Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Swag

It's Christmas.

First, Mass. Joy to the World!

But then the carousel of food and gifts - and, of course books.

Among this year's bounty, some Chestertonian delights.

How Far Is It to Bethlehem: The Plays & Poetry of Frances Chesterton - appropriate for Christmas.

Then some works by familiar Chesterton fellow-travelers:

Dale Ahlquist's The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G. K. Chesterton.


Nancy Carpentier Brown's A Study Guide for G. K. Chesterton's Saint Francis of Assisi.

Finally, a daughter wandering through a used book store in Boston found a First American Edition of The Wisdom of Father Brown  in excellent condition.


Delightful reading ahead!.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

St. Nicholas Clerihew

At Nicaea, St. Nicholas
slapped a naughty Arius.
Since then he's found a list does fine
to help keep those who stray in line.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jack Passion's beard (clerihew)

The beard of Jack Passion
transcends conventional fashion.
But I doubt his hirsute ways
includes hair shirts these days.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Shaken not stired

I was wondering if i should go see the new Bond movie, Skyfall, or wait for the DVD. well... since the Vatican has given it's supernatural praise to this film I will go and see it on the BIG screen. Personally I can't remember such a glowing review of any secular movie from the "red hats".

My favorite review of the review was by Darren Franich
Can we get an 'Amen'? The Vatican loves 'Skyfall'
Providing further evidence that the modern Catholic Church ain’t your mama’s Catholic Church, the Vatican’s film critic has written a full-throated support of Skyfall, praising the film’s “adrenalin pumping action, amazing hyper-realistic chases, exotic locations, extremely beautiful Bond girls, the usual super villain, and the essential vodka martini” — all things much enjoyed by the population of the Vatican. (They took a vow of chastity… but nothing wrong with a little window-shopping, amiright boys?)
But it’s not all fun and games: Vatican film critic Gaetano Vallini praises how in Skyfall, James Bond is “less attracted to the pleasures of life, darker and more introspective… more human, even able to be moved and to cry.” You could say that Bond is experiencing a crushing sensation of guilt, which makes it impossible for him to experience joy in a meaningful way. If only there could be a whole belief system built on all-encompassing guilt!
The Skyfall review was actually just one of five Bond-related articles in this week’sL’Osservatore Romano, which also included a profile of Bond creator Ian Fleming, a retrospective of Bond music, and a think piece by Pope Benedict explaining that everyone is wrong about Timothy Dalton — he was just Daniel Craig 20 years before the world was ready for Daniel Craig. Just kidding, the Pope didn’t write that: He gave up on the series after You Only Live Twice.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The wrong side of history

"Speaking a few years ago to a group of priests, entirely outside of the current political debate, I was trying to express in overly dramatic fashion what the complete secularization of our society could bring. I was responding to a question and I never wrote down what I said, but the words were captured on somebody’s smart phone and have now gone viral on Wikipedia and elsewhere in the electronic communications world. I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” What I said is not “prophetic” but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse"
Francis Cardinal George

read the whole letter here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Public witness and Catholic citizenship

Archbishop Charles Chaput
Public witness on issues of public concern is natural for Catholics because we have a commitment to the common good and to the dignity of each human person. Those two pillars — the common good and the dignity of every human person — come right out of Scripture. They underpin all of Catholic social thought.
That includes politics. Politics is where the competing moral visions of a society meet and struggle. And since a large majority of American citizens are religious believers, it makes sense for people and communities of faith to bring their faith into the public square.
As a result, if we believe that a particular issue is gravely evil and damaging to society, then we have a duty, not just a religious duty but also a democratic duty, to hold accountable the candidates who want to allow that evil. Failing to do so is an abuse of responsibility on our part, because that’s where we exercise our power as citizens most directly — in the voting booth.
The “separation of Church and state” can never mean that religious believers should be silent about legislative issues, the appointment of judges or public policy. It’s not the job of the Church to sponsor political candidates. But it’s very much the job of the Church to guide Catholics to think and act in accord with their faith.

