Monday, February 26, 2007


Construction weekend (doing some work around the house) is over, but the contruction is not. A friend gave us some old pine boards to patch some bad areas in our kitchen floor-it looks absolutely marvelous-and so much more. Go to get back to work....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Post Number 700!

The library at the school I teach at is 'updating' its collection. This has been a goldmine for me as they make room on the shelves. The other day I picked up a slim volume entitled, "The Writing of Biography" by Catherine Drinker Bowen. The author has just completed a biography of John Adams and in 31 pages details how she went about her research and writing. One passage, true in her day (1950), may not (?) be true for many academic historians today:

While the biographer reads, he is actually in process of compostion; he recites passages to friends on the telephone; he talks continually about his great discovery. In this process of research, he employs no helpers, no apprentices, no Ph.D. students to do his reading for him, nor even his filing. It would be too dangerous; something vital might be missed. Painting a potrait, does the artist hire an apprentice to choose his colors, to decide the pose in which the subject will sit, or the texture of the frame in which the portrait will hang?

To be continued.....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


No, I am not blog-fasting during Lent. Things have just been very busy.

Haven't decided on my Lenten reading yet, but I do know that I will be reading the meditation at the end of "A Doctor at Calvary" during Holy Week (as has become somewhat of a tradition for me.)

Don't recall if I mentioned we have a couple puppy litters to get rid of (6 pups and 2 pups). One puppy didn't make it. And we have gotten rid of 3 so far. If you're in the area and want one, just stop on by...


I know I promised to write some last year on Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, but I am not sure how much I really ever wrote. (No time to look in the archives presently.) Now I realize I am probably not prepared even now to write much commentary about it-except that I know that we have come to know some people who are living out the charity attributed to the early Christian community. I have been humbled in the last 2 years to see these people in action. I can not even speak coherently about what I have learned from these families: learned about myself and about true Christian charity.

Some people give-even to their own discomfort, but still hold back something for themselves. We have experienced families who just give without thinking about themselves or their own comforts. May God bless these friends and provide for their physical and spiritual needs! I am sure I have not thanked them enough for their support during some of our very trying times last year. More importantly, I hope we have learned enough to recognize and respond to others who have need of God's love through us (who doesn't?).

We have experienced many changes over the last three years-and more (I think) are yet to come. Hopefully we can embrace God's will and really contemplate what God has blessed us with as we move forward.

Am pressed for time this afternoon, so I will leave it at that for the moment.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Catch up time

More car stuff. It seems to plague us these days (the latest is simply a dead battery) but overall the car department is looking up. It just keeps me from doing much of anything else. We have a "new" car in the mix now. Let's see how fast we can kill it. (This allows me to return the truck I have been borrowing before I manage to kill it. Don't laugh, it has happened before.)

Am now reading "The Ox-Bow Incident". My last pre-lent foray. Never read this before, nor saw the movie. But I used to see pictures of the movie all the time. I always wondered if Roy Rogers or Gene Autry were in it. (Henry Fonda).

Worked on cleaning out the garage (my workshop) some today. Next weekend some friends are coming over to paint and help repair a couple things which need more than a few hands. So we are getting ready. Friend in Columbia, SC has some old pine flooring which just matches what our kitchen floor needs in places. So I will pick some up next week. God is good.

Well back to work. Hopefully I can check in a few times next week and maybe publicize the lenten specials at

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ave's, St. Valentine, and Penny Dreadfuls

Here's a curious thing I noticed. I start every class I teach with a prayer. (I don't know how common this is in the school). Now the school is around 50% Catholic (I have heard numbers ranging from 45% to 65%). More often than not we begin with the Our Father. (Early in the year I experimented with doing a different Psalm every week-but inevitably the students would misplace the sheet I printed out for them with the Psalm printed on it.) Recently I have been starting class with a Hail Mary. Now for the curious thing: it seems more students pray-or pray louder when we begin with the Ave than when we begin with the Pater. I would have thought the opposite, based on the demographics mentioned above. Hmmm....


From The Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Valentine

At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known. Read the rest here .


Finally, a short excerpt from "Giving Up Stealing for Lent" in keeping with the day:

Mom was strict, but she also had a really good sense of humor. My oldest sister, Grace, remembers how when she was small she and Mom used to go out late on the night before Valentine’s Day and slip valentines in all of the neighbors’ mail slots. They weren’t the mushy kind, but lampooning ones called "Penny Dreadfuls"—they cost a penny each and were simply dreadful!

