Friday, January 30, 2009


When Nelson Mandela was released and South Africa embarked on its extraordinary and turbulent transformation, Coetzee seemed lost. His fiction had been a visceral assault on apartheid. On its demise, apparently, there was nothing to protest about. --Robert McCrum, The voice of Africa, The Observer, October 5, 2003

Recommended reading:
by J. M. Coetzee at Reading Rat

Reference: Times Topics, The New York Times

Criticism (articles, essays, reviews):

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

How many aspirants to literary greatness have enough incidental mathematical ability to succeed as computer programmers? True, Coetzee portrays the job as dreary, but he performs creditably; when he quits, after more than a year, to concentrate on becoming a poet, I.B.M. resists his departure. --John Updike, The Story of Himself, The New Yorker, July 15, 2002, review of Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II by J. M. Coetzee

Thursday, January 29, 2009

After Obama said that congressional Republicans shouldn't listen to Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh responded.

After quoting the January 25, 2009 broadcast transcript, Ann Althouse concludes,
Among many liberals I have come into contact with over the years, the very idea of conservativism is ugly and poisonous. Now, many conservatives take the same attitude about liberalism, and they've been pretty successful in getting the general public to think that way too. In general public discourse, liberal politicians shirk the "liberal" label. [ ] So I can certainly understand liberals wanting to make the word "conservatism" into something conservatives would run away from like that. And I can believe that Barack Obama would like to make that happen and sees a focused attack on Limbaugh as an effective technique.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Modern Spirit

Modern times find themselves with an immense system of institutions, established facts, accredited dogmas, customs, rules, which have come to them from times not modern. In this system their life has to be carried forward; yet they have a sense that this system is not of their own creation, that it by no means corresponds exactly with the wants of their actual life, that, for them, it is customary, not rational. The awakening of this sense is the awakening of the modern spirit. --Matthew Arnold

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Universities team up to help Catholic schools in archdiocese

Alan J. Borsuk reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that five area Catholic colleges and universities have formed the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium to help local Catholic schools.

The story mentions the recent New York Times report on the state of Catholic education, including a 50% drop in enrollment in the last 40 years. See For Catholic Schools, Crisis and Catharsis. Mr. Borsuk reports
In the Milwaukee Archdiocese, officials say, enrollment in 132 Catholic schools totals 33,842 this year, down 717 from a year ago and 1,488 from two years ago.

That works out to average enrollment of around 256 per school, so we're losing the equivalent of almost three schools a year. At that overall rate of decline, total enrollment would reach zero in not much more than another 40 years.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Resolving Doubt

From behind the two-issue non-subcriber firewall at First Things, a letter to the editor in the February 2008 issue.
Apropos of Richard John Neuhaus’ comment on a first portion of my new book, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (While We’re At It, November 2008), I want to thank Fr. Neuhaus for acknowledging my love for the Church, even if, as he says, in my own “fashion.” Unfortunately, Neuhaus conveys the impression that the criteria that I propose for evaluating magisterial documents would allow a Catholic to reject an official teaching if only one criterion is not fulfilled.

But after listing those criteria, I wrote: “If all of the criteria are positive, the teaching can be accepted. If only a single criterion is doubtful, acceptance can temporarily be withheld until further examination. If the doubt cannot be resolved, then acceptance of the pronouncement can legitimately be withheld” (297–298).

This is a more nuanced position than the one characterized in Fr. Neuhaus’ charge that it would be “hard to think of any magisterial document that would pass muster” (71). As I insisted in the preface, in a passage that Fr. Neuhaus cited, “one must ... acknowledg[e] all legitimate sides to a debate while remaining faithful to the relevant official teachings of the Catholic Church” (xxiii).

Although Fr. Neuhaus dismissed this statement as unbelievable (see his reference to “Alice’s Queen”), my emphasis was on “remaining faithful” and offers the hermeneutical key for interpreting the passage that Neuhaus found problematic.

