Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just got a phone call ...

...from my sister who is helping my Mother go through old pictures and family artifacts this summer. Sister asked me if I wanted a box of my old school work, report cards, and art work from my young days shipped to me, or whether they should toss them. What a question! While I am not so sentimental that I keep everything (some might say I'm a packrat-but I'm not really), nonetheless, how could I pass this up-just to look and have my kids look (at the good stuff).

So get ready, I will probably be posting a thing or two when the box arrives.


Going back to the comment above about being a packrat and below about Fr. John's EWTN interview, Fr. John made a comment (probably uniquely expressed for Mother Angelica's show) last night that we couldn't open our hearts to the Holy Spirit until we "got rid of the junk and crap" which fillw our lives and our hearts.


Young pup is pretty sick. Mrs. Curley is at the vet with her right now....

Oremus pro invicem!

I am in BIG trouble!

In 2000, our pastor, Fr. John O'Holohan, was a guest on Mother Angelica Live at EWTN. Father had a video tape of his guest spot. Now we came to our parish in 2003. Sometime around 2.5 years ago, Father asked me if he had lent me his video of his EWTN spot. I told him I love to see it, but no, he hadn't lent it to me. Over the next year he must have asked me 2-3 more times if he had lent it to me. Then he started asking everyone. One day he even made an announcement after Mass asking for the return of the video to whomever he at lent it. (You can see where this is going....)

Yesterday, while searching through bookcases in my office for something to read I came across a video tape behind some books. The handwriting on the label was a familiar scrall and read, "Mother Angelica & Fr. J OHolohan SJ 14 June 2000 - 1 hr interview". Oh no, I thought. It can't be!

I showed Mrs. Curley. She looked aghast and said, "I want to be there when you return this!". (I think she takes an adverse pleasure in seeing me suffer humiliation.)

Fr. John is in Ireland on his yearly month-long vacation-so I have a week respite. It is not that he will be angry, it is that I hate to have been the one causing him to waste time over this. He will just smile and say thanks, no problem etc.

So we watched the video last night. (After all, that's why he lent it to us.) It was a great show. This was taped 4 years before we knew Fr. John. He hasn't changed a bit. One story (about us being like pigs being led to the slaughter) was familiar.

I had to laugh. Raymond Arroyo asked Fr. John about lay spirituality, and Fr. John started talking about Thomas More. After discussing something of his prayer life and how he was a family man, Fr. John mentioned that after his wife died, Thomas More remarried, "and his 2nd wife practically nagged him to death." Raymond Arroyo raises his eyebrows in surprise, laughs and says, "We won't go there Father." And Mother Angelica comments, "And then he was martyred. I guess you could say he was practically martyred twice."

Great stuff.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Boy is it raining. It held up long enough for the boys to do some outside chores, but nothing else will get done today. http://www.weather.com/ says it is partly cloudy here....I guess they're correct in a sense, but it is a little more than that.

Spent a good part of the morning de-spamming one of our (Requiem Press) email accounts. It is a little used account, but I tried to open it the other day and couldn't with webmail because there were over 8000 junk emails inside. What a way to waste time.

Just a reminder to put out there (tell all your friends) that Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church (Russell Shaw) is on a 2nd printing pre-order special ($11.95 - usually $14.95). A great time to buy a copy for your local library.

I will have some definite and exciting news about our fall releases (we haven't released a new book since November 2006) in a couple days. Stay tuned.

Oremus pro invicem!

More catching up and the weekend

When I opened my June issue of Columbia Magazine I was surprised to find an article on St. Thomas More by Hilaire Belloc! I rubbed my eyes and did a double-take. But it was no hallucination. They are selectively reprinting articles from past issues this year. This particular one was from 1928-before Thomas More's canonization. Here's a short quote (similar to one HB makes in his book "Characters of the Reformation"):

His death aroused a prodigious storm of excitement throughout all Christendom. … Four hundred years hardly obliterated the effect of that violent shock. It is perhaps truer to say that after 400 years the sacrifice which Blessed Thomas More made of his life becomes larger and larger in men’s eyes with every passing decade. I can believe that a hundred years hence he will appear as one of the ten chief men of that great time.

And the picture of Thomas More's cell at the online article does not appear in the print edition.

Belloc's contention on Thomas More's increasing importance is perhaps borne out by the fact of so many books published in this country about him in this century, (another coming out in late fall-God willing.)


Saturday we worked very hard at getting the chicken coop in shape. We have more work to do, but got a good start. Day-olds should be arriving sometime next week. We cleaned out the old hen house and started putting security measures in place. One thing that would seem to work is putting down old chain link fence flat on the ground around the coop. Dogs (and hopefully other predators) don't like to walk on it, and can't dig where it is at. as long as the borders are anchored, they can't squeeze under it either. We happened to have some lying around, so will make use of it. This time we will also have a double fenced chicken yard, keeping the chickens on the inside fence at night and when we are away from Bethany.

Still have a door to fix, chick houses to rejuvenate, dirt to move, and the second fence to build. But we made good progress Saturday. I think we'll be ready.

We are planning our fall planting also. Our soil is so sandy, (like a beach if you can believe it), that we really need to build it up with alot more manure and peat moss. Our first year here we did this and had a pretty good summer crop. I think we have to do this ever season. This could get expensive, but with our own chickens (granted the manure has to set a year) , and I have a line on some free horse manure, we might start to do things right.

Saturday night we let boys stay up to watch Fort Apache (library video borrow) with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple, and the indispensable Ward Bond. We were almost at the end-when the cavalry was entering the canyon in pursuit of the Apache-when the tape automatically rewinds. I try it again-and it rewinds. The tape must have broken at some time and the end cut off. I think I remember the ending, but the boys have never scene it. Will have to secure another copy somewhere.

