Monday, April 30, 2007


My only complaint is that I resent the suggestion that I am more likely Church of Christ than say Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, or even say Latin Catholic. It is far more probable that I belong to one of these three categories as THESE CHURCHES EXISTED BEFORE and have LOTS MORE MEMBERS!

Does it bother you when people forget that that other lung exists? I could grumble on forever about this, but my, how many people I talk to who have never heard of Eastern Christianity. The ignorance is astonishing.

You scored as Non-instrumentalist. Are you Church of Christ, by any chance? Anyhow, you believe the church needs nothing more than our voices to lift up the Lord in praise.



Grumpy Old Fundamentalist








Classic Quaker


Super-highbrow Protestant


Old Time Believer


Highbrow Protestant


Contemporary Evangelical


What's Your Church Musicianship
created with

A little chaos in Italy

GENOA, Italy, April 11, 2007 ( - Genoa’s Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, has been placed under police protection after homosexual activists spray-painted death threats against the senior church official across the city, the BBC reported April 10.

Archbishop Bagnasco recently issued a strongly-worded condemnation of the government’s proposal to give legal rights to unmarried couples in civil unions, including homosexual pairs.

Nothing more liberating than shooting someone, that's what I say.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Grace Before Meals

In universities in the UK and Ireland, Latin Graces are common at supper. Ironically, the men and women who partake in these traditions often have little if any fear of God, let alone any appreciation of Latin prayers.

Also fact, thanksgiving prayers to God before or after meals corrolates with one's faith in God.

So not to make this sound like some PSA, chanting Latin Graces is fun. And impressive.


Monks Get Animal Planet TV Show

Divine Canine is a new dog training television program by Animal Planet that features the monks of New Skete, an OCA monsatary up in Cambridge, NY. Beyond the usual baking, icon painting, retreat hosting, cheese making, and other monatary related tasks that go on at the monstary, they also raise German Shepards and hold dog training seminars.

I have yet to see the show, however I have to confess, the interest in the monastary has increased so much that they are currently unable to take orders for new puppies. If that doesn't help the monastary along, I don't know what will.

Extra books?

I just found out about a wonderful program that donates books to countries around the world where they're needed. As those who know me in real life know, I'm . . . well at work we'd say I'm way long books. At any rate, while many of them are somewhat necessary for various things I do, a lot of them can certainly be used better in other places in the world. I've been trying to find an angle so that I could get them into the hands of people who need them, and this may be it.

The Better World bookstore is also pretty sweet, as they take books and sell them on Amazon, giving the procedes to public libraries. I think I prefer the international flair of this other website though, so to them my books will go.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Church and State

Now, whenever two people disagree, each is committed to saying that the other’s view is false and that his arguments are unsound; that’s just what disagreement means, and no one should be upset at this. But Mr. Auth goes much further. He’s saying not only that his opponents are wrong and that their arguments are unsound, but also that his opponents in fact have no reasonable arguments at all. If they had reasonable arguments, even ultimately unsound ones, then Mr. Auth would have to admit that they could well disagree with him on the basis of such arguments. So Mr. Auth is making an extremely strong claim here: not only that he’s right and his opponents are wrong, but also that all reasonable people have to agree with him, and anyone who disagrees with him is, to that extent, unreasonable. . . .

Something I've often found in my life as well. I'm not just wrong, I'm a bad person, if I disagree. On the other hand, I'm always plesantly surprised at the number of people who are willing to sit down and have a reasonable discussion. Sometimes I find that I'm not reasonable at that point. The door goes both ways, I suppose.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Down with the man

While reading the WSJ today, I came across a letter from a doctor, a Mr. Barry Barron, who opined that "As a physician . . . I certainly do not want my government second-guessing my decisions" during a rumination on the evils that would come from the banning of partial-birth abortions.

I for one am quite glad we have the FDA. And I'm not quite so trusting of doctors as to imagine that they're angels, especially after spending a lot of time dealing with their screw-ups.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Forgiving others

In 1985, Williams was accused of aggravated sodomy, kidnapping, and rape. Despite his claims of innocence, Williams was sentenced to forty-five years. For the next twenty-two years, he slept on hard bunks, ate prison hash, and could only wonder about the life he might have lived on the outside.

But Williams did not give up. In July 2005, he contacted the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal clinic that reexamines criminal cases using post-conviction DNA evidence. After investigating Williams’s claims that he was wrongly convicted on faulty eyewitness evidence, the Innocence Project took his case back to court, and Williams was found innocent.

