Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Family Dog Felt Peckish Yesterday

My mom made meatloaf yesterday, and then for some reason she left the meatloaf out on the kitchen counter in the metal bowl.

Rue decided to help herself, which is pretty easy when you’re an Irish wolfhound. But when she took a few bites, apparently the bowl did something to scare her (probably moved or hit her nose), because she ran off like a scalded cat. My parents wanted to see what had startled her… so they backtracked and found the remnants of dinner.

Later that day, still not full (hey, everybody gets hungry in Fall weather), the dog was patrolling the house while Mom and Dad were gone on errands. My mom had been doing something with the boxes of instant oatmeal packets, and had left them out on the kitchen counter.

Did I mention that this dog likes bread? And apples? And apple-cinnamon oatmeal was among the packets?

The dog picked up one whole box of oatmeal, carried it out to her normal afternoon guard area, opened the box (probably by shaking it open), got into each packet of oatmeal, ate the contents without eating the paper, and then licked up every last spilled bit of oaty goodness. She is a very neat eater, if nothing else.

And no, no ill effects from her day of mischief. Our previous wolfhound ate a whole loaf of white bread with no ill effects. Rue has eaten whole packets of Fisherman’s Friend without ill effects. She has a pretty good digestion.


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Biographies in Sound: Ticket to the Moon

Biographies in Sound was a radio show from the mid-Fifties, giving the biographies of various famous public figures, often through interviews with people who knew them. However, Episode 64, “Ticket to the Moon,” was something completely different: a “biography” of science fiction as a genre, written as an introduction for newbies. (And as an advertisement for two upcoming radio adaptations of Ray Bradbury stories, “Zero Hour” and “There Will Come Soft Rains.”)

It’s pretty remarkable even now as an introduction, sports some truly horrible puns (“gazing into their novelettes”), and features the voices of many of our dearly departed: John Campbell, Isaac Asimov, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J. Ackerman and his wife, Willy Ley, and many more. It was very touching to hear those people, so influential to my life, whom I never got to meet.

It’s also pretty interesting as documentation that sf did take its literary pretensions pretty seriously, especially after Ray Bradbury became an accepted literary figure and was popular reading too. There’s a faint air of desperation in some of the magisterial comments, while others seem perhaps overly confident, expecting Hemingway and Faulkner to start writing sf. There’s very little talk of sense of wonder, oddly enough, and a good deal of denigration of adventure tales by everyone except Mrs. Ackerman. (There’s also some fun with Asimov codeswitching back into his New York accent as he talks to the unheard New York radio interviewer.)

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Hobbit Menu at Denny’s?!?

I’m really, really torn about this.

On the one hand, Denny’s is the antithesis of the Shire, because it’s a non-alcohol-serving American chain restaurant, and has absolutely nothing to do with English inn cuisine or with homemade goodies and homebrew.

OTOH, the dwarves would have absolutely no problem eating breakfast at Denny’s, because there are big portions. And Denny’s is a reasonable facsimile of a hometown diner, in most American towns these days.

But on the gripping hand, the idea of Radagast Red Velvet Pancake hushpuppy cakes, for the wizard of woodland animals? That seriously suggests drug use among the Denny’s meal developers, and yet it’s hysterically funny and oddly fitting. Because we’re Americans, and we come up with this kind of kooky stuff, which actually makes it seem authentic in a backhanded way. Ditto the Lonely Mountain cream cheese with lemon poppyseed seed-cake French toast snow, or smoke, or white lava. Or creamy Arkenstone center. Whatever the heck that’s supposed to be.

So yeah, I’m thinking that Tolkien would see the humor in this, rather than be offended. He might not want to eat any of this stuff, but he’d probably not be offended.

Here’s more extensive coverage. The Hobbit Hole Breakfast actually features a strange cheesy version of Toad-in-the-Hole, so there’s actually some English cuisine! And that seedycake of some nature, so there’s that. (English seed cake is usually caraway-flavored, though lemon rind does come into it.) Also, lots of eggs and bacon and sausage, and pot roast. So it’s not too hateful, and would definitely fill your belly.

Where do the dwarves get turkey, a New World fowl?

Same place they get tobacco and potatoes, both New World plants. Toby Longbottom’s journey brought stuff back. (No, pipeweed’s not pot. Read the foreword to LoTR, where Tolkien tells you all about tobacco in Middle Earth.)

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Ann Romney Buys Her Own Dang Clothes; Michelle Obama Gets Them Free

Naturally, designers are reluctant to claim their good customer, but happy to claim their living billboard, to whom they also donate money.

Designer Alfred Fiandaca did admit that Mrs. Romney wears his clothes, but was quick to claim that she buys them off the rack and doesn’t get any personal fittings. And he’s a lifelong Democrat. And he doesn’t agree with the Romneys. Etc.