After Mass on Sunday, Mrs. Curley and I had a good chance to do some talking over things and plans while the children ran around outside getting soaked with water guns-a well-deserved relaxation. After everyone dried off, we watched the concluding half of The Sound of Music (we had started it a couple weeks ago) while we ate dinner on the living room floor. Now I guess I should get back to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 27, 2007


After a 24 hour struggle, we named the new pup Dutchess. This is partially in honor of the Great Dane Mrs. Curley had as a child.

Six (6) priests will be ordained for our diocese this evening, the most for us since 1956. One is a former Marine Colonel. May God be with them tonight and throughout their priesthood.

I keep getting tempted to enter into the presidential politics fray-but it just seems way too early to me to discuss it. The other night my alma mater hosted the Democratic debate and a good friend of mine in Columbia is Sen. Brownback SC campaign director. At the same time alot of people I respect are talking up Ron Paul. I know I can't vote for either Romney or Guiliani (neither of whom can win the South). So I guess it is time to do my research as the pressure is building to make an early choice.

At the shrine on Wednesday, we watched a short video of a Polish pilgrimage for our Lady's Dormation and Assumption. Quite impressive how the culture is so Catholic there. Of course walking pilgrimages have always fascinated me. I recall fondly reading Belloc's The Path to Rome and have always wanted to do a walking pilgrimage (before my kness). Watch out! Some crazy ideas are starting to float around this head of mine....

If you are passing through or live in SC-go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Joyful Hope/SC in Kingstree. It is simple-but there is something special there...

Oremus pro invicem!

Additions ....

We have a new puppy (7 weeks old). She is a collie/spaniel mix-coloring like a border collie. She's from the local shelter so we don't have an exact pedigree. However, neither collies nor spaniels are bird dogs, so hopefully this will work out well for us (and for our neighbors). Of course she cried off and on all night, we kept her in a crate in the house for her first night here. Fortunately I am a sound sleeper-unfortunately Mrs. Curley is not....

We also ordered our new chickens last night. We ordered a straight run of Barred Rocks which we will raise for both eggs and meat and try to perpetuate if possible. And we are getting some Buff Orpintons (hens only) mostly for egg production. These latter are supposed to be good setters, so we are counting on perpetuating the egg flock. I figure we will get at least one or two roosters in the 'hens only' batch.

Neither breed was our first choice, we wanted White Rocks and Partridge Rocks-but one was sold out and the other's availability didn't fit our schedule.

We want to raise the puppy with the chickens, so there is not a problem there. Also we want eggs in the late winter-early spring, so we have to start now.

The kids are going to have a small fresh egg business, selling eggs for about $150-$2.00 a dozen as they are available. They won't have too many dozens to sell each week, but it will be a tangible contribution to the family economy-besides they'll get to keep part of the profits.

We have a week and a half to get the chicken coops back in order. Doors need fixing, fences reinforcements, and protection from 'critters' needs some reinforcement also. I know what I'll be doing this weekend ....

Mrs. Curley wants to get some pot belly pigs soon also. But that is a little ways off.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Living vs. Just Wage

Here's a must read analysis of the subject, (hat tip to The Ratzinger Fan Club):

One of the big issues for those who are big into Catholic Social Teaching, especially as regards to economics, is the "living wage". The idea is that it is unjust to hire someone and then pay them less than the amount of money it would take to support their family at a decent level of human dignity. I see what's being aimed at with the living wage idea, but I have a couple of issues with it. First of all, there's the question of what level of life a "living wage" is meant to support. It seems to me that most people who use the phrase generally mean a mainstream American middle class life, with a single income, a stay at home mom, and a number of kids. (This may seem pretty normal among Americans and to an extent Europeans discussing all this -- but it strikes me as important to recall that this level of existence would be considered fabulously wealthy at nearly any other time or place in history.)

There's another concept that often gets mixed up with the "living wage" which is the "just wage". A just wage is a wage that accurately reflects the value which the employee creates. So for instance, if an employee at a furniture workshop is single-handedly turning a $100 pile of lumber into a $800 dining room table -- one would imagine that his just wage would include a fairly decent portion of the $700 in gross profit that he helped create. If it takes him ten hours to make the table, but his employer is only paying him $5/hr, we probably have a problem here in regards to just wage.

Now, is the living wage the same as the family wage? And there is the question posed above as to what standard of living we are talking about. Remember that the non-working mother is a recent phenomenon-that is when there existed family economies, the mother contributed to the family income-just she did it at home instead of at the factory or office. "Leave it to Beaver" mom's only existed in recent history. So what standard are we discussing.

Read the whole thing.

Catching up on reading ....

From the May 2007 Columbia Father Michael P. Orsi writes on vocations to the priesthood in America and the "priest shortage". I am not sure I agree with all his conclusions, but I want to quote one part in particular:

Who of us educated prior to Vatican II cannot recall daydreaming about being a priest like the ones we read about in our Catholic-edition history books or in the inspirational stories found in our Catholic readers? Who can ever deny the desire felt, if only for a moment, to becom a priest after an iteinerant vocation recruiter extolled the virtues and visions of his order's founder? All these experiences helped to define the priesthood, and inspired many to want to emulate such hallowed figures in their vocations.

Well, I didn't have the Catholic-edition history books or Catholic readers in my parish school-I was in school after Vatican II, and these books had been replaced. But we had these same tossed-aside books at home, and yes I can vividly recall these daydreams.

The same issue has Russell Shaw showing how dissent from Catholic moral teachings lowers human dignity. Mr. Shaw also takes on Daniel C. Maguire's (Marquette U) pamphlets which try to make the case for contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. If you can find a copy of the May issue, both articles are worth reading. Unfortunately neither are online.

