Friday, February 12, 2016

Harper Lee

I wasn't ever the greatest fan of To Kill a Mocking Bird, but I read it in school and thought Gregory Peck had to be the best casting choice for Atticus possible.
 
When I heard that Go Set a Watchman was being published, I figured I should read it. Then the reviews came. So much disappointment-that colorblind, progressive Atticus Finch may have some racism in him. The disappointment with the character translated into panning the entire book.
 
I note that the book was actually written years ago, so I would expect the culture and attitudes of the time to be portrayed and not be rewritten with today's attitudes.
 
So, I had to read it (or listen to it.) Which I did this week. I wasn't pleased with the few instances of blaspheming in the final sections. I too was surprised-at least at first- in the 'real' Atticus Finch, but on reflection I don't think it is inconsistent with the Atticus Finch of To Kill
 
The narrator is Scout, but I think the real hero of the novel is her Uncle Jack, who tries to reconcile the attitudes of Atticus with the history. Uncle Jack could possibly be the real voice of Harper Lee in the novel.
 
Without further comment of my own (as this has been explored on this site before), I will say that Uncle Jack makes the comment and tries to make the case that race was only incidental to the war between the states and the civil rights upheavals of the 50's and 60's. The real issue in both cases was liberty, the right of community to govern itself, states rights, and the rest.
 
It was interesting and well-written, and effective at getting one to think in terms outside of today's culture and attitudes. One may not like characters or the political voice, but that is outside the scope whether it is decent literature.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Listening to a Fr. Francis Finn S.J. book from Librivox.org this morning on my way to a remote work site. Here are the two things I heard and need to meditate on:

and the rich He sends away empty” Luke 1:53

 And from St. Ignatius:

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.


Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Mrs. Curley and I went to a rare movie the other night. Even more rare, the movie we wanted to see was only showing in 3D. However, we bought the tickets and enjoyed the show (more on that later.) I thought they were undercharging based on the board, but didn't mention it. However, the kids looked at the movie stub as it was going in the waste when we got home and noticed we were given the Senior discount. I really don't mind saving money, the kids thought it hilarious. The box office didn't ask us, so I have no guilt.
 
The movie, The Finest Hours, was based on a 1952 Coast Guard rescue off the coast of New England. It was done well; suspenseful and entertaining. It wasn't the best movie I ever saw, and would have rather seen it at the $2.50 theater in Hartsville, but we had a good time and ate a lot of popcorn (only REAL reason to go to a movie in the theater!)
 
As far as the 3D went, I don't think any experience was enhanced by having it in 3D- just a pain to wear glasses over glasses.

This is it, as Lent is just around the corner.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Slavery is with us today - what is it?

Anthony Esolen answers the question here.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Practical Distributism

I found this site: Practical Distributism and share it with you now (and on the sidebar). Some good articles here especially if you are interested in how Distributism is different from Capitalism and Socialism, and how it may work in practice-both small and large scale. Enjoy!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Blockade Runners


Just finished listening to The Blockade Runners by Jules Verne courtesy of www.Librivox.org. First, a hat tip to the reader. I have listened to him on several other novels, most recently one by Louis L’Amour, and, by chance, he is from Simpsonville, SC.

About the book: it is short and takes place around 1862 (written in 1864). The basic plot concerns a ship which plans to run the Federal blockade of Charleston, SC in order to deliver arms and return with much-needed cotton to the British Isles.

What most fascinated me was the attitude about the conflict (the war between the states, the war of Northern aggression, or the Civil War-depending on your persuasion.) The main protagonist, the ship’s captain, believed the war was about slavery-though, at least initially, he was partial to the Confederate cause, but not a fan of slavery . Recall the author was French and the protagonist was British.

It is always interesting to get outside perspectives on this. Recall that a year or two ago I read Chesterton’s (Cecil’s) America (my commentary here) . Of course Chesterton's view was more nuanced and presented a history of the country leading to the conflict. Things are always more complicated than they seem.

