Friday, March 31, 2006

One for Andrew

The Polypay was born out of frustration and a dream in the the late 1960's. The frustration was in needing more productive sheep to make a profit. The dream was to develop sheep which would produce two lamb crops and one wool crop per year. Led by Dr. C.V. Hulet, the scientists at the U.S. Sheep Experimentation Station in Dubois, Idaho developed five primary goals for the dream breed:

High lifetime prolificacy
Large lamb crop at one year of age
Ability to lamb more frequently than once per year
Rapid growth rate of lambs
Desirable carcass quality

More about that taking breaks stuff

Multiprotocol routers? Check. Back then, they translated between Morse code and scraps of paper in canisters shot through pneumatic tubes. Fraud? Check. Stock market feeds were being spoofed in the 1830s, back when the telegraph network ran on visual semaphores rather than electrical pulses. Romance? Check. The first online marriage was really a telegraph marriage, performed not long after the dawn of electric telegraphy. Continuous partial attention? Check. In 1848 the New York businessman W.E. Dodge was already feeling the effects of always-on connectivity: “The merchant goes home after a day of hard work and excitement to a late dinner, trying amid the family circle to forget business, when he is interrupted by a telegram from London.”

We’ve learned much in the century-and-a-half since then, and we’ve accomplished miracles that I think would amaze even a jaded Victorian time traveler. But there’s still an impedance mismatch between instantaneous electronic messaging and our ability to absorb, process, and act on the messages that flood in upon us.


CWN's quote of Bishop Bruskewitz

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln." The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Let's just say that convincing others of one's desire to become an American citizen would be more effective if one were to do so in English — while waving an American flag. Just imagine how welcome 500,000 bubbas waving American flags and chanting, "Hell no, we won't go," would be in Mexico City.

Now that would be a sight.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The economics of illegal workers?

In California, surplus crops grown and harvested by illegal immigrants are often also subsidized by federal water projects which charge the farmers in dry California valleys far less than the cost to the government of providing that water — and a fraction of what people in Los Angeles or San Francisco pay for the same amount of water.

Surplus crops grown with water supplied at the taxpayers' expense and raised by illegal workers can be grown elsewhere with water provided free of charge from the clouds and raised by American workers paid American wages.

Naturally, when the real costs of those crops have to be paid by the farmers who raise them, less will be grown — that is, there will not be as much of a surplus going to waste in government-rented storage bins.

With some crops, we don't really "need" any of it. If the United States had not produced a single grain of sugar in the past 50 years, Americans could have gotten all the sugar they wanted and at lower prices, simply by buying it on the world market for half or less of what domestic sugar costs.

Not sure how this plays out with service sector type of stuff.

Hector hasn't been doing his homework

But he did find this lovely piece on fainting goats. Weird.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pullout for Israel

A solid explanation of penance

Many thanks to Mark Shea.

You're both partly right. Jesus has atoned for our sin by his cross and resurrection (which is what your Evangelical friend is keyed into). However, as Paul makes clear, we are *participants* in the work of Christ in the world, by Christ's own grace. And so our sufferings (both voluntary and involuntary) are given both meaning and power to help others. The Evangelical conception of salvation has always had trouble finding a place for suffering. Amalgamated to an American ethos which says that suffering is always to be avoided, comfort is always to be sought, and anyone who disagrees is "sick", Evangelicalism can often become a tradition which not only avoids suffering but condemns those who experience it as "not having enough faith", etc. Typically, when this happens, there will be voices in the Evangelical community who will speak out on behalf of the sufferer, but that's about as far as it will go. Suffering will then be called a "mystery" (which it indeed is) and then simply dropped. The idea that there is some positive good--and emphatically some atoning virtue--in suffering is profoundly opposed by Evangelical theology because it is thought to rob Christ of the glory of his atoning work.

Paul sees it differently. That is why he tells the Colossians (in a verse that is weirdly invisible to Evangelical theology: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." (Colossians 1:24). This is a classic example of a passage which, if it had not been in the Bible already when Evangelicalism was invented, would *never* have gotten in. It's point is utterly and thoroughly Catholic. It does not mean "Jesus didn't sufffer enough, so we have to make up the difference. It means that Christ has made us sharers in his work on earth and our sufferings are part of the means by which he is continuing to save the world. When we bear suffering we are, in a profound way, united with Christ crucified. When we do it with mercy and patience and love, we are being made agents, by the power of the Spirit, through which Christ takes away the sins of the world. If that were not the case, then there would be no point whatever in our sufferings (or indeed, in anything we do). For only what we do in God will remain.

Charitable loans

From both sources we can see the special value of giving loans, rather than outright gifts. Jewish law considers loans as generally the highest form of charity. Among the advantages of loans: they don't embarrass the recipient; they represent a "vote of confidence" that the person will eventually establish himself; and they don't cultivate dependency to the same extent as gifts do. Of course there are many cases where loans are impractical, but the above verses do remind us of their special value when applicable.

