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!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Two Pictures

Usually I walk in the late afternoon. But yesterday I started my walk just before sunset.

First, as I was passing my hogs, I was struck by the "3 generations", the boar being in the foreground. 2 hogs from last years litter next, and if strain your eyes, you can see this years litter in the background. The picture isn't that good as it is from my cellphone.

The next picture, just around the corner from the hogs is even less clear, but the color that did come through is beautiful.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Late summer harvest

Been very busy with all sorts of things, including planting the fall garden. But we are still getting produce from the summer garden. Many things are finished, but banana peppers, green peppers, egg plant and pumpkins are still going strong.

(I don't know why my phone took these in black and white!)


 
 
Additionally we harvested our peanuts today. It took 3.5 of us about 4 hours to dig and stack them. A better crop than last year, even though we planted less.
 
The peanuts remain on their bush, stacked as pictured for about 2 weeks to dry. Then we separate the peanuts from the hay. We will give the hay to the pigs as we are temporarily without a milk cow who generally gets the hay.
 
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Of Statues, Monuments, and Flags

The Chestonian principle:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it. - G.K. Chesterton

When deciding about removing flags, monuments, statues, etc. I think it is wise to first consider the Chestonian principle - by the community that "owns" the statue/monument.
 
Quick thought: I don't think many people in America would object to Russian citizens toppling statues of Lenin when the Soviet Union collapsed.
 
A local (county, university, town, state) population should decide why they honored X (substitute the name of any Confederate General, flag, monument, public figure) on their public grounds in the first place. If they decide that this person/symbol no longer represents their values or the community and want to remove it, then they have that right.
 
However, outsiders like Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump or myself should have no demands in the matter.
 
A member of Congress from California has no standing in agitating for the removal of Robert E. Lee from any venue but from Federal property or in her own local district on public land (as a private citizen in the latter case.)
 
In this era of so-called "self-identification", isn't it ironic that local communities are being pressured to conform their identity to political correctness?
 
The argument that Confederate Generals are traitors and should not be honored is misleading. The issue of the legality of succession was decided by the War Between the States. Before the Civil War, various states (including Northern states) had discussed succession and not considered it a treasonous proposition, but an option. It is not the equivalent of putting up a statue of John Wilkes Booth or Benedict Arnold!
 
On the other hand, those who say we are trying to change history when we remove monuments, are also wrong. We are only re-evaluating who we honor from our history.
 
There is much complexity to these issues which also depend on the type of monument and its venue.
 
For example, a memorial for soldiers who died in the Civil War is not so much a statement on the war itself (as the Vietnam Memorial is not) as a remembrance of family and friends who died. After all while most of the Confederate officers may have owned slaves, many, if not most, non-officer soldiers did not.
 
The Confederate flag may have a different legacy. It is a powerful symbol that many have used has a symbol of white supremacy both recently and also when they began to be raised on Southern states capital buildings in the 1960's. There would seem to be much more justification for their removals.
 
Individual Confederate Generals/Officers monuments may sometimes lay somewhere in-between the two examples noted above. Many of these men may have been honored for attributes other than, or in addition to, their leadership roles in the Confederacy.
 
However, in each case the local community should make thoughtful decisions.
 
We need to pray for peace in this country (an in our own souls.)
 
On this Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary .... Oremus pro invicem!