“I don’t miss them”, Amy said calmly. That was on Tuesday, and her brothers had been gone for two days. They left for Camp Sacred Heart (see here and here) the previous Sunday. Amy seemed to be enjoying herself in their absence.

“Are you sure you don’t miss your brothers?” I asked on Wednesday.

“I don’t miss them. Except maybe I miss them helping take care of Annie and doing the chores.” She said it matter-of-factly.

“Are you sure you don’t miss them at all?”

“Yes, I’m sure! And they don’t miss me either!”

“OK, fine.”

Amy is always quiet, but by Thursday she was unusually quiet. That evening I asked her how her day was, and she said “not very good” because there wasn’t much to do. I reminded her of all the things she had been doing, but that didn’t seem to help. So far this week one of our cats had four kittens and another goat had a kid. The best smile I saw on her face was Wednesday afternoon when she carried the new white kid in her arms all the way to my office to tell me the news. She was beaming then, but the smiles didn’t last.

Friday was no different. Amy still insisted she didn’t miss them. Would she be happy to see them? “They’re just going to talk and talk about camp when they get home. Just like last year.”

I picked the boys up on Saturday morning and returned to the ranch around 2:00pm. Melancholy Amy lit up like a candle and the smile still hasn’t left her lips. She listens eagerly to their stories and asks lots of questions. Last night she picked up a rubber band and fired the first shot at Jonathan, who chased her down and fired back. At dinner she teased Christopher playfully and couldn’t take her eyes off of his sunburned face. No, she didn’t miss them at all.


Amanda, my little five-year old chatterbox, couldn’t be more different than Amy. She relished having more of her parents’ attention last week. She often accompanied me on my evening chores and tried her best to be helpful. Fatherhood sure makes a man feel big. She thinks I know everything (except not as much as mommy). Amanda and Christopher often play together, and for the most part Christopher is good big brother to her. They get along well about 75% of the time, but they’re both hard-headed choleric personalities and they can clash fiercely. She told me during the week that she missed her brothers but she didn’t miss fighting with Christopher. This morning, however, Amanda burst into the bedroom to tell me that she had been playing with Christopher and “we didn’t argue at all”!


My boys have changed. Jonathan, who inherited my boyhood social awkwardness, is standing a little taller. He has a spring in his step and a new confidence in his voice. Christopher, too, seems a little more mature and a little less goofy. They both obey a little more promptly. This is Jonathan’s third year, and Christopher’s second. Camp Sacred Heart has been good for them both. The priests, seminarians, and counselors are extremely dedicated and work very hard to be good examples for the boys. Most of the boys come from strong Catholic families and are exemplary role models themselves. Some of these boys see each other only once a year – at camp. Camp Sacred Heart must be the only boys camp of its kind in California: rigorous, adventurous, disciplined, deeply devout, and fully traditional. It’s an incalculable blessing to all of us.

The Gregorian Rite (TLM) in New Zealand

The first traditional Catholic priest I ever met was Fr. John Rizzo, F.S.S.P., a fiery preacher with boundless energy who would have received us into the Catholic Church had he not been transferred. Apparently he has just arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, to give the Gregorian Rite (a name worthy of replacing “TLM” for good!) a boost in this land where traditional Catholicism is barely present. He will be celebrating daily Mass at the historic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, said to be the “finest renaissance style building in New Zealand”.

Here’s a recent article:

“Father John Rizzo arrived in New Zealand from Sydney this week. Trained with the traditional Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in America, he will lead the daily Latin masses held in the cathedral chapel starting next week.

Rizzo says the Christchurch diocese is following a worldwide conservative trend in the Catholic Church.

Latin is a living language in the eyes of the Church and with the approval of the Pope, more and more priests are learning the Latin liturgy, he says.

During the Traditional Mass, priests face away from the congregation. Rizzo says this is not to separate priests from the people, but to lead the people towards God.

