Thursday, January 18, 2018

A book recommendation

I finished Out of the Ashes the other day. Regular readers here know I am huge fan of Anthony Esolen. Perhaps my coolness to the current effort has more to do with what I need rather than what Mr. Esolen has to offer.
 
As always he writes very well. His writing is always a delight to read. However, at times (in Out of the Ashes) he seemed to have so much to say that he didn't know how to say it briefly, so uses examples that don't clearly cover the problem.
 
And this is another problem. The book is subtitled "Rebuilding American Culture", but Mr. Esolen spends so much time defining the problems, he neglects how to rebuild, other than 'don't continue the problem.'
 
Perhaps this was it for me. I read for enjoyment and to learn; the enjoyment was there, but in this case, I thoroughly know the problems already. I have been struggling in my own way to rebuild culture at least in my family and among my friends. I wanted a different perspective.
 
However, I DO recommend the book. This is not meant to be a negative review, just that my personal expectations were not met - I am sure Mr. Esolen did not write the book to satisfy me. But take a look, for example: 

The progressives of old had a clear idea of what they thought would bring about their earthly paradise: the dictatorship of the proletariat, the emancipation of women, the elimination of monarchy and its replacement with democracy, universal education, and so on. None of their nostrums has delivered on its promise, and some have had the perverse effect of rotting away the foundation upon which their suppositions of beneficence were based. So it is that democratic machinery without the soul of democracy has produced a far more intrusive and liberty-crushing state than anything that the proudest monarch could have imagined-or wished, since such a constant political preoccupation would have left no time for boar hunting or chasing women. So it is that universal schooling has not brought Milton to the millions, but rather has taken Milton away from the brightest and replaced him with "young adult" junk. So it is that women have been emancipated from the freedom of the home and chained to salaried work and lives of relative loneliness.

 Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Two Christmas presents ...

Here are two of my favorite Christmas presents:

 From my youngest daughter.


And, from Mrs. Curley (some quotes to come...):

 
Finally, in an act of total vanity, I present a picture I came across of my self from a student ID in 1986 when I was in graduate school. Never looked as good again...
 
 
 
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Happy Nativity!

It has been a long time (December 13) since my last post-but much has happened!

As usual, I post a picture of our tree, not quite as big as in the past, but it looks the same when fully decorated.

Most of the children were home for Christmas, but two didn't make it. I guess that's what happens when they get older, live far away, and/or get married.

We wanted to go Christmas caroling on the vigil, but had been bogged down with nagging colds for a few weeks. We did go to Midnight Mass at St. Peter in Cheraw - the only one at midnight within 90 minutes.

With little ones in the house again. it was a challenge.

I do want to recommend a new blog: CountryWillAlwaysBeHome . Disclaimer: it is my son's, but check it out. He has some things to say.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reading...


The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld. Interestingly (or unfortunately, or appallingly), as a physicist, I have never read anything written by Albert Einstein.
 
Image result for the evolution of physics albert einsteinThis book contains no math - quite a feat for a book about Physics. It is hard for me tell (because I already understand the content) how easily this book would be understood by the layman.
 
My sister used this text in college and for some reason, I have her copy. Never having read it, I decided I should.
 
I am enjoying it much more than I thought possible. As a Physics Adjunct, I think it may benefit my students on having read this, giving me better insight on how to explain things in different ways.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

In Reruns

Have you "made it" when you are in reruns?

In any event, on a serious and pressing topic, I am in reruns here .

While it appears from the website that this piece was originally published 6 years ago, in actuality, most of it was written in 2004 as the "publisher's introduction" to the booklet Requiem Press put out on praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.


It is always interesting to read what you wrote (at least for me!) in the past. Not only does it take you back, you can gain insight into where you are now, compared to then. It is not always a generous comparison!

But more importantly, pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory!

Oremus pro invicem! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The wonderful cold weather is here ...

This means hog-killing weather! Pass this post if you are squeamish.

Number 4 son and I had to do this one by ourselves. It is back to work. I am used to supervising, but with my boys scattered around the country I actually have to get my hands and boots dirty.

We have several more to do this season, but this is the first of the cold weather. Because this one is going to be all sausage, we took the skin off (as opposed to scalding and scraping the hair.

Here we are working....


Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Travelling Man

I spent last weekend (2 weeks ago) in Dallas visiting number 3 son. This past weekend I spent in Lander Wyoming with number 1 son and his new bride. (The numbers refer to age and not to any other quality!)
 
