Archive for the 'books' Category

The beginning and end and midpoint of times

June 22, 2009

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.

– Hippolyta, I.ii.8-12

Yesterday I finished Infinite Jest, but I think it’ll be awhile before I can form a full opinion of it. Parts of it are brilliantly funny, but it’s a long, long book and even the footnotes have footnotes.  There is no real ‘end’ to speak of, and several things are left unresolved. Wallace’s writing style is infectious. Last night I was drifting in and out of twilight sleep while trying to make sense of the book, and found that I was doing it in his long sentences and characteristic expressions (cf, “the howling fantods”).

I’ll probably be revisiting the book every so often, since it very definitely seems like the sort of book in which you discover (or re-remember) new things at each go-round.

Work is slowing somewhat as we reach the end of this quarter. The technical stuff is pretty much done and the various teams are in closing mode. My job, at this point, is to answer any remaining little questions but mostly to stay out of the way and let the account managers manage accounts. July begins the next quarter for us. The circle of life continues.

We had a very good Father’s Day around here – strawberries and homemade pastry (!) for breakfast, Mass, a long day on the couch reading (see above), burgers on the grill and pie for dessert. We played with the cat, watched fireflies and tried to stay cool.

Our oldest girl is traveling with her grandparents out west to Colorado and Iowa. She seems to be having a good time, but is calling home every other day or so. Make of that what you will. Her brother will be going with the other grandparents out to the Arkansas/Oklahoma/Missouri quadrant next month and is looking forward to that, since most of that time will be at the lake. The others are flitting to and from friends houses and generally having a pretty good time of it all. One of them opines aloud that since we have a dog, a cat, two rats and a handful of fish, the time is ripe for a chinchilla; these wonderings generally go unremarked-upon.

Smallest girl and the cat chase each other around. The baby is starting to eat a bit of cereal, and the dog abides.

The garden is doing quite well. The tomatoes that I thought were dying have actually come back quite strong. I pull them off as they start to blush and we stick ’em in the kitchen window to finish off. The real success story, in terms of pure vitality, are the zucchini plants which have complete taken over their part of the patch and are on the verge of swallowing up the two squash plants. Whatever it is that cucurbits need as regards soil, sun and moisture, we seem to have it.

Most of the sunflower seedlings got eaten by the rabbits, as you may recall. A few managed to survive and one of them is topping out at about six feet tall. It’s got a nice looking bud forming in the middle, and everyone’s looking forward to see it gyrate slowly as it follows the sun.

Speaking of the sun, I got some celestial geekery in on Father’s Day, since it fell on the summer solstice this year. It was plenty bright and hot, and I made the most of my day off by parking it on the couch to read and recover from the prior day’s bike ride and a little niggling head cold that we’re passing back and forth. Right sunset, something along the horizon formed a very nice crepuscular ray pattern in the sky. Whatever it was cast a long shadow in the sky that went right down to the horizon, which was ultimately obscured by trees and houses.  I’ve never noticed it before, so maybe it only happens on the solstice. This would be nifty as can be, and I’ll be looking for it next year if the weather is clear enough.

The quote at the top is from Act 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I dropped it in here because we’re about 2 days from Midsummer and also because we’re in a new moon as I write this, so it makes good lunar sense. Little by minuscule little, the days are getting shorter. They’re not going out quietly, mind you. It’s well nigh 100 here today. But they are starting to diminish, to decrease a little. In a sort of celestial liturgy, the days begin to decrease with the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, who also had to decrease. The days will shorten, and night will fall, and it will keep falling until the next Feast of Nativity, when the rising sun retakes the sky and the daylight wins again. The shadows beneath the trees, moving in slow arcs across the ground, the analemma, solstices and equinoxes, the

…organization of the universe and the force of its elements, the beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons. Cycles of years, positions of the stars, natures of animals, tempers of beasts, powers of the winds and thoughts of men, uses of plants and virtues of roots – such things as are hidden I learned and such as are plain; for Wisdom, the artificer of all, taught me.