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“Naruto SD: Rock Lee” takes on Halloween

The Naruto spinoff, Naruto SD: Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals, where all the Naruto characters run around doing comedy cartoon stuff in chibi form, just did a Halloween episode.

Actually, the first part is a Fall festival of ninja safety, cracking on driver safety programs in Japan. In the second part, the Leaf Village throws a “Western-style” Halloween party. In a classic cross-cultural moment, they describe Halloween as “an American O-bon.” And later on, we see exactly what they think that means. (Which incidentally goes to show exactly what kind of similarities and differences lie between a natural-law or pagan feast about the dead, and a Christian one. Comedy has a way of showing people the uncomfortable truths about their little platitudes, like unthinking comparisons between Halloween and O-bon.)

Anyway, the true sticking point turns out to be recreating Trick or Treat, as traditionally raised Japanese kids aren’t supposed to pester adults or beg them for goodies. So they try reallllllly hard with the whole Beggar’s Night thing, which leads to the inevitable crossover with the Little Match Girl. (The Japanese love “The Little Match Girl” and all the other sad Andersen stories. I guess because Hans Christian Andersen is also totally into the dying protagonist thing.)

It was a very bizarre piece of anime, but also a revealing one. It’ll be available to all viewers next week, just in time for Halloween!


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Never Torque Off a Fannish Guy’s Mom

She’s the mother of a man known worldwide (albeit among a small circle of diplomats and gamers) for being able to organize people and get things done.

Why the heck would you try to obfuscate her?

Transcript of Rush Limbaugh talking about Mrs. Smith’s interview on CNN Includes video of her being interviewed by Anderson Cooper. (And I give Cooper props for that.)

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New Saints Posts!

“Saints Among Us” — a nice post from a Syracuse, NY newspaper.

“State of Grace” – a story about all the saints and blesseds from New York.

“Saint Kateri” from Salt + Light. Has some new points about the saint’s life. This is a Canadian Catholic cable network, and they’ve filmed a show about her life called “In Her Footsteps.”

“Lewiston Family Heads to Rome” — This story from a Buffalo, NY newspaper shows how the Vatican canonization-miracle standards are so rough that plain old ordinary miraculous healings don’t count. And in St. Kateri’s case, we’re talking hundreds of years of miraculous healings.

A nice updated page about St. Kateri.

The triumphantly updated page at

Kateri has become a fairly common given name for young US and Canadian Catholic girls. Here’s one lady who bears the name.

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Patron Saint of North America’s New Evangelization: St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

Today, not only did the Pope infallibly canonize six saints, and not only did he bring back the papal fanon to emphasize it…

He named St. Kateri Tekakwitha the patron saint of the new evangelization in North America!!!! AND co-patron saint of Canada!!!!

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!!!

“Kateri Tekakwitha was born in today‚Äôs New York state in 1656 to a Mohawk father and a Christian Algonquin mother who gave to her a sense of the living God. She was baptized at twenty years of age and, to escape persecution, she took refuge in Saint Francis Xavier Mission near Montreal. There she worked, faithful to the traditions of her people though renouncing their religious convictions, until her death at the age of twenty-four. Leading a simple life, Kateri remained faithful to her love for Jesus, to prayer and to daily Mass. Her greatest wish was to know and to do what pleased God. She lived a life radiant with faith and purity.

Kateri impresses us by the action of grace in her life in spite of the absence of external help, and by the courage of her vocation, so unusual in her culture. In her, faith and culture enrich each other! May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are. Saint Kateri, Protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust to you the renewal of the faith in the First Nations and in all of North America! May God bless the First Nations!”

In case you’re wondering if it’s unusual for the popes to appoint a patronage for a new saint? To entrust a whole continent to one’s care?


Our Lady of Guadalupe is of course the Patroness of North America as a whole, but this puts St. Kateri T. practically right under Our Lady in our patron lists. She joins her nearly-neighbor, St. Jean de Brebeuf, and St. Anne (Mary’s mom) as the third patron saint of Canada, and takes on the never-before assigned patronage of praying for the re-evangelization of North America.


Also, we see the Pope referring to the Canadian usage of “First Nations” for Canadian tribes. In an interesting linguistic note, the Pope read the first paragraph in English and the second in French. The preferred Algonquin pronunciation was used both by the Pope and by the Italian announcer. (Actually, the announcer said “Caterina” and then pronounced “Tekawitha” the Algonquin way. Which is actually easier for an Italian-speaker.) It seems pretty clear that we’re going with “Native American” as not including Mexican Native Americans… oh, well. Probably Mexican people won’t care; they’ve got theirs with St. Juan Diego.

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Disturbing Thing I’ve Seen People Say about Martyrs

Some people like to say that a government had no choice but to kill a martyr, or imprison a confessor, etc.