After singing a few lines of “Amazing Grace,” 44-year-old Williams walked out of prison a free man and went home to eat a steak dinner with his family. A few days later, he appeared at a news conference claiming he wasn’t angry about spending half of his life behind bars. Instead, he demonstrated mercy and forgiveness. “Anybody can screw up,” he said. “We’re all human.”

Wow. That is a man of impressive commitment to his principles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Something's cooking in Rome

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 24, 2007 ( The Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace is hosting an international study seminar to search for solutions to the phenomenon of global warming.

"Climate Change and Development" is the title of the conference, which will be held this Thursday and Friday.

The conference will respond to "the voice of ecological concern raised by the U.N. Security Council in recent days, after a report by environment experts," the dicastery said.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Name that country.

Want to know what the latest spyware bill in Congress is all about?

As usual, our elected officials are trying their hardest to protect us.

In other words, it's perfectly OK for basically any vendor you do business with, or maybe thinks you do business with them for that matter, to use any of the deceptive practices the bill prohibits to load spyware on your computer. The company doesn't have to give you notice and it can collect whatever information it thinks necessary to make sure there's no funny business going on. And by the way, another exception provision specifically protects computer manufacturers from any liability for spyware they load on your computer before they send it to you. Of course, the exception for software companies checking to make sure you're an authorized user is the strongest evidence of what this bill is all about. After all, in terms of function, there's not much difference between spyware and DRM. Too bad for Sony this bill wasn't already the law when its rootkit-infected CDs came to light.

And when I say us, I mean us big music manufacturers. Cough cough sony cough.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Open-mindedness continues in San Fran

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, observed, "Judge Patel clearly exhibited hostility toward the Catholic Church. During oral argument and in her written decision she claimed that the Church 'provoked the debate' by publicly expressing its moral teaching, and that by passing the resolution the City responded 'responsibly' to all of the 'terrible' things the Church was saying. This judge attempted to rationalize the evocative rhetoric and venom of the resolution which are sad reminders of Catholic baiting by the Ku Klux Klan."

Just one week after the anti-Catholic resolution, the San Francisco Board voted-again unanimously-to condemn some 25,000 Evangelical teens who gathered in the city to express their opposition to homosexual conduct. Openly gay San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno said the teenage group is "obnoxious" and "disgusting" and should not be tolerated. He told the Christian group to "get out of San Francisco."

Mmm, citizens ought not to discuss their views in public. It's obnoxoius and disgusting. Reminds me of an incident at college when we were praying the Rosary outside, as we do once a semester, in honor of a Marian feast, and someone walking by called us murderers. Not quite sure who we were killing. Maybe it had something to do with fallopian tubes getting entangled with rosaries?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What is Confirmation?

I will admit to being a little mystified by the sacrament. I mean, we're already baptised. What's with this other sacrament where we receive the Holy Spirit? This article provides a useful biblical and patristic background which has provided me with some interesting thinking. I haven't carefully vetted it - let me know if there's anything sketchy in there.

Urgent Call for Volunteers!

Hey folks,

As many as you know I am finishing up my year as a Lasallian Volunteer. The Lasallian Volunteer program places college graduates in sites throughout the United States to do work in education with the poor. You live in community and work alongside other volunteers and the De La Salle Christian Brothers. The Christian Brothers are a religious order founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle (patron saint of teachers) to teach the poor. My volunteer work has taken me from my home in New York and placed me in Oakland, California working in an after-school educational center for middle and high school students. My year here has been wonderful, extremely fulfilling in many regards. It breaks my heart to leave, but I am going to continue with professional development in teaching by getting a masters degree.

I am posting to urge anyone who is graduating (or already has graduated) from college and is looking to do volunteer work to please consider the Lasallian Volunteers. Last year an unusually large number of volunteers stayed for a second year and are now leaving this spring, so there are still many openings yet to be filled. You need not have any experience in teaching, simply an open heart, willingness to live in community, and a desire to work with young people. I have had a wonderful and life-altering experience as a volunteer and encourage others to consider this program. I would be more than willing to talk with anyone about my experiences. Check the website out for details about the various sites around the country or how to apply.

If you can't consider volunteering at this time please keep the Christian Brothers, the current volunteeers, and the Lasallian mission in your prayers.

I thank you kindly.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Still have a long way to go as a teacher

A teacher was telling his students about the dangers of riding a bicycle without the protection of a helmet. In case of an accident, he warned, head injuries were very likely to occur. He then told them a number of stories about teenagers who had been paralyzed by falls from bicycles.

