Monthly Archives: April 2007

Prayer Request

UPDATE: Fr. Rob Johansen did not have a heart attack. He says he is completely okey-dokey.

We can still pray for his health, of course…. 🙂


Fr. Rob Johansen of Thrown Back is reported to have had a heart attack and is in bad shape. Please pray for him.


Via Mark Shea.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church

RIP, Mr. Yeltsin

He was a political hack, a drunk, ruled pretty poorly, and had many shady friends. But for all that, he set his country free.

It is fitting that he died upon St. George’s Day — the day, both in East and West, of a slayer of dragons.

May the angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you into the holy city of Jerusalem….

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Politics

Top Ten Reasons to Own a Handgun

Well, I’ll probably never buy a gun, because my hand/eye coordination stinks (which is why I prefer to fling large things). But honestly, this Gopnik fellow makes me want to run right out and buy me one.

You don’t need hand/eye coordination for shotguns, though….

ANyway, since Mr. Gopnik does allow as how people can go huntin’ with one of them there rifles, but opines, “There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun”, I thought of a few reasons, just for his unimaginative benefit. So here are:

The Top Ten Reasons to Own a Handgun

10. Shooting a handgun at the range is a lot safer sport than snowboarding. Also, it involves very small explosives, which snowboarding does not.

9. “The police will be there in fifteen minutes, ma’am.”

8. You ought to get full value from the Bill of Rights, seeing as you pay taxes for it.

7. Shooting has always sounded like a fun father/daughter activity. Especially if Dad tells her boyfriend all about it.

6. Cellphones die. Handguns don’t have batteries. And shotguns don’t fit in your purse.

5. Because stalkers and crazy ex-boyfriends pay such close attention to court orders, and court orders are so easy to get.

4. Mr. Colt is Mr. Feminist.

3. Concealed carry — a very present help in times of trouble. Because God helps those who help themselves.

2. Grenades are a bit hard on local property values, and Mr. Pin is difficult to put back.

And the number one reason to own a handgun:

1. Shooting and smoking tobacco are the only recreational activities that shock people anymore.


Filed under Humor, Politics

I’m Not Talking Character; I’m Talking Rage.

The shocking thing about the whole VT stuff is that, apparently, most people do not have to choke down instant rage reactions when anything really big happens.

You get all these self-righteous “You don’t know what you’d do! You’re just posturing!” Um, it’s not posturing for a lot of us.

I’ve spent a good many years training myself consciously to resist the impulse to throw a chair or a desk at some jerk who was just taunting me in school. So if somebody was spraying the classroom with bullets and I didn’t die in the first seconds, I’d be working out my issues on the shooter. I probably wouldn’t even notice being shot, because we have a few berzerker tendencies in the family. (And because I didn’t care a bit in the past about being hurt in moments of rage, or feel it as more than a quickly forgotten fact until after the rage had passed. Not fun, by the way.) That doesn’t make me better than other people, certainly. It gives me the definite potential to do something very bad. But it’s a useful thing in that sort of situation. (The rest of the time, it’s a lot of work. People think I’m nice and mild-mannered, when really I just work hard to act that way.)

Now, seeing as how I’m an average-sized woman with only an average-sized woman’s share of testosterone, and seeing as how my genetic makeup is a mutt blend of the most common American ethnic groups, one would think that there would be a lot of fellow berzerkers-under-stress wandering about the halls of any American university, and that there’d be more males among ’em. But apparently not — or other people are more successful in training this out of themselves completely.

Of course, if you’re not confident that your nerves are just praying for a chance to beat the crud out of someone without guilt and then bleed all over ’em, it’s more important to spend time planning what you would do in the event of an unexpected attack. Because that day may well come.

Women don’t have the luxury of thinking that nothing will ever happen to us. Yeah, it’s possible and desirable that we will never face the threat of rape, but you can’t bet on it. You have to be aware when you’re walking down the street or walking out to your car, and you have to have some sort of plan of what to do if you’re attacked. Sure, you might get raped anyway, and of course it’s the rapist’s fault, not the victim’s. But it would be so much more satisfying to stick your fingers in the rapist’s eyes than to be a victim, ne?

Would you rather complain about people blaming the victim, or have the chance to try not to be a victim?