Feast of St. James (yesterday)

Of course St. James is my namesake. Our pilgrimage to Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine in Kingstree, SC falling on this feast was simply a coincidence. But our pilgrimage brought out a discussion of other pilgrimage sites-including the Compostella in Spain where St. James is purported to by buried. This was one of the three major pilgrimages (the others being the Holy Land and Rome).

Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela would wear an identifying badge-identifying them as pilgrims-travelers to or from the site. Their badge was the shell-possibly as a reminder or renewal of their Baptism (they used a shell to scoop the water and to pour over their head). Families who had a member who had made the pilgrimage made the symbol part of their coat of arms, clothing decorations etc.

Apparently the family who owned Shell Oil had a ancestor who made the pilgrimage and thought the shell would be a good traveler motif. Thus we have the Shell Oil symbol.

I am sure many of you already knew this-but I just found out yesterday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Our Lady of South Carolina!

I learned so much today that I have enough material to post on for a week if I can remember it all. Suffice to say it was a very good pilgrimage for the family. We said the rosary on the way and at the shrine. We also all went to confession and then heard Mass. Fr. Stan Smolenski is a good priest and was a pleasure to talk with.

Just as starters, I finally learned why growing up we could say the rosary in 7 minutes flat and morning Mass could be done in less than 15 minutes. It was because we are Irish and our priests were Irish. The tradition for 400 years in Ireland was to be quick so as not to be caught. Thus carried over to the new world.

Following up on the last post on crop subsidies, Mrs. Curley and I were talking about this last night. In the whole history of mankind, it seems that only in recent years (in developed countries) has the procurement of food become taken for granted. I mean, a good part of every day used to be spent growing or working (or hunting) for food. Is it easier to be closer to God when our daily bread is really so much in the balance?

Now, in general most of us don't worry about food-the government is taking care of this by keeping prices low. But because we aren't worrying about food, what do we worry about? Sure we do worry about shelter-mortgages and the like. But what style of shelter do we have? And are we spending more time worrying about (note worrying about is not true worry, but plotting how to obtain or spending time with) DVD's, iPods, cars, boats, jet skis, computer games and gadgets? Are the worries of the age of technology those which draw us closer to God? Do they draw us closer to each other? Or do they help us draw into ourselves? (And what does this do to the spirit of the growers of food?)

John Senior, writing in 1978 (The Death of Christian Culture), discusses how the new art doesn't imitate nature, but is there for itself. Modernism "is an assault on the verb 'to be", that its formal cause is 'artificiality'. Thus the Modernist escapes from real experience through hallucination and virtual reality experiences.

Maybe we are doing that in our lives. We escape into technolgy which provides virtual reality experiences or close to it and leave the real living to the ash heap.

Does any of this make sense or connect. Maybe its too early in the morning....


Pilgrimage today! Will report on it later.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another good post

The Yeoman Farmer has an enlightening post on farming and farm subsidies-with this ariticle being the starting point. Be forewarned, some of the article may be shocking to your sense of fairness.

I am one also who believes people should be paid a fair price for the work they do and the product they make or grow.

Good post over at Caelum et Terra on torture and reason, and society. Mr. Nichols writes:

I once believed that one could create a just social order based upon reason alone. .....I first became aware of the insufficiency of reason alone in the moral sphere when thinking about euthanasia. One simply cannot construct an argument against shortening the suffering of the terminally ill that will convince reason, apart from transcendent truth, for there is no meaning to suffering that can be understood apart from Revelation. Reason cannot grasp that suffering can have meaning and purpose, that it can be a participation in the redemption of the world.

This post reminds me of discussions I have had about Thomas More's Utopia. Many have thought possibly that St. Thomas was a closet Communist or a rash of other things. In reality, I believe that he was exploring what a society would look like based on reason, but no grace or Revealation.


Off topic-Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church is at the printer for its 2nd printing. (Hurrah!). We are offering a 2nd-printing pre-order special on it. (It will ship in late August.) Check it out.


I like this. Here are two normalcy's:

3. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to be knowledgeable about their faith, the Scriptures, the doctrinal and moral teachings of the church, and the history of the Church.

6. It is NORMAL for lay Catholics to have the fellowship of other committed lay Catholics available to them, to encourage, nurture, and discern as they attempt to follow Jesus.

I don't know how normal these things really are in the experience of most Catholics-but no doubt they should be. Both (and see the rest) are critical to renewing the culture.


I have finished Walter Macken's Seek the Fair Land. I heartily recommend these historical novels on the Irish saga. Of course reading the Macken trilogy-especially this last (actually the first) makes me more committed to getting Lives of the Irish Martyrs (Myles O'Reilly) back in print.

Now maybe I can finish John Senior's Death of Christian Culture.

Oremus pro invicem!

I have buried chickens, kittens, puppies, dogs and wild dogs on our small holding. Last night it was more difficult. Indeed, it was our dog who was at our neighbors chickens. Our neighbor caught her yesterday (before dawn). He turned her over to us in the early evening.

We let the children say good-bye to her before going to bed. I dug her grave next to Randy's and then dispatched her while she ate some chicken (what else?) left over from dinner. These things aren't easy, but they have to be done. My oldest son was closest to her. He helped me dig the grave.

These are chores which try me. After yesterday, what we need around here is a new pup....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random thoughts

It is about 6 weeks since my teaching job ended, and I'm putting on weight. Never thought it would happen, but I guess it makes sense. Teaching, I was on my feet for 6-7 hours every day, standing or walking. Now I sit in front of the computer for a good part of every day. I will have to change this.