The students listened to the stories wide-eyed and open-mouthed, but the next day they were again riding blithely down the road, their helmets dangling from their bicycle seats.

The frustrated teacher sought the principal’s advice.

“I know they believed the stories,” he said. “I could see it in the shock and the concern on their faces. If so, why didn’t they start wearing their helmets? I don’t understand it.”

“It’s just human nature,” said the principal. “You hear the stories, but somehow, you never relate them to yourself. Listen to me. Tomorrow, bring a wheelchair into your classroom and leave it there for a few days. In their own minds, they will begin seeing themselves in the wheelchair. Mark my words. In a week, they will all be wearing their helmets.”

I understand little about human nature, despite being one myself.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Work and meaning

Or, when knowing more about someone else's program than they do can improve someone's life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just wondering if anyone knows where to get an Altair

Emulators are nice, but sometimes you want to touch real hardware.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

That's a development

Washington, Apr. 18, 2007 ( - The US Supreme Court has upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion.

By a 5-4 ruling, the court found that the law passed by Congress in 2003 does not violate the US Constitution. The court's ruling will allow the ban to go into effect for the first time.

The decision announced on April 18 was the first major test for the Supreme Court on the abortion issue since the appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Both new members of the court voted with the majority, along with Justices Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas.

How to say it. Wow. I never thought Kennedy would come around.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Democracy in Action

Meeting on Easter Monday, April 9, health ministers from more than 40 African countries participated in a weeklong conference discussing health strategies for the continent under the Maputo Protocol that was "approved" by the ministers last October--ratified by just 15 of the 53-member states of the African Union, the protocol calls for all member states to implement abortion legislation.

15 out of 53? More than half! I think. My math was never so hot.

Unrelated, but I found this amuesing:

In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris declared the New York City Board of Estimate unconstitutional on the grounds that the city's most populous borough (Brooklyn) had no greater effective representation on the board than the city's least populous borough (Staten Island), this arrangement being a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to the high court's 1964 "one man, one vote" decision (Reynolds v. Sims). [2]

So much for the senate.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Two tech issues close to my heart.

Firstly, I've recently gone non-admin on my windows box at home. It won't work for everything I do, but almost everything is close enough, and I can always log in as an admin if I need it. I can't stress how much less damage can be done to your computer if you're attacked and you're a normal user rather than an admin. Good stuff.

Secondly, a lovely account of a guy getting disconnected from Comcast cable service becasue he went over some bandwidth cap, though they wouldn't tell him what that number was. Corporate abuse at its finest. Down with 'em, I say.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I think I may be connecting with my students

After leading my fourth graders in a frienzied discussion of the Rosary, atheism, polytheism, and various other topics in an hour, one of the girls said:

This is more fun than playing a game in class.

Two prayer requests to end the Octave of Easter

One from the editor of JWR:

I'm asking that
each of you take a moment and recite a prayer on behalf of Yehudah
ben (son of ) Rivka.

Why not for all the elderly in hospitals and nursing homes while we're at it.

Also, from a friend trying to get a job in a school.

Thank you.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What I learned today

Apparently there's not much nuclear fallout from fusion bombs. Go figure.

Got this in my mailbox this morning


We interrupt this weekend with a special news alert:

This morning, Pope Benedict called together all the heads of the Roman Curia. The meeting had not been previously announced; the subject was not disclosed.

Something is happening. It's easy to speculate, but let's just say: watch this space!

- Phil Lawler

Actually, I don't even know enough to speculate, which saves me that trouble.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Don't know why

But it's a website devoted to how much the CSX railroad sucks. Oddly enticing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The perils of being proactive

After I picked up a job from the network printer, the secretary screamed at me in the quiet office: "I printed a minute ago and it worked okay. Then you went over and did something to the printer, and now it doesn't work!"

The printer had run out of paper.

One day, to my horror, I found out that the server had run continually for seven years and had never once been backed up. I pleaded with the owner to buy a tape backup unit. Though he owned the $12 million company and wore a heavy gold chain around his neck, he refused to buy a $100 tape backup unit. A few weeks later, the server disk died, taking with it all the company records: personnel, finance, correspondence ... everything except the warehouse system.

I was very depressed. Could I have found someone else to tell him he needed to back up the server data, I wondered? What else could I have done to prevent this?

But they assumed I broke it to prove my point about backup, and I was fired.