****************

Here’s an observation for those who listen to books frequently. Why is it that women readers can easily give voice to a male character in the book without sounding ridiculous, but a man reader cannot do the same for a female character in the book.
In the present book I am listening to (a Max Brand western), the male reader does the sensible thing. When reading the dialogue of a female character, he doesn’t try to sound female; he simply changes his inflection slightly as he does with each character.
(BTW – in my view Max Brand westerns don’t hold much of a candle to Louis L’Amour.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Swarms


It won’t happened overnight, but the day is coming when you will simply say to a swarm of robots, ‘Okay, go and perform this mission’. … “Think about standing in a swarm of a million mosquito-sized robots and getting them to go somewhere or to execute a particular task ……”

This isn’t a conversation from Marvel’s Ant-Man movie. This comes from Horizons the Georgia Tech Research quarterly publication.

Another article in the same issue describes complex objects that fold or assemble themselves. They are manufactured of layers with different temperature sensitivities. Generally they would be “printed” flat. When heat is applied they change shape and assemble themselves. Manufacturing needs workers less and less, just like the jobless recovery from the present recession.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Coming late to the party ...


I am finally reading Pope Benedict’s Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi. This passage jumped out at me yesterday:

This is precisely the point made, for example, by Saint Ambrose, one of the Church Fathers, in the funeral discourse for his deceased brother Satyrus: “Death was not part of nature; it became part of nature. God did not decree death from the beginning; he prescribed it as a remedy. Human life, because of sin ... began to experience the burden of wretchedness in unremitting labour and unbearable sorrow. There had to be a limit to its evils; death had to restore what life had forfeited. Without the assistance of grace, immortality is more of a burden than a blessing”. A little earlier, Ambrose had said: “Death is, then, no cause for mourning, for it is the cause of mankind's salvation”.

I have never thought of death like this before. I am glad I am reading it now (in the 2nd half of my life) instead of reading it and forgetting about it (in my youth.)

Also, I didn’t know St. Augustine wrote an extended letter on prayer. I have to get this.

Finally, just received a late Christmas present (shipped to the wrong address): Robert Hugh Benson’s The Friendship of Christ. Will start on it soon.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gem in an unlikely place

Listening, found this:


"Cities are for money; mountains are for the soul." - Galloway Sacket in Louis L'Amour's Galloway


Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Reading and things


Update: Decided to read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

Arundel by Kenneth Roberts – another book that was neglected in my youth, to my loss. I picked it up a few weeks ago and have been engrossed. At the beginning it reminded me of the favorite of my youth, Treasure Island. Arundel didn’t continue in such a high esteem, but never-the-less is well worth the read.

I do a lot of commuting these days between the technical college I adjunct at and other work I pick up. I am always looking for good books on CD from the library. I have found that most mysteries and westerns available are just not worth it. The language is usually too crude to my taste and often there is subject matter which is described in such detail that a man shouldn’t be listening to (or anyone else for that matter.) Louis L’Amour westerns are an exception. They hold my attention (so I don’t fall asleep on the road) and are generally very clean. (Just finished Mustang Man on CD from the library.)

Libravox.com has many worthwhile books. My problem is that if you download them and put them on CD, you are constantly using CD. If you play them straight from the computer in the car, you have to hit a new track after every chapter-which is not safe. From Libravox.com I have listened to some of Chesterton’s fiction, Zane Grey, and a few others. (My youngest son complains that Zane Grey's are simply romances dressed up as westerns - I guess he's pretty on the mark for the most part, although Lone Star Ranger was an exception.)

I have listened to Lighthouse CD’s when I have new ones available.

My next handheld fiction foray (as I usually have something non-fiction in the works also at any time) my be to return to Kenneth Roberts (maybe Rabble in Arms or Oliver Wiswell, or I heard he wrote about Cowpens also, which is in SC and deserving a visit from the Curley’s in the near future. Or possibly I will return to James Fennimore Cooper. I have both read and listened to The Last of the Mohicans and read The Prairie.
As you can guess, my fiction interests tend towards 1-2 centuries ago and the outdoors!

Christmas season is officially over (although some celebrate til the Presentation), but our Christmas tree is still up and beautiful-although I think its days are numbered this weekend. Much work has been done on the homestead this past month as we built a new horse pen, slaughtered a couple hogs, several chickens, started cutting and splitting wood for next winter, and burned much yard debris. Our Fall square dance was held on January 2nd this year and a success (by our counts anyway.)

The freezer is full; the boys back at college; and the schedule is full. Life is good-although we miss the boys.

Oremus pro invicem!