Rev. Richard P. McBrien
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

RJN replies:
Although he apparently did not appreciate the tone, I do not see that Fr. McBrien’s statement on the criteria to be met before a magisterial document warrants assent differs from his position as I described it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Church's thefts total $128,000

Annysa Johnson reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the results of an audit at St. John Vianney Church in Brookfield.
Although a criminal investigation is ongoing, an outside audit found a correlation between the missing money and the tenure of its now-former pastor, Father Leonard Van Vlaenderen, who was arrested in December 2007 on a misdemeanor charge of possessing cocaine.

This was disclosed to parishioners in a letter from the current pastor, Father Kenneth P. Knippel. He was asked for comment.
Despite the audit findings, he said Thursday he was reluctant to pass judgment on Van Vlaenderen, who pleaded guilty to the drug charge in May and is serving one year of probation.

"Some of the people here love him dearly," he said.

That's a little different tone than what you find at EthicsPoint, where Archbishop Dolan says
This system will provide employees, volunteers, parishioners, vendors and other interested individuals the opportunity to share concerns, anonymously if they wish, about financial practices and policies within the archdiocese and parish communities.

I haven't gotten the impression over the years that suspicions of embezzlement by lay staff are handled quite so gingerly as are those about Father Van Vlaenderen.

See Local cases behind decision to audit parishes; and Church embezzlement is theft, but also betrayal of trust (Thursday, January 15, 2004)

See also Folks, it's time to move on (Thursday, March 18, 2004)


Governor Doyle Proclaims Catholic Schools Week

January 25-31, 2009, as noted in this January 16, 2009 press release from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And a secretary of cause and effect

Quincy Jones at The Situation Room (Aired January 20, 2009 - 18:00 ET) on hopes for the new adminsitration
We're getting a petition together for a secretary of the arts with a real Cabinet membership and all, because America is the only country -- whose music is probably most imitated in any country in the world -- the only country without a minister of culture or a secretary of the arts.

(via KausFiles)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some textualist you turned out to be!

Ann Althouse speculates on what President Obama was thinking after Chief Justice John Roberts botched the oath of office.

Update: On further review, Randy Barnett determines Both the Chief Justice and the President Flubbed the Oath. Orin Kerr then notes The Significance of the Flubbed Oath.
The answer to the question, "How many former editors of the Harvard Law Review does it take to administer the Presidential oath properly?" is "More than two."

Update 2: Who said no do-overs? Oath Is Administered Once Again, Jeff Zeleney, The New York Times, January 21, 2009

Snark launch, photo from 45th Range Squadron, 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base


Healing old wounds and restoring ancient partnerships

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, November 13, 2008, was then recently back from the three day plenary meeting of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The ICCJ's 1947 meeting produced An Address to the Churches, called "The Seelisberg Theses" after the city where this "international emergency conference on anti-Semitism" was held.

The status of the ICCJ and whether attendees are there in an official capacity within their religious bodies is unstated.

Bishop Sklba gave one of the keynote addresses, which were followed by discussion.
Something that struck me early on was the insight that there are powerful contrasts between the first century of our common era and this new 21st century of ours. Then the tragedy of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem spawned councils of division; now the unspeakable horror of the gas chambers produced councils of reconciliation such as Vatican II.

He doesn't specify the "councils of division". The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15, Galatians 2:1-10) is generally dated before the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70. It appears the Council of Jamnia is hypothetical. If the 20th Century's thirty years war was part of the impetus for Second Vatican Council, the genocide of European Jews was a part of that. That's not the same as claiming reaction to this genocide produced the Council, which seems an overstatement.
In that vein I also pointed out that we Catholics remain committed both to the belief that God's covenant with Israel remains eternally valid (Romans 11:29) ... and that Christ's universal redemption embraced the entire world. Precisely how those Catholic convictions are interrelated remains a mystery which still awaits adequate expression.

I might note (parenthetically!) that bit of proof-texting by Bishop Sklba. In this context, one might also consider the expression found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 839 and 840.

