Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hooray for the Bishop of Honolulu!

Bishop Larry Silva is going to restore the proper order of the Sacraments of Initiation:

first, Baptism;
second, Confirmation;
third, Confession and Communion.

Apparently, the bishop is also getting rid of lengthy “service program” requirements to make kids “earn” the Sacrament of Confirmation. This has been getting ridiculous, as many parishes require up to two years of “volunteer” work, and make life difficult for kids who’ve just moved in. Some actually dare to require the parents to do service hours too, which is getting beyond ridiculous and into slavery. (When I was a kid, we did maybe six hours of service hours but it wasn’t portrayed as some absolute requirement; and even that was hard to fit into the family schedule.)

Sacraments are free gifts from God. We prepare for them, but we can never earn them.

There will still be service programs as part of youth ministry. But now kids will be able to really volunteer, not be serving under threat of not receiving basic Sacraments.

As Bishop Silva says, “We believe that Confirmation gives the gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the fear of the Lord. Young people need these gifts as they grow up, not when they are nearly done growing up.

Hip hip hurray!

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The Age of Adaline Is a Brilliant, Fun, Life-Affirming Movie

I really really enjoyed The Age of Adaline. It’s also a really really girly romantic movie, so it’s a good thing I went with a female friend. (Probably a good romantic date movie too… but this is sooooo female-targeted that it’s not funny. Sorry, guys who don’t want to watch a chick flick. Although guys who want to watch Blake Lively looking gorgeous are in luck!)

The concept is that there’s an immortal, ageless woman running around San Francisco, just trying to live life inconspicuously with her dog and her job. But then she meets this cute young guy, sparks fly, and she’s in trouble. But a good kind of trouble. Complications ensue.

Be aware of the following things:

1. The movie has a questionable immortality idea. Well, that’s not surprising, because we don’t have any scientific backing for immortality. Handwave this.

2. At one point, Adaline has an action escape scene which is probably impossible with the given piece of technology. Handwave this. It must be an alternate universe.

3. Do not be afraid that anything really squicky or Lazarus Long-like will happen. But be aware that Adaline doesn’t keep strictly to no-sex-before-marriage. It’s PG, though.

4. There’s a happy ending. This isn’t a downer movie.

5. You will definitely see some scenes and lines you’ve never seen before in a movie! Heh!

Towards the very end, you will probably see the ending coming before it actually happens; but it will be a happy ending! Yay!

Adaline is a roll with teeth, and Blake Lively does a great job with it. Michiel Huisman does a great job portraying a geeky hunk with the nice trick of being persistent and self-confident without being creepy. (Although he also does some sad puppy looks.) Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford show why they make the big bucks, and Kathy Baker does some awesome stuff as the wife of Harrison Ford’s character.

All the other actors definitely know what they’re doing, and even tiny roles are allowed to be rounded and intriguing. The dialogue and acting are really fun and interesting, and you can tell that the hairstylists, costumers, and makeup artists had a ball. The people who made this obviously love the cityscape of old San Francisco and the forests of Northern California.

If anybody tells you this isn’t a good movie, they are a bunch of grumpypants. Honestly, this is fun stuff. Go watch it and come out smiling.

Bonus Catholic content: Adaline gets married at Old St. Mary’s in San Francisco, which is a Catholic church. I’m guessing the groom was the Catholic one, though, because we never see Adaline or her daughter doing any other Catholic things.

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The Secret of Heinlein’s Number of the Beast

I’d never seen this analysis before. It’s a much better explanation than most, and I do plan to reread Number of the Beast with this in mind.

(And I did catch the anagrams, but apparently I missed the important bits. In my defense, it must be more than twenty years since I’ve read Number of the Beast!)

The nice thing is that this actually makes a lot more sense of the Revelation imagery, if Heinlein was also proposing a narrative structure driven by good and evil, truth and lie parallels.

While you’re at it, please pray for the soul of David Potter, aka “Gharlane of Eddore.” He was one of the great lights of Usenet back in the day, and I always looked forward to his postings.

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For Those of Us Who Don’t Have Facebook

Snippets from John Ringo’s Monster Hunter International fanfic novels, which now are going to be published as official canon fic.

Yeah, I don’t know that forum site, either. I have no idea why a radio show forum is the best info I could find on this. But that’s what search engines are for.

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Also, People Are Getting Really Passive-Aggressive This Year

So the other week, Will Shetterly announces that he’s tired of SJW junk again, and will quit blogging about it and responding to the crazy people. (Bear in mind that he’s really far on the left, btw. But he’s older-school left.)

Someone posts, claiming that she is using an all new handle to do so, because she is afraid of retaliation. From Will Shetterly. And that she really doesn’t mean to hurt him, but he needs to get himself mental help because he says hurtful things. Then this poster also fails to recognize an obvious joke or two, and goes on to imply darkly that Shetterly’s wife is in danger or is about to leave him.