Then think. Plan. And critique what other people in the same situation have done in the past, so that you don’t make their mistakes.


Filed under Uncategorized

You Know What Would Be Neat?

A mystery series for kids where the protagonist was Catholic. Heck, you could even be extravagant and make all the main characters Catholic! Three friends living in the same neighborhood. Maybe one would be a homeschooler, one at parochial school, and one at public school. Then nobody would feel left out. 🙂

Of course, the premise of a kid detective, or group of kid detectives, is obviously a fantasy one today. Kids aren’t allowed to have spare time or go jauntering about on bikes or on foot in their neighborhood out of sight of the parents, much less go around researching and solving mysteries.  Also, it’s statistically unlikely that any of your close neighbors would belong to the same religion as you, much less go to the same church. But it would still be cool.

Nobody was ever Catholic in my favorite childhood books, except the saint stories. It got pretty tiresome to pingpong from the saints’ world, where usually everyone was Catholic (including the bad guys) to a world where nobody was ever Catholic, and nobody even walked by a Catholic church.

I suspect this is part of why Andrew Greeley makes so many sales, even among people who aren’t particularly fond of his politics or theology. You can’t deny that he does a good basic job of showing other American Catholics living life, and we hunger for that. Of course, the blogosphere and EWTN do help fill those needs, but I would still like more fiction books aimed at my demographic!


Filed under Church, fandom

Emily of New Moon — Upcoming Anime Series

As some of you may know, Montgomery’s pretty popular with Japanese readers. “Red-Haired Anne” is a beloved childhood icon, and Japanese tourists visit the setting of the Anne of Green Gables novels on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure there’s been a good number of Anne anime adaptations already.

But here’s a new one: Emily of New Moon, complete with a trailer to watch. The series starts April 28, so you can start looking for it soon from online anime sources. Its Japanese name is Kaze no Shoujo Emily (Wind Girl Emily). I’m afraid it’s unlikely to be licensed to any American anime sources, since none of the preceding ones have been, and the anime boom seems to be tailing off. You can read the novel here.


Filed under fandom

Fanfic Noted

Jinxed-Wood apparently likes Highlander. And Highlander/Doctor Who. And Highlander/Firefly. And Highlander/Veronica Mars. And….

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Think Fast!

You know, I think I may have finally figured out what sports are for.

I mean, yeah, sports are good at encouraging physical fitness or channeling excess energy, but you can do all that by yourself without any game. (Though that’s boring.) And yeah, team sports help you learn to work together, while solo sports develop your individual competitiveness.

But sports and physical games also teach your mind and body how to take initiative and react to unexpected situations when under stress. Sure, it’s not anywhere near the same kind of unexpectedness and stress as in a life or death situation, but it’s something.

Videogames do the same thing to a certain extent, but they tend to encourage more thought under stress than movement, except in the fingers. (Except in games controlled by the whole body, of course.) Roleplaying games also encourage thought and improvisation, but again, the body isn’t as involved (except in some LARPs).

It’s not necessarily bad for survival (and other people’s survival) to feel scared; heightened alertness helps, and a little more scare thrown into VT’s security staff might have encouraged them to take more far-reaching measures from the beginning. Hiding isn’t necessarily bad. Heck, it gives you time to think, to evade observation, and to escape or fight back.

Charging crazily at an armed enemy, frontally or from behind, can even be a good plan. A gun isn’t a magic wand, and killers commonly are more scared than their victims — scared of their victims, and using guns because they’re so desperate to keep control over the big scary world they can’t handle. Maybe they can’t aim at a moving target. Maybe you can mess up their beautiful plans and make them melt down in a way useful to you. Besides, guns do jam.

But freezing is bad, unless you’re well under cover (or you’re an animal dealing with predators who see in black and white and have trouble spotting critters that stay still). Reacting quickly to immediate danger, even in a way which seems foolish afterward, is a lot safer than being a sitting duck.

When combined with learning to understand what’s happening and decide quickly on a course of action, then, you can see where sports’ emphasis on quick reactions and stirring up adrenaline could be helpful. Of course, martial arts and fighting sports like wrestling and football would probably translate more directly into combat, but even badminton and Red Rover are probably better training for survival than watching TV (or surfing the Internet). So it’s not just “a sound mind in a sound body”, important as that is. Sports are part of civilization’s overall strategy of preparedness for the unexpected.

