Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday thoughts..........

Mother Theresa, oh my gosh, was human!!

For those of you who dont follow news, some of Mother Theresa's diaries and letters are being published which reveal she lived most of her life in a Dark Night of the Soul. This was reported years ago in First Things, but only hit the mainstream press now. I hope this is grasped as a teaching moment to get across some of the very unique teachings of authentic Catholic spirituality.....Holiness is not a "buzz", fanaticism is not a virtue, steadfast fidelity through thick and thin (Way of the Cross, perhaps?) is.

Senator Craig
Um, wow. Lets reason through this. Either he is guilty or it is a misunderstanding. If this was a misunderstanding I would picture the accused behaving in a totally different manner. Innocent people accused of something like this should be vocal, angry, and beligerent in protest.

Other option, he is guilty, in which case this man's devience is so deep and his compulsions so strong that he would try something like this in a public place. And, by the way, he is a senator.

Finally, a Clerihew

President Amadinejad
Rants for global Jihad
His name is difficult, I get it wrong.
Cant we call him, "President Tom?"

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clerihew - Michael Vick

Michael Vick
is sick.
Like many of his passes, his notions of sport
fall short.

So she hesitated.

today in BBC news:

In 1937 Marie Slocombe was working as a summer relief secretary at the BBC.

One of her tasks was to sort out - and dispose of - a pile of dusty broadcast discs. She noticed that among them were recordings of GB Shaw, HG Wells, Winston Churchill, Herbert Asquith and GK Chesterton. So she hesitated.

In that moment was the humble beginning of what became one of the most important collections of recordings in the world - the BBC Sound Archive.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

If Clerihew I Must

They should be a bit funnier, but this is all I have right now:

Some call Sauron
A moral moron,
Hiding in Barad-Dur,
Living off hatred and fear.

The beautiful Arwen,
Was Aragorn's cousin?
Yes, first cousins I fear,
But removed by many-a-year.

New Chesterton Blogger

This new blog has one post, but has quoted GKC twice already. He also mentions my other blog, the ACS blog, and Dawn Eden. I figured he deserves a little support.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ive got the Clerihew Bug

Benedict Sixteen
Comes off as mean
Causes widespread panic
That the Pope, my gosh, is Catholic

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another clerihew

I don't think Ayn Rand
should be banned.
I just think we should label her works:
"The ideal gifts for selfish jerks."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thoughts for the Weekend


Vladimir Putin
Exercises to be slim
His muscles are sore
Needs a nice cold war


Enough time has gone by that the hippie relativist generation is now "old fashioned". The Sixties are almost fifty years old, why cant they be archaic. Its amazing how fixed in time the "progressives" really are. There were deep societal problems that these people helped solve, I will grant them that, but listening to the rhetoric they seem blind to the actual progress made in race relations, police professionalism, and corporate responsibility. One of the things Im grateful to Chesterton for is the ability to see the eternal now, how our modern problems--take environmentalism and Islamic terror--are best thought out, defined, and approached through the time honored method of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, Scotus, and the others. Great thinking done by great thinkers is not bound by time or subject.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Political Clerihew

Al Gore
came across as a bore.
That and the sighs are among the reasons why
he lost to a light-weight but "regular" guy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Yes, that’s right!

You can be the first kid on your block to own the new House of Gilbert T-shirt.

This burnt orange 100% cotton T (cotton is a common sense material after all) is emblazoned with the House of Gilbert Aesthetics Department on the front (in navy and white) and on the back is GKC’s quote, “Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.”

Now you would expect to pay hundreds of dollars for this rare quality item in stores but here at the Chesterton and Friends blog we (that is I am) are offering this ‘Yes, I know who Chesterton is’ T-Shirt for the rock bottom price of only $17.50 and that includes shipping!

There is a limited supply so act NOW! This shirt comes in a one size fits most XL.

Now if you want to buy a dozen or more for your local Chesterton Society or next pub crawl you can receive a discount and get them in the size God built you.

Send check or money order to:
Bridge Street Outfitters
A. Capasso
pobox 336
Gettysburg OH, USA

Include your name and shipping address. Let us know if you want info on buying this shirt in quantity or info on our other Catholic T- shirts.

Order today – Because you don’t want to be caught drinking your next ale without a shirt on. Do you?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Smoking and Writing

Some friends are mentioned in an article by A.N. Wilson (biographer of Belloc and Lewis):

What do the following have in common: Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis?

The answer is, of course, that if they were to come back to life in Gordon Brown's Britain and wanted to go out to their club, or a restaurant or café, they would not be allowed to indulge in a habit which sustained them during the most creative phases of their lives.

The moment they popped their favoured cigar, cigarette or pipe between their lips and lit up, they would have been fined on the spot.

continue reading at the Telegraph...

