Review: The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield

Over President's Day weekend, a friend from college that I hadn't seen in several years recommended that I try an author named Steven Pressfield. "He writes novels about military history. The detail is amazing, and they are really good." We have similar tastes, and so I picked up The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great; and I'm glad I did.Before reading this book, I knew a little about Alexander the Great. He was the son of Philip of Macedon, the greatest conqueror the Greek … [Read more...]

What We Can Know, and How We Can Know It

Men looking through microscope

According to Thomas Aquinas, we can know things in three ways:Directly, as we know the things we see around us. Indirectly, by reasoning from the things we see around us. By revelation from God.The first category—the things we know by direct experience, as I know the keyboard on which I'm typing and the desk it sits on—would go without saying if it weren't for the persistent influence of Descartes' methodological doubt and the absurdities of those who followed after him. As for … [Read more...]

Whack-a-Mole and those Awful Middle Ages

Every so often I see someone on-line claiming that rationality started with the Renaissance, when the bonds of the Catholic Church were finally broken. It ain't so; if one troubles to look into it, one finds that so far from being dark the middle ages were an time of intellectual flowering. Trouble is, even if you've got the proof at your fingertips it's like playing whack-a-mole. The claim pops up here and it pops up there like the hero with a thousand faces, and is as hard to kill. … [Read more...]

Lighting the Path Ahead


We've been talking a lot about faith here at Cry Woof over the last few weeks; and last week in particular I wrote about the "Light of Faith", a light that helps us to see things more clearly.In paragraph 9 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis takes it one step farther:The word spoken to Abraham contains both a call and a promise. First, it is a call to leave his own land, a summons to a new life, the beginning of an exodus which points him towards an unforeseen future. The sight which faith … [Read more...]

Sticking the Corners

I had the good fortune to meet Jennifer Fitz in Dallas at the Catholic New Media Conference; she's quiet, articulate, understated, witty, and sharp, and now I'm glad to say she's blogging at Patheos. Blogging up quite a storm, too. Go see what she means by "sticking the corners". … [Read more...]

Review: Bugsy Malone

This review was first posted in April of 2004, on my old blog. I've made minimal edits.I first saw Bugsy Malone on Z Channel (one of the first pay-TV channels) back in the late '70's. I recorded it on to videotape, and watched it over and over; I've no idea how many times. And when I saw it on DVD at Tower Records yesterday, I grabbed it. IMDB only gives it 6.1 stars out of 10, but I'm telling you, I watched it with my two boys this afternoon, and it's everything I remembered.And … [Read more...]

App o’ the Morning: Random Sheet Music


So I got a tin whistle tutorial by noted Irish whistle player Mary Bergin, so that I can learn to play a tin whistle the way whistle players do, instead of the way recorder players do. It's too early for me to say whether the tutorial was a good investment or not, as I've just begun working through it, but Jane says I'm showing improvement, so there's that. (If you're interested in the tin whistle, and are looking for inspiration—or, possibly, sheer terror—check out Bergin's albums Feadóga Stái … [Read more...]

Community: The Fourth Pillar


The fourth pillar of Dominican life is community; and you can read all about it in my March post at Money quote:Dryness will come; it’s good to have companions to help you through it. … [Read more...]

The Rat Pushes the Button

rats in cage

Leah Libresco has a post about monitoring her "addictions" during Lent: the activities that seem to suck up her time, to verify that they value actual value and aren't simply sucking her into a dopamine loop. I was reminded of experiments I've read about, done on rats.Put a rat in a cage with a button. If the rat pushes the button, he gets food. Rats given this option often keep pushing the button. But if you make it so that the button only sometimes provides food, the rats push the … [Read more...]