The first sentence of the first document of the Second Vatican Council says one of its aims is "to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church." Bishop Sklba says,
we are convinced that organized efforts to convert Jews to Christianity seem contrary to the will of God for this time in history.

By "we" he might mean the ICCJ participants, or that he is interpreting Nostra Aetate. Either way, he does qualify even this assessment with that word "seem".

P.S. Bishop Sklba's December 11, 2008 column is on a related topic Shared hopes for God's future: Judaism and Christianity as Advent partners again. Diogenes at Off the record reviewed it in If it ain't broke, let's bust it.

(via Dad29)

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

‘A Cross Underneath One’s Clothing Is Okay’: An Interview with the Bishop of Arabia

Pierre Heumann interviewed Paul Hinder, a Swiss native and Catholic Bishop of Arabia, for the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche. John Rosenthal translates for Pajamas Media.

Inaugural luncheon menu honors Lincoln

Karen Herzog reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 18, 2009
wild game and root vegetables are on the official luncheon menu. Both are a nod to President Abraham Lincoln, who favored the simple frontier foods and root vegetables of his native Kentucky and Indiana.

The luncheon in Statuary Hall for about 200 guests - including Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, their families, the Supreme Court, cabinet designees and members of the congressional leadership - is designed to reflect the theme of the 2009 inaugural ceremonies, "A New Birth of Freedom."

The theme celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. That means dessert also will feature Lincoln's favorite treat: apples.

The compact fluorescent has been passed to a new generation

Congratulations to President Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009

For Catholic Schools, Crisis and Catharsis

Paul Vitello and Winnie Hu reported in The New York Times, January 17, 2009. Over the last 40 years U.S. Catholic school enrollment has dropped by more than half from a peak of five million students.
recently, after years of what frustrated parents describe as inertia in the church hierarchy, a sense of urgency seems to be gripping many Catholics who suddenly see in the shrinking enrollment a once unimaginable prospect: a country without Catholic schools.

I would call it complacency, not inertia, and there's been plenty of it among parish priests and non-school staff.

The article descrives innovative programs in several dioceses.
The Wichita Diocese has mounted a campaign since 1985, asking its 120,000 Catholics to tithe as much as 8 percent of household income to its ministries, which include 39 schools.

The money was not earmarked solely for the schools, but it has allowed all of them to eliminate tuition starting in 2002, with enrollment approaching a 40-year high of 11,000.

(See Wichita line men)

That five million student figure was 50% of school age Catholics, the closest approach to the 100% goal of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1884. (See Every parish should have a Catholic grade school). The current figure is 15% overall, 3% for Latino Catholics.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reading Rat Vol. 2 No. 3

The Well-Tended Bookshelf, by Laura Miller, The New York Times, November 28, 2008
There are two general schools of thought on which books to keep, as I learned once I began swapping stories with friends and acquaintances. The first views the bookshelf as a self-portrait, a reflection of the owner’s intellect, imagination, taste and accomplishments. ...

The other approach views a book collection less as a testimony to the past than as a repository for the future; it’s where you put the books you intend to read.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

KRM commuter line hits major snag

Pete Millard reported in the January 16, 2009 The Business Journal of Milwaukee that the Union Pacific Railroad does not agree with some aspects of the current proposal for a Kenosha to Milwaukee commuter rail operation on the UP's tracks. UP wants the commuter service to pay for a second track, additional sidings and signals, more insurance, and higher fees.
Union Pacific had preferred that the Chicago-based Metra, which already operates the commuter rail service from downtown Chicago to Kenosha, would get a contract to run the rail service from Kenosha to Milwaukee.

“It’s too bad Metra couldn’t do it because they’ve got the insurance and liability issues worked out, and KRM wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Beitzel [Pete Beitzel, vice president of transportation for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce] said.

