Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reading Rat December 2006

Also of interest:

Literature-Map - the tourist map of literature
(via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)

The Librarians Ultimate Guide to Search Engines at DegreeTutor
PrinterAnywhere: You can print certain file types directly from the web without having to install the software on your computer.
(via WisBlawg)

Update: New Year's Resolution: Update Your Website by Frederick L. Faulkner IV
(via WisBlawg)

Letter to the editor:
...would you recommend any particular resources for choosing the editions of these texts that are the 'standard' or most critically acclaimed editions?
Among the books in the Bibliography, Fadiman and Major's The New Lifetime Reading Plan, A Guide to Oriental Classics, Ward's A Lifetimes Reading, and Van Doren's The Joy of Reading comment on favored editions for each entry. Raphael and McLeish's The List of Books will sometimes critique editions. For criticisms of later editions, you might check the archives of book reviews, magazine book sections, and the following newspaper book sections:
Dallas News, Jerusalem Post, Independent, LA Times, The Age and NZ Herald
(Monday) Financial Times
(Tuesday) Washington Times
(Wednesday) Kirkus Reviews and Village Voice
(Friday) Haaretz
(Saturday) Guardian and Globe and Mail
(Sunday) Hindu Lit Rev, Telegraph, London Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Moscow Times, NY Times, SF Chronicle and Washington Post

Sunday Morning Sullivan

From KausFiles, how Andrew Sullivan misreads the issue, using the affluant Dallas suburb of Plano as exemplar.
Even in a highly Republican town like Plano, in other words, the religious objection to gay marriage isn't the crucial objection. Fear that moral entropy will envelop your family's children is the crucial objection. I don't see how that fear is addressed theologically. I would think it has to be addressed practically, over time, by repeat demonstration. But time is one thing a rights-oriented, judicial route to gay marriage doesn't allow. ...

E. B. White

I agree with much of it [The Elements of Style], indeed with most of it, but I find some prescriptions rather arbitrary. The chapter entitled “Words and Expressions Commonly Misused” has much helpful advice, particularly on words or phrases that are hackneyed (factor, feature), bankrupt (meaningful; in the last analysis), redundant (a man who; character; nature), shaggy (nice), newfound (offputting, ongoing), feeble (one of the most…), unconvincing (interesting), pretentious (personalize), etc --Joseph A. Komonchak, Strunk and White, dotCommonweal, June 30, 2009, 4:40 pm

E(lwyn) B(rooks) White, Authors' Calendar, (2008) by Petri Liukkonen

E.B.'s web: White's words weave brilliant tapestry, by John Freeman, review of Letters of E.B. White: Revised Edition, originally edited by Dorothy Lobrano Guth, revised and updated by Martha White, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 31, 2006

Andy: For E. B. White’s readers and family, a sense of trust came easily, by Roger Angell, The New Yorker, February 14 and 21, 2005

Life & Times, The New York Times

Keeping the faithful

Raquel Rutledge reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Christmas evangelization.
Although they did it not out of selfishness, but in celebration of their savior's birth, pastors and priests at many churches are now hoping, and praying, that something in their Christmas services was compelling enough to bring the visitors back again.

Makes sense, assuming the Gospel itself isn't compelling. As I've said, this kind of thing always reminds me of Woody Allen's joke about playing gin rummy with the Devil for his soul, at a penny a point just to make it interesting.
Equally important was the feeling or vibe church leaders and members emitted to newcomers, said Paul Wilkes, the author of Excellent Catholic Parishes: The Guide to Best Places and Practices.

"Vibe"? That'll convince our "young people" that the Church is "with it"!
Church shoppers are seeking a place where they feel very welcome, Wilkes said.

And not in the you're welcome to repent sense.
"In the old church, the pre-Vatican II church, the name of the game was to get 'em in and beat them up so they felt so guilty they'd have to come back," Wilkes said. "Now it's 'Glad you've come for the first time or have come home. We're here all the time for you. We're your family. Come on back.' It's a kinder, gentler approach."

You might recall how that "old church, the pre-Vatican II church," reportedly had mass attendance percentages three times higher and ten times as many seminarians.

On the bright side, Wilkes might be the man to write the catalogue for my proposed Museum of Progressive Catholicism.

Should Abortion Be Prevented?

Frances Kissling of Catholics for Free Choice in its quarterly Conscience recounts difficulties at the framing shop.
Tactically, there is concern that an explicit goal of working to prevent the need for abortions or to reduce the incidence of abortion undermines efforts to demonstrate that those opposed to abortion are extremists.

It's a problem because of the picture to be framed.
Simply put, the movement as a whole and most of our leaders find it difficult to acknowledge publicly that we have spent our lives, our passion, fighting for something that both is central to human freedom and autonomy and ends a form of human life.

They ask themselves,
Can we totally separate our attitude toward the justifiable taking of non-personal life in abortion from the other principles of protecting life that have become crucial to our survival as civilized human beings?

Since non-persons and double-think have those Orwellian connotations, I expect abortion advocates will stick with characterizing opposing views as, say,
the idiosyncratic thoughts of Catholics who have some creepy obsession with fetuses.

(via Diogenes at Off the Record)

Selling a house of worship sometimes no easy task

Dinesh Ramde reported in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that St. Stephen's Church is still on the market.
St. Stephen Catholic Church, 5880 S. Howell Ave., built in 1847, sits about a mile from Mitchell International Airport and faces an adult lounge and a parking lot. Father Richard Liska placed a "For Sale By Owner" sign in front of his brown brick church three years ago.

I remember it being Cream City brick.
"Part of the reason to relocate is to go to more of a people setting rather than an industrial or commercial setting," Liska said. "Still, I think parishioners would lament. When something has been a part of your life for a long time, there's lament."

St. Stephen's has a building site in Oak Creek, I understand. The parish web site shows a rendering of the planned new church, not the present one. A St. Stephen parishioner told me the pastor wants to have half the money needed to build before starting construction. The parishioner's lament was that the parish is paying real estate tax on its new building site in the meantime. That meantime, the article says, has been three years. Usually it would take a lot less than three years to convince a seller to contract with a real estate agent.
And sales restrictions can limit the pool of prospective buyers, Liska said.

"We would not sell the property to anyone who would be using it for a purpose contrary to the nature, purpose or morality of a church - an abortion clinic, maybe, a gentlemen's club," he said.

Mike reads something into that "maybe". There's no maybe that our Archdiocese would finance a sale to another denomination.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Harold Bloom

Recommended reading:
by Harold Bloom at Reading Rat

Electronic text:

Dumbing down American readers, by Harold Bloom, The Boston Globe, September 24, 2003


Featured Author: Harold Bloom: With News and Reviews From the Archives of The New York Times

Appendices to The Western Canon (1994), hyptertext by Robert Teeter

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Culture Gods from Emerson to Bird, Christopher Lydon Interviews Harold Bloom, September 3, 2003

Bloomin' Genius by Joseph Epstein, The Hudson Review, Summer 2002
(via Alexander Nazaryan at Armavirumque

Song of himself: Harold Bloom on God, by Marc M. Arkin, a review of The American Religion, by Harold Bloom, The New Criterion, May 1992

Alexander von Humboldt

Recommended reading:
by Alexander von Humboldt at Reading Rat


Alexander von Humboldt, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Natural History Books by Ten Authors; An Exhibit from Special Collections in the Sheridan Libraries at The Johns Hopkins University, March-July 2000

Alexander von Humboldt, German Department, Humboldt State University

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): The Dawn of Ecology, by Kathleen McGowan, review of The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism, by Aaron Sachs, Audubon Magazine, November-December 2006
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas at the Airport

This episode of The Tim Show starts out promising.
One of the perks of working at the airport is scavaging reading material left behind by passengers. ...

This weekend was literally Christmas for me with all the holiday passengers passing through the airport. I was scoring Washington Posts and Men's Fitnesses like nobody's business. It was sweet. ...

Lexicon for young adult Catholic acronyms

At Seize the Dei, and making the rounds again.

(via Dawn Patrol)

War as a Judgment of God

This idea of war as a judgment of God upon us all is not a soft theme, but it is a needed theme. If we resent the suggestion that we as a nation are not all we ought to be before God, it is because we, too, have been blind to justice. It is not easy to convince a nation that denies sin that "the wages of sin is death"; it is not easy to convince a people that denies the distinction between right and wrong that they may be wrong; it is not easy to awaken a people whose morality is relative to totalitarian barbarians, that they may not be angels.
--Fulton J. Sheen, from A Declaration of Dependence (1941) pp. 90-93, collected in The Electronic Christian (1979) pp.244-245

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Despite Defeating Totalitarians, West Could Well Lose to Radical Islamists

Daniel Pipes in Human Events
Islamists (defined as persons who demand to live by the sacred law of Islam, the Sharia) might in fact do better than the earlier totalitarians. They could even win. That's because, however strong the Western hardware, its software contains some potentially fatal bugs. Three of them – pacifism, self-hatred, complacency – deserve attention.

My public-radio debut

posts Dawn Eden, who was interviewed by Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio earlier today.