I was reading this and thinking a little about how this relates to offering one's work to God. In the 'Opus Dei' sense, not in the getting ordained sense, though of course those are not incompatible. To do the 'right thing' and speak up may place your job at risk. Keeping quiet may actually make you a better employee, even though management may never know it. But maybe it's like martyrdom - you gotta stand by your principals even if you get killed.

I don't have a particularly good answer to propose, but hopefully I can come up with something before I have to deal with it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The good times

I think I've probably become an adult when I'm excited because this week we're done with the assigned readings in the CCD class I teach. Which means I get to go onto my topics. First on the list is the Rosary. Second on the list is this whole polytheism thing that people seem to have trouble with. Third is trying to prove that people knew about Christ during the Civil War. Number three may be the hardest, since some of the kids seem convinced that two thousand years ago dinosaurs and cavemen roamed the earth. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I'm in charge of generating this number - not too important what it means, but one gets stamped on every trade my company does. Today this number came up: "1RMHOASS".

I really need to put some checks in there for naughty words.

Quite the quote from Holy Saturday

From a WKCR special - "Join us in our celebration of the immortal Billie Holiday".

Hmm. Thought it was some other immortal Being whose day it was. Guess I was wrong.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm not sure that qualifies as a charity

Gee, contraception for college students is being exposed to market prices. We can't stand for this?

Not sure quite what the Times is driving at, but the idea that exemptions from Medicaid pricing rules so college students can get cheap pills is a charity is somehow poetic. "Feds, feeling bad about college students not getting any, encourages charitable giving of contraception". Now that would be a headline I could get behind.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A little data on the "Tomb of Jesus"

Masterfully dissected by Mr. Holding.

Some most sensible advice about dealing with corporations that do bad things

I'm really quite thankful for the folks at EWTN putting up these forums (fora?). They're certainly a source of reassurance for me, if nothing else, and I think that there are people on there that really do get valuable help in their lives.

Happy Good Friday

Or something like that.

Last night I stopped by a reading of Dante's Inferno in the Episcopalian Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It's rather moving to attend a public reading of such a work of poetry. However, it's also somewhat unnerving to be descending into Hell without leaving your seat in church. At least Dante gets out at the end.

I had the privilege today of being able to attend OOR/Morning Prayer and Passion narritive at the Church of Notre Dame today, being off from work. There were a bunch of students there, but of course there could always be more. Especially in comparison to the crowd that showed up on Ash Wednesday. If only we could make getting ashes contingent on being around for Easter the previous year.

I also get to go to an Byzantine shroud veneration tonight and help them set up for Easter. Woot.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Just a pre-Triduum message

The truth is that today we Christians (or those of us who call ourselves Christians) present in our reactions a strong contrast to the attitude of [St. Joseph]. It would seem that nowadays not many are grievously concerned by Jesus' absence from their lives. There are Christians for whom the presence of Christ or his absence from their souls means practically nothing.

. . .

It happens because we are not in love; we are not exactly enamoured of him. For when we lose someone for whom we have great affection and whom we truly love, the sorrow resulting from the loss is almost unbearable. But see how we men can lightly switch from having him to not having him, from losing him to returning to find him, with such cold indifference that there is no appreciable change in our outlook, in our mood, or in our frame of mind. It is as if nothing has happened.

Joseph of Nazareth, Federico Suarez, p. 140

Hop to it, gentlemen. There's still time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And the phrase of the day is

Short shrift. I use it, but who knew it had to do with Latin and pennance and all sorts of interesting things. Guess I should have taken more philology and whatnot at Columbia.

A decent start

Questions to ask before marrying. The list seems quite reasonable to me, though of course coming from the Times, they omitted number 0 - are you of a different sex than I am?

I'm sorely tempted to give my own top 10 list, but I feel as if that would be giving a serious subject short shrift.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I wonder what the futures market for leaven looks like around this time of year

I mean, there are a whole bunch of people trying to get short bread and corn and whatnot. It must be out of control. For my part, I'm waiting until after Passover to go and get deals on Passover food that everyone's sick of eating. After all, not being a sojourner with any Hebrews, I don't get to partake of the paschal lamb. Or the paschal חֲרֽוֹסֶת(charoset), for that matter.

At any rate, I'll stop grumbling.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Domenica in palmis

Or, Holy Week is on. This has been a most interesting Lent for me, and I hope for you too.

The sixth and last Sunday of Lent and beginning of Holy Week, a Sunday of the highest rank, not even a commemoration of any kind being permitted in the Mass.


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