Wednesday, May 30, 2007
And continue putting in 12-hour days at work.
It is too wet to mow the grass, but there is mulch to spread on the garden beds.
I harvested the first zucchini from the garden!
Please add to the list of religious whom I pray for during Vespers every(well almost every) night. Look for the 'Adopt a Religious' section on the sidebar or the original post.
Check this out. I like manatees:
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
...those children had been playing 'Mass' yesterday, and probably were using them for the readings or for carrying around in procession. Whatever they were doing with them yesterday, they were using them for the greater glory of God. Certainly some of the games we played as children or dreamed about as young men and women became our work, our vocations. I was so glad I thought a moment before yelling and screaming at these children who one day will be men and women - maybe priests and religious.
Hopefully, one day some of my sons will be priests or religious, and I will experience the joy of kneeling in front of my own child and receiving a blessing from him - maybe even 'them.'
Perhaps the child here will be reading the Gospel as a priest, and the girls dressed up as nuns will be professed sisters or nuns in convents or cloisters.
To think that I could have lost my temper, and perhaps discouraged one of my children from listening to God's call to the religious life, saddened me. It must have been my guardian angel prompting me to count to ten before losing my temper.
Monday, May 28, 2007
You're Babar the King!
by Jean de Brunhoff
Though your life has been filled with struggle and sadness of late,
you're personally doing quite well for yourself. All this success brings responsibility,
though, and should not be taken lightly. Life has turned from war to peace, from damage
to reconstruction, and this brings a bright new hope for everyone you know. These hopeful
people look to you for guidance, and your best advice to them is to watch out for snakes.
You're quite fond of the name "Celeste".
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I am actually quite fond of another woman's name beginning with 'C.'
The Smiling C-5, photographed by dadwithnoisykids while in the U.S. Air Force, 1988.
Then I got this e-mail from someone I have been working closely with in Benin. It looks as if my 'ship has come in,' as they say, and I will be able to retire as soon as the money is transferred to my account. I can hardly wait for the banks to open tomorrow:
Contact My secretary in Benin
I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from paraguay.Presently i'm in London for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.meanwhile,i didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me
in transferring those funds despite that it failed us some how.
Now contact my secretary in Benin.
NAME / Prince Dada Bernard
EMAIL/ this has been deleted - I can't have you all jumping at this chance.
TELEPHON/ also deleted
Suite 205 Mdomi plaza Benin.
Ask him to send you the total of $1000.000.00 which i kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter. I appreciated your efforts at that time very much.
so feel free and get in touched with my secretary Dada and instruct him where to send the amount to you.
Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the sufferness at that time. in the moment, Im very busy here because of the investment projects which me and the new partner are having at hand, finally, remember that I had forwarded instruction to the secretary on your behalf to receive that money, so feel free to get in touch with Dada, he will send the amount to you without any
"Share the joy after all the sufferness"....makes me want to cry!
Prince Dada really is a Prince of a man.
I am sure money won't spoil me....
We strive to be good Catholics, and look to the Magesterium for guidance all the time. So it is no surprise that Mother Church sometimes helps us select leisure activities.
The Children Speak:
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Today is the birthday of my beautiful bride, Wifeofdadwithnoisykids.
Words cannot express the love I have for my wife, and how I thank God for her all the time.
My wife is the 10th child in her family, and I am always reminded of a story from residency many years ago:
I was scheduled to work in a gynecology operating room, where there were some tubal ligations scheduled. I went to the residency program director and explained my objections to administering the anesthetic for these procedures. He agreed to move me to a different room, and then added a comment. He said that some times, such as after a woman has had 9 children, it is desirable to sterilize a woman. I countered with the fact that my wife is the 10th, and I was glad my in-laws did not stop at 9. That ended the conversation.
I know that no matter how much I thank God for the gift of my wife, I know that it is not enough. She has been the source of so much joy and consolation in my life, and has been a blessing not only to me but to all who know her.
I love her more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will love her tomorrow.
She shares her birthday with the feast of St. Philip Neri:
CALL ME 'HOMIE' or 'HOMEY'
I got called 'Homie' last night by father of a patient. Not being as hip as I appear, I had to look it up to see if I were being complimented or insulted. I took it as a compliment; that I was a neighbor of sorts, a friend, to this man and his child.
So call me 'Homie' or dadwithnoisykids - I will answer to either from now on.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
elective surgery, those who fall from monkey bars, and those who get too
close to lawnmowers.
When the choice is 'sleep' or 'blog,' sleep usually wins.
ENJOY THE VIDEO of the man Rush Limbaugh refers to as the 'Breck Girl:'
But here is something that has been sitting on the hard drive long enough.
I have to polish it later today, but here goes:
A Modified Book Meme
A List of Books:
Look at the list of books below.
Look at the mess I have made of it.
I wrote comments for most of the books. A lot of the books are ones I have
never heard of.
It is hard to consider this a list of 'great books' when it includes TWO
from Mitch Albom.
