Books in the Mail

Got two books in the mail, today:The Lion's Gate, by Steven Pressfield Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, by Ed FeserI've read three of Pressfield's historical novels; this new book is a look at the Six Day War drawn from mostly from around four hundred hours of personal interviews conducted by Pressfield with people who were involved. It sounds fascinating.And Ed Feser is increasingly well-known in philosophoblogging circles. He's a scholastic … [Read more...]

Archie Says: Dying in Character


Breslow looked as if he had been born flushed with anger and would die, when the time came, in character.— Rex Stout, The Silent SpeakerI love Stout's descriptions of minor characters, as channeled by Archie Goodwin. … [Read more...]

Watchman for Daybreak Watch


Here's a round-up of writing-related stuff.Watchman for Daybreak is going well. I've revised most of the existing material to reflect my new understanding of Captain St. Cloude, and it appears that I'm going to have two viewpoint characters: the captain, and Fr. Consolmagno Higgins, the Prefect of the new colony. It's not clear to me yet whether Higgins has some serious conflicts of his own, or whether he's mostly a foil to the captain (in this book anyway). And I'm up to 7,400 words, … [Read more...]

CT 1: Thomas’ Plan of Attack

St. Augustine

This post is part of a series.In Chapter 1 of the Compendium Theologiae, Thomas lays out his plan of attack. He always begins in this logical way, explaining just what it is that he is about:To restore man, who had been laid low by sin, to the heights of divine glory, the Word of the eternal Father, though containing all things within His immensity, willed to become small. This He did, not by putting aside His greatness, but by taking to Himself our littleness. No one can say that he is … [Read more...]

The Desolation of the Draggin’

Dragon Statue

The Anchoress wrote last week about her experience of desolation in Penn Station. She was people-watching, a favorite activity, and then everything changed:I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have wanted to ga … [Read more...]

Happy Triduum!


It's Holy Thursday, and Holy Thursday mass is just a few hours off; tomorrow is Good Friday; then comes Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter; and then the sunrise mass if I've got the stamina for it.It's time for contemplation rather than blogging, so I'm going to sign off and do that thing. Barking will resume on Easter Monday. … [Read more...]

The Peril of First Principles

Rodin's Thinker

It was in college that I first learned the peril of reasoning from first principles.Rene Descartes, frustrated with the decadent tradition of scholastic philosophy (which admittedly was in serious straits in his day) decided to reboot philosophy altogether. Spurning that which went before, he started over; and he decided to proceed by trying to identify that first principle or principles about which he could not help but be absolutely certain. About every proposition he said, in effect, … [Read more...]

Fr. Robert Barron on Bart Ehrman

A couple of weeks ago, on my post "Why Catholicism", a commenter said that I clearly hadn't read Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, or I'd know better. I replied that I didn't regard Ehrman as a reliable authority, and after another exchange or two dropped it. I'm not a biblical scholar, I'm simply a layman who's been doing some reading, and I don't have all of the relevant facts at my fingertips.Fr. Robert Barron, on the other hand, does; and just recently he wrote a piece about Ehrman's … [Read more...]

Riding the Rigatoni Cycle


Not much to report on the Watchman for Daybreak front, though I'm proceeding along the lines I indicated last week, and it's working for me. John St. Cloude is going to be a much more interesting character this way.In the meantime, my first novel has been available on my personal website for the last ten years. It's called Through Darkest Zymurgia; it's a fantasy novel about a scientific expedition in a rather odd world. I make no great claims for it, but I enjoyed writing it, and I … [Read more...]