Monthly Archives: June 2006

I Know the Header Clashes….

But WordPress is finally going to let us put up customized header images, and I thought I ought to try it out.

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What Is the Point of Today’s SF/F?

If anybody has figured out why 97% of today’s sf/f deserves to be read or published, please tell me. See, the literary stuff is depressed, moonbatty, and yet defiantly sure that its politics and (im)morality are the only way to happiness. And the nonliterary stuff is exactly the same, except with more explosions and fewer interminable conversations and descriptions. (And occasionally different politics, but largely the same morality on everything else.)

I’m not the first one to say it, but… Sturgeon was an optimist

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ZZZorro! And the Black Whip!

Yay! Another Zorro cartoon is coming out — with a series bible apparently written by Rick Ungar, fabled for such odd and memorable shows as Biker Mice from Mars and Roswell Conspiracies, and Sean Catherine Derek, who wrote some memorable stuff for Batman: the Animated Series. 

This incarnation (at least the fourth US Zorro cartoon) is called Zorro: Generation Z, and is set in the present or near future. College student Diego is driven to emulate his famous ancestor's secret life, as he fights crime with his wits, his athletic skills, and his trusty black motorcycle, Tornado-Z. He receives assistance from a freshman girl, who takes up the secret identity of Zorro's female descendant in the serials, The Black Whip! 

Yes, it sounds cheesy, and yes, I'm sure the censors will shudder. But dang, I am grinning all over my face right now…. 

Better yet, BKN (returned from the dead) has put the story bible and pilot script online! This is awesomely cool.

(I apologize for all the exclamation points this week, but sometimes it must be done.) 

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Geek Test!

When you see a link to Gothic Poetry by J.R.R. Tolkien, what is your first thought?

A) Elves in black

B) Elves in a spooky medieval castle

C) If Arwen had but known!

D) He wrote poetry about cathedrals?

E) Cool! Just like the Heliand !

The beauty of this test is that every answer reveals a different type of geek. Enjoy!

[ I must confess that my answer was E). Nor did it occur to me, until long afterward, that it was odd that none of the other possibilities had come to mind. Thus, the test.]

Btw, I highly recommend the podcast this linked to, The Bitter Scroll. I just wish he’d put up more episodes.

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Old School Geek

Steven Riddle pointed out a public domain book (in PDF form) of astronomy essays, including one by Schiaparelli. In the introduction, we read of his discovery of Mercury's hot and cool sides:

As early as 1882, M. Schiaparelli confided to one of his correspondents his discovery in the verses that follow:

Cynthiae ad exemplum versus Cyllenius axe
Aeternum noctem sustinet, atque diem:
Altera perpetuo facies comburitur aestu,
Abdita para tenebris altera Sole caret.

Now that's old school. 

Btw, the book also contains an essay by one Fr. George M. Searle, an astronomy professor at CUA, on "Are the Planets Habitable?".  

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Interesting Story!

This is pretty much exactly the kind of story I would never have thought to set at COSI. But it works. Oh, yes, it works.  (Hat tip to TSO.)

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Goodbye to Father Larry

After just a year of being assistant pastor at St. Albert's, Father Larry Gearhart is off to be pastor of his very own couple of parishes: Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg and St. Michael's in Mechanicsburg. (In God's Country, as we call it around here!) I think he is going to have an awesome time and do really great things.

Unfortunately, the previous pastor did not leave under happy circumstances. So Father Larry will have to work to show people they can trust him. OTOH, he can pretty much rest assured that he'd be improving matters even if he just did a mediocre job. He has the responsibility, but he has a lot of freedom, too. 

If my dad's long-ago experience of teaching up in God's Country is any predictor, it'll be just like St. Albert's. Everybody is either related or knows everybody else's business, and might as well be related. Heh — this is why the secrecy of the confessional was invented!

