Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The O Antiphons 6 - Third and Fourth Sundays


Rex et legifer noster,

exspectatio Gentium,

et Salvator earum:

veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel,

our King and our Lawgiver,

Longing of the Peoples ;

yea ; and salvation thereof :

Come to save us, O Lord our God !

The O Antiphons 5 - Third and Fourth Sundays


et desideratus earum,

lapisque angularis,

qui facis utraque unum:

veni, et salva hominum,

quem le limo formasti.

O King of the peoples,

and desire thereof;

O Cornerstone,

that makest one of two:

come to save man

whom Thou hast made of the dust of the earth.

The O Antiphons 4 - Third and Fourth Sundays

et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit;
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel;
that openest and no man shutteth;
shuttest and no man openeth :
come to bring out the prisoner from the prison,
and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae :
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.
O Dayspring,
Brighness of the everlasting light,
Sun of Justice,
come to give light to them
that sit in darkness and the shadow of death!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The O Antiphons - where?

I am really embarrassed, because the old prayerbook, from which I've been copying the Antiphons, has gone missing. And I missed last weekend too. Big time bummer.

Reminds me of some little thing I wrote down in December 1984 about the anguish of waiting.

The night is empty, dark, and cold.
I trudge along the road
Rememb'ring dimly being told
So long ago when I was young
From dark like this new hope has sprung.
The memory's old and faint and pale
Has little power to lift my load
And free me from my inner jail.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent - O Come, Divine Messiah!

This has long been one of my favorite Advent carols, and last night at Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, the old French-Canadian parish on the east bank of the Mississippi River, near Sault Saint-Antoine de Padue (the Saint Anthony Falls), the choir (and I) sang two verses in French (my Grand-Père Gosselin was a French-Canadian-Ojibwe mix) . . . and here they are. Note the urgency of Venez, venez, venez ! -- "Come, come, come!"


Venez divin Messe,
Sauvez nos jours infortunés ;
Vous êtes notre vie,
Venez, venez. venez !

Ah! Descendez, hâtez vos pas,
Sauvez les hommes du trépas ;
Secourez-nous, ne tardez pas !
Voyez couler nos larmes ;
Grand Dieu, si Vous nous pardonnez,
Nous n'aurons plus d'alarmes :
Venez, venez, venez !


Si Vous venez, Roi glorieux,
Nous Vous verrons, victorieux,
Fermer l'enfer, ouvrir les cieux.
Soyez-nous secourable ;
Les cieux nous furent destinés ;
Venez Sauveur aimable,
Venez, venez, venez!


The O Antiphons 3 - Second Sunday of Advent

qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur :
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse,
who standest as an ensign for the people,
at whom the kings shall shut their mouths,
whom the peoples shall seek :
come to deliver us, do not delay.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The O Antiphons 2

ADONAI et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae apparuisti,
et in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai and Ruler of the house of Israel,
who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush,
and gavest him the law at Sinai:
come to redeem us with outstretched arm!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The O Antiphons 1

SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O WISDOM that comest out of the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to another,
mightily and smoothly ordering all things,
come to teach us the way of prudence!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today's Gospel Reading --

was about the Sadducees trying to trick Jesus with the question about the women who married seven brothers and died childless, and in heaven whose wife would she be. Now this was a trick question, because (as it says at the beginning of the reading) the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. And, as one priest quipped many years ago, "that's why they were sad, you see." Ba-da-bom!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Bell Curve 17 - TBC and the 2010 Elections

Here's a quote I posted in TBC 16:

"What if the cognitive elite were to become not only richer than everyone else, increasingly segregated, and more genetically distinct as time goes on but were also to acquire common political interests? What might those interest be, and how congruent might they be with a free society? How decisively could the cognitive elite affect policy if it were to acquire such a common political interest? (p. 115; emphasis mine)

They give us this gloomy picture: "As of the end of the twentieth century, the United States is run by rules that are congenial to people with high IQs and that make life more difficult for everyone else." (p. 541)

* * *

Well, Herrnstein and Murray were right. We have now had several years of government by the cognitive elite (who in my opinion are a bunch of overeducated pinheads, i.e., they know more and more about less and less), and a few days ago the ordinary people of this country showed at the polls how sick and tired they are of the cognitive elite. See for instance ---

If you read it, be sure to read the eighteen references in it.

And I say hooray for the common people!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's NOT the econony, people!

I have listened to a lot of people say the most important issue this year is the economy. Okay, it's important, but the economy is made by people: going to school, working, and doing business.


there are about 18.3 million schoolkids (18 and under) who are not here;

about 6 million possible college students (ages 19 to 22) not here;

about 31 million part- or full-time workers (16 and over) not here;

about 23.4 million voters not here.

If a baby aborted in 1973 were alive today, she or he would have had 37 birthdays; if the 738,800 aborted were alive, they would have had 27,335,600 birthdays: cards, cakes, parties. Not to mention diapers, baby clothes, school clothes, shoes, food: all the things needed to be made and sold for a living person -- of which the dead have no need.

The economy is faltering and Social Security going broke because we are missing about 50 million people. It's NOT the economy, people!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bell Curve 16 - The End

(This has been a long series of posts. I never dreamed it would be this long, and I bet nobody else did either.)

This book has covered far more territory than I have explored, but I've chosen to limit my comments to the phenomenon of cognitive stratification, which Herrnstein and Murray suggest has changed American society so much (perhaps more than any other phenomenon).

You'll recall the authors argued that in past ages, social position was governed far more by social position or wealth ("lineage and money") than by intelligence. Also that a large majority of the smart people in past ages were engaged in ordinary pursuits, living, working, and mixing with everyone else. "Social and economic stratification were extreme, but cognitive stratification was minor." (p. 27)

It's a commonplace in circles anthropological that technological changes produce social changes (at least that's what I was taught in Cultural Anthropology in 1970). Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in the last century or so; one excellent example is the progression from the first powered heavier-than-air flight in 1903, to the placing of astronauts on the moon in 1969. (I had relatives whose lifetimes included both dates.)

My last two posts demonstrated the phenomenon.