These things all play out, for me, in the ever-changing shapes of light and shadow on the ground, the thick green smell of the countryside in its peak and the slow wheeling of the sun, moon and stars. They’re a slow celestial liturgy – majestic and quiet, and but sometimes also silly. Chesterton noted in Orthodoxy that joyous repetition is the delight of a child’s game. The thing repeated (“Do it again!”) is done for the sheer happiness of it, whether it’s making a funny horse noise to amuse a three-year-old or creating thousands of little daisies on a roadside. He may have made the mountains and set limits for the ends of the sea, but He also seems to be quite fond of thistles and goldfinches, at least around here.

A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

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Gardening update. Moby Dick. A tiny update on the children. New bike.

May 19, 2009

Welp. Our tomato crop is blighted or something. Maybe they got too much rain, or the aphids did more damage than I thought. In any event, half of them are now composting. The others look like they’re hanging on for now, but we put together 3 new tomato plants in deck containers as a hedge (ha, ha) against a total in-the-ground loss. Of the two peppers, one looks pretty good. The other looks a little anemic. The yellow squash is already blooming and setting little 2″ baby squashes. The zukes have seriously bushed out, but no blooms as yet.

To our herb plantation, I added lavender and mint. The mint is in a container, that it might not take over the yard, which it will if given half a chance. The kids got used to having a patch of it near the deck of our old house, and I’d been looking for it off-and-on for a few weeks. Lowes finally had some, so I brought it home. We’re drying a few of these in the kitchen to see how that goes: thyme, rosemary and oregano. They smell pretty good at any rate.

The compost heap seems to be slowing down a litte, which is good. I think the brown and green ratio is getting a little more manageable. The whole thing has certainly shrunk down considerably, which is a good sign. It doesn’t reek (as much) either, which is another good sign.

Over last weekend, we stopped by a local nursery and went all moon-eyed over some of their stock. Rather than just plant stuff pell-mell thoughout the yard, we’ve asked one of their guys to come over and give us a little help with some planning. There are things that we’d love to have (gardenias, for one), and I’ve read some mixed reviews on them for our zone. Ditto for azaleas. Pachysandra, my favorite evergreen groundcover needs more shade than I think we can offer it,  E. wants a garden entirely of the color blue, and so on, and so on, in my best Yul Brynner voice: et CETera, et CETera, et CETera.

What I hope to get out of this little visit is: plant this, not that. That will die here. The fee is pretty modest, and it’s easily worth it so that we don’t torment any more hibiscus bushes.

I’ve put Moby Dick aside for a bit to re-read King Lear. Someone on a message board I frequent dropped a reference to Lear the other day and I was reminded of how much I’d forgotten about it.

The constant asides from Melville on the minutiae of the whaling industry were interesting at first, but OK, yeah, I get it, please get back to the action already. I really don’t want another detailed exploration of The Natural History Of  Cetaceans From Pliny To The Present Day.

Am I missing some sort of point? Probably. I’m about halfway through and loathe to shelf it after this long.We wound up our scouting year, our oldest girl swept her gymnastics meet, two of the children are still off on adventure and the the babies abide. Work continues apace.

I’m being fitted for a new road bike – a Specialized Allez –  tomorrow after work and can hardly wait. I took it on a test spin over the weekend and was gobstruck by it’s relative lightness compared to the hybrid. The change in posture will take some getting used to, as will the shifters. But tomorrow can’t come soon enough!

May

May 1, 2009

Then came faire May, the fayrest mayd on ground,
Deckt all with dainties of her seasons pryde,
And throwing flowres out of her lap around:
Vpon two brethrens shoulders she did ride,
The twinnes of Leda; which on eyther side
Supported her like to their soueraine Queene.
Lord! how all creatures laught, when her they spide,
And leapt and daunc’t as they had rauisht beene!
And Cupid selfe about her fluttred all in greene.

Well.

It has been quite awhile. Rather than attempt to recap the last nearly-a-year, I’m going to borrow a page from the television script writers and just pick up in media res. Delicious hints will be dropped and just when you think all will be resolved, wham, there’s the season cliff-hanger. If we’re living right, we’ll get picked up again for another run. If not, look for the extras in the DVD release.

Actually, that would be a bit unfair, so here’s a recap: we are now nine hobbits, I’m still working in a semi-sales-and-engineering capacity, we’re still in the middle of Tennessee (had I not mentioned that before?), and were close enough to the tornado to see it drop down out of the cloud and start bearing down on our house. It missed us by about a quarter of mile to the north, but our yard was littered with debris from other people’s houses which were not quite as lucky. All told, 800 homes were affected (or destroyed). The loss of life was two – a mother and her infant. I drive by the place where their house used to be just about every day. All this on Good Friday, no less. I had resolved to stay home and work in the yard, doing menial (but meditative) work like weed-pulling.

