Thursday, January 31, 2008

Has anyone ever read anything by Maria Winowska? I understand she had written biographies of Padre Pio and Maxmillian Kolbe as well as many others. (I don't have comments, but you can email me-the link is just under my 'campaign' sign on the sidebar.)


Topic of conversation at meal times still is dominated by presidential politics-both this years and the '012 election-and by square dancing.

I am still trying to finish small is still beautiful. Every time I pick it up I am motivated to do something-I just don't know what. I haven't finished because I am also spending time reading submitted manuscripts and potential reprints for Requiem Press. This is fun, but we don't have the time or money to do all the things I'd like to do. We really do have some good stuff in the hangar. And I have to spend some time making money too (especially with all the breakage going on around here.)

Hopefully I will finish small this weekend and go on to my other Christmas book Swords Around the Cross.

Oremus pro invicem!

In one week ...

an end table, a dining room chair, and a shattered sliding glass door. And all this destruction was democratic. Each son had a part in at least one of these. And the list is practically endless if you want to include the last year or so.

And of course these are all "accidents." (I say if you throwing a rock-particularly in the direction of the sliding glass door-and the rock hits it, its no accident-especially if you took out a car window in the same way a few months before.)

I don't understand. I don't remember being a destructive kid, but all my sons seem bent on breaking things. I do remember breaking a couple of my sisters' toys-but these were no accidents. One of my brothers kept breaking the garage door windows with his slap shots (I believe a tennis ball was subbing for the hockey puck.)

I also remember carving the words "Good" and "Bad" into the wall (an introspective contemplative struggle of conscience I'm sure). I carved some other stuff into my brother's head board, but signed it, "Jim did this". Some 3-5 years after my carving days were over, my father found these and some others (not from my hand) and blamed me for them all. I couldn't believe it-I thought sure the statute of limitations had run out.

I think I also may have gone through a short spell of dropping dishes. And I am sure our "Texas" football drill where my brother's bed was the touchdown, did nothing for the springs.

Maybe I wasn't so innocent after all. But I never broke furniture, just disfigured it.

How do make an 11-year old pay for a new sliding glass door? To make matters worse, I could see Mrs. Curley wasn't as angry as expected. Could this be because she has wanted to replace that door since day one. (Certainly I don't suspect a conspiracy because Mrs. Curley would fear I would simply put up a piece of plywood and leave it for 6 months or longer-depending on other priorities.)

Having the reputation of being able to fix anything around the house may not be such a good thing after all.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A little science

Ever noticed how some people seem to have everything (knowledge) at their fingertips and can express it readily? And others fumble off the cuff, but with a little time/thought can put on paper what they couldn't verbalize? I wonder if the two talents are often mutually exclusive (that is speaking off the cuff and writing well.)

I know myself, that I can speak better to something I have written about. I often need time to organize my thoughts before expressing them in a coherent manner.


I don't suscribe to Scientific American, but sometimes browse a copy when I get the chance. The magazine has at times enraged me with their rationalization of their disregard of human ethics in the name of 'science'. Anway, they had a short article in the December 2007 issue answering the question "How to short-term memories become long-term memories? I was hoping, not for a purely neural science explanation, but a dose of the practical also; such as, the more senses you use to study and/or memorize a thing, the faster or deeper it will be embedded in your memory. No such luck.

On the page opposite this article is an advertisement for a $14,615.00 exercise machine that claims a 4-minute workout on this machine equals a 20-45 minutes of aerobic exercise. (You can rent it for 30-days for $1500.)

As you can see, I have nothing much to say this morning-so I'd best get to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If I had a "Spanning the Globe" feature, I would include this very insightful line:

This year, more than any in memory, it behooves one not to read anything about a candidate if you want to support that candidate. - TS

Looking forward to '012 politics

This morning at breakfast I mentioned some news stories/commentaries I have been reading that say Hillary Clinton's star may be falling because of Bill's involvement in the campaign. People are not comfortable with a 'co-presidency' or another 4 years of Bill. This may be more perception than reality, but perception often wins elections.

Well, Mrs. Curley told me that she wants me to proclaim in my '012 campaign that when my 4 or 8 years are up that my supporters should not vote for Mrs. Curley if she ever decides to run.

Glad we have that cleared up.

Christian Agrarian Bloggers

There is an informal group of Christian Agrarian bloggers-one of whom I link to every once in a while.

A couple days ago my attention was brought this post by a new agrarian blogger at The Promised Land.

The generation that came out of World War II suddenly had a prosperity they had never known. Their faith had been strengthened by their suffering, and they didn't lose it in prosperity-but maybe they didn't realize the gift of hardship that had been given, because so many failed in their efforts to pass on the faith to their children. Partly it wasn't their fault-prosperity was in the air and the "American dream" there for the taking-many times at the expense of God. (Is the opposite to: "There are no atheists in a foxhole" - "There are no believers in Beverly Hills?")

Prosperity is still here, but the despair that comes from the realization that prosperity and self-fulfillment do equal happiness has started to sink in for a new generation (2 generations removed from the "greatest generation") of younger people. Some are reaching out to God in hope. Others have not found Him yet and take out their frustration in violence to themselves or to others.

Oremus pro invicem!

I read this piece over at The Crunchy Con a few days ago and have been meaning to comment. First a quote from the piece which gives the thesis (from Austin Bramwell who Rod Dreher is quoting):

First, like Ingsoc, conservatism has a hierarchical structure. Like Orwell’s “Inner Party,” those at the top of the movement have almost perfect freedom to decide what opinions count as official conservatism. The Iraq War furnishes a telling example. In the run-up to the invasion, leading conservatives announced that conservatism now meant spreading global democratic revolution.

This is no phenomenon isolated to "conservatism". I recall reading an editorial once saying that Clarence Thomas wasn't really Black because of his political views.

Litmus tests for determining membership are okay as long as they reflect fundamental principles (or facts). For example, the litmus test for Clarence Thomas isn't politics or philosophy, but heritage.

So here the question is whether the war in Iraq (or at least the principles behind it) is a fundamental conservative tenet? Of course it isn't. (Some would argue it is diametrically opposed to conservative principles.)

I think the problem lies when a group confuses its identity with a larger (or different) group. (Republicans confusing themselves for conservatives, for instance.) Another example: I have heard of lay "Catholic" groups or communities whose leadership confuses themselves with the hierarchy of the Church-being over-zealous judges of orthodoxy in their own little fiefdom over dress, educational materials, customs, etc. When leaders over-step the boundaries of their authority, confusion and splintering occurs.