If you’re the government, and you’re the folks with the power to deprive people of their life, liberty, and property (not to mention torture, etc.), you have all the choice in the world! The saints were not holding guns to the heads of Queen Elizabeth I’s bullyboys, for example. It was the opposite way around.

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Coming Soon: St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

By birth, she was half Algonquin and half Mohawk Iroquois. By places of residence, she was French Canadian, a member of the UK colony of New York, and a member of the Iroquois Confederacy of Six Nations. Her parents died young, but she never forgot her mother’s Christian teachings. Her status in life fluctuated wildly, from being practically a slave to practically a chief’s adopted daughter when she unexpectedly became a good marriage prospect. But when she seemed to be gaining acceptance for the first time since her parents died, she ran off on a long journey to join other Christians, her prospects totally unknown.

By the favor of Jesus Christ and her obedience in following his call, she is now to be pointed out to us as a saint. A gentle, extremely nearsighted saint with health problems, who constantly turned the other cheek, but fought like a warrior to do penance for her own sins and for those of all people. Since her death, since the moment when her face turned miraculously radiant and her smallpox scars disappeared, the Church’s earthly members have suspected that she has been standing before the Throne of God, with the One she loved.

So it’s very interesting that, after so many years, God has finally granted her the miracles needed to prove her status to us on earth. It’s almost as if our countries need her now, and especially her example of patience and penitent offering of herself.

After this Sunday, then, be ready to say, “Pray for us, St. Kateri Tekakwitha!”

(Pronounced either whatever way you feel like, or Gadelli DeGAHgweedah. Kateri was the local version of “Catherine,” and was her baptismal name. Tekakwitha was her given name.)

UPDATE: A Canadian story about the canonization, featuring a spectacular (but kinda fantasy-influenced) new painting of her. It’s got daylilies in it, though, so I’m in favor of that. The artist has a website with some nice Sherlock Holmes paintings, so I’m willing to be convinced. However, that whole “Other Works” page opens with a very naked nude, so it’s not work-safe!

Our Lady of Guadelupe’s, in Cherokee country, and its devotion to Kateri.

Blessed Kateri’s in Maine will soon become. St. Kateri’s Church! Also, a new shrine is set up to St. Kateri on nearby Indian Island.

The keeper of St. Kateri’s tomb and the strange fates of her bones.

Another interesting thing that shows up is that a lot of people still hate her choices! (Boy, nobody does edgy protests against societal expectations like a saint.) But she is also an attractive figure to many people who otherwise have grudges against the Church, religion, etc.

Anyway, today’s the Feast of the North American Martyrs, ie, the Jesuit “Blackrobes” who died for the faith in Canada and New York State. Some of them were neighbors of Kateri, albeit 40 or so years before her time.

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Still Not Watching New Doctor Who

Every time I find out more about what’s been going on with the new Doctor Who, I notice several things:

1. More ripoffs of old Nineties fanfic

2. More pretentiousness

3. More replacement of the Doctor’s actual personality with some kind of evil twin.

It seems to me that, if I’d actually cared enough to follow closely the old DW novel series, Big Finish and its pre-professional audio plays, and the Doctor Who fanfic newsgroup, there’d be absolutely nothing new in the last few series except the actors. Because I already can see so many, many self-ripoffs by the current writing teams that it’s not even funny any more. Got tired of all the antihero and pretension back then, and now it’s decades older and worse.

Sigh. But I can always watch the real show. Heck, you can watch whole seasons for free on Amazon Prime.

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Scientists Open Pandora’s Box Again

Apparently I’m not the only one who watches Korean crime soap operas.

1. Mice studies aren’t human studies.

2. The mice didn’t have Alzheimers.

3. Why the heck did they put out a press release at this point? Irresponsible.

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Mongolian Love, etc.

The first lady really seems to have lucked out, as she obviously found a keeper of a guy and is happy with blending his culture and family and her own. Most of the other guys sound nice, too.

The third lady is yet another undereducated Catholic, as she actually claims that her husband’s previous tribal, non-legal marriages don’t count as marriages in the Catholic Church. Wrong-o, Miss Unmarried Catholic. Pagan marriages count, in the Catholic Church (unless a Catholic contracts them, and did so under current canon law), and the Church doesn’t care if they’re state-recognized or not. They are “natural marriages.” Naturally, only the first one counts unless the first wife died. And you know, lying to your parish priest beforehand doesn’t show that you have any intention to participate in a sacrament, either. So go get the man’s first and second marriages annulled, chick, especially now that you’ve announced to your entire nation that you’re not married in the eyes of God.

(Or at least consult your pastor and a real canon lawyer, as it’s possible you do have some loopholes you didn’t care enough to find out about. But sheesh, chick, you need to pick up some common sense at the supermarket.)

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What I’m Sorta Kinda Thinking of Using for a Cover

Maybe I can use this same cover for all the parts of the translation, with just a few variations?

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