Support for sister parish comes from number of sources

Sam Lucero reports in our Catholic Herald in the last in a three part series on the 25th anniversary of our Archdioceses relationship with La Sagrada Familia Parish in the Dominican Republic. As part of the festivities,
...Archbishop Dolan presented a check for $25,000 to Fr. Marti Colom, pastor of La Sagrada Familia. The check, a gift from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund (a foundation created by the Erica John family to benefit Catholic charitable causes), will be used to turn the parish's former nutrition center into an office annex.

There were also contributions from St. Dominic, Brookfield, St. Catherine of Alexandria, Milwaukee, St. Anne, Pleasant Prairie, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Milwaukee Archdiocesan Council.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Obama Shapes an Agenda Beyond Iraq War

Josh Gerstein in The New York Sun on possible presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
As a Senate candidate in 2004, Mr. Obama said he would support military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to rein in the mullahs' nuclear program.

"In light of the fact that we're now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in," he told the Chicago Tribune. "On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. ... I hope it doesn't get to that point."

Mr. Obama also told the Tribune he would back American military action to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal if President Musharraf is overthrown by radicals.

--page 2

(via KausFiles)

Update: Sen. Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL)

Pastoral leaders fighting poverty, history

Sam Lucero reports in our Catholic Herald in the second in a three part series on our Archdiocese's 25 year relationship with La Sagrada Familia Parish in the Dominican Republic.
After gaining its independence from Spain in 1821, the country was invaded and occupied by Haiti for 22 years. In the 20th century, as the country’s sugar cane industry prospered, U.S. influence began to grow. In 1916, U.S. Marines invaded the country and installed a puppet government to protect U.S. interests. The military occupation lasted eight years. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson ordered the Marines to occupy the Dominican Republic during another political upheaval.

"Invasions have caused a lack of self esteem among Dominicans," according to Dominican Sr. Rosa Reyes, director of education for Centro Dominicano de Asesoria y Servicios Legales (CEDAIL), a human and legal rights office created by the country’s conference of Catholic bishops.

I will at least concede the possibility that a people's self-esteem could be affected by losing to Haiti.
She said that even the most educated Dominicans look for ways to flee their homeland and find work in the United States or in Europe.

I doubt people move to Europe because they don't want to live where there's been a history of invasions. Turns out the reason for emigration is more conventional.
"The bottom line is people want to leave the country because they cannot earn enough here," she said.

"As in so many other poor regions in the world, many of our parishioners grow up with the mentality that in our region there is no future," he [Fr. Marti Colom, pastor] said. "Therefore, to leave the area becomes the ideal, the dream, the hope for many, especially the young people."

Sounds like my European ancestors.
"Our role is to demonstrate in daily life that there are actually opportunities to make a living right here in the parish territory," added Fr. Colom.

The task begins early and it focuses on education.

Education as the way out of poverty? Odd, I could have sworn hearing claims that the failure of our big city public schools to educate is due to the students' poverty.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

William James

The Admirable Mrs. James, by Colm Toibin, The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009, review of Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James, by Susan E. Gunter, and House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family, by Paul Fisher

The Dysfunctional Jameses, by Hermione Lee, review of 'House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family', by Paul Fisher, The New York Times, July 6, 2008

A famously open mind, by Glenn C. Altschuler, review of William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, by Robert D. Richardson, The Boston Globe, December 24, 2006
(via Arts & Letters Daily)

David Luhrssen, review of William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism, by Robert D. Richardson, Shepherd Express, December 21, 2006

More Varied Than He Knew, review by Luke Timothy Johnson of Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited, by Charles Taylor, Crisis, December 2002

William James and the Moral Will, by Jeff Polet, Humanitas, 2001 No. 2

Active and Passive, review by Michael L. Raposa of The Divided Self of William James, by Richard M. Gale, First Things, August/September 2001

Wilhelm Wundt and William James, by C. George Boeree, 2000

Submitting Freedom, by Peter Ochs, review of William James: Then and Now,by Bennett Ramsey, First Things, November 1994

Celebration spans 25 years, 2,000 miles

Sam Lucero reports in our Catholic Herald in the first three articles on the celebration of the 25 year relationship of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee with La Sagrada Familia Parish in the Dominican Republic.
At the time, there were only 14 priests, all foreign-born, in the diocese.

The plan, formalized between Archbishop Weakland and Bishop Ronald Connors of San Juan de la Maguana on April 20, 1981, would designate two priests to serve in the Dominican Republic.

There's no mention in the article of there since being any priests native to the Dominican Republic at the parish.
What began as an agreement to provide priests to staff the parish has blossomed into an opportunity for Catholics in the Milwaukee Archdiocese to experience the mission church, where the emphasis is no longer helping the poor, but walking with them.

Walking with the poor? I've heard that expressed as standing with the poor. The people running the mission trips like saying things like this. They tell us how, back in those unenlightened times of a few decades ago, mission was thought to involve going to poor countries to build things. But now,
As a way to participate in the sister parish relationship, numerous parishes in the archdiocese have established ties with villages of the parish, helping to build chapels or schools in those faith communities.

Quest for WW II closure

Jim Brown of Fredonia, a community columnist in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reviewed Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'Em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon by Mike Ostlund.

The Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet says of the Gudgeon,
She left Johnston Island on April 7, 1944, after having topped off with fuel, and was never heard from again.

Brown tells how Ostlund picks up the story.
He recounts how he researched everything from old sea dogs' stories to records he had translated from the Japanese war archives and finally found authoritative accounts that agree as to where and when the Gudgeon went down.

The Japanese records even identify the aircraft that dropped bombs through the ship's deck and conning tower on that sunny day in April 1944. They produced a huge geyser of saltwater and fuel oil that ended in a single moment, the last patrol of the little sub and its crew.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Nuevo Catholics

David Rieff reports in Sunday's New York Times Magazine on the Hispanicization of the Catholic Church, focusing on Los Angeles under Cardinal Roger (Rogelio) Mahony. But first, the national trends.
In 1965, there were 49,000 seminarians; in 2002, there were 4,700. In 1965, there were 1,556 Catholic high schools; in 2002, there were 786. Mass attendance dropped from 74 percent of self-identified Catholics in 1958 to 25 percent in 2000. The number of priests has not fallen quite as drastically — 58,000 in 1965; 45,000 in 2002 — but the median age for priests today is 56, and 16 percent of them are from foreign countries.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles sees the reversal of these trends in lots of immigration from Latin America and lots of images of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Connect the Polka Dots

Susan Lampert Smith in On Wisconsin traces the origin of The Chicken Dance.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Departing for midnight Mass

My transmission is ma-a-an-u-al
With five speeds forward, and reverse, as well.
I push the clutch to shift to each gear.
When it's reverse I first check to the rear.

Reverse, reverse, push right, then down real well,
'cause my transmission's ma-a-an-u-al.

Failure to innovate sinks many sound companies

Carlos de la Huerga in a guest opinion in the business section of today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on a local economic problem.
What I am referring to is the most powerful tool to distinguish your company in good times and to grow it in tough times. It is the ability of your company to foster, develop and manage innovation.

Yet, many local companies ignore this powerful business tool. No surprise that many are on a gradual downward spiral to become the low-cost, low-margin commodity supplier in their industry.

Sour Krauts? Not a bit of it

Roger Boyes in The Times of London explains how he came to write the soon-to-be-published My Dear Krauts.
I have made my separate peace. On behalf of all former Biggles readers I would like to say: it really is time to stop mentioning the war and shed half a century of heel-clicking clichés. To this end I have written what one British observer has described as a Truth and Reconciliation Book, a lightly fictionalised memoir of a correspondent’s clashes with his confusing host culture.

Here's an extract.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

People who buy this book might also enjoy German Humor: On the Fritz, by John Louis Anderson. I found the chapter "The Slow Grinding of Teutonic Plates: Catholics and Lutherans Meet Head-On" put my interactions with my WELS colleagues in a different light.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Celebrating Light and Hope" to Air on WISN TV 12 on Sunday, Dec. 24, at 11:05 p.m.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops produced this program, which was taped at the Milwaukee Cathedral.
The program, which will air on ABC affiliates throughout the nation, includes readings from the Bible anticipating and proclaiming Christ's birth, a reflection from Archbishop Dolan, and hymns and songs representing the many cultures found in southeastern Wisconsin.

Christianity reborn

The Economist reports on a centennial.
In the same year [1906] an itinerant black preacher arrived in Los Angeles. William J. Seymour was "disheveled in appearance", blind in one eye and scarred by smallpox. He was also on fire with a vision—that Jesus would soon return and God would send a new Pentecost if only people would pray hard enough. He began to preach from a makeshift church in Azusa Street, in a run-down part of town. Soon thousands joined him. People spoke in tongues, floated six feet in the air, or so we are told, and fell to the floor in trances, "slain by the Lord". The faithful prayed day after day for three years on the trot, and dispatched dozens of missionaries abroad.

This was the beginning of Pentecostalism, which makes Mr. Seymour a good candidate for most influential individual in a century or two.
The great secular ideologies of the 19th and early 20th centuries—from Marxism to Freudianism—have faded while Seymour's spirit-filled version of Christianity has flourished. Pentecostal denominations have prospered, and Pentecostalism has infused traditional denominations through the wildly popular charismatic movement.