The proposed KRM is often misleadingly described as if it would be an extension of the Metra, that is, that it would offer one-train service to Chicago. The actual proposal would require changing trains in Kenosha, and only some KRM trains would connect with Metra trains. (See Magic costs more than mere rides)

(via Dad29)

Richard Neuhaus obituary in 'The Economist'

The Economist features one obituary per issue, and that of this "turbulent priest" was posted January 15, 2009.
The greatest contradiction in Father Neuhaus was not indeed between left and right, or Protestant and Catholic. It was between the “Dickie Neuhaus” who boisterously took charge of everything, and the man who knew he was not in charge at all.

(See A Wretch Like Me)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Catholic Conference to Hospitals: Provide Aid, Not Abortion

This January 15, 2009 press release from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference describes a letter from Barbara Sella, its Associate Director for Respect Life and Social Concerns, to chief executives of three Madison health care agencies opposing a reported plan to perform second trimester abortions at the Madison Surgery Center.

2009 Legislative Session: Pragmatic Approach is Good Politics

So says the January 5, 2009 Eye on the Capitol press release by John Huebscher, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
St. Thomas Aquinas often noted, "Virtue stands in the middle." Politicians rarely quote saints in floor debates. But the hard reality of the 2009 legislative session is that the middle of the political spectrum will probably be a good place to be for those interested in getting things done.

There's no denying that both the first and last of these sentences contain the word "middle", though it would take more than that to make the paragraph a syllogism.

Rick Warren's biggest critics: other evangelicals

At Yahoo, this piece by Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press , on Rev. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, includes that
One of Warren's most important mentors was the late Peter Drucker, considered the father of modern management.

Drucker says in his Managing the Non-profit Organization (1990)
In every move, in every decision, in every policy, the non-profit institution needs to start out my asking, Will this advance our capacity to carry out our mission? It should start with the end result, should focus outside-in rather than inside-out. (p. 114)

So one might start with Matthew 28:19 or Catechism sections 849-856 rather than blank sheets of newsprint taped to the wall.

(via JSOnline)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Loesser evil

A few decades back, a young middle-class Egyptian spending some time in the U.S. had the misfortune to be invited to a dance one weekend and was horrified at what he witnessed:
The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips...

Where was this den of debauchery? Studio 54 in the 1970s? Haight-Ashbury in the summer of love? No, the throbbing pulsating sewer of sin was Greeley, Colo., in 1949. As it happens, Greeley, Colo., in 1949 was a dry town. The dance was a church social. And the feverish music was Baby, It's Cold Outside, written by Frank Loesser and sung by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban in the film Neptune's Daughter. Revolted by the experience, Sayyid Qutb decided that America (and modernity in general) was an abomination, returned to Egypt, became the leading intellectual muscle in the Muslim Brotherhood, and set off a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri to bin Laden to the Hindu Kush to the Balkans to 9/11.

--Mark Steyn, Baby, He's Gold Inside, The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2008, review of Frank Loesser, by Thomas L. Riis

Any Doubt

Amy Welborn's review at Charlotte was Both of the movie version of Doubt includes this on one of the main characters.
Sister Aloysius is strict, but it’s clear that her eagle-eye is out surveying the land for the sake of her charges and that she is acting out of an acquaintance with the real world[ ]

Contrast Clericalism

P.S. Doubt makes a liar of me, review of the movie by V. J. Morton at Rightwing Film Geek, and Pictures from an Institution, review of the play by Ross Douthat at The Daily Dish

Nothing to fear but lack of fear itself

Last Wednesday's first reading included this,
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. --1 John 4:18

which called this to mind,
Condensation of the 14 Points for Management
[ ]
8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company[ ]
--W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1988) p. 23

as well as a contrast with this.
About Accountability for On-going Planning
[ ]
63. It is hoped that corrective action would never be required thanks to the power of persuasion by means of sincere and open conversation at the local level. But, if the power of persuasion fails and someone persistently disrupts or interferes with the ongoing planning process or related pastoral work, or refuses to participate when necessary, then corrective action must be addressed. Bishop William Callahan, after consultation with the district dean, the pastors and the parish directors, will decide when corrective action is appropriate and he will bring the situation to the attention of Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who will determine what consequences should result.
--2008 General Observations and Recommendations, no. 63 (page 20), Living Our Faith in the 21st Century, proposed long-range plan for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