When I get home, I shall:
1. Bold the ones I've read,
2. Italicize the ones I want to read,
3. Cross out the ones I won't touch with a 10 foot pole or would never
4. turn blue the ones on my book shelf,
5. and asterisk* the ones I've never heard of,
look for a youtube video we talked about at dinner last night....
1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) NO
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) TO READ SOMEDAY
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) TO READ SOMEDAY
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) NOT SURE
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) 2002
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien) 2002
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) 2002
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) TO READ SOMEDAY
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) NOT SURE
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) NOT SURE
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) NO
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) Actually read through this during a slow
day at work. Unbelievable garbage – I threw the book out.
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) NO
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) NO WHAT I HAVE READ OF JOHN
IRVING MADE ME SICK
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) NOT SURE
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling) NO
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) NOT SURE
18. The Stand (Stephen King) 1982 – another example of wasted time
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling) NO
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) SOMEDAY
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien) 2002
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) NOT SURE
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) SOME DAY
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) NOT SURE
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) NOT SURE Pie should be eaten.
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) NOT SURE
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) SOMEDAY
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) 1977
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) SOMEDAY
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) Good grief! I remember him as a
so-so reporter for some Detroit newspaper NO
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) 1979? I think. Favorite quote: "If wishes were
fishes, we'd all cast nets." Proof that the subjunctive clause will be in
use even after we master space travel.
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) NOT SURE
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) NOT SURE
34. 1984 (Orwell) 1981 just under the wire….
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) NOT SURE
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) NOT SURE
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay) NOT SURE
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb) NOT SURE
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) NOT SURE
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) NOT SURE
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) Saw the movie. Darryl Hannah
as the only acne-free blond cave woman. This must count for something….
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) NOT SURE
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) NOT SURE
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) Him again!?!
45. Bible (Over 15 different Translations both on shelf and read) NOT
ENOUGH OF IT
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) SOME DAY
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) I read the Classics
Illustrated comic book version of it, and have the book on the shelf TO READ
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt) NOT SURE
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) SOME DAY
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb) I have heard the song by the same name
by the 'Guess Who'
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) NOT SURE
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) SOME DAY
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) NOT SURE
54. Great Expectations (Dickens) 1983
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) 1979
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) NOT SURE
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling) NO
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) NO – I CAN READ ENOUGH SCANDALOUS
STUFF ABOUT PRIESTS IN THE NEWSPAPER.
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) NOT SURE
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) NOT SURE
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) SOME DAY
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) NOT SURE
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) SOME DAY
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) She recently converted and wrote
a fictional book about Jesus' life: Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt. Somebody
in First Things reviewed it; I shall try to find it.
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis) NOT SURE
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) NOT SURE
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares) ISN'T THIS A STORY
ABOUT TEENAGER GIRLS WITH BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND A PAIR OF PANTS THAT FIT ALL
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)1978 – I still recall the strangest beginning to
any book I ever read: "It was love at first sight…."
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) (Both French and English) SOME DAY
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) 1979 Weird, but I have my
own litmus test for
friends similar to the snake that swallowed the elephant.
71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding) NO
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) SOUNDS ROMANTIC, BUT MUST PASS
73. Shogun (James Clavell) ANYONE WHO CAN'T SPELL 'SHOTGUN' SHOULDN'T BE
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) MAYBE?
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) SOME DAY
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay) NOT SURE
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) SOME DAY
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving) NO! NO IRVING FOR ME!
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) NOT SURE
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) I even discovered the 'lost ending' to the
book: "Yes, Mr. Zuckerman," Lurvy said as he leaned back from the table,
"That really was some pig!"
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley) CODE WORD FOR 'UNDERWEAR'
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck) 1980 "GEE, GEORGE, ARE YOU GOING TO CATCH ME
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) NOT SURE
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind) PROBABLY NOT
85. Emma (Jane Austen) SOME DAY
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams) 1980 "You will have a thousand enemies,
and when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) 1979
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) NOT SURE
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago) CAN'T READ A BOOK IF I CAN'T SEE IT
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) NOT SURE
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje) NOT SURE – DIDN'T THIS GUY WRITE ABOUT
AN ENGLISH PATIENT?
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) 1983 GREAT METAPHOR FOR CIVILIZATION
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) NOT SURE
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd) SURE. SIGN ME UP.
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH PEOPLE WITH
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) NOT SURE
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) NOT SURE
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford) COULD SHE MAKE ME A LOAN?
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield) NOT SURE
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) SOME DAY
I had to put 'NOT SURE' for many because I had never heard of them. I don't
get out much….
Here are some other books I like:
Space Trilogy (C.S. Lewis) 1995
Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis) 1987
Wind, Sand & Stars (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) 1995
A Man for All Seasons (Robert Bolt) 2006
Lord of the World (Robert Hugh Benson) 2000?
Cry, The Beloved Country (Alan Paton) 1983
Kim (Rudyard Kipling) 1980?
The Foundation Trilogy (Isaac Asimov) 2006
Nostromo (Joseph Conrad) 2005-2006
Til We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis) 2001?
