Friday, March 20, 2015


Y'all get fired up about my free lecture series this summer! The world is invited! Come and See!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets.

like that but closer

Let's talk about cars. More specifically, their engines. Even more specifically, their connecting rods. The connecting rods transfer the up-and-down energy of the pistons into rotating energy at the crankshaft, which then makes the wheels turn and all that (like so). Of course the rods are under terrific stress, and if one fails it usually ruins the engine.
Until recently, a typical connecting rod was made of four pieces seen at the lower left, with the pins resisting the side-to-side stress between the rod and cap. Nowadays, many connecting rods are made per the example at lower right: each one is made as a single piece. Then the cap is carefully cracked off, and reattached around the crankshaft for a virtually perfect fit without needing any pins. The cracked cap and the rod it is taken from are so uniquely mated that no other cap will fit that rod; and when put together, the crack is practically invisible.

Which reminds me of this: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22 and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

Uniquely mated.

Friday, March 13, 2015

(x)y = ελληνική λέξη

This week it occurred to me that if the second letter in an English word is y, it's probably from Greek. Let's try it out: Greek words. Not an auspicious start, is it?
Byssinosis, (A)byss.
Cytoplasm, Cyst, Cynosure, Cynic, Cycle, Cyanide, Cypress.
Dynamo, Dysentery, Dyspepsia. Greek words.
F in Greek is phi Φ, which we'd write as ph, thus: Phylum, Physics, Phytoplankton.
G/J: Gyroscope, Gynecology.
Hymen, Hydrogen, Hysteria. English words beginning with "Iy"
K/Q: Kythera (Zither)
Lyre, Lycanthrope
Mystery, Myriad, Myrtle, Myrrh, Mycelium
Nymph; but not Nylon.
Pyromania, Pylon, Pyramid.
Rhyme, Rhythm. Don't split hairs, you know the h is silent.
Synonym, Sycamore, Symbol
Tyrant, Tyro, Type, Typhus English words beginning with "Uy"
W and Greek words.
Zymurgy, Zygote.

ελληνική λέξη = Greek word

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Res Ipsa Loquitur 18: Tony Agnesi Show

Brighter Than Expected

This post links to RAnn's Sunday Snippets

I hope that's kosher

Fun fun fun at the Communion retreat on Sunday with 7 and 8-year-olds. Four groups of 10 or so, 25+ minutes each time. The standard program covered the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes using step-by-step teacher's notecards, and miraculously-expanding big paper-doll type loaves and fish. Pretty neat. Of course the kids already knew the story, so I couldn't see spending the whole time on that one miracle. Plus they already knew other stories that tie into the Eucharistic theme. Why not connect the dots they know, and add a couple while we're at it?

So instead of the prepared program, I presented a stripped-down version of the 6-step Bible Miracle Food Pyramid:

0. What's a food pyramid? What's a miracle food pyramid? (2 minutes)

1. Moses, bread and flesh in the desert. (3 minutes)

2. Elijah, bread and flesh in the desert. (3 minutes)

3. Elisha multiplies bread. (3 minutes)

4. Jesus transforms water into wine. (3 minutes)

5. Jesus multiplies bread and flesh; helpers passed out hunks of French bread for some hands-on drama. (6 minutes)

6. Jesus transforms bread into flesh; and wine into blood. This miracle continues even until today in Masses all around the world. (5 minutes)

At each step we reviewed how each succeeding miracle compared to the prior ones. As appropriate, I'd dramatize the stories and draw pictures. None of the four sessions went quite the same.

First time I've worked with kids this young. Their attention spans are shorter than 6th graders', but they think as fast, and threw themselves into it as soon as I got them laughing. Nice gig.

This example is how I typically lesson-plan any new assignment. I consider allotted time, the audience, and what they probably already know. Then I figure how to cover the topic in a way that's fun and stimulating, connects to other stuff, and leads to a bigger Catholic picture. Always: how does this bit we are discussing tie into the rest of the Bible and the Faith?

Saturday, February 7, 2015


This post links to Convert Journal

that's a shapely one

Marriage is a recurring theme in catechism class because it is a recurring theme in the Bible. Typically we cover this story during our trip through the Gospels:

"Master, there were with us seven brothers: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and having no issue, left his wife unto his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? Jesus said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

Without fail a child will ask me why I won't be married to my wife in heaven- won't we still love each other?

Part of my answer is that post-Eden, marriage lasts until the death of a spouse. But I also want to say something bigger about life after the Second Coming; that is, in the New Jerusalem- like so:

"Somebody tell me what wasn't good in Eden. Adam was alone! Yes, and? God made Eve out of his rib. Yes, and when he got his missing rib back he was completed, just like I am completed by by wife. Y'all tell me about my wife. You love her! I sure do...but why? Umm, she's you're wife? Well, yes...let's say I love her because she is good. Where's that goodness come from? God? Yes; tell me about creation. It was all good! Yes! So all the goodness we experience ultimately comes from...God. Yes. So my wife is like a book...or a TV...or Elisha's bones...c'mon, y'all know this... she's a media, cause God goes through her! Yes, a medium, she mediates God to me, like sacraments and all kinds of stuff do. Do I get the full dose of God though my wife? Huh? Is all the goodness of God available to me through my wife? Well, God's bigger than she is. Yes. But if I'm hanging out with Jesus after the Second Coming, do I get all God's goodness then? Yes! And if my wife is there...she gets it too. Yes. So is there more love between us now- or in the future? In the future! Yes. So if we will have even more love for each other while we're in God's company, how worried are we going be about how married we are? Well, maybe you wouldn't care anymore. Sort of, but not exactly...let's think of it this way: instead of the limited dose of love we get from each other here, we'll experience infinite love in heaven. It'll include all the love we have as husband and wife, but bigger: it will include everybody. Yes? But aren't you still going to miss being married in heaven? I don't think so. Imagine it like this:

Let's say I need water to live- without water I'd be incomplete, right? What? Can I live without water? No, you'd die. Without water would life be good? No you have to have it. Yes, so think of my wife, and the love she brings me, as water. I need it. And I'm ok, because I have a pitcher of lovewater right here, next to me, which is... your wife! Yes. I hug this pitcher against my heart like Adam's missing rib. And all around me right now in the classroom- is there more water? There's no water in here. Right. Except for my pitcher-full.

But eventually my wife and I will die- let's hope we'll both be in heaven, where love might be like an infinite ocean. Now imagine I walk into that sea of lovewater with my pitcher-full. See, it gets deeper and deeper, until...your pitcher is underwater!  Yes. Tell me about it. Well, the water in the pitcher is part of the ocean now. Yes. But the pitcher is still there, and it's still full, right? Yes, but the ocean is way bigger. Yes. The lovewater in my pitcher has merged with the infinite lovewater that's all around me and my pitcher. My little pitcher-full doesn't disappear: it's just where it was always meant to be. There will be many pitchers, but one water. So what we love about being married today will still be true in heaven and in the New Jerusalem, but unimaginably bigger and better."


BTW, the above is similar to how I answer the question about pets in heaven:

"Everything that you love about your pets (and everything else) will be more fully available to you in heaven; and in the New Jerusalem I would expect to see dogs and trees and all the rest of creation, so be happy."