Interesting. I've never quite thought of it like that before.

Monday, March 27, 2006


It's difficult to balance the demands of mercy and justice. I'm not too sympathetic for Pete Rose's Hall of Fame chances, because I think that the betting itself shows a lack of understanding of what baseball's about, but perhaps others feel differently.

And I notice a pronounced lack of Germans in the room

Germany is not alone as a prosperous country with births falling far below replacement levels, but it has its own reasons. High unemployment creates insecurity, and many professionals don't want the responsibility of balancing work and family. Germans tend to stay in college longer than students in other countries, and young people get used to a carefree life paid for by Germans with jobs. Germans call a university the nation's most effective form of contraception.

Before the decade of the '90s, almost 60 percent of German women between the ages of 25 and 29 had had a baby. That figure is closer to 30 percent today. The birth dearth has relentless implications; 100,000 more Germans die than are born every year. Pessimists estimate that the current population of 82 million could fall to 50 million by 2050, giving new meaning to the phrase "Old Europe."

I could go for a carefree life paid for by workers with jobs right about now. Hell, I could go for someone to do my Networks homework for me and I'd be happy. Unfortunately, life requires me to work hard and procreate.

I wonder if Andrew has any theories as to why the Germans aren't reproducing . . .

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Something to ponder this fine Sunday

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.

The latest from Hector

An employee of Cognitive Technologies computer company has beaten a man who was selling the company’s software illegally.

Manager of the company’s software department, Andrei Smirnov, offered to fight the dealer in a fitness center. He defeated the computer pirate 24-16 in three rounds, lasting three minutes each. The dealer’s name was not revealed, News.Ru web edition on high technologies reported on Thursday.

In February, Smirnov saw the dealer selling CDs with his company’s software at a computer market without a license. Smirnov demanded that the dealer stop the illegal sale. A scuffle broke out, but they were stopped by the guard. After that, the pirate expressed a wish to continue the fight in the street, but Smirnov suggested a fitness center.

If only I had super skills like this guy. . . .

Spam of the day

XIANZ.COM launches first phase of its social networking platform.
Currently by invitation only, already over 3000 members.

Nashville, TN March 27, 2006-- With MySpace becoming one of the most
popular sites on the Internet, it seems that the social networking
phenomenon is here to stay. However, along with it's popularity comes the
myriad of concerns about private information being posted online. It could
be a parent's worst nightmare.

Enter XIANZ.COM, a Christian based social networking site that offers the
same functionality and much more than sites like,, and . But most importantly, Xianz offers a
safe environment for teens and people of all ages to interact with others
of the same or similar interests. Among other safeguards, settings can be
specified that allow only people of the same age range to communicate.

Features include: Customized profiles with photos, video and music,
private and instant messaging, online Blogs, personal message boards,
birthday reminders & invites, shared interests, friends lists & shout
outs, groups, events and listings. A large music module will be integrated
in the next few weeks.

Currently in Beta mode, XIANZ.COM can only be accessed by invitation from
a current member.

Christian Ministry Updates
317 Main Street #205
Franklin, TN 37064

Facebook is quite good enough for me . . .

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What is today?

The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke, i 26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i. e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of Godlike Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"

The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

From the not quite getting it department

This is an email I got from Andrew:

Here's a single line of HTML from the site I'm working on. Am I
right to be bothered by this, or do I just not get CSS? Note that
the whole site also uses frames and incorporates animated GIF as

<p class="start style2 style22"><span class="style12 start"><strong><span class="start style11"><span class="start style22 style24"><span class="start style23">RESEARCH</span></span></span></strong></span></p><

Friday, March 24, 2006

What is up in Iraq?

The amount of Iraqui on Iraqui violence makes me wonder why it should be a single country . . .


I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Hint - go to confession a lot during Lent ;-).

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If anyone wants to see the programming language I'm working on

Some advice I should take

In his homily the Pope spoke about the dignity of work, saying that labor "is of primary importance for the fulfillment of mankind and the development of society." But the value of work should always be kept in the proper perspective, he continued. He encouraged laborers to imitate St. Joseph, learning "to sanctify themselves through their work."

In his work, the Pontiff continued, the laborer "is both the subject and protagonist." At a time when working conditions are changing rapidly, he insisted that all workers should be treated with dignity, including those who are unemployed and looking for jobs. He condemned all forms of exploitation of workers, and underlined the importance of just pay and adequate rest-- especially rest on the Sabbath, which is a spiritual as well as physical necessity.

Missing dads

Now this is a sad story. However, I don't think the author really gets the point. For in making this statement:

Our embrace of superficiality is rarely so vividly displayed as when an African-American woman chose a Latino donor so her child would have lighter skin and nonkinky hair. A Jewish woman opted for a 6-foot-2 German/Catholic with blond curls and blue eyes in order to avoid Jewish traits she found unappealing and, one can't help proposing, to make a point her therapist can sort out.

