Monday, March 29, 2010

Always a Great Day

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." - St. Maximilian Kolbe

This past weekend our youngest received her first and second Holy Communion. Great day - it was - for real.

If you are a Catholic Christian you understand the ginormous joy this day holds. I have been struggling all week to find the words to explain this feeling to our non Catholic brothers and sisters and have failed completely. I just could not find a relevant analogy.

As we waited in the school before the mass the men watched the women going into full Martha mode: straightening out veils and ties, curling or flattening out hair with spit, chatting with the other moms about how many guests would be at home and what they would be fed hoping there would be enough.

It was just after the line-up and before the procession to the Church that one of the dads said, “It’s like a wedding but with out the dread.”

As we went over I began to hum an old hymn “…sometimes it causes me to tremble.”

Conspiracy theory - and a Chesterton sighting

"The Invisible Man" is a frequently anthologized Father Brown story. A "postman" (i.e. mailman) plays an important role in the the story - though in a negative way.

I've sometimes suspected that my local mail carriers bear a grudge against Chesterton because of this.

My issues of Gilbert invariably arrive a week or two after other people have already begun to blog about what great issue it is and refer to articles I have not yet read.

And last week, my March-April issue of StAR (Saint Austin Review) arrived graced with Chesterton on the cover and chock full of articles about him.

The cover was torn.

Hmmm. I wonder what Father Brown would make of that. Coincidence?

Or a conspiracy?

Paranoia aside, I have been enjoying the articles. Dale Alquist, of course, contributes a piece (how could you have an issue of anything devoted to Chesterton and not have something from Dale?). He speculates what might have happened if Chesterton had gone bad!

We also have articles of orthodoxy, being a defender of the faith, fairy tales, Chestertonian drama, a little bit of Belloc, and more.

If you are a Chestertonian (why else would you be reading this blog?) and you don't subscribe to StAR, at least get a copy of this issue.

(Go to for info.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

They Are Smarter Than We Are

Many a moon ago I discovered this truth: When building a fence around your chicken coop you don’t make it strong enough to keep the chickens in but to keep the carnivores out. I rebuilt my fence to that ideal or so I thought. Carnivores are clever in their pursuit and relentless in their search for a weakness in the defenses’.

Such a weakness was found in my coop, one loose board high up on the south side.

This morning I found only feathers.

I’m sure there is an analogy to the health care bill that could be made here but all I know is that I will now have to buy my Easter eggs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ah spring

The rains have stopped and the sun is gaining confidence. The remaining snow weaves emaciated down shadow filled alley ways. It still clings, weak and weary, to the corners of parking lots like an old postcard stuck in back of your sock drawer. Its cryptic message now understood: “The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

After the cookies are gone

Is this what the Girl Scouts will sell next?
Will it be door to door or will we have to go to meetings
Will they at least earn a badge for doing 'it'?

Mark Shea once said,"Show me a culture that despises virginity and I'll show you a culture that despises children."

...and the tears will not stop.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Small Glass Of Whine

Recently the news has been filled with the problems of our public educational system. Simply put it is failing. The talking heads are blaming everyone from the teacher unions to not enough money.

Central Falls High School in Rhode Island fired all their teachers because they would not accept a change with out more money. That school did make the statement that the school should run the school - not the Union.

The current occupant of the white house is threatening to close more schools unless they improve.

California college students are protesting a hike in fees (they still think higher education should be free even if the state is bankrupt).

A democratic state senator in Chicago is campaigning for a voucher system in that city.

However this is not entirely about the union. Most teachers want to teach, love to teach, and do a great job and follow the Chesterton rule, "A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching".

As nice as it is it is not about the money either.

For the past several years I have been working in the public educational system and my job this year has given me a different view on why this may be happening. In the mornings I teach, off campus, a group of young boys who do not work and play well others. In the afternoons I along with two full time teachers tutor high school kids in order to help them pass their state exams - without which they can not graduate. These tests are not that difficult most of the questions are on an eighth grade level. Nearly 90% of these just don't care to learn the material.

When I was in school we would ask our teachers, "Why do I gotz to learn this stuff"?
The answer was simple, "You need a good education if you want to support yourself and your family."

Since we are now in our 3rd generation of an entitlement society this answer is no longer true. Some have learned that 'workin for da gubment' they can get food, a place to live, health care, energy allowances, with enough money for beer, cigarettes and cable TV. So why bother with school why bother with work?

It is very hard to convince these kids of the importance of education. The percentage of these kids is growing every year. This attitude of "I don't care and I don't have to care." is infections. The parents of the motivated and gifted are pulling their kids to send them to private schools or home school. The scale in public schools is tilting and not in the right direction.

This very disheartening for a teacher.

The why bothers go to school cause they got nothing else to do, and it is better than sitting at home with dad.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


In a Purdue University classroom, they were discussing the qualifications to be President of the United States . It was pretty simple, the candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.

However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president.

The class was taking it in and letting her rant, but everyone's jaw hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?"

And don't forget, "They walk among us!"