Saturday, September 29, 2007

Disciplined?

Just a quick reaction to today's 33-19 loss to Purdue: I think it was the worst loss yet of the season, because it seemed clear that the talent level of the players ND had on the field was much higher than that of Purdue. In fact, we outgained them 426 to 371. But once again we shot ourselves in the foot with small mistakes due to a lack of discipline.
The botched extra points and field goals were bad enough, not to mention the continued bad snaps. The penalties, though, are ultimately led to our demise. We were penalized for 110 yards, including 15 yards and a key first down on a personal foul by Brian Smith on Curtis Painter in the fourth quarter. Smith leveled an abysmally boneheaded late hit on the QB, who was running harmlessly out of bounds on third down. This inexcusable lapse in judgement occurred one drive after Smith got away with a cheap hit on Painter in another third down situation, which would have cost them the defensive stand had it been noticed.
Weis, however, did not reprimand Smith. In fact, Smith stayed on the field for the rest of the drive while Charlie went to town on the ref. It seemed obvious to me that a when a player makes such a grievous mental error he should be benched. Had it been Trevor Laws (the only indispensable player ND has on defense), I would have understood Weis's failure to take him out of the game. But Brian Smith?
Where is the discipline?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Church and Football

Men, this article is a must read for anyone who considers himself to be a Catholic Man, Read and understand.

The Fighting Irish in the West of Ireland



This is a picture of the juniors studying abroad in Dublin giving a rousing rendition of the Fight Song on top of the Cliffs of Moher (pictured beneath). We are lead by the illustrious Kevin Whelan, our programme director. Some obnoxious American tourists standing around took pictures of us while we were singing, then promptly started making fun of our football record.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In one of my classes about two weeks ago now, my teacher told us an old Arab proverb and for some reason it has stuck with me to this very day:
"When a pickpocket meets a saint, he only sees pockets."

With that little quote of wisdom, all i can add is this, first of all Tae Andrews holds a grudge like no one else...either that or he has absolutely nothing to write about except another campus newspaper and Mark May will be right for the first time in his life as the Irish lose until facing Duke in November. Bold? Maybe. Likelihood of happening? High.

The Office starts Thursday. That is all.

$20 Million Closer

Notre Dame received a $20 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat malaria. Biology professor Frank Collins will direct the research iniatiative. Needless to say, this is among the largest grants in school history.

This is good news on a variety of levels. First and foremost, the grant will go a long way in ending suffering of millions of people. Secondly, it diverts funds from some of the other, less ethical, causes to which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation often donates. Lastly, it reflects well on the University. Not in terms of academic rankings, but as the premier research -- but still Catholic -- university that Father Jenkins wants it to be. Make fun of the oddly-themed ads that play during the football games if you will, but if Notre Dame can "fight disease" and win the grants for major global development and health initiatives that are consonant with Catholicism, then she will be a lot further along in her mission.

the death of diversity

As students in a modern university, we are so often told about the merits of diversity. Brian Boyd is writing a three issue series on the pressures Notre Dame is under to increase the religious diversity of the faculty.

Rarely do we hear a voice suggesting that diversity is harmful. Check out this editorial by Daniel Henninger, who writes for the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

EDIT: for article, click inside post, or click title of post

on campus...

Not sure how many faithful undergrad readers we have out there, but a couple of events (featured in last week's issue!) worthy of attendance are happening here at ND this week:

1. Today the Catholic Culture Series, sponsored by one of our favorite academic institutes here at ND, the Center for Ethics and Culture, continues exploring the question of Shakespeare's Catholicism. Come hear Prof. Peter Holland (Notre Dame's resident Shakespeare expert) speak on "Cracking the Shakespeare Code" at 8pm in Debartolo 155. The lectures are actually directed at a student audience, and are usually engaging and quite interesting...so come check it out!

You can find out more about the series, and the upcoming lectures, here at the Center's website.

2. Let's all pause for this one--the Rover is plugging a Center for Social Concerns-sponsored event!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Post-Graduate Service Fair will be taking place in the JACC. For those Domers among you who aren't keen on entering the business or academic or whatever world just yet, check out the opportunities available for a year or two of service.

And if you would rather make the big bucks next year...then at least stop by the Maggie's Place table and say hi to me. (Whoever said that we Rovers just kick puppies in our spare time...nonsense!) I'll be happy to show you some pictures of cute babies and maybe, just maybe, convince you to head to the desert to foster the dignity of the human person through service to the tiniest of our neighbors--and their mommies!

So that's what this Rover's got filling her busy schedule--I'm sure my fellow, hardworking Rovers are just as busy...and this might explain the recent dearth of posting.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Conservative Mind- An ISI Weekend Retreat on the Life and Mind of Russell Kirk

Several weeks ago, your editor-in-chief Matt Smith took Mary Kate Daly and me to Mecosta, Michigan to spend a weekend discussing the life and influence of the Catholic Conservative intellectual Russell Kirk, most famous for his explication of the soul of conservative thought made in his 1953 work, "The Conservative Mind".