Early in the book, Herrnstein and Murray say: "Cognitive partitioning through education and occupations will continue, and there is not much that the government or anyone else can do about it."
"Another force for cognitive partitioning is the increasing physical segregation of the cognitive elite from the rest of society."
"The isolation of the cognitive elite is compounded by its choices of where to live, shop, play, worship, and send its children to school."
"Add to this the phenomenon known as assortative mating. Likes attract when it comes to marriage, and intelligence is one of the most important of those likes. When this propensity to mate by IQ is combined with increasingly efficient educational and occupational stratification, assortative mating has more powerful effects on the next generation than it did on the previous one. This process too seems to be getting stronger, part of the brew creating an American class system." (pp. 91-92)

Later, they reiterate:
". . . the funneling system is already [1994] functioning at a highy level of efficiency, thereby promoting three interlocking phenomena:
1. The cognitive elite is getting richer, in an era where everyone else is having to struggle to stay even.
2. The cognitive elite is increasingly separated physically from everyone else, in both the workplace and the neighborhood.
3. The cognitive elite is increasingly likely to intermarry." (p. 114)

It is my opinion that these three phenomena were occurring then and are still occurring now, and there are obvious consequences, most of which, in my opinion, are highly undesirable, related to the authors' observation at the end of Part I of the book:

"What if the cognitive elite were to become not only richer than everyone else, increasingly segregated, and more genetically distinct as time goes on but were also to acquire common political interests? What might those interest be, and how congruent might they be with a free society? How decisively could the cognitive elite affect policy if it were to acquire such a common political interest? (p. 115; emphasis mine)

They give us this gloomy picture: "As of the end of the twentieth century, the United States is run by rules that are congenial to people with high IQs and that make life more difficult for everyone else." (p. 541)

Now, if I had my way, I would make the last two chapters required reading. They are:
21, "The Way We Are Headed," (which includes a discussion "The Coming of the Custodial State")[1]
22, "A Place for Everyone," in which the authors discuss political philosophy, including that of the Founders. "The Founders saw that making a stable and just government was difficult precisely because men were unequal in every respect except their right to advance their own interests." (p. 531, emphasis in original)

Those who have read my blog see that I am a firm believer in the founding principles of this our country, as laid down in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and an ardent opponent of anything and anyone who tries to subvert or pervert those principles because, as the authors say near the end of the book, "Inequality of endowments, including intelligence, is a reality. Trying to pretend that inequality does not really exist has led to disaster." (p. 551)

What can we do? Pray, pray, and pray some more! -- especially for the youngsters who are going to inherit this someday. Pray for them and educate them.

My sincere thanks to all who read this, and to people and sites like The Old Jarhead, The Catholic Caveman, Pajamas Media, The American Thinker, Jihad Watch, TH2, Anita Moore, Mary Ann Kreitzer, Thomas Sowell, Michelle Malkin, Alan Keyes, Tom Roeser, and all the others whose names slip my mind right now. God bless you all.

* * *

[1] Being an intellectual as well as a physical packrat, I have saved several hundred blog and website posts just in the last few years. One of my folders is labeled "Culture War" and has 1880 files in 67 subfolders; one of which is labeled "Nanny-Servile State and Thought Police" with 63 files collected in the last 5-1/2 years. I have, in my national public affairs folder, 1842 files in 42 subfolders, one of which is called "Obamagrad" and has 464 files collected since January 2009. You get the idea: I think Herrnstein and Murray were on the right track because I have found out for myself that what they said has come to pass.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick Education about Islam

This was posted today on The Old Jarhead's blog, and I recommend it highly:

and he cites:

(I hope the links work.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Bell Curve 15 - Closer to the End

"The story of higher education in the United States during the twentieth century is generally taken to be one of the great American success stories, and with good reason. The record was not without blemishes, but the United States led the rest of the world in opening college to a mass population of young people of ability, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, and financial resources.

"But this success story has a paradoxically shadowy side, for education is a powerful divider and classifier. Education affects income, and income divides. Education affects occupation, and occupations divide. Education affects tastes and interests, grammar and accents, all of which divide. When access to higher education is restricted by class, race, or religion, these divisions cut across cognitive levels. But school is in itself, more immediately and directly than any other institution, the place where people of high cognitive ability excel and people of low cognitive ability fail. As America opened access to higher education, it opened up as well a revolution in the way that the American population sorted itself and divided itself. Three successively more efficient sorting processes were at work: the college population grew, it was recruited by cognitive ability more efficiently, and then it was further sorted among the colleges." (pp. 30-31)

These two bell curves illustrate in more detail the trendline shown in the last post: as time has passed, the number and percentage of Americans with a college degree has risen dramatically.

And as the graph at left shows, "For white youths, being smart is more important than being privileged in getting a college degree." As IQ goes from -2SD to +2SD, (Standard Deviations) the probability of getting a degree rises from about 2% to about 80%, but as parental SES (Socio-Economic Status) goes from -2SD to +2SD, the probability of getting a degree goes from about 2% to only about 40%.

(I hope it's now obvious why I threw in so much statistical information into these posts: you can see the data at a glance and interpret them faster than you could a table of figures.)

Herrnstein and Murray assert further that about 1950, America became more efficient at getting bright students into college; that between the 1920's and the 1960's, college attendance became even more closely associated with IQ, and that "cognitive sorting" continues from the time students enter college to the time they get a degree. These are shown in the next three graphs.

I think what this all means is that college sorts out and isolates the smartest kids from the rest, and buries their noses in books for four years; unless the kids have a "grunt" job that gets their hands dirty and shows them how "the other half" lives, they're going to live more and more in a basically unreal world.
Part of that unreal world, as many of us have seen in following the news from colleges, even Catholic colleges (or should I say CINO colleges?) is the absurd notion that either God does not exist or doesn't matter. There are plenty of data out there that show the "elite" in a number of professions are non-religious or irreligious people.
Another part of that unreal world is the indoctrination the kids get in leftist ideas. (Personal note: I think "from each . . . to each. . ." would work just fine if people were perfect, but we aren't. (As G. K. C. said somewhere, the Antichrist can fool people not because he is unlike Christ, but because he is so like Christ.) I suspect that it takes some experience of the world to read Rousseau's The Social Contract and come to the conclusion that he was a dewy-eyed optimist.
Also -- while in school or just out of it, kids are going to have so much debt piled up that they will go for the jobs that pay the best, and likely choose a curriculum that can lead to a high-paying "career" after graduation. This hints very strongly to me that the smartest people will be clustered in a relatively small number of jobs or professions.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Political Snarkies

Q: What is a Communist?
A: Someone who reads Marx, Engels, and Lenin.
Q: What is an anti-Communist?
A: Someone who understands Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

Q: What is the difference between a Capitalist and a Communist?
A: A Capitalist takes from the poor, keeps it, and makes slaves of them. A Communist takes from the rich, gives to the poor, and makes slaves of them.

Q: What is the difference between a Democrat and a Tea-Partier?
A: A Democrat listens to what Obama says. A Tea-Partier observes what Obama does.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Bell Curve 14 - getting close to the end

Intelligence, education, and more sorting

I would suggest that as America has become more technologically advanced in the last century, higher levels of education became the new basic minimum. In a (comparatively) low-tech society, say a Minnesota farm 100 years ago, a grade-school education was enough, and maybe more than enough, for a youngster to be a successful farmer or farmwife. Almost all the skills needed could be learned on the farm, at Dad's or Mom's knee -- or Grandpa's or Grandma's, for that matter. I would be willing to bet that family and community ties were in general closer than they are now, and that rural people were generally more conservative and more religious than today. This for the simple reason that people had to cooperate to survive, and had to depend on God to keep sane. There were no other alternatives.