If you don't want to read the whole thing, here is another mention of smoking friends later in the article:

Sitting with my drink in such now-empty bars, my mind has turned to the great smokers of the past - to C S Lewis, who smoked 60 cigarettes a day between pipes with his friends Charles Williams (cigarette smoker) and Tolkien (pipe-smoker); to Thomas Carlyle, whose wife made him smoke in the kitchen of their house in Cheyne Row, but who is unimaginable without tobacco, to Robert Browning, who quickly adapted to the new cigarette craze, to the great John Cowper Powys, who continued to smoke cigarettes, and to produce fascinating novels, into his nineties.

The Rambler

In April of 1934, Chesterton agreed to supply an Introduction to Hesketh Pearson's biography of Sydney Smith. Chesterton, however, submitted an essay on Smith that mentioned neither Pearson nor Pearson's book. When Pearson protested, Chesterton sheepishly admitted that he had become so enthralled with Sydney Smith that he became "rather like a chairman who gave a lecture but forgot to introduce the guest speaker." Chesterton quickly corrected the defect, and the biography was published that January. [Ian Hunter, Nothing To Repent, London: Hamilton, 1987]

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jane Austen

"Jane Austen was born before those bonds which (we are told) protected women from the truth were burst by the Brontes or elaborately untied by George Eliot... Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her." - Chesterton

My daughters are fans of Jane Austen (I am not – a weakness, some would say). And now there is the movie Becoming Jane – a fictionalized account about Austen’s early romance. (Think Shakespeare in Love.)

One daughter has seen the movie and enjoyed it. It prompted her to pick up Emma again.

I naturally wondered if Chesterton had much to say about Austen.

I went on line and found a few quotes.

''Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her.''

Then I found this article.

G.K. Chesterton and the orthodox romance of Pride and Prejudice
Renascence, Spring 1997 by Marian E. Crowe.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chesterton at CE

I had occasion to quote the big man in my most-recent article at Catholic Exchange, along with a couple of his "friends."

In his 2004 book Hip: The History, John Leland writes, "The squarest of American institutions, from gardening manuals to Army recruitment ads, now market themselves in two strengths: hip and hipper."

What does America's hip culture do? It buys and goes into debt. The United States is "awash in debt," to quote Merrill Lynch chief North American economist Dave Rosenberg. Consumer credit and mortgage debt are both a higher percentage of disposable income now than they've ever been before.

 Hip and debt have risen together because the marketplace feeds off that central element of hip: concern for nothing but immediate satisfaction. In Leland's words, hip "is well suited to the values of the market, which has always had a place for wild yea-saying."

But the marketplace doesn't emphasize another aspect of hip; namely, that of Matthew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." It's an important element in the hip formula. Hip originated among poor blacks who didn't have much wealth or prospects to distract them. It was a central element of the Beatnik phenomenon: "Better to live simply, be poor and have the time to wander," is how Pulitzer Prize poet Gary Snyder explained the Beats.

Heresies, G.K. Chesterton observed, aren't errors. They're simply exaggerations of one truth to the detriment or suppression of other truths.

Hip's emphasis on Now is good. Perhaps the Now's highest praise came from C.S. Lewis, who wrote, "The Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them."

The free market's ability to meet our needs and wants is also good. Market prices provide information that, properly sifted and responded to, allow buyers and sellers to conduct their affairs in the most advantageous manner. Since every person acts for a good (to move from a less satisfactory state to a more satisfactory one, said the commonsensical Thomas Aquinas), the market's ability to meet our needs is a great good.

The article first appeared in Catholic Men's Quarterly. If you haven't checked out CMQ, give it a look.

Friday, August 10, 2007


The last day of my summer Humanities class is movie fun night. Film is last section of the course and we have already spent many days talking about, seeing, and analyzing the “great movies”. So it is time to see a fun movie one that we can just enjoy, and one that has no test after it is done. Ah but I’m not going to let them off that easy. The film has to do with that arts, be well made, hold a few laughs and, oh yea, be in color. This past class I choose Billy Elliot because it meets all the afore mentioned criteria and Billy’s description of what it feels like to dance is right on the money. I wanted the class to hear that.

Since this would be about the 5th time I’ve seen that movie I began to focus on other elements of the film. In particular Billy’s dad (brilliantly played by Gary Lewis). As I watched that character I could not help but to think that this is the man in the pub, the working class guy GKC talks about in What’s Wrong With The World. The film shows the mental struggles, the mistakes, the sacrifices and the pride of fatherhood. It shows a domestic kingdom in all its confused glory. And that it is through sacrifice that the love comes through and binds the family together.

When Billy wants to be a ballet dancer his dad is, to say the least, aghast, “No son of mine is going to be a poof ballet dancer!” He eventually sees his son’s talent and love for dance and does what he can to support him. Some critics have called this change of character “unrealistic” these are obviously critics that are childless. I have seen big burly men hold a great distain for women’s sports that is until their daughters start to play then they are the biggest boosters for title 9 programs you have ever seen.

I recommend this movie to you on many levels but mostly to see a great portrait of fatherhood with all its warts.

The movie does contain rough language and the “F” word so it carries an R rating.