The Gods Themselves (Isaac Asimov) 2002
The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane) 1983
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens) 1983
The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) 1977
Animal Farm (George Orwell)1972 I discovered the hard way that this was not
a children's story
The Bridge Over the River Kwai (Pierre Boule) 1980
The Jungle Books (or any thing else by Rudyard Kipling) 1972 - present
Father Elijah (Michael D. O'Brien) 1998
Eclipse of the Sun (Michael D. O'Brien) 1998
The Diary of a Country Priest (Georges Bernanos) 1986
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (John Le Carre) 1979
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne) 1976
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) 1983
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) 1986
Beau Geste (P.C. Wren) 1972
The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham) 2005
Young Men and Fire (Norman Maclean) 2005
The Path to Rome (Hillaire Belloc) 1987
The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster) 1972
The Epic of Gilgamesh (Bob Gilgamesh) 1983
There is a big gap of reading which correlates with medical school and
Thanks to Book Reviews and More, and McEvoy's Musings - I will creat a link
More photos, more messages, more storage—get 2GB with Windows Live Hotmail.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Pictured above are some of the first produce from our garden. These are thinned carrots, so they are a bit small but very tasty. The tomatoes are from a plant we got from friends, but the tomato plants we started from seeds are starting to show some blossoms. Also pictured is some cilantro(coriander) which I pulled just to thin out the bush of cilantro we had.
The onions are struggling along, and the peppers were decimated by something which ate them down to the ground. We shall see what comes of them.
The squash - zucchini - is growing like crazy. There are multiple blossoms, with little zucchinis growing from most of them. I am hoping some of the blossoms will turn into the yellow squash. Either way, I anticipate a lot of squash in my diet in the future.
At 0530 this morning, as I let the dog out for a walk, I went over to the garden and noticed that all the squash flowers were wide open.
Ascension Thursday Thoughts
Last week, we celebrated the Solemnity of Ascension Thursday on Thursday. We were blessed with the ability to make it to Mass and receive our Lord. In addition, we heard the final words of Jesus, commanding us to go and teach and baptize people throughout the WHOLE world. what a good thing to hear on the day we celebrate his ascension.
This brings me to two thoughts:
One is that there is very little recording of what Jesus was teaching the disciples during the forty days after the Resurrection. It seems reasonable that He was teaching them, since they still were asking stupid questions of Him up to the point of the Ascension, such as, 'Are you going to restore the kingdom of Israel?'
I think that the teachings of Jesus during those forty days time would constitute the initiation of the 'Tradition' that makes up so much of the Church. What did NOT come out of the forty days was the Gospel written by Christ Himself.
The second thought is that when I was a child, I always thought that the time between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost was a time when the Apostles were in hiding, afraid to be seen in public. Now the story is a bit clearer, where the Apostles spent the time preparing for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. I think it shows the faith and courage of the Apostles; their faith in waiting for the Holy Spirit to come as Jesus said, and their courage in preparing for their roles as bishops and martyrs.
Ascension Thursday Sunday Thoughts
Then yesterday we celebrated Ascension Thursday Sunday, since we have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on the Solemnity of the Ascension on the Thursday 10 days before Pentecost. I am not sure of who decided we could skip Mass on Thursday, but I am confident that their reason went something like this,
"God forbid we inconvenience the flock with additional time spent in Church.
I mean, what could possibly come of extra time spent in prayer?"
Perhaps that extra time in prayer would result in the Holy Spirit coming down on a few more souls this Pentecost, inflaming more men and women with Love for God and the desire to spread the Gospel.
I can only hope.
While I was blessed to go to Mass with my family, I had to go to work afterwards and didn't get home until after 1 a.m. I missed a piano recital yesterday where seven of the Noisykids played the piano beautifully. This is one of the down sides of being a doctor. I recall telling my wife a month ago, 'what are the chances I'll get called in during the recital?'
My wife looked at me lovingly....
Saturday, May 19, 2007
The Duggar Family is expecting their 17th child! Read about it here. We are happy for them, and pray that they have a healthy baby, a safe delivery, and a quick recovery.
Meanwhile, here in North Texas, we are praying for another child if it is the will of God. People always ask us if we know the Duggars; as if there were some network of large families where we all get together and discuss how to take over the world.
Today some of us went to the funeral for a friend. We were privileged to offer our Mass for the repose of the soul of Mary. In addition to the homily, two visiting priests took a few moments to talk about Mary. One priest is her brother; the other her brother-in-law. I listened carefully, dreading that this might turn into an on-the-spot canonization.
I was pleasantly surprised. Both priests spoke about Mary's virtues, yet both emphasized the importance of praying for the dead. One of the priests mentioned that Mary might have been holier than anyone else in the church - but that we are to compare ourselves with God, not those around us. When we see ourselves in the light of Truth, we recognize our own sinfulness and need for purification and the need for Purgatory. It was just what anyone, especially Mary, would want to hear at a funeral.