Catholic layman Pat Barrett says he will consider going to Latin mass once it becomes available daily.

‘It’s something I would take my children to. What Latin mass does is bring back the sense of the sacred which can be harder to find in English mass,’ he says.”

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: The Boycott

Image courtesy of One Oar in the Water.

Some readers may recall the correspondence between your blog host and Sierra Grossman of Chico’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Company over the latter’s support for a local abortion mill. Thanks to Catholic Beer Review, The Curt Jester, and the Rosary Army (listen to their podcast) a boycott of Sierra Nevada’s products seems to be picking up steam. For Sierra Grossman’s edification I offer these quotes from the aforementioned websites:

“Okay, back to the bad guys. Miller products don’t interest me anyway and they ended up doing the right thing, so if you must drink Miller beer then you can buy their products in good conscience (the only pang of conscience one might have is whether it’s really fair to call Miller Lite ‘beer’.) But Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada products are top flight and represent some of my favorite beers. This is harder. What is a Catholic to do? Well, in the face of Sierra Nevada’s unrepentant support of a notorious abortion provider, I think they need to face a Catholic boycott. If you agree with me, let them know that you’re not buying their stuff any more.” – David Palm

“That being said I think it would be a good idea for Catholics to boycott Sieraa-Nevada and I will do so myself – and I do like their brews.” – Jeff Miller

“I am extremely disappointed to hear the bad news about Sierra Nevada. For over a year, I sort of got away from my main brew, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and was buying SN’s Pale Ale. It’s truly a great American pale ale but upon learning of their unrepentant support for abortion (thanks to the Court Jester and this site), I will no longer buy it.”
– Dan Garcia

“I had thought of exploring the Sierra Nevada brews, but now, I figure I won’t.” – James Garrison

“Now my taste buds think that drinking Miller beer would be sinful, so I couldn’t boycott them anyway. Samuel Adam appears not to have made the same mistakes they did previously and so I don’t think their is any real need for a boycott against them. Sierra Nevada is another story and I will be boycotting them … This is too bad since I really like Sierra Nevada’s brews and ironically started buying their beer after Greg Willits of Rosary Army mentioned them.” – Jeff Miller

“Thanks for the info! I felt badly telling my husband, as that is one of his favorite beers, but we needed to know.” – Kristen J.

“Man. This is the perfect example of a situation where ignorance is bliss. My favorite brewery is an abortion advocate. That’s like a sucker punch, Jeff. I refuse to buy Samuel Adams because of what they did. But now Sierra Nevada? That just hurts.” – Greg

“Thanks for the info! I will make it a point not to order those beers again! God bless!” – Padre Steve

“Miller is swill. Never been much for Sam Adams, though I have one occasionally. And I’ll certainly be staying away from Sierra Nevada.” – Josh Miller

“Shame about Sierra Nevada. Any news on Anchor Steam? (They ARE based in San Francisco…)” – Joe

Send your comments to Sierra Grossman at this address: sierra@sierranevada.com .

Anthony Esolen on the New Barbarians

This entry at Mere Comments deserves to be quoted in full:

“I hesitate to use the word ‘barbarian’ to describe our current state of amnesia — or, worse, our current pleasure in deriding our civic, intellectual, and spiritual forefathers. That’s because barbarians did not do that. The change from nomadic tribesman to citizen does not mark the beginning of chronicles and memorials and feasts to honor the legendary heroes of one’s people. What changes is the form of the memorial — in stone, perhaps, rather than merely in orally bequeathed poetry — and the reasons for celebrating the virtue; no longer mere courage in the battlefield, but courage shown for the sake of one’s country. In other words, there is a fine continuity between celebrating the strength of Achilles and celebrating the bravery of Horatius at the bridge.