The report touches on something I've noticed.
And in Latin America Pentecostalism has shattered the Roman Catholic Church's monopoly. In Brazil—the world's largest Catholic country and one whose national identity is intertwined with the church—about a seventh of the population is now Pentecostal and a third is "charismatic". In Guatemala Pentecostalism is sweeping all before it.

I've raised the issue of the rise of these new denominations at my parish and archdiocese and while on mission in Guatemala. The response has been consistently complacent, as if the Church were a secure monopoly.

Ma Baensch plans to expand market

Eric Decker reported in Small Business Times
Kim Wall, owner and president of Baensch Food Products Co., the maker of Ma Baensch's Marinated Herring, is trying to expose a new generation of consumers to her company’s products. The herring filets, packaged in wine

or sour cream sauces,

have long been a holiday tradition with Wisconsin families. However, Wall is now working to get younger consumers to try her products, as well as more consumers outside the region.

I notice they no longer have Ma Baensch's picture on the label.

Saturday Review

at Collecting Old Magazines
Henry Seidel Canby and How it Came to Be, with a Look inside 1950's Issues under Norman Cousins

Also, where SR is now, that is, why it's not on the newstand or the web.

Life has come back as a Sunday supplement. Maybe Saturday Review should consider that business model; with or without cartoons

Finley says it was his faith in God that guided him to a new career

Tom Heinen in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel answers my earlier question, and confirms Dad29's recollection in his comment to my earlier post.
Born into a German-Irish family that prayed the rosary nearly every night, Dan Finley has made a spiritual journey from Roman Catholicism into Presbyterianism and now Eastern Orthodoxy.

The journey starts at his parents' home.
Joan and her husband, Jack, are what Dan Finley calls very liberal Catholics. There were three pictures on their living room wall when he was growing up - Jesus Christ, Pope John XXIII and President John F. Kennedy.

Next, his first marriage.
He and his first wife, Leslie, were married in the Catholic Church in 1980 and began divorce proceedings in 1993.

Displeased with the Catholic Church over such issues as its resistance to married priests and women's ordination, he began attending the First Presbyterian Church of Waukesha because he was impressed with its then-pastor, the Rev. Bill Humphreys.

Then, his second marriage.
He and Jenifer, who was raised in the Greek Orthodox tradition, were married by Humphreys in 1996.

Humphrys was the connection to Presbyterianism.
When Humphreys left that church to become chaplain at Carroll College in Waukesha, Dan Finley attended weekly Bible study sessions with him there until his new job at the museum made such weekday trips impossible.

With that connection broken, Finley moved on.
Meanwhile, the Finleys decided that maybe it was time for Jenifer to return to the faith of her childhood.

He went through a conversion process, and they had an Orthodox wedding in June.

"The Greek Orthodox faith is extraordinarily similar to Roman Catholicism," he said.

The only significant difference, from Finley's account, being that the Orthodox Church does not have the general rule against ordaining married men as priests that the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church has.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Festivus is comin' to town

Christopher Placek reported in The Marquette Tribune.
For $38, consumers can buy an authentic 6-foot aluminum Festivus pole from the Wagner Companies on Brown Deer Road. They also feature a smaller, 2-foot, 8-inch table-top model.

The company began making Festivus poles late last year, and since October 2006, has been selling 15 polls per day. According to Tony Leto, executive vice president of sales and marketing, there were 30,000 visits to the company's Web site the week before Dec. 23, the unofficial Festivus holiday.

Official support for this Wisconsin manufacturer was undercut by controversy.
Leto said the company gave a pole to Gov. Jim Doyle, a Seinfeld enthusiast.

But following the recent racial remarks of comedian Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the sitcom, Doyle is disassociating himself from "Seinfeld." He won't be celebrating Festivus this year.


Recommended reading:
Beowulf at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Beowulf the hard-man, review of Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis, and Beowulf translated by Dick Ringler (via Alexander Nazaryan at Arma Virumque)

Good Grief, Grendel by John V. Fleming review of Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis, The New Republic, November 28, 2007

Review by Tasha Bobinson, Beowulf, directed by Robert Zemeckis, A.V. Club, November 16, 2007

Before Olde England, by Roger Miller, Shepherd Express, December 21, 2006

85 percent of U.S. dioceses report embezzlements

A reader notes this Joe Feuerherd report in the National Catholic Reporter on the results of a Villanova University study.
Supported by a grant from the Louisville Institute, Zech [Charles Zech, director of the school's Center for the Study of Church Management] and Villanova accounting professor Robert West surveyed 174 diocesan chief financial officers. Seventy-eight responded.

Can't tell if the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was among those responding.

The Resurrection: Refutation of the Myth Theory

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli in Chapter 8 of their Handbook of Christian Apologetics (1994) give six arguments against the theory that the Resurrection account was a myth created by the Apostles. The second is that there was insufficient time for such a myth to develop, citing Julius Muller's The Theory of Myths in Its Application to the Gospel History Examined and Confuted (1844).
Muller challenged his nineteenth-century contemporaries to produce a single example anywhere in history of a great myth or legend arising around a historical figure and being generally believed within thirty years after that figure's death. No one has ever answered him. (p. 191)

If the Pope Pius XII of Rolf Hochhuth's The Deputy (1964) is a myth, then the test of Muller's argument would be if that myth was generally believed by 1988.

Teens were peddling cheer, not dope

Jim Stingl uses his column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for crime news from here in Franklin.
Three Franklin boys who were out spreading holiday cheer by singing songs of the season and strumming guitars had a run-in Wednesday night with a Franklin police officer who thought they might be drug dealers.

Franklin does not have an ordinance regulating carol selections.
Jasper [Mayzik] said his two friends play guitar and are in a band, and they all thought it would be fun to show up on people's doorsteps singing "Feliz Navidad," "Jingle Bells" and "Jingle Bell Rock."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Trolly Follies: Let The Voters Decide

Paul Soglin favors a Madison referendum on light rail but has some preliminary questions.

(The term "light rail" was coined to avoid having to spell trolley.)

Mock Funeral Procession Mourns Air America

Channel 3000 reports on a Madison protest of a local radio station's decision to drop Air America for a new format.
One driver in the mock processional, Judy Skog, of Madison, said she is devastated by the news that her favorite station is losing the programming she loves.

"I can't stand right-wing talk radio. Other than public radio, this is the only radio I listen to," Skog said.

Perhaps she should see if Air America can get subsidies from taxpayers [32 pp. pdf] (p. 12) and Catholic Charities like public radio does.

Steadying Ourselves in the Storm

This column by Father Ron Rolheiser ran in our Catholic Herald.

Point, Rolheiser:
There are headaches and heartaches for which there is no cure. But the soul doesn’t need to be cured, only to be properly cared for.

All: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Archbishop Dolan to Celebrate Mass at Taycheedah, Fond du Lac

To be more specific,
Archbishop Timothy Dolan will celebrate Advent Mass at Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Fond du Lac.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

John Cheever

Cheever, having started drinking as a youngster, finally stopped in 1975, on Page 518. Watching the years unroll via page headings throughout Bailey’s “Cheever,” this reader reached Page 79, the year 1935, and realized with panic that I was to be pent up with a depressive drunk for 40 more years. Boo-hoo for me: think of Cheever’s wife, sons and daughter! --Geoffrey Wolff, Suburban Suffering , The New York Times, March 16, 2009, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey

There’s his decades-long struggle to fashion a novel (The Wapshot Chronicle) and free himself from the stigma of being “just” a story writer; eventually, he “loses” that battle at the height of his fame in 1979, by winning the Pulitzer Prize for the omnibus collection The Stories Of John Cheever. ... At his core, Cheever was a self-centered man who didn’t like himself, a conundrum that could never be resolved. So he wrote. --Gregg LaGambina, A.V. Club, March 19, 2009, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey

Subtle and well observed, they followed ordinary members of the suburban middle-class. They all drank too much, the Cabots and the Westerhazys, the Grahams and the Howlands. They were unnerved by how old they were, how boring things could be, how tired they were of their marriages. They were conscious of social codes and proper attire, and rarely said anything profound. --The Economist, Buttoned up, March 12, 2009, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey

Cheever was a puzzle of a man, fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies that, thankfully for American literature, evolved into luminous prose. His alcoholism and bisexuality are now well known, but not so the humanizing details, or his depression and cancer... --Joanna Brichetto, A Cheever chronicle, Book Page, March 2009, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey

Cheever’s novels, like his journals, belong to his lewdness and his pain, and it is easy to see why they have never been as popular as his stories. They are blunter instruments than the polished scalpels of his short fiction; they can be sloppy, challenging, even inscrutable, but they hit the reader with great force. In his stories, Cheever tried to make sense of the world and of other people; in his novels, he mostly tried to make sense of himself. --Stefan Beck, Cheever vs. Cheever, The New Criterion, March 2009, review of Cheever: A Life, by Blake Bailey

Authors' Calendar, by Petri Liukkonen (2008)

Reunions: The New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman talks with Richard Ford, who reads a favorite John Cheever short story, The New Yorker, December 25, 2006

John Cheever: Parody and The Suburban Aesthetic, by John Dyer

The Cheever Letters, by Larry David, Elaine Pope, and Tom Leopold, Seinfeld, October 28, 1992

A chance to link communities

Edward Emma, president and COO of Jockey International Inc., Robert Mariano, chair of the Regional Transportation Committee of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and chairman and CEO of Roundy's Supermarkets Inc., and David B. Rayburn, president and CEO of Modine Manufacturing Co. in an op-ed in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The KRM commuter rail system would extend the existing commuter rail line from Chicago to Kenosha north to downtown Milwaukee,

No, it wouldn't. The latest plan is for trains from Milwaukee to Kenosha where passengers could change to the commuter trains to Chicago.
making nine stops for commuters along the way,

So don't be in a hurry.
and would promote economic development in Wisconsin by providing a link to the global economy in Chicago.