One of the priests mentioned about having regrets at the time of death. That got me to thinking, which is how a funeral for a friend ties in with the Duggar family having another child: On my deathbed, I will never regret having the children God gave us. Surely I will regret things I did or failed to do with my children, but bringing them into existence will not be one of the things that will make me wring my hands on my deathbed. Looking back on almost 18 years of marriage, one could make the argument that we had a 'grave' or 'just' reason to contracept some of our children out of existence, but those reasons were pointless when compared to the generosity of Divine Providence and the value of a human soul.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Amanda McKittrick Ross is considered to be one of the worse authors of all time. After reading some of the excerpts of her work I think you will agree – that she is a good role model for my own bad poetry:
“She who might have swayed society's circle
- from Irene Iddesleigh
I discovered her accidentally, while looking up something on Wikipedia. Somehow, I ended up on the C.S. Lewis page, which led me to the Inklings page. The Inklings were a group of authors, among them Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, who got together to discuss various subjects and reading samples of literature to the group.
“Life is too often stripped of its pleasantness
The Inklings was more than a bunch of serious intellectuals. They had games such as a contest to see who could read the poetry of Amanda McKittrick Ross longest without laughing.
After her first book, Irene Iddesleigh, was mercilessly reviewed by one Barry Pain, her popularity grew as one of the worst writers of all time. To quote the Wikipedion:
“…thanks to Pain and others she became the fad of the moment for the London literary crew, who threw Amanda McKittrick Ros parties at which they would take it in turns to recite favourite passages.”
“Readers, did you ever hear
In her unfinished book, Helen Huddleston, she named a lot of characters after fruit: Lord Raspberry, Sir Peter Plum, the Earl of Grape and Sir Christopher Currant, and Lily Lentil.
Holy Moses! Have a look!
- from On Visiting Westminster Abbey
She had a lot of anger issues, with lawyers and literary critics taking the brunt of her emnity. She claimed that her name would be remembered long after her critics are forgotten. This seems to be the case, although it is because of those critics that we remember her as one of the worst writers of all time, and I take her as my honorary patroness and inspiration for the section of my blog known as BAD POETRY.
"Speak! Irene! Wife! Woman!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Sometimes the reason for reading the book is more interesting than the book
itself. Nostromo, by Joseph Conrad, is one of those books.
I refer to books like Nostromo as 'Sleepers,' my term for books which are
guaranteed to induce sleep. Other common Sleepers are:
1. the Bible
2. any type of spiritual reading
3. the Rosary.
Granted, the Rosary is not a book, but it is a study or meditation on the
life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord, and some of the events in the
life of the Blessed Mother. Lately, when I have had trouble falling asleep,
even the Rosary has not knocked me out. I have found that praying the 'Ave
Maria' and 'Pater Noster' in Latin do seem to put me to sleep.
I find that a good 'Sleeper' is necessary whenever I am on call at work.
When I get to my call room, often I can't sleep because of several things:
1. an uncomfortable bed, 2. no wife in bed(it's really hard to sleep
without her after 17+ years of marriage), 3. recent ingestion of coffee, or
4. just being a bit too wound up at work. After trying prayer and old
copies of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, I would reach for Conrad's book
Why I Read This Book
It is ironic that the book induces sleep in me when you consider how I first
got interested in reading the book. Back in 1979, a movie called 'Alien'
was released. I first heard about it from some friends of my grandparents
in Florida. I can still recall this retired couple talking about the movie
in 1979. It sounded as if the movie was so disturbing that people were
leaving the theater during the showing. I found it odd that this older
couple even went to it in the first place, let alone sat through it. Be
that as it may, it wasn't until years later that I saw the movie and I agree
that it was rather disturbing to watch. One little bit of information that
stuck in my head was the name of the space ship where most of the action
takes place: Nostromo.
I knew there had to be a reason for the odd name of the ship. Then one day
I came across Nostromo while looking for another book by Conrad - 'Heart of
Darkness,' the inspiration for the movie 'Apocalypse Now.' What the heck.
The book was cheap, and I ended up buying both of them.
When I got around to reading Nostromo, I noticed that it was a potent
soporific. All I needed to read was a paragraph or two and I would be off
to restful sleep. After a few weeks of rereading the same two pages, I
realized I had hit upon the perfect sleeper for the call room at work.
Sleep played an important part in the movie 'Alien' as well, which makes me
wonder if the name of the ship was inspired by the effects on the
screenwriter. In the movie, the main purpose of the ship is to transport
ore from one place to another, while the crew is hibernating Consider the
opening scene, where our ill-fated crew of the Nostromo is seen emerging
from suspended animation. For the remainder of the movie, the crew of
Nostromo are bent on killing the alien and getting back to sleep. The movie
even ends with the lone survivor settling in for a nice long nap. Sleep is
good, and the motto of the movie should have been 'In Space No One Can hear
Nostromo takes place in a fictitious Central or South American country
called Costaguana. It is located on the West, or Pacific Coast. The port
city, Sulaco, is near the San Tome silver mine. During a rebellion, the
mine owner puts a shipload of silver under the care of one Gian' Battista,
better known as Nostromo. The plan was for Nostromo to hide the ore until
the troubles died down in Costaguana. The silver disappears, and Nostromo
comes back with a story that it was lost at sea. What really happened is
that he secreted it in a place where no one else could find it. He realizes
after a while that the load of silver is not worth the financial stability
as it changes him:
"A transgression, a crime, entering a man's existence, eats it up like a
malignant growth, consumes it like a fever. Nostromo had lost his peace; the
genuineness of all his qualities was destroyed. He felt it himself, and
often cursed the silver of San Tome. His courage, his magnificence, his
leisure, his work, everything was as before, only everything was a sham. But
the treasure was real. He clung to it with a more tenacious, mental grip.