Original sin and its consequences abound.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday we did some square dancing and folk dancing in our dining room (after folding up the table and moving it aside.) I think I mentioned that we are hosting a square dance party sometime after Easter. I have the job of teaching the youth group (although it will be for entire families) on the next couple first Fridays the basics, and it looks like I will be calling the dances. Quite a challenge cause I haven't done this before.

I am not taking it lightly. Sunday's dancing was more to train me than Mrs. Curley and the kids. It turned out to be pretty fun.

Oremus pro invicem!

No doubt we should welcome converts to the pro-life cause when they come. However sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between opportunists and converts when they are politicians-especially ones running for president.

Case in point is Mitt Romney. Is he a true convert or an opportunist? And do we vote for him because of his current beliefs, or do we look at his record of governing. Most candidates ask you to look at their record.

Inside Catholic today has detailed their version of Mitt Romney's record on social issues at governor of Massachusetts including his judicial appointments and his actions (or lack thereof) regarding the legalization of homosexual marriage in that state.

On the other side, I didn't realize that some 800 delegates on the Democratic side are not awarded by primaries or caucuses, but are "unattached" and can vote anyway they want to. (This is close to half the number needed for the nomination.) Maybe they aren't so unattached-lots of deals are made behind closed doors. It is conceivable that they have already committed to one candidate or another barring some unforeseen big event or scandal. So how much do the primaries count in a close race?

So how did ...

the cat get into the duct work? I spent Saturday morning in the crawl space under the house investigating. I found a huge hole-basically the 14" flexible tubing had been ripped, torn, chewed off a connector section, effectively disconnecting the heat. (Under the house was toasty.) Then number 3 son found another, smaller hole (but large enough for a small cat to climb in) in the duct work leading to the vent in the boys room. This one I couldn't get to. It was on the other side of the house and the crawl spaces were too small.

A trip to the hardware store, and we were back under the house (after dark by this time-but who needs daylight when you're under the house?). I coached number 1 and number 3 son through the splice of the duct work I couldn't get to. They did a fine job.

Then I tackled the larger hole. I spliced this, but probably need to go back and secure it a little more with some sheet metal screws.

Boy, I am still sore from all that crawling, laying on rocks and bumping my head. But heat is restored.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I have a new post up at The Patent Agent. I originally meant to post it here, but as it pertains to both blogs (hint: dogs and chickens), I let my mistake stand.

Friday, January 25, 2008

So we are sitting around the living room and we distinctly hear a cat's meow in the dining room. We have 2 cats, but they are outside cats. Sometimes they sneak in when we open the door, but we always catch them right away.

So here we are searching the dining room, and we find the kitten in the heating vent!

How did she get in the duct work? This doesn't sound good. Report will follow.

Country roads and Irish Music

I was in the city for most of the day working and thus was unable to post much. I realized while driving in how much I love the country roads. It is so much easier to think and enjoy life (God's gifts) on a country road (as opposed to the conjestion riding into the city).

This morning my timing was particularly bad. 30 minutes earlier and I would have had clear sailing. As it was I was stuck in stop and go traffic (which I didn't think existed coming into Columbia from the East) for at least 1/2 hour.

I didn't have the radio because a cassette tape was stuck in the player. However the tape played-I listened to it four times through today. It was a collection of Irish (and American Irish) songs. My father had recorded them from somewhere-probably from several LP's years ago and sent them to me. His notation on the cassette case was sometimes interesting. He didn't know who some of the artists were and so described them; for example: "pretty voice sings song" & "sings another song"-and surely it was a pretty-or better yet, a heavenly voice. I don't the name of the songs she sang, but the voice reminded me of Gloria Jean.

Included on the tape also was a monologue story related by a man with a thick Irish brogue. He told the story of 70 year-old Pat Kelly and his trip to the ocean to get salt water to sooth his aching bones.

My Dad's comment at the bottom of the cassette cover was "Pretty Good Tape." I wish I knew what he recorded it from.

Oremus pro invicem!

My family is mocking me!

They returned home from the library yesterday with this:

They said reading it might give me some points for my '012 run. Ha! We'll show them.

Seriously though (or not) my children are starting to press me on whether my '012 aspirations are real. Hmmm ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Political Ads

Spent the morning in the doctor's office and was irritated by inane television shows. But I did get to see the Democrats' TV spots (their SC primary is this week). They compare quite favorably to the Republicans TV ads of a week or two ago (that I saw once again at the doctor's office).

Hilary Clinton especially was effective in her spot. She first (but briefly) knocks GW Bush for the economy and other things, and then talks about jobs, pink slips, and medical crises where the picture flips from her to different scenes-one of them a pregnant mother with 3 children and her husband (suggesting family values and pro-life all in one-but we know better.)

Obama talks about jobs and manufacturing going overseas. He gives the message that he can unite the country. He's not as effective as Hilary, but he seems to have something to say.

John Edwards doesn't speak in his TV spot, and it wasn't effective at all.

Now don't think this means I am jumping ship...I am just commenting that the Dem's TV ads were much more effective and appealing than the GOP's.

God bless America!

News from the March for Life

Requiem Press author Cortney Davis (Is it a Baby?) was at the March for Life in Washington DC this past week. Her comment:

There were tens of thousands of people there, so many of them young, and nary a TV camera or film crew. Sad. But it was an outstanding display of pro-life energy from all over the US.

Here are a couple pictures of the marchers-for-life (I would love have a sweatshirt like the green one!)

Next year we plan to go to DC ourselves. Have never been to the DC March for Life. It is time....

Oremus pro invicem!

Knox Bible

I had heard Msgr. Ronald Knox's translation of the Bible, but never actually laid my hands on one. A copy was loaned to me last night. I have about a week to look through it.

Here's what the Ronald Knox Society of North America has to say about it:

Msgr.Knox’s translation of the Holy Bible from the Vulgate was a monumental task fraught with difficulties. He described it as 'nine years hard'. For those used to the cadences of the King James (Authorised) Version it will come as a disappointment. It was Msgr.Knox’s goal to help the average person’s understanding, not necessarily his enjoyment, of Sacred Scripture. Robert Speaight’s assessment is a fairly accurate one, “Where the Bible appears to be plain sailing, I doubt very much whether readers will gain anything but incidental accuracies from Knox’s version … but it is generally conceded that Knox was at his best in translating St.Paul, because in the case of St.Paul the intellect is more important than the ear. It matters immensely that we should know what St.Paul was talking about …his version of the Epistles is brilliant.”

Of course we have our own small offering from Msgr. Knox: The Theology of Martyrdom. I didn't know this past August was the 50th anniversary of his passing (if I did, maybe we would have had a special on this booklet.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Troubles and "Little Things"

Something I have also had on my mind at times (from TS) :

... when I hear the caller ask a question that had long been on my mind: how can you prepare for future troubles in the present. How do you prepare and emotionally and spiritually? There is a tendency to want to make things tough for yourself if only to train, to prepare, to exercise the “disaster response muscle” in the face of the cataclysm that all the poets feel in their bones is coming. I think of the case of the wise virgins, and want to have my lamp filled. But Akin said a surprising thing: “You don’t prepare. You can’t. God gives us what we need when we need it.