Though there already is auto, bus, limo, rail, and air service.
Best of all, the proposed line would be funded with millions of federal dollars.

Best of all, if spending federal tax dollars is an end in itself.
Under the current KRM proposal, federal funding would pay approximately 57.5% to 65% of the capital costs for this service and another 30% of the annual operating fees.

According to the story linked in my earlier post, the capital cost is estimated at about a quarter billion dollars, and I calculated the operating cost at about $1.20 per passenger mile. So even if we regard federal spending as free money, we have to come up with around $100 million of the capital costs and 84 cents per passenger mile.
If Wisconsin does not take advantage of this opportunity to invest minimal local funding to leverage four to five times that amount in federal dollars, the federal funds will go to a transportation project in another state.

Note that "four or five times" would be 80% or more federal money, which contradicts the lower percentages they just provided.
The new commuter line will provide a efficient link to Chicago and its northern suburbs, including Waukegan, Lake Forest and Evanston,

If you take the train, or in this case trains, to one of those cities, how do you then get to your ultimate destination?
encouraging an estimated $7.8 billion increase in real estate values and $750 million increase in retail development around the new Wisconsin commuter rail stations.

Given they've already fudged the numbers on the federal funding, I'm even more skeptical of these projections.
The nine proposed stops along the KRM corridor differentiate this rail line from the existing Amtrak service, providing more access and opportunities for commuters to travel among the nine stations in the corridor rather than being restricted to a continuous route from Milwaukee to Chicago.

Frequent stops (other than your own) and having to change trains in Kenosha would be disadvantages of this new service.

Exceeding Our Expectations

Sara Smith and Lee Ann Bryce in the Wisconsin Council of Churches EcuNews [4 pp. pdf] (p. 3) report on the featured speaker at the 2006 Washington Island Forum.
...we mostly came to see her – The Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor – Episcopal priest, sought-after speaker and popular writer, parish minister, college professor, and last but not least, preaching goddess.

She spoke on "What the Body Knows: Christian Faith in Practice."
Our frenzied notescribbling would only be broken by the collective "ahhh" when she would find in each of us a home for yet another rich spiritual nugget...

After the speech,
She faithfully signed our books and answered our endless questions, even when we approached her awkwardly and tongue-tied, as groupies often do. ...

In retrospect,
... Her wisdom has worked its way into our sermons and spiritual practices, even as the preaching goddess worked her way into our hearts.

Moon base would be good for state

Tom Still in the opinion section of Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Returning to the moon may strike some Americans as a been-there, done-that exercise and a potential waste of taxpayer dollars. However, others recognize that space exploration is essential to the future of mankind on Earth ...

If manned space flight is essential, or even useful, he doesn't go on to demonstrate it. Note how many of the possible benefits he cites involve developments in robotics.


Recommended reading:
by the Buddha at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Buddha Meets Hollywood, by Susanne Weingarten, Spiegel, December 19, 2006

'Westerners are too self-absorbed' by Alice Thomson, The Telegraph, January 4, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In a one horse open sleigh

Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Berres near their farm in Marathon County, Wisconsin, circa 1910.

Merry Christmas!

Holy Hill celebrates elevation to basilica

Brian T. Olszewski reported in our Catholic Herald.
As a basilica, Holy Hill may display two papal-related symbols — symbols which hearken to an earlier time in the church. One is an ombrellino, an umbrella used to shield the pope in inclement weather. The other is a tintinabulum, a bell that would, if the pope were to visit Holy Hill, announce his presence during an official procession.

Both pictured here.

Benedict de Spinoza

The aspects of Spinoza's life that we consider fascinatingly personal -- his religious and ethnic background, his habits and relationships, his family history and quirks -- were qualities Spinoza himself dismissed as mere ephemera and illusion. To write about Spinoza's own life as if it matters is, in a way, to betray him. --Laura Miller, Everybody loves Spinoza, Salon, May 17, 2006, review of Betraying Spinoza, by Rebecca Goldstein, and The Courtier and the Heretic, by Matthew Stewart

Spinoza's ideal is the intellectual life; the Christian's ideal is the religious life. Between the two states there is all the difference which there is between the being in love, and the following, with delighted comprehension, a demonstration of Euclid. For Spinoza, undoubtedly, the crown of the intellectual life is a transport, as for the saint the crown of the religious life is a transport; but the two transports are not the same. --Matthew Arnold, Spinoza and the Bible, 'Essays: Literary and Critical (1906), by Matthew Arnold, p. 184, Internet Archive

A Kibitz on Pure Reason, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and Michael Weiss, Jewcy, March 17, 2007 et seq.
(via Stefan Beck at Arma Virumque)

A Philosophical Puzzle: Who Was This Guy Spinoza? By Hillary Putnam, review of Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity, by Rebecca Goldstein, New York Observer, December 18, 2006

The Neurologist and the Philosopher, review by Erica Goode of Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain (2003), by Antonio Damasio, Scientific American, March 2003

Review by Neil Levy of Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain (2003), by Antonio Damasio, Metapsychology, February 24, 2003

Fear Factor, review by Colin McGinn of Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain (2003), by Antonio Damasio, New York Times, February 23, 2003

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sounding off

Cary Spivak and Dan Bice reported in their column in Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on former WUWM host Robyn Cherry.
In 2004, Cherry, then the only African-American at the public radio outfit, filed a complaint with the state claiming she was passed over for a promotion and her on-air time was trimmed because of her race. Last year, she followed that up with a second complaint, accusing her bosses of retaliating against her by forcing her to book guests and write copy for a daily interview show that she felt she should have been selected to host.

But the state tossed both the discrimination and the retaliation complaints earlier this year. The oh-so-politically correct station then promptly fired its only black staffer, accusing her of plagiarizing material she submitted for the interview show.

Spirituality, Museum Leadership Subject of Favre Forum Dec. 20

Milwaukee Public Museum president and CEO Dan Finley will speak at this month's Peter Favre Forum on
"Moving Forward Spiritually and Professionally as the Milwaukee Public Museum’s President/CEO"

In describing him, the event blurb says
Finley who converted to Greek Orthodox (Orthodox Catholic)

but doesn't say from what.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Prayers for Senator Johnson

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) emails from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee regarding Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) who recently suffered a stroke.
Please keep Senator Johnson in your prayers.

Update: Charles Babington reported in the Washington Post
Although Johnson's illness was the talk of Washington yesterday, politicians in both parties refrained from publicly discussing how the two-term senator's illness might affect the incoming 110th Congress. A few Democratic lobbyists and their spouses were dining Wednesday night at Sesto Senso, an Italian restaurant near Dupont Circle. As they discussed Johnson's condition, they folded their hands as if praying for him, a gesture that appeared tinged with political as well as heartfelt sentiments.

(via Get Religion)

Among my souvenirs

As of tomorrow, my office will be in a new location for the first time since 1984. As with any move, a lot had to be thrown away. Because of my work, I wound up throwing away a few souvenir trial exhibits.

One was a paper cup and rubber band from a product liability jury trial in Ozaukee County. The case alleged that a foundry skip hoist was defective, causing the death of an employee. For his opening statement, Curtis Kirkhoff took a Dixie cup from the courtroom water cooler, cut a rubber band, and constructed a miniature of the upper pulley of the hoist. Memorably inventive. (The case settled after several days of trial.)

Another was a broken Walkman from a battery case tried to the court in Walworth County. That's battery the crime, not battery the source of power for a Walkman. My client and his estranged wife had an altercation at the family home when he came to pick up the children for visitation. The Walkman, he said, was damaged as a result of her losing her temper. While both said the other was the aggressor, the wife went to the D.A. and the husband was charged. The essential legal issue in the case was when character evidence was admissible, and for what purpose. It was a time that the legal reference Proof of Facts came in handy. The key testimony was from her psychiatrist, who said she would have to warn people of her patient's potential for violence. I think this was my only criminal trial, and the court acquited my client.

Finally there was an iron casting from a Waukesha County case brought by an independent manufacturer's representative. It had been terminated as the local representative of a Massachusetts foundry which hired one of the rep's employee's as its local salesman. The rep's business model was consulting, so it provided comparisons of products from many foundries it represented. Its problem was its contract with this foundry required exclusive representation. As a result, the court upheld the termination and awarded the unpaid commissions of my client, the employee.

I've had some other cases in which it was opposing counsel who might have felt like keeping a souvenir.

Grandpa Rechek doesn’t forget the kids

Karen Girard reported, special to our Catholic Herald, on charity fund-raising by Beaver Dam grocer Jerry Rechek, including "Grandpa Rechek's Golf Outing".
Among store vendors, area businesses, dedicated volunteers and event participants, the golf outing raises enough money to make an annual gift of $10,000 to St. Katharine Drexel School.

