Friday, December 30, 2011
Some of the books are ones I've indicated in not always subtle ways that I want. This year, for example there was one particular book (involving Chesterton, I might add) that I really wanted. When a catalog from a well-known Catholic publisher arrived, I searched through it until I found the title, folded the catalog open to the right page, circled the book several times, and sang some Christmas carols with an earnest smile.
I got that book.
Other times people give me books based upon my particular interests. Chesterton, St. Francis of Assisi, poetry, and Dickens are among the interests addressed this year.
Some people knowing my quirky sense of humor give me books they think I will find amusing. This year, a relative who moved to Utah, a state that, to be honest, has never been of the slightest interest to me, although I do like Marie Osmond's version of a Dada poem, sent me a book about Utah curiosities. I've already discovered one story in it about a woman who uses cow pies - yes, those "pies" - to make clocks, and picture and mirror frames.
The books end up either next to my bed in the pile of books to be read, or outside the "reading room."
This year's additions:
In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton. Circles and Christmas Carols do work.
The Road to Assisi: The Essential Biography of St. Francis by Paul Sabatier. Chesterton's biography is the essential one, in my opinion, but this modern examination of his life looks like it has much to offer.
Surpassing Pleasure by John Slater. A contemporary Cistercian poet: I can't wait to test those verbal waters.
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. I'd actually read many of these poems long ago and enjoyed them, so it's wonderful to have them before me again. Plus, it's nice to be reminded that Eliot didn't always write as if he had spiritual heartburn.
How to Do Everything (From the Man Who Should Know) by Red Green. Red Green is a Canadian comedian who is an acquired taste, and a taste that I acquired long ago.
The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford. A book that examines how Dickens helped to save Christmas from those who would downplay the celebration of it, and, in the process, apparently saved his own career. I've always loved Dickens and his Christmas tales, so this should be an intriguing read.
Utah Curiosities by Brandon Griggs. Cow pies. Need I say more?
Much reading to do.
Monday, December 26, 2011
I've been remiss: Merry Christmas
I realized today I had not posted here in about three months. Chesterton deserves better than that!
This Christmas I gave a copy of Chesterton's Irish impressions to an Irish friend. And then (after some not so subtle hinting on my part), on Christmas morning my dear bride presented me with a copy of In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G. K. Chesterton.
It's wonderful to find some of may favorite essays - "A Piece of Chalk," "What I Found in My Pocket," "On Lying in Bed," "Cheese," and more - all in one place. And there are many other essays I haven't read yet conveniently waiting for me.
I just have to finish Ron Hansen's Exiles, and then I dig into this treasure trove.
As for my Chesterton endeavors, I'll be sending in to Gilbert a batch of clerihews my students wrote, and scribbling a few more of my own. Plus, I've decided to give a more prominent role to the Chesterton-based character in that novel I've been writing forever.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
St Bernard on All Saints Days day
"Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this feast day mean anything to the saints? What do they care about earthly honors when their heavenly Father honors them by fulfilling the faithful promise of the Son? What does our commendation mean to them? The saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs. Clearly, if we venerate their memory, it serves us, not them. But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We long to share in the citizenship of heaven, to dwell with the spirits of the blessed, to join the assembly of patriarchs, the ranks of the prophets, the council of apostles, the great host of martyrs, the noble company of confessors and the choir of virgins. In short, we long to be united in happiness with all the saints. But our dispositions change. The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.
Come, brothers, let us at length spur ourselves on. We must rise again with Christ, we must seek the world which is above and set our mind on the things of heaven. Let us long for those who are longing for us, hasten to those who are waiting for us, and ask those who look for our coming to intercede for us. We should not only want to be with the saints, we should also hope to possess their happiness. While we desire to be in their company, we must also earnestly seek to share in their glory. Do not imagine that there is anything harmful in such an ambition as this; there is no danger in setting our hearts on such glory.
When we commemorate the saints we are inflamed with another yearning: that Christ our life may also appear to us as he appeared to them and that we may one day share in his glory. Until then we see him, not as he is, but as he became for our sake. He is our head, crowned, not with glory, but with the thorns of our sins. As members of that head, crowned with thorns, we should be ashamed to live in luxury; his purple robes are a mockery rather than an honor. When Christ comes again, his death shall no longer be proclaimed, and we shall know that we also have died, and that our life is hidden with him. The glorious head of the Church will appear and his glorified members will shine in splendor with him, when he forms this lowly body anew into such glory as belongs to himself, its head.