We are planning a fall crop and thinking of the future too. We are going to get some blueberry bushes and maybe a peach and fig tree in the fall. We had a fig tree when we lived in Columbia, but the squirrels always seemed to get the figs before we did.

Just wondering if pictures make a blog more interesting or if blog-readers are more sophisticated than that. I never had pictures for a long time until one day I figured out how to put them up, now I am always looking for the picture link. Of course mostly I think the blog is for me and occasionally to get a rise out of Mrs. Curley when she reads it. So I guess I have to ask myself the question.

Our pregnant yellow-lab type dog is missing this morning. Hope that doesn't mean our neighbor with the chickens got her. Or she could be hiding out have pups. Who knows?

Oremus pro invicem!

Rio Bravo

Mrs. Curley and I watched the big daddy of all westerns Saturday night: Rio Bravo. It was such good western, that the director, Howard Hawks, remade versions of it twice more-both starring John Wayne as in the original. Some of the scenes in the remakes are almost identical even if the characters are switched around.

Rio Bravo does not simply have the presence of John Wayne; Walter Brennan steals the show-even up to end. They rarely make dialog like this anymore.

And who can resist Dean Martin as the recovering drunk and Ricky Nelson as the hot (or should I say coooool) young gunslinger. These four make an unlikely bunch to outwit and outgun the "Burdett" gang.

Alot of great scenes in the movie. One of the quieter ones features Dean Martin crooning a western song with Walter Brennan on the harmonica, followed up by Ricky Nelson singing an early hit. John Wayne kept out of the music bit.

Plot is not only action with some humor, but also deals with a recovering drunk and some risque dialog (and one costume) from traveling card player Angie Dickenson. So-it is really not recommended for the young.

Still, one of my favorite westerns.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Number 800!

So the directions say: Assembly time: 1 hour 35 minutes. And I'm a pretty handy guy. I started the ceiling fan project at 10:00 AM and I jokingly told Mrs. Curley, "You'll have your kitchen back at 4:00". I was joking-she didn't have it back til 6:30!

Granted, there were a few things I was doing. The ceiling fan was not going in where a light fixture had been before, so I had to drill holes, thread wire, etc., etc. But this wasn't the 'hard part'. It was the ceiling fan itself-and this is my third so I should be a pro. Well its done now.

Number one son helped me and kept his patience with me. I sort of got bent out of shape when he dropped a split washer into the fan motor. Yet he didn't say a word when I dropped a nut down the air conditioning vent.

My other two older sons spent the day first digging a compost pit and then the rest of the day moving sand from the end of our driveway back up to the top. Everyone worked hard today.

Am taking a break with a Keystone Light-but must get back to helping put the kids to bed.

Oh yes, and this is post number 800 on this blog. A milestone day to be sure.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tax time again ...

Actually, this isn't so bad. Quarterly I have to send into the state the sales tax I have collected selling books. I almost always forget and do it at the last moment. This isn't such a terrible thing. My local sales are not high (after all, how many Catholics are there in SC) and sales in general .... well, I'll just leave that one alone.

By the way, speaking of books, I might note that my long-neglected other blog still has the introduction and first chapter of John Meehan's Two Towers-the deChristianization of America and a Plan for Renewal up for free reading if you're interested. You have to scroll down a bit to get to the beginning, but its there.

And.... more good news. The 2nd Printing (yes, we sold out the 1st) of Russell Shaw's Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church should finally be availble soon-we're looking at mid-August.

The back cover of the 2nd printing sports a few new reviews including this clip:

On the problem of clericalism, no analysis has been more clear or onstructive than that of Russell Shaw. His is a voice crying out in the
Dr. Scott Hahn from Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace

Much to do this afternoon (more books to trim) and the weekend (I think a ceiling fan and chicken coop repairs.) If we get our work done we are thinking of going to a small animal auction on Saturday night in Jefferson.

Oremus pro invicem!


I read this article (Catholic Exchange) about how ethanol (with government subsidies) is raising corn prices and thus all food prices. Hardest hit are the poor (the doubling of the cost of tortillas in Mexico.)

The other side of the story is the poor small farmer. Until this year my neighbor was getting less for a bushel of corn than he was right after World War II ($3 then, $2+ last year.) This year it is finally in the $4 range-which still doesn't keep up with the inflation of over 50 years.

Now I am not saying that corn prices should be artificially raised, but all the underlying issues here are more complex.

For instance, if the Mexican worker was getting a family wage, and the small farmer was getting a just amount for his produce would we even be talking about this? If there were local economies instead of global economies, would we be talking about this? And thus, it is hard to pick on government subsidies of ethanol when the problems are so much deeper.

I do love the articlie's opening line:

Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

More later.... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Communism or Capitalism?

"........... reduced man to a force of production. ...It reduced gifted and talented people to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy and stinking machine...."

This quote from Vaclave Havel, former president on the Czech Republic on the Communist regime. I read it in an editorial by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus in his monthly column back in March of 2005 of Columbia.

I don't believe I ever used it in a post-I was going over my 'drafts' which never got posted and this quote figured in one of them. So I use it today.

Of course Vaclave Havel is talking about Communism-but we have a society and government which is very utilitarian with respect to its citizenry. And it will get even more so as we help it along by our living, spending, and voting habits. And then it we won't be much different from the quote above. Already corporations view their employees (no matter how educated or talented) as tools-which are replaceable.

Don't mean to be pessimistic about the future today (see post below). Actually, although we need to continually to strive to bring God to our neighbors and to save souls, the ultimate future for those who hope may be very bright-May God have mercy on this sinner!

It all boils down to this ...

I want my children to know that they can do things themselves-or that their local community can do things themselves.