So since this is an election year, here are a few simple points to remember as we move toward November.
1. “Catholic” is a word that has real meaning. We don’t control or invent that meaning as individuals. We inherit it from the Gospel and the experience of the Church over the centuries. If we choose to call ourselves Catholic, then that word has consequences for what we believe and how we act.  We can’t truthfully call ourselves “Catholic” and then behave as if we’re not.
2. Being a Catholic is a bit like being married. We have a relationship with the Church and with Jesus Christ that’s similar to being a spouse. If a man says he loves his wife, his wife will want to see the evidence in his fidelity. The same applies to our relationship with God. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to show that by our love for the Church and our fidelity to what she teaches and believes. Otherwise we’re just fooling ourselves. God certainly won’t be fooled.
3. The Church is not a political organism. She has no interest in partisanship because getting power or running governments is not what she’s about, and the more closely she identifies herself with any single party, the fewer people she can effectively reach.
4. Scripture and Catholic teaching, however, do have public consequences because they guide us in how we should act in relation to one another. Again, Catholic social action, including political action, is a natural byproduct of the Church’s moral message. We can’t call ourselves Catholic, and then simply stand by while immigrants get mistreated, or the poor get robbed, or – even more fundamentally — unborn children get killed. If our faith is real, then it will bear fruit in our public decisions and behaviors, including our political choices.
5. Each of us needs to follow his or her own conscience. But conscience doesn’t emerge miraculously from a vacuum. The way we get a healthy conscience is by submitting it to God’s will; and the way we find God’s will is by listening to the counsel of the Church and trying honestly to live in accord with her guidance. If we find ourselves frequently disagreeing, as Catholics, with the teaching of our own Church on serious matters, then it’s probably not the Church that’s wrong. The problem is much more likely with us.
In the end, the heart of truly faithful citizenship is this: We’re better citizens when we’re more faithful Catholics. The more authentically Catholic we are in our lives, choices, actions and convictions, the more truly we will contribute to the moral and political life of our nation.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Another sign the apocalypse is upon us.

I like food. Boom!, there I said it. I am willing to try new foods - as a matter of fact I was one of the first to try pizza on a stick. So this seemed right in my wheelhouse PBJ in a can cool...I was wrong.
Every generation, sandwich convenience takes a leap forward. Our grandparents saw the first drive-thru restaurant; our children will be the first to try McDonald's McRib I V Bag. For us, it's the Candwich: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a can.

"Kids Love It!" it says so right there on the can. This just proves my long-running theory: that kids are dumb.

Frat Boys chug the whole sandwich in one gulp.

The world's gone topsy-turvy. Somewhere, someone is drinking a Miller Lite out of a Ziploc bag.

The flavor is somewhere on the continuum between Play-Doh and Taxicab Air Freshener. But if traditional sandwich packaging never took up enough landfill space for your liking, this is the sandwich for you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Persian look is back

Yes, I know that we as bearded Catholics did not get that way in a moment of passion but it is the passion for facial hair that keeps us here.

But to groom or not to groom that is the question whether 'tis nobler to let it grow outrageous and free or to take up scissors to trim it  and by grabbing the ends twist them. To comb, to sweep, to droop no more; and by a clip clip here and a dab dab there say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks our mother's subject us to?

Any way if you manscape a new start-up, the BrooklynGrooming Company, specializes in pomades, beard oils, facial serums and mustache wax all aimed at the tragically hip. The Red Hook Whiskers beard oil, for instance features "mineral rich oils and up lifting herbs in a non-comedgenic, vegan friendly formula".

The good news? economists have adjusted forecasts upward in light of this new product line lessening unemployment, streangthing the GDP and showing the country that the American hipster is willing to spend $50.00 on artistanal beard oil.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Doctor Doctor

It is the Feast day of Teresa of Avila one of my favorite ladies

I am now at an age where this prayer makes big sense my favorite line is: “Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil”.

Thou knowest better than I myself
that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to
straighten out everybody’s affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom,
it seems a pity not to use it all;
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains;
they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person
is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people;
and give, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

- – - prayer by St. Teresa of Avila

She embodies the Chesterton attitude: “He is a sane man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.”

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fluke Clerihew

The last name of Sandra Fluke
rhymes with ... stuck,
which is what she wanted to happen to us with her bills
for birth control pills.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

why i have been away

For many weeks now I have been battling a low grade constant sadness. Unable to fully name it I have been snapping at my child followed by quick apologies. I could not tell if I was avoiding my wife or she was avoiding me I did not give it enough thought to repair the rift. She probably thought it was just another of my blue funks that would pass once I started pushing pigment again.

I knew this was different. I was blaming it on overly busy schedule and the way to many funerals I have had to attend of late. Each for an acquaintance that was younger than I. Then I thought it was that my wife's and my car broke down in the same week followed by a quick need for a plumbing repair. No that could not be it those are just the normal low notes of my life the deep harmony to balance the joy. 
It was not until this morning as I drove my wife to work in my daughter's rickety old but drivable van, and shortly after I popped a James McMurtry casset tape in I knew what it was. It was the corn. I said it aloud, "Honey it's the corn look the crop is just a mere shadow of itself".
"Yes. I know."