Finally, this interpretation of sports’ purpose would tend to encourage more participation by kids who aren’t good at sports or interested in them. If sports is all about becoming a professional athlete or fulfilling parental dreams, it’s obviously a waste of time for the vast majority. If sports is about putting in fitness and self-defense training every week in a recreational format, then everybody gets some use out of it and everybody on the team becomes vitally important to potential survival.


Filed under Recommendations

Sermon VI, De sacrosancto corporis Domini sacramento attrib. to St. Albert the Great

Sermon 6.
Of the second and third reasons that the Lord gives His Body as food.

Come, eat my bread,” etc. And “Your reasons“, etc., as in the first sermon. Other particular themes as above.

The second reason of God’s Wisdom that the Lord gives humans the Body (as is known) as food, is the corruption of human nature, which this food of his is the remedy to expel, and this in three ways: as a fitting beginning of treatment, as a vigorous treatment of corruption, as a constant maintenance of health.

The first way the corruption of human nature is expelled by so great a food is by how fitting a beginning of treatment it is, because just as the start of corruption and death entered as food forbidden by the Physician (as is known) from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so the start of justification and life has to begin as food, as that same Physician will have persuaded you (as is known) from the true Tree of Life, that is, from the Lord’s Body.

Of the first, Genesis 2:17 — “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For in whatever day you shall eat of it, you shall die the death.

Of the second, John 6:54 — “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

The second way the corruption of human nature is expelled by so great a food is by how vigorous a treatment of corruption it is. Namely, the spiteful serpent poured three kinds of corruption into people through the poison of the forbidden fruit, to wit: the darkness of ignorance into the soul, the sickness of crooked concupiscence into the flesh, and death into both. Genesis 3:13 — “The serpent tricked me.”

Of the first [kind of corruption], Psalm 48: 13 — “…when Man was in honor, he did not understand; he is compared to senseless beasts….”  Genesis 1:2 — “Darkness was over the face of the abyss“, to wit, ignorance was over the face of the human heart, from diabolic deception.

Of the second, Galatians 5:17 — “….the flesh lusts against the spirit….” Romans 7:23 — “….I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind….” The law in the members is the sickness of concupiscence, moving the members toward acts of wickedness.

Of the third, Wisdom 2:24 — “By the envy of the devil, death came into the world.”

Of all [the kinds of corruption], Augustine: “If that particular angel’s outpouring had not been heard in Paradise, we would not have been led into death. But he came fallen from heaven, the serpent did, and spat his particular venom, spoken by him: Taste and you will be like gods. And greedy for what they weren’t, they dropped what they reached for — to wit: true understanding, righteous life, the possibility of not dying.”*

* De civit. Dei, lib. XIV. c. 11. Migne, S. l. tom. 41. col. 419.

Therefore, because the devil through venomous food had poured in three kinds of corruption, it was necessary for a vigorous treatment that our Physician and Savior would give food medicinal against these three, and this is His Body which, taken dutifully, illumines the darkness of ignorance, cures the sickness of concupiscence, and conquers destructive death.

Of the first, Psalm 26:1 — “The Lord is my illumination and my salvation.” Psalm 33:6: “Come to Him and be enlightened.” Namely, the Body of Christ is the Word of God, that is, true light in human flesh, as in a lantern, by which the faithful soul is illumined.

Of the second, Psalm 77:24 — “….He had rained down manna upon them to eat….” Exodus 16:13 — “….in the morning, dew lay…like frost over the ground.” Therefore, heavenly bread appeared in the likeness of a rain of dew and frost, because the Lord’s Body cools the heat of crooked concupiscence.

Of the third, John 6:49 — “Your fathers ate manna in the desert, and they died. This is the bread come down from heaven, so that if any eat of it, they will not die.” And thus this food destroys eternal death.

The second way the corruption of human nature is expelled by the Lord’s Body as a food is by how constant a maintenance of health it is. Namely, a certain person feels the prick of conscience at the time of sinning and is somewhat cured, but is corrupted for a second recurrence of a time of temptation.

Psalm 37:6 — “My sores on my face are putrified and corrupted, because of my foolishness.” This food has the power to maintain the health of the soul as well, and to keep a good life incorrupted.