A Swedish author writing under the pseudonym "J.D. California" has reportedly completed a novel called 60 Years Later: Coming Through The Rye, about an elderly retiree named "Mr. C" who escapes from his nursing home and has a series of adventures that mark him as the spiritual heir to The Catcher In The Rye's Holden Caulfield--or perhaps the actual Holden Caulfield. --Noel Murray, Real J.D. Salinger not so keen on fake J.D. Salinger, A.V. Club, June 4, 2009

On the recommended works by this author:

J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly, by Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, October 19, 2004

On this author:

So what has Mr. Salinger been doing for the last 40 years? The question obsesses Salingerologists, of whom there are still a great many, and there are all kinds of theories. --Charles McGrath, Still Paging Mr. Salinger, The New York Times, December 30, 2008 (via Althouse)

Review by Neal Hammons of Salinger: A Biography by Paul Alexander, Bookslut, August 2003

On other works by this author:

Save the Salinger Archives! Even if we have to save them from Salinger himself, by Ron Rosenbaum, Slate, Posted Friday, June 5, 2009, at 6:01 PM ET (via Arts & Letters Daily)

Seymour, by Steven Marcus, The New York Review of Books, February 1, 1963, review of Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, by J.D. Salinger,

A new reading on faith

Annysa Johnson reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Saturday, January 10, 2009, on a local ecumenical women's book klatsch inspired by The Faith Club,
the 2006 book by three New York City women - a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew - whose collaboration on a children's book in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks gave way to a profound and sometimes difficult probing of their own and each others' faiths.

Reblock Yourself the Polly Frost Way!

Dispatch January 7, 2009 at Atlantic Unbound by Polly Frost
Do you suffer from blogaholism, Twitteritis, RSS Dependency, or Status Update Disorder? Then this is the seminar for you...

Not to be confused with
the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


What is strange, too, he lived in a small town, in a petty state, in a defeated state, and in a time when Germany played no such leading part in the world's affairs as to swell the bosom of her sons with any metropolitan pride, such as might have cheered a French, or English, or once, a Roman or Attic genius. Yet there is no trace of provincial limitation in his muse. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, Goethe; or, the Writer, Representative Men (1850), Chapter 7

Goethe's Bright Circle, by Jay Parini, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 11, 2007, review of Love, Life, Goethe: Lessons of the Imagination From the Great German Poet by John Armstrong

Political polytheism

You might recall that the choice of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration of President Obama drew an objection from Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who said "the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know." (See Obama’s Choice of Pastor Creates Furor)

Laurie Goodstein reported in yesterday's New York Times that rather than offend those who pray to that other God, Gay Bishop Is Asked to Say Prayer at Inaugural Event.
Bishop Robinson advised Mr. Obama on gay rights issues during the campaign. He is the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, and his consecration in 2003 set off a growing rift in that church’s parent body, the Anglican Communion.

He is taking pains to make the contrast clear.
Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that.[ ]

Presumably this excludes quoting the President-elect's testimony, see A Politics of Conscience.

(via M.Z. Hemingway at Get Religion)

Update: A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama, by The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Opening Inaugural Event, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, January 18, 2009, at Episcopal Cafe (via Douglas LeBlanc at Get Religion)

End Times

Michael Hirschorn in The Atlantic, January/February, on the online form of The New York Times and other newspapers as they discontinue publishing print editions.
a bigger, better, and less partisan version of [T]he Huffington Post, which, until someone smarter or more deep-pocketed comes along, is the prototype for the future of journalism: a healthy dose of aggregation, a wide range of contributors, and a growing offering of original reporting.

Online-magazine-style weblogs are part of the attraction of WordPress.