But he hated the feel of the ingots. Sometimes, after putting away a couple
of them in his cabin—the fruit of a secret night expedition to the Great
Isabel—he would look fixedly at his fingers, as if surprised they had left
no stain on his skin."
While I used the book more as a sedative than as a reading exercise, there
are some redeeming qualities in this book. The change of Nostromo's
character after he adds 'silver thief' to his resume is a great study in how
evil affects the 'totality' of man. Nostromo can be considered a metaphor
for the soul, where sin corrupts all of the many aspects of a good man, and
results in his ultimate ruin and death. Even at the point of death, the
sins of Nostromo tarnish his last moments of life.
Seriously, this book was hard to read and keep my attention. I went so far
as to record the first time something exciting happened – page 260. Conrad
spends a lot of time describing things, places, and people in rather
beautiful language. It is remarkable to think that English was not his
I recommend this as a book with some reservations - for language which is
offensive to various ethnic groups.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The Hourglass of Life
At birth, time is eternity. We have, it seems all the time in the world. At first that is fine, but as we grow up we get restless with life and want to be more occupied; more entertained. We go from children playing outside where there is no end to the fun, to children who want more than whatever their limited universe can grant them. Time is still massive, infinite, but is not filled up with things to do. This briefly describes the first half of the hourglass of life.
We are bored.
As we grow up, our responsibilities grow with us, until there are too many things for us to do in the alloted time - we literally do not have enough time in a day to do what has to be done.
I recall telling someone that if only I could survive without sleep....
This is the most intense part of our lives, where we find ourselves having to prioritize our time, and some things are pushed aside. For however many years this continues, we are constantly putting people, things, work etc., in some order that allows us to take care of the things we hold dearest. This is the narrow part of the hourglass. We are not bored; we yearn for boredom.
At some point, the pressure lets up. Either we grow up and realize that certain things are just not worth it, or that other things we have neglected are more important than, say, a nice car. Or we find ourselves superseded by the younger people at work; young guns with more energy and motivation than we have. They remind us of ourselves. Suddenly things we still want to do are taken away from us.
The narrowing is now widening.
As time marches on, the hourglass continues to widen, and if we live to be a ripe old age, even more things, such as our leisure time, become harder to complete. Soon time has expanded to eternity again, and we have all the time in the world to just sit and 'be.'
At some point we die, and experience the real eternity - hopefully in Heaven.
I write this as I remember an elderly woman - her name is Mary - who recently died. She was a widow, and we only saw her at church. Whenever we were there, she was there as well. She drove herself to Mass, and made time for Holy Hours every week.
It appears that she got it right, in the sense that her final days were devoted to prayer, the Sacraments, and the Eucharist. That expansive period of time before death is a great opportunity for all of us to spend time in prayer and works of mercy. For some of us, that time before death is a long way away, but for others, it is closer than we think.
What an upbeat meditation!
But it is a good thing to meditate on our final day or days on earth. It is also good to smile, and meditate on good Italian food:
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan, by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
Anything with Fr. Hardon's name on it is worth looking at, and this was a
Christmas gift several years ago. Sadly, it languished on the shelves for
many of those years until recently, shortly after I reviewed Elizabeth
Kantor's book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American
Literature. In that book, Dr. Kantor argues that English and American
literature is misrepresented in most universities. In the process of
developing her thesis, she introduces the reader to many of the classic
authors, with each chapter accompanied by a list of recommended authors and
works. I liked that book so much that I started thinking that there should
be a Catholic version of Kantor's book.
I should qualify that. I think there should be a list of Catholic authors
whose works demonstrate the best of literature and the Faith.
Thankfully, Fr. Hardon has saved me the trouble of doing this on my own by
compiling a list of recommended readings from Catholic sources.
Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan is divided into writings from various time
periods, such as The Age of Persecution, The Patristic Age, Medieval
Civilization, The Catholic Reformation, and finally the Modern Age. Each
author has a one to two page writeup, consisting of a brief biography,
followed by discussion of what Fr. Hardon argues is the best work of that
author. In some instances, he quotes from the author to give one a 'flavor'
of his writings. With more than 100 authors discussed, one could easily
find something that appeals to one's taste.
Here is an example from The Roman Catechism, where Fr. Hardon quotes a
report explaining the need for the catechism which was released after the
Council of Trent(1542?):
"There are few authentic teachers. As a result the children are growing up
without instruction and without formation, either by their parents or their
teachers, in the Christian way of life, which they began to have and to know
whey they were baptized."
