Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It Was Really Cheap

So, I bought the big gallon vat of cheapo ice cream at the supermarket. I had Paul read the ingredients. Ew--er--I mean--how interesting. We looked up "xanthan gum" on Wiki and came up with this as part of the entry:

In the oil industry, xanthan gum is used in large quantities, usually to thicken drilling mud. These fluids serve to carry the solids cut by the drilling bit back to the surface. Xanthan gum provides great "low end" rheology. When the circulation stops, the solids still remain suspended in the drilling fluid. The widespread use of horizontal drilling and the demand for good control of drilled solids has led to the expanded use of xanthan gum. Xanthan gum has also been added to concrete poured underwater, in order to increase its viscosity and prevent washout.

So, we ate it.

On the other hand, I am no longer buying bread, and by baking so many things from scratch these days, what with my new range and all, I have drastically reduced my shopping costs, and I am certain we have upped our nutritional food intake. So if we ingest a viscous pentasaccaride from time to time, I think we are excused.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More on Graduate Education

This time, literature in particular is the topic of an essay. This piece, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, suggests that literary criticism or "readings" may impede our own personal interpretation of an author's idea, and ruin the effect the writing ought to have on us individually. Stick with him through the example of Marx as literary critic, and see if you agree in the end.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking Bets on Notre Dame (Re: Laetare) that Mary Ann Glendon has graciously declined the Laetare Medal, to whom will Fr. Jenkins turn? NRO 's guess is Biden; The Curt Jester reluctantly mentions Kmiec, with tongue firmly in cheek, I imagine. Well, either of those would show us...right?

Anyone else care to speculate?

A New University Model?

From the NY Times: A thought provoking Op-Ed piece on our universities, including a prescription for change. I don't agree with all of the ideas (regulation makes me bristle, and some of his suggestions happen already in large university settings, without being required), but anyone who says "abolish tenure" gets my attention. This ought to inspire some conversation in faculty dining halls.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Circe with Bubbles and Violets

Yes, I actually have a dog who blows bubbles in her water bowl. And then she tries to catch them.

After a proper hosing, she dries off in the violets.
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Carbon Capture

Now what do I do with it?

Just kidding. I released it promptly into the atmosphere.

The next day, we had record breaking heat. Therefore, yeast cause global warming.
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A Boy and His Bike

Trip traveled 70.13 miles today. And found Mass around the halfway point:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick Family Updates

T can ride his bike very far. Nearly 50 miles far, so far, in an afternoon.

P and A are working on the latest Front Lawn Players production, As You Like It:

Libby is busy preparing for finals and juries.

I have two articles to write for Mater et Magistra. Subscribe here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Easter Budgie

It was about 8 years ago, on a cold, snowy autumn day, when we finally caught the little parakeet that had been at our feeder with a flock of sparrows for two weeks. We put up signs, but no one claimed her, so we named her "Flappy," and she has been our birdy buddy ever since. She outlived the mate we bought for her by two years (so far), but had never laid a single egg. Today, I saw her on the bottom of the cage, and feared the worst: Budgie's don't live for long, and we did not know how old she was when we found her. Instead of dying, however, she surprised us by hissing protectively over a clutch of three tiny translucent eggs. Will wonders never cease?

When we first captured her, Trip honored her with a poem...I can only remember this part: "Her name is Flappy, and I can't see a minute when she ain't!" The name still suits her.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazing Lamb Recipes

From the Carnegie Mellon University. Scroll through to the Wakayama Lamb recipie, and follow the instructions carefully. That's what's for dinner at our house.

Happy Easter from the Derhams!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Questions

Following our weekly review of the homework, I "opened the floor" to questions from my 4th grade CCD class. After getting to the heart of great matters like, "Is the Easter Bunny real?", The kids started asking real questions. None of these questions could be answered by using the crummy text book that is approved for the class. Here's what they wanted to know:

Why did Judas betray Jesus?
What does "Catholic" mean?
Why did Jesus wash the feet of his disciples?
What is the difference between "Catholic" and "Christian"?
What's so important about Easter?
What's up with the number 40?

