Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"I came to cast fire upon this earth."

I borrowed this from my other blog. I figured that a Christmas message was probably needed on this blog. . . .
When we consider the mystery of Christmas presented to us by Holy Mother Church at this time of year, these words of Scripture jump out at me: "I came to cast fire upon this earth, and would that it were already kindled!" These words remind me of two particular things in relation to the coming of the Messiah.
In the words following the rest of this quote from Luke (12:49), Christ tells us that division and difficulty will be effects of His Evangelion, of His "Good News." The Son of God most certainly retains the title "Prince of Peace," but He did not come to give peace to men, but "pax hominibus bonae voluntatis," peace to men of good will. Christ's coming brings peace to men of good will, but not to all men. Hence the subsequent verses from Luke, describing strife and division. Those not properly disposed, who have not made the rough ways of their souls smooth; these will hate and revile true followers of the Newborn Babe. Even within our own being, we will war with ourself, for the rough ways of our fallen nature are not easily subdued and made welcoming to Our Redeemer.
If we can but overcome the struggle within ourselves, and reject the clamor and strife that assails us from without, then suddenly our hearts may be opened up as a fire of charity, burning with a renewed love of the Saviour of mankind. This is why Christ says, "And would that it were already kindled!" He came to encourage us to give us the burning heart that ever strains to be united with Him Who made all things. Ultimately, Christ as the Word of God and Creator of the World has made all things to rest in Himself, the "Burning Furnace of Charity," and this is why He came into the world. May we feel the heat of His everlasting love, and responding, be as sparks igniting this world with the love of the Most Sublime Trinity.

Christus natus est pro nobis! Glorificate Eum!

-Amator

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not Taco Bell

How to create the perfect vegetarian taco lunch:

1. Whole grain Alvarado St Bakery tortillas
2. Cooked rice, including sauteed onions
3. Organic cheddar cheese from Horizon
4. Lettuce, also organic
5. Taco Bell sauce

Microwave first three together in taco form. Add next two. Eat with delight.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Irish Isle, anybody?

Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m. I'm going to the Irish Isle pub in Middletown to hear my coworker Danny play and to soak up the general Irishness. You are all welcome to come too! :-)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Tota Pulchra Es, Maria

et macula originalis non est in te.

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Lambie Goes to a Concert

Lambie is at home right now, because he is a slacker, but he wants me to tell you about his adventure a few weeks ago: he went to a concert of sacred polyphony. It wasn't just any concert of sacred polyphony--it was Collegium Cantorum's concert of music by Pierre de la Rue. Lambie doesn't know much about music, but I was there too and I can tell you it was awesome. It kept Nicole, who also came, and myself rapt throughout!

Here is what Lambie did. First, and don't be weirded out by this, but Lambie wanted to check out the girls' bathroom with Nicole and me. I offered to leave him outside, but he declined, so we took a picture of him in the mirror as proof of his obstinacy:



Then, as is customary, Lambie, Nicole and I took our seats for the performance. It was held in a rather modern-looking episcopal church in Bethesda. Lambie didn't find it that annoying, though, because we got to sit near the front (there weren't that many attendees, which is a shame). Lambie insisted on posing on the back of the pew in front of us:



We were just fascinated by the performance, I especially because Anthony was kind enough to lend me his sheet music to follow along. However, Lambie kept interrupting me to take pictures, but just when I was about to take an excellent picture he would nudge my hand and make it blurry! Lambie is annoying like that sometimes. So here are a couple pictures I took of the performers:





It was just a riotously good show all around. Like I said, Lambie couldn't really appreciate that sort of thing, being conditioned to appreciate bleating more than any other sound. The sounds elicited from the choir members were on the other end of the spectrum, for sure. One of my favorite facets of the performance was that the music was in a low key: no soaring sopranos here! Rather, the extra low bass part and the other tonally subdued parts gave it a dark, mysterious quality especially suited to the texts. Unfortunately for Anthony, it meant that he couldn't sing low enough for the bottom part and was stuck with the quasi-manly first bass part--just kidding, Anthony!!

Speaking of Anthony, after the concert, Lambie, Nicole, and I met up with him, and he was kind enough to pose for a few pictures:


{Note the real bow tie, perfectly tied}


Lambie somehow wormed his way into Nicole's heart, for she allowed him to be part of her picture with our bass celebrity:



I suspected Lambie of only going to the concert for the photographs and the chance of food. Therefore, when Anthony took Nicole and me out for dinner after the singing, I mercilessly excluded both lamb and camera from the table. We did have a very fun time eating and chatting at Chili's while Lambie fumed in the car. On the way back, his attempts at learning French from the Pimsleur learning CD I got out of the library were ludicrous and laughable; Nicole and I did much better.