This quote sounds as if could have been written today.
I recommend this book as a guide to reading the best of Catholic literature,
just as I think Dr. Kantor's book is a good source for reading the best of
literature in general. One thing that is striking is how often Catholic
ideas are woven into so many stories, poems, and essays. While the world
wants to relegate the it to the background, the Catholic Church still
provides a source of inspiration for literature and the arts.
I took the title of this blog entry from a common restaurant menu setup,
where one selects an entrée from several different lists. One could use Fr.
Hardon's and Dr. Kantor's books to develop not only a greater enjoyment of
literature, but also a greater appreciation of the contributions of Catholic
authors to the written word.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Years ago, when I was a Noisykid, Mass on Mother's Day started with the Priest commanding all of us to 'turn to the person next to you, and wish them a Happy Mother's Day.'
I turned to my older brother, the one who is now a priest, and said, "Happy Mother's Day, you mother!"
It is imprudent to suggest actions to a teenager.
Below are the flowers that the Noisykids got for their mother. The Noisykids are very happy for credit cards and the internet which made ordering flowers a breeze.
Mom also got a Cookie Bouquet from the children. They picked 13 flowers for a reason. Four pink cookies represent the four daughters she has given to me. The eight blue cookies represent the eight sons she has given to me as well. The yellow flower, although it has the name 'Mom' on it, actually represents our little Yellow Rose of Texas, Anastasia, whom we lost in 1999. She is our little Rose of San Antone.
Flowers and cookies do not begin to touch the amount of sacrifice and love that my wife gives to me and to my children. Truly I am blessed with a wonderful woman and a great mother for my children. I am also blessed with a wonderful Momofdadwithnoisykids!
Motherhood Quote from Erma Bombeck:
"overtime" when the angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling
around this one."
And the Lord said, "Have you read the specs on this order? She has to becompletely washable, but not plastic; Have 180 moveable parts... all replaceable; Run on black coffee and leftovers; Have a lap that disappears when she stands up; A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; And six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands... no way."
"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord. "It's the
three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."
"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks,
"What are you kids doing in there?" when she already knows. Another here in
the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know,
and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs
up and say, "I understand and I Love You" without so much as uttering aword."
"Lord", said the angel, toughing His sleeve gently, "Come to bed. Tomorrow..."
"I can't," said the Lord, "I'm so close to creating something so close to
myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick... can feed a
family of six on one pound of hamburger... and can get a nine-year-old to
stand under a shower."
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she
"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this mother
can do or endure."
"Can it think?"
"Not only think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. "There's a
leak," she pronounced. "I told You. You were trying to put too much into
"It's not a leak," said the Lord, "it's a tear."
"What's it for?"
"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride."
"You are a genius," said the angel.
The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there."
Another Story from Dinner Tonight:
To those who want to know about the Noisykids, here goes. My 21-month old daughter was sitting in her high chair to my right, and after eating all that she wanted of her dinner, she followed standard procedure and dumped the leftovers on her tray.
No big deal.
A minute later one of the other girls whispered to me to look at the baby. She was removing all the food from her tray and was stuffing it down the front of her dress.
Suggested Wacky Mass Song:
I recommended this opening song to our Pastor, because he insists on us singing all the verses of the entrance hymn. This makes sense, when you consider that he may have 20 altar boys, and he incenses the altar before beginning the prayers. I doubt he will take me up on it, but it is worth trying.
The organist passes out at the end.
I found this because the Noisykids wanted a keyboard to practice piano on, and I insisted that it be capable of playing Iron Butterfly's 17-minute long song "In-a-gadda-da-vida." I did a quick search of Youtube and found this video first.
This song was released the same year Wifeofdadwithnoisykids was born - 1968!
I shall start by adding this man to the list.
Please feel free to add any names of seminarians whom we can add to our intentions. I shall list the names on the side bar.
I HAVE OPENED THIS UP TO ALL RELIGIOUS, SINCE I PLAN ON CONTINUING TO PRAY FOR THESE SEMINARIANS AFTER THEIR ORDINATIONS.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Anyway, I am restarting the practice of quizzing the children on their home
schooling subjects at the dinner table.
Yesterday, I asked one of the children who is reading The Three Musketeers,
by Alexander Dumas, about the book:
"What are the names of the main characters?"
"I don't know."
"I'm not done reading it yet."
Thursday, May 10, 2007
in the city Logrono, Spain
a man saw steps made by bare feet
of a friar walking the lane.
The man knew God was calling him
to respond to Infinite Love
but smelly frozen friar feet
were used to give the final shove.
The man went on to work for God
to preach and teach, be canonized
but feet and friar have faded
they’d never more be recognized
I look down at my own two feet
and wonder if they’re made to call
the heart of one who seeks the Lord
to do His will and serve us all
But I can’t see my feet because
they are shod in finest leather
they live in pampered luxury
hiding from inclement weather
Off go my old Justin ropers
followed by my socks with gold toes
perhaps my feet while they take the air
will catch a saint – God only knows
How about Pelican Swallowing Pigeon?