Of course, people who marry and couple the traditional way also make genetic selections, if often unconsciously. But the calculated, literally detached selection of a stranger's body fluids versus the random matings that passion inspires feels as sterile as the vial containing the lucky specimen. Obviously, there is difference between infertile couples who resort to sperm donation and single women who can't manage a relationship with men for whatever reason.

The appeal to obviousness is somewhat lost on me, as it isn't obvious. Both are using technology to get something they don't have a right to, but feel that they do. Both are living, in some sense, a lie. One leads quite inexorably to the other.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's a cute little creature

A lamb with six legs. Weird.

A curious innovation

Port knocking works on the concept that users wishing to attach to a network service must initiate a predetermined sequence of port connections or send a unique string of bytes before the remote client can connect to the eventual service. In its most basic form, the remote user’s client software must first connect to one or more ports before connecting to the final destination port.

For example, suppose the remote client wants to connect to an SSH server. The administrator configures the port-knocking requirements ahead of time, requiring that connecting remote clients first connect to ports 3400, 4000, and 9887 before connecting to the final destination port, 22. The administrator tells all legitimate clients the correct “combination” to connect; malicious hackers wishing to connect to the SSH service will be denied access without the combination. Port knocking will foil even port-scanning and banner-grabbing enthusiasts.

Because any combination of ports and transport protocols can be used, the number of possible sequences that an attacker would have to guess is high. Even if the hacker knew only three port knocks were involved, as in the very simple example above, with 64,000 possible TCP, UDP, and ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) ports to choose from, the resulting set of possible combinations for the hacker to try runs into the millions. Port scanners will be frustrated because port knocking uses closed ports to do the listening (more on this below).

They're taking the instruction a day at a time

San Francisco, Mar. 21 ( - The controversy over Catholic agencies' involvement in same-sex adoptions has taken a new turn, with a report that the chief administrative officer of Catholic Charities in the San Francisco archdiocese is an openly homosexual man with an adopted daughter.

Writing on the Ignatius Insight internet site, Valerie Schmalz notes that Glenn Motola, the director of programs for Catholic Charities in San Francisco, is openly gay-- as are at least four members of the Catholic Charities board. Motola has been identified as a gay adoptive father in the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic San Francisco, as well as in the gay publication, The Advocate.

Apparently this might make him somewhat reluctand to listen to Archbishop Levada's instruction that all of this stuff stop.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It'd be funny, if it wasn't . . . OK it's just funny

Apparently there are 22 Catholic sects, and so Catholics are just as split as Protestants . . . except all of those 'sects' agree on faith, morals, and leadership, and they consider themselves to be one church. Sigh.

Paul for a New Day

Out of print and selling for less than a dollar a copy on Amazon is the book Paul for a New Day by Robin Scroggs.

Reading this book has changed me forever. The first chapter alone, an exegesis of Paul's perspective on sin, has in a deep and personal way revealed to me the very failure of the project that has been my whole life. I feel as though someone has taken me apart and denuded my soul. Perhaps this is what it means to stand vulnerable before the Lord.

Buddha and Jesus aren't quite the same

Sorry, guys.

Despite many external similarities, Buddhist meditation and contemplation is quite different from orthodox Christianity. Buddhist meditation strives to "wake" a person from his existential delusions. "Therefore, despite similar aspects, there is a fundamental difference" between Christian and Buddhist mysticism, writes Pope John Paul II. "Christian mysticism . . . is not born of a purely negative ‘enlightenment.’ It is not born of an awareness of the evil that exists in man’s attachment to the world through the senses, the intellect, and the spirit. Instead, Christian mysticism is born of the revelation of the living God" (Crossing the Threshold of Hope).

The Buddhist mystic seeks absorption into an impersonal whole, looking to rid himself of desire and suffering. The Christian mystic, on the other hand, desires neither the loss of personality nor an impersonal oneness with all but a deep and abiding communion with the Triune and personal God.

Jean Cardinal Daniélou, known for his study of Eastern religions, explains in God and the Ways of Knowing that "mystical knowledge partakes in the life of the Trinity. It is the realization by man of his deepest being, of what God meant to achieve in creating him."

For the Christian mystic, there is an object (the loving and merciful God) and a growth in the salvific life of grace, leading to everlasting life. On the other hand, the Buddhist sutras state that the "categories of everlasting life and death, and existence and non-existence, do not apply to the essential nature of things but only to their appearances as they are observed by defiled human eyes." Buddhism resists existential possibility; Christianity affirms it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Feast of St Joseph!

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


For some reason going to Adoration always clears my mind and puts me in the right state to go about a week. I suppose it probably has something to do with spending thirty minuites in front of Christ Himself, as well as having a large block of uninterrupted prayer, which I have far too little of. After all,

We need prayer therefore as individuals and as groups to remain in God's friendship. Without prayer we will lose the divine life we possess, and more obviously, we shall not grow in the life we already have. In other words, no prayer, no salvation. This is the basic reason why we are seeing such tragedies among once apparently strong believers. But being a believer is no guarantee of remaining one. They did not pray, or pray enough, or pray with sufficient constancy or perseverance, so the inevitable happened. They lacked the humility to admit their impotency to keep God's commandments by themselves. In a word they lacked the grace they needed, and they lacked it because they failed to pray. And we dare not say that God owes us the grace; that is a contradiction in terms. Grace is precisely that which God does not owe us. That is why we correctly speak of begging.

