Thursday, April 27, 2017

Requiescat in pace, John Meehan

From the  Northeast Catholic College website:

Today, Northeast Catholic College mourns the death of one of its founders, John D. Meehan.

Speaking of Meehan’s legacy, college president Dr. George Harne observed: “....Fundamentally Augustinian in his spiritual orientation, love motivated him in all his works for the Church, a Church to which he was unabashedly devoted.”

I only met him as a youth when my sisters attended the (then) Magdalen College. But he is a man hard to forget. In more recent years I spoke with him in conjunction with publishing his book "Two Towers" by Requiem Press. He always inspired and impressed me in speaking with him and reading his thoughts.
Dr. Harne's words are true.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Polly has 12

We woke up this morning to a new litter.

Sam is due any day now also.

Game hen hatched out a clutch of 12 a couple days ago. I guess a dozen is the number.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Trade

Take a 14 year-year old Jersey milk cow which is dry and un-bred. Trade her for a 6 year-old Jersey milk cow in milk (3 months since freshened) and probably bred. Even up!
Sure there were circumstances (a low bag hard to both hand milk and for calves to suckle), but nothing else.
And after milking her for a couple weeks, that bag isn't so saggy.

He is Risen! Alleluia!
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

He is Risen!

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I just returned from a weekend in Florida for the funeral of my wife's Grandmother. May Mary Tess Hoyt and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace!

Read this at The Imaginative Conservative on whether Capitalism is the enemy of the family. Here are some thoughts to contemplate (whether you are a Capitalist or otherwise) - quotes being from Dr. Allan Carlson's recent essay (link not provided):
“Simply put, capitalism—at the most basic level—has a vested interest in family weakness,” he (Carlson) argues. Traditionally, and well into America’s founding period, autonomous, self-sufficient families and communities were considered the ideal and necessary foundation for civilization: culturally, educationally and economically. This was indeed a view espoused notably by Thomas Jefferson. “Capitalism, however, grows as it takes over tasks and functions once performed by families or within closely knit communities, and reorganizes them on the industrial model.” Capitalism’s takeover begins with yarn, then clothing, food processing and transportation, and finally almost everything, supported in its efforts by the state, which takes over culture through mandatory schooling and child-welfare regulation.

In the end, the author believes Carlson's argument is not with all Capitalism:
All in all, Dr. Carlson’s case against capitalism is powerful. However, as his distinction between small companies and Wall Street illuminates, his argument is not against all capitalism but against what most people would call crony capitalism—i.e., large firms manipulating state regulatory power to gain more than what a free market would give them.  Indeed, crony capitalism should be the proper target of Dr. Carlson’s entire critique.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 24, 2017


In an article in a national magazine for electrical engineers (IEEE Spectrum) on whether (some) robots should be considered “persons” or have “personhood rights” (really???) such as a corporation has rights, there is a quote from an Australian law professor:
Legal persons must know and be able to claim their rights: They must be able to assert themselves as members of a society, which is why nonhuman animals (and some incapacitated humans), and artifacts like AIs should not be considered legal persons. (my emphasis added.)

Interestingly, it was not my highlighted exception which surprised or had not been previously considered by the author of the article, or even commented on during the rest of the article. Why am I continually surprised?
Obviously, already in today’s society certain humans have been routinely denied the rights of persons – namely the unborn and those considered in comas or “brain dead” (whatever that means – the definition of which is constantly in flux due to convenience and organ donation issues.)
But apparently we haven’t reached the end of the road in denying rights. Throughout history man has denied the humanity of one group or another. Even though we believe we are the "enlightened" generations, it goes on and on.
On this eve of the Feast of the Annunciation .... Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My view on the Benedict Option ...

... is actually someone else's.

I haven't read a lot of reviews, and I haven't read the book, but from reading about BO from Rod Dreher's blog, the sense I get corresponds pretty well to this review.

If the Benedict Option is just Christianity, it is neither inherently Benedictine nor is it optional. If it is a feeling and an intuition, it needs to be guided by careful thought.
Dreher himself, in an earlier articulation of it, says it is the charge to be distinctly Christian and countercultural in the face of cultural hostility “even if that means some degree of intentional separation from the mainstream” (italics Dreher’s). But that already has a name: Christianity.