More and more laws are being passed to mandate that the government control our lives (for example, contemplate the possible ramifications for Catholics and families when governmental universal health care comes to pass-and it is coming)

More and more goods production and distribution is in the hands of just a few-thus we may be made subject to their methods of business (slave labor, chemical additives, etc.) and their prices and quality.

But it doesn't have to be so. As more and more of us give away our freedom and very ability to make decisions-based on our self-imposed ignorance, there must be pockets of people who can do things on their own and make decisions on their own. There must be a remnant of people who can marry Faith and Reason to discover and worship the true God-not the gods given (and virtually forced) us by secular and neo-pagan society.

Ultimately, this is why we moved to Bethune, SC and are trying to back away from the the materialistic lifestyle. Not every endeavor has been successful (you can say that again... and again), but we are trying and will get it eventually. And our children will know they can survive even if they live differently. They will know that they can buy the processed chicken from the superstore or can grow and butcher their own. They will know they can hire someone to fix the plumbing or the floor or the car-or they can do it themselves.

Of course we aren't islands, each possessing all the talents and know-how to survive. We absolutely need each other-but as individual persons to each other-not as numbers to a governmental social outreach organization. The community must share goods and talents.

And let me reiterate-it is not about individualism-it is more about community and guaranteeing the preservation of true Christian community. I.e.: you can go to a movie or you and your friends can put on a play yourselves. You can go to a concert, watch music videos etc.-or groups of friends and families can gather and sing together, and certainly pray together.

We can't forget how to do things ourselves-after all big government is not going to work out our salvation for us.

Sometimes we can lose sight of the goal, wrapped as we tend to become in our daily chores. It is good to take a step back and see where our life and our society is going-and then redirect our own path. Of course this is why beginning the day with prayer is the only way.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Couldn't resist ...

Finished "The Silent People" yesterday evening and got right into the first of the trilogy: "Seek the Fair Land". This one is about Cromwell's invasion and destruciton of Ireland.

Have much work to do. Am not going to the CMN (Catholic Marketing Network Tradeshow, but am sending a flyer along to be placed in a friend's booth. Have been twice before, but the budget director (me) hasn't allowed me to go last year or this year. Interestingly, it is in Cleveland this year. I would love to go cause I lived in Cleveland in the mid-to-late 80's for a couple years during graduate school. I know it has changed and wouldn't mind seeing it.

Back on the homefront, we are trying to plan a trip to our only local Marian Shrine: Our Lady of South Carolina - Our Lady of Hope. A recent article in the diocesan newspaper mentioned that the chaplain at the shrine just took evangelical vows and is a eremitic state, or recognized as a hermit by the Catholic Church-his ministry is to limited to working with pilgrims who come to the shrine. Maybe we'll get there some day next week?

Oremus pro invicem!

In Saturday's post I said something about making a shoe rack for our side porch. Never happened. We had another project which took more of the day than I anticipated-but I will share it (sorry no picture). We had bought a crucifix as a gift for our friend's daughter who is heading off to college. It was unclear whether the college dorm would allow a crucifix (or anything else) be nailed to the walls, so we wanted something versatile. We could buy a crucifix on a stand, but we like some of the wall hanging ones better and again versatility was a factor.

So I decided to buy the crucifix we wanted and make a stand so it could be used either way. The crucifix was mahogany, and fortunately I had some scraps of the same in the shop from some years ago projects. Here's what we did (the boys were helping where possible):

1. cut 2 pieces (~3x5") to stack on top of each other.
2. Before stacking, drilled almost 20 1/4 inch holes (depth ~ 1/2 inch) in the base piece.
3. Filled holes with lead shot from our fishing gear. We flattened the shot first so it could be packed tightly. We wanted some weight to the stand.
4. Glued and clamped the two 3 x 5 pieces together, matching grain directions on the ends.
5. We beveled the front of the stand at about 25 degrees.
6. Drilled two 1/2" diameter holes through the center of the base directly (about a 1/4 inch apart) next to each other, and then cleaned out the excess would with a chisel. This is the space the crucifix is placed in.
7. Sand until smooth like glass.
8. Stain (in our case cherry) to match crucifix as closely as possible.
9. Apply final finish. Usually I would use a polyeurothane varnish-apply several coats sanding with 0000 steel wool in between coats, and this is the best way. But I was pressed for time. By this time it was after dinner and the gift needed to be ready for Sunday. Further, varnish may not cure as fast as it should in the weather we were having. So I opted for a clear laquer spray from Minwax. Drys in 30 minutes and doesn't need sanding between coats. However, you pay a bit-it doesn't come out so smooth either.

Good project. Wish I had a picture to share.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ponderings on blessings and sufferings

This morning I was up pretty early and got an hour or two of patent application work done. Then it was time to fill some book orders. One was just picking the books and packing them. Another we had to print some of the books. You know we print, stitch (staple), fold and trim some of the small booklets we sell. If a booklet really starts to make a hit, we will then go get it printed. We're pretty conservative in our projections. I must have personally printed, stapled, and trimmed almost 2000 copies of The Chapel Veil before I was convinced we'd be able to sell a bunch more and got it professionally printed.

In those early days my printer didn't do double-sided copies, so I would print 50-100 copies of page 1 and then re-load it in the printer for page 2, etc. Now I have a great workhorse which does double-sided automatically (Brother HL5250DN). We loved getting those orders for 50-100 copies or more, cause it meant we could eat. But boy I dreaded those same big orders; by the end of stapling 200 copies, my back would be killing me.

We had another booklet which I almost sent out for printing after I had done about 1200 copies. Fortunately I didn't, because in the next year, we didn't sell more than about 25 or so after the first 1200.