So how should we describe this new thing in the world, a people without roots, tumbleweeds that flit and float from fad to fad, attracted by bright toys and flashy sleaze? Postcultural, certainly, but also postbarbarian. The barbarian has not been civilized yet; but what we have now are people who used to be civilized, and that seems to me to be a different thing entirely. Right now I’m poking around in old schoolbooks, readers from the 1800’s, for instance. The literary quality of the pieces included in Holmes’ Fifth Reader is impressive (selections by Shakespeare, Dickens, Macaulay, Browning, Henry Clay, John Marshall, for example). Even the dated pieces by writers we no longer recognize are not all that bad. What strikes me most powerfully, though, is the assumption by the anthologist that the young reader will be edified, literally ‘built up,’ by his encounter with the great writers of England and America. The reader is expected to know, or to want to know, who General Anthony Wayne was, or what John Marshall was like in his personal habits, or how Henry Clay rose from penury and ignorance to his long career of service in the Senate. More than one kind of memory is exercised by these pieces; and it is not true that the students were encouraged never to question the complete wisdom of all those who came before them. That surely was not possible, two decades after the Civil War. Honor is not the same thing as supine submission.

In any case, by any standard I can think of — erudition, taste, depth of thought, sheer humanity — there is no way I can consider that reader as the same sort of thing as the typical textbook or movie or television show aimed at adolescents now. It would be like comparing the Aphrodite of Melos to an old stone age steatopygic (there’s the word of the day) fertility doll, except that that’s not fair to the men and women of Bedrock.

The barbarian’s roots were few but deep. We have pulled our roots up. I don’t know what that makes us. I don’t know, either, what others will say, but I had rather sit by the fire with a gang of hunters or marauders and sing about the courage of Sigemund or the skill of Weland, than slouch on a sofa to sautee my mind and soul with Sex and the City. Which is as much as to say, I kind of like a fully human life, with memories and traditions extending far into the venerable past, and connecting me with the future. I’d rather be a barbarian with thirty years of that kind of long life, than whatever in the name of the regions below we are now, skittering for ninety years from pointless moment to moment.”

Orland, California: “A Town Where it’s Hard to Say ‘Gay'”

[ photo unavailable ]

Fran is my favorite waitress at the Kountry Kitchen – always ready with a smile and pleasant conversation. She doesn’t like the big cities, and once told me that she never travels further south than Dunnigan.

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle contains quite a surprise: a long, detailed profile of Orland and the same-sex marriage issue. Some reporter obviously spent quite a lot of time here. I’m not sure what to think of the article, except to say that it isn’t a conventional hit piece – and that’s refreshing.

“But the topic has yet to make its way into everyday conversation in Orland, the largest city in staunchly conservative Glenn County, which in 2000 voted for Proposition 22, the successful state ballot initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman, with the highest total in the state, nearly 83 percent.

The town of about 7,000 people sits just a few blocks off busy Interstate 5 and is a three-hour drive from San Francisco. Politically, though, it is as far away as Middle America.

‘The last time I was in San Francisco was in the 1950s,’ Vonasek said. ‘Too wild for me.’

Whether it is opinions on same-sex marriage or an affinity for big trucks, not much has changed in Orland in the last eight years.

Republicans still outnumber Democrats, 47 percent to 33 percent. It’s still a place where residents brag only half-jokingly about having more bars and churches than anywhere else in the state. Even though it has been hit hard by the real estate foreclosure crisis, Orland remains a bedroom community for people who commute to nearby Chico. And it’s still a place where almond trees appear to outnumber residents.

‘This is an old-fashioned town. The way life used to be,’ said Young, who is retired from the Glenn County road department and laughs about his first job, when he made 15 cents an hour pulling weeds for the local librarian.

‘We are slow-moving,’ added Vonasek, also a retired road worker.

Most residents still don’t like the idea of allowing men to marry men and women to marry women. Some residents say they don’t know any openly gay people, and others have trouble even saying the word ‘gay.’ One man called it being ‘of the homosexual persuasion.'”

And it goes on like this.

