The Walking Dead Does Ethics Right

I mentioned The Walking Dead in a recent post.  I suppose some generic comments are in order.

I skipped out TWD as a cultural phenom just like I do all such phenoms.  The list of yuuuge shows I have not watched is enormous and I’m reasonably proud of that.  The Sopranos.  Breaking Bad.  Mad Men.  Those are just the recent ones.  I still haven’t seen Forest Gump.  You get the idea.

Partially I’m a grump and partially I just don’t watch much TV.  But my wife watches shows, and the TV is over my shoulder as I sit at the computer, so I pick some things up by osmosis.  And recently she got into TWD.  I have to say…sometimes I put the keyboard aside to sit down and watch with attention.  And that’s about as high a praise as I give.

TWD is simultaneously frustrating and excellent; dud and home run. Continue reading The Walking Dead Does Ethics Right


The priest who baptized my son ten years ago is a good man.  He’s not a pastor of any local parishes; possessed of many gifts of intellect, he works for the diocese.  By a twist of providence he has started helping out in our parish from time to time, largely because of his impeccable Latin.  It’s a delight to see him again after ten years.

His father passed away recently.  I have not seen him since, although I hope to do so in the near future so as to pass along my condolences.  I never met his father, nor have we ever spoken of him before.  As a priest in the Catholic Church it is not easy for him to do so. Continue reading Requiem


It’s been a murder week, between a massive investment of energy at work, the ongoing war against entropy at home, and the ramped-up preparations for Benedict’s arrival on March 17th.  New beds were constructed, enormous amounts of trash were hauled up and down and out and away, children demanded to know what else I was planning on doing for them.  It’s been immensely gratifying.

What all that work hasn’t left any time for (in addition to blogging) is reading and thinking.  One of the great perks of my job is that I have time between classes to decompress and meditate on…well, just about anything.  A lot of Ovid, Benedict, or Ariosto happens in there!  And when I ride the train home, that’s 45 minutes of uninterrupted rest and contemplation.  But lately, I’ve been feeling the loss.

Time isn’t the right word for the problem, though.  It’s not quite energy either, although I have been doing a lot more sleeping on the train.  Even when I am up and about, or sitting at a desk with no parent, student, administrator, or child demanding my attention, I simply cannot concentrate on words and ideas.  And while it’s amusing to tell people that I have pregnancy hormones, and the stupid television blaring in the background doesn’t help, it’s really just another first-hand look at the irreducible tension between the active life and the contemplative life. Continue reading Action/Contemplation

How Many Commandments? Part II

Previously I threw out a joke about there being more or less than ten commandments in the Ten Commandments and then took a look at how Aquinas sets forth the logic of the Ten.  Honestly I never stop giggling over that question: hazard of teaching adolescent boys.

Let’s resume trying to figure out how many there are.  If we back up to Q100 a4, Aquinas looks at a few variations on breaking down the ten.  He’s obviously familiar with a tradition that separates “I am the Lord your God,” “You shall have no gods before me,” and “You shall make no graven image” into three commandments, since that is what the first and second objections are about.  He’s also aware of the oddity I mentioned last post about coveting.  It seems logical to keep the covet commandments as one.  That’s the third objection.  These objections foreshadow the disagreement between Catholics and Reformed Protestants on enumeration. Continue reading How Many Commandments? Part II

How Many Commandments in the Decalogue (Srsly)?

I love asking my students this question every year.  It’s well established by then that I have a sick sense of humor, and they just can’t figure out what my angle is.  Of course, once one of them bravely suggests that maybe, just maybe the answer is…TEN?, I ask if they are sure.  Then pandemonium breaks loose.

the-ten-commandments1 CATHtencommandments prot

Now they get clever.  Someone inevitably says one, thinking of the Greatest Commandment.  Someone will riff on that by saying two, splitting the Greatest into divine and human.  Someone will think they are being clever and try to say 613, but they won’t quite know what they are talking about and end up using another big, wrong number. Continue reading How Many Commandments in the Decalogue (Srsly)?

Obligatory Star Wars: TFA Review

I’ve just returned from an early show of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my wife and son.  Like everyone else on the internet, I’m writing a review!

In 2000, Vin Diesel teamed up with director David Twohy to create one of the best sci-fi/horror movies ever made, Pitch Black.  For fans of that great, great movie, you probably already know where I’m going with this Star Wars review.  The movie was relatively low-budget, outperformed mixed reviews, and became a huge cult hit. Continue reading Obligatory Star Wars: TFA Review

Art Show: Abbey Boy Aquinas Humor

Here’s why I love teaching Abbey Boys: after reading Aquinas for a semester, they come up with brilliant memes that capture what it is like to read Aquinas for the first time.  Our constant refrains and groan moments from the semester are on full display here.  Hopefully the jokes are not too in to get a laugh from the general audience.  Memes done by actual teen-agers, titles by me.

The Teaching Boys Badly art gallery is proud to display Reading Aquinas With Memes, by St. Anselm’s Abbey School Form V.  Continue reading Art Show: Abbey Boy Aquinas Humor