After all that excitement, Lambie got tired and went to sleep (lucky sheep, wish I could):

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Emily & Joe's Engagement

This is the post with the pictures!

First, here are a few pictures of Joe and Emily from our Thanksgiving Day trip to the beach:




On a sunny "Black Friday" morning, Joe and Emily decided to take another walk on the beach. This we knew, and over breakfast the Griswolds and I mulled over what might be the purpose of their walk. We waited long, and at last they came:







John Robert's contribution: "Bagels! Oh, good job, Emily."





Mrs. Griswold expresses her extreme shock:



A toast to the happy couple, with Mumm sparkling wine:





This final photo was not taken by me, but it does what I failed to do and captures Emily's beautiful white gold engagement ring:

Band Meme-from Fezzick and others.



This is who I would be if I was a band. Somehow I really doubt it....

Title: Grazialla de Michele
Band: About other People
Picture: Originally titled "More Love"


Laugh.

Hilarious! Must read for Catholic nerds!

http://ironiccatholic.blogspot.com/2008/11/theological-trash-talk-tips.html

Theological trash talk. 'Nuff Said! Courtesy of Ironic Catholic.

-Amator

Engagement

Joe and Emily are engaged! Pictures to come later...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Law Books

I am taking up Sylvia's advice and blogging. Unfortunately, the only thing I could think of to blog about is law books.
As a law student, I notice law books. I notice them everywhere. Particularly where they do not belong.
Law books have a very particular design, as modelled above. There base color is a dirty, ugly tan, with one or two black or red stripes on the binding. These ugly books make for an ugly library. Whereas a normal library has books of every shape and size, inviting one to wander the aisles at their leisure, with no particular object in mind, admiring this cover or that opening line, enjoying the books and all the secrets they contain for their own sake. Law libraries, on the other hand, are rows upon rows of tan books, of varying tan colors, and alternating red and black stripes. When one opens a law book, curious of what they contain, one is disappointed to find:
s. 1.704-3(A)(6) Basis adjustments. A partnership
making adjustments under s. 1.743-1(b) or
1.751-1(a)(2) must account for built-in gain or loss
under section 704(c) in accordance with the
principles of this section.
So much for "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. . ." or "It is a truth universally acknowledged. . .".
What is particularly amusing to me as a law student is Hollywood's use of law books. You see, to Hollywood, ugly law books on a red wood shelf are the absolute sign of rank, stature, importance, and prominence. When you see a President in an office, there will be law books in the shot. When you see a high ranking military officer at a desk, there will be law books there. When you see a business man across the table from his clients, look for the law books because they will be there.
What is more amusing, is that in life law books always come in sets. 500 volumes of a legal encyclopedia. 50 titles for the US Code. A 30 volume series for legal practice. 10,000 volumes (in four editions) for the Court of Appeals decisions. However, according to Hollywood, that is not important. Four or six law books are enough, no matter what they are about, even if they are labeled volumes 6, 34, 17, 2 (in that order). Just make sure they are the same ugly tan with the same number and color of stripes on the binding.
Now that you have read this email, I will bet you that sometime in the next week you will see law books on the television somewhere where they do not belong. Watch for it.


Prose

My prose is bad; it makes me sad.

Lambie wishes to write to you, to tell you of his adventures and show you photographic evidence thereof, but his imminent departure to the temperate land of South Carolina makes it impossible. He may have more news to tell upon his return, though! He wishes you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Brought to You by Mustard


Today is brought to you by mustard! (What an interesting looking word, if you study it at length, by the way.)

Mustard can come in a bottle:



It can also come in a jar:



However, mustard really grows in a field, like so:



And here are some nifty mustard-colored shoes:



Let the mustard flow!

Couldn't Resist


Mine is like an indie-metal band.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Colin, you will like this


A random band generating Meme!

I'm lazy, so see the Shrine post for directions, but my result is above.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hmmm . . .

I saw a lot of this, too, on election day.  It astounds me how many people will defend to the death their right to vote, and yet make no effort whatsoever to find out about who they are voting for.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Soon . . . the Adventures of Lambie!





Stay tuned . . .

Christmas in...November?

I'm taking Sylvia's dare and blogging :)

A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that radio stations in Philadelphia had begun to play Christmas music. I was astounded. A few days later, I realized that radio stations in my area were doing the same thing. What is going on here? Not only are stores putting us Christmas decoration the day after Halloween, Christmas/"holiday" music is now being played at the beginning of November. My initial reaction to this has been incredulity, and I've been trying to figure out the reasons behind this "Christmas craze."