The graph here shows that "in the first half of the century, the high-school diploma became the norm," but also shows that in 1910, for instance, less than 10% of Americans had a high-school diploma.

Here is a bit of my family's history that illustrates this very well. My Grandpop Gosslin (born 1887) never finished high school; Grandmom did, in 1905, but she was the only one of her siblings to do so. My parents both graduated from high school in 1931, and they were both college material, but for them college was out of the question because of the Great Depression.

All six of their children (born 1942, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1951, and 1964) finished high school and went to college. Five of us have BA's, four have master's degrees. My three sisters all have master's degrees, and made professional use of them. My older brother's two daughters (born 1969 and 1977) both have doctorates, are successful professional women, and likely will go far, because they're still young and have a lot of time in front of them.

I think this family history illustrates another point too, shown in the top diagram. There are four steps on the ladder. Being on one rung is necessary to get to the next one (and some professions like medicine, law, and engineering have "glass ceilings"), but no guarantee that a person will. A person also needs perseverance, lots of hard work (or cheating), and lots of luck. (In the spring of 1970, Frank "Doc" Whiting, practically the founder of the University of Minnesota Theatre, told us new BA's and MA's that very likely only about 5% of us would ever make a full-time living in the professional or academic theater.)

Last note for this post: to get to "the top," a person sometimes has to step on the faces of others. Doing that -- or even being willing to do that -- requires a lack of conscience, a lack of sense of responsibility to or for others, and a talent for shmoozing, lying, cheating, and being an outright phony. And, I suggest, that's what can (in general) be expected of a generation that hit the college campuses in 1964 and were taught "if it feels good do it," "you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else" (the second part easily forgotten), and "this generation has nothing to learn from the past" (attributed to Margaret Mead).

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Bell Curve 13 - @ # $ % ^ & * !

I had a lovely article written (and rewritten) in Microsoft Word, with the hope that I could copy and paste it to here . . . and it won't. In the meantime,
and @#$%^&*
and @#$%^&*!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Bell Curve 12 - More Regression Analysis

(It's been a while, so I had to go back through a few older posts, find my place in the books, and then get caught up.)

In the beginning of Part II of the book, "Cognitive Classes and Social Behavior," the authors spend a lot of ink talking about regression analysis[1], in order to explain the conclusions they reach about the effects of intelligence[2] on:



single-parent families and illegitimacy,

welfare dependency,


crime, and

civic behavior.

It has to be emphasized very strongly from the beginning that:

A, the authors are talking only about non-Latino whites[3],

B, they had a very large data base from which to draw, the NLSY[4], and

C, they divide it into two subpopulations:
1, a high-school diploma, no more and no less, and
2, a college degree, no more and no less.

[1] Regression analysis is a mathematical way of describing the effect of one thing on another thing, in general. If you look at the post from February 6 ("The Bell Curve 4"), with the example of the high-school senior boys lined up by height and weight, you will see again that there is a rough relationship between height and weight -- for boys only, about the same age. It is highly necessary when making correlations, to be very specific about the size of the data set, the constraints imposed upon it, and the conditions under which any conclusions can be accepted as valid.

Another, more technical, way of saying it is:
What is the numerical value of the correlation between the independent variable x and the dependent variable y, if
-1 means a "perfect negative" correlation (every increase in x means a predictable and measurable decrease in y),
0 means no correlation at all, and
+1 means a "perfect positive" correlation (every increase in x means a predictable and measurable increase in y).

[2] That is, the effects of intelligence on various social behaviors, after all other reasonable influences have been accounted for. Other influences could be age, education level, socioeconomic status, parents' socioeconomic status, and so on.

[3] Herrnstein and Murray don't begin to talk about race or ethnicity until part III.

[4] As mentioned before, the NLSY (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth) was begun in 1979 as a nationally representative sample of persons aged 14 to 22 at that time, and who have been "followed ever since." (p. 36, written 1994) It appears it is still going on. See:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good day to announce - - -

Runaway Christian Convert From Ohio Gains Legal U.S. Residency
Published September 07, 2010 Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A lawyer for a runaway Christian convert from Ohio who was also an illegal immigrant says the 18-year-old woman has gained permanent residency in the United States.

Kort Gatterdam, a lawyer for Rifqa Bary, said Tuesday the news means Bary can now start applying for a driver's license, Medicaid coverage and college scholarships.

Gatterdam says Bary, a native of Sri Lanka, received her permanent residency card last week and can apply for citizenship in five years.

Bary had sought the green card as she argued in court she could not reunite with her Muslim parents, whom she alleged threatened her with harm for converting.

Bary also sought legal residency to achieve health coverage as she battles uterine cancer.


Friday, September 10, 2010

I wonder . . . .

. . . . what they're going to do this year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

R.I.P. George P. Gosslin

Monday evening August 23 I posted on facebook:

"In loving memory of my uncle, George P. Gosslin, born Feb. 25, 1917; departed this life Aug. 23, 2010. Seaman First Class, USS Windham Bay CVE-92, served at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. 'Home is the sailor, home from the sea.'

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Uncle George was either a Seaman First Class "striking" for Gunner's Mate Third Class, or he was a Gunner's Mate; that part isn't clear anymore.
What we do know is that he was a gunner in a forward sponson under the flight deck of his "baby flattop" and fired water-cooled 20mm cannon at Japanese aircraft who were trying to kill him. I read that at these three battles the Japanese began using kamikaze pilots, and their primary targets were the aircraft carriers.
A history of his ship I found online says: "On 4 to 5 June, [1945] while steaming with the logistics group in support of TF 58 and the strikes on Okinawa, the carrier steamed right through the famous typhoon of 1945, suffering lost and damaged planes as well as damage to her flight and hangar decks." George once showed me a picture of the bow of his ship; the flight deck was bent over like a crushed pop can.
One sailor friend of mine on facebook said that is is because of George and men and women like him that we don't speak German and Japanese here today.
The picture is of George and his wife of 56 years, my Aunt Rita (a Canadienne), and their daughers Linda and Barbara.

Just to be snotty --

I put a post on facebook Tuesday:

"A conflict between Islamism and Bushido, between suicide bombers and Kamikaze pilots, might possibly be of more than passing interest."

I posted it because it occurred to me that I couldn't tell the difference between the two.

More on Astrology

In July 2009 I wrote an essay titled "Astrology is Baloney." This week I have decided to carry my peeve against astrology into a more public realm, and have posted a couple of things on facebook to make fun of it.

Monday I posted:
"Generic one-size-fits-all horoscope for today: something bad will happen to you. ;-)"

Tuesday I posted:
"Murphy's generic one-size-fits-all pyramidally-channeled enneagraphic labyrinthine horoscope for today: Something really nice might happen to you today, but don't bet on it."