Many thanks to the Roman Sacristan! (I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it didn't even matter.)
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
Nathaniel Philbrick - HERE is his website page
Imagine that you are in the Pacific Ocean, along the Equator, thousands of miles from anywhere, rowing along in a longboat, hoping to harpoon a whale. Your ship is more than a mile behind you:
Just at that moment, two miles to leeward, Obed Hendricks, Pollard’s boatsteerer, casually glanced over his shoulder. He couldn’t believe what he saw. From that distance it looked as if the Essex had been hit by a sudden squall, the sails flying in all directions as the ship fell onto her beam-ends.
“Look, look,” he cried, “what ails the ship? She is upsetting!”
But when the men turned to look, there was nothing to see. The Essex had vanished below the horizon.
- from page 84
I first heard about the story of the Essex a few years ago, while listening to the radio. A DJ mentioned that it was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s book Moby Dick.
Nathaniel Philbrick published In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex in 2000. This book is the result of what must have taken years of research. Mr. Philbrick avoids footnotes in the text or at the bottom of the page by including references for each chapter in the ‘Notes’ and ‘Bibliography’ in the back of the book. Those who wish to read more on this disaster should look there.
In August, 1819, The Essex set sail from Nantucket to hunt whales for their blubber, or fat, which was used as fuel. The whaling industry had made Nantucket the main port for ships in the trade, even though the Pacific Ocean was the best place to catch whales. In November, 1820, the ship was attacked and sunk by a large male sperm whale. With only the three whaleboats and very little provisions, the 20 men of the Essex set sail for South America, approximately 3,000 miles to the East. What happens over the next three months that it took to reach safety is what makes up the most interesting part of the story.
Mr. Philbrick does not just relate the events of the tragedy, as I will do in this limerick:
There once were whalers from Nantucket,
Who went off to sea in a bucket,
While the pacific they roved
A whale their ship stoved
And so few returned to Nantucket.
Mr. Philbrick discusses not only the evenets surrounding the sinking of the Essex, but also the history of the island which was, at the time of this story, the largest center for whaling in the United States. He explains how the island became what it was; namely, a stronghold for both the whaling industry and for the Quaker religion. He delves into the social behavior of a society where most of the menfolk are gone for years at a time, and the where women were essentially free to run their houses the way they wished. Mr. Philbrick also describes the lives of the sperm whales which were the source of so much wealth in Nantucket. What makes this book such a delight to read is that the author pulls so much out of his research, such as the contention that the social structure of the people of Nantucket was not much different from that of the sperm whales that they hunted. In both whale and whaler, the women raised the children while the males roamed the sea.
In the Heart of the Sea relates both good and bad aspects of the whaling industry, from the profit-driven owners who cut corners on expenses when outfitting the Essex, to the men who had the courage to sail for land after watching their ship sink. It described the errors in judgement which cost so many lives, and the sequence of events which made the men resort to cannibalism. All of these issues are explored in a writing style which made it hard for me to stop reading this book.
Thoughts about Terri Schiavo
In his book published in 2000, Mr. Philbrick describes the death of some of the crew members by starvation and dehydration. He states:
“Modern-day proponents of euthanasia have long endorsed the combined effects of starvation and dehydration as a painless and dignified way for a terminally ill patient to die. In the final stages, hunger pangs cease, as does the sensation of thirst. The patient slips into unconsciousness as the deterioration of his internal organs results in a peaceful death.”(page 163)
In the notes section of the book, Mr. Philbrick directs the reader to a website as a reference for this allegation. Unfortunately, I could not find this source at that website.
While I agree with part of the statement above, it is not totally correct. As the various organs(such as the liver and kidneys) shut down, the level of various toxins cleared by these two organs will render a person unconscious, bringing on a peaceful death. The problem is that the time it takes for a patient’s body to shut down can be quite a long time. Mr. Philbrick’s own book demonstrates that man can take a lot of punishment before death becomes a peaceful process. Each man had to deal with hunger, thirst, sores, and sunburn as well as mental and spiritual suffering.
I thought about Terri Schiavo while reading this book. Terri Schiavo, as I am sure you know, died in 2005 after removal of a feeding tube. This order was requested by her husband, against the wishes of her parents and siblings. Terri Schiavo starved to death. What makes her case even worse than that of the Essex crew members is that she died surrounded by the personnel and supplies which could have kept her alive.
I recommend this book as an excellent biographical sketch of our country’s history. There are some issues in the book, one of them being the cannibalism they resort to, that make it recommended for adult readers only.
....dadwithnoisykids was commissioned an officer in the United States Air
Force. Second Lieutenant Future dadwithnoisykids, USAF MSC, went on to
have an uneventful 9 years of reserve and 4 years of active duty service
before separating from the Air Force. It was an amicable separation, with
me getting the freedom to live and practice wherever I choose, and the Air
Force got to keep all its airplanes. I did win visitation rights to see
aircraft that are part of a static display at any museum. Security guards
at air shows have been instructed to shoot to kill if I am spotted near
their aircraft, though.
