Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Fr. Leo Hetzler (Rochester Chesterton) Conference

After a two-year covid pause, Rochester hosted its 17th Chesterton Conference - now called the Fr. Leo Hetzler Conference in honor of the late Chesterton scholar.

The conference drew an enthusiastic crowd to St. John the Evangelist Church - St. John Fisher College, which hosted the previous conferences was not available - heard about Poetry: Fruit of Christian Joy.

Lou Horvath provided the opening comments. and continuity

Ted Janiszewski discussed the poetry of the Psalms.

Jonathan Thorndike (introduced by Joseph Pearce) discussed Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales

Joseph Pearce talked about poems every Catholic should know. 

And then the conference concluded with a dramatic reading (led by Dale Ahlquist) of selections from Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse.

It was a typically delightful Chesterton conference, full of inspiration and laughter and ... Christian joy. 


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mystery Clerihews

G. K . Chesterton, with Father Brown and The Detection Club, certainly plays an important tole in the history of mystery stories.

I am a fan of such stories - and not just of the Father Brown tales.

There are many mystery writers I like - like Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ellis Peters, Ralph McInerny, Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Havill, and Tony Hillerman.

Sayers has Chestetonian ties - and inspired this clerihew:

Lord Peter Wimsey
was never deterred by evidence flimsy,
but his confidence suffered years of strain
when faced with the mystery of Harriet Vane.

Meanwhile, Hillerman's Navajo mysteries inspired the following:

Officer Jim Chee
studied the remains of a flea.
Although respect for nature is part of his Navajo beliefs,
he didn't appreciate this critter getting into his briefs.

I haven't tried my hand at a Sherlock Holmes clerihew. Maybe it's time!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

A Chesterton hymn that fits our times

O God of earth and altar

O God of earth and altar,
bow down and hear our cry,
our earthly rulers falter,
our people drift and die;
the walls of gold entomb us,
the swords of scorn divide,
take not thy thunder from us,
but take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
from lies of tongue and pen,
from all the easy speeches
that comfort cruel men,
from sale and profanation
of honour and the sword,
from sleep and from damnation,
deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
the prince and priest and thrall,
bind all our lives together,
smite us and save us all;
in ire and exultation
aflame with faith, and free,
lift up a living nation,
a single sword to thee.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Live like a Hobbit? Some hobbits approve!


'Lord of the Rings' actors voice their support of Italian pastry chef's plan to build a Hobbit-inspired pub and solar-powered shire

That's the headline.

Nicolas Gentile, 37, has lived like a hobbit on two-hectares of land in the Italian countryside for over a year. Giacomo Savini e Luciano Masiello/ Courtesy of Nicolas Gentile

Here's the story about some of the actors from the movies appreciating his effort. 

In the story, Gentile says, "I have always loved fantasy literature and movies, Dungeons and Dragons, and video games," he said. "But at some point in my life, I felt like I was living the adventures of others and not my own. I decided that I, too, would live my life like a character in the movies and books I loved so much."

Hmm. Given reality these days, maybe living in a fictional world for a while might be a reasonable choice.

Saturday, September 11, 2021


To be honest, I don't know much about the play - and I've not heard of the movie coming out until now. 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Harriet Beecher Stowe

While looking through a book I was thinking of donating to the library book sale (I'm in the process of culling my bookshelves to simplify my life), I came across a piece of paper on which I'd written this clerihew:

Harriet Beecher Stowe
dealt slavery a blow
with a powerful novel that "started a war,"
sadly few read it any more.  

I don't know for sure when I wrote it, but i suspect it was when I taught Uncle Tom's Cabin a few years back.