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Showing posts from October, 2019

A Necessary Book Reviewed: Defending BOYHOOD

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First, a word of context. Dr. Anthony Esolen could write a cookbook, and I would read it with admiration - for the splendour of his words far surpasses anything our society could, or want to, produce. I imagine it would read, “Complement your sustenance with one trifle of salt, for “We have some salt of our youth in us,” sayeth Shakespeare, and so too should your meatloaf…” Something like that. Now, on to the book review.

What happens when the best writer in the English language alive today writes a book on a topic I personally have a deep-seated interest in? The result is a book so astute, masterful, and essential, I have little hope of adequately sharing its impression on me. I speak of Dr. Anthony Esolen’sDefending BOYHOOD – How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World (TAN Publishing).

I have written before on my experiences dealing with boyhood’s clash with the world, particularly in the public school setting. Esolen’s book dissects thi…

Top Children Songs of All Time - Right Here

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On the lighter side, I present to you... my top five favourite children's songs. I am not talking about old time classics like Twinkle Twinkle, but the type of children's music that you would haul out the old record player to listen to. Think Raffi, Fred Penner, and the like. You will notice that there is no Duck Song, or Baby Shark. I'm talking real music. Here we go:


5) Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul, and Mary

*Sniff* Those lyrics. I'm not crying. You're crying.

"But, but... it's about DRUUUUGS!!" you say?

No, it's not. Get your mind out of the gutter and stop thinking about drugs. Druggie.



4) Hey Dum Diddley Dum - Performed by Sharon, Lois, and Bram

Fun. Catchy. And to be honest, I needed to have Sharon, Lois, and Bram on the list at least once. 



3) The Cat Came Back - Fred Penner

I could put Fred Penner songs for all five if need be. Sandwiches. Collections. So many others. But, The Cat Came Back is simply legendary.



2) Spaghetti  - Joe Wise

Huh? T…

On Saints, Sinners, and Stealing Statues

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Mark Twain popularized the aphorism that truth is stranger than fiction, a verifiable fact when considering the lives of the saints. The stories of the saints are as eccentric as they are venerable.

Take, for example, St. Symeon the Stylite. Unable to gain enough prayer time due to a following of devotees (he sounds like me with my children), he spent 47 years living atop a pillar - the last pillar being over 50 feet high. St. Denis, after being decapitated, picked up his head in his hands and walked six miles, all the while preaching a sermon on repentance. To the chagrin of the altar boy present, St. Lawrence of Brindisi would take upwards of sixteen hours to say a Mass. St. Philip Neri, in the pursuit of humility, once shaved only half of his beard. And perhaps my favorite story of all, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows walked unarmed in the midst of twenty Garibaldi Red Shirt soldiers who had kidnapped a young woman. Gabriel swiped a couple of pistols from the nearby soldiers, sh…

Un-Chartered Territory for Husbands

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WARNING: The following post is definitly not for everyone




There are two real problems that I see with Natural Family Planning, and particularly the Billings Method.
The first is quite simple. A couple spends all of their time charting about the wife. For instance, every night as I am drifting off into dreamland my wife has to abruptly wake me up and tell me to get the chart. I then have to reach way down to find the chart (our bed is up high) and pass it to her, along with a certain coloured sticker, before I can go back to sleep. From a guy's perspective this is what NFP is all about. "Get the chart." "Pass me this sticker." "This is who I am." Notice that it's always about her and her body. And what’s with the stickers? It’s like teaching kindergarten, really: “Oh look at you! Here’s a sticker!”

The second problem has to do with the stickers themselves. You see, the NFP booklets contain a variety of stickers that mean different things. There are ye…

All for One Sunday Mass?

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“I can’t do this Sam.”

I feebly utter this line to my wife every time we return from a Latin Mass trip to Saskatoon. And no, her name isn’t Sam, but Becca. That would be weird having a spouse named Sam.

As I am sure you remember, Frodo spoke this line first to Samwise Gamgee while he carried the ring towards Mordor. When I repeat these words to my wife, somehow I picture her responding with an inspirational, “I know, it’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are…” Instead I’m given the look of, “stop moping and help get the kids out of the van.”

So yesterday we returned from another trip to Saskatoon. To attend a Latin Mass is a three day process. First, on the Saturday all preparations must be made. Food. Clothes. Vehicle maintenance. Sleep strategy. The second day is the actual trip; more on that later. The third day involves dealing with overtired kids on a Monday. Which is where we're at as I write this.

You see, as responsible parents, we make plans. And then, a…

On Ditching Homeschooling - It's Not What You Think

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It’s perhaps disconcerting to think that, on this little website of mine, by far the most widely read post I have ever written was an April Fools’ Day entry titled: On DitchingHomeschooling. I suppose most people think we, well, have ditched homeschooling.

Let me clarify: although the school I teach at (I am currently on a parental leave) is a block and a half away, we still homeschool our kids. And we will continue to homeschool our kids.

Why?

It is tempting to simply make the excuse: we want a Catholic education for our kids. Of course we do. But I would be teaching catechism to my kids either way. It’s too important to simply pass off teaching the faith by handing it over to a teacher, even a good teacher. My eternal salvation, and that of my kids, can hinge on properly catechizing them. No, simply wanting a Catholic education is not the main reason why we homeschool.

The reason is, in fact, twofold.

1)What is avoided in homeschooling.
What is avoided? Daily eating meals laced with arsen…