I wonder if anyone will be offended. I hope so.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ricardus III Anglorum Rex Requiescat in Pace

Repeat from last year:

". . . King Richard left Nottingham and marched to Leicester, arriving there on the 19th of August. Here he gathered his army. Two days later he marched out to meet Henry Tudor at Bosworth Field on the 22nd of August. Here he fought his last battle, supported by the Duke of Norfolk, who was killed, but betrayed by Thomas Lord Stanley and his brother Sir William Stanley, whose sudden switch to Tudor's side at a crucial moment lost Richard the battle and his life." (Richard III; The Road to Bosworth Field, P. W. Hammond and Anne F. Sutton. London: Constable, 1985; p. 214)

"The York City Council had (slightly inaccurate) reports of the battle on the day after it was fought. In their own Minutes they provided Richard III with a lasting epitaph.

"On the 22nd day of August Anno Domini 1485 at Redemore near Leicester there was fought a battle between our Lord King Richard III and others of his nobles on the one part, and Harry Earl of Richmond and others of his followers on the other part. In this battle the foresaid King Richard in the third year of his reign, John Duke of Northfolc . . . .

"Tuesday the vigil of St. Batholomew,
that is 23rd August in the year etc., the throne being vacant
We assembled in the counsaill chamber, where and when it was shewed by diverse persones and especially by John Sponer send unto the feld of Redemore to bring tidinges from the same to the citie that king Richard late mercifully reigning upon us was thrugh grete treason . . . piteously slane and murdred to the grete hevynesse of this citie . . . ." (op cit., p.223)

One interesting thing about this 525-year-old story is that Lord Stanley was married to Margaret Beaufort, who was -- Henry Tudor's mother.

Another is that Shakespeare's "Richard Crookback" was written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who happened to be -- Henry Tudor's granddaughter.

A third is that had Richard won the battle, there very probably would have been no Henry VII or Henry VIII, thus no split of the Church in England from Rome.

And a fourth, which ought to surprise no one, is that this kind of lying and character-blackening goes on even today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Revealing Picture of Me in a Swimsuit

Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 7, 1946

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Debt to Canada

Recently chatting with TH2, I realized that I owe Canada a big debt, and I know far less about Canada than I think I should. I have been aware for most of my life that Canada was originally New France, that the British took it over about 1763, and there have been tensions ever since.

In 1955 I went for two weeks or so to the Catholic Youth Center camp on Big Sandy Lake in northern Minnesota, where I first learned of the seven Jesuit martyrs, Jogues, Brébeuf, Goupil, Lallemant, and the others (and Kateri Tekakwitha who ended her short life in a settlement on the banks of the St. Lawrence). I have to add that the combination of woods and water (as opposed to prairie) seized my heart and imagination.

Probably the biggest debt I owe Canada is that one of my great-grandfathers, Jules Etienne Napoleon Gosselin, was born in Montmagny, Quebec, in 1852. I have no idea how he got to Osseo, Minnesota - founded by Pierre Bottineau - by 1885 to marry my great-grandmother Julia Chenevert, granddaughter of Pierre.

The next biggest debt is to my Uncle George's wife, my Aunt Rita, born in St.-Jean-Baptiste near Winnipeg, who has not only been very kind to me, but has been tart in her criticism of my schoolbook French ("You don't growl enough!")

Next comes a friend of some years' standing whom I met on Ave Maria Singles; she is a Winnipeg lady, bilingual (naturally), and who has been a wonderful chatting companion these year, and who is the inventor of Huey the Humourous Humerus and the co-inventor of Newfie Brewfie.

Then, in no particular order: Red Green, Geneviève Bujold (whose performance as Jeanne d'Arc I would love to see again), Céline Dion, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Robert Service, Thomas Costain, Louis Hémon, John Buchan (yes I know he wasn't really a Canadian), W. P. Kinsella; and so many actors and musicians I've liked but I had no idea were Canadians.
And, of course, TH2.
PS - the Maple leaf is from the tree in my back yard.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sad but Instructive Tale of Seymour the Femur

Seymour the Femur was a dreamer,
Did not like his place.
Said to the pelvis, "You're not Elvis,
Get out of my face!"

Moaned to the body, "This is shoddy!
I bear half your weight,
Bent am I, it's hard on a guy!
I don't like my fate!"

Tillie Tibia said, "Shut up!
You're nuts like that cat Felix!
I go jogging or Irish clogging,
Get bent into a helix!"

Patty Patella spoke up then.
"You know your jobs, at least!
Look at me, just capping the knee,
And for the eyes, no feast!"

Joe the Toe, Tammy Tarsus,
Cal the Cuboid joined the fight,
All the bones were throwing stones,
And this went on all night.

"Hey, what of US?" said Moe the Muscle.
"We're the ones for your motility!
Pects and Biceps, Glutes and Triceps,
No us? – impossibility!"

"Who's the one who makes you move?
Me and my nerves!" said Brian the Brain.
"I'm the globe that's got the lobes,
I'm the one who drives the train!"

"So what?" cried Ellie Epidermis,
"I protect you all from harm,
Puncture me and you'll sure see
You have sold the farm!"

"I'm a nothing?" said Steve the Stomach.
"How do you think you all stay well?!"
Then Louie Liver, Katie Kidney,
Pammy Pancreas raised –a yell.

"Quit the fighting!" said Seymour Femur.
"I only wanted a change of place --
Get out of this socket, go up in a rocket,
And see some outer space!"

Huey the humorous Humerus said,
"Seymour, you tweaked on meth?
There'll be no sky, you're in the thigh,
And there you'll stay till death!"

"All you others, you shut up too!
"This noise is astronomical!
Read One Cor Twelve, the fighting shelve!"


(So ends verse anatomical.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Bob the Bookie

I will bet 100 blog dollars that the administration will try to deport Rifqa Bary and Bibi Aisha. Any takers?

Also, on a different subject, Murphy's Law proves Catholic theology about the fall of Man and the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This is necessary to know!

This is what used to be the nose of Aisha, an 18-year-old Pakistani woman who was put into an (I presume) arranged and forced marriage when she was 16. Her husband beat her, so she fled. When the Taliban caught her, her husband and brother-in-law cut off her ears and nose. At last report, she has been flown to California for reconstructive surgery. (Picture from the August 9 issue of TIME.)

Also let's not forget Rifqa Bary, who turns 18 today and is finally legally free of her father, who she says threatened to kill her because she became a Christian.

People who treat women -- or anyone else -- like that are not to be appeased! When will people wake up?!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sign I saw today

This is a 48" wide and 36" high metal sign bolted to the iron-grating fence in back of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which is just on the east bank of the Mississippi River and just upstream from the St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The sign faces Second Street, which has townhomes and an underground parking ramp, so it is likely that many drivers and passengers will see it; the message is readable from the street.

When I saw it I thought, "See, we Catholics do walk the talk" and "Three cheers for Archbishop John Nienstedt!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bell Curve 11 - Effects of Cognitive Stratification

Thomas Sowell demonstrates that what is happening here and now has happened before; Herrnstain and Murray predicted it would happen.

Here's the link:

More coming; stay tuned . . . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Bell Curve 10 - An Example of the Result of Cognitive Stratification

I recommend this link.