Today I was filling an order for 25 booklets we print ourselves, not too bad. But I was printing an order of 200 of another booklet. We had a quality problem due to a defect in the drum. Fortunately I caught it before too many booklets were printed.

At this point, I've just returned from the post office, shipping out a couple orders. I have to change the toner in the printer before finishing the printing job on that 200. But I am sipping a beer, so I'll finish it up tomorrow.

I was reminded (in an opposite sort of way) of the joy and relief (and thanks to God) we used to experience in the past (and even today at times) when those big booklet orders would come in when this morning I read of the despair which accompanied the potato famine in Ireland. I am still reading The Silent People (see post somewhere below) by Walter Macken. The Irish (most of whom didn't own their land and if they didn'tt have a crop they would not make rent and would be evicted-no mercy here) have just gone through the first winter after the first year of blight. It is July and everything is looking good. Then one morning:

And so he was crying, 'They are gone! They are gone!'. the replies to him were like an echo in the valley. They saw other men in the fields. It was five o'clock in the morning. and they paused and heard and ran to their own fields behind the house, and could not believe their eyes. For the green fields were blasted to death. The strong stalks and the broad leaves were lying like brown muck on the ground, and the same smell was with them that had been there last year. They were blighted to death. Every single stalk. It was no use going digging with your fingers. You didn't have to look under the stalkes to know. You knew what wasn't there. It couldn't be true. Not now! After all the sacrifice! After all the pain! After all the beggary! No again!

There was a silent wail went up from the valley that would have drowned the highest wind, if men had the strength to shout it.

.....It cannot be so. Where was God, they asked? What is He doing to us? What have we done to deserve this? Wasn't one year enough? Were there not enough of us eliminated from the face of the earth like much scraped off with a shovel? They would not forget this day.

After reading this, our petty struggles a couple years ago and last year seem trivial. God is good. God is with us even if we don't understand His plan. This is a hard lesson to learn-that you must conform yourself to God's will not the other way around.

Oremus pro invicem!

So yesterday one of our neighbors comes by. He has some dead chickens and saw a yellow lab-type dog in the area the morning of the chicken raid. Just wanted to let me know as he knows I have a yellow lab-type dog. He's not sure its mine, but just wanted to let me know before he did anything.

Now on one hand it could be mine. Bunny has killed our chickens. On the other hand, I don't think she has been roaming (can't keep her in the pen-she jumps over) of late. Several weeks ago she started to run with a couple wild dogs. But we took care of the problem. I don't believe she's left our property since we returned from MA on the 6th. But ..... once a dog tastes chicken, its almost impossible to cure it.

Of course keeping friendly relations with our neighbors is more important than any dog.

Will let you all know how things develop.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 16, 2007

In the Mail ...

... the spring/summer Catholic Men's Quarterly. You know I am a fan of this magazine-it is the only one I make a point to link to on my sidebar. (Not that CMQ is the only one worth reading-there are several). Haven't started in on this issue yet-I got it from the P.O. box only 10 minutes ago.

But I did have time to note an add in the front cover: now you can get CMQ gear: here. Personally I think I may like the large coffee cup or the hat.

More later... Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

For today....

Was telling someone yesterday how our buck (rabbit) had choked on a piece of carrot and died. She said, "That's nothing. We had a thirsty goose who went after some water in a tall bucket, fell in head first, and drowned.

Yesterday I spent the day with patent agent hat on. Today I will be a woodworker. We are making a cubbyhole-type bookcase unit to house shoes on our side porch. If we've been in the chicken coop and like places, we try not to track that in the house. The current situation (throw your shoes anywhere) is okay in the winter, cause if they pushed off the porch you can find them in the barren ground. But in the summer, the 4 o'clocks are so full, you don't know what you will find if you go searching in the bushes. (We don't have chickens at the moment, but are getting ready to try them again.

Read the following poem this morning (couldn't link to it properly, but it is from Long-Skirts- am sure she won't mind me reproducing the whole thing):


My cup runneth over
With debts and big bills.

My cup runneth over…
Insurmountable hills.

My cup runneth over
With worries and fear –

Dear Lord, no more cups -
Just a cold mug of beer!

Got some work to do (shipping a couple books) before the sun properly rises.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 13, 2007


A couple years ago when my daughter was home on vacation from college, she commented that of all the homeschooled kids at school she knew (and at Christendom College there are plenty) she was the only one (or one of the only ones) who didn't get all "A's" in high school. In fact her friends sort of thought it was weird that her parents wouldn't give her all "A's". This surprised me. I thought we Catholic homeschoolers were an ethical bunch. My daughter was a pretty good student, but not all A's. In fact her college grades were almost identical to her high school grades. This gave us some comfort that the grades we gave were a fair assessment of her work.

I think some homeschooling parents make their child retake tests or whatever evaluation is used until they get an "A"-meaning they've mastered the material-I guess that is fine. But I'm sure this is not the case for all homeschoolers. I mean you have to move on eventually. I think other homeschooling parents just give their kids "A's", and thus colleges have to rely on SAT scores.

And what of people like us who try to grade fairly? Does a college then think my kids are dopes because even though they are homeschooled they don't have all A's? What to do?


I have had a few years off from formal teaching of my children. I usually start helping out in the high school years. My daughter finished a few years ago and now my oldest son is entering high school. I will be tutoring him in history (Ancient Civ), religion (can't remember the subject at the moment), and math. I am looking forward to the next 4 years.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Fox news reports:

WASHINGTON — A new threat assessment headed for the White House says Al Qaeda is "better positioned to strike the West," but President Bush insists the terror network is not as strong as it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Details of the report revealed by an unnamed counterterrorism official who revealed its contents to The Associated Press said Al Qaeda is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001."

