Archive for February, 2009


One of the great things about having a lot of children is that there is often a three year old in the house. I don’t know if I have a favorite age, unless it is “under six”, but three year olds are particularly delightful. While articulate and imaginative, they retain something of infancy, unselfconscious and without guile.

Our current three year old, Michael Seraphim, is bright and funny and mischievous. He has come a long way from his babyhood, when he was known as “Fussy Fussmore” and “The Horrible Adorable Baby”. Of course he was also cute and sweet- that was the “adorable” part of the equation- but he was also our most ornery baby. He nearly always, for the first two years of his life, woke up crying, if not screaming.

Can you imagine living like that?

Our new baby, Daniel, is blessedly the happiest yet, much to our relief.

Michael started mellowing some when he was two, and while he is still a handful he is also a lot of fun. I will resist regaling you with Michael stories, but allow me to share a couple examples of his cuteness and creativity.

First, his cuteness. Suffice it to say that he calls R2D2, the robot from Star Wars, “R-Tooty-Too”.

And his creativity: I have always used my hands as primitive puppets to talk to young children, and have never found one who could resist a conversation. Michael gives them names, and they sort of assume the personality of his highly evocative names. The characters, so far, are: Myron Jones, Quicky the Snake, Tricky D’Mosso, Joonzy Furtail (a squirrel), and the latest member of the cast, Joey Beans. I assume you know just by looking which of these are the good guys and which are the bad guys, except for Joey Beans. I could see someone named “Joey Beans” as a thick tough guy, like a mob enforcer. But I could also see him as a gee-whiz, freckle-faced cub reporter type. Michael says he is good, so he is the latter.

I wish my boy could stay three for at least three years, but I know it will too soon pass.

I’ll try not to think about it.

Daniel Nichols

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Tom mentioned this in a comment a few weeks ago; here is the official announcement.

Nassau Community College Center for Catholic Studies Presents a Conference:

Catholicism and Economics: Democratic Socialist, Democratic Capitalist, and Distributist Options

The Nassau Community College Center for Catholic Studies, in conjunction with the New York Regional Chapter of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, is proud to convene a conference on the topic of “Catholicism and Economics.” The conference will be held on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 at the College Center Building of Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York, from 11:30 A.M. through to 4:30 P.M. The conference will centrally address the issue of the compatibility of the Catholic vision with three economic systems: “democratic socialism,” “democratic capitalism,” and “distributism” through a series of scholarly presentations, intellectual exchanges, and summary statements and will conclude with a final reflection on the conference from the perspective of Heinrich Pesch and “solidarism.”

Representing the Democratic Socialist option will be Dr. Charles M.A. Clark , a Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University in Jamica, Queens, New York. Representing the Democratic Capitalist option will be Michael Novak, the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C. Representing the Distributist Option will be Thomas Storck, author and member of the Editorial Board of the Chesterton Review and the Society for Distributism. Providing the final reflection will be Dr. Stephen M. Krason, Esq., Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

The conference also includes brief tributes to the careers of three recently deceased and nationally prominent Catholic scholars. Monsignor Robert Batule of the Seminary of Immaculate Conception will speak on the academic contributions of the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., of Fordham University. Monsignor George P. Graham, Ph.D., President of the New York Regional Chapter of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, will talk about the career of the late Monsignor Michael Wrenn of Dunwoodie Seminary. Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute with speak on the intellectual achievements of the late Father Richard J. Neuhaus, long time Editor of First Things magazine.

While the event is free of any charge, registration and a parking permit are required. All attendees must register by contacting the Nassau Community College Office of Life Long Learning, 1 Education Drive, Garden City, New York, 11530, phone 1-516-572-7472. The Office of Life Long Learning will mail you registration material and a one-day parking permit. Attendees should be aware that failure to display a permit on the inside window ledge of your vehicle or otherwise parking illegally could result in a parking ticket being issued. Those in need of directions to the College Center Building or otherwise lost on campus can contact the Office of Public Safety at 1-516-572-7100.

Maclin Horton (for Thomas Storck)

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I received this email today from Richard Aleman of the Society for Distributism. I assume “this evening” refers to today, Feb. 16, 2009:

Dear friends of the Society,

This evening, Jeremiah Bannister, host of Paleo Radio (broadcast from Olivet College), will interview Thomas Storck, author of The Catholic Milieu, Foundations of a Catholic Political Order, and Christendom and the West. Mr. Storck is on the editorial board of The Chesterton Review and was formerly a contributing editor of Caelum et Terra and New Oxford Review.

Mr. Storck will be discussing Distributism, with a particular focus on the topic of the Guilds.

We hope you will tune in and listen to this exciting broadcast.

The program begins at 6pm EST, and you can listen to it here: http://www.wocrfm.com (Internet Explorer users only).

Servire Deo regnare est!
Richard Aleman
The Society for Distributism

Maclin Horton

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Last Sunday I drove to Parma, to the Byzantine Cathedral of St John, because I wanted to hear a talk on the Jesus Prayer after the Divine Liturgy.

After the Liturgy was over, a middle aged man walked up to me and said “Dan?” I studied his face for a moment and realized that I had no idea who he was. Something like that had happened not too long ago, when a friend I had not seen in 30 years or so approached me and said my name. Embarrassed, I told him that I did not recognize him, but when he told me his name I could see how the guy I remembered- thin and long haired- had evolved into the grey, balding and portly fellow before me. Old friends are more likely to recognize me than I them, because while I have aged, I haven’t changed much: I have all my hair, it isn’t grey, and while I have put on weight since youth, in my case that has meant going from skinny to average.

So I assumed this was a similar case. I told him, “I’m sorry; I’m afraid I don’t know who you are”. He said, “John. John Powers”. The name was no more familiar than the face, and for a moment I panicked: was this some delayed side effect from the stroke I suffered in 2002, from which I thought I had escaped with only minor short term memory loss? “I’m sorry, but I am drawing a blank”, I told him. “Aren’t you a musician?” he asked; “Don’t you play at the Loose Moose in Sagamore Hills?” (I am not making up the name of either the bar or the town). I told him that while I play a little guitar and penny whistle I wouldn’t call myself a musician, and I had never been to the Loose Moose. “Man”, he said “I know a guy who looks just like you”.

Now, I must pause to explain to those of you who have never met me that I’m not often told I look like anyone else. My hair is blond and curly. I’m not sure what  percentage of men are afflicted with this kind of hair is, but it is not great, though it seemed to be plentiful among the subspecies Rock Stars of the 70s. But I see it so rarely that I do a double take when I do. On top of this, I haven’t cut my hair for a few years now, and I wear it tied back in a pony tail. There cannot be very many men with my hair color and texture and style. Further, that look enough like me for me to mistaken for them. AND who have the same first name! I regretted not asking what the guy’s last name is. I mean what if …??!!  What is this? Am I living two lives, unbeknownst to myself? Is this a permanent case of bilocation?

I mean what are the odds?

It reminds me of the time, in my hitch-hiking youth, when I struck up a conversation with a young woman in a cafe high in the Sierra Mountains in California. “Where are you from?” she asked. “Michigan” I replied. “Michigan! Do you know Mike Purzycki?”, who happened to be an old friend since our days at St John’s Elementary School. There are what?  30 million people in Michigan?

But this was, if anything, even stranger.

There are strange experiences. Then there are stranger experiences. Then there are what I call perfect stranger experiences, like these two.

I don’t know. Some weekend I may drive up to Sagamore Hills, find the Loose Moose, and introduce my selves.

—Daniel Nichols

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