Movie legend Paul Newman dies, 83

" The blue-eyed star of movies like Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid died in his Connecticut home on Friday, surrounded by family and close friends.

A statement from Newman's family said: "His death was as private and discreet as the way he had lived his life."

His Butch Cassidy co-star Robert Redford paid tribute, saying: "There is a point where feelings go beyond words... I have lost a real friend." " - BBC


Corpus Christi Carol by Jeff Buckley


Alexi Murdoch



If there was one group of people I would choose as the one I'd least like to run into, it would be followers of the Society of St Pius X. Yeah, they're here. At Hillsdale. Lounging around with the monarchists, as you might expect. My pastor point blank told me not to argue with them, which is something I will have to bear in mind as these next months stretch on. It's a terrible thing when you are driven back to the Catechism, Church Fathers, and the Bible, not to strengthen yourself, but to protect yourself from other Catholics. The Society leaves a wake of bitterness and anger, and the rotten fruit I gain in debate with them is a horrible spiritual aridity and weakening of my faith. There is a point where you have to admit you simply aren't strong enough; argument in this quarter causes depression, anger, exhaustion, and cynicism. My Kenyan friend Gladys was appalled at what she had seen. She had never before seen Catholics arguing, desperately fighting with themselves. "God is watching over the Holy Father. It will be alright", she said. And that in the end is what we have to cling to. Arrogant legalistic arguments thrown to the wayside, let us drop to our knees in simple childlike faith that the God who made us will not abandon us or His Church. That it is all in His hand, that it always has been and always will be, and that we cannot save it ourselves. Had it been up to us from the beginning, we would have had as much success as if we were battling the ocean. Where Peter is, there is the Church. Where the Church is, there is Christ. Where Christ is, there may I be, now and forever.


Monday morning Quarterback #1

Notre Dame played a divinely inspired (and aided, I doubt not) game on Saturday, causing many Michigan fans here to slouch off in primal misery. Meanwhile, our ND contingent went running all over the place, broadcasting the good news. The Brady-less Patriots played a decent game against the Jets; of course, the only thing the Jets had going for them was the ever aging Brett Favre, so this victory can't get us too excited. Matt Cassell is lucky to get some sub par teams to go up against in the first few weeks. But our defense looks solid and Wes Welker looked in top form. I'm hoping he'll get to share the spotlight with Randy Moss a little more, he's way underrated. Also the running game is nicely split up between Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and others. The season may not be a disaster! Charlie Weis's strange sideline mishap, which led to a torn ACL and MCL (I think...) humorously mirrored Tom Brady's injury. Leaving the field, Weis smiled at the camera and said "You ain't got nothing on me, Tommy!"


Kings of Convenience - Misread

A great band, along the lines of Iron and Wine.


New Memorials, New Remonstrances

America has a tendency to pull through crises, sometimes with the aid of a just a few of her children. At Valley Forge, Washington's young men survived on animal intestines and tree bark. The British tracked them in the bitter cold by following the bloody footprints of the discalced men. At Antietam 100,000 perished in 24 hours; the intensity of the gunfire ripped through and demolished a forest and left acres of corpses. On the Bataan Death March US soldiers were whipped and beaten down a jungle path; deprived of food and water, they saw the bodies of their comrades lying in the ditches they passed. In Vietnam, American POW's were starved, tortured, and murdered. And the question that should come to our minds should not be "How did they take it?" but "Why did they put themselves in that position?" On September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer and the passengers of United 93 commandeered their hijacked plane from the terrorists and met death at 574 miles per hour rather than see another building full of people get hit. Why? Because everything that is good and true and beautiful in this nation is worth starving for; worth suffering for; worth dying for. "The price of liberty is constant vigilance". But it is also sweat, tears, and blood. Every day that we wake up with ability to exercise our free will and live our lives to the fullest, we must remember that. Every breath God permits us to take should be exhaled with a silent prayer of thanks for blessings given and a petition for strength to carry our weight if the time ever comes. There seems to be a Divine Plan for this unlikely country of ours that gives us exactly the heroes we need in our darkest hour. Each time America falls to her knees, gasping in agony, a silent Hand lifts her gently to her feet and points to the men and women willing to give it all in the cause of truth and justice. The American way. To bring together a couple of things I've been thinking about, I think that whenever America asks God, "Do I make you proud?" He answers. "Every day."