"They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States," the official said. The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

So what have we been doing the last 6 years? Am I niave? Should I have expected better results? I understand the difficulties-we are not fighting a country, but I can't help but think the war in Iraq (which I predicted would go almost EXACTLY they way it has gone) has taken our focus away from the real target. Even if only half true, this is a terrible indictment on President Bush's tenure.

Odds and Ends

In our area (Kershaw County-but not in Columbia, SC) you stay somewhere, you don't live somewhere. For example, a person does not say, "I live in Bethune". They would say, "I stay in Bethune." And you don't ask someone where they live; you ask them where they stay. Personally, I can't get used to it. I do my living wherever I am staying....


MacClouds Peach Farm in McBee (prounounced MacBee) is a big deal out here. They have more peaches than anyone else (and although Georgia is known as the peach state, SC actually grows more). They also sell cantaloupe, watermelon, blackberries, peppers, well everything. They also sell ice cream and and have free antique museum. Mostly the museum has old cars, trucks and tractors. But they also have old wood planes (in useable condition), windup phonographs, washing machines, washboards, wringers, you name it-anything old. Unfortunately none are demonstrated-you can't play a record for instance. Some of the wood planes I would love to use-I have a couple myself. But we go every time we get peaches-like we did today. (We won't get our own this year because we lost all the buds to a late frost.)


Earlier we went up to the town of Patrick to a junk yard to get a new vent window for the big van. The latch had broken. The dealership wanted $90 + tax for a new one. (The give you the whole window). I got one up in Patrick for a about a 1/3 of the price in about a 30 minute wait. Not too bad. I remember sitting all afternoon in a junk yard outside of Camden a couple years ago when I wanted to replace the headlight module on the mini-van after Mrs. Curley killed a deer with it.

Walking, hats, and torturing your wife

We have a new routine this summer. I am of course up before dawn as usual. I get the kids and Mrs. Curley up a point past dawn-usually around 7:00 AM. After a quick prayer the kids all go weed the garden(s) (and after being a way for 10 days it really needs it) while Mrs. Curley & I walk. Its a cardo-vascular thing you know.

I used to run in the mornings when we lived in the city. I would run our neighborhood streets at 5:30 every morning. When it rained or was very cold, I would run in place in front of the TV watching the morning news. Out here, I really can't run the roads as they are too thin and the speed limit too fast to my liking. The cornfields are too sandy. So I walk. Its probably better for my aging knees anyway.

After we finish walking, I come up to the office to start or finish something. Mrs. Curley prepares breakfast, and the kids continue to weed until breakfast is ready. This way the weeding gets done every day-but in the cool (if that exists) of the day, and Mrs. Curley & I get some time and exercise without feeling we stealing time from other places. So far it has worked well. We started before our jaunt to Massachusetts at the end of last month and were able to pick it up again now that we are home.


People who know me well or see me often, know I am not too fashion conscious, but they also know there are two things they will most likely see me with/in: a sweater vest and a hat. (Some people say that I wear a hat to torture Mrs. Curley-but its not true.) All this to introduce a picture I came across which shows I came by my habit of wearing hats honestly and at a young age.

I am the little fellow in the striped shirt with the hat (not the Indian headress). Some of my siblings and I are gathered around my Grandmother at my old home in MA. I wear similar hats to this day.

And now about torturing Mrs. Curley-wearing my hat may be torture for Mrs. Curley, but that is not the intent. But, this brings to mind HT Webster who was a cartoonist (NYTimes) in the early to middle part of the 20th century. He had a number of 'series', one of which as called "How to torture your husband", and another called "How to torture your wife." My mother did have a copy of "The Best of HT Webster". I was looking for it this past week when visiting, but it seems that she has given it away to one of my siblings. I wanted to show Mrs. Curley some of the cartoons from this series. Here is one I found on-line from the cover of one of his collections:

Have a great day. More on the topics posted below later. -- Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hadn't seen this one before...

Came across this one (Thomas More pic) from a book in the Gutenberg Project (I didn't note the title. Will have to go back and find it again.)

Had more rabbit and corn yesterday. Both delicious.


Oh and here is a quote which may be possible to use in any liturgical music wars you may be engaged in:

For someone like me, who was interested in both the spiritual and intellectual grounding of the Christian faith, I didn't need the "folk Mass" with cute nuns and hip priests playing Kumbaya with guitars, tambourines and harmonicas. And it was all badly done. After all, we listened to the Byrds, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan, and we knew the Church just couldn't compete with them. But that's what the Church offered to the young people of my day: lousy pop music and a gutted Mass. If they were trying to make Catholicism unattractive to yo9ung and inquisitive Catholics, they were succeeding. [Francis Beckwith in the July 2007 CWR]

Now the guitars, harmonicas, and tambourines are mostly gone-but the music remains.

There is a discussion here and here about buying at discount stores. (Discussion starts about buying at a "Goodwill" or thrift shop and migrates to the Wal-marts of the world). It finally becomes a discussion about buying Chinese goods and how small family businesses can compete. More discussion about that topic (and the ethics of a Catholic store buying Chinese goods) here.

I have never had a problem shopping at thrift stores. Part of "Goodwill's" mission is to provide a place where people can learn how to work retail, not just to provide quality used products to the less fortunate. With a large family and one income, even in better economic days, I never felt any guilt shopping at a Goodwill.

Now, Wal-Mart is a different story. Wish I could say I never shop there, but again, today's economy sometimes makes these decisions difficult. I remember when at the entrance to Wal-Mart there would be a huge sign proclaiming "Proudly Made in the USA". Now the sign is gone and very little there doesn't come from China. I am glad that there is no Wal-Mart too close, but even so we still shop there.