I don't have pictures of Dallas, but share two from Wyoming. Both weekends were fantastic. I miss these boys of mine. (Not limiting it to these two. I miss my number 2 son and my number 1 & 2 daughters just as much.)
 
 
This is the part of the restored Ghost Town in South Pass City in Wyoming. Don't miss Atlantic City just up the road either.

 
This waterfall was part of our 6+ mile hike at Johnny Behind the Rocks near Lander, Wyoming. We did "climb" to the top of the falls by a path just out of view on the left of the falls.
 
I think I will be staying put for a while. My family (not to mention our homestead) needs some tender attention. I am certainly looking forward to this.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 23, 2017

My Antonia

Just finished Willa Cather's My Antonia. It is a book I liked but did not give total satisfaction, if that is the right sentiment. Certainly it was not all satisfying in the way a popular novel is. The ending is happy, but there is some melancholy - things that should or could have been different, the fact of mistakes made even by good people,, but a resilient spirit can overcome?
 
Is the difference between literature and the majority of novels not just the quality of writing, but that literature captures life as it is with all the bumps and bruises and sometimes the regrets and not just an adventure with a happy ending?
 
One line caught me towards the end. The narrator asks:
 
I wondered whether the life that was right for one is ever right for two!
 
 
While my answer to this is in the affirmative, not everyone always experiences this, either due to chance or choice. 
 
But more, the line reminded me of a thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand about marriage itself, and not the more material life. I paraphrase the thought below, which is a paraphrase from my own blog entry of 2005 - so it possible it is a little distorted from the actual writing of DVB as I don't have his text with me.
 
Dietrich Von Hildebrand says in his book Marriage – the mystery of faithful love (Sophia Institute Press) that all marriages have the purpose of attaining the highest possible communion or mutual love possible between the spouses. Some marriages in particular are truly made in Heaven and have the potential of being a true living example to the world of Christ’s spousal love. In the other extreme, one spouse must forego receiving the love of their spouse and must spend their life “primarily in sacrifice and renunciation, in care for the salvation of the other” – who is not participating in the love of the marriage. Thus the purpose of every spouse in every marriage, no matter the nature of their particular marriage, will not be realized until that spouse truly lives in a spirit of sacrifice - fully embracing his vocation.
 
By the way, if you want a really good analysis (as opposed to mine) of a classic novel (not this one) you should venture here to read about the correlation between sin and death as portrayed in Crime and Punishment.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pigs

We only have one sow left. We sold our last other two in the spring. A few years ago we selected the best gilt from our best boar and sow and raised her to be our remaining sow. She has done well - not our biggest star in the past 10 years - but okay. She usually averages 10-12 pigs per litter, and loses few.

"Polly" had her fall litter this weekend: 5 pigs.


Of course, the low number is likely "Thor's" fault (the boar). We've had him 2 years. I have to say, I think his two predecessors, Red and Tarzan, were better boars.

In any event, may be its a blessing. For the first time, I had trouble selling off the spring litters. (We had two.) I have 7 pigs left from those litters, and I have no need for so many. These guys are getting pretty big, and yet I have 2-300 pound pigs from last winter's litter to put in the freezer. I am just waiting for the weather to cool.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Reading


Right now I am reading (actual books) two books. One is My Antonia by Willa Cather which a friend of mine was amazed I hadn’t read before. I am some 50 pages into it, and so far so good.

I am also reading Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men, which I won as a door prize at the Adjunct faculty conference at the tech school where I “instruct”. Basically it is a study of why high school boys – well, the title gives the purpose. I have multiple interests regarding the education of young men and am hoping I gain some insight – however, my hopes are tempered by the source of the information.  

But of course I am always listening to something in my long commutes 3 days a week. One of my favorite listens (as reported here before) are audio books by Louis L’Amour. My son forwarded an article about him from a website called The Art of Manliness. A couple of L’Amour quotes stood out.

First: The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library.”

Of course this observation based on the premise (more prevalent in the past than today) that education is not a utilitarian pursuit of employment. Colleges and universities are often (but not always) in the business of job training as opposed to education. I can truly say I have learned more about just about everything from my own reading habits than I ever learned in school,/college the exceptions being in math/calculus and some areas of science.

The second quote I also find very true:

A book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think.”

Some may my following observation is a bit strange, but one reason I enjoy many John Grisham novels (surely light fare) is that they really make me think about things-plight of peoples, relations, state of law etc. Obviously there are books written to make one think-and I read those. But often I find light fiction does the same.

Oremus pro invicem!