Therefore, we should aim at attaining this glory with a wholehearted and prudent desire. That we may rightly hope and strive for such blessedness, we must above all seek the prayers of the saints. Thus, what is beyond our own powers to obtain will be granted through their intercession."
"Holiness is not about what you do but with how much love you do it."
Do not seek to be like the Saints - seek what they sought.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
After a year of research and preparation, the giant screen film JERUSALEM advanced into production with an unprecedented aerial shoot throughout Israel and the West Bank. Scheduled for worldwide release in 2013, the film will take audiences on a spectacular tour of the Holy Land and the city once believed to lie at the center of the world.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In contrast to this common perception of capitalism, Chesterton defines it as, "that economic condition in which there is a class of capitalists, roughly recognizable and relatively small, in whose possession so much of the capital is concentrated as to necessitate a very large majority of the citizens serving those capitalists for a wage."
"The present problem of capitalist concentration is not a question of law but of criminal law, not to mention criminal lunacy."
"Now what is the matter with the financial world is that it is a great deal too full of imagination, in the sense of fiction."
Roll Over Bethoveen
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Rochester Chesterton Conference
Friday, September 30, 2011
Rochester Chesterton Conference
As a side note, I'm teaching a writing class at my high school. I just introduced the students to clerihews. They have to write some of their own for next week. I hope to submit some of theirs to Gilbert - or at least post some here.
As one reviewer wrote, here's the thing about this game: "...it tricks you into playing it because it has the word 'diamond' in the title. You think it's going to be pretty and nice and kind of glamorous and ladylike and sweet smelling, like a gardenia. But then it's just like any game. You're supposed to kill stuff and collect points but the primitive animation makes it hard to tell the difference between the diamonds and the bad guys so you get confused and die many times over. Then you just give up.
Also, the diamonds in this game are the color brown."
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
JUST A HEADS UP
Friday, September 23, 2011
doodlers of the world unite
Thursday, September 01, 2011
"What could it hurt?"
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws." GKC
When a law is evil the mental gymnastics needed to keep convincing yourself its moral is something you need to do every day and leads to a society that borders on insanity.
The only entity that keeps us tipping completely over the edge is the Catholic Church. Or as GKC said "We do not really need a religion that is right where we are right. What we need is a religion that is right where we are wrong."
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Chesterton on Orthodoxy
Take Your Magic Elsewhere Holy Man
Oh Joe What You Don't Know
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Holy gourd Batman! Let's get a fried pickle.
The people are beautiful.
For those who love fried food this is where heaven meets earth. Truly I say onto ya-all that even cow pies deep fried would taste good at the fair.
My daughter won a Blue Ribbon at the dog show. That with an apple dumpling buried under a half pound of ice cream makes this a day for dancing.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Another voice in the wilderness.
Monday, August 22, 2011
File this under the 'no crap' column.
An historical clerihew
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
one for the good guys
One of the really great things about being a Christian is we know how the war ends. Sure, sure, we are going to lose a few battles and there will be the wounded and sometimes we feel that we lose every battle. So when we do win one we should share it like the widow who lost her coin ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’
Here is a good win - a coin almost lost.
“America,” Chesterton says, “ is the only nation in the world founded on a creed. The creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is theoretical politics and also great literature.”
Monday, August 15, 2011
Bishop of Toledo Bans Parishes from Raising Funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation
Dear Friends in Christ,
Few of us remain untouched by the scourge of breast cancer. Whether among our families, friends or neighbors, there are a great many women in our country who confront this disease every day with tremendous faith and courage.
Researchers, physicians and medical personnel, using their God-given intelligence and skill, work very hard not only to provide healing of those who are afflicted, but also to find a cure. We are all familiar with the mobilization of effort in our country on behalf of this worthy goal.
One of the most widely known initiatives is that of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Many people participate in efforts to raise funds for this cause, including some of our Catholic institutions and schools.
While we want to do everything possible to support the search for a cure, sadly the landscape of medical research today is sometimes marred by the erroneous belief that research is not bound by moral norms rooted in faith and reason, as reflected in the teaching of the Church. That teaching holds, for example, that it is not morally acceptable to destroy one human life, even in its embryonic stage, in order to save another human life.
For some time, moral questions have been raised from various quarters about the research funded by the Komen Foundation. The Bishops of Ohio have discussed this and have looked into the matter. As best we can determine, at present the Komen Foundation does not fund cancer research that employs embryonic stem cells. However, their policy does not exclude that possibility. They are open to embryonic stem cell research, and may very well fund such research in the future. They are also contributors to Planned Parenthood, which, though it may claim to provide needed medical services to poor women, is also the largest provider of abortions in our country.
