Monthly Archives: September 2009

Suvudu Free Library: Well… It’s Free.

Every so often, I remember why I never buy Del Rey books any more. Suvudu Free Library is full of the reasons why.

Don’t want to read more McCaffrey and Scarborough. Don’t want to read about office workers with tragic problems with going into heat and their two boyfriends (or whatever). Already got through my lifetime quota of Star Wars novels.

There are a few books in here that I could think about seriously, but honestly, my desire to be up on all things sf/f has already led me to read boring Jerry Cornelius novels, so there’s my lifetime allowance of Moorcock used up. And I’ve read way too many steampunky broody urbany fantasy/alternate world skiffy novels, so what’s the point of reading Perdido Street Station? I’m not interested in worldwide riots in 2010 (not for those causes, anyway), I’m not interested in most of this stuff, and I seem to remember having gotten stuck halfway through The Briar King. Maybe I finished it. Either way, not remembering doesn’t bode well. Oh, and there’s Weapons of Choice, which IIRC, one of my friends made me swear an ink-oath never to sully my eyes with, because it’s stupid and because it’s stolen from a manga about Japanese guys and that cool movie The Final Countdown, anyway. Oh, and of course I swore back in the eighties never to read Terry Brooks again. I know Magic Kingdom is supposed to be “less putrid”, but… no.

So what’s left? My choices would be the Pip and Flinx novel I’ve never read, and the Mary Sue Queen of Orcs novel. Probably not hideous. And maybe The Briar King, since it’s possible that I stopped reading for reasons not to be blamed on the book.

Oh, well. It’s free. I don’t have the time and energy anymore to read everything available to me, but some of you out there still do. So don’t let my grumpy self dissuade you from taking advantage of “free”.

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About that Erin anime….

Um… the mom gets executed in episode 7, for a crime she didn’t commit in episode 6. (And of course that jerk Wah-Dan set her up to take the fall.)

So maybe it’s not so great for younger kids. At least, not episodes 6 and 7.

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Onmyoji: Good Flick to Watch When Sick

When you’re sick, you don’t want anything too flurried, but you also don’t want anything that drags along. You might doze off at any moment, so you want reasonably soothing soundtrack. In the past, I’ve turned to sports for this sort of thing: ski jumping, Tour de France, etc.

But there’s also a lot to be said for watching martial arts flicks, for example.

Onmyoji isn’t quite a martial arts flick, though it does have swordfights. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a Japanese historical fantasy, set in Heian period Kyo (Kyoto). Everybody is dressed up in a zillion layers of silk robes, just like in The Tale of Genji, and bitterness turns people into demons. In this universe, however, the onmyoji (diviners and mages) actually manage to do something about all these problems with unlucky directions and unappeased spirits. But then, they also do kung fu wirefighting and come back from the dead, which we didn’t really see happening in Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book.

(Although it would have been entertaining.

“Annoying Things:

“Just as a woman is about to tell me something interesting and I’m dying to hear it, her baby starts crying.

“After we spend hours setting up the funeral arrangements for someone I never liked, the person is brought back to life.

“The onmyoji keeps urging the emperor to cut costs by replacing us ladies with animated paper dolls, and this is terribly boring.”)

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Laryngitis Land

If you’re not sleeping well for a couple of weeks, you’ve been working hard but feeling stressed, and the weather is constantly flipping from hot to cold, the chances are good that you’re also going to catch something.

Well, I did. Laryngitis. (Right at the beginning of choir season. Yay!)

So I spent most of today trying to call into work when people could barely hear me (fun!), going to the doctor, taking my medicine, and then sleeping for six hours straight. Obviously I needed it, as the fact that building maintenance was working with screaming power tools most of the day was not a nuisance, but rather something I barely noticed. Birdsong, cars coming in and out of the parking lot, power tools — all the same.

So I’m not going anywhere this weekend or talking much. Unfortunate, but laryngitis isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

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Rifqa Bary Speaks

You can follow a story for a long time, figure everybody knows about it, and then find out that most people haven’t heard about it. So here’s a quick summary.

This is old, pre-run footage by friends of the 17 year old girl who ran from Westerville, Ohio to Florida, fearing that her parents would kill her for apostasy from Islam. (Which is a justified fear, given the death rates for apostates from Islam, and the nature of Sharia law on apostasy.) But honestly, I think she should have run before she converted.

The eye that is covered by hair in the video is the eye that got whammed by her loving family. When she says she was abused, though, she’s probably referring to her uncle who molested her.

Her parents claimed to the Florida court that they were indigent and needed a court-provided lawyer. But her parents run lucrative jewelry and bridal businesses. They have now started claiming that she is a juvie lowlife. They also just sold her alleged diaries and private emails and files to the Orlando newspaper. (Which is actually publishing this stuff — what rancid behavior!)

Yeah, folks, that’s the kind of safe home provided by this normal Westerville family. Sigh. So I hope Rifqa manages to win her case and become an emancipated minor. I’d be afraid to trust a stray dog to her family for a couple of days.