My answer comes from Scripture:

Well done, thou good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place the over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord. (Matt 25: 21)

and from St. Jose Escriva:

You tell me: when the chance comes to do something great, then ...! Then? Are you seriously trying to convince me-and to convince yourself-that you will be able to win in the supernatural Olympics without daily preparation, without training? (The Way #822 Little Things)

This is not to say that I am disagreeing entirely with Mr. Akin. Surely God gives us what we need-but do we accept it? The acceptance or openness to what God wants to give us when we need it comes from the same openness, or should I say faithfulness, we have in the untroubled times: in the "little things" like daily prayer and small mortifications. (and I think having your lamp full as the wise virgins had, is another example of a "little thing".)

Glad this came to mind. I need to take care of some "little things".

Oremus pro invicem!

My dream ...

"No doubt, a price has to be paid for anything worth while: to redirect technolgy so that it serves man instead of destroying him requires primarily an effort of the imagination and an abandonment of fear." (E.F. Shumacher)

I think or hope this could be me:

Those with imagination who abandon fear will be the home-comers, who, with their gentle approach and nonviolent spirit, turn their back on the forward stampede. Seeking a simpler way that seeks the beautiful and the small, they will be secure in the sublime wisdom that only the gentle shall inherit the earth, for the hard-hearted, the proud, and the violent can succeed only in destroying it.

(Both quotes from small is still beautiful by Joseph Pearce.)

Having contemplated these ideas, I find it ironic that one of the things I do is to help corporations protect and make money off of big technology with patents. Of course I also help small guys protect their small technology with patents, and corporations sometimes do come up with technology that has human face.

I also gratefully note that, my ability to work in beautiful Bethune (both as patent agent and publisher), is dependent on technology.

'The book' uses the term "intermediate technology" to describe technology which is in the service of man and not man in service of technology. What exactly is "intermediate technology"?

Most rural areas (and especially in developing countries) have lots labor but little capital. "Therefore appropriate technology for these ... should be labor intensive. This does not mean that there is no place for machines, but that machines are to serve the abundant supply of labor, not replace it." And appropriate technology should be placed where the people live. Don't move them to the cities, keep them in their rural settings, as 'the book' calls it: "agro-industrial structure".

Much to think about here, and its not all settled yet.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My life laid bare ...

Have you ever been in the discerning mode (prayer and looking for practical-not necessarily miraculous-signs) and were just about convinced you understood God's will for you at the moment, when BAM! something happens to make you think you have it all backwards.

Personally, when this happens to me-and it has been happening a lot lately-I take it as a sure sign I am not praying hard enough.


I was diagnosed with diabetes last week. I have suspected it since mid-December but decided to enjoy my Christmas feasting and confirm the self-diagnosis after most the partying had died down. Diabetes runs in the family on my mother's side-but it is controllable (my mother is a testament to that) with diet and exercise (and medication).

I am not too concerned overall. The whole thing just consumes you at first with all the blood sugar testing (several times a day right now), what I can I eat/what I can't, 3 trips to the doctor last week (this for a guy who hasn't been in many years), etc. etc.

I am still in the experimental and "get it under control" stages, but if I play my cards right, by summer (or at least Thanksgiving) I shouldn't miss anything too much (in moderation of course). Until then I am off Guinness (and all other beer - as if the other beer even mattered).

Just in time for Lent. Does it count if you're not allowed to eat/drink it anyway?


Speaking of Lent, I notice that all the other publishers/online booksellers are sending me emails about their books for Lent. So I suppose that we should be making our pitch too. So here goes:

By far, the best Lenten reading we have is Witnesses to the Holy Mass. The best thing I can say about it has already been said:

Witnesses is an extraordinary book about love and sacrifice for the Eucharist! Reading it will inspire a greater devotion to the Catholic faith, especially the Mass. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down. Once I finished, I couldn¹t wait to share it with others… Having read the book, I feel a greater desire to defend my faith even unto death. Thank you!" - Dede Laugesen, Director, Holy Baby! DVDs and President, The Rosary Project-

"The gripping stories recounted will inspire not only a devotion to these saints, but also a renewed passion for the holy Mass that these holy men and women shed their blood to preserve." - The Catholic Answer-March/April 2005

And, if you find you need some cheering on the Sundays during Lent this year, try Giving Up Stealing for Lent and other family stories. (I have read a few of these aloud to the kids-a few I haven't). It is a fun book, but not without it's lessons.

The Maddens of Baltimore will surprise you, comfort you, make you laugh until you cry, and make you cry until you laugh again! From games of “pitch” to petty thievery, from over zealous confessions to exacerbating obedience, there is truly never a dull moment!

These are true stories about a real family, as told by the youngest brother. They are much more than just a collection of humor. Together, they weave a tapestry about family life-the way it should be lived and enjoyed. The virtues and the vices, the laughter and the frustration, the happiness and the mourning, the prosperity and the poverty: the family is the first school of love.

Oremus pro invicem!

They're at it again

Update: Noticed a typo to this mornings post-corrected in bold below.

Unless you live in NH or MI, (and now FL) you wouldn't believe the onslaught of phone calls we endured leading up to the SC primary this past Saturday. Between pollsters and recorded candidate messages the phone was practically nonstop-especially in the evenings. We even got a couple calls where when my kids picked up the phone a message said: "This message was meant to be left on an answering machine. We will call back later." That was weird

I thought we were done. The phone had been quiet for two days after 2-3 weeks of calls. I forgot, the Democrats haven't voted here yet. But when I picked up the phone last night and was presented with a SC primary poll-I had forgotten. It has started again. No peace. I promise in my '012 run, I will NOT attack families with recorded phone messages!

Oremus pro invicem!

May he rest in peace

Saturday morning John Shalbey passed away. I didn't know John personally, but he was the always friend and sometimes boss of my older brother. Here are some clips from the obit:

John was a daily communicant of the 6:45 a.m. Mass at St Catherine’s Church, Norwood ... also a spiritual leader of the Thursday Holy Hour, attending weekly along with the children of St Catherine’s School. A devout Catholic, John supported many charitable organizations in this country and overseas. Some of his favorites were the former Cardinal Medeiros Center in Boston, St. Francis House in Boston, Food for the Poor in Florida and Our Lady’s Peace Home in India. ... John was a selfless giver of his time and resources to anyone who he found to be in need. His anonymous contributions to many who otherwise would have been overlooked or forgotten are innumerable.