I think the root of the problem lies in the lost, bored, and lonely feelings of secular society. Without faith, life loses much of its meaning. I've often thought how sad it must be for non-Catholics who go through life with hardly any fasting or feasting. The cycle of the Church calendar is actually very important for our human psyche, especially since we've lost the natural agrarian change of seasons. Having feasts, and celebrations, and times of fasting and penance, apart from their inherent religious significance, provides change and interest in our daily lives as events to look forward to and prepare for. Fasting gives meaning to feasting, and feast days throughout the year allow us to relax, celebrate, and take a break from daily life.

It is this idea of looking forward and celebrating that, I believe, lies at the root of the Christmas craze. Christmas is the only holiday which our secular society still really celebrates. Although the true meaning of Christmas is often overlooked, who can deny that just about everyone gets excited about Christmas? For once a year, people think again about family, giving, peace on earth, etc. Ideally, it's an opportunity for celebrating. And because it only comes once a year, people want to enjoy it as long as they can. Of course, without faith, secular society goes about it the wrong way. Christmas decorations, constant Christmas songs, tons of shopping for food and gifts, parties galore; these are the ways people try to fill the emptiness in their hearts, and they look for more opportunities to do it. And it won't make them happy. After all, that's the reason behind the depression which can follow the holidays. People get all hyped up, but there hearts are never truly filled, and so even Christmas leaves them empty. If you've ever experienced this, take a look at how your prepare for, and celebrate, Christmas. Do you prepare for Christ's birthday, and celebrate Advent and Christmas with spiritual fervor, or do you let yourself get caught up in shopping, decorating, partying, etc.?

I love Christmas. I love the decorations, and food, and family celebrations. And yes, I enjoy hearing the Christmas music on the radio. But I know there is more to the "holy-day" than all that. So while the world is telling us to "celebrate the season," let's try to remember what the "season" really is. First, it's November, the month of the Holy Souls, and we should be offering extra prayers for the souls in purgatory. Second, this Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. Third, Thanksgiving is next week, a time to give thanks for all our blessings, and spend time with our family, instead of worrying which stores to visit, and what to buy, on Black Friday. Fourth, Advent will begin on November 30, and we should recall that it is a time of preparation. The rigors of Lent are not asked, but we should make an effort to pray, sacrifice, and prepare spiritually for the birth of the Savior.

We are entering a season of joy, but above all it should be a spiritual joy. Instead of just preparing for Christmas Day, and then suffering from post-holiday depression, let's concentrate on today, and the upcoming feasts, celebrations, and Advent season. Try a little extra prayer and sacrifice this season, then go to a good Christmas Mass. I think you'll enjoy the holidays a whole lot more. And while we can enjoy the early Christmas music, let it be a reminder to pray for all those who don't know the true meaning of Christmas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gross Coffee



Is it better than no coffee at all? Discuss.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dare to Blog

I dare you.

Volunteering at the Hospital?

Lately, I've been thinking I need to volunteer at a place. I have grown more than a little self-absorbed and self-centered, and what's worse, I rarely meet "non-Christendommy" people even in this little town. I go from work to home to friends to church to some activity for me, then back to work (right, back to work!). I've come up with the idea to volunteer at the hospital. The hospital is a place I never, ever go: I don't think I have darkened the door of a hospital for at least two years. That's why I thought it might be a good idea to spread good cheer and good will there. So my plan was to start in January.

. . . but then I had an unfortunate practical thought: will going to the hospital regularly to volunteer make it likely that I will catch some illness or other and spread it to my housemates? Will I put myself in the way of all sorts of unheard-of infections? In other words, should I just find a better place to volunteer, like a nursing home or something? I haven't even started looking into the need of these various places, or the hours. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Addicted to Online Shopping, Trying to Recover

When you start to daydream about dresses you might buy, or even presents, you realize you may have a problem. I have gone to extremes in shopping online. In an effort to stop my shopping binges and regain control of my life, I have used the following instructions for some of my favorite shopping sites. The reason that it's not a problem for me to do this is that by now, mid-November, I'm almost completely done with my Christmas shopping.