Here are some quick cuts from Hanson:

"There is no racial, regional, religious, or tribal commonality. One shared allegiance perhaps is to higher education that certifies the cultural elite by diplomas of all sorts from a “good school,” as well as a respectable salary and a nice home with appurtenances. The good life of the elite is defined by both the absence of worry about necessities, and a certain status that accrues from properly recognized advanced education and sensitivity.

"How would we characterize the new aristocracy? In a number of ways. 1) Untruth; 2) Nature; 3) Muscularity; 4) Gender; 5) Logic."

Basically Hanson is explaining and describing the results of cognitive stratification -- what happens when the people I call "overeducated pinheads" talk only to each other.

It is posted in excerpt by

Monday, July 19, 2010


I have recently seen two billboards around the Twin Cities that give me the cold shudders.

One says:
my pop culture
my gossip
my radio station
my talk

The other one says:
The station for the Obama generation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A comforting night prayer

This is the Anima Christi, as freely translated in verse by John Henry Cardinal Newman. I find it very comforting to say as my last prayer while lying in bed waiting for sleep.

(My usual bedtime is 2:00 am, old student habit, I think; and usually by 2:00 I'm in such a trance of fatigue I can scarcely get up from my knees from my usual night prayers. But when I get fatigued my mind wanders all over the place; many times it wanders to wondering how wonderful it would be to have a warm soft cuddly wife in bed with me. And since this is a thought I must not think, for obvious reasons, I say the Anima Christi. If I'm not asleep by then, I start saying the Stations of the Cross, and rarely get to the end.)

So here it is:

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification.
Body of Christ, be my salvation.
Blood of Christ, fill all my veins.
Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains.
Passion of Christ, my comfort be.
O good Jesus, listen to me.
In Thy wounds I fain would hide,
Ne'er to be parted from Thy side.
Guard me should the Foe assail me,
Call me when my life shall fail me,
Bid me come to Thee above,
With Thy saints to sing Thy love
Forever and ever. Amen.

The Latin is elegantly sparse and compact; a literal translation equally so; I like this best.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Title

How about if we start calling him the Presidentissimo? (Note the similarity to the musical term prestissimo, which I believe means "loudest," and to the kleptocratic term "generalissimo.") I think it fits.

Woodworking and Catholic thought

While scraping and sanding two window sashes that will be re-stained and re-varnished, I noticed that it's nearly impossible to get all the old stain out of the wood. Scraping is like going to confession: the surface junk comes off, but the stain remains. Purgatory (that merciful doctrine) tells us that all the deep-seated stains, come from years and decades of sin, can be and are removed; probably very slowly and painfully, but with the promise of heaven when we're purified enough to go there. I suspect that for most humans (me especially) the deepest stain is an attachment - sort of a deformed affection - for our favorite sins. That is what needs removal the most.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Understanding the Revised Mass Texts

I found this book at a religious book store last week. It's very good. I bought one for myself, and one for a dear friend who is a convert from Judaism, so did not get the benefit of hearing Mass in Latin, as I did when I was in grade school (graduated 1958) and high school (graduated 1962). I recommend it to everyone.

To my unknown Chinese (?) commentator

Dear Sir, Madam, or Miss -

When you write comments that are:

1, In English,

2, relevant to what I'm saying, and

3, civil and respectful -

I will publish them. Until then, no.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

le 14 Juillet 1789, July 14 2010

A bas la Bastille!
A bas les Aristos!
(And I think you know which ones I mean).
Later addition: a paragraph from a book called The Secret of D-Day, by Gilles Perrault. He wrote it about 1964, gleaning material from Allied and German intelligence files. It was first published in 1964 by Librairie Arthème Fayard, and earned its author the Prix de la Resistance.
"A Führer is always more or less convinced that he is always right; it is one of the peculiarities of the breed. He has his own personal star to guide him toward his destiny. He has revelations, he knows the secrets of the gods. Fortune is one his side, ready to tip the scales if necessary. He is surprised if the Red Sea does not part to let his army cross. Hitler, for example, could not admit that it was bad weather which had forced him to postpone his offensive four times between November, 1939, and May, 1940. It was abnormal. He was the man of sunlight."
(Sound like anyone else we know of?)

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Bell Curve 9 - The NLSY and Defining Cognitive Classes

The introduction to Part II of the book says: "Part II presents our best estimate of how much intelligence has to do with America's most pressing social problems. The short answer is 'quite a lot,' and the reason is that different levels of cognitive ability are associated with different patterns of social behavior. High cognitive ability is generally associated with socially desirable behaviors, low cognitive ability with socially undesirable ones."

But Herrnstein and Murray add what looks like a disclaimer, that associated with does not mean coincident with. (As statisticians are fond of saying, correlation does not mean causation.) "What this means in English is that you cannot predict what a given person [my emphasis] will do from his IQ score -- a point that we have made in part I and will make again, for it needs repeating. On the other hand, despite the low association at the individual level, large differences in social behavior separate groups of people when the groups differ intellectually on the average."

If you go back to my example given in the second essay (Feb. 1, 2010), "What looks random maybe isn't," you'll see that I tried to emphasize that no single flip of the little sink strainer can be predicted (seat or not seat itself), but after 187 trials of ten flips each, a pattern emerges. What is unpredictable singly can be accurately estimated en masse.

Now here comes what looks like a side-step. Where can one get anough data to do decent analysis on, let alone draw valid conclusions from?

The authors point to a long-term study called the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, begun in 1979 with 12,686 persons aged 14 to 22 at the time. (Check out for more info. The page is maintained by the US Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.) Herrnstein and Murray call the study "the mother lode" and add that it is unique because it combines in one study all the elements that had to be studied piecemeal beforehand -- and presumably the elements had to be gathered from many different studies.

(I had somewhat the same problem when dealing with estimated traffic demand at a proposed new interchange. The highway volume data came from the state; the cross-street volume data came from a county or city. The data had to be integrated into one data set before any analysis was even possible.)

The next thing Herrnstein and Murray do, after explaining where they get their best data, is to define cognitive classes. They divide the population into five classes, as seen here, and what isn't in the picture is in the text: classes I and V are each only 5% of the population; classes II and IV are each 20%, and class III is 50% of the population.

Then comes an important note to the reader: "You -- meaning the self-selected person who has read this far into the book [p. 121] -- live in a world that probably looks nothing like the figure. In all likelihood, almost all of your friends and professional associates belong in that top Class I slice. Your friends and associates whom you consider to be unusually slow are probably somewhere in Class II. Those whom you consider to be unusally bright are probably somewhere in the upper fraction of the 99th centile, a very thin slice of the overall distribution. In defining Class I, which we will use as an operational definition of the more amorphous group called the "cognitive elite," as being the top 5 percent, we are being quite inclusive. It does, after all, embrace some 12 1/2 million people." [Note this was 14 years ago.]