(via KausFiles)

Monday, January 12, 2009


Today, all it takes for a publisher to run for cover is a letter from an outraged academic. In the 20 years between the publication of The Satanic Verses and the withdrawal of The Jewel of Medina, the fatwa has in effect become internalised. --Kenan Malik, Twenty years on: internalising the fatwa, Spiked Review of Books, November 2008

The British literary landscape is dominated by three writers: Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan. All three have considered the central dilemma of our time: terror. Indeed, Amis has issued something of a manifesto on the subject he terms "horrorism". In their different styles, their approach and opinions define a coherent position. They are the vanguard of British literary neoconservatives, or, if you like, the "Blitcons". --Ziauddin Sardar, Welcome to Planet Blitcon, New Statesman, December 11, 2006

But where do you go from liberal irony, from pragmatic storytelling as the replacement for conviction and belief, once you are forced by harsh circumstances to realize that that way of thinking can’t support its own weight? If you are Salman Rushdie, perhaps you come to believe that the forceful but evil convictions of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers can only be resisted by equally forceful convictions that stake out different and superior moral terrain. And the only body of belief known to Rushdie that is capable of supporting such convictions is Islam; the Ayatollah’s hatred is to be countered by a richer understanding of Islam itself. --Alan Jacobs, Salman Rushdie Gets Religion, First Things, January 1992

Postmodern Chutney, by Randy Boyagoda, First Things, February 2003, review of Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992–2002, by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie reborn: Staging Midnight's Children has been an epic struggle, director Tim Supple tells our reporter, by Daniel Rosenthal, London Times, January 7, 2003

Salman Rushdie, Out and About, interview by Dave Weich, Powell's Books, September 25, 2002

Diane Knight Named New Chair of the National Review Board

Our Archdiocese announced January 9, 2009 that the retired Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been appointed chair of the U.S. Bishops' National Review Board. The USCCB describes the Board's job as
to collaborate with the USCCB in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the Church.

The Frequently Asked Questions about the Board include
What have they accomplished since 2002?

The NRB has published a number of reports and commissioned two studies.[ ]

Snark Attack

Adam Sternbergh at New York, December 28, 2008, review of Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation, by David Denby
consider the oft-made but pertinent point that postdebate commentators reside in “Spin Alley.” When we live in a world where professional analysts on TV can be trusted to simply say what they actually believe, then I think we’ll find that snark will start to turn its own volume down.

Snark launch, photo from 45th Range Squadron, 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reading Rat Vol. 2 No. 2

Orphan Works: Finding a Home for a Copyrighted Work that Has "Lost" Its Author, or Theft in the Night? by Bernie Klosowski, The Voice, December 17, 2008
there are some artists – even disgruntled ones – who agree that the Orphan Works problem is a very real one. These artists at least agree with archivists that legislation of some sort is needed right away – before Civil War photographs, silent films, Depression-era jazz recordings, and paper manuscripts bite the dust.[footnote omitted]

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jesus through age 29

The Gospels up to the beginning of the public life of Jesus: Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-5, Luke 1:5-80, Matthew 1, Luke 2:1-39, Matthew 2, and Luke 2:40.

Friday, January 9, 2009

David Grossman

Ever since I knew I would be an author, I knew I would write about the Holocaust. I think these two convictions came to me at the same time. Perhaps also because, from a very young age, I had the feeling that all the many books I had read about the Holocaust had left unanswered a few simple but essential questions. I had to ask these questions of myself, and I had to reply in my own words. --David Grossman, Confronting the beast, The Guardian, September 15, 2007

Recommended reading:
by David Grossman at Reading Rat

Wholly Holey Holy

"I don't golf. As a matter of fact it leads many people to wonder if I'm really validly ordained." --Archbishop-elect Allen Vigneron of Detroit, quoted at Whispers in the Loggia (via David Gibson at dotCommonweal)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Wretch Like Me

At BeliefNet, excerpted from Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross, by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus
Our lives are measured not by the lives of others, not by our own ideals, not by what we think might reasonably be expected of us, although by each of those measures we acknowledge failings enough. Our lives are measured by who we are created and called to be, and the measuring is done by the One who creates and calls.