My brother tells me that John had one of his trucks pick up food everyday from the area restaurants and bring it into to Boston- everyday for 20 odd years. Sometimes he drove the truck himself, sometimes an employee did.

A good man, survived by his wife and 4 children -let us pray that his soul rests in peace in the bosom of our Lord.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen. — Eternal rest grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It was a good weekend. I voted in the morning and got into the shop a little on Saturday to make a toy I had promised someone. Sunday after Mass we went over a friend's house for the day. Mrs. Curley visited with her friends, the kids with theirs, and I watched some football with my friends. I don't see much football because we get little (as mentioned before) TV reception out here without a lot of work.

When I was young, we used watch the first half of the "early" game and then go out and play football. We would come in in-time to see part of the "late" game before dinner. This is how I remember my fall weekends.


I have been meaning to link to The Deliberate Agrarian's post about Family Traditions for a week or so now. I am sure most families have them. They are important.

For us third, fourth, fifth, etc. generation Americans, our family traditions come less and less from our heritage, OR we have lost knowledge of the raison d’ĂȘtre of this or that tradition.

Some of our family traditions come from Mrs. Curley's family, some from my family. Some come from the traditions of the Church. Some we made on our own-inspired by ..... something. I think I have written about many our traditions in the course of this blog.

As a parent, it is good to review these things from time to time to see what is working, what is not, and what is lacking. It is also very important that some of these traditions are spiritual: the family rosary, the Advent wreath, Sacred Heart enthronement, etc. Some should be fun. Some are just the way we do something that every else does.

I have one son in particular who is very opposed to changing any tradition in the minutest detail. He wants to do everything for the sake of tradition. Yet, they can be changed, eliminated, improved-but only as Chesterston says, if you understand why the tradition was practiced or came to be in the first place.


I have discussed the raison d’ĂȘtre (how about that, got a chance to use this twice on one day!) of this blog more than once. The conclusion is that it is not about anything in particular. I usually write about whatever is on my mind. Sometimes I write personal stuff/happenings (but usually not too personal), sometime I write my opinion about culture or current events.

I don't think this will change much, but I do suspect that over the next few days/weeks you may see a different tone in my writing or subject matter as I contemplate God's will and how He lets us (namely me) know what it is. I ask your indulgence ahead of time.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

John Seymour and small government

More reading from small is still beautiful by Joseph Pearce. Mr. Pearce quotes John Seymour of the 'self-sufficiency' movement (may his soul rest in peace.) I have one book of Mr. Seymour, but there are a couple more I'd like to get. He has much to offer in practical advice, although my goal has never been to be self-sufficient as a family. I think it would be good for communities to be close to self-sufficient in most respects.

But I digress. The quotes I will reproduce below are the kind that get my blood going-I want to do something about it: join with others, start a movement. Here they are:

What is the cure for this beastly disease of gigantism? Break "Great Britain" and the other huge nation-states up again. What do we want to be "Great" for any more? I don't want to be "Great"-I want to be wise, I want to be free, I want to be happy. In what did our "Greatness" consist of anyway? In beating other people up and then saying to them: "Look-we're the bosses of the Greatest Empire the World has ever seen!" Did this make the average Englishman wise, free, kind and happy?

Think about this: how many nations could afford to make WMD's if our nations were small enough for each man to represent himself? Here's more from John Seymour, via Mr. Pearce:

Now I must brace myself for the counterblast from the people who always say, at this juncture of this particular argument: "What we want is not more nations but fewer! We want to do away with nations altogether in fact. All men should unite in one nation, the nation of the world!"

...Surely it can be seen that one government for the whole world, one all-embracing nation would be about as far from real democracy as you could get? If a man cannot make his voice heard in England,how the hell is he going to make it heard in the world? ... how much is the voice of one honest man going to count?

Surely we have heard ourselves (if we have not felt it ourselves) people say they don't have a voice. No hears them. Bill Clinton (although I despised his presidency) was a master at making people feel that he heard them.

I life in a small state (population-wise) compared to many and compared to the state of my birth (MA). In SC, you do get a feel that you have some access to the top leaders-more so than most other states.

Some things to think about on this primary day in SC.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Undue influence

Still undecided on my vote tomorrow, but reading small is (still) beautiful by Joseph Pearce is trying to influence my vote. I am at the section on small politics-or in other words, the belief that the most control should be at the local level. Real democracy occurs when each man is his own representative-much like it was in the ancient Greek city-states.

Most Republicans say they are for small government, but most don't really mean it-or not to the degree I believe in it. Ron Paul is definitely the exception there.. (Of course believing it and being able to do much about-even as president is two separate things.)

If I went with my gut right now, the lever would pull for Ron Paul.

Oremus pro invicem!

Looks like bad weather for the SC primary tomorrow. Parts of the state will have a "wintry mix". We're only supposed to get rain, but we're all hoping for some snow around here.

There's an abandoned motel here in town along Route 1. It has been for sale every since we got here. Here's a couple of pictures of it in its grander days (the 1950's).

One thing I think Bethune needs, it a religious order to move in. And I think this motel would be an ideal starting location. Real estate and real estate taxes are very low here. The property has some land to build/garden on. It's peaceful here.

Now some would object there are no Catholics in Bethune. (Not quite true-but close.) Granted there are few Catholics on this end of Kershaw County, but this should be no obstacle. This becomes simply a evangelization challenge-which God can easily overcome. I am sure a religious order in Bethune would spawn more religious fervor in the region.

Just some thoughts...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

One more thing... the garden report. This weekend we had no salad in the house to go with our pizza and beer. So I went to the garden a picked a few radishes and then went over to the spinach. We have quite a lot, but none of it looked big enough to pick. But I picked most of it anyway. It hasn't been growing in a month or more.

Mrs. Curley added some beans and olives from a can and some carrots from the supermarket. It was good. The spinach was sweet. I don't know why anyone would ever bother to cook it.

We'll have to see whether the spinach grows back.

Now back to work.

Fellow South Carolinian Greencastle tries to help narrow the field by linking to this article concerning where the Republican candidates stand on torture-specifically waterboarding. Here's the pertinent information (but be sure to read the whole thing for the subtleties):

The only clear opponents are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who recently said that waterboarding is torture and that torture should "not be the policy of the United States of America," Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

"Ron Paul believes waterboarding is torture, and he is opposed to all forms of torture," spokesman Jesse Benton said.

Said McCain, who was tortured while he was a prisoner in North Vietnam: "It's in violation of the Geneva Conventions. It's in violation of existing law."

Your SC Primary coverage continues....

Oremus pro invicem!

Where does love begin?

TS writes this morning:

The weakness of the message of Persuasion (Jane Austin-ed)seems to me the weakness of all (modern?) love stories: that only the course to true love doesn't run smooth. Our hero and heroine overcome tremendous odds to find their soulmate and afterwards all is tranquil. But love begins, not ends, with marriage (Jane Austen never married). Is the romantic equivalent in theological terms the 'once saved, always saved' doctrine?

(I love his connection to the 'once saved' aspect-I would never have thought of that.) Reading this immediately reminded me of a post I put up here 3 years ago. Reading it again this morning, I see some possible flaws, but I still think it is worth revisiting-even if it is pretty long. Here's a snip:

I believe a love story – if it is authentic – should be modeled after Christ’s love shown in the Gospels. We remember that Christ suffered and died for his bride – this then is the model of true love and thus married love. (If those of you who are single don’t believe suffering is the hallmark of authentic love – just wait until you are married, ha! ha!)

Therefore, I submit two of the great (fictional) love stories, concern married couples. These are classics, both of literature and film so I will discuss them without completely summarizing the plots. (For those who haven’t read these, or seen their respective movies, I hope this effort encourages you, rather than giving away the entire plot). Of course the two works I am speaking about are The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy and Random Harvest by James Hilton.

and here's the link if you want to read the whole thing.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Last night Mrs. Curley took the boys over a friend's house and I kept the girls. It gave me a chance to talk to my daughter (age 9) on the way home from CCD as the youngest was sleeping in the back of the truck. She had some interesting things to say.

For example, she wants to become a Franciscan (of the EWTN Franciscans-she visited there last spring with Mrs. Curley) Sister. She told me that she would only become a nun if God strikes her dumb because she likes to talk.

She commented that she doesn't want a woman president. I mentioned that there had been a number of queens who had ruled countries well. She replied, "Well I wouldn't want a woman president like Hilary, but a woman president like Mom would be okay."


As an astute observer can see, I finally spent some time revamping the old blog. I added a few more links (overdue) in the blogroll and added the rest of our books on the sidebar. I really need to resize some, but I finally got tired and quit for the night.

The header is a problem. The picture will only go on the left - as will the title. I can't get one or the other to the right, so I have all this blank space up there.


And an update on the snow. I guess some of it landed. We had at least an inch, but it turned to rain and it is starting to leave us!

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Snow in Bethune!

We had a flurry on our way home from CCD tonight. It wasn't landing, but it was snow alright.


In this morning's political post it seems I was "waaaay too hard on National Review." as a commenter put it. Let me clarify:

The Nat'l Review has had much to offer over the years. My gripe below was that I believe it was someone who I respected as a good "Catholic" who wrote we could dismiss JP's encyclical. But really the fault lies with me. I didn't read it for myself and form my own opinion right then and there. But when I did, I learned there were a lot of other thoughts out there than just the Democrats and Republicans.

You see, I used to eat it (NR) up when it arrived every month and thought I knew everything. But I learned I needed to read more than one side of any given issue and that sometimes there was a third way. And to be honest, in part, I tossed NR and the others due to my changing circumstances (finances and less time as the children came, etc.)

Sometimes NR seemed to be the voice of conservatives-but at other times, simply a Republican voice-and two are not necessarily the same.

I don't tend to read much political commentary these days (but I suppose I will have to start with my impending run.) As a matter of fact, I will make it a point to get a copy of NR and check out their website more often and see what they are saying these days. So there you go.

A few notes

Updated The Patent Agent with a discussion of the Microsoft patent in the news today.

Someone gave us a load of books the other day. Amoung them was a Louis L'Amour title. I used to read some Max Brand westerns and some Zane Grey, but have never read L'Amour. Have almost finished this one and it is pretty good. Maybe I'll check out some others from the library. You know I always wanted to be a cowboy-but I am getting a bit old for that now.

Oremus pro invicem!

Here it comes!

I haven't written much about politics and the presidential campaign, but I must admit, historically I have been a political junky. I have just been in hibernation for a few years. I remember the time that I read three newspapers everyday, subscribed to National Review, the American Spectator, as well as a bunch other magazines, and of course a few Catholic periodicals. Not a week would go by without at least one letter to the editor.

For years I am ashamed to say, the National Review spoke my religion more than the Pope did-although I thought they were at least 85% compatible. I remember when John Paul II first came out with one of his social encyclicals (can't recall which one) and the National Review dismissed it (because it criticized Capitalism) saying that Catholics weren't obligated to pay attention to it because it was outside the Pope's competence (i.e. it didn't concern faith or morals.) So I dismissed it and didn't read it for years. Only my love for John Paul finally convinced me to read it. And after having read it, I tossed National Review and all the other political mags. I found my complete home in the bosom of Holy Mother Church without compromise.

I have been in hibernation-but the victory of Mitt Romney last night in Michigan brings on the prospect of an open convention. And this could be too much for me.

I too took the Fox candidate match poll that Mr. Culbreath took. I too placed Duncan Hunter first. I hadn't even hear of him before this, and after reading all his positions on all the issues, I am left to believe that if he is the best match, then no one is a really good match at all.

This post could sedge way nicely into my own campaign for '012. It was the entire conversation at breakfast this morning. I broke the news that I already had heard from a committed supporter. Yet I cautioned that I wasn't sure if it was truly a vote for me or an anti-Romney vote (although who knows if he'll be running in '012?)

But I digress. The open convention scenario would happen if (and I am not counting delegates, just simply hand-waving) McCain wins SC, Giuliani wins Florida, and then on Super Tuesday: Giuliani wins a NY and something else (maybe CA?); McCain wins a couple Western/Southern states/Midwest states; Romney wins a Southern state and say Illinois and something else; maybe Huckabee wins Arkansas-effectively allowing 4 to remain in the race viably-although unless Huckabee wins SC (which is possible) he is effectively through. McCain may be effectively through if he doesn't win SC.

I believe if Huckabee wins SC it will quickly become a two man race between Romney and Giuliani. I don't think Huckabee has the money or the following to go national. (Note that I think Fred Thompson is through unless he wins SC and I think that is virtually impossible.)

So all this excitement, but in the end there won't be an open convention. Unbeknowst to us, one of these gentlemen has really effectively wrapped it up already unless there is a major gaffe. But it will be exciting (but not gratifying since I don't have a candidate to root for) to watch.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A new direction!

Earlier today I was drafting a post about how I am still undecided and totally unenthusiastic about any of the people running for president-and this with our primary on Saturday.

We were discussing this at dinner and my youngest son suggested that I run for president. The discussion started turned around, because immediately we starting thinking about living in the White House. Mrs. Curley didn't want to live there and certainly doesn't want someone else cooking for us. I mentioned that after I retired from the presidency we'd have to get a trailer in the yard to house the Secret Service detail which would be assigned to me. (Mrs. Curley didn't like this either.) The older boys-realizing there propensity to break things are afraid of the scandalous headlines: "President's family trashes historical artifacts!"