Canticles 1:12 — “A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me; he shall abide between my breasts.” Namely, just as incorrupt myrrh serves the body, so the Lord’s body is received by the dutiful heart.

St. Ambrose:* “Consider whether the bread of angels, or the flesh of Christ, is more excellent, of which certainly the body is alive. That manna was from heaven; this from higher than the heavens. That was liable to rot if stored for another day; this is estranged from all corruption — and whoever has tasted it reverently will not be able to feel decay.

* In Decr. Grat. P. III. Dist. II. c. 69. S. Ambr. De myster. cap. 8.
Migne S. l. tom. 16. col. 404.

The third reason of the Wisdom of God that the Lord gives His Body as food for people, is the condition of human nature, which is that of a rational creature and one connected to a body. But a rational creature can be considered in three ways, and accordingly, requires three kinds of food.

First, a rational creature may be considered like this, that he is incorporeal and a pure spirit just like the angelic nature. The second way is that he is joined to a body just as dissimilar is with dissimilar, the spirit to flesh. The third way, according to these two natures — to wit, body and soul in the single person of a man are in intimate fellowship and conjoined in wondrous love. But no matter what mode of these three by which a rational creature is considered, according to his appropriate condition, he requires nourishment.

Considered in the first mode then, to wit, according to what is incorporeal and a pure spirit like an angelic nature. According to his condition, he requires food through which he lives and subsists — to wit, the eternal Word of God according to His incorporeal self — that is, the eternal Wisdom of God.

Tobias 12:19 — “I use an invisible food and drink which cannot be seen by men.” Proverbs 3:18 — “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her.” The tree of life is the Wisdom of God. Ecclesiasticus 1:5 — “The Word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom“, certainly restoring the angels in heaven.
A rational creature is considered in the second mode as a body joining, as it were, unlike to unlike, the spirit to the flesh, the precious to the cheap. According to the condition of the natures, each of the two natures requires fitting but dissimilar food for itself — the spirit, spiritual [food] in the style of angels; the body, bodily food in the style of beasts.

Of the first, Psalm 77:25 — “Man ate the bread of angels.” 1 Corinthians 10:3 — Our fathers “all ate the same spiritual food.” Wisdom 9:6 — “…if one be perfect among the children of men, yet if thy wisdom be not with him, he shall be counted as nothing.” As if it says: Whoever abstains from spiritual food, who is the Wisdom of God, will run out of spiritual life. Ecclesiasticus 15:3 — “With the bread of life and understanding, she shall feed him, and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink….

Of the second, 2nd Kings 12:3 (2 Samuel 12: 3) — “…a certain poor man had… one little ewe lamb which was… eating of his bread, [drinking from his cup]”, etc. Ecclesiasticus 39:31 — “The principal things necessary for the life of men are… milk and bread, honey and the bunch of grapes, and oil… All these things shall be for good to the holy; thus to… the ungodly they shall be turned into evil.

Of either, Deuteronomy 8:3. [“But you that adhere to the Lord your God, are all alive until this present day.“] Matthew 4:4 — “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

St. Augustine: “The soul is the life, as it were, of the body, but this does not make it live without bodily food; so God is the life of the soul, but does not make it live without spiritual food — that is, without the Word of God.”*

* Enarr. in Ps. 70. Migne, S. l. tom. 37. col. 1150. Similiter in tract.
27. in Joh. c. 6. (cf. Lect. 8. Sabb. infra Oct. Corp. Christ.) Migne, S. l.
tom. 35. col. 1618.

And thus [both] this and that are the nature of humans, so that they had unlike food for their unlike selves, and of old, they ate in turn in different styles. Spiritual food didn’t agree with the body nor bodily food with the spirit.

A rational creature is considered in a third way, according to these natures — to wit, body and soul in the single person of a man are in intimate fellowship and conjoined in wondrous love, then for eternal salvation one food will expel from both [natures] in all men — that is, one fitting either nature, simultaneously spiritual and corporal — to wit, the Word made flesh which they eat intimately together as that certain sacrament, that together their souls by virtue might be reaching out from present misery to blessed eternal life, and that their bodies, stored for a short time in the earth, in the end might rise up gloriously.