In 1999, Grandpa Rechek's Golf Outing began giving $10,000 annually to St. Stephen Lutheran School, too.

Gingrich, on a Mission, Has No Time to Campaign for '08

John M. Broder reports in The New York Times on Newt Gingrich's plans.
"Taken together, the challenges we face are greater than any since 1861," Mr. Gingrich said in an interview Friday in his Washington office. "No party, no movement has a grip on the scale of the changes we need to make to survive as a civilization. The most important slogan for the next quarter-century is 'Real change requires real change.' "

He's convinced me we're in danger of falling behind in the global slogan market. Might be time for a review of his 1995 lecture series on Renewing American Civilization.

Come for the funeral, stay for the food

Rick Romell starts a report in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on changes in the funeral business by interviewing local mortician Mark Krause.
"We're not in the funeral business," said the owner of three Milwaukee-area locations that appear to be very much in that line of work. "We're in the hospitality, family-event business that just happens to involve the person who dies."

Sometimes the deceased had never have been the life of the party, anyway.
And so more funeral directors in recent years have been acting like hosts, opening banquet rooms, adding kitchens, offering catered meals and, in Krause's case, bringing food right into the visitation parlor with the body.

A colleague anticipated this trend. He plans to have beer on ice in his open coffin and invite visitors to have a cold one on him.

"From the comments section..."

A comment at "Get Up, and Get Moving...." indicates the December 20th "Communal Reconciliation" at St. Mary's, Hales Corners [8 pp. pdf] is General Absolution. If someone suspects that and attends anyway, would it be something to confess at "Individual Reconciliation" on December 23rd?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Naming the Whirlwind, 1965-1981

From A Sesquicentennial Scrapbook for Saint Francis Seminary, this section includes the psychedelic poster for Tonsure 1971.

Henry George

Recommended reading:
by Henry George at Reading Rat

Reference: Who Was Henry George? by Agnes George de Mille, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

Friday, December 15, 2006

Women’s convocation reaches diverse group

Maryangela Layman Roman reported in our Catholic Herald on "Celebrating the Gifts Among Us: Gathering Women of Faith," the Archdiocesan women's convocation held at Cardinal Stritch University. It began with a keynote address by Rev. Trinette McCray. Then,
After lunch a "Conversation Cafe" was held in which participants could choose groups to discuss topics of interest. According to Jane Clare Ishiguro, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd Parish, Menomonee Falls, and another member of the organizing team, the women were asked to submit possible topics when they registered. Among the issues that surfaced were spirituality, single motherhood, how to begin a book discussion, retreats, bereavement, and mothering a soldier.

Though it really wasn't about topics.
Ishiguro said the core team set two goals for the day: to honor the diversity of women and to foster networking.

How'd they do?
She said she could tell the first goal was accomplished just by looking at those gathered.

She isn't quoted, but I bet the second goal was accomplished, too.

Pope's Preacher Calls for Abuse Penance

The Associated Press reports
Pope Benedict XVI's personal preacher asked the pontiff Friday to declare a day of fasting and penance to publicly declare repentance and express solidarity with the victims of clerical sex abuse.

I suggest December 28th, though this time it was an inside job.

(via Open Book)

W. S. Gilbert

Recommended reading:
by W. S. Gilbert at Reading Rat


The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, by Paul Howarth

A Gilbert and Sullivan Discography, by Marc Shepherd

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

'Patience' wears thin between comic moments by Elaine Schmidt, review of a production by the Skylight Opera Company, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 20, 2007

Curioser & curioser, a review by X. J. Kennedy of of W. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre, by Jane W. Stedman, and The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan, edited by Ian Bradley, The New Criterion, January 1997

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vote on referenda opportunity for catechesis, dialogue

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on the recent advisory referendum vote favoring restoring the death penalty in Wisconsin. Among those interviewed was John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. He digressed into the other referendum.
"The marriage amendment has allowed people to talk more with those of a same sex orientation and understand them better," Huebscher continued. "They probably feel less threatened by a person with a same sex orientation and I think that increased understanding will pay dividends down the road."

He talks of what "they probably fear" as if he's never actually talked to anyone who favored the marriage amendment. Odd, considering he's the Wisconsin bishops' lobbyist.

Perkins also interviewed Rob Shelledy, director of Catholic Social Action for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
While the death penalty referendum passed with about a 55-45 percent margin, Shelledy said there is still action Catholics can take.

"I think it’s important for Catholics to let their elected officials know what their own opinions are and what Catholic teaching is," he said.

Is that the Magisterium or the Massingalium [6 pp. pdf] (p. 4)?
Prior to the election, Catholics for Peace and Justice, a local organization that supports Catholic teaching on the respect for all human life, formed a group to educate others about the death penalty referendum. Pat Roehrig, the group's chairperson for those opposing the death penalty, said that changes in society affected the election’s outcome.

"I think we've gotten away from mercy and forgiveness," she said. "We've become so vengeful and hateful and I think that shows up in the voting for the death penalty."

You might recall Jeff Sweetland of CPJ's death penalty group spoke of those who disagreed with him in similar terms.

The “Vile” File

You might remember from George Carlin's AM & FM album his Ed Sullivan Self Taught [audio] which included,
Well now you know, sitting in our audience, there she is, the world's largest nun! Don't get up, Sister.

That might be her in the fourth photo in this BettNet post.

Blessed Trinity Parish goes ‘green’

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald that
Blessed Trinity Parish is taking steps to "provide for the needs of this generation without jeopardizing the needs of future generations" by establishing the Urban Center for Sustainability.

The parish is using a $30,000 grant from the High Wind Association Foundation of Plymouth, Wisconsin, some of which will be spent on staff.
Coordinator Carol Waskovich, a parishioner and former English teacher who said she's "always had an interest in nature and global warming" has the new role of developing the Urban Center for Sustainability.

It's not clear how the Center will be funded after the grant money is spent.
Fr. Michael Barrett, pastor of Blessed Trinity, sent a letter to parishioners in October, informing them of the grant and the new Urban Center for Sustainability. "The dream of our Stewardship Committee is that our parish campus can become a model and a visitation site for others looking at ways to provide for the needs of this generation without jeopardizing the needs of future generations," wrote Fr. Barrett.

Was this letter prompted by controversy over this project? The article doesn't say.
"We have a magnificent opportunity to make a difference in our huge world by making some changes in our own little worlds," he continued. Those changes may include "compact fluorescent bulbs, faucet aerators, programmable thermostats and restricted time of use energy consumption.

That's rather basic, isn't it? Like turn out the lights when you leave the room, wear a sweater instead of raising the thermostat, add insulation, replace old window caulk, check the mileage rating when buying a car, keep the tires properly inflated, avoid jackrabbit starts.
"As a parish, we can also become a new way to be church, tending to the stewardship and care of God’s gracious gift of Mother Earth... ."

This assumes there was a need for this new way "to be church".

Our Archdiocese answers the question What is Stewardship only in general terms. An argument could be made for almost any expenditure in terms of some meaning of the word "stewardship". That is little help with the hard question of what should have priority. That energy efficiency in parish operations is good stewardship does not make the parish running an energy efficiency center good stewardship.

New Muslims: Help for the Holidays

Bart Simpson said "Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ" but he was not quite right according to this at Islam Online.
[Q. John:] As a new Muslim, can I celebrate Xmas with my non-Muslim parents?

[A. Idris Tawfiq:] As-salaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. Thank you for your question.

I was talking to a teacher yesterday. Her classroom is the most decorated in the school with tinsel and Christmas tree and lots of decorations. She told me that she has a tree at home, even though she is agnostic and has no religious belief at all.

In many places, Christmas has become a festival of family and friends. It is for them a celebration of happy memories and a time to relax in the dark of winter. Celebrating Christmas nowadays, then, does not need to mean that we believe in the birth of Jesus as the messiah or the Son of God.

So celebrating Christmas with our parents presents us with no problems at all. We know that we are not celebrating the religious side of the feast and, if our parents are religious, we need to point this out. We can still have fun with them, though, and show how much we still love them.

Henrik Ibsen

Recommended reading:
by Henrik Ibsen at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews): The troll in the drawing room: Ibsen was sane, progressive and formal. Strindberg was neurotic, reactionary and fragmented. The two were arch enemies - but together they laid the foundations for modern drama, by Michael Billington, The Guardian, February 15, 2003

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

R. K. Narayan

Recommended reading:
by R. K. Narayan at Reading Rat

Study Guide: R. K. Narayan: The Guide (1958): A Study Guide, by Paul Brians

Reference: R. K. Narayan: a Profile

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

The Master of Malgudi: The fiction of R. K. Narayan, by Wyatt Mason, The New Yorker, December 18, 2006 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

A Bottle of Ink, a Pen and a Blotter, by Amit Chaudhuri, London Review of Books, August 9, 2001

Ellen Goodman's 1980 IVF Predictions

At Secondhand Smoke, the columnist takes a long ride down the slippery slope and gets used to the idea of human caviar.

(via Catholic and Enjoying It!)

Faith formation — not just for kids anymore

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on InLight, a new "intergenerational faith formation program" at St. Robert Church in Shorewood.
Each monthly session lasts about two hours, not including Mass, and is open to all parishioners.