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Happyyyyy Knitttttting!

I know a good number of knitters are out there in the blogosphere. So it may interest you that the Rev. Sherwood Forrester is the headliner of a local news story on Men Who Knit.

I think this is very cool, and a very characteristic depiction of him.

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Translation — from Letter 16: To a Great Prelate, by St. Catherine of Siena

There’s a big kerfuffle going on with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Basically, some religion teachers want to simultaneously fight the Catholic Church and deny the truth of its ancient teachings in public, while continuing to collect paychecks from the Archdiocese and parishes for teaching religion when back at home. After years of this being acceptable behavior, Archbishop Pilarczyk made it known that it’s not. Whining ensues.

(I mean, I’m sorry they lost their jobs, but they really are like science teachers lobbying for the repeal of the law of gravity. What did they think would happen? And why would they have wanted to collect paychecks from an evil evil repressive Church hierarchy, if that was really what they thought it was? Wouldn’t they rather go be truckdrivers, doing honest work?)

Anyway, one of the ladies quoted St. Catherine of Siena to the other lady, under the impression that this quote was encouraging and supported their case. Everybody agreed that it was from Letter 16. So here’s how the given quote goes:

Cry [out] as if you have a million voices; it is silence that kills the world.

Well, I wondered about it, and set about finding Letter 16 to read the quote in context. I couldn’t find a public domain translation of this letter, so I made my own by hook and by crook (aka by Google Translate and by online dictionaries and texts). I intended to check with the standard English translation by Noffke, but the closest copies are in the parts of the local university library that are only open weekdays, 8-5. I work on weekdays! So… I didn’t get a chance to check this translation the way I would have liked to. However, the original Italian is on line and public domain, and here’s Letter 16. Fact-check me through that.

This letter is addressed “To a Great Prelate”. (His name doesn’t seem to be given, out of some discretion.) St. Catherine calls herself “servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ crucified” in the salutation.

She begins with reminding this particular prelate that Jesus not only loved us, but hungered to suffer and die for us more than even the Cross could provide. She urges the prelate to feel just as hungry for Jesus, and just as eager to suffer and die. (Very beautiful stuff.) And then she gets to the meat of the letter:

Alas, alas, my unfortunate soul! Open your eyes and regard the perversity of the death that has come into the world, and individually into the body of Holy Church. Alas, your heart and soul breaks to see so many offenses to God. Father, see how the infernal wolf does not carry off the creature, the little lambs that graze in the garden of Holy Church, and does not find him who moves to reduction of mouth. The shepherds sleep in their self-love, in greed and garbage; they are so drunk with pride that they sleep and do not feel it, because they see that the devil, infernal wolf, if he does not carry off the life of grace in them, takes that of their subjects. They do not care; and all the cause is the perversity of self-love. Oh, how dangerous is such love in prelates and subjects!

If he is a prelate and he has self-love, he does not correct the defect of his subjects; because he who loves himself for himself falls into servile fear, and therefore does not reprimand them. For if he loved himself through God, he would not fear with servile fear; but boldly, with a virile heart, he would reprimand defects, and not be silent nor make pretense of not seeing.

I wish you personally to have such love, dearest Father. I beg you to make it so, so that hard word will not be said to you as a reprimand from the First Truth, saying, “Cursed be you who were silent.”

Oh, be silent no more! Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. I see that, through being silent, the world is spoiled, the Bride of Christ has paled, her color taken from her, because they have sucked the blood from her; that is to say, that the Blood of Christ that is given by grace and not by being owed, they plunder out of pride, taking the honor that is due to God, and damning to themselves; and so they steal through simony, selling gifts and graces that were given by grace, at the price of the Son of God’s Blood. Alas! how it kills me, but I can’t die.

Don’t sleep in negligence any longer. Act at the present time, however you can. I believe that there will come a time when you can no longer act; but now, at the present time, I invite you to strip your soul of all self-love, and dress it in hunger and real, true virtue, to the honor of God and the health of your soul. Be comforted in Christ Jesus’ sweet love, for soon we shall see the flowers. Study how the banner of the Cross may rise quickly, and don’t let your heart and affection fail through any inconvenience that you have seen coming; but be comforted more at that time, thinking how Christ crucified is the Maker and Taker of the pangs of desire of God’s servants. I say no more.

Remain in the holy and sweet love of God. Drown yourself in the Blood of Christ crucified; put yourself on the Cross with Christ crucified; hide yourself in the Wounds of Christ crucified; bathe yourself in the Blood of Christ crucified.

That’s pretty much the end of the letter, except for the sign-off.

I think you can see that it’s not exactly the kind of quote to use against an archbishop who has been out there reprimanding people, especially if you were one of the people who got reprimanded! :)

Oh, and if you like the vampire imagery above, you might like to know that John Florio’s 1611 Italian-English dictionary included an entry for a “succhia capra” — a chupacabra — which the dictionary claimed was a kind of bird also known as a “wind-sucker”, which sucked milk from goats’ udders. I know that my life has been enriched by this piece of data!

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