73 Years Ago Today...
....Father of dadwithnoisykids was born. We celebrate this day by praying
for him and for his intentions. As I grow older, or my children continue
to age me, I find myself repeating some of my father's expressions - all
of them clean - as I deal with things my children have done. In so many
ways whatever good there is in me is from God(of course) and my father and
mother. The failings are certainly all my own.
....we entered a new phase in home school driver education. From now on,
the drivier-in-training is responsible for navigation as well as driving.
One of the joys of living under these conditions is the 'missed turn' and
whatever comes with it. Last night we took a midnight tour of the Dallas
freeways courtesy of the student passing another car instead of exiting.
It is all good, since it meant more time in the driver seat and more time
in heavy highway traffic.
Monday, May 07, 2007
After a quiet call night, I hit the homestead running. I had to cut some grass, transplant some peppers, including the ever-popular POBLANO PEPPER, and work on the fence for the dog run. Below is my fence-tightening device anchored to one of the lawn tractors(JD LX188).
The fence tool kit here serves to tighten the barbed wire originating at the tractor and inserting on the fence puller. I put a pair of fence pliers in the picture just for fun. I love a tool that combines pliers and a hammer.
It is rather warm today. Tonight some of us will go to Mass and the Rosary procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Wishing you all a happy and peaceful day.
Friday, May 04, 2007
In 2001, when my oldest child was just 11 years old, I was hit with a very scary thought: someday, most of my children will marry. This came to me while I was considering a job in a city. The job, by the way, was professionally my dream come true. I would realize all my professional goals in a practice that covered all the surgical specialties that I wanted to practice with. I couldn’t ask for a better position. We all went to the city to have a look around.
During the weekend, there was still this nagging thought which started out as just a whisper, but by the end of the weekend had grown to the level of a thunderclap in my mind. My children will one day reach the age where their vocation will require them to start looking around for a potential mate. As their father, trying to look at the city through the eyes of young men and women, I was not impressed with the likelihood of finding a potential mate for my children. For this reason, as well as for other reasons, I took a job elsewhere.
Throughout the whole weekend, Wifeofdadwithnoisykids kept her opinion to herself, even cheerfully looking at houses while silently praying that I would not take the job. I would say she earned the $140,000 in just that weekend.
Now jump forward to 2007, immediately after I met one of the oddest couples I have ever seen. What made the couple so strange was that the man did not seem to have any redeeming quality that would make him attractive. Granted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in this case something just didn’t make sense. As a father of four girls, I wondered what I would do if one of my precious little girls showed up with a guy like this, saying ‘Daddy, meet Arlo, the man of my dreams!’
I was wondering aloud ‘Why DO women get married,’ and got a rather depressing answer from some of my woman colleagues. “Loneliness makes one do imprudent things,” was the general response from a couple of women. That was sad to hear. It reminded me of a previous post, a quote from St. Anthony of Padua, which states that one must be deeply in love with God before looking to love another:
“Discovering that only in me is your satisfaction to be found, Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you. You will never be united to another until you are united with me.”
We try to instill this in our children. We want them to know the love of God is far more precious than the love of a man or woman. We want them to know that the single life or the religious life is not a self-imposed exile into solitude. For those called to the married life, we want them to set their standards high when choosing a mate. If they see the Mary and Joseph as their ideal married couple, they will look for potential mates who demonstrate the same desirable virtues. For our part, my wife and I will hopefully never have to see our children marry someone whom we know will be nothing but trouble – or join a religious order which is not faithful to the Pope and the Magesterium.
So then why do women get married? Certainly not for the money. Some women married out of loneliness, as mentioned above. The woman in this old blog posting married with the expectation of living a glamorous life as a doctor’s wife.
Hopefully women(and men) marry after falling in love with God, giving themselves entirely to Him. Marriage becomes an addition to their love for God, and is a source of drawing the spouse, children, friends, and anyone else closer to God. For those blessed with such a woman as their wife - and I consider myself one blessed with such a woman - there is no amount of money that could pay for having such a stay-at-home Mom.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
at home. North Texas sustained some really bad storms last night, and the
wireless tower is out.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I have been nominated for several bloogers choice awards.
I DO NOT WANT YOU TO GO AND VOTE FOR ME.
There are enough great blogs that are in the running against one atheist
and some other folks. Vote for them. I am selflessly taking a 'hit' here
for the team.
But I can't help but brag about the number of categories I have been
nominated for....here is a list:
Best Religious Blog
Best Humorous Blog
Best Blog with Stuffed Animals in the Avatar
Best Blog featuring interspecies harrassment
Best Blog with pictures of cats
Best Blog with a picture of an Australian Shepherd on it
Best Blog with 'Oop Eek Ork Ah Ah' featured in a blog entry
Best Blog Unintentionally Started by its Founder
Best Blog for people who like Christmas related videos
Best Blog from Texas read by people in England
Best Blog for those who have a 'thing' for Beanie Babies
Best Blog with Bad Poetry
Best Vatican Conspiracy Blog
Best Blog with a cornbread recipe on it.
I suspect I will win most of these awards.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."