Holy Moses

I cannot think of any penance severe enough for Bernard Pollard.


Here we go again

Football season is here again, a weekly drama more distracting than any TV show for yours truly. Brett Favre played as usual and led the Jets, oddly enough, to victory. The Patriots proved their defense and running game are still there, as well as some promising talent from Matt Cassell. Yeah. Matt Cassell. Tom boy got turned into our very Gimper today; some clumsy (or malicious/paid off) Kansas City oaf did a number on his knee. Looked ugly, but we won't find out until Wednesday how serious it is.


Edvard Radzinsky

If you aren't interested in Russian history, you might want to look in to Edvard Radzinsky's historical works. If you are, like me, deeply interested in Russian history, Radzinksky's books on Nicholas II, Rasputin, Stalin, and Alexander II are must reads. He combines masterful historical research with sweeping dramatic prose and at times apocolyptic Biblical references that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. He also has an uncanny ability to make the characters in his books seem as real as people you really know. Names, dates, and events lose any dusty dryness they might have had and take on the intensity and drama of action movies and spy thrillers. From the heartbreaking fate of The Last Tsar and his family, to the frightening enigma of Grigory Rasputin, to the dark and menacing presence of Josef Stalin, Radzinsky never fails to deliver heartpounding prose and amaze the reader with his meticulous and in depth research. (The man is never happy unless he talks to someone who was actually there or reads first hand accounts in diaries or personal correspondence.) I'm just starting his biography of Alexander II, and recently finished his work on Stalin. The Stalin biography was without a doubt the best biography I've ever read and one of the most powerfully written books I've read as well.


And while we're at it...

I'd like to use this unexpected explosion of new posts to say happy birthday to our fearless contributor Catherine. She always looks like this.


Here's something you won't hear every day. Flannery O'Connor, a year before her death at 39 from Lupus disease, gave a lecture at Notre Dame. It consisted of a short talk on some aspects of the grotesque in southern fiction (along with some insightful remarks on what it means to be a Catholic writer) and a reading of her short story A Good Man Is Hard To Find. I went looking for a recording of the talk, and found that the only place it was available was if you ordered a copy from ND's archives, which was way too expensive. After a bit of researching, I found an obscure internet radio station that had obtained a copy and had broadcasted it a while back. I streamed the radio episode from their website with Realplayer, recorded the lecture with an audio capture program, converted the .wav file to .wma (mp3 was too lossy) and uploaded it to the internet.

Anyway, for those of you interested, here's The Morning Oil exclusive of one of Catholicism's best writers ever reading her own work (you've got to love that accent).

Note: The files have been re-uploaded as of January 15, 2010

1. Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction
2. A Good Man is Hard to Find

Also, check out the recording of Chesterton here.

Kodak Moments

So, I've been really into photography lately and consequently I've been scouring the internet for cool blogs and websites. These are two of my latest finds: The Ones We Love and Show + Tell.

This Is Ivy League

So, for the next bit, I'm going to be posting music videos of new bands I'm finding. One of the most interesting and engaging has been This is Ivy League, who sound remarkably similar to the Beach Boys, but with more thought out lyrics. I'd recommend you also go to and search for their spectacular covers of The Magnetic Fields' "You and me and the Moon" and Arcade Fire's "Crown of Love."


Hey, this little blog has been around for over two years with more or less continuous posting. Go us! Right now I really feel like complaining about Classical Latin. It's disgusting. At the convocation, Dr. Whelan stated Hillsdale's motto "Virtus Tentamine Gaudet" the way it should be pronounced, with a V, and then smiled and said "I know I just hurt some of you Classical Latinists when I pronounced it with a v, that some small, cramped part of your soul just went 'ouch!'" I laughed and continue to laugh whenever I run into someone who actually thinks that Caesar said "Weni, widi, wiki." Really? You think that's what would have come out of the mouth of a general who galloped around wasting barbarians? I think not.