The program is contrasted to dropping kids off for catechism class. The kids arrive and leave with their parents, but are still separated for instruction. It's a bit like coming to Mass with their parents but with a separate Children's Liturgy of the Word.
Masse [Vicky Masse, St. Robert’s director of lifelong faith formation] said each InLight program begins with a group prayer and introduction about that day's theme. Next, the groups break into age-specific groups for discussion and age-appropriate activities. After the break out session, the groups reconvene and share what they’ve learned. The session ends with prayer and Mass. Masse said the InLight program was developed at St. Robert and is modeled after Generations of Faith, a national program.

Its not clear if the two hours a month includes the Mass. Even if that's not included, instructional time is no more than a part of the two hours.

St. Vincent Pallotti Church uses another variation.
Celebrations of Faith begins with a group meal provided by the parish. Next, the group learns of the topic and there is discussion. Then there is a break out into smaller groups based on age. Afterward, they regroup for another discussion and end the event with prayer and song.

At St. Anthony on the Lake in Pewaukee,
It meets twice a month at four different times. The group gathers and engages in conversation, then breaks into age appropriate groups followed by the families coming together to work on a project, discuss what they've learned, do an outreach project, or participate in their own special prayer service.

Our Archdiocese encourages, but not mandating, a change to an "intergenerational" approach and is presenting a Generations of Faith Workshop next February.

McGee show's bombs make smaller blasts

Tim Cuprisin in his "Inside TV & Radio" column in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says some of his readers question his news judgment. For example, today's paper also has this story, McGee under fire for criticism, about Alderman Michael McGee's comment on his father's WNOV (860AM) radio show that Leon Todd should be "hung" for supporting the current effort to recall the alderman from office. One email to Cuprisin said,
"Did you hear the comment about Leon Todd? Do you think he should be hung? How is this not newsworthy? You cover TV/radio, and this was on the radio. What are you afraid of?"

Cuprisin replies that he's not afraid, he just disregards such comments from the son as part of the elder McGee's shtick.

What does Cuprisin find newsworthy?
The most interesting thing about these e-mail complaints is that they always come after one or both of Milwaukee's two big talkers, Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM (620) and Mark Belling on WISN-AM (1130), whine about the McGee show.

So it's not newsworthy that a public official says on a radio show [mp3] that a critic should be hanged, and that such commentary is unexceptional on that show, but it is not only newsworthy but "whining" when conservative talk show hosts discuss it? Cuprisin says that's because ratings determine the newsworthiness of what's said on the radio. And not just newsworthiness; ratings also determine right and wrong.
When it comes to getting spanked for crossing the line, it was an offensive crack about Mexican immigrants that led to a suspension for Belling in November 2004.

You might have thought the problem was what Belling said but now we learn that it was only wrong because of his Arbitron numbers. Cuprisin might be on to something here. If today's column isn't controversial it could be because the paper's circulation has dropped so much.

Christmas Tree Arrives at Vatican

The Associated Press reports that after colossal hassles, the colossal tree is up.
The tree will be decorated and finally lit on Christmas Eve.

I have been unable, so far, to revive the custom of decorating our tree Christmas Eve and taking it down after the twelve days of Christmas.

Alice Munro

Ms Munro comes from southern Ontario, an area of considerable psychic murkiness and oddity. Her stories dwell on her own people and their peculiarities: their repressed emotions, respectable fronts, hidden sexual excesses, outbreaks of violence, lurid crimes and long-held grudges. --The Economist, A well-deserved win: Alice Munro's short stories, May 28, 2009

The Lamp in the Mausoleum By Alison Lurie, review of The View from Castle Rock: Stories by Alice Munro, Carried Away: A Selection of Stories by Alice Munro, Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography by Robert Thacker, and Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro by Sheila Munro, The New York Review of Books, December 21, 2006

The Outsider, review by Deborah Eisenberg of The View from Castle Rock: Stories by Alice Munro, The Atlantic Monthly, at Powell's Review-A-Day December 12, 2006

Tricked Up: Alice Munro rebels against realism, by Meghan O'Rourke, Slate, December 21, 2004

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Channel Surfing

Tim Cuprisin reported in his "Inside TV & Radio" column today that
EWTN is airing Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan's "Advent Reflections" at 10 a.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Christmas Eve. . . .

The Archdiocese has more, and a different schedule.

Demographics shape future of West Allis/West Milwaukee parishes

Brian T. Olszewski reported in our Catholic Herald on a recent "town hall" meeting at which Archbishop Dolan discussed the demographics driving likely closings and consolidations of West Allis parishes.
He noted, "Sixty to 70 years ago, and even before that, eight wonderful parishes sprang up in West Allis/West Milwaukee. Huge Catholic families were moving in in droves. We couldn't build parishes fast enough. We had a bounty of priests and a treasury of sisters that could staff our parishes and schools. We have to be realistic; that isn't accurate anymore."

It might be helpful to see just how many Catholics there were and are. Has that declined dramatically or just attendance and participation?
Archbishop Dolan said that the Catholic community was called to do more than maintain buildings and parishes.

"We're into mission; mission is what drives the church. As much as we love our parish, church is more than parish," he said. "We are into spreading the faith, serving those in need, bringing others in."

In principle, anyway.
Elements of that mission, according to the archbishop, are seniors and Latinos. He also said that neighborhood renewal, caring for the poor and outreach to the unchurched needed to be part of the West Allis/West Milwaukee mission.

Sounds like the makings of a turnaround plan; sure beats these past decades of managing the death spiral. Now if only that glimmer of hope weren't so likely to be buried in process.
Forty-five minutes of the meeting were devoted to questions from audience members. While no answers were provided that night, facilitators recorded the questions and promised that those, as well as those submitted afterward in writing, would be answered around Thanksgiving.

Bishop Sklba will Celebrate Winter Solstice with Congregation of the Great Spirit, Milwaukee

Even the winter solstice celebration gets shifted to a Sunday.

Here's more on the parish.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Recommended reading:
Reading Rat

Monday, December 11, 2006

Interesting honors for bishop

Bill Wineke in today's Wisconsin State Journal on Madison's Bishop Robert Morlino
The Congress of Racial Equality on Thursday awarded the Catholic bishop its Lifetime Achievement Award for resisting attempts to silence his opposition to the "gay marriage" referendum in the November election.

Also on Thursday, the Catholic Herald, official newspaper of the Madison Catholic Diocese, reported Morlino has been elected chairman of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a controversial organization best known for its former name, the School of the Americas.

Here's the most recent listing of the WHINSEC Board of Visitors (or Junta de Visitantes).

Ecumenical response to city crime explored

Denise Konkol reported, special to our Catholic Herald on the "Called to the City" urban ministry consultation at Cardinal Stritch University.

What is a ministry consultation anyway?
About 150 pastors, urban educators, agency leaders and students gathered in an ecumenical setting to discuss the poor and at-risk.

That is, it's talk.
The events seemed choreographed to the current perception of escalating violence in the city ...

The use of the word "perception" implies a contrast to reality. Whether an escalation or not, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported
Among the country's 50 largest cities, Milwaukee ranked 10th last year in the murder rate. In 2005, the city had 122 murders ...

Back to the Herald,
...but event organizer and executive director of the office of vocation development at Cardinal Stritch, Rev. Trinette McCray, explained that "Called to the City" was first conceived for Milwaukee about five years ago.

How would one proceed if one wanted to move that slowly?
"This visionary seed was planted into my spirit, and we worked with the Milwaukee Urban Ministry Consultation and received funding from the Lilly Endowment for theological exploration of vocation," said Rev. McCray [event organizer and executive director of the office of vocation development at Cardinal Stritch, Rev. Trinette McCray]. "Then about two years ago we met with Dr. (Ray) Bakke, and at first we thought it would be a simple symposium. However, as we worked together, we developed this consultation."

I didn't see suggestions of any significant new actions coming out of the consultation, so I'll repeat my old suggestion of moving the Archdiocesan offices to the inner city.

Galileo Galilei

The shattering of the crystal spheres which Galileo’s contemporaries thought held the planets and the stars, with the sphere containing the stars representing the edge of the universe, is (along with Darwin’s discovery of evolution by natural selection) the biggest revolution in self-knowledge that mankind has undergone. --The Economist, Editorial, August 13, 2009

From Myth to History and Back, review by Stephen M. Barr of: Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius, by William R. Shea and Mariano Artigas; and Galileo’s Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church, by Wade Rowland. First Things, January 2004

Between Father and Daughter, review by Elizabeth Powers of Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, by Dava Sobel, First Things, March 2000

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Inclusion, understanding of Islam necessary, says Jesuit

Cheri Perkins Mantz reported in our Catholic Herald on Jesuit Fr. John Haughey's address to the Peter Favre Forum's annual dinner at Saint Francis Seminary. Fr. Haughey is a research fellow at Georgetown University and spoke on Catholic-Muslim relations.
Given the large number of Muslims in the world, Fr. Haughey stressed the importance of inclusion.

"Our future in this world is basically going to come down to whether or not Roman Catholicism can create an understanding of inclusion of this faith or if they can't."


Effective ministry requires people filled with hope

Sam Lucero reported in our Catholic Herald on Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas's keynote address at the Tending the Lord’s Vineyard conference of about 300 church leaders held October 21 at the Cousins Center.
"You are the rainbows that give us hope."

Not sunshine, lollipops and rainbows?
Citing a study by Dean Hoge, a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America, Bishop Kicanas said that ministers face a church in the third millennium where more of its members turn to their conscience, rather than church doctrine, to make moral decisions.

Back in eighth grade catechesis we taught that conscience included both the ability to judge and the criteria by which we judge. Church doctrine is such a set of criteria. It makes no sense to oppose conscience to doctrine; any opposition would be between doctrine and some other criteria for moral judgment.
"In the next few years, there will be one-third fewer Catholics who are deeply committed to their faith," he said. "Catholics will continue to give less credence to church teaching and more to their own personal judgment. And even though they identify themselves as Catholics, will go to church less often."

Thereby reinforcing our leaders' complacent disconnect from reality. Catholics are not just less involved within the Church, they are leaving the Church in enormous numbers in many countries. The November 2006 Milwaukee magazine article on Catholics In Crisis said
Even with the Hispanic and exurban growth, the total number of registered Catholics in the archdiocese last year fell by 20,000 ...

Continued at that rate, there'll be no one left by 2040. Continuing in the Herald,
In order to carry out the mission of Christ with hope, Bishop Kicanas said that priests, deacons, religious and laity must work in communion.

You might assume he means in communion with the bishops, but it's only an assumption from what's in the article.
The second challenge for ministers in the new millennium is to build a just society and to pass on the faith.

When they can become effective on the latter, they might have a shot at developing some credibility on the former.

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Peg soaks up a sunny send-off in Florida

Spivak & Bice report in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
that Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, also given her walking papers by voters, took a couple of cronies to a three-day conference of the National Association of Attorneys General in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last month.

Among the educational presentations at the conference
For newly elected officials, there was even an ethics seminar by Steve Clark, a former Arkansas attorney general convicted of felony fraud, titled, "What can go wrong?" Pardoned in 2004, Clark was slated to tell the new guys "how to stay out of a ditch and how to maintain a healthy sense of self-awareness."

Advice that, alas, comes too late for Lautenschlager.

Guided by spirit, youth minister connects with teens

Denise Konkol, special to our Catholic Herald, interviewed Barb Abler, director of youth ministry for the three Wauwatosa parishes.
Abler initiated a teen Mass on Sunday evenings prior to religious formation classes, offering the opportunity for them to serve in liturgical ministries.

Couldn't they have served at the regular masses they attended, presumably with their families?

These interviews focus on the interviewee's faith.
However, her parents' divorce – and her own divorce in 1988 – caused her to question "why God would bring such pain – I didn't understand it."

I don't understand why she blamed God for it. There's no follow-up on her views on teaching about marriage and divorce in youth ministry.
Now, she says, it has helped her in her ministry to working with parents and teens in broken families. Her own experience provides an understanding and empathy for them, she said.

Abler had a "spiritual explosion" during the 1980s while living in Florida with her husband and two daughters, Laurie and Amy.

In the years just before her own divorce. She gets involved in the parish religious education program the year of her divorce. Might be some interesting questions there, but they don't show up in the interview.

Medieval music presents old story, but fresh

Tom Strini reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on last night's Waverly Consort performance of The Christmas Story at St. Josaphat Basilica, part of this year's Early Music Now series.

Before they began, the lights in the Basilica were slowly turned off, leaving the only sources of light the candles of the Advent wreath and the blue vigil lamps at the Marian shrine. They began singing in the darkness, then processing around the church, and then back to the just before the sanctuary. They continued without interruption for almost ninety minutes, until recessing as all the lights were again extinguished, save those for the altar under its baldacchino.

We'd heard an EMN Christmas concert at the Basilica before but that was in part about the merriness of Christmas; last night's performance was only about its holiness.

Rene Descartes

Descartes was injuriously accused of being an atheist, the last refuge of religious scandal: and he who had employed all the sagacity and penetration of his genius, in searching for new proofs of the existence of a God, was suspected to believe there was no such Being. --Voltaire, On Descartes and Sir Isaac Newton, Letters on the English (Lettres Philosophiques) by Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, Harvard Classics (1909–14), Vol. 34, Part 2, Bartleby

On this author:

Descartes’s chief contribution to modern science and philosophy was his radical focus on epistemology, on defining the boundaries of what we are capable of knowing with certainty. At the center of this project was his assertion of mind-body dualism... --Gary Rosen, Body of Knowledge, The New York Times, October 31, 2008, review of Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason, by Russell Shorto

Think Again: What did Descartes really know? by Anthony Gottlieb, The New Yorker, November 20, 2006

Descartes’s Paradoxical Politics, by Quentin Taylor, Humanitas 2001 No. 2

A funny-peculiar mind-body picture: Steven Shapin delves into the intellectual, as well as the rather more material, concerns of Rene Descartes, review of Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of Rene Descartes, by Richard A Watson, London Review of Books, January 20, 2003

Therefore I am, by Heller McAlpin, review of Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of Rene Descartes, by Richard Watson, Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2002

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Frijole Days of Obligation

You might recall my posts last May (27th and earlier) on our mission trip to the Guadalupe Homes orphanage in Santa Apolonia, Guatemala.

The orphanage publishes an Informative Bulletin for its English-speaking friends and supporters. In the June 2006 issue, this page [pdf] gives their account of our most recent visit.

P.S. Sorry if you find my new three-column blog template cause some of the the photos to obscure parts of the text in the May posts.

The New Progressive Bible

at The People's Cube

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Imitation of Christ? The world's most famous Hindu became the greatest exemplar of the Sermon on the Mount, by Harris Wofford, BeliefNet

Those who want hagiography should skip this new biography, review by Zachary Karabell of Gandhi's Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, by Stanley Wolpert, BeliefNet

Episodic in style and lacking in narrative content, this is, nevertheless, one of the world's great autobiographies, providing insights into the motivations and actions of one of the most extraordinary men of our time. --A Guide to Oriental Classics

Friday, December 8, 2006

Dr. Ed's solaranite-powered guide to the footnotes of the 1917 Code

Canon lawyer Edward Peters uses Plan Nine from Outer Space to illustrate the annotations in the older edition of the Code of Canon Law.

(via Eve Tushnet)

Parish Communal Reconciliation

This coming Sunday's St. Al's bulletin [5 pp. pdf] says (p. 2),
The Parish Communal Reconciliation Service will be held at 6:30PM, on Wednesday, December 13.

Though the listing for regular Saturday confession just above says, as usual, "Reconciliation Rite I", neither the notice of the Communal Reconciliation nor its calendar listing specifies the rite to be used, tempting me to speculate.

Liturgical Leapfrog

(via Ten Reasons)

Miracle Of The Rosary

Fans of this song, best known from Elvis Presley's rendition, might be interested in purchasing this Karoke version.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Holy See Upholds Excommunication Decree for Call to Action

So reports tomorrow's edition of the Southern Nebraska Register (temporary URL) on the appeal to the Vatican from Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz's 1996 excommunication of members of Call To Action Nebraska.
A Nov. 24 letter from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops, confirmed that the Holy See agrees with Bishop Bruskewitz’s ruling on the matter. ...

In his letter, Cardinal Re stated, "The judgment of the Holy See is that the activities of 'Call to Action' in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic Faith…Thus to be a member of this Association or to support it, is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith."

(via Comment by Sparki at Open Book)

Update: In a comment to a later post Sparki says she wrote the article for the diocesan paper.

She also writes the Fonticulus Fides weblog.

Herbert C. Jones at Pearl Harbor

From the Naval Historical Center,
During the 7 December 1941 Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor, he was serving as an officer in USS California (BB-44). When his ship was attacked and badly damaged, he rescued a sailor from a smoke-filled compartment, then led an anti-aircraft battery in firing on the raiders. When the ammunition hoists were put out of action, Ensign Jones organized an ammunition passing party and led it until he was fatally injured by a bomb. He then refused evacuation out of fear for the lives of his rescuers. For his heroism during the Pearl Harbor battle, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

The destroyer escort U.S.S. Herbert C. Jones (DE-137), launched in 1943, was named for him. It's service in 1943-1944 is recounted in photos in A Destroyer Escort at War. The ship then came back to the U.S. for refitting and a new crew, which included my father, recently graduated from Messmer High School in Milwaukee. The ship's service from that point is summarized in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
In December 1944, she joined a hunter-killer task force for antisubmarine patrol in the Atlantic out of Norfolk. Remaining on this duty until V-E Day, HERBERT C. JONES sailed for the Pacific 24 June 1945 after training exercises in Cuba. She was at Pearl Harbor when news of the Japanese capitulation was received 15 August, and from there sailed to the Marshall Islands for precautionary air-sea patrol duty. HERBERT C. JONES sailed to Green Cove Springs, Fla., via San Diego, the Panama Canal, and New York City 15 March 1946.

And so Dad spent the last day of the war at Pearl Harbor on a ship named for an ensign who had died there on the first day of the war.

Morlino gets ally in stem cell expert

Ben Hancock reports in The Capital Times from a debate in Madison on stem cell research.
William Hurlbut, a professor in the Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University, told an audience at Union South on Tuesday that human embryos are, by their very nature, living beings, and he argued that scientific stem cell extraction procedures that destroy these embryos are immoral.