(Btw, I notice that when you search for "Catholic" and "Mechanicsburg", you get a bunch of Protestant church names. "St. Michael's Church" only comes up on Superpages.com. So obviously, not much of a web presence. Not that a parish that small necessarily needs one or can afford one, but….) 

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Which Reminds Me

I forgot to point folks over to Julie D's discovery about imaginative prayer. It's not really the part of Ignatian spirituality which appeals to me, so I keep forgetting to tell my friend who does a lot of imaginative prayer about that. (Peggy Noonan's another one who apparently does prayer and meditation with mental images in detail; she did a column once on praying the Rosary that way….)

It really is important to remember that there isn't just one way to pray. Obviously, if you're a regular churchgoer, you do some kind of ritual group prayer, and that's a good solid foundation. (If you go to Mass, that's even better; multiple forms of prayer are included.) Reading the Bible and meditating and praying about it is pretty generic, too.

But there are zillions of other ways to pray, and some of them will appeal to you and some of them won't. In what you do on your own time, you should go with what works for you (as long as it's not insanely dangerous or un-Christian). God made you the way you are, for His own good reasons. Your neighbor can't pray for you, so you're the final authority on how you pray. Vocal or mental, still or in movement, with a deliberately cleared mind or one full of focused thought, intellectually or full of emotion… just feel free to praise, thank, ask, chat, bless. Pray.

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Detachment: With Your Whole Heart

Over on Maria Lectrix, I'm reading The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and before Lent, I did The Imitation of Christ and St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogue. Meanwhile, EWTN Radio's Deep in Scripture Bible study show's been discussing the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. Heck, Enbrethiliel's been chatting about a few things.
What subject keeps coming up? Detachment.

Detachment gets discussed in lots of scary-sounding ways, like "you shouldn't love anybody or anything else but God" or "everything except God is infinitely bad and ugly".

But really, the truth of the matter is that detachment is just putting on the attitude and point of view of someone before the Fall. Someone who sees the world like a child — full of wonders, but impossible to get grabby about. Everything is a wonderful toy, and everyone is a wonderful person to love. But God is the One who loves you most, whom you most love, and why you love everyone and everything else. When God calls you to walk with him, you drop your toys and go.

The problem is that we aren't unfallen people and we don't live in an unfallen world. So behaving and feeling the way we were meant to do is painful for us. (Speaking as someone about as detached as a dog on a chain.)

So that's what detachment means. It doesn't mean that Creation is bad. It means that anything you really love about any thing or person or creature is really God in them. Seeing that, you should love them and praise God for them, but not cling to them or obsess about them. God is the only One you can really cling to, anyway.

And if that doesn't work, you take radical measures. A lot of these books are all about radical measures, because a lot of times the gentler way of thinking about it doesn't make people jump to it. But you'd have perfect detachment if you just followed Jesus: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole mind and your whole strength." "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 

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“Vengeance Is Mine,” Saith the Lord, “and So Are Horror Movie Guys.”

Lessee. The original version of The Omen was partially filmed in… Iraq.

Last year, Al-Zarqawi bombed a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan, and killed Moustapha Akkad, the producer of… Halloween.

The new Halloween movie, produced by Akkad's son, was announced on June 4, 2006. 

The new version of The Omen opened on June 6, 2006.

Al-Zarqawi met his doom on June 7, 2006… in Iraq.
God was obviously punishing the terrorists for disrupting His beloved horror movies. So he got to work putting the fear into "fear of the Lord" and the wrath into "wrath of God".

What? You think that theory's farfetched? But you were all worried about 6/06/06…. :)
Btw, God says He'd like more like the original Exorcist or Emily Rose.

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It’s Not Easy Being the Mother of God….

In this picture by Zurbaran, Mary looks suspicious about a lamb that’s snuck onscreen.

In this one by the same guy, Mary looks sad — and tired out, too. Teenagers and their Goth moments.

In this painting by Juan de Flandes, Mary gives her son That Look. The one for chores.

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Because You Have to Have an LJ to Use Their Comment Box….