You can read about the concerns over toothpaste, pet food, and produce now coming from China and other places overseas. America can't compete on those prices, but it is a product of 'we want everything now'. We don't care if its junk as long as we can have it now. We are materialistic. Yet we don't want to pay much either.

Now there are a couple ways I could go on this post now. One way is talk about what we are trying to do at Bethany. Or I could very easily go into government control of say healthcare (I want everything now and don't want to be bothered with the details, so government can control all aspects of my life.) or I could talk about the book publishing business and how discounts, large distributors, and the like contribute to the demise of small independent publishers like ourselves .

However, I have run out of time this morning, so I will continue the discussion over the next few days, hitting these and other topics.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yesterday our neighbor stopped by with some squash. He also left a bag and told our boys to go down and gather corn from the field by his house. The racoons were eating it all so he wanted it to go to some good use. It did last night-the most delicious corn you ever tasted.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Finished the last Walter Macken novel and am now reading the second in his Irish history trilogy (of course I am reading them backwards, but they do stand alone.) This one is about the years of famine in the 19th century. This one is also borrowed from my sister. I always steal a book or two on my way through.

Of course I am still reading John Senior's "Death of Christian Culture"; brought it on vacation with me, but never opened it. It always seems that something my sister has on her shelf is more appealing to me than what is in my bag.

We are still recovering from our trip north. Most bags are unpacked, but not packed away. I am still recovering from my year of teaching. (The nightmares have not stopped, but I no longer have the shakes in the morning.- Ha! Ha! am joking.) I have a stack of 'non-pressing' but unanswered correspondence from the past few months-most of them book queries. Lots of work to do.

Was contemplating blogging in general the other day. For some, it is a commentary on world or local happenings and/or cultural issues. For others it is more of an online diary. BethuneCatholic used to be a mix, but it has become more of a diary in recent months. It is not that I lack opinion on political/cultural issues, but opinion does take more time to write properly and that has been lacking around here in recent months.

Euphoria in Catholic blogosphere over the Motu Proprio is visible in many places. Some have celebrated by putting up some great pictures. I wonder what this will mean for our diocese. Bishop Baker has allowed the traditional Mass as long as there is a priest and congregation. Before he came, there were none (authorized that is) in the diocese. We have a weekly Mass already in the Charleston, SC area by a diocesian priest. There is a weekly traditional Mass in the Greenville area also, (don't know where the priest who celebrates the Mass is from.) Columbia has a monthly Mass from the FSSP.

Remember the fashion poll and free book offer in Saturday's post (which is actually dated today since I am leaving it on top).

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Poll and free book offer!!!!!!

You all need to settle an argument for Mrs. Curley and me. As an incentive for weighing in, I will give away either a copy of John Meehan's Two Towers, or Dr. William May's memoirs, Standing with Peter (read about these and other fine books: here) to all participants. [To get your free book, email me here i.e the the contact page on the Requiem Press website; just mention you participated in the poll, give your book choice, and name and shipping address.]

Okay, here's the question. In the picture below of Mrs. Curley and myself (taken many years ago when I had less pounds and more hair) does my outfit match, ie. the red shirt and sky blue coat? Don't want to bias anyone, so I won't say what I think-although I would bet many can guess...

What say you all? Do I match? (Poll will remain open and on top of the blog through Monday evening.)

Well, I read the translation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (here). It is short and of limited scope. The MP does not seem to anticipate that the 'freeing of the 1962 Missal' is going to change much...

Here is how I see the evolution (for what it is worth). I note that religious orders and institutes have more freedom in requesting and using the 1962 Missal. This will be the main growth area and consequently those communities frequenting these religious order liturgies will be most affected by the 'freeing'. The main outgrowth of use, and ultimately the impetus for a revised missal (which takes the good of the 1962 and the 1970 missals) will come mainly from this avenue. Although certainly, the parishes which are allowed to be set up with the use of the 1962 Missal will also figure in this movement.

I just hope that traditional Catholics will work charitably with those who are 'attached' to the 1970 Missal in their parishes so that this can be a point of increased faith and unity and not disunity and fracture among good-hearted people as I have seen in places over similar issues.

Thanks be to God for this development and to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for this letter.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 06, 2007

It is good to be home at Bethany

We arrived home today at 1:00 PM-leaving the DC area at 6:00 AM. Yesterday we traveled from Otis, MA to my sister's place in the DC area. No traffic or problems on either leg. Boy, it is good to be home after a couple days in the car.

Never got to either shrine mentioned in my post below, nor to the Divine Mercy Shrine mentioned in the comments (thanks Alicia)-even though we were a mere 15 miles from the latter. Everything was just too crunched together-even though we did extend our visit by 2-3 days.

We were worried about the garden while gone, but not to worry. It did rain some while we were gone. The corn is looking good; the tomatoes excellent, the peppers good, and the rest... well we shall see what a little tender card can do.

Much to do...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Spent a couple days with my brother and family in NH. Had a great there and at my mother's birthday party (75) on Saturday. Now we are at my mother's house in MA. This morning we visited my Dad's grave (also my Grandmother's) and said the rosary there as a family.

More visiting with family today and tomorrow. We hope to be home by the end of the week. (Gout-if that was what it was-is almost gone completely). We may visit the La Salette Shrine this week or the Fatima Shrine. We shall see. Both are within a half an hour or so.

Last night we visited with a family friend and priest from the Boston Diocese. Always a pleasure to talk with Fr. Tom. He married two of my sisters, my brother, and buried my father. Pray for him and all priests in their vocation of bringing us the sacraments. Fr. Tom spent time with my oldest son last night showing him how to pray the Office of Readings.

Finally, remember the special at Requiem Press. (See a post below ~22 June, or go to our website).

Oremus pro invicem!