Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

We’ll get to the Latin part in a minute, but first the news.

Independence for Scotland and other places.

Mexico is independent from the US -- for all the good it does them. They're stuck with us, and we are stuck with them, forever.

Wisely, the Scots realized they shared in island with Britain and there's no changing that.


People have too much stuff or they are too attached to the stuff they have. You see, it’s not really the amount of stuff you have, it’s how you manage it. Here are some guidelines for judging your own pile of stuff.

--- 1. Do you know what you have?

--- 2. Do you know where it is?

--- 3. Can you retrieve this object without tearing the whole pile apart?

If you can honestly answer yes to all three questions, then you do not have too much stuff. It’s not the amount, it’s the management that counts. You could be running a complete home museum and be doing all right, because you’re in charge.

Attachment is another topic. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, but it does matter how fiercely you clutch at it with your greedy fingers. Can you let it go? If you can let it go, then you can keep it. But if you can’t let it go, it will eventually harm you.

Fight the Virus!

Social media rewards impulsive, infantile behavior. Going viral is a medical metaphor -- an indication of disease and infection. It describes rampant & reckless behavior -- I would be appalled if anything I posted went viral....... I pause, consider, and think before I hit the post button on Facebook. I try to write something that might be interesting to other people. I do a little bragging about my personal accomplishments. I might respond to your political comment with a contrary view...... Fight the virus!

I finished reading David Copperfield.

Seriously, I never thought much of Dora, his “Little Blossom,” his child-wife, but after a while I began to realize that it didn’t matter what I thought, but it did matter how David felt. He loved her most completely -- amend that – David loved Dora almost 99 percent completely, but the missing parts were easy to discover – the lack of a mutual interest, the lack of a common purpose.

No, I didn’t care for Dora too much at first, but I began coming around to an increasing affection for her because of her candor. She knew what she was like. She admitted her shortcomings -- that she was childish emotionally and incapable of domestic management. She never fooled David or lied to him. She was, in her way, a most reliable companion.

And she died. Well, it’s a novel. People die. We knew it was going to be Agnes all along. Agnes and David would spend their lives together and raise a happy family in the end.

Everyone being disposed of, Uriah Heep in prison, Micawbr finding that pecuniary bliss that eluded him for more than 800 pages, and Mr. Peggoty rescuing his niece Emily from a shameful life, the book did end quite happily.

The Periodic Table of Elements.

For a chemist, this image is a work of great beauty and harmony. It sings. It’s who we are. It is the tide and the moon and the sun. It is the garden. It is the attraction of one thing to another – what we call bonding.

There are patterns, there are tendencies, there are potentialities, and there are certainties that are not quite divine.

I might need to take a course in chemistry -- I have really over-done it in “learn-by-yourself.” The limitation of being self-taught is you are left un-credentialed and idiosyncratic. I might take one of those free Internet courses offered by major universities. Then I might find some practical application of this knowledge.

High School

I could not attend the 50th reunion of my high school class at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. My daughter was married two weeks ago and the choice was clear – weddings matter much more than reunions.

So I sent them this – very short – reminiscence.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Carl Pendola sat behind me in 1-A freshman year. It was alphabetical.

Fr. McPartlin taught us religion. He was going to prove the existence of God. I hardly thought that was necessary, but I was amused by the way he flourished Latin phrases of irrefutable logic.

Alan Marn was teased and mocked for his effeminate posture. He reacted with supreme disdain.

A year later, we had Mr. Rogan and Mr. Lamont. I had hoped to be friends with them.

Mr. Roach taught us chemistry, he was slightly absent and rumpled. I enjoyed his class quite a bit.

Father Clifford taught us Latin senior year. He recited Virgil with dramatic intensity. I enjoyed it so much that I took two more years of Latin at college.

I became a good friend of Mrs. Serwich, because I liked her joyful smile and I because I was sent there so often for disciplinary infractions.

I may have set a school record for consecutive days in Jug my senior year. What happened is that I refused to memorize the poem. Correct recital of the poem merited dismissal from Jug. I refused. I sat there day after day, and week after week. They didn't care. I could have sat there until hell froze over. I would still be sitting there fifty years later, but I finally realized that I had lost and the Jesuits had won again. I meekly recited the poem and I was dismissed. They were kind enough not to rub it in.

I see that Frederick Thulin will attend the reunion. I remember that he was accepted at Michigan State with the intention to study Arabic. He said that Arabic was the most useless subject that he might learn. Will you please ask him how that worked out?

My regards and best wishes to everyone.

I live in Santa Barbara and count each day a blessing.

Your classmate,

Fred Owens

All My Energy

I wrote this little memoir, summing up all my energy into making it an agreeable message to my classmates. In truth, high school was a four-year-long nightmare, boring and brutal. I have not set foot on that campus in 50 years -- except for a short visit 30 years ago when I inquired at the front desk if Fr. Beall might come and talk with me. He was the Ass't Principal and Disciplinarian during my tenure. I liked him. In a pathetic search for friendship and approval, I actually broke rules at school in order that I might be sent to his office..... But when I came to visit years later, he was busy doing something -- so the receptionist said, or gone for the day, or whatever.....

Well, that’s enough for now.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is Fred Owens

My writing blog is Frog Hospital

send mail to:

Fred Owens
35 West Main St Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001

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