Realizing we were putting the cart before the horse, I redirected the conversation to campaigning and raising money. (No son, our friends don't have enough to finance the whole thing.) Well folks, here's the plan for:

(Okay, the banner needs a little work.) Here's the plan. We'll get an RV, plaster our banner on the side and get plenty of bumper stickers to hand out. We would plan to start a week or two after Easter (the '08 primaries will be over-I say strike while the iron is hot!) -canvassing the country in preparation for the election in 2012.

We figure it will be lots of fun. I don't know how many towns we can hit in four years, but probably enough to raise enough money to get matching funds (then you can drop out and keep the dough) and to shake enough hands that we may have good run of it.

Now today isn't a formal announcement, but I'm letting you all in on the inner workings of the exploratory committee we formed tonight around the dinner table.

(One son asked what will happen to Requiem Press while we traveled the country? I told him that no one was buying books these days anyway, so it would take care of itself quite well - [hint]).

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride.....

Oremus pro invicem!

Lunch time

Update: I can't believe I forgot this one: Hello Mr. Guinness! How's Mrs. Guinness and all the little stouts?

One nice thing about working from a home office is that I can sneak down for a quick lunch with the whole family. Just as at dinner and breakfast, the conversation can be pretty diverse.

Today, someone said, "Hey listen to this joke: Hello Mr. Wood! How's Mrs. Wood and all the little splinters?" Well from there it just continued. I'm sure most of the following are not original, but they were to us today. We laughed and laughed. Here are the ones I can remember:

Hello Mr. Water! How's Mrs. Water and all the drips?
Hello Mr. Balls! How's Mrs. Balls and all the little bouncers?
Hello Mr. Water! How's Mrs. Water and all the little drips?
Hello Mr. Ivy! How's Mrs. Ivy and all the little itches?
Hello Doctor! How's Mrs. Doctor and all the little pains?
Hello Mr. Book! How's Mrs. Book and all the little pages?
Hello Mr. Stocking! How's Mrs. Stocking and all the little runs? (or the little presents?)
Hello Mr. Hand! How's Mrs. Hand and all the little fingers?
Hello Mr. Paint! How's Mrs. Paint and all the little specs.
Hello Mr. Wood! How's Mrs. Wood and all the little chips?
Hello Mr. Skunk! How's Mrs. Skunk and all the little stinkers?

Whew! I'm glad that's over.

Oremus pro invicem!

This is a great picture from the Catholic Miscellany (5-10-50 years ago section) which came in the mail today.

The picture is circa late 1940's. The young priest is Fr. Hamburger, whose passing I noted in a December 2004 post. I absolutely love the hat. I have always wanted one like it; Mrs. Curley doesn't like that style, and she knows if I had one I would absolutely wear it all summer long.

To the left is a more recent picture of Msgr. Hamburger-taken from his remembrance card.

We could use more priests like Msgr. Hamburger (and we could use more hats like his too-but not as urgently.

May his soul rest in peace.

Oremus pro invicem!

In yesterday's first post, I related part of a conversation I had with a visiting friend. That conversation has me this morning reading the Bible and looking up what I wrote for a CatholicExchange article published in April 2006 on Ephesians 5 (it appears the link is no longer available.)

Here's the part of my article that I want to revisit:

After God has found Adam and Eve in their guilt, God admonishes Eve, saying: "I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children and thou shalt be under thy husband's power; he shall have dominion over you." The natural order has been broken and thus true charity is turned into desires ans struggles for power. However the dominion of man over woman that god admonishes Eve with is not the same subjection St. Paul talks about-for St. Paul, Apostle and bishop of the Church, is raising women out of the sorrow bequeathed them by Eve.

When I was in conversation the other day, I wasn't sure how I dealt with the OT reference to man's dominion over women vs. St. Paul's teaching in Ephesians. I feared that I had tried to force them into the same box. However, I do see now that I was guided around that error. What does come home to me again is that "headship" (if you will) is another name for service. The head of the home has a vocation of service, the heart of the home receives, as is her vocation.

Thus, much work to be done...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A couple quotes

I am still working on small is still beautiful by Joseph Pearce. I am not sure that I agree with everything contained therein, but there are certainly some truths and I am learning a bit about economics. Here are a couple of telling passages:

Schumacher criticized the way that conventional economists measure the "standard of living" by the amount of consumption. It is assumed that an individual who consumes more is "better off" than one who consumes less. In order to feel that we are "well of", we must consume as much as our neighbor, preferably more.

Concerning the theory that happiness = being rich (can we define happiness as having enough to be satisfied?):

At what point will people decide that they are rich enough to be happy ...? Indeed, what exactly is "enough"? Conventional economics, obsessed with perpetual growth, has no concept of "enough". On the contrary, the key word in economics is not "enough" but "more". And although there are poor societies that have too little, there are no rich societies saying that they have enough, and still less that (say-ed) that they have too much.

Indeed! More to come.

Oremus pro invicem!

"You see, the last creation is the greatest or highest. Plants higher than rocks; animals higher than plants; man higher than animals, and finally, God's masterpiece: woman. Everything has an order."

"No! No! No!", he said, "I got another one. Here it goes: Who got the worse punishment: Adam or Eve? Right-Eve did. Not only does she now have the pain of labor, she also is now under the dominion of man. Why is this so bad? Because she is God's masterpiece and must now submit to a lower being-man.

"Oh wait, I'm not finished yet. Look at this. Christ, in his humility, willingly put himself under the Blessed Virgin Mary. The sinless Blessed Virgin Mary, puts herself under the headship of the not sinless St. Joseph. These things give you a whole new perspective of marriage and Ephesians 5 if you think about them."

So went some of the discussions at my house this weekend spent with old friends.

I was sick towards the end of last week and so did not go on the March for Life in Columbia. Mrs. Curley went with the older kids and met the contingent from our parish. I stayed home with the two youngest. I thought I might get some rest and some office work done when the phone rang.

Friends we hadn't seen in almost 3 years had taken a spontaneous road trip from Alabama and had just arrived in town and wanted to spend the weekend (bringing pizza and beer-how could I say no?), with their 10 children. "Come on over", said I, and quickly called Mrs. Curley at the March for Life and told her not to dally. (Maybe it was Providence that I was home to take the call. By afternoon my lingering illness seemed gone.)

Some friends after a long separation, you pick up with as if it was yesterday-others you find you have nothing in common with. These friends are certainly in the former category for both Mrs. Curley and myself-and it seemed also for the kids on both sides had the same experience.

We had a wonderful time and some wonderful discussions. It was all capped off before they left Sunday night with the family rosary. What a blessing and what a wonderful weekend.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Following in Dad's footsteps

In contemplating my two sons' accomplishments (see this post from yesterday) with their essays, I recall my own essay contest victory when I was about their age. By chance the clipping was among those things my Mom mailed to me this past summer.

They got my middle initial wrong, but otherwise it's okay. I recall the prize was a book on warships of the colonial era. I think I still have it. I also recall my mother and I atttending a DAR meeting as part of the award. As an 8th grade boy, this last was not much of a thrill at the time.

I am proud of my sons. Knowing the effort I put into my essay those years ago and watching my sons work on theirs (the older one must have recorded his reading of the essay almost 20 times) they put more into their work and wrote better essays than the one of my youth.

You don't have to live in the North to get under the weather in the winter time. That is me these past two days. I was trying to be a patent agent yesterday, but headache, throat, congestion wore through me and I had to quit.

Perhaps I should try this remedy. Actually Mrs. Curley has a similar remedy, but I don't think she uses pepermint. We'll see today as I am still not up to full strength.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

This is my mailman!

From the Chronicle Independent:

Bethune postman celebrates 50 years of deliveries

No one could ever accuse Delton F. Jones of being a slacker.

Jones, a rural mail carrier with the Bethune Post Office, received his 50-year service pin from the U.S. Post Office Tuesday -- and at age 72, he has no plans to retire anytime soon. In fact, he probably will not even change his route -- he has been delivering the mail on the same rural mail route, Route 2, Bethune, since 1958.

"Congratulations, Mr. Jones," Nick Rinaldi, district manager with the U.S. Postal Service, said Tuesday, handing Jones his service pin. "This is quite an achievement. There are not many of these around, believe me."

Jones, a wiry, quiet, soft-spoken man, took it all in stride.

"The more I do it, the more I like it," he said. "I was planning on getting in my 20 years and retiring, but I never did it. I decided to stay here."

Proud Papa

My two oldest sons entered VFW scholarship program this past fall. The younger had to write an essay on patriotism (Patriot's Pen) and the older boy had to write an essay and then record himself reading it (Voice of Democracy).

Today we heard that they both came in first place locally (in the county) for their competition. Next they go on to the state level.

When they submitted their essays, the gentleman from the VFW told us that they don't get many submissions from the rural areas of the county, but only from the towns.

Needless to say, Mrs. Curley and I am proud of them. Their great-grandfather who is a WWII vet and told them of the programs will be proud too.

Oremus pro invicem!


The March for Life and Rally in Columbia, SC is this Saturday. Former Kansas state attorney Phil Kline who prosecuted Planned Parenthood and obtained abortion records (the first time since Roe v. Wade.) Get more information here.

I believe the Charlotte, NC march for life is the following Friday (Jan. 18th). We haven't ever gone to the one in Charlotte.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


As I listened on the radio to the NH primary coverage last night, I starting thinking about demographics-changing demographics.

I grew up in Massachusetts, but we went to NH for summer camp, the zoo, the beach, my sister's college, etc. In fact Magdalen College, where two of my sisters attended, then located in Bedford, NH was in the middle of nowhere. As a matter of fact, all of NH (as I recall it) was in the middle of nowhere. Now, Bedford, NH is part of suburban sprawl. Suburbs of what you ask? Boston!

Even as I listened to voter interviews in Southern NH last night, I heard more Boston accents then the NH/New England accent.

I don't know what all this means politically. Surely NH is still much more conservative than its Southern neighbor MA, but it is changing. If Mitt Romney was considered more conservative than John McCain, one wonders why McCain can win NH solidly in Romney's back yard?

The fact that many independents voted Democrat (for Obama) may be part of the demographic shift also.

Southern NH is not what is used be.


I just heard our rooster crow! (It was a weak crow, repeated three times, but it was a crow.)

That might be no big deal, but we were wondering if it would ever happen. I really think they need to be taught-either by hearing other roosters, or by hearing me. For the last month I have been "crowing" whenever I go near the chicken pen, just so the fellow out there gets the idea. (I claim credit for teaching our roosters of past flocks how to crow also. I wonder what an expert like The Yeoman Farmer thinks of my theory.)

Now, we can also hear our neighbor's roosters crow in the distance sometimes, but that's not exactly the same as hearing your own. And, I will admit that just maybe our rooster learned from the neighbor's roosters.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Yesterday I finally fixed my brake light/turn signal problem on our pick-up truck. (Or at least almost fixed it. One of the turn signals still won't flash, but I know what the problem is.)

Then last night I was out in the yard and heard water dripping. The outside faucet was dripping and wouldn't turn off all the way. The faucet is new (less than a year old) but we must be hard on those washers.

I am well into Small is (still) Beautiful by Joseph Pearce. But, as usual, I am taking a small detour. My oldest son received a (used) copy of The Survivor by Robb White for Christmas. I remember reading and enjoying this book when I was about his age. (Up Periscope was another great Robb White book-made into a movie starring James Garner.) He finished it with rave reviews, and so I decided to read it again. (Maybe this is the year to re-read books of my youth?)

Finally, I leave you with another poem from my 11 year old son:

Blessed Virgin come to me, I long to hear you say;
“wake up, wake up, child dear, it’s time for you to pray”.
And I will say “Hail full of grace”,
At a slow and steady pace.
And Mary will look after me;
In my sorrow and in my glee.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mrs. Curley picked up this gem at a library sale a couple months ago. It has sat on the shelf untouched until yesterday. What makes it interesting now is that yesterday we started to plan on hosting a family square dance for sometime just after Easter.

I read (and studied) through a lot of it yesterday and think Mrs. Curley and I can teach it and call some dances with a little practice. Fortunately we have enough people around here on a daily basis that we can practice teaching and calling to see how it goes. Mrs. Curley and I and the kids were practicing a little last night. It's going to be fun.

My Mom was a great square dancer before she was married to my father. I might try to wrangle some tips from her.


Some of us went for a walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. Deer hunting season is over now, so its safe. After we came back I went to Google-Earth and showed them the satellite view of our walk. Turns out there is a pond just past our stopping point. We'll have to go back and check it out. Maybe there's some good fishing there?

Our Christmas tree is still up. Sometimes it stays up til February 2nd. The needles aren't shedding, but the tinsel is. However, we have a box of tinsel "in reserve" in case the tree needs a little touch-up.

The kids are back to school this week after an extended Christmas holiday.