USCCB review/rating here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A hot night

"At any innocent tea-table we may easily hear a man say, "Life is not worth living." We regard it as we regard the statement that it is a fine day; nobody thinks that it can possibly have any serious effect on the man or on the world. And yet if that utterance were really believed, the world would stand on its head. Murderers would be given medals for saving men from life; firemen would be denounced for keeping men from death; poisons would be used as medicines; doctors would be called in when people were well; the Royal Humane Society would be rooted out like a horde of assassins. – Chesterton, Heretics

I had an encounter with firemen last night, but it had nothing to do with death.

Unless you count “of embarrassment.”

The encounter began with a daughter coming downstairs announcing that when she turned on the overhead light in her room there was a flicker, some smoke, and a smell.

Wife went into panic mode demanding we call the fire department and evacuate the house.

I said let me check first.

I went up. The light was fine. There was no smoke, though there was a smell.

Wife kept yelling that we should leave.

I said just let me check.

I turned off the light, unscrewed the light cover, and saw nothing amiss.

I felt the ceiling next to the light. It was warm – the light had just been on after all.

Wife’s panic crossed over to hysterics.

I said let me check above the room in the attic, so I went to the garage to get a ladder (the attic crawl space has no stairs). I noticed the back door was opened.

I suggested that everyone look for the indoor cat who had obviously gotten out and was probably confronting the feral tom cat that had been stalking around the neighborhood.

The daughter whose room was the focus of our adventure - and who had left the back door open in the first place - spotted our cat. She went to pick him up, and he turned on her, scratching her arm. He does that. I have the scars to prove it.

He’s my wife’s cat.

I got the ladder and went up into the crawl space as the wife evacuated the house and yelled at me repeatedly to get out.

I checked above the light. Nothing.

By this point the firemen had arrived. She had called them.

Three fully clad firefighters came up to the bedroom, including the fire chief I have sometimes interviewed.

He looked around at the mess in daughter’s room, then at the light.

He nodded. The kind of bulb was one of those new fangled fluorescent ones – about 4 years old.

He said those kinds of bulbs get old and sometimes do that after a couple of years.

He sniffed the bulb. Yep, that was the smell.

Still, the three firefighters – in full gear in the sweltering heat – did a scan with a heat detecting device in the ceiling, and up in the attic.


He suggested we get a new bulb. He also said we might get an electrician to check the line just to make sure, but that he saw nothing amiss.

Wife was still babbling on, retelling the story for the third or fourth time.

He tried to reassure her that she had done the right thing, even though he could see nothing wrong.

For the rest of the night she kept making comments about how he said she did the right thing. And stubborn pig-headedness.

Daughter kept complaining about the scratches.

I kept quiet.

I was thinking about tonight. I’m scheduled to attend a fire department meeting.

The fire chief will be there.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Catholic Economics

New book about economics that is sympathetic to distributism. Excerpt from review:

Médaille ultimately demonstrates that some form of distributism (remember Chesterton and Belloc?) is essential for the proper operation of free enterprise in such a way that it actually expands prosperity, rather than progressively constricting it to a smaller and smaller group. In fact, he argues persuasively that an initial widespread distribution of ownership is necessary for capitalism to work at all. He adduces a long history and clear economic analysis to prove that the pursuit of equity in economic affairs leads directly to economic equilibrium, which is critical for human flourishing, and so should be a preeminent goal for any culture.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Holy Chesterton, Batman!

Sean P. Dailey has started a blog. The Blue Boar. It started August 3rd. If it's like most blogs, it'll have a shelf life of three months (that's a (near) fact, incidentally, not a sarcastic aside). But if we all regularly stop over and tell Sean that J.K. Rowling is a druid and that Tolkien catered to the homosexual lobby, I'm sure we'll keep him fired up for years.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Greetings All,

It seems that if I post with brevity, I am far more likely to post here frequently.

One thing Ive been tumbling around in my head lately related to GKC is an admiration for his balance. Chesterton's distributist writing, Im thinking Utopia of Usurers and similar titles, are full of Jeremiah like fire and brimstone. You can feel the hot angry breath and flushed cheeks at times coming through. If Chesterton had stayed at this level he would be no different than the Al Gores and other pseudoprophets and politicizers of our day. Chesterton's mind, heart, and faith were large enough that he could rant against injustice to the poor while still shedding a tear for Baroque beauty, sharing a friendship with Shaw, and a beer with Belloc. Balance sounds so zen, but Chesterton shows us a fine example of good Christian magnanimity.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Detective

I was at the library the other day. Our library has a good selection of videos and DVDs.

I don't remember why, but I just decided to search to see if any of our local libraries had any movies or television shows featuring Chesterton or Chesterton stories.

I discovered my library had The Detective. The British title for the film was Father Brown.

What a find. Alec Guinness as Father Brown. Peter Finch as Flambeau.

Well written, well acted.

I wonder what other Chesterton film treasures are out there.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The summer slow-down

I think we're all in a bit of a rut at the moment. I don't know what it's like for our readers, but the heat hit 35 degrees celsius here today and it's looking to endure in like manner for the near future. It was all I could do just to get home from work.

September will bring greater attentiveness, but for now we'll just have to slog along as best we can.