Very important endnote: In the light of eternity, how smart we are matters little compared to what we do with what we've got. "The greatest of these is love." Remember the parable of the Talents. "Much is required from him to whom much is given." It's the same as a great quip I saw on a blog, maybe one of yours: the most glorious monstrance in the world is nothing compared to Who is in it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apologies to Hilaire Belloc!

When I am dead, I hope it may be said,
"His sins were black, but his blog was read."

Can you imagine the great stuff that Belloc and Chesterton would be writing, with the tools we have available now?

The Bell Curve 8 - Another Side Note

"The widening of income in equality is caused mainly by technological changes leading to closer ties between education and employment. The crash happened because the attempt to turn America into an ownership society failed. Americans will own a house and in turn use the house as collateral to borrow money to invest."
[Emphasis mine]

This is from

which I saw just a few minutes ago. To my mind it ties in perfectly with what Herrnstein and Murray said about the emergence of a cognitive elite. In a low-tech society, one didn't need a lot of education (except perhaps as an apprentice in a medieval guild) to get and hold a job. It's very different here and now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Bell Curve 7 - side note

I mentioned in the last post about having recently read a piece that asserts what Herrnstein and Murray predicted has come true. You can find it at:

Its title is:
America's Death by Professor By Stuart Schwartz, and it was published May 20. The article also mentions Allan Bloom's Book The Closing of the American Mind, which I read when it first came out, and liked very much.

The Bell Curve 6 - More on cognitive stratification

The authors talked (in my last post) about cognitive stratification. They provided a couple of graphs to show the differences between, say, my parents' coming-of-age era, and that of their grandchildren. Here is one from 1930. Note that the mean IQ of the non-college persons is about 0.1 standard deviation (SD) less than the overall mean; the mean IQ of college graduates is about 0.7 SD above the overall mean; and the mean IQ of the grads from the prestigious colleges is about 1.3 SD above the overall mean.

Since the areas under the three curves are proportional to the relative size of the populations, it means if the three populations are combined, and taking their sizes into account, the combined mean will be the same as the mean of the whole population. It's the same as if you had a teeter-totter with a very large kid sitting one foot to the left of the pivot point, a small kid sitting about seven feet to the right, and a baby sitting about thirteen feet to the right.

Now here is a graph from 1990. Note that the mean IQs of the three populations have shifted: the non-college mean has dropped to about -0.25 SD below the overall mean IQ; the college grad mean has gone up to about +0.85 SD above the overall mean IQ, and the mean IQ of the grads of the prestigious colleges has taken a big jump to about +2.8 SD above the overall mean IQ. Quite a change in sixty years. As the authors predicted when they wrote the book in the mid-90s, this shift has profound social consequences.
At least one other author I read recently has confirmed, in a way, that what Herrnstein and Murray predicted has happened.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Bell Curve 5 - What they're talking about

(It has been quite a while, so you might want to go back and read my first four essays - Jan.9, Feb. 1, Feb. 2, and Feb. 6)

To quote the authors' preface: "This book is about differences in intellectual capacity among people and groups and what those differences mean for America's future."

In Part I, "The Emergence of a Cognitive Elite," the authors argue that in past ages and cultures, most notably western Europe, social class was determined largely by lineage and money rather than by intelligence. Therefore one would probably find a pretty normal distribution of intelligence at all class levels: that is, one could find smart peasants and stupid aristocrats.

". . . a large majority of the smart people in Cheop's (sic) Egypt, dynastic China, Elizabethan England, and Teddy Roosevelt's America were engaged in ordinary pursuits, mingling, working, and living with everyone else. Many were housewives. Most of the rest were farmers, smiths, millers, bakers, carpenters, and shopkeepers. Social and economic stratification was extreme, but cognitive stratification was minor." (p. 27)

One of the major premises of the book is that what they call cognitive stratification is a product of a high-tech society. Before the 20th century, ". . . the number of very bright people was so much greater than the number of specialized jobs for which high intelligence was indispensable." (ibid.) But during that century, assert the authors, a class structure based on intelligence emerged.

Chapter 1, "Cognitive Class and Education, 1900-1990," gives some information that I find highly interesting. The authors point out that from 1900-1990 there was a fifteen-fold increase in the proportion of people getting college degrees, and that students wishing to enter college were being more effectively selected for high IQ. They also mention that "Starting in the 1950s, a handful of institutions became magnets for the very brightest of each year's new class. In these schools, the cognitive level of the students rose far above the rest of the college population." (p. 29) They show with graphs (which one needs the smattering of statistics to interpret for oneself) that:

1, during the 20th century, the "prevalence" of the college degree went from about 2% to about 33% of the population;
2, starting about 1950, more of the top (high-school) students went to college;
3, between the 1920s and the 1960s, college attendance became more closely correlated to IQ, and
4, the cognitive sorting continued throughout one's college career.

"By the early 1960s," say the authors, "the entire top echelon of American universities had been transformed. The screens filtering their students from the masses had not been lowered but transformed. Instead of the old screen -- woven of class, religion, region, and old school ties -- the new screen was cognitive ability, and its mesh was already exceeding fine." (p. 42)

(I recall mentioning elsewhere that both my parents graduated from high school in 1931, and though they were both very bright people, for them college was out of the question. They went immediately to work, and mentioned many times they were lucky to find it. They pushed education at us six kids, with the result that all six went to college, we have five BA's and an AA, and four Master's degrees; more than that, two of my nieces have doctorates. I find it interesting that I would consider the girls part of the "cognitive elite"; my siblings and I, for the most part, definitely are not.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ghosts, Shades, Shadows

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say, 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's Day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words,
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day.

King Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I was fourteen weeks old that day --

-- and my dad missed, by a hair, being in the assault force. So he stayed stateside, came home to Mom and my older brother a year after the war was over, and then the rest of us came along. It's something to think my other five siblings might not have existed.

My most heartfelt thanks to Pop, my uncle George (gunner on a "baby flattop" in the south Pacific), their friends, and all who served, and who serve now. Those men and women then were all that stood between us and two aggressive enemies, and the women and men now are all that stand between us and another of the same.
God bless them all!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's hot

At my house in Minneapolis, it's 104 in the sun and 90 in the shade.
There is a place hotter than this.
Let's stay out of it!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Father Kelly needs education

I got this from The Catholic Caveman --

Stating that “Catholics can become fanatical about one form of the Body of Christ in the bread of the Eucharist as the REAL presence of Christ,” Father Michael Kelly, the Jesuit CEO of the Asian Catholic news agency UCA News, criticized the doctrine of transubstantiation in a May 24 column.In his column-- a critique of the new, more accurate liturgical translations that reflect the content and dignity of the original Latin-- Father Kelly writes:

"Regrettably, all too frequently, the only Presence focused on is Christ’s presence in the elements of bread and wine. Inadequately described as the change of the 'substance' (not the 'accidents') of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, the mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist carries the intellectual baggage of a physics no one accepts. Aristotelian physics makes such nice, however implausible and now unintelligible, distinctions. They are meaningless in the post-Newtonian world of quantum physics, which is the scientific context we live in today."