Joseph Bottum at First Things posted Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009,
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus slipped away today, January 8, shortly before 10 o’clock, at the age of seventy-two.


Amy at Modern Commentaries posted New Years resolutions on diet, exercise and prayer. My preference is one resolution a year, and if it's turned into a good habit, that's a resolution kept. Perhaps one resolution can be leveraged into three if we pray while we exercise, and if exercise helps us eat less.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cliche watch: Words still matter

A December 30, 2008 editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The National Conference of Editorial Writers — a group of savants whose erudition is matched only by their comeliness — recently engaged in a bout of self-examination. The topic: words and phrases that have outlived their usefulness or that weren't all that useful in the first place.

How about the phrase "outlived their usefulness"?

(via M.Z. Hemingway at Get Religion)


Tuesday, January 6, 2009


The subject of clericalism comes up with some regularity. Clericalism is the corruption that, overtly or subtly, subordinates priestly service and devotion to clerical privilege and power. --Richard John Neuhaus


Monday, January 5, 2009

Plowing Through the Door

David Carr in The New York Times, December 26, 2008, reviews The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, by Michael Wolff. Not a book for "John and Mary Catholic".
Instead, we get Wolff’s own ineffable takes on how Murdoch became Murdoch...


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reading Rat Vol. 2 No. 1

On authors and works in my recommended reading (and other items of interest). New format starts as Volume 2.

A Year for the Books: Mother Teresa's secret, and other revelations from 2008, by Peggy Noonan, Opinion Journal, December 26, 2008 (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)
I suspect reading is about to make a big comeback in America, that in fact we're going to be reading more books in the future, not fewer. It is a relatively inexpensive (libraries, Kindle, Amazon), peaceful and enriching activity. And we're about to enter an age of greater quiet.

Pick of the pile, The Economist, December 4, 2008
The best books of 2008 covered the Iraq war, Chinese capitalism, Mississippi blues, fishing in Sweden, ayatollahs, human waste and the secret life of words

100 Notable Books of 2008, The New York Times, November 26, 2008
The Book Review has selected this list from books reviewed since Dec. 2, 2007, when we published our previous Notables list.

Top shelves, by Sean Dodson, Guardian Unlimited, January 11, 2008 (via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)
Every booklover has their favourite shop, and while it's true that many independents have been driven out of business by online sales and supermarket bestsellers, you still don't have to look too hard to find one that's thriving. To prove it, Sean Dodson chooses the 10 bookshops from around the world which he considers to be the fairest of them all.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stritch St. Francis plan faces crucial meetings

Tom Kertscher reported in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The [City of St. Francis] Common Council will hold a public hearing Monday and could take a key vote Tuesday on the [Cardinal Stritch] university's proposal to build what could be a $150 million campus on the site of the Cousins Center and adjacent land.

See Cardinal Stritch envisions 800 students at Cousins site and Stitch's Cousins Center News

Our Archdiocese of Milwaukee needs to sell the property to help pay back money borrowed to finance the settlement of California lawsuits over sexual abuse of children by a couple of priests transfered there. See Firms show interest in buying Cousins Center property.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Deadweight Loss of Brett Favre

Stephen J. Dubner in the Freakonomics column of The New York Times on the jersey market.
it is also unlikely many Jets fans will have fond feelings for Favre any time soon. So it is hard to imagine too many of them buying a Favre jersey again, ever.

And what about wearing the jerseys they’ve already bought? Psychologists have noted a pair of phenomena related to this question: Basking in Reflected Glory (BIRGing) and Cutting Off Reflected Failure (CORFing). This boils down to the fact that people like to wear a team’s jersey after the team wins (that’s a BIRGer binge) and they like to bury a team’s jersey deep in the closet after the team loses.

There might have to be a separate category for a Jim McMahon Packer jersey.

(via Just One Minute)