  1. Click Start->Run
  2. Through the Browse, select "All Files" and open C:/Windows/System32/drivers/etc/hosts using Notepad
  3. Locate the line 127.0.0.1 localhost
  4. To block the website spiegel.com for example, just add this text under 127.0.0.1 localhost:

    127.0.0.1 spiegel.com
    127.0.0.1 www.spiegel.com

    You can add as many sites any site, However you will need to prefix it with "127.0.0.1".
  5. Save the file. Spiegel will now be blocked in all web browsers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Events This Week - 11/10/08

This week looks to provide several opportunities for doing cool things, if you're into that. Moreover, all of them are free! Here are some of the highlights:


  • Monday (tonight): Theology on Tap talk by Fr. Richard Mullins, at Pat Troy's in Alexandria, 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Fortepiano recital given by Susan Duer, at Christendom College Chapel Crypt, 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: Talk by Dr. Adam Schwartz and Dr. Robert Rice on Tolkien!! St. John the Evangelist library at Christendom, 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: Concert of Renaissance Polyphony by Collegium Cantorum, 8 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. respectively

Friday, November 07, 2008

Facebook

Good for you, Colin!

I have found since quitting Facebook that I don't miss it at all. One additional reason that I'm trying to piece together for myself and for my study (I'm going to write a paper on this topic) is that in some way Facebook and other "social networking" sites create a false reality that keeps the user plugged in to the detriment of their real social and personal lives. This may not always happen--as Colin pointed out, some people have the self-discipline to put Facebook in its proper place, as a tool to be used sparingly and only as needed. However, what has made FB so fun and appealing is their very tendency to allow escapism to creep in to your life. I need to think about this more, but these are my thoughts at present.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote!

Today is Election Day. If you are reading this post, please go out and vote if you haven't already done so! It won't take that long and it's your duty! Besides, you could get a free Starbucks coffee, so why wait? :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

November Events

I wanted to post a quick summary of some upcoming events for November. If anyone thinks of more, please feel free to add/amend.


  • November 1: All Saints' Day mass at Christendom (Palestrina chorus singing), 11:30 a.m.
  • November 3: Major Speaker Russell Shaw at Christendom, 6:30 p.m.
  • November 4: Election Day--go out and vote!
  • November 9: Solemn High Mass at Old St. Mary's in D.C. (Palestrina chorus singing), 5 p.m.
  • November 12: Fortepiano recital by Susan Duer at Christendom College Library, 8 p.m.
  • November 15 & 16: Concert of Renaissance Polyphony by Collegium Cantorum (of whom Anthony is a member), 8 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. respectively
  • November 21-23: Christendom College Players present The Secret Garden at Skyline High School
  • November 22: Woodwind Quintet Concert at Christendom Commons, 7 p.m.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joe and Liz's Wedding

Last Saturday, I had the good fortune to sing at a wedding of a couple of my friends, Joe and Liz. They are both fun, laid-back people and the wedding, as weddings generally do, suited the personality of the bride and groom. Their ceremony took place in an intimate chapel connected to a parish church in Annapolis, Liz's hometown. I must mention that she looked gorgeous, an absolutely stunning bride as, Krystle later remarked, brides should be if they possibly can. Krystle herself was part of a very large wedding party; I believe there were six bridesmaids and six groomsmen, plus the matron of honor and best man. Nevertheless, despite the proliferation of these witnesses, the nuptial mass began more or less on time. Though the priest took an updated approach to liturgical prayer, his additions of a "blessing by the children" and a first-name orchestration of the ceremony were offset by the choir's renditions of traditional polyphonic ordinaries and motets, especially William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices, as well as by the Gregorian gradual "Uxor tua," stuck in awkwardly between the first reading and the responsorial psalm. Unexpectedly, Joe and Elizabeth made the effort to memorize their vows, rather than repeating them after the priest, which made that part of the ceremony especially romantic. They sealed their covenant, in the middle of mass, with a kiss!

After mass, we headed over to the Knights of Columbus hall for the reception. Overall, I found the party playful yet also very tasteful. A buffet-style brunch was served on real dishes, with coffee and juice in real glass mugs and cups. The tables were set up in a "card party" theme, with each table suggesting a different card game, such as Spades, Poker, or even Mao! Though I did not end up playing cards, I did enjoy chatting with a few old acquaintances. Of course, dancing ranks high among my favorite wedding reception activities: I danced a few swing dances, as well as a tango and a polka (Anthony made fun of my dance partner for choosing to polka to Josh Turner's "Would You Go With Me," but it was a blast! Totally worth the blisters . . . ). The bride and groom danced a lot also, showing off their swing skills in an impressive fashion considering Liz's beautiful and extensive gown. She later urged all the ladies to join in a freestyle dance to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." All in all, the wedding was small and simple, yet abounding in festivity and joy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I love living in a Catholic bubble