And the cold snap late last week may have prematurely ended much of the fall/winter garden. I notice the turnip leaves seemed shriveled yesterday and the broccoli-which hasn't been doing much of late anyway-is also shrivelled. I will take a closer look today.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

End of week roundup

TS mentions the light (lite) luminousity of 60 Watt bulbs. My ceilings are very low in my office and if I take my shirt or sweater off underneath them I often hit them, and they blow. This happened two days ago. I didn't have any more 60W around, but did find two 11 watt bulbs (who knows where these came from). I put them in and there is enough light to navigate the room by-but not much more.


The The Social Engineer on 30 December, writes about M. Stanton Evans's book Blacklisted by History . (If I had known about this book, perhaps I would have asked for this for Christmas.) He writes:

His book is about Senator Joe McCarthy and in it Evans goes back to primary sources to uncover and expose the bias in today's historical renderings of the man. What he finds may be shocking to some: that the passage of time has proven Sen. McCarthy to be correct on almost all of his assertions, and that there has been a concerted effort by historians to smear his reputation in spite of facts known at the time.

Growing up, I would hear my father come to Senator McCarthy's defense more than once. It was years before I found another who would do the same.


Mr. Culbreath of Stoney Creek Digest has been putting up a series of forms for morning and evening prayer which he hopes to make available in a booklet. From what I have seen it is great and much needed. I hope one of the forms of Evening prayer includes De Profundis.


I think Mrs. Curley and I (if all goes well) may have a chance to have a dance or two tonight. My favorites to dance to with Mrs. Curley include: Glen Miller's Stairway to the Stars; anyone It Had to be You and Bix Beiderbecke's Singin' the Blues-the first two for romantic and sentimental reasons, and the latter for fun.

Here's a pic of my parents dancing just before they were married. My Mom was really a square dancer and my Dad a jitterbugger.

Have a great weekend.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 04, 2008

My dear Biddy, I have forgotten nothing in my life that ever had a foremost place there, and little that ever had any place there. But that poor dream as I once used to call it has all gone by....

So ends my latest conversation with Great Expectations.

Our Blessed Mother "kept all these things carefully in her heart" (Lk 2:51). While we can't dwell on the past, we must remember those things-moments of grace God gives us and even our brushes with darkness-so we can remain humble and focused our pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Joyful Hope-pray for us! ... Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


It is interesting to see how various religious denominations rationalize changes to fundamental doctrine with no (apparent) public outcry and yet a politician does the same thing at their own peril. Case in point: Mormons had "new revelation" from God when they found that Utah couldn't become a state unless it outlawed polygamy. On the other hand, Mormon Mitt Romney's flips (albeit to the right side) on abortion and homosexual marriage could cost him the cultural conservative vote and thus the nomination, due to lack of trust.

Mainline Protestant Churches suddenly proclaimed artificial birth control to be moral after hundreds of years declaring the opposite in the late 1930's. Many of the politicians who are "pro-life" still think artificial birth control is the best thing since sliced bread. Yet I have heard many people give good reasons arguing that until artificial birth control is regarded once again as immoral by all Christian denominations, abortion will be part of our culture also.


Iowa votes today. We vote on January 19th. I am finding less and less to like about the Republican candidates as the cycle goes on. I really wish Sen. Brownback was still in the race. While I didn't agree with him on everything, I think I could vote for him at least somewhat enthusiastically. Ron Paul? Not sure yet. But he seems to be one of the few, if any, left I feel I can vote for in the primaries-although he has NO realistic chance in the Republican party.

May God bless our nation.

Oremus pro invicem!

Yesterday while working in the office, I heard some commotion downstairs. I stole down and overheard Mrs. Curley breaking up a sibling squabble. She said something I never heard before. It went something like this:

You know boys, parents are like Christ in that we take on and suffer the sins of the whole family somewhat alike to Christ as He took on the sins of the world. When you sin, Dad and I suffer and worry about you and about the family.

Obviously there is some difference. Christ takes on our sins and redeems us; parents simply suffer their children's sins-but our suffering, if offered to God can be redemptive also.

My general advice to parents who have a really troublesome child (or a child in trouble) is simply to fast and pray.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The year of ...

Last year someone told us that what you do on New Year's day is what you will do throughout the year. I promptly backed into another parishioner's car after Mass, and last year truly became "The Year of the Car".

This year the only notable New Year's Day occurance was a physical squabble between two of my boys over a pair of pants, which left one of them with a bruised and swollen chin. Let's hope this year doesn't become "The Year of Sibling Squabbles".


Yesterday I fiddled around with the TV long enough to get the VA vs Texas Tech Gator Bowl to come in almost passably. I promptly sat down and fell asleep. I don't know who won or anything. I used to love college football, but I just don't have time to watch much anymore-and you have to be right on top of it because of the horrible advertisements they air. Although, I didn't see many bad ones yesterday-however I was asleep.


I wrote about the heat on Sunday, but as my son said this morning, "It is ridiculously cold out there" today. The thermometer says it is in the low 30's, but it is windy. The weather website says it feels like 18.

I was talking to my neighbor yesterday. He told me that as long as it doesn't get too cold, the garden will survive. But he told me that the weather we are forecast to get later this week (lows in the upper teens) may "burn the garden up" and kill everything.

It is hard to buckle down to work this morning after so much time off (although I worked a bit on Friday and Monday.) But, it calls, so I will check in later.

Oremus pro invicem!

More New Year's stuff

I usually don't make New Year's resolutions as such. I make Lenten resolutions, I make resolutions at the end of retreats, sometimes I make daily resolutions from prayer. Mrs. Curley is urging me to make a New Years resolution-stay tuned....


My sister gave all her siblings the gift: she had copies made of many of the photos we have of my Mom and Dad before they were married. Whenever we go to my Mom's house, I have made it a point to show these photos to the kids. Now we have some of them here.

It is strange seeing my mother with cats and dogs as we never had a pet growing up (do 2 goldfish that lasted a week count?). I was struck by the similarities between these two pictures of my daughter and my mother:


Oremus pro invicem!

Happy New Year!

I have less than 100 pages left of Great Expectations. (The rip seen in the jacket cover is a little deeper now.) I can still recommend it and have learned some new things from it. And being a parent now brings even a new perspective to the reading of GE.

Early in the book when Pip is still a boy and first meets the beautiful Estella his life is changed forever. Her beauty, combined with her contempt for his lowliness (destined to become a blacksmith) forever changes his life-making him dissatisfied forever with what he was content with before. Pip recognizes this change-but seemingly can't do anything about it-even if makes him miserable.

Everyone has moments or events that change their lives for better or worse. Sometimes we can point to the moment like Pip could. Sometimes we can't. My reading (and subsequent re-reading) of Great Expectations was such a live-changing experience for me-and as I recall, it was intimately tied in with my Confirmation.

Oh well, I am enjoying the last bit, and then will move onto a few other books waiting in the wings.

Oremus pro invicem!