In order to avoid even the possibility of cooperation in morally unacceptable activities, the other Bishops and I believe that it would be wise to find alternatives to Komen for Catholic fundraising efforts.
For that reason, I am directing that in the fight against breast cancer, fundraising carried out under Catholic auspices, including our schools, should be channeled to our locally known Mercy Cancer Centers instead of Komen.
Through Mercy, we can help local women who are without financial means to receive specialized care which includes treatment, detection and support in their fight against breast cancer. We can be assured that at Mercy, these women will receive a high level of compassionate care that respects their human dignity.
More information will be coming to you from Mercy regarding this opportunity. I thank you for your cooperation and support. Together let us pray for all cancer sufferers, especially those in the greatest physical, spiritual and emotional need.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair
Bishop of Toledo
Saturday, August 13, 2011
For his birthday Barack Obama
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
A group of gay-rights activists has set up an online petition to encourage Sesame Street producers to make a social statement on the show. To wit, they want longtime roommates (and long-rumored gay couple) Bert and Ernie to get married. Predictably, supporters and opponents are lining up on either side of the issue, even though Sesame Workshop has stated that neither character is gay.
While the Bert and Ernie petition is interesting, it doesn't seem like a priority in terms of Sesame Street social issues. First things first - let's get Oscar off the streets and Cookie Monster into rehab.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Religion as Weapon
When a Dem says he/she is a Christian the press says he/she is a good guy/gal. When a Repub says the same the press says he/she is a bad guy/gal.
"When did being a mainstream Protestant even become an issue in American politics? When that Protestant actually takes her faith seriously and formulates her political campaign on Christian principles.
If Michele (Bachmann) were a faithful Catholic, then we would be warned about her allegiance to the Pope. That's always been standard procedure for the secular press. Now it seems like any Christian presidential candidate is going to come under attack from the secular press one way or the other."
"Amazing how humanists care nothing about religion unless they can use it to justify one of their "human rights" campaigns. Homosexuals suddenly wanting the blessing of the Church for their orgies comes to mind.
Suddenly, the secular humanists are the latest and greatest defenders of the papacy against the attacks of the Lutherans."
It's Official-Pregnancy is now a Disease
According to the proposed rule submitted to the Office of the Federal Register:
“The July 19, 2010 interim final rules indicated that HRSA expected to issue guidelines by August 1, 2011. After considering public comments raising the issue addressed in these amendments, however, the Departments determined that HRSA should be granted the discretion to address the commenter concerns at issue prior to issuing guidelines under section 2713(a)(4). Many college student policy years begin in August and an estimated 1.5 million young adults are estimated to be covered by such policies.5 Providing an opportunity for public comment as described above would mean that the guidelines could not be issued until after August of 2011. This delay would mean that many students could not benefit from the new prevention coverage without cost-sharing following from the issuance of the guidelines until the 2013-14 school year, as opposed to the 2012-13 school year. Similarly, 2008 data from the Department of Labor indicate that over 4 million Americans have ERISA group health plan coverage that starts in August or September; they too would experience over a year’s delay in the receipt of the new benefit if the public comment period delayed the issuance of the guidance for over a month. The Departments have determined that such a delay in implementation of the statutory requirement that women receive vital preventive services without cost-sharing would be contrary to the public interest because it could result in adverse health consequences that may not otherwise have occurred.”(emphasis added)
Mark Your Calendars
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Breaking News on the Heat Wave
A Presidential Clerihew (in Gilbert)
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Debt Cieling Absurdism
Monday, August 01, 2011
Yea I know "Coincidences are spiritual puns" but these are fun to tell at parties:
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .
3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’
15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
17. A backward poet writes inverse.
18. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count
19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris , you’d be in Seine .
21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’
22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’
23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’
25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Head in the Clouds
If you are looking for a cool dissertation paper for your masters work in theology do a study on clouds in the bible. From today’s mass reading:
Ex 40:16-21, 34-38
Then the cloud covered the meeting tent,
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Moses could not enter the meeting tent,
because the cloud settled down upon it
and the glory of the LORD filled the Dwelling.
Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling,
the children of Israel would set out on their journey.
But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward;
only when it lifted did they go forward.
In the daytime the cloud of the LORD was seen over the Dwelling;
whereas at night, fire was seen in the cloud
by the whole house of Israel
in all the stages of their journey.