But here we are. There are tomatoes, squash, peppers, zucchini and herbs in the ground. Off to one side, the sunflowers are starting to come up. If we can keep the rabbits (and they are Legion) away for awhile, we might have some vegetables. If not, we’ll have some rabbit. Still homeschooling, though not without bumps here and there. Still doing stuff with the Scouts. Still keepin’ on. Pulling weeds. Patchin’ drywall. Et cetera.

by stevecadman

by stevecadman

So without further ado, a random thought or two.

I really need to pick up a reference book on Greco-Roman mythology. There are times, when I absolutely need to know the names of the Fates and the computer is just too much of a hassle. Someone will drop a reference in a poem, or I’ll half-remember their names while waking from a dream and it’ll drive me batty for awhile. How nice to be able to haul a book down and look them up. They are, by the way, Clothos, Lachesis and Atropos. One spins the thread of your life, the second measures it, and the third cuts it at your death.  Tidy! They are named in Hesiod’s Theogeny, which is where I had to look them up for the lack of a dictionary. Is it better just to go the sources? Probably. It would be useful to see the Greek myths cross referenced with the Roman versions. Because YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW THESE THINGS SOMETIMES.

In between appointments today, I perused the wikipedia entries on May Day (since it’s tomorrow), which led me to The Green Man, and then to Jack In The Green, which had me thinking about Frazer again, which made me thankful to be Catholic. The drive home was full of green vistas. I picked up some rat food on the way home (we added a pair of pet rats to our tribe last December) and the second part of Pancho’s birthday gift. I hope he doesn’t…well, you know.

Anyway, happy Roodmas.

Home again, home again.

July 27, 2008

Just got back into town after a week in Seattle, where I was holed up in a training root for 4 days learning a little more about the products that I’m supposed to be selling. Or assisting in selling – there’s supposed to be a strict separation of Engineering and Sales, though in practice, that wall is little more than a curb. In any case, I thought I knew the stuff pretty well but came away with a whole new bag of tricks and quite a few questions answered. I go back in a few weeks for another session, then a one-day deal in NY some time in September to round things out.

I’m not crazy about the cross-country travel, nor about being away from home for a week at a stretch. The choice in this case was sort of mine – as soon as I got the green light to sign up for training, I max’ed my schedule out just in case someone changed their mind down the road.

In any event, it was nice to re-visit Seattle. I haven’t been in years, though I have some cousins and such that we used to visit there every-so-often when my brothers and I were small. The waterfront area is nicer than I remember, and I was pleased to see that for all of the other development going on, institutions like Ivar’s and Ye Olde Curiosity Shop are still going strong. And, please – daytime temps in the mid-60s? During July? I actually saw some ads on TV with “Beat the heat with our summer savings” and wanted to laugh. Then I was reminded that few homes out there have central AC, so an 80 degree day is sort of a bummer. Oh well. It’s all relative, I guess.

In other news, our smallest boy hurt his arm on the trampoline on the night before I left town. Turns out that he has a small break and will need to have it re-set early Tuesday morning, for which they will need to put him under. The temporary splint and bandage don’t seem to have slowed him down at all, though he’s a bit peeved at missing out on the pool for now. The new cast, we are assured, will be 100% waterproof and safe for use in the pool and tub. Who knew? In any case, little guys heal fast and he should be right as rain in about 3 more weeks. Everyone else is just groovy.

I picked up The Once and Future King for in-flight reading and passing the evenings while away. I read it years ago but only remembered bits and pieces of it as I was in the midst of the Great High School Breakup period. I’m in the last section now and enjoying it, though maybe not as much as Pyle’s versions. Soon as I wrap it up, it’ll be back to Great Expectations.

Back, sort of.

June 18, 2008

Back from vacation. E and the kids are still in Atlanta visiting folks, which means I’m flying solo here at home for the week. It’s just as well – we’re at the end of our quarter and things are getting a little…testy. We had a great time on the trip: pool time, hanging around, the beach, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Took in a few movies, too: Iron Man, The Hulk and Indy 4. A good time was had by all.

