Thursday, January 31, 2008

LOL of the day

From Lifesite:

Bonnie Scott Jones told the court of one of her clients, who had a late-term abortion by Tiller because her baby suffered from serious fetal anomalies. "I believe it is criminal and immoral that I, and other patients like me, should be subjected to the mere possibility that our private medical records become public," said an affidavit signed by one of Tiller's former customers, "Mary Moe." Mary Moe claimed that she obtained the abortion after discovering that her unborn child suffered a "rare and severe fetal anomaly that would ... result in the child living in a vegetative state, if at all." However, fetal anomaly is not a legal reason to obtain late abortion in Kansas.

"Bonnie Jones basically admitted in open court that Tiller gave one of her clients an illegal abortion," said Newman. "I found it shocking that she could describe in detail her client's reasons for having the abortion and not understand that. She is either grossly ignorant of Kansas law, or so arrogant that she does not flinch at admitting to the illegal abortion. Either way, it is obvious that the lawyers are more concerned with covering for Tiller than protecting patient privacy, or she would not have given so much medical detail in court."

One day I hope to have a big enough pair to admit in court that I've been committing various crimes but am still confident that the law doesn't apply to me.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Twins get married

By accident.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- British twins who had been separated at birth learned they were related only after they had become husband and wife, a senior British lawmaker said. The marriage has been annulled.

And you know this only gets more common in a scenario where sperm and egg donors are common.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mangos, the cans of fruit

Today's featured wikipedia article is about Manos, The Hands of Fate, possibly the worst movie ever made. Next time you feel like complaining about the latest Hollywood drivel, just think how much worse you could have it.

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Monday, January 28, 2008


And the consequences of eating it.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Catholic Gasoline

Got this from my uncle. Not sure who came up with it, but if you can provide a proper reference I'll add it.

Sister Mary Ann, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her
rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would
have it, a gasoline station was just a block away.

She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The
attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but
she could wait until it was returned. Since Sister Mary Ann was on the way
to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car.

She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and
spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful,
Sister Mary Ann carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with
gasoline, and carried the full bedpan back to her car. As she was pouring
the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street. One of
them turned to the other and said, "If it starts, I'm turning Catholic."


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Priests still needed

Rome, Jan. 24, 2008 ( - World leaders of the Dominican order have issued a correction to three Dutch Dominican theologians who issued a popular pamphlet arguing that parish communities could celebrate the Eucharist without a priest, the French newspaper La Croix reporters.

This shouldn't really be a revelation. And of course the dissenters point to Vatican II. Does anyone have a link to their pamphlet? I'd be curious to see how they get a church council to support their position.


Friday, January 25, 2008

You too can learn!

My favorite piece to teach was the PC Hardware part. I brought in an old, but working PC to all the classes and tore out the guts. I taught the students what each part did, how to put 'em back in their proper spot... and make the whole shebang work. This usually ripped away the whole computers are scary and magical attitudes in most everyone.

One of my Grandma's from a local retirement complex was so tickled. She declared "by golly, it's just like when I tear apart and fix my vacuum cleaner! I can do this."

Moral of the story - if a grandma can do it, you can.

Of coures that's not entirely true - my grandparents can do plenty of things I can't do. Still, I'm inspired.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A little bit about time

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A typical session with me using a biblical concordance

It's sort of a topical index of the Bible. I was looking for "worry" tonight and these were the headings I saw as I poked around for it.

"Strength, tribulations, wandering, wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked, will, wisdom, word, works".

The takeaway is that there are certainly a lot of wicked parts of the Bible. Serves me right, I should have been doing a binary search anyway which is O(log n) instead of my O(n) search. (notation explained).

This of course leads me to one of my favorite quotes from any professor ever:

"Big-O is the closest you get to S&M in mathematics" -- Prof. Eitan

This from a dude who also gave the world such classics as

"5 minus 3 is 1"

"I just realized we've been making a terrible mistake. We've been using numbers, like '5' and '2', without knowing what they are."

I could go all day, but I'll save some for a slow blog week.

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Bush addresses march

A bold move. But still. I wonder sometimes why he doesn't just show up. It is in DC.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

The March for Life is on

Washington, Jan. 21, 2008 ( - Thousands of American Catholics are expected to join in a vigil Mass on January 21 in Washington, DC, before joining in the March for Life the following day.

. . .

January 22 will mark the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, with which the US Supreme Court overturned all restrictions on abortion.


An ugly scene

FRANKFURT — Fears that the United States is in a recession reverberated around the world on Monday, sending stock markets from Bombay to Frankfurt into a tailspin and puncturing the hopes of many investors that Europe and Asia will be able to sidestep an American downturn.

On a day when United States markets were closed in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, the world’s eyes were trained nervously on the United States. Investors reacted with what many analysts described as panic to the multiplying signs of weakness in the American economy.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Remember, questioning the status quo is offensive

Or, you only have a right to free speach if it's the sort of speach that doesn't upset the government.

HAMILTON, Ontario, January 17, 2008 ( - The city of Hamilton Ontario has decided to pull a series of pro-life advertisements from its bus-shelters, saying that they were "offensive" and too "controversial."

The ads, which are part of a nation-wide pro-life campaign coordinated by Life Canada, depict a pregnant woman. At the top of the ad are the words, "Nine months: the length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed." At the bottom is the question, "Abortion, have we gone too far?"

Nothing graphic. Nothing about people going to hell. No protesters. Yet it's still too much for Hamilton.

Joanne Byfield, the president of Life Canada responded to the city's decision, saying, "Councillor McHattie asked for the ads to be pulled because he says, 'For me personally, it definitely was offensive.' I wish he was more specific. Was it the image of the pregnant woman that so offended him? Was it the statement of fact in the ad: 'Nine months: The length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed?' Or was it the tag line, 'Abortion: Have we gone too far?'"

What's offensive is, I suspect, that someone would dare to question the prevailing orthodoxy that abortion is a human right. The councillor probably doesn't see this as much different from someone taking out an advertisement calling for an ethnic cleansing. I could be wrong. I often am. But that's my take.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

That's the sheep I want


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The pope, silenced

Rome, Jan. 16, 2008 ( - Italian political leaders have expressed their dismay that a noisy protest at La Sapienza university in Rome prompted Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) to cancel his planned appearance there.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano released a statement condemning the "inadmissible intolerance" shown by the campus protestors, who had planned to greet the Pope with loud rock music, anti-clerical posters, and parades of militant homosexuals. Prime Minister Romano Prodi said that the protests had "provoke unacceptable tensions and created a climate that does not honor Italy's traditions of civility and tolerance."

All this from one little quote:

To bolster their position, the 67 protesters cite a 1990 speech in which then-Cardinal Ratzinger defended the Church's disciplinary action against Galileo in 1633. In that talk, the future Pope cited the verdict of the agnostic scholar Paul Feyerabend, who said: "The Church in the age of Galileo clung to reason more than Galileo himself did." He found that the heresy verdict against Galileo was, by the standards of the times, "rational and just."

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Prayers of the faithful

A British view on some classics.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Pope says mass to the east

The Holy Father used the ad orientem posture, facing in the same direction as the congregation, using the magnificent altar of the Sistine Chapel rather than portable altar that had been set up in previous years. This provoked widespread comment, with many journalists reporting that the Pope had revived an old liturgical tradition. (In fact, the ad orientem posture was never abolished.)

We do indeed live in exciting times.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Sages and Mark

Question: If the Sages which came before Yeshua could not be trusted in their teaching, why cannot the teaching of the Sages of the Talmud, which came after Yeshua, be trusted?

. . .

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More cash for big farms

IT may not surprise you to learn that much of the pork and chicken and beef and milk that you buy at the grocery store comes from huge, industrial-size operations that bear little resemblance to the quaint family farms that adorn many food packages.

But you may be surprised to learn that your tax dollars have helped pave the way for the growth of these livestock megafarms by paying farmers to deal with the mountains of excrement that their farms generate. All of this is carried out under the rubric of “conservation.” Congress is about to renew the program — and possibly even expand it — as part of a new farm bill wending its way through the Capitol.


Friday, January 11, 2008

The importance of punctuation

Or what happens when pandas go wrong.


Thursday, January 10, 2008


Rome, Jan. 10, 2008 ( - Excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo has returned to Rome, where he plans to pursue his campaign against clerical celibacy.