Which aligned him in the debate with the Catholic Bishop of Madison, William Morlino. Hurlbut instead advocated research into Altered Nuclear Transfer [ANT] which would produce cell groupings from which stem cells could be extracted.
ANT works by suppressing the gene CEX2, Hurlbut said, which allows for the organization of cells after fertilization.

Panelist Robert Streiffer, professor of philosophy and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, favors embryonic stem cell research and denied that ANT made an ethical difference.
Streiffer also refuted Hurlbut's claim that a suppressed cell grouping does not constitute an embryo, saying that it simply creates a "disabled embryo."

"A developing fetus that has a genetic abnormality that prevents it from developing fingers is not capable of developing as a complete integrated living being: it's missing some parts. But it's still, of course, a living human organism. Nobody would think that the absence of some part results in the loss of all moral value," Streiffer said.

Clive Svedson, professor of anatomy and neurology at the University of Wisconsin, said few of the embryos currently in frozen storage would ever be born. He said it was better to use them for research then incur the cost of storage.
"We don't know if embryonic stem cells are going to work on these diseases yet," Svedson added. "That's why we're doing the science."

(via The Wheeler Report)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Greatest Football Book of All Time

Charles P. Pierce in Esquire on Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer (1969) by Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap
Of course, Instant Replay was helped when Kramer threw the most famous block in history, wedging a hole for Bart Starr to fall through in order to win the "Ice Bowl" NFL championship game.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Eden's Not Cheatin'

Peter Hyman in Radar interviews Dawn Eden of The Dawn Patrol.

Arousing debate

Megan Twohey reported in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that rumors University of Wisconsin--Madison undergrads spend all their free time drinking are unfounded. For example, there's Sex Out Loud, a student organizaion funded, with $90,000 this year, from the fees all students are required to pay.
Begun a decade ago to provide information about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, the group has expanded to include graphic workshops on how to give and receive sexual pleasure.

In an accompanying photo,
UW sophomore Tony Uhl tries to guess what body part Sarah Olson is describing ...

Which you can see, from the sign on her back, is "belly button".
... "A vast majority of students arrive on campus with virtually no real sexual education," said John DeLamater, a sociology professor at UW-Madison who teaches a course on human sexuality.

As a course, it would be funded by tuition and taxes, not student fees. Maybe his course teaches the term "navel".

"Energized" -- the Cardinal wins the Lottery!

Diogenes at Off the Record posts a Los Angeles Times tabular graphic [from this article] of "Some of the major multi-plaintiff settlements since 2002 in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal" ranked by average "Per plaintiff settlement (in millions)".

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee came in first.

(via Dad29)

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Emily Dickinson

Unhappily for Dickinson, the one man who seems to have unequivocally loved her and may have wished to marry her died of a stroke in 1884, before anything like a formal engagement was announced. Broken in spirit by this loss, as by numerous others including the terrible typhoid death of a beloved little nephew, Dickinson herself grew ill and died in 1886, at the age of fifty-five. --Joyce Carol Oates, The Woman in White, New York Review of Books, September 25, 2008, review of A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade, by Christopher Benfey, and White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple

On this author:

How many know that Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the radical abolitionist who was one of the "Secret Six" who supported John Brown's bold raid on Harpers Ferry, later became the literary confidant of the reclusive apolitical poet Emily Dickinson? --Jane Ciabattari, Emily Dickinson’s Friendship With Abolitionist, National Book Critics Circle, Powell's Review-a-Day, October 1, 2008, review of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple

We still don’t know why Dickinson elected, well past her youth, to don only virginal white or — beyond a sense of shared mental and social superiority — what caused the members of her family to cling so tightly to one another. --Miranda Seymour, Emily’s Tryst, The New York Times, August 22, 2008, review of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple

Dickinson's circumscribed life -- partly chosen, partly imposed -- was, no doubt, conducive to writing. But it left her relatively unbuffered against the deaths of family and friends, visitations that progressively harrowed her. --Bill Christophersen, Emily's Ambassador, The Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2008, review of White Heat, by Brenda Wineapple

Dickinson’s externally uneventful life has been chronicled before, but Brenda Wineapple finds a new way in by focusing on her relationship with the man who would eventually help to bring her to the public gaze after her death. --The Economist, Hers and his, July 24, 2008, review of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson, by Brenda Wineapple

--Yellow Rose of Emily (#17), from Oh No, Not Emily: An Operetta of Academia, Fraud & Emily Dickinson, YouTube, June 19, 2006

Emily Dickinson's Herbarium, reviewed by Elizabeth Schmidt, The New York Times, December 3, 2006

Poet's Choice, column by Robert Pinsky, Washington Post, January 23, 2005

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Interpreting Constitutional Texts

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law
an essay by Antonin Scalia
with commentary by Amy Gutmann, editor, Gordon S. Wood, Laurence H. Tribe, Mary Ann Glendon, and Ronald Dworkin
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1998; 0691004006
I will consult the writings of some men who happen to be delegates to the Constitutional Convention--Hamilton's and Madison's writings in The Federalist, for example. I do so, however, not because they were Framers and therefore their intent is authoritative and must be the law; but rather because their writings, like those of other intelligent and informed people of the time, display how the text of the Consitution was originally understood. Thus I give equal weight to Jay's pieces in The Federalist, and to Jefferson's writings, even though neither of them was a Framer. What I look for in the Consitution is precisely what I look for in a statute: the original meaning of the text, not what the original draftsmen intended. (p. 38)

Stop snagging the seamless garment

That's the title of of Brian T. Olszewski't editorial (print only) in this week's issue of our Catholic Herald. He points out that the recent Wisconsin advisory referendum on restoring the death penalty passed 55 to 45% and assumes that Catholics voted in roughly those proportions.
What kind of catechisis will it take for the Gospel to penetrate hardened Catholic hearts? How many more papal pronouncements, bishops' letters, priests' and deacons' homilies, books, articles and studies are needed to embrace the church's opposition to capital punishment?

Why does he expect Catholics to take, say, bishops' letters to heart when he's running op-eds disagreeing with them?

Mao Tse-Tung

The Utopia bookshop [in Beijing] is a refuge for China’s leftists, the term used to describe those nostalgic for Mao Zedong’s rule and worried that the country is abandoning its communist principles. --The Economist, The Little Red Bookshop, February 5, 2009

Recommended reading:
by Mao Tse-Tung at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

Mao and the art of management, The Economist, December 19, 2007

Mission to Mao by Roderick MacFarquhar, review of Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, The New York Review of Books, June 28, 2007

Review by David Luhrssen, of Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, Shepherd-Express, April 12, 2007

Words to Die By by John Kekes, review of Virtue and Terror, by Maximilien Robespierre and On Practice and Contradiction, by Mao Zedong, City Journal, February 20, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Mao Now by Ross Terrill, The Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2006 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

From Mao to Now: A Reevaluation, by Chas W. Freeman, The Globalist, December 15, 2006

The Bloody Enigma, review by Andrew J. Nathan of Mao's Last Revolution, by Roderick Macfarquhar, The New Republic, November 30, 2006 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Friday, December 1, 2006

The Limits of Tolerance

Naomi Schaefer Riley in Opinion Journal on an appearance by Father Andrew Greeley in Washington, DC last week. In Q&A from the audience.
The greatest growth in the world-wide Catholic population, she noted, has been coming for some years from new believers in South America and Africa, and the trend shows no signs of abating. What effect would this have on the church?

"We will depend on them for vitality," Father Greeley predicted. "But they will continue to depend on us for the ideas."

Here's the web site of Fr. Greeley, Author, Sociologist It includes a link to an interview in October 2001 with John Callaway of WTTW, Chicago's Public Television station.
Regarding Women

CALLAWAY: Why do you love women so much?

GREELEY: Because they're neat.

In context, Fr. Greeley means Annie Hall neat, not Felix Unger neat. I understand Fr. Greeley has written some really neat novels.

(via Diogenes at Off the Record)

Kingsley Amis

Recommended reading:
by Kingsley Amis at Reading Rat

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

The Old Devil by Adam Gopnik , review of The life of Kingsley Amis Zachary Leader, The New Yorker, April 23, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Kingsley Amis's Troublesome Fun by Michael Dirda, The Chronicle Review, June 22, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

The old devil by Mark Steyn, review of The Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader, The New Criterion, March 2007

Kingsley without the women by Clive James, review of The Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader, Times Online January 31, 2007 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

'I want more than my share' by Zachary Leader, author of The Life of Kingsley Amis, The Telegraph, November 19, 2006 (via Arts & Letters Daily)

'Lucky Jim' at 50: Kingsley Amis's Debut Remains One of the Funniest Novels Ever Written, by Roger Kimball, New York Sun, April 12, 2004

Sorry to go on like this, review by Ian Hamilton of The Letters of Kingsley Amis by Kingsley Amis, edited by Zachary Leader, London Review of Books, June 1, 2000

Peace Chunky Choker

Not from the works of R. Crumb, rather it's available at the Pax Christi USA online jewelry store.
This sterling silver chunky choker features a peace sign, with the word "Peace" engraved below it. This elegant choker is light-weight and an excellent way for you to wear your hopes for peace with justice. Comes with a box.

Only $44.00.