In both the old and new testaments clouds abound and are usually mentioned as God’s mode of transportation-His hover craft if you will or as the place where He best liked to play peek-a-boo when talking with humans.
As Chesterton said “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” so maybe that’s why God hung out in them.
for the rest of us there is The Cloud Appreciation Society. Wonder around on thier site it is all very pleasant.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
On the left coast the people voted against same-sex marriage and now the legislator is trying to overturn that vote. On the right coast the legislator said yes to same-sex marriage and the people are working to put a measure on the 2015 ballot to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This is why we will ultimately lose. It is a bad definition it is heavy on the what but lacks the why. With the given definition what difference does it make to replace the nouns or the numbers. And by waiting until 2015 there will be 4 years of same-sex marriage - enough time to make it look safe and not enough time to see the damage.
What if they added to the ballot definition, ' for the procreation, protection and education of children'.
We are now full into the time Chesterton called a place where we can talk about anything but can't talk about everything an age of "efficiency" or "politics for politics sake." I have yet to hear one politian explain to the people the why of traditional marriage or the PHILOSPHY of marriage. Stop and think for a moment, today when we use the word marriage we always need to use the qualifier traditional. That means there can be an untraditional marriage and still be a marriage. Just note the fact that many writers are putting the word marriage within quotation marks these days.
"For the Christian dogmatists were trying to establish a reign of holiness, and trying to get defined, first of all, what was really holy. But our modern educationists are trying to bring about a religious liberty without attempting to settle what is religion or what is liberty. If the old priests forced a statement on mankind, at least they previously took some trouble to make it lucid. It has been left for the modern mobs of Anglicans and Nonconformists to persecute for a doctrine without even stating it..." GKC (Heretics)
It begins with, "What could it hurt?" and ends with, "How were we to know?"
"...Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the arid manner of the Schoolmen, "Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good—" At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark." GKC (Heretics)
As Chuck Asay notes in his cartoon (above) same-sex “marriage” is a dead end. Same-sex “marriage” is not marriage; it is an exercise in frivolity. At best, a same-sex union can produce entertainment.
(and I have no idea why everything is underlined)
Happy Birthday, Hilaire Belloc
Today is the birthday of Joseph Hilaire Pierre Belloc, born in 1870 to a French father and an English mother. He and GKC became such good friends and allies that they became known as the "Chesterbelloc."
As a young child he lived in France, but was sent to Cardinal John Henry's Newmany Oratory School in England, then studied at Balliol College, graduating in 1895 with a first class honors in history.
Belloc's first book, The Bad Child's Book of Beasts, was published in 1896, the same year he married Elodie Hogan. He wrote about a variety of topics which include French and British history, military strategy, satire, comic and serious verse, literary criticism, travel, and religious, political and social commentary. In 1902, Belloc wrote his most famous work, "Path to Rome", which described a one-man pilgrimage to the Holy City.
Belloc was also interested in politics and was elected to Parliament in 1906 and 1910. However, he left politics in order to start a new political review called Eye-Witness with G.K. and Cecil Chesteron. In the review the three of them attacked the English governmental system. Belloc, who revered Napoleon's efforts, worked to promote a unified Europe. He, along with GKC, also promoted Distributism
His life was filled with tragedy. Belloc's wife died in 1914 and his son Louis was killed in 1918 in World War I. His good friend Chesterton died in 1936. In 1941, Belloc's other son Peter died in World War II, and Belloc suffered a severe stroke in 1942 which ended his literary work. He died in 1953.
I leave with one of his sunny verses.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sun Burnt Memories
I cannot remember which is correct: 'No sane mane would take a baby camping' or is it 'Only a sane man could take a baby camping'. Needless to say we took babies on this trip and they were wonderful to have along. We knew they would limit the activities we could all do together so we worked out an adult tag team method so we all could do stuff.
However the heat wave blitz swept down upon us the morning of the first day and fried our plans of highly physical activities. So our schedule was changed to this - breakfast and go to the lake - lunch and go to the lake - dinner and sit in the shade till the sun went down or go to the lake.
We would all move around in a clump in cool lake water floating the babies between us broken only by short breaks of naps in the shade. My toes are still wrinkled.
We had a great time.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Smuggling in Chesterton
One of the classes I'll be teaching writing one - as in creative writing. My department head said it was up to me how I wanted to structure the course, and what works I wanted to include.
I'm adding a personal essay component - and one of the essays I intend to look at (before sending the students off to write) is Chesterton's "A Piece of Chalk."
Who knows what else I can sneak in! Maybe a Fr. Brown story ... or "Lepanto?"