The troubled Zambian prelate arrived in Rome with Maria Sung, the woman to whom he was joined in a group wedding ceremony held in New York in 2001 under the direction of Rev. Myung Moon, the head of the Unification Church. Milingo had not been in Rome since June 2006, when he disappeared from the residence where he had been living quietly outside Rome, and surfaced in Washington, DC, at a press conference to denounce clerical celibacy.

Apparently he's also decided that he's not excommunicate becaues excommunication doesn't exist.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Jewish perspective on subprime lending

It can be good! Pretty much what I've been saying.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Bad times ahead

In what is probably its most alarming forecast in recent memory, the city’s Independent Budget Office today projected a $3.1 billion budget deficit in the 2009 fiscal year, rising to $4.6 billion in 2010 and $6.3 billion in 2011 — largely as as result of the weakening in the housing market and higher labor costs. The office warned that the “the city’s fiscal picture could become even darker” if Wall Street’s economic woes worsen or if the housing market, which in Manhattan has remained strong, further declines.

I seem to recall that Mayor Beame got hit by this problem - Lindsay was in office and everything was peachy, but by the time he was sworn in the city was on its way to bankrupcy.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Prayer Request

I found out today that two friends of mine today, a priest and an Italian, recently died. Please pray for Andor and Ernie. RIP.


The feeding of the five thousand

I was reading Mark (the Gospel according to) today, in particular the section about the feeding of the five thousand. My blood pressure has always gone up a little when someone described it as a "miracle of sharing", but I've never been able to articulate why very well. Except for the little bit where Jesus says "Don't you understand!" a few times at the tail end of the eight chapter.

Anywho, it got me to thinking what my expensive array of secondary sources had to say on the matter and I learned a few interesting things which I'd like to share.

First, the Navarre Bible's take on the issue.

Solid, as always. Summarized, it talks about how it's a prefigurment of the Eucharist (not too surprising) and also gives great importance to the fact that they pick up the leftovers afterwards. The point of that gesture is, firstly, to show that God cares about the little things that you do for him, and secondly, that the messianic era is one of abundance. Moses gives bread and you get a days worth. Jesus gives bread and you have more than you can possibly eat. I had never really considered the significance of the gathring of the leftovers, but I like this reading a lot. It also does seem a little Opus Dei, with the sanctification of the daily grind and whatnot. All the better. My day is in need of sanctification.

How about Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS henceforth).

Lots of poetry - apparently the Church Fathers were quite keen on verse. Also a lot of interesting spiritual senses of the text that are difficult to summarize. The most intersting IMHO is a little bit from Origen on why the people eating sat down in fifties and hundreds (Mark 6:40). He states that 100 is a divine number and 50 is a number signifying the remission of debt and sin (eg the Jubilee at fifty year intervals), so here Jesus is feeding the perfect and those who are striving for perfection. Fascinating, and not something that I would have come up with.

Well, that's all I can write without going to jail for copyright violation, but if you're interested I'll lend you a volume or schedule a coffee run for further discussion.

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"King of ages, you endure from age to age, send your word as fresh spring rain falling on our hearts."

Evening Prayer of the Epiphany (CBPC Translation)

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Worthy of emulation

AMARILLO, Texas, January 3, 2008 ( - A Catholic bishop has declared his diocese will observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion in the United States, as a day of penance for Catholics.

Bishop John W. Yanta of the diocese of Amarillo said that Tuesday January 22 will be observed in his diocese as a "Day of Fast and Abstinence." The bishop said that day is a particular day of penance in the United States for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Print in 3D

From sugar! I want to build one of these - who's with me?


Thursday, January 03, 2008

I don't know if you can blame the GPS

Bo Bai, a computer technician from Sunnyvale who said he was merely trusting his car's global positioning system when he steered onto the tracks, was cited for obstructing a railroad crossing, officials said this afternoon.

. . .

Bai, who has been working in Fishkill, was driving west on Green Lane around 7 p.m., and told Metropolitan Transportation Authority police the GPS system instructed him to turn right as he was crossing the tracks. He was headed for the Saw Mill River Parkway, just past the tracks.

He got stuck, tried unsuccessfully to reverse and finally abandoned the 2006 Ford Focus minutes before it was slammed by a northbound Metro-North Harlem Line train, MTA police said.

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Achewood is Time's #1 graphic novel of the year!

Makes those three hours I spent reading all of the back comics for five years feel a little less wasted.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Don't drink and sign

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