bear - ingn.1 the manner in which one comports oneself; 2 the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit; 3 a machine part in which another part turns [a journal ~]; 4pl. comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation; 5 the act of moving while supporting the weight of something [the ~ of the cross].
(By the way, I googled around to find the pre-cooked weight of a White Castle patty, and I got to this Wikianswers page where the first user wrote "0.70 ounces," and that had been (ostensibly) corrected by a second user who wrote "Actually, it is 2 ounces." Well, 2 ounces (58 g) is the weight of the whole damn hamburger, cooked and with bun, and I think that's where the second user got that figure. I added a note to Wikianswers. Probably should have gone to the discussion page, but what the heck.)
Where was I?
Oh yes. Maybe the recipe writer was influenced by Thomas' recent introduction of "Sandwich Size" English muffins. What? The old English muffins were too small for a sandwich? (Astonishingly, there's no nutrition info on the website. Losers.) I've been making hamburgers on whole-grain English muffins for a long time -- it's easier to find whole-wheat English muffins than whole-wheat hamburger buns.
In the last post I asked: Who, specifically, was George Washington referring to in his farewell address when he warned the young nation to beware of those who would separate religion and morality or who would undermine both?
In the comboxes at that post, commenter Ray from MN suggests that he was thinking not of any factions in the United States, but rather of the anti-religionists, and anti-established-religion-ists, who had come to power during the French Revolution. Sounds plausible to me -- I would think that the leaders of the young United States would have been closely watching the events in France. Anyone else concur?
In response to my last post describing my plan for American History, commenter Christy linked a website with a number of history teaching resources. A short article on reading primary sources got my attention, if only because I'd recently grabbed a slim Dover paperback of significant American political speeches and writings, most of which I'd never read before, and read them aloud to Mark during a long drive. I picked it up to energize myself about teaching American history, my education in which was more than a little short on primary sources and a little long on drum-beating and reading agenda-driven fictional accounts (commenter Christy will know what I mean) and which ended somewhere in the Truman administration when June arrived sooner than the teacher was apparently expecting.
So I started with Andrew Jackson's veto of the Bank Bill, which startled us because neither Mark nor I had remembered anything at all about that; read Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, which makes me want to read more speeches by him; read Jefferson's inaugural address (which appears to end with a veryJeffersonian version of "...and God bless the United States of America"); and went on with one of the Federalist Papers. All very interesting, and surprisingly timely. (Briefly: Grumblings about special interest groups are not a recent development. Neither are speechwriters.) These are definitely not accessible to a third-grader. I wonder if the average third-grade teacher has read them. I would hope that the high school history teachers have. Wonder why we were never assigned any of these to read?
(To be sure, when I find some primary sources that are accessible to a third-grader, I'll be bookmarking them. And I will be thinking ahead: as I find documents that I absolutely want to be part of my future high-schoolers' education, I'll save them, and try to make sure they get the writer's biography as a middle-schooler.)
So here's a specific question, along the lines of the ones we're supposed to be asking about our primary sources. So far, the document in the book that held my attention the most is Washington's farewell address (turns out that it's not really an address; it wasn't delivered as a speech, but was rather printed up and distributed generally; and also turns out that it was heavily co-written and redacted by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton).
In it, Washington literally warns future Americans not to fall prey to a number of specific political dangers and so lose their liberty. I won't go into them (that would be ridiculous when the original document is right here) but I want to point out the one that I have the most questions about, context wise. I can see why Washington is worried about most of them. But what specific threat did he have in mind when, in this political speech with unity as its main point -- this speech that would lose its force if he directly attacked any significant faction -- when he wrote this dire warning?
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
So what I want to know is, who did Washington think was "labor[ing] to subvert" religion and morality? Is this a general warning, or is he obliquely referring to a specific issue of the time? I make the following guesses in near-complete ignorance. Is he thinking of people who were opposed to a state-established religion? Is he thinking of members of particular sects? Was there some group or individual trying to make a point that one can have morality without religion, and who were they? Does that mean "morality without religion" or does it mean "morality without a religion?"
I know I blog about religion a lot, so you may be thinking that it's that interest that highlighted the passage. But really, it just struck me, more than did the other warnings in the document, as a passage that I don't understand sufficiently because of obviously necessary contextual information that I utterly lack.
ADDED: An accessible version. Writing a "translation" like this -- there are many good choices of document -- sounds like a pretty good high school assignment to me.
This has happened before: As soon as we get well settled into the rhythm of the school year, I'm thinking of the next one. Not because I'm super organized -- I think it's a form of procrastination. There are a dozen more urgent projects on my plate right now, and it's just so much more pleasant to leaf through the curriculum catalogs and dream about far-off third grade. (I think this is one of the reasons that, despite it being my favorite season, I've never managed to celebrate Advent in our school year more than the bare minimum of wreath-lighting. When the first Sunday of Advent arrives I've been too busy thinking about next September, and I'm ransacking the attic for the stub-end of a purple candle while Mark is setting the table for Sunday dinner.)
Anyway, what's been on my mind mostly is history. It's time to take the long range view and see how studying different periods of history will fit together. I made up my mind to cover world history in the cycle suggested by the Pandia Press History Odyssey sequence: ancient, medieval, early-modern, modern, repeat. This doesn't leave room for a history year dedicated to U. S. history, so I think I'm going to break U. S. history into three chunks -- somehow -- and cover it concurrently for third, fifth, and sixth grades. Fourth grade we'll do Minnesota history.