Thank you Fr. Hardon for the quote. At any rate, it's only after praying and Adoration that I can really begin to put my life in perspective and wonder about my vocation, what I'm supposed to do with my life. The question that most fascinates me is what would I be if I were born in an age before computers. The consensus seems to be town drunk for some reason, but I'm not sure why people seem to come to that conclusion, I'd rather think mathematician or something.

I'm still up in the air though as to what I should do with my life. Ought I to teach? More education? Sell my soul in the hopes I can influence people for the better? More prayer should yield something, I hope.

Why France needs more Econ majors

A leftist deputy has declared: "To create discrimination based on age transgresses fundamental rights!"

In other words, people have a right for other people to have to continue employing them, whether those other people want to or not. The "fundamental right" to a job over-rides the rights of other people when they are called "bosses."

The fact that many students can think only in terms of "rights," but not in terms of consequences, shows a major deficiency in their education. The right to a job is obviously not the same thing as a job. Otherwise there would not be a 23 percent unemployment rate among young French workers.

The law can create equal rights for inexperienced young workers and for older workers with a proven track record but the law cannot make them equally productive on the job or equally risky to hire. Nor is rioting likely to make employers any more likely to want young workers working for them.

Fifteen minuites alone in a room with a rioter and a textbook, that's all I ask. I'll just draw him a few graphs and demonstrate how requiring people to keep you on only has the effect of not having them hire you. The only long run solution, I think, is state enterprise, which doesn't have to worry about little things like breaking even. Well that or more reasonable labor laws.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A cool Christian blog that Laura found

Who woulda thought?

A Christian Nation?

A Christian Nation?
The American anomaly
in the age of relativism and secularization

Msgr. Lorenzo ALBACETE
Theologian, columnist, journalist
Mr. Paul ELIE
Author, senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fr. Jacek BUDA, O.P.
Catholic Campus Minister at Columbia University

Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 7:00PM
School of International Affairs, Columbia Un.
420 West 118th Street, New York


While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

I guess the question is, will Jesus trust himself to us? Will he enter into us? Based on the first reading, the answer would seem to be yes, if we follow his commandments. So are we? Or are we comfortable in sort of doing it? Does the fire burn inside of us?

If so, it must be guarded. If not, it must be kindled by grace. No rest for the weary, in one sense, but eternal rest in another.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

SSPX and the Vatican

Mar. 17 ( - A bishop of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has said that he and Vatican officials "belong to two different religions."

In a monthly email message to supporters, Bishop Richard Williamson disclosed that he made that observation to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (bio - news), the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, during a meeting in Rome in August 2000. When Cardinal Castillon Hoyos replied that he and the SSPX leader shared a common faith in the Eucharist and the doctrines of the Catholic Church, Bishop Williamson recalled, he answered that "we do and we don't; mainly we don't."

It is possible, of course, that Bishop Williamson thinks that the Pope is the Pope while thinking him a heretic. It is also possible, and somewhat likely I daresay, that he doesn't.

Combox post from the beginning of Feb

Not sure how this gentleman found this, but I shall respond.


But the virus is mutating; it can attack cats now. Surely theater majors are next. The fatal mutation of some sort of flu is like the acquisition of nukes by Iran: a matter of when, not if.

And then what? Don't count on the Israelis to knock down the infected flocks. They're good, but not that good. No, there's nothing wrong with setting aside some canned goods and cling peaches and a bushel of cereal. (Note to men: This may be the crisis that forces science to invent powdered beer.)

If I had a tounge like that . . . whoa.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ad Iudaeos

But the strongest passages of the catechesis were those in which the pope explained the relationship between the institution of the apostles – twelve in number, like the twelve Jewish tribes – and the people of Israel.

The pope recalled Jesus’ intention "of founding the holy people again." And then:

"By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of the old."

This appeal from the pope for the conversion of the Jews – stated as still valid today – will certainly provoke discussion. In any case, it is perfectly consistent with the view expressed by Benedict XVI when meeting the Jews in the synagogue of Cologne, on August 19, 2005.

Jews and Christians – Ratzinger said on that occasion – remain joined by the one, eternal covenant established by God. And also therefore “in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect and love for one another.” This begins with the chief distinction: belief or lack of belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God.

Hat tip to someone on this article, but I can't remember who.

A little precision in our language

I personally have never understood how someone could with a straight face make the argument that if you're going to be charitable you must conform to certain standards, else you can't be charitable.

Ethics guru Sen. Ted Kennedy, for example, has condemned Catholic Charities for its gay-adoption ban, as has the Human Rights Campaign, which issued a news release titled, "Boston Catholic Charities Puts Ugly Political Agenda Before Child Welfare."

One could more accurately charge that gay activists in this case have put their own political agenda before child welfare. After all, what public interest is being served in crushing Catholic Charities? Whom does it serve that Catholic Charities abandon its role as matriarch of adoption agencies in Massachusetts? Certainly not the children.

What this unhappy battle really is about — a battle in which all Americans have a stake — is freedom of conscience.

As one Catholic observer put it to me: "Frankly, prudentially, you can easily make the decision that it's better for children to be in a gay home than to languish in foster care, but this is fundamentally about controlling the church."

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Today is the feast of the Archdiocese of New York. If you're from around here, you get to party it up on a Friday. If not, get here fast so you can have some Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner. I'm sure, however, there are other dioceses out there that will accomodate you with a similar dispensation.

Either way, it's the Squach's Saint's Day so we should all buy him a pint of Guiness in honor of such an occasion. For what better occasion is it to dress up funny and eat strange foods than at the passing of a bishop from Scotland into life everlasting?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

If you need a daily dose of weird news

Some non-technological WTFs.

My eyes. The goggles do nothing

One of the most disturbing WTFs ever. I personally found this comment almost as bad:

Of course a DBMS is the right tool for this job, but I don't think you can lay the problems of this system on the choice
of flat files in a directory tree.

You can go pretty far with a directory tree (it is a tree index, after all) as long as you keep the size of the directories small.
For example, if user id #0123456789 was kept in the file


Wasteful of space, but not horribly slow. Subsecond access should be no problem at all. And you could distribute this system nicely by user id, eg the last digit of the id is the backend server number, 0-9, to send the scan to, so there need be no problems with immediately debiting the user account.

Sounds like the performance problem was due to the muddleware.

Yeah, you could. But there were better solutions in the early 1960s, and it's been over 40 years since then, so there's really no point in spending lots of time screwing around with such ideas. Ouch.

Post-Purim hangover

Now that the holiday of Purim has safely past, many find themselves suffering from a hangover. There are those who are suffering from this hangover in a literal sense — too much drink, too much food, just too much. Well, a long nap and an analgesic to soothe the stomach and a cold compress for the headache will eventually provide relief for this type of post-Purim hangover.

But I feel that there is a deeper, more persistent and much more painful hangover that descends upon us after Purim. And those hangovers come from the realization that, though one Haman was vanquished many centuries ago, there were and are many others ready to take his place.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

And just wait until VIII Kalends Iulii! Party!

Or, understand Roman dates before using them to maximize sensibility in your speach.

I think President Arroyo is a little worried about her office

SAN FERNANDO, Philippines, MARCH 15, 2006 ( Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says that moves to legalize divorce and abortion will not prosper in the Philippines as long as she is president.

If only due to her previous gestures towards population control. I think.

Open minds at Harvard

The posters generated heated controversy and triggered some violent reactions among abortion advocates on campus.

One person told the Harvard Crimson the image was "disgusting."

"I personally find the image disgusting and don’t want to walk past it everyday," Nichele M. McClendon said. "It doesn’t have to do with abortion as an issue or free speech; it’s about being decent and not being disgusting."

Another Oh Harvard blogger wrote, on February 16:

"I think I have a right to not see that crap on my way to breakfast, lunch, and dinner . . .Ethically charged poster like that have no place in common spaces. Quite simply, if one is pro-choice, they make you uncomfortable and annoyed . . .Some things aren’t suited to cute posters with girly fonts and doodles. Some things don’t serve a real purpose . . ."

Yeah, I'm sure cartoons of fetal development are so offensive that you'll have to put up even more flyers talking about the evils of pro-lifers, which won't make them uncomfortable or annoyed, and won't be disgusting.

I love how it doesn't have to deal with free speach because the person in question doesn't like the speach :-).

We actually had quite a few problems with our Mother Teresa posters at Columbia. Apparently a sizable portion of the campus hates her. Who knew I could get published for info like that.


An examination of the A-word during Lent-

What could be more joyful than a life of peace and repentance? To turn away from sins, especially those that have long held us in chains, is an occasion for great joy. To fast, to discipline one's body so that the needs of the soul may be better attended to, is an occasion to shout "Alleluia!" In our liturgy the deacon prays on our behalf: "That we may spend the rest of our life in peace and repentance, let us beseech the Lord." That's the goal of life, to spend it in a constant metanoia, a constant turning of ourselves back to God. In Lent we focus on this more, and so, in the Eastern Churches, we sing "Alleluia" more often than outside of Lent.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Most Important Issue in Canadian Politics

Everyone from interim Liberal leader Bill Graham to CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan to Canada’s daycare lobby now insists they are ready to bring down PM Stephen Harper’s government in order to save Canada’s national daycare program.

The only problem is, of course, that Canada doesn't have a national daycare program. WTF mate.