Phil and Kaja Foglio have this little comic called Girl Genius. A joke image by them inspired this. Massive spoilers for later issues both here and below!

TTTO: The Star Blazers theme song, of course!

We're out… with Emp'ror Krosp
We're figh…ting Mother L
To save… the human race…

OUR SPARK BLAZERS!

Heading out from Wulfenbach
Heading for some distant rock
Leaving Gil she loves behind
Who knows what strangers she'll find?
She must be strong and brave!
It's Earth she's got to save.
If she can't defeat her [spoiler],
Mother Earth falls to the Other!

Fighting with the Damergeist –
We won't stop until they're diced.
Rescue our friends, and if we survive,
We'll keep Earth alive, with

OUR SPARK BLAZERS!

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Threat or Menace?

So there was a big (70 people — wow, all of two classrooms!) rally to ban smoking in all sorts of public places in my town. Funny how they didn't tell anyone about this huge rally ahead of time. Wouldn't want to let the riffraff show up and counter-protest, I guess.

About 20% of the adult US population smokes, after all. Dangerous.

Then there's the bird flu. Nobody here has even caught it yet, but we're all in a panic about the bird flu. 

Meanwhile, at least 20% of the US population has an STD, and at least 40% of new cases are people 15-19. 20% of Americans have been treated at least once for an STD before they're 21 — and a lot of them don't know they've got one to get treated for it. 

The best estimate from a couple years back for total STD cases being carried around in the US? 65 million. And that's an old number, so there's more of 'em now.

But instead of doing something about the real epidemic, the one that not only causes cancer but infertility, neural diseases, and death… the one that most affects children and teenagers… the one that often is perfectly able to work around all the condoms and birth control pills that we throw at kids instead of teaching them not to have sex with everything that moves…

…Why don't we go drive out the smokers instead?  

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Gymanfa Ganu in CINCINNATI!!!!

A long time ago, when I was still in high school, I attended a summer session of classes at Ohio State. I also took the opportunity to go to my first convention, since a Doctor Who convention (with Louise Jameson!) happened to take place one Saturday while I was there.

But when I got back, happy and tired, I found to my sorrow that indeed, in the world of fandom you can't do everything. For in the newspaper, they advertised a hymnsinging festival — in Welsh! (With some young Welsh bass named, of all things, Bryn Terfel.)

Later on, when I went to Pennsic, I met a lady who was deep in all things Welsh. (And taught me how to say sounds like "ll".) She had indeed been at that festival, which I now learned was called a Gymanfa Ganu. She told me to keep an eye out, as it would no doubt come close to Ohio again.

And now it's going to be in Cincinnati on Labor Day weekend!

Ooh, I am so excited! And I bet I can even get my dad to come too — he will love singing harmony to all those old Welsh hymns with hundreds of other people…. Heck, I bet Rich Leonardi will come, too….

Well, yes, there's also the ENTIRE NORTH AMERICAN WELSH FESTIVAL involved. But I have my priorities.

(Ooh! Cerdd dant, aka penillion! I bet that'll be there for the hearing, too, though I don't see the listing… And it looks like Sian James'll be there — I've got a good album by her…. Ooh, and a big Welsh male choir! Yay! Oh, and a seminar on how to sing the Welsh hymn way — "Ysgol Gan", or Singing School — for those newbies planning to go to Gymanfa Ganu on Sunday. Oh, thank you, Lord.)

But you notice, Doctor Who is back on the air. And it's being produced by BBC Wales.

*cue theme music*

Note: Gymanfa Ganu is pronounced something like "Gim-ahn-vah Gah-nu". Hard G's both. I forget what "gymanfa" means, but "ganu" is really "canu", "song". (From the Latin "can-" root for song.) Welsh has tons of Greek and Latin in it, since the Welsh tongue remembers being part of the Roman province of Britannia. Scroll down for more Welsh info about this Welsh term.

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