My little town is surrounded by fields of corn it colors all my comings and goings from spring to the first snow. Something was wrong this year. Normally in September the corn is 'as high as an elephant's eye' but now it was shorter than me and it droops in an uninspired shade of yellow ocher looking like it should have been put on a suicide watch.

The farmers may only harvest half of what they normally would, there will be no corn mazes for Halloween, or bundles of stately corn stalks anchored by pumpkins on my porch.  It was the edge of the Midwest drought that hit us. It was not completely devastating but seriously harmful that made the crop, the environment and my heart just plain miserable.

Soon what did grow will all be harvested and only the stalk stumps will remain and I will lose this feeling.
But now that I know why I am having this small sorrow I can offer it up.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rochester Chesterton Conference - revisted

I attended the Rochester (NY) Chesterton Conference September 29th. It's the ninth such conference hosted by the local Chesterton group, and it was one of the best attended ones I've been to. The picture below was taken as people were coming in after a break. Many of these empty seats were actually full. 
The theme of the days was "History Matters," and we were treated to a number of fine presentations - all delivered with typical Chestertonian levity and wisdom.  

Lou Horvath of the Rochester Chesterton Society served as emcee. 

The day began with Christopher Check of Catholic Answers giving us a witty history of the Battle of Lepanto, and then dramatically recited Chesterton's Lepanto - from memory! He deserved the round of applause he received. 

David Higbee of Rochester's St. Irenaeus Center then explored the implications of the appearance of Mary at Fatima. Fatima was a wake up call, he said, and suggested that maybe we still need to wake up. The path to heaven is a narrow one, he noted: "I pray more of us will wake up and pursue that narrow way."

After lunch, writer and editor Joseph Pearce was welcomed warmly, and not with the customary pretend abuse, which took him off guard. (The "abuse" is a running joke, which he always takes in good humor.) Once he recovered, he talked about the history of true England - Catholic England - dating back to Roman days. 

And then there was Dale Ahlquist, who allegedly has something to do with the American G. K Chesterton Society - President or some such thing. Beside talking about the fish that got away, oh wait, different talk. Actually, Ahlquist talked about Arthur, The Most Famous King Not in History.  Ahlquist pointed out how important Arthur has been celebrated throughout English history up until the modern era, and briefly analyzed the significance of Excalibur, the Round Table, and the Holy Grail. He brought Chesterton in, of course. He also humorously referred to the Dark Ages as the "unlettered interlude in history" (a couple of times, savoring the words).
But getting serious, he warned that the Dark Ages are returning. We are witnessing the return of an age of barbarians. But he also reminded us that the Church is the thing that brought us out of those first Dark Ages - and the Church remains.
Indeed, amid all the humor and the wit tossed about by the speakers and during conversations between talks and at lunch, there was a subcurrent of concern about the direction our nation and society are taking. A Dark Ages and a return of barbarians? Maybe.
Overall, a great conference. On a lighter not, after all my years of attending the conferences and entering the raffles, I finally won something: A wonderful Chesterton tee-shirt! And, of course, I bought some books. Plenty of fine reading awaits
And maybe some extra praying as the barbarians draw nearer.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rochester Chesterton Conference

It's coming! It's coming!

The annual Rochester Chesterton Conference is scheduled for Saturday, September 29, at St. John Fisher College in Rochester (actually, in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford, but close enough).

More details to come.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Belloc and me: Birds of a tar and feather?

This morning while showering a thought occurred to me.

Thoughts often occur to me while showering. I usually grow frustrated because I can't immediately write them down, and always feel that by the time I get to pen and paper I've lost that perfect wording that had come to me as water poured down upon my head. And, of course, shower-inspired ideas are open to being described as all wet.

Be that as it may, today something occurred to me about Hilaire Belloc.

Belloc is, of course, linked with G. K. Chesterton. I am a great fan of GKC. I own dozens of his books and collections of his newspaper essays. I read him regularly, often in sips, getting interrupted and having to mark my spot in whatever book or essay I'm reading. But I always come back, and eventually finish whatever I'm reading, enjoying the experience.

Not so with Belloc. I have tried to read him, but I can't seem to warm up to him, nor have I been able to finish many of his essays and books (except his poetry). As with Chesterton, I am often pulled away while sipping Belloc's prose. But unlike Chesterton, I often do not return to finish, or even feel a desire to do so.

I've wondered about that. Is there something amiss in me. (Okay, that's a given.) People I respect swear by Belloc. Why do I feel I'm more likely to swear at Belloc?

But as the water washed away the shampoo in my eyes this morning, that thought I alluded to earlier struck me.

Maybe I have a hard time warming up to Belloc because he reminds too much of me.

Belloc earned the nickname "Old Thunder" because of his combative style. Chesterton could argue, then make friends with his foes. I can imagine him heading off to the pub after a debate and tossing back a few  with whomever he had recently been arguing. Belloc seemed more likely to argue and turn friends into foes. If he showed up in a pub where his foe was drinking, I could imagine Belloc getting a drink tossed in his face.

When if comes to arguing, I am like Belloc. I fight well, fiercely, unrelentingly. I'm like a dog that clamps my jaws on my opponent's argument and refuses to let go until my opponent gives up, flees, or dies. Along the way I antagonize, I enrage, I create bad blood with whomever I'm battling.

As a result, I've alienated friends. I've kept other people from becoming friends. I've ended up wearing out my welcome in many places.

And I get sworn at. (So far no drinks tossed in my face, though.)

I am not happy about this.

So when I read Belloc, maybe I see too much that reminds me of things I don't like about myself.


Or maybe that idea really is all wet.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A St. Rose Clerihew

St. Rose

was plagued by earthly beaus.

To discourage their thoughts of marriage

she used pepper to spice up her visage. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The first rule of economics is scarcity. The first rule of politics is to ignore the first rule of economics.
Which is basically why Chesterton and Belloc are told to shut up. We need to keep talking anyway.
Just Saying

Monday, August 20, 2012

The First Shark Week

Bishop Nicholas Steno once again shows that religion hates science....no wait reverse that.

“Nicolas Steno was a Danish Renaissance man who believed in proving to himself long held beliefs and disgrading things shown to be false.  This strong drive for the truth led him to become the founder of geology and laid the ground work for the development of archaeology and paleontology.  His first major test was analyzing his Lutheran beliefs.  When Steno reasoned that Catholicism was more grounded in traditional Christianity than Lutheranism Steno converted.  He would study and follow his new faith all the way to becoming a bishop.

But geographers and other earth scientists better know Steno for his geological work.  Later on Steno discovered rock strata were actually layers of rock which formed on top of each other over time.  He stated the deeper one digs into the earth the older the material.  Before Steno this was too much a leap for scientists to realize due to the general scientific disinterest in anything below the Earth's surface unless it was for alchemy.  His discovery also ended the belief in an unchanging creationist Earth.  Since then all science has agreed the Earth is dynamic.

Steno's anatomical studies focused at first on the muscular system and the nature of muscle contraction -for example, he used geometry to show that a contracting muscle changes its shape but not its volume.
However, in October 1666, two fishermen caught a huge shark near the town of Livorno, and Duke Ferdinand ordered its head to be sent to Steno. Steno dissected it and published his findings in 1667.
The figure above shows the figure published by Steno of the shark's head and teeth. While examining the teeth of the shark, Steno was struck by their resemblance to certain stony objects, called glossopetrae or "tongue stones," that were found in certain rocks. Ancient authorities, such as the Roman author Pliny the Elder, had suggested that these stones fell from the sky or from the moon. Others were of the opinion, also going back to ancient times, that fossils naturally grew in the rocks. Steno's contemporary Athanasius Kircher, for example, attributed fossils to a "lapidifying virtue diffused through the whole body of the geocosm." Steno, however, argued that glossopetrae looked like shark teeth because they were shark teeth, that had come from the mouths of once-living sharks, and come to be buried in mud or sand that was now dry land. There were differences in composition between glossopetrae
and living sharks' teeth, but Steno used the "corpuscular theory of matter", a forerunner of atomic theory,
to argue that fossils could be altered in chemical composition without changing their form.”

Oh yea, he also sold his bishop's cross and ring to help the poor.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pollock clerihew

Jackson Pollock
facing possible painter's block
discovered that what matters
to the critics were his splatters.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Visiting Gilbert

Why yes I did go to Gilbert's house- you may envy me now. Ok maybe not. Gilbert's house is privately owned so there was no walking around the grounds. London has a Chesterton society that schedule several trips (they call them pilgrimages) to his house and grave sight however they were doing these the weekend before and the weekend after I was there. So I had to find these sites on my own which was no easy task. I had to take two subways to the end of the line and then grab a bus. I then missed my stop by two towns. The driver was very kind and gave me a transfer ticket back to  Beaconsfield. I can understand how Gilbert would get lost coming and going.

Once there I wondered around trying to get directions to Gilbert's and Frances' house, I was ill prepared. I thought everyone would know but noooo. The first six people I asked had no idea who I was talking about. I then went into the parish hall of St Mary's Church and still all I got was, "Who?". I finally ran into a lady mopping the floor who knew. It was a short walk away.

As I took the corner of Grove Road I saw a sign, "Chesterton Gardens", it was a dentist office. The next building was his house. I did not stay there long because walking up and down the side walk staring at this house even made me feel creepy. 

I did have a beer at The Royal Standard Pub which I am sure was a place where Gilbert graced more than once.  I wish I had more time to wonder around the town but the buses do not run late.

Interesting that, aside from the circle plaque on GKC's house there is nothing in this town that says Chesterton was ever there. Even several of the web sites dedicated to Beconsfield don't mention him yet there is a larger than life statue of Sherlock Holms on Baker Street which draws more photo taking visitors than the Globe. Like the Rocky statue in Philly

One source of pride came from reading the London Chesterton Societies page where I came across this:
The American Chesterton Society
This must be the world’s most successful Chesterton organization, and is to no small extent responsible for the fact that Chesterton is taken very much more seriously in the U.S. than in the land of his birth. In its present form the society is the creation of Dale Ahlquist, whose larger than life personality is reflected by this extrovert all-singing all-dancing website.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chicago values

“Catholic values are not Chicago values.” – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Okay, that’s not what he really said. But it is in effect what he said.

The actual quote is, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.”

What prompted the remark were comments by the president of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, in an interview in which he said, in response to question, that he supports traditional marriage. He has made it clear in separate statements that he opposes homosexual marriage.

Immediately the hyperbolic knee-jerkers accused him of being homophobic, hating homosexuals, etc. Never mind that he was talking about just marriage. He did not condemn homosexuals. He did not call them monsters, or heterophobic, or haters. He did not call for them to be locked up, or executed, or driven out of town. He did not call for them to be denied the right to buy a home, or a car, or fast food. And his company does not refuse to serve homosexual customers. Indeed, it may have some homosexual employees.

But he dared to disagree with them on this particular issue.

And that led to Emanuel and others to stick their political feet into the furor, and to threaten to block the opening of Chick-fil-A restaurants in Chicago and Boston.

Now, Mr. Cathy’s stand on marriage also happens to be the Catholic Church’s stand. In saying that Cathy’s values are not Chicago values, Emanuel is in effect saying that the Church’s values are not Chicago values.

Given the values for which Chicago has a reputation, I’d be more worried if the Church did begin to share Chicago values.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No vote for Romney? Well ...

In the most recent Gilbert Magazine, Dale Ahlquist, he of seemingly infinite Chestertonian knowledge, wrote an editorial entitled, "Why I won't vote for Mitt Romney."

I was intrigued.

I can think of many reasons not to vote for Romney, and I was curious to see if his reasons jibed with ones that had occurred to me.

He threw a curve ball - sort of.

Ahlquist talked about his experience as a lobbyist in 1996 and witnessing the Republican machine in operation determining the 2000 nominee. He saw the same process in operation this time around.

So he views Romney as a product of the party machine, and not the real choice of the voters.

Okay, I can see that.

He also alluded to some of the reasons why I will not vote for Romney. The Republican Party tends to pay lip service to social values such as the pro-life position on abortion, but once it suckers in the social conservatives it fails to deliver. Even worse for folks in my neck of the woods (New York) many of our local Republican Party elected officials and candidates would be Democrats in most other states. Heck, I'm currently represented by a Catholic Republican Congressman who supports abortion!

The Republican Party is really about money, he contends, and I agree. Big Business, as he puts it. Of course, the alternative is Big Government (that other major party).

And, to be honest, given Romney's track record, I still don't know how sincere he is on the issues that are important to me - like the Right to Life.

Where I might stray from Ahlquist's position is that Romney is still slightly better that Obama on some significant issues, and if I had to chose, and if I lived in a state where my vote might actually count, I would reluctantly vote for him. Romney is more likely to change some policies, and to chose judges who might be more reasonable. I think. I hope. 

Of course, because of the Electoral College, my vote in New York doesn't matter. This state will give its Electoral votes to Obama no matter what happens in the next few months - unless they indict him, and even then he still might carry the state. 

So I don't have to vote for either of the machine-chosen major party candidates. I hear Santa Claus is running. Hmm.....

But if I lived in a state like Ohio, I'd consider voting for Romney - sorry Dale. I don't want to see four more years of anti-life, anti-faith policies.

Ahlquist says he will vote for neither Obama nor Romney, concluding: "I will not play this game anymore."

I understand where he's coming from.

I'm just not there yet.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Well Done

Back in May we, along with others, posted about an e-book project to help the seminarians in Africa. They needed to raise $4,000.00 dollars and thanks to all-you-all they raised $18,050. This is good. Very GOOD.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Let us bring a joyous ending to pie week as we sing

from the little band that could.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Add a tankard of beer and you have a holiday.

Any way I am headed off to London this weekend to visit my son and his family and want to take in some Chesterton sites. Any recommendations? I will also be doing some 'stand-up' when I am there in which i have found ways to use Chesterton quotes as punch lines for political humor - Beer and Bacon Party!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Amazed it even got published

If there is a WAR ON WOMEN there is a truth that there will be some women that will be seen as “traitors” like Anne-Marie Slaughter who says there is a difference between Feminism and Femininity. It does not matter that she is telling the truth that women are not the same as men and that they have a unique roll to fulfill in the world.

“What she is basically saying is what the Church has been saying for years: yes women deserve to be in the house and the senate so to speak but they also should not have to deny who they are as women namely their unique design as life bearers in order to get ahead. The articles are another example of how truth is truth and eventually, no matter how hard we try to suppress it, it does come to the surface."

Whether she is aware of it or not she continually restates the position the church has taken for oh um centuries. here is just one example LETTER OF POPE JOHN PAUL II to Woman.
Sarcasm aside I don't think this is a War on Women but there is a war its a Female Civil War.

I know this is the kind of Quote that gets Chesterton in trouble yet it explains the core of the War. “It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”
"Well, to get this honest but unpleasant business over, the objection to the Suffragettes is not that they are Militant Suffragettes. On the contrary, it is that they are not militant enough. A revolution is a military thing; it has all the military virtues; one of which is that it comes to an end. Two parties fight with deadly weapons, but under certain rules of arbitrary honor; the party that wins becomes the government and proceeds to govern. The aim of civil war, like the aim of all war, is peace. Now the Suffragettes cannot raise civil war in this soldierly and decisive sense; first, because they are women; and, secondly, because they are very few women. But they can raise something else; which is altogether another pair of shoes. They do not create revolution; what they do create is anarchy; and the difference between these is not a question of violence, but a question of fruitfulness and finality. Revolution of its nature produces government; anarchy only produces more anarchy." read it here

It still amazes me that there is any honest discussion that anyone can 'have it all'. It is the kind of pursuit that will make you mad precisely because it is totally unattainable this side of the great divide.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

True, "You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." but you can celebrate the thing.

Or you could make a study of the thing and learn such neat facts like:

"The most treacherous beard in history was that of Austrian Hans Steininger. It was more than two metres long and he kept it rolled and stowed in a leather pouch, but in 1567 he tripped over it while running from a fire, and perished.

One of the CIA's more insane attempts to destabilise Cuba was to put toxic thallium salts in the shoes of Fidel Castro to make his beard fall out."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

‎"But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21

Our God King to the Bishops

When asked about the HHS mandate that free contraception would lead to free abortion everyone poo-pood the idea “No one is talking about making that step.” I heard a talking head say.

I snickered then knowing abortion is sometimes called after sex contraception. Also when the Government offers something for “free” they expect you to take advantage of that service - by force if necessary. They have to protect their phony baloney jobs - It is for the public good after all and pregnancy IS the monster of our time so grab your torches!!

"In reality there is not that big of a leap between government deciding to subsidize a behavior and government deciding to enforce that behavior by law". In a previous life this was a common saying: “The first one is free the next one will cost you.” (90% percent of those came back with cash).

“The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby” GKC

Well well CT. sure doesnt want any of that gravity.

In our current materialistic culture the self is God and pleasure is the source and summit of life. Consequently any slight to the self is a blasphemy and a denial of pleasure is a mortal sin.
So it is easy to see how many have lost their sense of humor.

“Humour is meant, in a literal sense, to make game of man; that is, to dethrone him from his official dignity and hunt him like game.” G.K. Chesterton.

If you make sport of me, a god, I will smite you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a new documentary

I love the whole idea of this.

Learn more about it here release date is sometime in 2013 if they don't run out of money.

I am fairly sure this film won't be playing in a cinaplex near you, (or anyone for that matter), so keep an ear out maybe your local Knights of Columbus will host a screening.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Along with the poets song writers have also been curiously silent the subject of cheese -  tomatoes on the other hand...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tony's feast day

Really, who doesn't love this guy.

This prayer has always worked for me:

Anthony, Anthony
I've looked all around
somethings been lost
and can't be found.

Dear St Anthony i pray
bring it back with out delay.

When I was coaching and one of my players was off their game, we said that prayer together. It worked.

or what grandma taught her daughters

Anthony Anthony
find me a man
as fast as you can.

My Grand mother had a very personal relationship with the saints. There were several statues of her favorites around her house. She would talk to them and offer up novenas through them for certain things to happen. If after such a novena, to a particular saint, the thing she wanted did not happen she would show her disappointment in them by turning that saints statue upside down.

When we would visit her we could tell what kind of mood she would be in by how many statues were upside down.

Saint Anthony got a real work out in my Grandma's life time yet his statue was rarely upside down.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I saw a very delightfuldocumentary, "A Model for Matisse: The Story of the Vence Chapel"the other night and recommended it to any one you likes art, nuns, monks, architecture, intrigue and agape love.
(now on Netflix)

Yes, I am a big fan of Matisse and have always loved the Chapelle du Rosaire. If I believed in a bucket list visiting that chapel would be high on that list.

As an artist, that work is a true inspiration to me being that Matisse began that work when he was 77 (it is his master piece) showing that is never too late and great work does not always happen in the fire of youth.

I knew of  Sister Jacques-Marie as an art history footnote until seeing this film. Simply put without her this Chapel would never have happened and her continued input was not a small one. 

Of course she plays down her role in true humility. She is a beautiful soul.
I loved her quote "I was sickly and I decided that if I am only going to live half a life I will live it to the fullest." For her living it to the fullest was to become a nun.


I left the film with a new appreciation of how God works in the lives of people to bring about the new kingdom and to build up the body of Christ. I think that through Sister Jacques-Marie Matisse died a good death. Sister also shows us what humility looks like.

In her obituary it ends with "When Sister Jacques Marie's role in the creation of one of the most important works of art in the 20th century was revealed by Barbara Freed in this documentary, A Model for Matisse: The Story of the Vence Chapel (2003), there were mischievous suggestions in the press that her relations with the artist had been more than merely platonic. "I never really noticed whether he was in love with me," she told an interviewer in 1992. "I was a little like his granddaughter or his muse, but he was always a perfect gentleman.""

Why I include that note is that a movie is now in the works, staring Al Pacino about Matisse and his relationship with  Monique Bourgeois (Sister Jacques-Marie). Maybe it's me but Hollywood does not do facts well and not since The Bells of Saint Mary's they certainly don't do agape love. I think they will go with the rumor and not the facts which will certainly be a shame. 

Maybe I'm wrong.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

When forces of secular and religious fanaticism were locked in a no-quarter battle for the country's soul.

By now you have all seen The Avengers so I won't enter another over the top review. However I will mention that one of things I liked about the mechanics of this film was that there were no opening credits. I hate that part of any film more than i hate overtures. Both are a waste of time and are void of any artistic merit.
I was hoping that was going to become a trend and lo and behold I went to see For Greater Glory and....no opening credits.

Anyway go see For Greater Glory not just cause of the no opening credit thing but it really lives up to all the hype. Actually most movies claiming to be a "Christian" movie have been either lame or only slightly better than home movie quality. This film has the production quality we have grown used to.

Yes, the pace of this film is not the usual for a war movie, however it is perfectly suited the story. What I have found interesting is that those critics that have panned this film all have an anti-Christian bent using phrases like "martyr melodrama" or "Scene after scene is either a referendum on devotion or a display of brutality ". This film used faaaaar less blood than any modern war movie and how do you show a war without brutality?  If you remember the reviews of the Passion the most often used phrase against that film was "Little more than blood porn." Yet films like Saw are called edgy and Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch was called "...a bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western." And Kill Bill was called fearless film making.

"Scenes on a referendum on devotion" -what the what - did these reviewers miss what this movie was about and why this civil war took place.

and as a side note it is still against the law, in Mexico, to hold a mass out of doors. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Who dares attack my Chesterton an excellent article by Zac Alstin who comes out against another critic who gets it wrong.

Maybe its me but as I read the quotes from GKC, Zac mentions on the Prussians, I could not help but think of our current resident and his plans for Utopia through Tyranny...

“In other words, the Prussian Empire, with all its perfections and efficiencies, has one notable defect—that it is a dead thing. It does not draw its life from any primary human religion or poetry; it does not grow again from within. And being a dead thing, it suffers also from having no nerves to give warning or reaction; it reads no danger signals; it has no premonitions; about its own spiritual doom its sentinels are deaf and all its spies are blind.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Advice

hush up your crying

Doc Watson has just moved away

growing he be to eighty nine

its summer let us dance let us play

music as wild flowers he left behind

more GKC birthday celebrating

Well... not just somebody but its our friend Paul Nowak inventor of our 2nd favorite game to play - Table Gype

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking for something GOOD to do

"In Cameroon, Africa, books are scarce--especially the good ones. Which means few Catholics have access to quality spiritual reading. Fr. Linus, who is studying at one of the Cameroon seminaries, explains:
"One of the key problems the Church in Cameroon is facing, as in many parts of Africa, is that Christians do not read. And if they do, it's very thin. Most know very little about the Catholic faith and the situation is worst among the young people."
But what if we could change that, patricularly in the seminaries? What if we could provide good Catholic books to every future-priest in the country?
With eBooks and new media, I think we can."

go here and here

Chesterton spotings

Well first of all Happy birthday Uncle Chestnut!