The Minnesota Historical Society publishes its own elementary school state history curriculum, which I likely will use. The whole country is another story. I'm not optimistic about finding a satisfactory U. S. history curriculum complete with text -- though if anyone knows of a well-written "living" survey text of U.S. history, even an older one, along the same lines of A Child's History of the World, please pass it on. I think I'm going to cover U. S. history "topically," roughly chronologically, for the elementary school years, mostly with books from the library. I took a similar approach this year when we decided to study earth science.
I'll start by getting a college-level survey text or study guide. The Barron's The Easy Way series is what I used for earth science; they have one for U. S. history and I suppose I will check it out first. That's just to guide me in the selection of material to cover so I don't inadvertently leave anything out. Then I'll break the chronology into topics and set a rough schedule of how long to spend on each one. Finally I'll work from lists of high-quality, living books to develop a list of read-alouds and independent reading that cover each topic. Primary sources will be a big chunk of the read-alouds. I expect to use more biography than anything else, in part because Oscar likes biography, in part because there are plenty of biographies of significant Americans written for children, and in part because biographies tend to be some of the better-written history for children. I think I'll use a fair amount of historical fiction too. I doubt we'll need to do much work beyond reading, narration, and discussion, though some interesting projects may present themselves along the way.
One thing I would like to do is choose a common thread of development on which to hang all of the historical facts, some tiny area of history that evolved continuously and which can be followed all the way through, something in which changes drive other changes. Mark and I came up with a few of those on our way down. Agricultural technology is one idea, and one I like a lot for these years because it's concrete. Monetary policy is another one, vastly important and something I would like to know more about, but I think too abstract for elementary school. Military technology and theory is a third one, also appealing. There is the collective concept of the scope of political rights, how they have expanded and contracted over the years, how they might expand or contract in the future. Another good one might be the shifting of power among the three branches of government, or among municipal, state, and federal government plus international alliances.
Yesterday I planned to make Mark's favorite long-simmered lentil soup, but my errands took longer than I wanted and I didn't get home until 6 p.m. "I'll figure something out," I told Mark, and indeed I did -- what I came up with surprised everyone, it was so good. It helped that I had the good beef stock ready to go, of course, but the rest of the ingredients were the odds and ends from fridge and freezer. Yes, I just happened to have four parsnips in my fridge, and don't try to substitute carrots, because parsnips will give your soup a wonderful sweetness. I'm writing this recipe down and saving it.
Like most of my invented recipes, it's really an adaptation of a different "hamburger soup" recipe for which I had similar ingredients but not all the right ones. If you want it to be done quickly -- like I did last night -- make sure the vegetables are cut into small pieces.
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly (or use all parsnips)
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 quart beef stock
1/4 medium cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 to 1.5 cup or so frozen sweet corn kernels
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
In a soup pot, cook beef and onion in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in celery, parsnips, and carrots and cook a few minutes more. Mix in crushed tomatoes, beef stock, cabbage, corn, basil, and thyme. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 20-40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Seriously, we could not believe how good it was. Adding crushed saltine crackers to the bowls made it into really fabulous comfort food. The cabbage and root vegetables make it a complete meal, what with the green veg and the yellow. And notice that (without the crackers) it's gluten free, but still nice and thickened from the starch coming out of the corn.
Lest you think, based on the previous post, that everything posted at the Holy Whapping is silly, check out this wonderful post from Drew that highlights a contemporary (that is, a second-century) description of the similarities and differences between the lives of the early Christians and the lives of their fellows.
I have a special place in my heart for blogs written in character. Manolo's Shoe Blog is one. I really liked Musum Pontificalis until he quit posting. I wish I knew whether "Sister Mary Martha" really is a nun in a pew-duster, but whether she is or not, ASMM is now one of my daily stops.
One of her specialties is custom saint-matching. Asked which saint to pray to for intercession regarding the ability to secure tickets to Pope Benedict's upcoming visit to Washington DC, SMM replies:
As for a saint to get you Pope tickets...there are few I would try. St. George is the patron saint of England and therefore the patron saint of getting Stones tickets. With this in mind, the patron saint of Washington DC is our Immaculate Lady.
Darwin points to an interview with Bishop Roche, the chair of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, and highlights a descriptive explanation of one of the proposed changes in the English translation of the ordinary form of the Mass. It's one from the very beginning, so it's a good place to look.
Why does the ICEL hope to change the greeting from "The grace and peace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all" to "Grace to you and peace from God, Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"? They mean essentially the same thing; the first one sounds much more natural and the other more stilted; we're all used to the first one.
Reason: The second one is a quote from most standard English translations of the New Testament. The distinctive word-order of the greeting appears eleven times. It is distinctive in the Greek, and the distinction was preserved in the Latin. And as Bishop Roche points out, that's an indication from the earliest times of a distinctive way Christians greeted each other. That's why we should hang on to it.
So maybe it's even more important than my previous favorite example, that instead of saying "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," we should be saying, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."
Darwin uses the occasion to wish we were all speaking more Latin, arguing from the utility of picking up hot Hungarian chicks at World Youth Day, an argument which I think I can appreciate, if only by analogy. Still, I'm really excited about the new English translation. I can't stop myself from muttering, in my head, things like And with your spirit at Mass. which probably tells you something about how geeky I am.
(Incidentally, I was googling around and found some discussions in French which make it sound as though it's not just we Anglophones who have this kind of problem with our translations. Maybe Darwin is right -- we just need to learn some of the important bits in Latin. We all know what Kyrie Eleison means and hardly anybody speaks Greek, so why not?)