See, now, that’s ridiculous. Sometimes the man’s a jerk, but he’s not one of these mobbing types. And you don’t complain about somebody else being hurtful while trying your best to shove the knife in. (Waaaaay far below the belt, too.)

Sigh. I miss the days of straightforward flame wars. This passive-aggressive stuff is just embarrassing to watch. No honor to it at all.

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Hell-Roaring Mike Healy: American Catholic

His daddy was a poor Irish laborer. His mama was a Georgia slave. This meant the kids were legally slaves.

When the dad became a rich planter, he sent all his kids up north for their schooling. The boys went to Holy Cross College. The girls went up to Quebec.

His brothers became a bishop, a Jesuit president of Georgetown University, a businessman, and a seminary director. One of his sisters married, another joined a nursing order, and the third became a Mother Superior.

And Hell-Roaring Mike Healy?

He was the youngest, and he went to sea.

There he worked his way up to captain, and later became “the greatest man in America,” the man who guarded Alaska’s coasts for twenty years.

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Crikey, People Are Stupid This Year.

I just saw someone declare in the comments section of a blog that no soldier returning from Vietnam was ever spit upon.

He was immediately pointed to documentation of soldiers being spit upon when returning from Vietnam.

He then said it was all false memory or lying.

Basically, his argument was that it didn’t happen, because I heard it didn’t happen, and you can’t change my mind unless I actually feel the dripping spittle for myself.

That’s not skepticism, my friend. That’s refusing to know.

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Secrets of German-American Cuisine

1. The “weck” in Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck (now just BW3’s or Buffalo Wild Wings) stands for “kummelweck,” a caraway bun that they have up in Buffalo, New York.

Apparently they’re trying to change the nickname to B-Dubs, which is a dumb nickname. They don’t use weck buns or serve beef on weck sandwiches anymore, either, except up in New York. Sigh.

2. The huge pork tenderloin sandwich of doom. Common in Indiana, but you can also find it in most of central and southwestern Ohio.

3. If you can’t get to Columbus, you can still get Schmidt’s at festivals.

(But although their bratwurst is pork, and is properly gray, it is still spiced more like Wisconsin bratwurst than like the mild, mellow Cincinnati and Dayton bratwurst. Also, not puffy enough. Sigh. But better than nothing.)

However, if you get a sausage sample plate, you will feel less disgruntled about the bratwurst not being like the bratwurst at home. Having a panoply of sausages makes you more appreciative of the beauty of the entire concept of sausage.

Also, order a cream puff and you will never feel disgruntled about anything.

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School Nuns Walk Out in Protest

When the Catholic school they serve decided to play along with the Day of Silence in a way that they felt promoted homosexual behavior, the five Dominican Sisters of Mary at Marin Catholic High School staged a protest of their own. They walked out and stayed out for the rest of the day, as they had warned the school administrators they would do.

Go, sisters!

We don’t have to take this crap.

As those of us who have suffered from it know, bullying isn’t about race, religion, or any other attribute. It’s about proximity to a bully.

It’s also about the bully not being penalized for his or her constant bad behavior, and the victim being constantly discouraged to fight back. Bullying is everywhere and done by members of every kind of demographic, to members of every kind of demographic. Anyone can choose to become a bully, and a lot of children do.

Appropriating bullying for SJW issues is covering up the full extent, and the essentially egalitarian nature, of the problem.

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Holier than Cake

Here’s another sad story from the Muslim world about Muslims hassling other Muslims.

Last year in Zile, Turkey, the local mufti went to a party for Mohammed’s birthday (this is an Islamic thing), and the local women students made a book-shaped Qur’an cake. A nice picture was taken of the mufti cutting the beautifully decorated cake. It was reposted this year on social media (probably to talk about what they would do this year).

A brief websearch will reveal that this kind of cake is quite common in the Muslim world. (Particularly in Indonesia.) Sometimes they are open, sometimes closed, and sometimes it’s a regular cake just referring to the Qur’an. People have Qur’an cakes for religious holidays, for the start of kids going to religious school, for school graduation, for finishing reading the whole Qur’an in Arabic, and for important anniversaries of religious teachers. There are also cake toppers showing people studying the Qur’an, and little cake picks with Qur’an facsimiles. Often they don’t actually include Qur’an verses, but the cake decorator strives to create that illusion with elaborate Arabic calligraphy. Instagram is full of #Qurancake.

But in this case, the Muslim version of SJWs exploded with rage. Now there is to be an official investigation of the cake by the national Islamic governing body, the Diyanet.