Like I said: not a conventional hit piece. And the journalist, Cecelia Vega, is gracious enough to let her subjects speak for themselves. However, the article is written from the perspective of someone who thinks she has just unearthed a strange archaeological relic, a potential museum artifact. Perhaps that is the result of knowing, and writing for, the Chronicle’s predominantly insular liberal readership. If you want to know what most Bay Area dwellers really think of Orland (and you don’t), read the comments (if you have a strong stomach).

Glenn County capitulates

I’ve just been told by an assistant to Mr. Vince Minto, Glenn County’s Clerk-Recorder, that the county has been “ordered” by the state of California to comply with the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. She said that he consulted extensively with a staff attorney and concluded that he didn’t have any choice in the matter. She said the forms have all been changed (although the forms on the website still say “bride” and “groom”) and are “in place” for compliance next week. She said that the county does not perform weddings or otherwise solemnize marriages.

How utterly depressing. This, in the county where Proposition 22 received the highest percentage of votes. The lack of backbone just astounds me. Truly we are living in the world described by W.B. Yeats: “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”.

UPDATE: I just contacted the clerks’ offices of Tehama, Shasta, Siskiyou and Modoc counties, and I was told in every case that they will not only be issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but also performing same-sex marriages, which they are not required to do. Sheep, that’s what they are. A bunch of pathetic sheep.

Northern California mysteries, legends, and lore

The abandoned Scott home in the ghost town of Poker Flat.

Lost Gold and Buried Treasure

Ghost Towns of Northern California

Gold Rush Ghosts

The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta

Ghost Towns of the Western Sierras

Sacramento’s “Underground City”

A Race of “Little Men” on Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta Indian Legends

Tahoe Tessie

Mysteries of the deep at Lake Tahoe

Bigfoot Encounters

Camille Paglia on the Latin Mass

Speaking of Benedicamus Domino, her latest post links to a speech given by Camille Paglia at Santa Clara University in which she has some interesting things to say about the traditional Latin Mass:

“Elements of New Age sensibility seem to have entered American Catholicism, which in the 1950s was already moving away from its déclassé ethnic roots and Protestantizing itself through a startling drabness of church architecture and décor. The folk songs, Protestant hymns, affable sermons, and literal hand-holding in today’s suburban Catholic churches illustrate mellow New Age principles of inclusion and harmony and reinforce the casualness of the vernacular Mass and the slackness of unpoetic contemporary translations of Scripture. Priests, meanwhile, are now being trained to be social workers; theology and learning per se are no longer as heavily emphasized. The priest, with his public performance of the mysterious Latin Mass, was once an embodiment of learning for ordinary people. Latin, which I still believe to be the basis of most strong writing in English, was intrinsic to a priest’s official identity and gave churchgoers a moving sense of historical continuity with classical antiquity, when the Christian story began. The priest, in other words, was an educator, just as university education began in the Middle Ages as training for priests.”

On the radio this afternoon I listened to an NPR interview with a comedian by the name of Lewis Black – someone I’ve never heard of (and after Googling his name I’m glad of it) – who was lamenting the liturgical changes in the Catholic Church and saying some amazingly favorable things about the old Latin Mass, describing how the beauty and mystery of the Latin liturgy used to draw him into churches, even though he is Jewish. So it seems that non-Catholics and even anti-Catholics recognize the incredible loss of abandoning the traditional Mass and replacing it with a liturgical version of the Oprah show.

New home videos!

My wife won’t admit it, but she’s a techno-geek. Last week she figured out how to upload home videos on YouTube and has been having a lot of fun with it. For your amusement …

This is a talkative Anne Josephine at age seven months:

This is me and a friend performing “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” on a Sunday afternoon:

Here’s Christopher, Jonathan and Amy playing a waltz in the living room:

I know, there went seven minutes of your life that you’ll never get back. Sorry about that – but you should have known better!