Friday, November 30, 2007

Speaking of grammar...

As I noted in this post, I get annoyed by egregious grammatical errors in others' speech. Well, my six year old son takes after me. Last night right before we were going to pray the family Rosary I said something using the subjunctive in a fairly archaic manner. Since he didn't recognize the form, he thought it was a grammatical error. He insisted that I correct my grammar, which I didn't. So, when it was his turn to share his intentions for the Rosary he said, "I wanna pray that dad's grammar improve."

That's the kind of house I live in.

The Date of Easter

According to

In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. I had previously, and somewhat erroneously stated, "Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox." This statement was true in 325 AD, when it was established by the Council of Nicea. However, the course of history has modified the meaning of this instruction.
The Paschal full moon is explained thus:
The full moon used to calculate the date of Easter. This full moon does not correspond to any astronomical event, but is a historical artifact determined from tables.
I didn't know this. I always thought it was "the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox." What messed things up was the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Here is a detailed explanation of the whole thing.

I refuse to argue with these results

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz
Especially the last line.

Another Sort of Learning

For a while now I've been praising Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.'s Student Guide to Liberal Learning. It is because of that book that I read Sertillanges' The Intellectual Life, which strikes me as the most sane guide I know of for those of us with an intellectual vocation. As a follow-up to The Student's Guide, I decided to read Another Sort of Learning, also by Schall. This is a great book! It is really an expanded version of the student's guide. Or, should I say the student's guide is a condensation of Another Sort, since the latter came out many years before the former. Needless to say, I highly recommend both of these books for college students and adults who want to take their Catholic intellectual life seriously, whether they have an intellectual vocation or not. And the book lists will keep you busy for the rest of your life.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beethoven's Ninth

On Friday my wife and I are going to a performance of Beethoven's Ninth by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony Chorale (under the direction of the incomparable Lee Erickson). I have wanted to do this ever since I was a kid and they used to use the second movement during the closing credits of the NBC Nightly News with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.

I remember when I was about ten and I found my mom's LP of the 9th and played it. When it got to the second movement I said, "Hey, that's the Huntley/Brinkley theme song!"*

I never thought I'd get this opportunity. But for some reason our son's music school was giving away free tickets! Score, as my kids say!

Nothing like a good, intense dose of freemasonry to begin a relaxing weekend, I always say.

*Another story from my childhood. I was digging through my mom's old 78s and found Desi Arnaz's recording of "Babaloo.' I was so excited I ran with it into the kitchen to show mom. On the way the record slipped out of my hand. As you know, 78s were pretty brittle, so it shattered into pieces on the hallway carpet. I cried and cried. My mom wasn't anywhere near as upset about it.

Then there was the time I somehow broke my sister's 45 of "Never My Love." I tried to hide it somewhere, but she found it. She wasn't quite as forgiving as my mom.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ecclesia Semper reformanda

The renewal of the Church is always an ongoing business, so even though we are over 45 years into the post-Vatican II era, there is certainly still a need to renew the life of the Church, including in America. I think the following steps would be help considerably in the renewal of the Church in America. I'm not saying there is not already a great deal of renewal going on, including, for instance, the home schooling movement and the various new ecclesial movements. I'm only saying that I think these particular steps would help the process--give it a shot in the arm....(more)

Antonio Rosmini

Until today I've never read anything by or about Fr. Antonio Rosmini, the philosopher whose writings were condemned by the Vatican from 1887 to 2001 and who is now going to be beatified. What I read today here on is very attractive. I am especially impressed by his anti-totalitarianism, his affirmation of the value of private property, his critique of the Enlightenment and his affirmation of the value of free exchange of and debate over ideas. Here is a link to Rosmini's philosophical, theological and spiritual works translated into English. At some point I'd like to explore them.