Nice blurb about GK on the writers almanac where i found out his Father Brown mysteries later inspired Alfred Hitchcock.

Also, as I was on a recipe hunt, I came across a blog dedicated to cheese. The section dedicated to cheese poetry has the mast head : "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese". They do not give credit to GKC and when they post...


Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
England has need of thee, and so have I—
She is a Fen. Far as the eye can scour,
League after grassy league from Lincoln tower
To Stilton in the fields, she is a Fen.
Yet this high cheese, by choice of fenland men,
Like a tall green volcano rose in power.

Plain living and long drinking are no more,
And pure religion reading 'Household Words',
And sturdy manhood sitting still all day
Shrink, like this cheese that crumbles to its core;
While my digestion, like the House of Lords,
The heaviest burdens on herself doth lay.
they list his name as W. K. Chesterton. I left a post asking for a correction pretending any one will listen to me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Memorial Day I usually think of my father, my uncles, as well as the fathers and uncles of my childhood friends. The men of world war 2. These men are all dead now.

My friends and I think more of their war than ours, and honor thier generation more than ours. Maybe you need the distance to see clearly or at least the distance not to have a memory make you bleed.

Joel Mabus, Touch a Name On The Wall

Friday, May 25, 2012

Are You Hip Enough

If we are to make any headway in this culture war (during our life time) it is important to understand "the power of cool" as Victor Davis Hanson lays it down). This explains why some people can get away with certain misdeeds (sin) and others who commit the same deeds can not. Also how some are dismissed out of hand, shouted down, or bumper stickered blind because their views are not the cool MSM ones.
Now one would think the Pope is cool (I do) but the MSM thinks he's "cute" or 'adorable' but ultimately out of touch with the real world.

In a recent Facebook debate on Planned Parenthood one of my comments was responded to with a derisive "Next we will be talking about shooting moose from a helicopter". The 'cool kids' couldn't click Like fast enough.

Granted being a follower of Christ has never been cool, but being cool has never before been the trump card in public debate.

We do not need to be cool - we need to rise up and say "Enough already! Sit back down and let the adults talk."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The May Magnificat

May is Mary's month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season-

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?-
Growth in every thing-

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature's motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring's universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all-

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ's birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation. 
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Saturday, May 05, 2012

One of the up sides of the current resident’s hostile distain of the Catholic church is that the bishops have grown a pair. 

They are seeing the folly of 'go along to get along'. They have remembered that you cannot compromise with the devil.  So finally they are saying "no" to those Catholics who think it is ok to slice and dice babies from speaking at Catholic Schools. One such case is that Rep Bob Hagan has been uninvited to speak because of his pro child murder stance. The thing is that Hagan just can't understand it he said, “I have fought for social justice my entire life and today, I am one disappointed Catholic. After being invited to give the commencement speech at Mercy Nursing School here in Youngstown, I got a call telling me that the Bishop has overruled their invite and they have rescinded the invitation because of some of the political positions I have taken. I am saddened that the work that I have done to feed the poor, clothe the naked, help cure the sick, and to bring an end to the death penalty has fallen on deaf ears.”

So for him he believes that these goods outweigh the evil of his support of the wholesale slaughter of children which he calls a political position. He is not alone.

Interesting that we would vote for someone who does these goods but actively maintains the okedness of the slicing and dicing of babies for the health of the mother but we would never vote for someone who said it would be ok to slap your wife occasionally for the health of the marriage.

I pray for Rep Hagan that he may gain sight and I continue to pray for the bishops that they stay strong.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Is it too soon to say hurrah?

Although one might think boycotts work and that Pepsi has seen the light but I can not help remembering the Susan G. Komen fiasco. Then again Pepsi has the bottom line to guide its moral decisions.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Strange (wink. wink) that there was never any mention of this guy in the movie.

"In almost every line that has been written, and in every sentence that has been spoken, there stands boldly out above every other expression a picture of sublime heroism that will be copied into the pages of history. And well it may, for it is deserving of that honor.

But when it is, mention should be made of one whom pens and tongues have almost forgotten in their accounts of this awful sea tragedy. Among those who safely reached the land again no one seems to have been aware of his presence on the ship, but we may hope that many who meet him in a blissful eternity will praise God that Father Thomas Byles was there to administer absolution unto them."