I expect more questions after Easter break...I hope I can keep up!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lamb or Ham?

Food shopping for Easter dinner turned into a bit of a hunt. There were hams galore, but no lamb to be found. Finally I checked in the imported and exotic meat section and found a nice leg of lamb...from Australia. There were only a few there, but I found what I needed. Maybe I just haven't noticed the dearth of lamb before, or maybe it's a Long Island thing, but we have always had lamb for Easter. When did ham come onto the scene? I mean, doesn't lamb tie in with the Easter theme?

Hey, our Polish friends will bring their kielbasa and perogies (sp?) to church to be blessed soon. No lamb there, either.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Is it just me?

We were sitting in the audience at Trip's school, watching Les Mis, and the girls behind us kept chatting. During intermission, my mother turned and asked them to please stop. Instead of apologizing, they denied that they had been talking during the performance.

I recall a laboratory class I was teaching once: One student was chewing on the end of her hair, and I asked her to stop, reminding her that there were things in that lab she might not wish to ingest accidentally. She became indignant, denying that she ever chewed on her hair.

More recently, some kids threw a snowball at my car (hey, kids do stupid things without thinking...). I stopped, and they all ran away, except for two girls who stood there and said (as their mother came out of the house) that no one had thrown any snowballs.

In Annika's German class, some kids use their cell phones to cheat, by "texting" or accessing the internet. One boy, she tells me, blatantly leaves his book open during tests. She confronted him, asking how he justified cheating, but he said he only did it at German school, not real school.

Trip tells me that kids in his class cheat "all the time."

At the University of Notre Dame, the president claims to have invited Mr. Obama to give the commencement speech for the sake of "dialogue." Does anyone believe that?

Do liars and cheats really think they are getting away with something? Probably. Why not? If we take a long look at public figures who have been caught cheating and telling lies, people like Biden (plagerism), Kennedy (cheating), Dodd (utter nonsence), Sebelius (pro-choice but anti-abortion--gimme a break), we can see a pattern dishonesty in the public attitude of these politicians. Without examples of honesty from the people who are constantly paraded before us in the news, and without a free press to call them on their lies, what hope is there for the young people who are told in one moment that they ought to be honest, and in the next that there is no absolute truth? In a world where you can be both "anti-abortion and pro-choice" is there ever any reason to to take an moral stand on honesty?

The dishonest have their own apologists out there backing them up: In an outrageous example of the problem of improbity, one blogger points out that Catholic honesty is lacking by pointing to supposed distortions by devout Catholics. This in itself is dishonest, as the author makes excuses for policies endorsed, individuals nominated, and ideas promulgated by the current administration. You see, though the president may have overturned the Mexico City Policy, there are other pieces of legislation in place (Helms Amendment) that prevent (for now) any federal money being used for overseas abortions. Furthermore, Gov. Sebelius' connections to Tiller are not "all that close" so we don't have to worry. And the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is a roadblock (for now) to the president's embryonic stem cell policy, so we should all be honest about what the president is really doing (Nothing! We may all breath easily!) . When devout Catholics shout about the president being pro-abortion, they are being dishonest, according to this blogger; the president must be pro-life, since his anti-life policies are all null, and we pro-lifers should all be more honest.

Yeah, right.

JCO Plays Alice Tully Hall

Here's the official press release.

And here are the details:

Juilliard Chamber Orchestra Performs Works by Sallinen, Rolla, and Haydn on Thursday, April 2 at 8PM in Alice Tully Hall

Violist Luke Fleming is Soloist in the Rolla Viola Concerto

The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra, a conductorless, collaborative ensemble, performs Aulis Sallinen's Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik's Funeral March for String Orchestra; Alessandro Rolla's Concerto in E-flat Major for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 3 with Juilliard violist Luke Fleming; and Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 44 in E Minor, Trauer (Mourning), Hob. I:44 on Thursday, April 2 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall (65th Street and Broadway).

Limited FREE tickets are available at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard, located at 155 West 65th Street. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM.