) Which do you prefer: tea or coffee?
11) Have you ever been a smoker? (Of tobacco...!)

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