Licentious behavior

A common misconception is that copyright law somehow mandates that software be "licensed, not sold." In a recent discussion on my website, a reader pointed out that is simply not the case. "Copyright laws around the world specifically allows you to make copies needed to use software you have bought, that includes installing it on your computer," the reader wrote, pointing to Section 117 of the U.S. Copyright Act as an example. "There is NO need for any license at all for such a thing. The fact that someone writes a document calling it a license does not change this fact and does not make it illegal to do so without such a license."

The same reader argues that by definition one doesn't license product but a right to do something. "Typically a license is a permission to do something, something you are not allowed to otherwise," the reader wrote. "For example, one can get a license to reproduce and sell copies of a work protected under copyright, since that is forbidden otherwise under copyright law. But how does that apply to someone 'purchasing' or otherwise acquiring software, music, or whatever? Yes, I am aware that the ones producing software, music and such like to use 'licensing' and 'license' but that does not magically turn it into something true ... It is like claiming you suddenly need a license to sit on a chair you bought, and if you don't get that license, it is illegal to sit on the chair."

If I ever wrote anything good, I'd probably GPL it. But first I'd have to write something good, which is the more difficult part.

Jewish classifications

A thorough article from Mr. Prager. It fails to identify the "non-observant Orthodox" viewpoint though, which is fine by me since I don't really understand what it is to begin with, but the distinction between "secular Jews" and "religious Jews" is a helpful one to make when thinking theologically.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Apparently Milosevic died this weekend

Let us pray for his soul. That and the souls of the Communist Party members running around wishing for the good old days of genocide. Though I wonder what evils of my own I am blind to. I seem to recall some story about seeing the log in your eye . . .

Can you say party?

Too bad it's Lent . . .

On Purim day, typically toward evening, a festive meal called Seudat Purim is held, with wine as a prominent beverage. The jovial character of this feast is illustrated in the saying of the Talmud (Meg. 7b) that one should drink on Purim until he can no longer distinguish between the phrases ארור המן ("Cursed is Haman") and ברוך מרדכי ("Blessed is Mordechai"). (In Hebrew, these phrases have the same gematria.) This saying was codified in the authoritative code of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch. While Jews have long been noted for a lack of alcohol abuse, drunkenness is licensed on this holiday.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
"Abraham, Abraham!"
"Here I am!" he answered.
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son."
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

2nd Sunday of Lent. Let me practice my trust in God by not worrying about how I'm going to get through the week, or get my paper ready to go. Let me give it all up to Him, and thank Him for His deeds. Not the best, I feel like anything else is pride.

Two days of reading

I have to admit a fascination, shared with Jimmy Akin, with the works of HP Lovecraft, a sort of gothic horror writer type. He specializes in an environmental horror more than a run-in with the bad guy type of affair which keeps you on edge. Last night, while cleaning my room, I found this lovely tome:

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

I shall not link to the cover here for fear of terrorizing visitors to the blog, but I will point you to a nebulously legal copy of the book on WikiSource. If you need to stay up tonight, read it. If you want to go to sleep, don't.

The only strange thing is that I can't figure out where the book came from. Perhaps the outer darkness?

A little on the Crusades

Viewed as a PR victory for not nice people.

Q: The Crusades are often portrayed as a militarily offensive venture. Were they?

Spencer: No. Pope Urban II, who called for the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont in 1095, was calling for a defensive action -- one that was long overdue.

As he explained, he was calling the Crusade because without any defensive action, "the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked" by the Turks and other Muslim forces.

"For, as most of you have heard, the Turks and Arabs have attacked them and have conquered the territory of Romania [the Greek empire] as far west as the shore of the Mediterranean and the Hellespont, which is called the Arm of St. George," Pope Urban II said in his address. "They have occupied more and more of the lands of those Christians, and have overcome them in seven battles. They have killed and captured many, and have destroyed the churches and devastated the empire.

"If you permit them to continue thus for a while with impunity, the faithful of God will be much more widely attacked by them."

He was right. Jihad warfare had from the seventh century to the time of Pope Urban conquered and Islamized what had been over half of Christendom. There had been no response from the Christian world until the Crusades.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Cracking the whip

Maybe there'll be some positions opening up in IT, what with the Server of the Server of God being installed this year.

Vatican, Mar. 11 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has made his first major changes in the organization of the Roman Curia, with two mergers of existing pontifical councils.

The Pontifical Council for Migrants and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace have been temporarily merged into one unit, to be headed by Cardinal Renato Martino (bio - news), who had been heading the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The changes were announced by the Vatican on March 11.

Similarly the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has been temporarily merged with the Pontifical Council for Culture, with Cardinal Paul Poupard, the current head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to head the combined effort.

Slightly Confused

I can never tell if Cardinal Danneels is on the level or off his rocker. On one hand, it is true that condoms are lesser evils than many other things. On the other hand, I really don't think that people are going to understand that statement properly.

In an interview with a Belgian journal, the cardinal said that it is legitimate for government to establish laws that differ from those of the Church on questions such as same-sex unions, prostituion, and contraception.

"I can accept that civil legislation determines the conditions for cohabitation and the rights of homosexual couples," Cardinal Danneels said. He went on to say that he was not willing to accept a civil union between members of the same sex as a marriage. He explained: "If the germ 'marriage' covers all forms of cohabitation-- between a man and woman the same as between man and man-- then the word no longer has any meaning." He suggested the use of another term to describe same-sex unions.

Again, sort of skirting the issues at hand . . .

Trying too hard

Looking at Cornell's website, I came across this enigmatic statement:

At Halloween, the four faces of the clock on McGraw Tower appear mysteriously pumpkin-like.

No, they appear pumpkin-like all year long, not just on Halloween, and it's not mysterious, it's obvious. If you want a mystery, you should read about theTrinity:

The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion -- the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God." In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.

I'm still trying to figure out the whole thing between Christ and God. Apparently B16, when Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote a book on the subject entitled "The God of Jesus Christ", but I've been unable to locate a copy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Some courage in Boston

Not the best solution in the world, but a Catholic one.

Boston, Mar. 10 ( - Boston Catholic Charities has decided to pull out of adoption services, rather than comply with Massachusetts law that requires adoption agencies not to discriminate against homosexual couples.

Just posting a picture

No need to mind me . . .

Israel's settlement problem

Or, why there's a difference between the Mexican Cession and the West Bank, legally speaking.

Spring Break!

I shall be happy if it does not break me. I have to get a paper well underway in the space of a week so I can report back to my class. I think, though, that some vacation is in order, and I also think that JPII wrote some on this very topic, but I am unable to find it right now, so I will content myself with sleep.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

No, paid email isn't a violation of anyone's free speach rights

No more than paid snail mail is a violation of people's free speach rights, or paid ad space in newspapers. At some point the EFF,, and Craig Newmark really have to calm down.

As the culture of life progresses

Q: Why do you think it has become socially acceptable to abort a child with Down syndrome?

Schiltz: Because, unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable to abort any baby who disappoints the expectations of the baby's parents for any reason, as the increasingly common practice of sex-selection abortion indicates.

Down syndrome just happens to be a disability that is easily identified through prenatal testing.

Not only have many come to accept that a woman faced with such news is justified in aborting her child, some now go further and insist that she has a duty to abort.

Bob Edwards, the scientist who created Great Britain's first in vitro fertilization baby, gave a speech a couple of years ago at an international fertility conference in which he said, "Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children."

Kill the undesirables. How civilized.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nothing like a Swiss army dude

It was Pope Julius II who established the Swiss Guard, recruiting 200 soldiers from Switzerland. The papal bull ordering those men recruited is still preserved at that Vatican, and forms an important part of the exhibit, along with the flags that Pope Julius sent to Switzerland in thanks after the soldiers arrived. The first members of the Guard reached the Vatican in dramatic fashion, arriving on foot on January 22, 1506, after having marched across the Alps in wintertime. The exhibit includes portraits, documents, and commemorative stamps and coins from throughout the history of the Swiss Guard. Many of the items that will be on display are from the Vatican's own collection, including the private archives of the Swiss Guard. (For the first time the public will be able to see the Guard's own portraits of every commander who has served during its 500-year history.) There will also be items on loan from collections elsewhere in Europe.

For those curious about the Scott expedition

On arriving at the Pole January 17-18, 1912, with a five-man party (Scott, Lieutenant Henry Bowers, Dr Edward Wilson, Petty Officer Edgar Evans and army Captain Lawrence Oates), Scott found that Amundsen had been there a month earlier. Amundsen returned to his base in good order, while Scott's entire party perished while returning from the Pole in conditions of extreme cold that have only been recorded once more since the introduction of modern weather stations in the 1960s. Heavy snowfall and refusal to abandon a significant quantity of rock samples undoubtedly also contributed to the slow pace of the party and to its ultimate end.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Want to know what goes on at the South Pole?

Apparently it's a veritable party down there, courtesy of an American research base. Now that would be a cool job.

Apparently Dawn Eden likes my college parish

Check out the combox on this entry. How weird is that.

Awesome button

I feel like Zed had a post on this button a while back. At any rate it'll probably be on the right-hand rail, if no one objects.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Abortion ban in SD

The people have spoken. Will anyone care? Dare we allow democracy?

I'd say something intelligent about this if it wasn't midterm week. Just keep your eyes peeled.


Google sued for nudes: Perfect 10, an online magazine specializing in scantily clad "natural beauties," wants Google (Profile, Products, Articles) Image Search to stop displaying P10 pix purloined by less upstanding pornpreneurs. The mag blames Google for its inability to make money selling dirty pictures on the Net. That’s like being unable to sell popsicles in hell.

It's a blast

Israelis Apologize for Blasts in Basilica

Church Leaders Thankful for Moves to Defend Nazareth Site

What is going on over there. Times like this when I'm glad I only have to deal with muggers and hustlers. Seriously though I'm not sure it's a good strategy for Jews to attempt to wipe out Christians from the Holy Land.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Improvements in Ireland!