Christianity has always called one to be countercultural - the struggle to be in the world but not of the world.

I have no particular plans to read the book, so I probably won't mention it again.
It was my privilege this past weekend to visit with some young men from Florida State U and Rutgers along with a few of the Brothers from the Brotherhood of Hope at a working retreat of sorts in NC.
In talking to one of the Brothers, I was again struck by how much going on a mission trip to serve the poor changes the lives (and plans) of so many people.
The Brothers work at secular campuses to bring Christ to those who don't know Him.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Corn, Snow, and "The Benedict Option"

We almost planted corn on Saturday but ran out of time. We woke up to snow and more cold weather on Sunday. Still cold today, but I think I will be planting my sweet corn within a week.
Reading a review (review by Collin Hansen) of Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option:
Here’s how to get started with the antipolitical politics of the Benedict Option. Secede culturally from the maintream. Turn off the television. Put the smartphones away. Read books. Play games. Make music. Feast with your neighbors. It is not enough to avoid what is bad; you must also embrace what is good. Start a church, or a group within your church. Open a classical Christian school, or join and strengthen one that exists. Plant a garden, and participate in a local farmer’s market. Teach kids how to play music, and start a band. Join the volunteer fire department.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar!
Personally, I am more interested in reading Out of the Ashes by Anthony
I think the so-called Benedict Option is nothing more than living the Faith - being in the world but not of it. This is what Christians have been called to do for 2000 years. But we need resets because we are seduced by the world and need to pull back periodically - Oh, that's called LENT!
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017


Read in the Emergency waiting room (waiting to find out daughter did NOT have appendicitis):

Now, since people tend to prize knowledge above holiness, we must be warned that this enlightening is not an understanding of the Divine Mysteries. It is a call (vocation) to obedience; and it is a mission (apostolate) to love the laws of God: the two Great Commandments. (Conversio by John Meehan 1976)

I think it is true - people love to know things - and we sometimes think because we have all this knowledge, that we are holy. (I know the commandments; I know the catechism; I know the proper rubrics for the Mass; .... etc.) But probably most of us will realize this is false if we think about it.
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

books, peas, and school

The "Closing of the American Mind" is all but closed. Some interesting points including a back-handed compliment on Great Books curriculums. Here we are 30 years later and the holding hostage of colleges is beginning again. The colleges never recovered from the first time.
I finished listening to Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne last week. Verne often uses science or writes science fiction (i.e. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) in his stories. This one was devoid of it except near the end on one crucial point. Without giving a spoiler, let me just say that Verne makes use of the Leidenfrost effect (you've seen this when a drop of water skitters across a skillet when the skillet is much hotter than the boiling point of water - or when liquid nitrogen drops skitter across a floor.)
Planted peas and broccoli, and carrots, and radishes, and lots of other things the past two weekends. However, it has been so warm, I wonder if I am not a few weeks late.
I tilled the patch we will be growing sweet corn this year. I am thinking of planting some this weekend.
Teaching is going this spring. I hesitate to say "going well" because I am not sure what that means: everyone getting "A's" for example? Well that's not the case. Mid-term is at the end of this week, and one of my classes is a disaster (grade-wise.) I am hoping the test this week will renew my confidence in today's students!
There seems to be two major problems with the students I see. First is a lack of foundational knowledge in math (after all, I teach sciences). It is hard to understand more complex topics if the underlying math (usually high school algebra) is close to a mystery for the student.
Secondly (and this may be the cause of the first), there seems to be an expectation of continuous opportunities. That is: do poorly on a test and just retake it and do better.
I can see why. Apparently many high schools give almost unlimited chances to complete homework and test assignments. Do the assignment as many times as you want - until you get the grade you are satisfied with (this last is a quote from a teacher). I kid you not. I have recently become quite aware of this. It may be a way to move students along (because failure is bad for self-esteem?).
I don't know, but it does not do the students any good when they reach a higher level.
Oremus pro invicem!