Here I am at work on a Thursday morning, trying to concentrate on an important conversion project and not to be distracted by the Woot-Off in progress, nor to worry about my NDGS midterms this evening. I turn on some tunes and it hits me how cool it is to live and work here! One of my coworkers makes Catholic kids music, another chants in the St. John's schola. I chat online with our resident filmmaker to let him know about the upcoming All Saints Day mass at Christendom, at which I will sing. Life is somehow simple and good.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pictures from Homecoming





Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fr. William: Champion of the New Liturgical Movement

Fr. William Fitzgerald is a priest after my own heart. In the rhetoric surrounding the debate between the Novus Ordo Missae vs. the Missal of Pius V (termed by Fr. William the "Classical Roman Rite," causing Nicole to think of harpies!) we too often get caught up in the minutiae, the details surrounding each form of the mass, and more importantly, our own personal attachment to one or another of the forms. Not so Fr. William. In his talk last night entitled "The Mass: How Extraordinary?!" Father gave us a clear and simple objective: think as the Holy Father does about the liturgy. He pointed out that the extreme of a narrow focus is those Catholics who demand, "what they want, when they want," with regard to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. He contended that we should be comfortable with Mass in either form, ordinary or extraordinary. At the same time, he pointed out that the Church's vision for the ordinary form is much different from what we often see in parishes today. Moreover, he explained that the Holy Father specifically used the word "extraordinary" with regard to the older form to indicate that the celebration of this form will be the exception and not the rule. Fr. William's fascinating, dense reflections gained credence from his personal history, one of strong attachment to the liturgy and of extensive education in matters liturgical. His wide knowledge showed itself in his compact history of the Mass in the Western Church. While recognizing the excellence of the Tridentine Mass, he sees Pope Benedict XVI's plan as ultimately one of reform, not of trying to situate the Church of today in a past time. By taking such a "middle road," as well as by using a matter-of-fact tone free for the most part from personal criticisms of either side, he showed us a great example of how to think with the Church and love our liturgical tradition.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Old Town Alexandria

Also on Monday, to celebrate Sarah F's twenty-third birthday, Nicole and I headed to Old Town Alexandria for a night out. The only time I had been there before was for a Theology on Tap session at Pat Troy's. We would later end up at that favored Irish pub, but first we started out at Red Mei, an Asian restaurant chosen by Sarah for its inexpensiveness. Because N and I arrived late, we didn't eat there with her and her friend Marcelle but instead walked a block or so to la Madeleine. I have grown less and less impressed with la Madeleine over the years, mainly because, like Panera, they make you pay too much for fairly mediocre food. Nevertheless, also like Panera, you're paying for the appealing ambiance of the restaurant itself; we had a nice little talk there while munching on my Mediterranean Salade (note to self: don't order salads at the very end of the day at a place like this) and Nicole's Chicken Friande (actually quite decent). Then, we moseyed over to the Scoop Grill for some delicious homemade ice cream. On the way, we stopped into a precious shop called decorium, an upscale home decor destination--we also picked up a job application there for Sarah and had the greatest fun filling out during the rest of the evening! Finally, after Sean V. and Andrew S. joined us at the cash-only ice cream parlor, we walked back up King Street to Pat Troy's. The ambiance was perfect there as well: we chatted the night away, swapping hilarious stories over a few beers with the familiar strains of Irish folk songs playing in the background. My final impression is that Old Town Alexandria is a great place to bring a friend or group of friends and have a bit of fun. Though you must also be prepared to pay for it, like the restaurants I mentioned, the overall charm of the town makes up for the fact. I would recommend it for dates and holidays. :-)

REMINDER: Fr. William's talk is tonight at 8 p.m. in St. John's Library basement level.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lunch Spot

Yesterday, I tried out a new lunch spot here in town: Lucky Star Lounge. I had been there once before to hear my co-worker Danny play, but I did not try the food on that occasion. This time, I coerced a friend into accompanying me to this charming and eclectic spot.

In my opinion, the restaurant can boast a lot of things that are just right; the decor is one of those things. There is the perfect amount and arrangement of furniture to make it feel full without crowding and spacious without emptiness. Moreover, the wall hangings might not be what you would choose to display in your living room, but they're certainly very interesting! In short, the place looks good during the day as well as at night, and going there just makes you feel cool. :)

More importantly, the food was good! Slightly cheaper than element, Lucky Star's menu was also more varied--with a lot of vegetarian options, which makes me happy! I tried one of the daily specials, a vegetarian taco salad, and both the flavor and presentation were highly satisfactory. They used a better quality taco shell than you normally get, which had a good crunch, and the combination of the warm beans and the salsa worked very well for a lunch salad. My companion ordered the Cobb sandwich, and his only complaint about it was that he wished there was more. Perhaps the portion sizes were a touch on the small side, but I felt satisfied with mine even though I had waited until past 2 p.m. to eat. One negative note was that the iced tea tasted a bit off, but other than that it was a delicious meal.

Finally, the service . . . was odd. I couldn't decide whether the waitress was being slow on purpose to give us time to chat and relax. I think that's the most probable view of it, because there weren't really any other parties besides ours to wait on. The food took a bit longer than I expected to come out; in fact, everything took a fairly substantial amount of time to accomplish. However, the waitress was friendly and polite and still retained the impression of attentiveness. I would recommend going to Lucky Star when you have at least a leisurely mindset--so I wouldn't go here for a business lunch or anything of that nature. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed sitting and talking with my friend and noted that the ambiance is definitely conducive to conversation.

Overall, I would certainly recommend my friends to try Lucky Star Lounge. I intend to return for Sunday brunch in the near future, to see if their quiche and breakfast food is as good as they claim it is. I'm glad there's a new good quality, reasonably-priced place right on Main Street!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Direction

I want to take this blog in a new direction. The main reason for this is that I want to blog more and to say things, and I think this might be the right place for it. I don't mean thoughts and musings, more like events and commentary. As always, everyone is welcome to post anything they like. I will begin with current events.

This weekend was Homecoming weekend. This may be obvious to some, but to others not so much! I heard from more than one person that Homecoming may have suffered from insufficient publicity, because they didn't know until the last minute that the day had come upon them. Another factor for the seemingly low turn-out could have been the economic downturn. Besides that, it was a sunny, beautiful holiday weekend, and who wants to waste it going to their old alma mater?

I certainly did! I had a fantastic time, not to say a nostalgic time. It was just lovely to see people I hadn't seen in a while, even just the students, and to enjoy a slice of the bubble after being mostly out in the world. Of course, I'm technically a student because I go to the grad school, but I am very far from my undergraduate days. The dance was one of the most fun ever because, like Caroline Bingley, I can appreciate that if conversation and not dancing were the order of the day, it might be more rational. Of course, I also love to dance!

I could continue with a more detailed recap, but instead I want to alert whoever might be reading this that Fr. William is going to give a talk on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in the Library basement on the Tridentine Mass. Fr. William Fitzgerald, for those who don't know him, is the delicious new associate chaplain who, Dr. Poterack and I agree, knows all (at any rate, about the liturgy). He really does. You can tell he's one of those people who keep reading, keep studying, keep absorbing, and have an amazingly high capacity for retention within a big picture framework. I had a delightful time talking to him for the first time on Saturday night at the alumni reception, so I highly recommend anyone who's at all interested in liturgy and the Church to come to his talk and ask questions!

That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eternal rest grant on to him, O Lord...

Mr. Vanderwoode, former director of athletics at Christendom, died yesterday saving his son.

http://www.christendom.edu/news/releases.shtml#vw

Monday, July 07, 2008

Take Courage


I finally saw Master and Commander last night, as part of an ongoing attempt to watch the movies that people tell me I just have to watch (also taking advantage of a free Blockbuster Online trial membership). I must say, that was an awesome movie! It was awesome because it was extremely manly. For Captain Jack Aubrey and the seamen aboard the Surprise, constant courage was a way of life and cowardice not an option. They constantly faced death as part of their daily duty. Moreover, they lived out their fortitude in obedience--without obedience, they could not survive. Besides the theme of courage, there were many other examples of virtue in the movie: true and difficult leadership for the common good as exemplified in Aubrey, camaraderie among men pursuing the arduous good, unflinching perseverance towards a nearly impossible goal, respect for authority, guidance for boys becoming men. I can definitely see why Dr. Fahey watched this movie with Christendom guys in Ben's.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Promotion for Archbishop Burke

Did you see the news? Archbishop Burke of St. Louis--a man from Richland Center, WI, and my former bishop in the diocese of La Crosse--has been promoted. He will now serve as the prefect of the Apostolic Signature, the Church's supreme court.

This is so incredibly cool. I served Mass for this man on at least three occasions and I received confirmation from him. I saw some of the hard lines he drew while back in Wisconsin, and I saw how effective they were. He really is an incredible man.

He also was the one who offered the Mass for Christendom's 30th anniversary, and I have heard that he was almost our graduating speaker in 2007.