Dublin, Mar. 03 ( - Church services have more popular in Ireland during the past few years, a new survey shows.

In a Mintel Ireland marketing survey, 15% of the Irish respondents said that attendance at church services ranked among their top 5 priorities during their free time. In a 2003 survey, only 9.3% put church services on their top-5 list.

Well this is a good sign.

An interesting meditation

Catholic teaching does not require the person to say grace before or after meals. Catholic tradition encourages it, but a person who eats without saying grace has not sinned.

I was wondering why there is so a strong divergence in emphasis between Judaism and Catholicism on this point. In Judaism, the blessing recited after eating bread or a meal with bread is considered to have the authority of a Biblical commandment. Some have held that the blessing recited after eating grains is also a Biblical commandment. And even though other blessings are rabbinical, eating without first saying a blessing is compared to the very serious sin of making personal and profone use of objects or property dedicated to the service of Gd.

I don't think I've ever seen anyone in my house say grace outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving. It's quite sad, I suppose, but it helps explain why I have such problems remembering to do it. Then again, most of my Jewish friends tend to not do this either, so maybe I'm not really missing out in my goyishness.

From DP for today

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

2For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Was at a Billy Joel concert tonight


Unconsitutionalitically challenged

Apparently, as Mark Shea as noted, some people feel it's unconstitutional for a private developer to build a town and not provide any place to have abortions. This, I think, makes most towns in the US that I know of in violation of the Constitution.

Frances Kissling, of course, has her opinion:

"This is un-American," Kissling said. "I don't think in a democratic society you can have a legally organized township that will seek to have any kind of public service whatsoever and try to restrict the constitutional rights of citizens."

Right, next time I want to build a nuclear power plant in a residential neighborhood I'll remember that you think I have an unlimited commercial right and any restriction is un-American. Might actually be closer to what the Founding Fathers had in mind, but I think they also envisioned a lot more lynchings to deal with insufferable fools such as myself.

Some people get a little to into computers

Perl's gluing ability goes beyond computation, to people. To the poor and have-nots. It unites people in the computing field who are not endowed with engaging brains. It is the sanctuary of dunces. The expressions of those thoughtless. The godsend for brainless coders. The means and banner of sys admins. The lingua franca of trial-and-error hackers. The song and dance of stultified engineers. —Xah Lee, 2000-12

Well, Perl does attract some odd characters, I'll admit, but it's also great fun. I'm not sure we can insult imperative languages at random.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Those Commies

Rome, Mar. 02 ( - An Italian government investigation has concluded that leaders of the Soviet Union ordered the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II (bio - news) in May 1981.

A report prepared for the Italian parliament, due for presentation later in March, was released in Rome on March 2 by Paolo Guzzanti, the president of the investigating committee. The report concludes that Soviet leaders were "beyond any reasonable doubt" the force behind the assassination attempt.

I find that quite strange, I guess it never really occurred to me. However I guess their fears were justified based on the fall of Communism, in part due to the Holy Father.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Times on abortion

And the idea that:

Given the apparently intractable American ambivalence about abortion, isn't it time for an entirely different approach to the subject? That is the conviction of William Saletan. Mr. Saletan, author of "Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War," is an abortion rights defender. In a provocative article on the Op-Ed page of this newspaper last month, he wrote: "It's time to shake up this debate. It's time for the abortion rights movement to declare a war on abortion."

"You can't eliminate the moral question by ignoring it," he wrote, calling on abortion rights advocates to take an unambiguous stance: "Abortion is bad, and the ideal number of abortions is zero." But "by conceding that, you don't end the debate," he continued, "you narrow it. Once you agree that the goal is fewer abortions, the only thing left to debate is how to get there."


Uniono blues?

Some labor market issues with unionization in the US.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wise words to start Lent

ROME, MARCH 1, 2006 ( Prayer, fasting and penance are a Christian's weapons against hatred, Benedict XVI explained at a Mass where he celebrated the rite of imposition of ashes.

In an Ash Wednesday homily, the Pope said that Lent reminds us "that Christian life is a constant battle."

"To struggle against evil, against all forms of egoism and hatred, and to die to oneself to live in God, is the ascetic path that every disciple of Christ is called to undertake with humility and patience, with generosity and perseverance," the Holy Father explained.

If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em

Or how some people think opposition to abortion is a conspiracy in restraint of commerce.

In a unanimous 8-0 decision announced on February 28, the Supreme Court apparently put an end to a 20-year case, NOW v. Scheidler, in which abortion advocates sought damages against prominent pro-life organizers, claiming that they were engaged in an illegal conspiracy to harm the abortion business.

The abortionists' lawsuit was brought under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law. The novel effort to portray pro-lifers as gangsters led to a long series of legal challenges and maneuvers, and the case has come up before the Supreme Court on three separate occasions.

I find it amuesing that the plaintiffs probably wouldn't like an agrument that anti-war protests are an illegal conspiracy to harm the oil business.

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