Bookwise, I read Bernard Corwell’s Sharpe’s Tiger (which was really good) and started Desolation Island, which is great so far. My dad loaned me Ken Follet’s World Without End, and I just ordered a copy of Jessie Weston’s From Ritual to Romance from Amazon. I was spurred to order it after watching Apocalypse Now Redux last night. Three-hours-plus of Coppola’s Vietnam nightmare. I’m glad I saw it – the original cut has been a favorite of mine for years – but probably will not be revisiting it any time soon. Towards the end, From Ritual to Romance is seen on Kurtz’s desk, alongside Frazer’s The Golden Bough. I’ve read Frazer and occasionally go back to it, just for the literary ya-yas. As to it’s place in anthropology, I’m not qualified to judge. It’s impact on literature in general (and Eliot in particular) makes it worth a visit.

On deck: Das Boot and a few more ultra-quiet evenings before everyone returns to the mother ship.

Friday

June 6, 2008

…and the end of another busy week. At some point I may cease to point that out; all my weeks are busy these days. I was all over town like fertilizer this week, which included a trip to Memphis to do some client support during their maintenance window which, sadly, was from midnight to 5 AM. I rolled back to the hotel, went back to the room and passed out for a few hours. Got up, hit the road in time to join a 10AM conference call, drive for a few more hours and join up with my account manager, change into a company shirt and visit yet another client. I begged off the trip to Birmingham this morning, joining by phone instead.

This is basically how all of my weeks go. Client visits, conference calls, livemeetings and web-xes, demos, evaluations and occasional schmoozing. I wake up and it’s Monday. I wake up again and it’s Friday. It’s not a bad deal at all. I also have a bunch of training lined up for late July and August. It might be a good idea to know something about the products for which I consult.

I picked up a couple of books for vacation reading: Desolation Island by Patrick O’Brian (book 5 of the Aubrey-Maturin novels) and Sharpe’s Tiger, the first book in the Richard Sharpe series, which came highly recommended by a customer. E is still reading Mansfield Park. Netflix brought us BSG and Meet the Fockers. I think V for Vendetta is up next.

Other things going on: we bought a big ol’ pool for the backyard from Wally World. It’s basically I giant bag with an inflatable collar. You fill the collar with air, the bag with water and you’re Ready To Swim in 30 Minutes! Well, not quite. It took about 12 hours to fill the thing up and that water was darn cold for a day or two. This thing even came with a pump/filter/skimmer system and we have to regularly treat the water lest it become sort of…you know…funky with microbes, algae and whatnot. Among other things, it’s given us a supreme bit of leverage over the children. Not finished helping clean up? Still not quite done with school? Well, if you want to go swimming later…This should last us until fall, with any luck. Still riding my bike in the mornings, if I can. I’ve gone up to a 20 mile loop, which I can knock out in just under 2 hours. If my schedule permits it, I try to do this first thing in the morning. If time is tight, I shave off a few miles or just use the stationary upstairs. Today would have been my day to do it, but I had some early morning calls and still felt like doo-doo from yesterday’s 24-hour work/driving session.

That’s about it, I think. Kids are just about done with school for this year, the grass is getting tall and it’s getting hotter every day ’round these parts. But the fireflies have come out, we’ve grilled a couple of times, and Bluebell spotted a hummingbird the other day near the butterfly bush. There’s still some homemade peach ice cream in the freezer and the frogs are out at night. A rabbit has taken up residence in the back yard and doesn’t seem to mind the children a bit. He (she?) galumphs around the yard generally ignoring them unless they get within 10 feet of him. In the hottest part of the day, he sometimes stretches out in the shade under the trampoline. He’s pretty cool, actually. Like a pet you don’t have to feed, or even name.

So summer seems to have  landed, and not a moment too soon if you ask me.

Breaking The Galilean Spell

April 23, 2008

Stuart Kauffman writes about the shortcomings and ultimate failure of reductionism in science.