God Bless Archbishop Burke!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Log On

Was anyone trying to log on to this blog? I got a user account information request from Blogger the other day. Does anyone even look at this anymore?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Subidiarity and Solidarityh

Check out this incredible speech the Pope delivered at the fourteenth plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The topic is subsidiarity and solidarity, and how they work together.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mass at Yankee Stadium



Hey all,
I had a chance to attend the Pope's Mass at Yankee Stadium. Check out these pictures:




Parade down 5th Ave. on Saturday

Pope processing out from after the Papal Mass

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Are Pro-Lifers Failing?

I read an interesting paragraph on the blog FiveFeetofFury today:

I sometimes suspect pro-lifers are (unconsciously) hoping to just keep on failing because martyrdom is more appealing to them psychologically than success.

They talk a lot about the millions of fetuses aborted since the 1970s, but how many of them could have been saved if pro-lifers had been humble enough to accept criticism of their strategies by "unacceptable" almost- sympathizers: young, worldly, sexually active women?


I figured that this was as good a topic for discussion as any. How many pro-lifers have adopted a fatalistic attitude toward their cause, and is that damaging the cause as a whole? Thought it was an interesting question to raise.

You can read the entire post here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Christendom Stuff

Hey all,
Did you guys see the Christendom news lately? James Tillman and John Jalsevac placed first and third respectively in ISI's intranational essay contest. http://christendom.edu/news/releases.shtml#isi

That's pretty impressive from a school of 400.

On the other hand, check out the newest Instaurare. http://christendom.edu/images/instaurare/instaurare_spring_2008.pdf

There is an image of the JPII statute that our class gave (i.e. Class of 2007), with a caption saying that it was a gift from the class of 2006...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tertullian's Insanity

That Tertullian... what a nut.

From an article on Fr. Sirico's Acton Institute site: http://www.acton.org/publications/randl/rl_article_66.php

"Some radical apologists developed a “conquest theory” of the state in an effort to delegitimize the Roman Empire. Tertullian argued that “all secular power and dignities are not merely alien from, but hostile to, God.” Secular governments “owe their existences to the sword.” All institutions of the Roman government, even its charities, are based on brute force. This is contrary to the way of Christians, among whom “everything is voluntary.”

I think, however, that the author of that article is way out of line in suggesting that Tertullian came up with these conclusions not because his logic and reason led him to these conclusions, but rather, that he came up with this theory in order "to delegitimize the Roman Empire." Tertullian didn't try to delegitimize the notion of coercively-funded government. He tried to point out that coercively-funded governments are incompatible with the teachings of Christ, and for this reason, they are already illegitimate. I just came across these statements by Tertullian yesterday. I think that I'm in decent company.

-Geoff

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sweet!

First Catholic church ever in Qatar--and they have St. Pio's relics! :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Hasn't Ron Paul Dropped Out?

Some people might read that title and insist, Rocky-like, that the race isn't over until it's over.

My contention is that, if Super Tuesday has come and gone and your caucus results are consistently negligible, the race is over. The states have spoken, and all they have for Mr. Paul is single digits. In my opinion, it has been conclusively proven that Ron Paul is not viable presidential material, at least this time. There's no way around it.

Some point to media bias in the lack of reporting on Ron Paul, but, truth be told, there just isn't that much to say about him. He's losing badly, just like Guiliani and Thompson before him. The difference is, in gentlemanly fashion, these candidates dropped out and let the others pick up their vote percentages. Ron Paul has not only refused to do this now, he doesn't seem to plan on it in the future. This leads me to wonder: what's the idea? What's his master plan?

There are only 2 reasons a candidate stays in a presidential race: (1) He has reasonable hopes of winning, or (2) he recognizes that he cannot win, but wants to use the momentum/funds/fame gained toward some other political end.

A good example of this second point would be the famous Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who ran for president again and again in the 1990's with no hopes of success. Nader was no fool, he understood that he had no hopes of actually gaining ascendancy, but he ran anyway. His goals were to get federal funding for his embryonic party, and to bleed votes from the other candidates. Though he wasn't able to get enough votes for the former goal, the latter campaign was so successful that Nader himself takes some of the credit for George W. Bush's victory over Al Gore in 2000 (Nader's book, Crashing the Party, talks about this in more detail).

While I disagree with Ron Paul ideologically, I don't think him to be an idiot. Surely, he must see his own poll results. The point of this post is not to demonize him, but rather to raise legitimate questions about what is touted by many as a noble or crusading presidential campaign. Ron Paul would be a very naive man indeed if he did not realize that he cannot take this election, so that leads me to conclude that his reason for staying in the race must be some other agenda. But what?

Libertarian though Paul's record may be, he is running this race as a Republican, and it is as a Republican that he shall be judged. Therefore, his purpose in running cannot simply be trying to legitimize some fledgling third party, since he is running as a member of the Grand Old Party. So much for that.

It is also unlikely that he is simply in it for the money, running a campaign to run up donations, then backing out of the race when his caucus results prove unfavorable. I may not agree with Mr. Paul, but I think he's a better man than that.

The only other reason that I know of that a losing candidate stays in a presidential race is to bleed votes from the other candidates. Sadly, I'm afraid that this is what Ron Paul is doing.

Like Fred Thompson, who waited just long enough to drop out of the race to effectively kneecap Mike Huckabee in the South Carolina caucus, Ron Paul knows that he, too, is regularly stealing votes from his fellow Republicans. I believe that this is why he ran as a Republican to begin with, and why he continues to show up in caucus after caucus, splintering his party into a messy 4-way battle. Paul makes no bones about his differences with his party and with his running-mates, and the fact that his touted "man apart" campaign image is slashing at the votes of his colleagues. Ron Paul is running the Pat Buchanan campaign; the stick-it-to-your-party-like-the-voice-in-the-desert campaign, the campaign with nothing to win and therefore nothing to lose.

All this, while the Democratic giants Obama and Clinton loom higher and higher on the ever-nearing horizon.

Paul lacks the pragmatism to see the danger he poses to his party, and the boon he offers to whoever ends up becoming the Democratic nominee. American politics is an inexact science; and even though most of us would love to see the best man win, we don't mind seeing the OK man beat the absolutely awful one.

Clinton and Obama are both pretty awful. I'm OK with Mike Huckabee and I could even come to grips with McCain or Romney if need be. Pragmatically speaking, one of these is going to be the nominee, not Ron Paul.

Mr. Paul needs to take the hit like a gentleman, doff his cap to the other candidates, and step down.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Giuliani Bows Out

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31campaign.html

So it looks like the Republican Party at the very least will not have its first pro-choice nominee since Reagan '80. The question now is whether it will have a pro-life nominee...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Want to know more about Ron Paul?

Right now, the media wants to narrow the Republican race down for us: it's either McCain or Romney, in Florida and also in the nation. I'm sure even Mike Huckabee supporters are annoyed by this premature slant. Anyway, the chances are you are not going to find a news article this week about Ron Paul, though like Huckabee he is still in the race. However, the other day one of my friends forwarded me this article from the NY Times; though I am generally not a fan of the Times, I found the article interesting in its profile of Paul as a man and fairly balanced overall (but of course Paul is "anti-abortion" instead of "pro-life"). Previously, I had also read An Open Letter to Catholics on Ron Paul, which focuses more on the main issues at stake in the upcoming election.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Catholic Backlash Against Mike Huckabee: Come Again?

I am a political moderate. That being said, I've been consistently impressed with presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who, no matter what you think of him, definitely stands in contrast to the rest of the Republican establishment. The reasons I am impressed with him (and consistently unimpressed with Ron Paul), however, are material for another post.

What I'd like to bring up for discussion is the seeming explosion of anti-Huckabee sentiment, sometimes bordering on hatred, arising from traditional Catholic circles. What gives?

I read political commentary every day, but this goes far beyond that. I'm a reasonable man; I don't ask everyone to agree with my stance on Huckabee. What I've been finding, more and more, though, is that Catholics hate Huckabee not because they disagree with him on the issues, but because he's an Evangelical Protestant and has a Southern accent. You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

The majority of what I read from Catholics about Huckabee shows a remarkable ignorance of the issues, as well as a decided lack of tact and common charity. In the course of this election year, I've seen Huckabee labeled as a right-wing extremist, an evangelical nut job, who "wants to replace the Constitution with the Bible" (actual quote) and who is just "crazy." Most Catholics I've read won't even talk about him, simply saying things like "he scares me."

Why? Nobody will tell me. This isn't political debate, this is just embarrassing.

This is not to say that all Catholics who dislike Huckabee are doing so for non-rational reasons. Of course not. I'm impressed with Huckabee, but I'm not asking everyone to be. All I'm asking is that we as Catholics hold ourselves to the same standards we hold others to. Let's judge a person on his own merits, which in politics is obviously a tricky thing. Huckabee may be a lot of things some Catholics disagree with, but he is not a right-wing nut job or an evangelical theocratic dictator. Catholics, you have the fullness of truth. Now get up to speed on your politics.