Another couple of towns put up little Kaaba replicas for the same holiday, and also are getting rage and official investigation. (And not primarily for violating the separation of mosque and state, either, although one of the opposition party guys did criticize that.) The outrage was that people were walking around it, and that supposedly they might be confusing a local replica with the actual Ka’aba in Mecca. Here’s a picture of the Ka’aba replica. It’s part of an entire “replica Mecca,” apparently along the lines of the miniature Holy Land displays in some US towns. Another nearby town did a less elaborate walking trail version. A performance artist protested something (the money spent?) by dressing up like he was going on the actual pilgrimage to Mecca, and was arrested for his pains.

So it’s not been a good week for ordinary pious Islamic people in Turkey. Simple love of their God and their religion gets demonized.

More about the cake: Jihad Watch. A previous fatwa against Qur’an verses on cakes from 2010.

In case anyone non-Christian is curious: Yes, Bible cakes are very common. They are most often made by the pious who do a lot of Bible study.

In other news, Turkish President Erdogan is opening a big Turkish Cultural Center in Maryland. This would be uncontroversial, except that it’s mostly a giant Turkish government-sponsored mosque. Ataturk is rolling over in his grave, no doubt.

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This Is a Manly Fandom

Speaking in general, media fandom women do a fair number of crafts, as well as other fannish projects. In some fandoms, they do some really difficult art, and sometimes you see other projects from engineer-type women.

However, it’s guys who usually decide to build the Enterprise bridge replicas, or the full-sized mecha that light up and move. And the more guys in a fandom doing cool large scale projects, the more projects tend to arise. Guys inspire each other as well as being competitive.

The modern iteration of My Little Pony fandom is probably 75% guys, so they build videogames and snowhorse statues and elaborate orchestral compositions. They are a ridiculously active and productive fandom segment.

So when there’s a manly fan who does balloon animals as a hobby, they can’t just be balloon horses with some eyes put on in marker. Oh, no.

What he does is this.

As you’ll see, he has also done a balloon life-sized Dalek, a balloon Ash from Evil Dead, a balloon Alphonse from Full Metal Alchemist, and a giant stingray between two palm trees. Also costumes for people to cosplay in, and hats, and room decorations. 9 pages of balloon art.

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Christian Graffiti from Before 125 AD?

There’s a good explanation over at Larry Hurtado’s blog.

Basically, the graffiti says:

Equal Number Values:

Lord – Omega (the number value of the letters in Lord = 800 = the number value of the letter omega)
Faith – Omega (same thing)

Obviously I think this is cool, because “isopsephy” (the number values of Greek letters equaling the number values of Greek words) is a big thing in the Book of Revelation; that’s what the Number of the Beast is about. Fun! It’s a very similar thing to the ancient idea of a word’s etymology (historical or symbolic) having a lot to do with the inner meaning of the word. Not very scientific, but very poetic when the game is played correctly.

For example, a lot of early Christian commentaries are happy to show that Revelation has a lot of Good Guy here, and Bad Guy Imitating Good Guy there. So just like there’s Christ and the Anti-Christ, the Number of the Beast is opposed in the first chapter by the Number of the Dove.

That’s (Alpha = 1) + (Omega = 800) = 801, which is also the number value of P+E+R+I+S+T+E+R+A, the Greek word for dove.

Now, isn’t that pretty? The Son and the Holy Spirit, all together, just like the Son and the Seven Spirits (representing the one Holy Spirit) are together in the first chapter! It might not be the authorial intention, but then again, it could be; and either way, it’s pretty.

Of course, we moderns tend to turn it all into conspiracy theory, which is depressing. But some people did that back in ancient times, too.

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Ancient Roman Egyptian Socks

Check out those crazy colors!

Pretty good wool to hold up so long…

This is from Antinoopolis instead of Oxyrhynchus. 🙂

Here’s the British Museum sock info, where they spell it “Antinoupolis.”

They also say it’s definitely naalebinding and not knitting. (Always a hot topic in medieval recreation groups.) As you can see in the link above, it’s sort of like fingerknitting. Sort of. Not really. Anyway, you only need one needle, which is a plus. (Also includes info on why you might tear wool instead of cutting it, and how you can turn two pieces of yarn into one.)

I’ll tag Shredded Cheddar with this one, because she knits and crochets and stuff.

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Ancient Toilet Paper

Among the trash and treasures of the famous Oxyrhynchus, Egypt papyrus junkpiles, here is one that is simultaneously at the top and bottom.

A fragment of ancient scholia (annotations and explanations) about Homer’s Iliad. Used as toilet paper.

Don’t make assumptions and poo-poo it. P. Oxy. 67.4633 is real.

If you’re curious about which scholia (concerning which part of Homer) met this crappy fate, it was “Scholia Minora on Iliad 2, 277-318 (277-293, 307-318).” It’s over at the Sackler Library in Oxford. Click on the picture and PDF links to study it in detail!

And now that we know white gloves actually hurt papyrus and parchment, think of the joy of handling this piece of history, fece to fece! What a way to become well-letturd!

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