It was a tradition in Mom’s family as long as she could remember. Grandma Manning, Mom, and her older sisters Mary and Jenny would sit down with a batch of these things and figure out which one fit which neighbor best, signing a neighbor’s name to each one. Late that night when the streets were deserted, they would then make their deliveries-always seeing to it, of course, that they received a valentine too, just in case anyone asked.

This was a risky venture in those staid times of the first decades of the 20th century, and Grandpa never knew about it. It was just as well. His job required good public relations, as he was Deputy Marshal of the Police Department in Baltimore City, the equivalent to a Deputy Police Commissioner today. Because of the politics of the time, there would have been considerable uproar if Grandma’s annual prank had ever been exposed!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Quick note: (I haven't finished the article-and haven't worked on it since I decided to devote my blogging time to writing it...). The 2007 Catholic Blog Awards voting has started.

First I note: we at Bethune Catholic are again not up for an award (there must be some kind of conspiracy). I also note that usually I am familiar with many of the nominees. This year, there are many I have never heard of. As the Ink Spots used to sing, Don't get around much anymore....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not much blogging going on....

Last night one of my sons gave us a sermon (sometimes they do that) on "mistakes married couples make". First piece of advice: "Most married couples don't work their kids hard enough." (I asked afterward if this was a message directed towards Mrs. Curley and myself. He replied, "Oh no. Notice I said most, not all.")

The second piece of advice was not to become too greedy based on the favors we receive from others. (I hope that wasn't directed towards us either, but I was afraid to ask.)


Am trying to finish an article (hopefully for publication somewhere) which is based on one of my posts here from a couple years ago. Haven't written an article for publication in many months now. I know I have one or two left in me. So blogging will be light for a couple days until I either get this thing done or give up.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A comedy of errors ....

Running a little late on Sunday morning, but finally have everyone in the car. Then the one with a runny nose says she forgot the tissues. Run back to the house, just as I unlock the door, a call from the car, "We have the tissues". Try to get the key out of the lock-stuck. Key won't come out. Mrs. Curley confirms she has her keys. We lock up everything else-leaving key in door and get in the car.

Try to back the van up, power steering gone. Make quick decision, half get in number one daughter's car. Half jump in borrowed truck. (Other truck in shop.)

Get to Mass 2 minutes late. Whew! (Someone at Mass told us later that they were praying we weren't all dead because "The Curley's are never late to Mass." )

On the way home, notice number one daughter's car has a low tire. Stop at gas station and try to fill it up. Air pump seems to work, but takes out more air than it puts in. Am told that there is another gas station at the stop sign just around the corner.... 3 miles later with a narrowing road, turning to dirt in some places, we must have gone around the wrong corner. Slowly nurse car back into Lancaster and fill tire with air. Whew!

Get home and stay there. Will try again on Monday. (By the way, van simply missing some p.s. fluid. Working fine now.)

Friday, February 02, 2007


Well, I guess it is time to take down the Christmas tree. Just last night the first two bulbs slipped off the branches. And now Lent is just around the corner.

We mentioned this fact to our CCD class on Wednesday night. There were a couple comments to the effect that they hated Lent-having to give up things and all that. What a different perspective Mr. Riddle brings:

I was reminded yesterday by Tom at Disputations that it is never too early to begin thinking about Lent. Since I've been thinking about Lent since the day after Easter last year, I would heartily concur with that opinion. I love Lent. I love the spirit of penitence that never seems like penitence because it is such a calm and peaceful sea in which to swim. So many things to give up and then never notice their absence because the faculties are ordered to paying attention to God. For me, the season is a small miracle each year.

I can recall years when I truly looked forward to Lent, and other years where I dreaded its coming. In those latter years, I must have been fighting against God's grace.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Had a 2-hour delay this morning at the school I teach at due to ice/freezing rain/snow. We had some snow, but the roads were okay. Was hoping to be weathered in, but no such luck.

It is Catholic Schools week. We said the rosary as a school on Monday in conjunction with all the Catholic schools in the diocese for world peace. We have Mass tomorrow. Maybe I will do some reflection on Catholic schools later.

Heard some news this week which outraged me and practically broke my heart. (No details to follow.) Pray for the people involved.

Oremus pro invicem!