Of this food, John 6:56 — “My flesh is real food….” that is, the flesh of God, human flesh united with the Word of God, is real food, to wit, for the whole human, healthy for body and soul. Ecclesiasticus 1: 8-10 — “There is one Most High, Creator of all… He created [Wisdom] in the Holy Spirit… and according to His gift…He has shown her to those who love Him.

He created [Wisdom] in the Holy Spirit“, that is, by the power of the Holy Spirit He accepted flesh from the Virgin and in His wisdom became one with it, “and according to His gift“, that is, His generosity, “He has shown her to those” — to wit, in food — “who love Him” — to wit, to the faithful that would be benefitted, as it is said, body and soul.

Of this banquet for body and spirit, Isaiah 11:7 — “The calf and the bear shall feed together.” The calf signifies the body that will be slaughtered in the Lord’s sacrifice; the bear, the spirit, which like the bear among terrible beasts, ought to eat with bestial movements and manners. They “feed together“, to wit, on true food — that is, on the flesh of Christ, and are benefitted body and soul.

Of the first, John 6:55 — “Who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” — to wit, until the soul will be led, after this misery, into eternal life, by the power of this sacrament.

Of the second, what follows: “And I will raise him up on the last day“, because the Lord, by the power of the very same sacrament, “will reform the body“* from dust, “made like to the body of his glory“. Amen.

* Philippians 3:21.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, Translations

Sign of the Apocalypse

I’ve been nominated to serve on the Worship Commission at my parish.

(So either God thinks I worry too much, or our music director has a cunning turn for revenge….)  🙂

Seriously, though, I am honored to have been considered, and excited by the opportunity to serve. It’s a pretty big committee, and I’ll have to work very hard to get up to speed should I be elected.

Prayers would be appreciated.

Leave a comment

Filed under Church

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Novel Wins Pulitzer

Cormac McCarthy’s post-toastie The Road, an fantasy adventure novel utilizing both science fiction and horror tropes, and including plausibility holes one could drive a Mack truck through, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction today.

Take that, realism! Storytelling power is once again all!

In another surprise blow for sanity, Ray Bradbury was awarded a Special Citation by the Pulitzer prize board for his body of work, and “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential
career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” While he’s still alive, even! Congratulations, Mr. Bradbury; it’s well deserved!

Leave a comment

Filed under fandom

Bad Day in Blacksburg

Campuses were always full of danger —
Walk home late at night or date a stranger,
Sop up drugs or drink too much thin beer.
But somehow, no one thought this’d happen here.

As they sat bored and only half-awake,
In classes way too early in the morning,
A pop quiz came without a moment’s warning
That no one could make up or just not take.

And yet, he only had two pistols. Why
Did so many do nothing there but die?
Aren’t desks a distance weapon? Chairs? Books, right?
If you must die, then at least try to fight….

I wasn’t there. No fair, me grading them.
Aeternam dona eis requiem.


Filed under History

Worse Than Che T-Shirts

Baen Books has been publishing a string of pro-Elizabethan books. And why not? As long as you keep drinking the Kool-Aid of the Tudor propaganda machine, you can remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that the enlightened Queen Elizabeth I killed off far more people for purely religious “crimes”, and far more brutally, than her half-sister “Bloody Mary” ever dreamed of. Heck, I did, for many years. They surely don’t teach us that in school.

However, I draw the line at a fantasy romance novel starring Sir Francis Walsingham. The man was not some happy little honest spymaster. He was the frickin’ head of the frickin’ Elizabethan Gestapo, people!

But since it takes place in a fantasy universe, I suppose we can also fantasize that going to Mass doesn’t get you killed.


Filed under Uncategorized

TTTO “Richard Cory”

Obviously, written after the poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Whenever Heather A. came into town,
We fangirls on the floor looked up to see
A lady of quicksilver, laughter’s crown,
Who danced and fiddled war and sleep and glee.

And she was always daringly arrayed,
And made men fall in love when she just talked
And said the sorts of things we were afraid
Of saying, and knives glittered when she walked.

And she was smart — yes, she could write and sing,
Knew all about performing, sports, and grace —
In short, we thought that she was everything
To make us wish that we were in her place.

So on we filked, and hated what we got,
And waiting for our turn, cursed what we were —
And Heather A., one long calm winter, shot
Herself away with hormones, hating _her_.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized