Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Smartest Guy in the Room

Fighter pilots tend to be pretty brainy (though they only seem to get good grades consistently when it’s a competition or whenever forced to), and the elder President Bush and Mrs. Bush both always struck me as smart, so this doesn’t surprise me.

The bit where he predicted each person’s argument is hilarious, although of course a lot of people probably want to do that during long boring meetings that rehash old hash!

Still, it would seem that life does imitate West Wing occasionally. Just not in a Democratic White House. Heh.

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Biology Is Wealth

Someone we know MAY ALREADY HAVE WON a brand new bouncing baby boy!

Congratulations to Foxfier and her awesome husband, for another addition to your happy fannish family!

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Hurtado’s Law of Intrigue

From the comment box on this post:

“….”intriguing” doesn’t necessarily mean valid or persuasive. We need evidence to make a suggestion persuasive….”

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Now There’s a Source of Cultural Misunderstanding.

In Latin, it turns out that “amens” means a person without reason or mind, someone who does things for no reason, or an idiot in the classical sense. We still have a related word, “dementia,” which is the condition of a “demens,” a person who acts against reason and the mind while sure that he is still acting reasonably, much like an insane person. (Although “insanus” is yet another concept.)

This may be why so many authors in the Roman Empire who wrote against Christians would emphasize how they were not acting reasonably — purposeful punning on important concepts.

Anyway, there are lots of interesting things in The Handbook of Latin Synonymes by Doederlein, translated by H.H. Arnold. And yes, he did spell it “synonymes.”

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The Uncanny Valley of Food

Seaweed slaw, made with curly Korean seaweed, cole slaw dressing and little carrot wedges.

It just wasn’t right. Tasted okay, looked okay, went down okay. But somehow, the whole thing together was just not right. And I’m pretty open to new foods, but that one just disgusted me. It must be the uncanny valley effect, because otherwise there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

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The Venerable Bede on Spiritual Depression

On Proverbs 31:6-7

“Give strong drink to those who are sad,” etc. “Let them drink and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more.” He calls the consolation of supernal divine wisdom “strong drink” and “wine” in this place. For it is exhibited in their hearts that they flee to the lowest things to be consoled; and whatever occurs in the present, they bear alone, “bitter in mind,” for they do not yet see the celestial joys by sticking to them with their whole mind. They are together with him who said, “My soul refused [negavit] to be comforted; I remembered God, and was delighted….” (Ps. 76:3-4/Ps. 77:2-3, Vetera Latina)

Likewise, “Give strong drink to those who are sad, and wine to those who are bitter in mind,” etc. For those who are depressed by sadness and grief for an abundance of old deeds, pour out copiously the cheerfulness [jocunditatem] of spiritual knowledge, just like the wine which “cheers the human heart.” (Ps. 103:15/Ps. 104:15; cf. Sir. 40:20) And with the words of salvation, warm back to life from their hangover [crapula] those like this, lest they should be swallowed up by a more abundant sorrow, overwhelmed by the continualness of their grief or by lethal desperation.

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Singing It in the Right Key

Yes, Americans can sing along with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” If you pitch it in the right key.

Boston sings loudly and proudly at a hockey game.

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