If no natural law suffices to describe the evolution of the biosphere, of technological evolution, of human history, what replaces it? In its place is a wondrous radical creativity without a supernatural Creator. Look out your window at the life teeming about you. All that has been going on is that the sun has been shining on the earth for some 5 billion years. Life is about 3.8 billion years old. The vast tangled bank of life, as Darwin phrased it, arose all on its own. This web of life, the most complex system we know of in the universe, breaks no law of physics, yet is partially lawless, ceaselessly creative. So, too, are human history and human lives. This creativity is stunning, awesome, and worthy of reverence. One view of God is that God is our chosen name for the ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, biosphere, and human cultures.

Because of this ceaseless creativity, we typically do not and cannot know what will happen. We live our lives forward, as Kierkegaard said. We live as if we knew, as Nietzsche said. We live our lives forward into mystery, and do so with faith and courage, for that is the mandate of life itself.

[…]

Across our globe, about half of us believe in a Creator God. Some billions of us believe in an Abrahamic supernatural God, and some in the ancient Hindu gods. Wisdom traditions such as Buddhism often have no gods. About a billion of us are secular but bereft of our spirituality and reduced to being materialist consumers in a secular society. If we the secular hold to anything it is to “humanism.” But humanism, in a narrow sense, is too thin to nourish us as human agents in the vast universe we partially cocreate. I believe we need a domain for our lives as wide as reality. If half of us believe in a supernatural God, science will not disprove that belief.

We need a place for our spirituality, and a Creator God is one such place. I hold that it is we who have invented God, to serve as our most powerful symbol. It is our choice how wisely to use our own symbol to orient our lives and our civilizations. I believe we can reinvent the sacred. We can invent a global ethic, in a shared space, safe to all of us, with one view of God as the natural creativity in the universe.

via aldaily.com

Catholics – cf. CCC, 31-35. This is interesting writing. As a Christian, of course, I also believe that it’s seriously deficient, but interesting nevertheless. A god of strictly vegetative spirit is no god at all, but rather instead a convenient shorthand. A spirituality centered on it worships the painting at the expense of the artist. Prof. Kauffman gets a little close to Anselm’s ontological proof, but this is still a long way from the idea of Emmanuel, God-with-us. Still, he is to be commended for continuing to seek and knock. The section at the end about the “four injuries” bears particular scrutiny.

Painters, short-time and books.

April 22, 2008

We’ve had painters in the house for…days. They’re almost done, which is good. Our rooms have been discombobulated for over a week, stuff piled up everywhere. They’re nice guys, and they’ve done a great job, but it’s time for them to wrap up and get out. Now.

In other news…just kidding. There is no other news. I’m still wrapping things up at my old job, which means that I go to an odd meeting now and then for something called “knowledge transfer.” This sounds like I ought to be strapped to a table, with Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman hovering nearby. In reality I play 20 questions and try to stay interested, since the projects we’re covering will be completed in the After-time, when I’ve moved into the Great Beyond.

I wrapped up Lewis’ OHEL last night, after a short detour through Shakespeare’s sonnets, which he wrote about at length. I will probably renew my attack on the plays soon, though I’ve been seriously looking at starting Children of Hurin. I got it as a gift awhile back, but had just finished reading The Silmarilion and The Book of Lost Tales and needed a breather from Tolkien. Enough time has passed, I think. For big-kid bedtime reading, I’ve started Watership Down. Talking rabbits? Grand adventures? Fighting? There’s a little something in there for everyone.

Movies inbound from Netflix: The second part of Gormenghast and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Pinewood Derby, more camping gear and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

April 7, 2008

The Pinewood Derby was a great success – our car placed second among the dens, so Pancho left with a nice little red ribbon and a certificate for “Shiniest Car”. Unfortunately, the ribbon, car and certificate got left behind in a bag. Luckily for us, our packmaster found the bag and is holding onto all of it for us. Afterwards we hit DQ to celebrate, then rounded off the day with some final camping-gear shopping.

The dollar store, incidentally, is God’s gift to the family getting started with gear. We bought all the kitchen untensils we could possibly need, along with things like plastic tubs for dishwashing and clean-up towels for just under $40. I spent the afternoon packing all of the kitchen stuff into a single, large Rubbermaid tub and it fit perfectly. Some time this week – maybe tonight, actually – I need to fire up both the lantern and the stove. I don’t think that sundown at the campsite is the best time to figure these things out. Lastly, I practiced-packed Clifford (The Big Red Van) and it looks like things will fit, but it will be tight. We’ll need to use floor space under the wee ones for clothes and such. I was afraid we were going to need a hitch and platform for extra storage, but I think we’ll be in good shape without it. For now, anyway.

For movies this weekend, it was Oceans 13 (lightweight but fun) and Serenity (dark and exciting). We think we will probably buy the series and movie before too much longer. I’m almost done with Lewis’ book on sixteenth century poetry and prose, having completed the section covering Shakespeare’s sonnets. His plays are evidently covered in a separate volume by somebody else, so Lewis concentrates on the poetry alone: Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, and the sonnets of course. I’ve gone back to my Riverside edition and started to re-read them all in sequence, as Lewis says we ought to do occasionally. Who am I to argue?

Foodish things: we found a hole in the wall Japanese/Thai place up the road that makes pretty good yakisoba and katsudon. Huzzah! We used to make yakisoba at home quite a bit before the kids came along, and had considered trying our hand at katsudon. But now it’s right up the road! And cheap!

Lastly, and I scarcely dare write this, for fear of waking up and finding it all a dream: TRADER JOE’S IS COMING TO TOWN. Yup. Saw it in the paper the other day. It’s not exactly close to our house, but it’s a whole lot closer than Atlanta.

Language, and our responsibilities to it.

April 3, 2008

I place a great deal of stock in precision in language. Words and how they are used, after all, are a direct manifestation of our thoughts. Once upon a time, I’d wanted to teach English, but a quarter in the College of Education cured me of that. I didn’t even finish it out, dropping the classes and immediately applying to the Journalism school. I never worked as a journalist, but have nevertheless found that a command of language is an invaluable tool regardless of the field of work. It was very common for me to, over time, acquire the additional role of copy editor/wordsmith for whoever my manager happened to be at the time. Frankly, I was happy to do it. Few things give a grammatical nitpicker pleasure like ruthlessly editing a poorly-written press release, e-mail or customer communication.

I’ve occasionally considered returning to school to study literature, perhaps with an eye towards teaching it when I get older and have more time and fewer responsibilities. Usually, a brief chat with a friend of ours who actually is a college English teacher is enough to bring me back to reality. So I press on – slowly picking my way through the Canon and brushing up on usage and style whenever I can. Curiously, the improving ability to clearly express myself has also resulted in a…I’m not sure how to put this…greater sensitivity to what I hear when I’m listening to others. Here is a person, expressing their thoughts. What I do not hear – the pauses, omissions, brief reflections – tell me almost as much as the words themselves. It’s worth the time to carefully listen to the other person, to reflect on the totality of their expression.

This, I think, is a great gift, and one that I hope we can pass along to our children. I think anyone can attain it. Take up and read. Find things that are difficult and try them. Revisit the things you read in high school and college – you will doubtlessly find that a few years of life experience since graduation will bring these books back into clear focus. You will be surprised – don’t be. They are classics for a reason. Themes and symbols that utterly escape the average teenager will come into clear relief after you’ve spent some time in relationships, getting married, starting a family, building a career, struggling and so on.

The plan, inasmuch as we have one, looks something like this:

  • Increase their exposure to good books, teaching them to read as soon as they are ready, and make a library card an important rite-of-passage.
  • Eliminate the presence of the television in our home. There is no cable or satellite connection.
  • Carefully monitor their use of other visual media – we have a room just for movies, and they are allowed to watch things from a small library we keep.
  • Associate, as much as we can, with others who share similar views
  • Emphasize the role of communication and text in terms of our relationship with God, through participation in the Liturgy, study of the Scriptures and acquaintance with the Fathers.
  • Set the example by continuously improving and learning on our own. We don’t stop learning until we die and we know as we are known.
  • Seek wisdom in the received texts of our western patrimony
  • Utterly reject of the modern method of criticism. Strive to understand the works on their own terms and in their own contexts. The dead, too, deserve a vote.
  • Encourage an intense curiosity in (and appreciation of) the natural world around us, which hopefully leads to further reading and research.

The fruits, I think, are already evident. Glossing over things isn’t as easy as it used to be with our oldest children, and the younger ones are hot on their heels. The four-year-old will probably start her reading lessons this summer. Our youngest progresses daily in talking. The baby…well, she’s still just crawling around. Let’s not go crazy here.