I left the following comment, which Caveman was kind enough to print (I have amended it a little bit for here):

I have just finished reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, in which he talks about relativity, quantum theory, the uncertainty principle, subatomic physics, the big bang, and other such topics.The conclusions I reached are:

1, it could validly be said that the universe is the result of one infinite and eternal thought;

2, these topics do not affect everyday objects and actions at the human scale[1]. Aristotelian and Newtonian physics are still valid for ordinary use;

3, the transcendent truths revealed by God in Scripture, and by our Lord Jesus Christ, are outside the physical realm;

4, so what physics we use is totally irrelevant to Christian truth, in the sense that physics cannot disprove revelation or theology;

5, God has infinite energy, so by "e=mc^2" we can see that m=e/c^2, and it doesn't matter how big the universe is, because e is infinite;

6, Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection are most certainly events at the human scale, in every sense of the word!

The good father should read more physics, and of course his catechism.

[1] Relativity does in fact have some effect on things at the human scale, but the effects are (almost?) always too small to be perceptible, and seldom even capable of being measured.

I have to add that there's no essential difference that I could ever see between the "Big Bang" theory and the first verse of Genesis: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Interesting Quote

I found this in a very interesting book about World War II: World War II; Opposing Viewpoints, William Dudley, Ed. American History Series. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997. Emphases mine.

"It is of the utmost importance that the people of this country, with the best information in the world, think things through. The most dangerous enemies of American peace are those who, without well-rounded information on the whole broad subject of the past, the present, and the future, undertake to speak with assumed authority, to talk in terms of glittering generalities, to give to the nation assurances or prophesies which are of little present or future value."

September 3, 1939; fireside chat by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Monday, April 26, 2010

Letter to a high-school girl, part 4

You asked: "Did you go to college during the 1960's?" and "What was your college experience like in the 1960's?"

I was at the U of M on and off from 1962 to 1972. The first two years were like a continuation of the 50's, as I've mentioned. My impression was that things started changing in the fall of 1964, when the first baby-boomers hit campus. The "weekly silent vigil to end the Vietnam War" started then - a few people standing by the fence surrounding the Armory at 17th and University for one hour, noon to 1 pm, every Wednesday. They kept this up every day until the last US troops left Vietnam in 1975, by the way, and it was written up in the papers at the time.

I had a distressing experience at the Newman Center in the fall of 1964. The Newman Center (named after John Henry Newman, an important figure in the Church of England in the 19th century, who converted to Rome) had daily noon Mass, and one day they started singing the Gelineau Psalms to guitar (quite an innovation in itself) accompaniment. Now in the psalms the word "Y-h-w-h" is spoken out loud in full, and I was shocked, because to pious Jews that is the Holy Name of God, too holy to be uttered by mortal lips. (I learned that from learning about Judaism in high school and after.) If you ever look at a Hebrew Bible you will see the word
often, and when a pious Jew reads Scripture aloud, he (or she) will substitute the word "Adonai" ("Lord") - which is why in Bibles you see the work LORD in small caps or italicized.

Anyway, this was the age of ecumenism, when people of good will of every faith were reaching out and trying to discover common ground. (There is plenty of it, I have to add. Your family is Lutheran, mainly, and I'm Roman Catholic, but what unites us is more important than what divides us, though the divisions are real and wide. And the Christian tree has its roots in Jewish soil.) So afte Mass was over, I went to one of the singers, a guy I knew from De La Salle, two years younger thanme, and I said, "Russ, the psalm contains the holy name of God that pious Jews will never say out loud - and if any kids from Hillel Foundation walk in here and hear that, they'll never come back, because it's offensive to them." And Russ said to me, "Bob, this is the way it's going to be around here, and if you don't like it you can get the hell out." So much for liberal tolerance.

I had another experience about 1968 or 1969, when a young black woman told me to my face I was a racist just because I was white. I could have told her about my fellow-workers at the hotel and our good relations there, but she had an "attitude" and it turned me off. So much for liberal open-mindedness.

In January 1969 (as I recall) a bunch of students (and some were not), mostly black, broke into the University administration building, occupied it for some time (some people say now only a day or so, but my memory is different), and trashed the place to the tune of dozens of thousands of dollars of damage. They refused to come out until the U met their demands, which included the creation of a Black Studies department funded by the U but administered by the Twin Cities black community. (The department did get started.) The general feeling on the part of a majority of the student body (as I recall) was that the University Police should just go in there and arrest them all. In the 1969 legislative session, the legislature slashed the U's budget request by about 1/3, and some of the legislators said in print that the action was deliberately punitive.

In the spring of 1970, US troops made an incursion into Cambodia, and there was a call for a nationwide "student strike," which many students and some teachers at the U took part in. I didn't. It was my last undergraduate quarter, and I wanted that degree and diploma. A few of the students in the theater department posted a "manifesto" condemning the war and the US involvement and especially the Cambodia incursion (fine) -- but claimed they spoke for the entire theater department, faculty and students. I went around posting up my own manifestos saying that they didn't speak for me. Sometime during the quarter, some of the self-proclaimed leaders of the strike in the theater department convened a big gathering in Scott Hall (the main theater) and demanded the theater faculty to shut down the theater department. I remember "Doc" Whiting, the department chairman, who had built the department almost singlehandedly during the 1930's and who had won accreditation for the BA program, plead with the students not to shut the U down. He had tears in his eyes as he told us that he had seen the intellectual lights going out in Europe in the 1930's (because of Nazism and Communism), that a university was parctically the only place where completely free speech was allowed and encouraged. He practically begged the kids not to do it. But they did it. I was working on my senior project at the time, designing furniture for a kids' production of "Don Quixote," and the scene shop was next to the Armory, which was a favorite target of the peaceniks' anger. When the students at UMD tried to burn down the armory on the Duluth campus, the U of M police ordered the scene shop closed, and I had to carry the furniture to another building, by hand with very little help. I couldn't force my crew to help me (nor dcould I give them bad marks), because the U authorities cooperated with the strike by saying that any student who "struck" would not be penalized. Well, I got everything done one way or another. I think the show opened on a Saturday afternoon and was to play two matinee performances. On the Saturday, the director told me he wanted some extra trimmings on the set and wanted me to coime in Sunday morning to do the work. I replied that I would be going to church, and he said "F--- church!" I didn't do what he wanted. So much for liberal acceptance of religion and my conscience.

In the winter of 1971, when I was in graduate school, working on my MA in theater, the legislature slashed the U's budget 2/3 (as I recall) and again made no secret that it was a punitive action. That made a big difference to me, because I was hoping for a career in academic theater, and with the budget cuts there were no new hires, and some cutting of staff. So there went nine years of work down the drain, so I thought at the time. I tried to keep on with the schooling, but I must have felt "What's the point?" and left the U for good in the spring of 1972. Not coincidentally, that was the last major upset on campus, when a great number of students did a sit-down in the middle of Washington Avenue, a major artery through campus and the bridge across the river. I realized then that my college career was over for good; part of it was that I was tired of studying, part was I was out of money, and part (as I look back) was that the U wasn't the same U that I had entered ten years before. It was all very depressing, and I remember the whole year of 1972 as sort of a gloomy dreary haze.