From library circle, Matt picked Mary and me up in his beige Ford "Exploder" and, to the tune of the Red Hot Chili Peppers "Snow" (yours truly's favorite new song), cruised onto the interstate, where the beautiful colors of fall were just beginning to show on the trees along the way.

Arriving just in time for dinner, the three of us sat down to ribs and mashed potatoes cooked by the hosts of the Bread and Breakfast at which we were staying, while libations were made readily available to those of age. After dinner, Annette Kirk, the widow of Russell Kirk, introduced us to the life of the man to whom she had been married for thirty years. An energetic, talkative, and intellectually stimulating woman, Mrs. Kirk described the life of an introverted, quiet, and humble man who enjoyed telling fairy stories to his children and was buried beside a hobo whom he had invited to live with his family (a wife and four daughters) for many years. She also shared stories of his vast intellectual and political influence, particularly with regards to his books and his writings in the National Review and The New York Times, among other places.

After the talk, guests went out onto the balcony for late night conversations, which flowed like the choice beverages in the hands of several of the group's older members. Matt Smith and Mary Kate graced the evening with their well-dressed presences. Yours truly stuck to his wrinkled "Solidarity Shirt" from earlier in the day.

Saturday morning, the group awoke (some later than others) to a meal of eggs and sausage, then drove to Russell Kirk's library to hear several talks on the political, social, and moral implications of the conservative's thought.

George Nash, a Harvard Ph. D., conservative political thinker, and author of the seminal work "The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America since 1945" presented a biography of Russell Kirk's life and spoke of his influence on the American conservative movement. A well-spoken man, Nash united the works of Russell Kirk with the ideological underpinnings of true American conservatism, particularly with regards to the recognition of a transcendent moral order, a respect for ancestry and the future, and a recognition and explication of America's role in the development of Western civilization.

Richard Gamble, a Professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan, followed with a talk on "Russell Kirk and the American Identity" which discussed how Russell Kirk's thought influenced the development of American conservatism, and how Russell Kirk's own work serves as a drive behind much of the humanism that imbues conservatism.

Following the talk, students and Professors headed to lunch at Northern Shores restaurant, where William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk first met in the 1950s to discuss the development of a national newspaper which would become the National Review. The group enjoyed delicious cheeseburgers (blue-cheese?) and iced tea, topped off with ice cream sundaes of striking proportion.

After lunch, group members went to see Russell Kirk's grave site. A simple black marble stone was etched with Kirk's famous letterhead and, in fitting fashion, the words from T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets":

The communication of the dead
is tongued with fire
beyond the language of the living.

Mrs. Kirk told her guests that she had called Mrs. Eliot to ask permission to use this quote on Russell's tombstone. Mrs. Eliot quickly granted this request, but not before informing Mrs. Kirk that this quote was, in fact, the very same one to be found on the burial stone of Eliot himself.

After this, the group returned to Piety Hill for a final talk by Dr. Bradley Birzer, a Hillsdale college History professor, and a true-blue Notre Dame grad (though, as a former member of Zahm Hall, we're not sure if he counts). Birzer spoke on the influence of Kirk's thought in our own world today, and how study of his work could positively impact future generations of conservative thinkers.

After this talk, the group retired to Piety Hill, Russell Kirk's home, for a splendid dinner with Mrs. Kirk. Guests were treated to a tour of the house, which included a suit of armor, Persian battle armaments, a few Marian statues, some relics, and a ceiling made of Church pews. All were impressed with the varied decorations, as well as the chicken and vegetables that was served over warm conversation.

After dinner, the group retired to the family room to hear ghost stories from Russell Kirk's collection "Ancestral Shadows". Audience members were held to the edge of their seats with tales from "The Invasion of the Church of the Holy Ghost", and "There's A Long, Long Trail A-Winding," about a petty criminal who decides to make a final stand for goodness in the protection of a family he loves. All were thoroughly entertained by the speaker, whose varied pitch and tones, as well as brisk Southern accent, made the stories come alive on the family room floor. One student, enjoying the stories a great deal, went so far as to check the book out of the library, and found "There's A Long, Long Trail A-Winding" as entertaining and captivating as the condensed version of the story presented that evening.

After dinner, the tired lads returned to the Bed & Breakfast. The young men stayed up late engaging in friendly discussion about philosophy, theology, and politics. Mary Daly, being wise and intelligent, retired to her room to study.

The next morning, all woke up and, after a warm breakfast, e-mail and phone number exchange, headed to the cars for a long ride home.

All together, the weekend was a truly memorable experience for all involved. Coming away from it, each of us remarked how fun it was to be away from campus for a weekend with friends old and new, discussing the merits of conservative thought, and enjoying the company afforded by the life and spirit of the great conservative thinker and, as evidenced by his wife, even greater man, Russell Kirk.