The world was a whole different place, so different from 1962 that I remember wondering where I fit in or even if I fit in. Well, I stuck at my job at the hotel until 1973, for lack of anything else to do, and in March 1974 I went to work for the Highway Department. Now this is kind of funny in a way, because I started in 1962 as a civil engineering student, got a degree and did graduate study in theater, but ended up working for the Highway Dept. and MnDOT for 27 years as a civil engineering technician.

You asked: "Looking back at the decade what are your feelings like about the 1960's?"

Looking back on it all, I feel it was a great change in American society, but not an improvement. We were a better nation when I was growing up. It was during that decade that the attitude "old is bad, new is good" crept into society and has stayed. It was then that Margaret Mead, the eminent anthropologist, said "This generation has nothing to learn from the past." I thought she'd lost her marbles. In the late sixties or early seventies, Alvin Toffler wrote Future Shock, the main point of which, as I recall, was that the pace of change in society was speeding up, and pretty soon changes would happen so fast that no one could keep up with them. I think he was right.

But I did get a very solid and well-rounded education at De La Salle and the U of M, and I still use it, and no one can take it away from me. My Christian faith was solidified and strengthened by being challenged by half-believers and unbelievers. I discovered through reading, study, discussion, and being challenged that nothing on earth can disprove the truth of the Christian faith. The country has changed, but insofar as I have kept to the ideals of my boyhood and youth, I have not; which makes me an outcast in the Land Of Political Correctness. But that's okay, and to be expected, because this is exactly what Jesus warned would happen to His followers.

"God writes straight with crooked lines," says an old proverb. For instance, if I hadn't joined MnDOT, I would never have met your mom, and I would never have known you, and I wouldn't be sitting here writing my story for you. God knows what He's doing. He put me on earth in exactly the right time and place to experience what I did and be able to pass it along. Praise the Lord!

"Rejoice in the Lord, always, I say, rejoice!"

* * * * *

Well, A----, I could go on and write another book for you, but you wouldn't have time to read it and process it. You'll be short on time as it is, I've given you so much. Allow me to sort of play "crusty old Grandpa" for a minute - look over my bifocals and shake my cane at you and say, "Young lady, don't wait so long to start the paper." Seriously though, I know how hard-pressed you are for time and energy.

My best wishes to you and all the family!
Take care and God bless,

Letter to a high-school girl, part 3

You asked: "What were you doing when you heard about JFK's assassination? What did you think?"

I was working in the FBI office in downtown Minneapolis as a file clerk; the announement came over the intercom about 12:30 that Kennedy had been shot; and about 1:00 the news came that he had died. Of course it was a matter for the FBI. I recall thinking something like "Life will go on." I never bothered much about all the teeny details of Oswald and Ruby, or why Ruby shot Oswald (some say it was to keep Oswald silent about all he knew) - and in the years since all kinds of theories have been floating around.

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You asked: "Did you participate in politics and if so what candidates did you support in the 1960's?" and "Did you serve in the Vietnam War? If you did in what capacity? Please share some notable experiences about the Vietnam War." and "Please share what your feelings are about the war now." and "Were you eligible for the Vietnam draft? Please tell about your experience with the Vietnam draft."

My participation in politics was limited to voting. Like everything else in the middle and late 60's, politics became very polarized, and that is still going on. In 1964 I would have voted for Goldwater. In 1968 I voted Republican (look up sometime the riot at the Democratic convention in Chicago). Ditto every election since, as best I recall. In general, I vote conservative (though neither major party has an exclusive grasp on good ideas - or stupidity).

I didn't serve in the war, but had many friends who did. Six of them are dead, killed in action; two came home as walking time-bombs and drank and drugged themselves to death later on, because they couldn't handle the horrors they experienced. (There is a contrast there between Vietman vets and WWII vets, but it's not relevant here.) NO ONE I know who served in combat in Vietnam came home whole in both body and soul.

My feelings about the war now are just grief, sadness, and loss. My best buddy, Phil, married Mary in November 1967 and was killed in Vietnam in March 1969. It took Mary five and a half years to put herself back together and remarry. I was with her a lot. The night before Phil shipped out, he stopped over to my house, and we sat on the back porch and had a couple of beers. He told me that since he was a first lieutenant of infantry, his chances of coming home at all were less than half, and his chances of coming home alive and whole were less than one in three. He asked me to take care of Mary if he was killed, and I promised I would, and I did the best I could. You don't forget stuff like that.

My thoughts about the war are that it was unwinnable. The regime in Saigon was corrupt and stayed corrupt, despite American efforts to shore it up, and as a consequence the South Vietnamese Regular Army was also corrupt and incompetent. The North Vietnamese Regular Army and the Viet Cong irregulars were far more disciplined and more effective. There is a book called Vietnam by Stanley Karnow, who covered the war as a journalist while it was going on, and went back to Vietnam years later, after the war was long over. One of the people he talked to was then-General Giap of the North Vietnamese regulars, who said to Karnow that the best allies the North Vietnames communists had were the student antiwar protests in the US and the growing public sentiment against the war. Many years after the war was over, Robert McNamara, who was Secretary of Defense at the time (and resigned in protest), wrote a book In Retrospect, in which he says that the Johnson administration lied to the public about the war. I have to add that the actress Jane Fonda, who was an ardent peacenik, made a trip to North Vietnam, and issued a statement condemning American involvement in the war. A few years ago she apologized publicly for that, but it's too late. To a whole generation of guys she'll always be "Hanoi Jane."

I was eligible for the draft, and registered on my eighteenth birthday in 1962. One way to stay out of the Army was to be in school, which is a lousy motivation to study, but a strong one anyway. I got called up in the spring of 1965, just after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (look it up) when Johnson (who ran in 1964 on a peace platform) decided to "escalate" American involvement, and the Army needed lots of warm bodies. I went through the physical and, deciding that I was very likely a dead man, went home, packed everything, gave some things away, and sat down and waited for the orders to report. Nothing happened. Nothing happened all summer, because the Army lost my paperwork. Except for the print shop, I had no job, and not enough money for fun, but no one would hire me. In fact, one prospective employer told me, "Look, Kid, I know it's illegal to refuse to hire you, but why should I waste time and money training you in, just to have the Army snatch you away?" It was finally in late August that the notice came that I had failed the physical exam and was unqualified for military service. I was happy and sorry at the same time. My dad served in the Army in WWII, my Uncle George served aboard a carrier in combat in the Navy in the South Pacific, and I wanted to help our country. At the same time, I felt like I had a death sentence taken off my shoulders. Guys my age tell me now that flunking the physical very likely saved my life.