Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, October 5, 2012

Clearing the Tabs


Yes, it's time to clear the tabs once more.

1. What does the Catholic Church call a medieval woman

who was a herbalist and wrote books about it?


A Doctor of the Church:
 
Hildegarde of Bingen,
the Sybil of the Rhine, original and modern image
TOF mentions this because of the persistent delusion that herb women were persecuted for some reason or other in the Middle Ages.  She was not only into medicine, but also music.  And could write in admonition to a king.  Patient Reader will recall that Hildegarde was a special devotion of Fr. Dietrich's ward in Eifelheim.

2. Now This is Really Kool
It can turn at 90 degrees.  How kewl is that?  Of course, at high speeds the driver may not turn as quickly as the mo-cycle....  You need big spheres to pull that off. 

3. Where Can Muslims Go to Find Acceptance in the USA?

Where else?

Certainly not here, where muslims find their ways unacceptable to, well, muslims. 

4. Slippery Slope?  What Slippery Slope?

Who ever thought that marrying national monuments, oneself, your pet dog, or a warehouse could ever lead to three people marrying
"For better or worse, it doesn't matter, but what we considered a family before isn't necessarily what we would consider a family today." 

But then California has recognized three parents already, so can the full monty be far behind?

5. Slippery Slope?  What Slippery Slope?  Redux. 

At least no one is saying that brothers and sisters can...  Oh, wait.
“I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want?” Cassavetes told The Wrap. “If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.”
One assumes that in the wonderful world of not paying attention, that "not having kids" thingie may not always turn out the way you expect.  When that happens, then "you're not hurting anybody" may not apply.  Woody Allen could not be reached for comment.

At least no one is smoothing the path for pedophilia.

6. Oh, Wait...

Apparently, when not done by Catholic priests, we really do need to be understanding of minor-attracted people.   These are not the 1990s any more, when "adult-child sex" was discussed insouciantly in the best magazines, and authors wondered whether the young boys might be the predators and the older men the victims. 

Of course, it really isn't the attraction that's wrong.  It's giving in to the temptation.  Some people are born with a short-temper, we are told, but that would not justify their beating of passing strangers who irritate them.  Having a weakness does not require indulging it, let alone that others should approve. 

7. On Doing the Right Thing
As Isaac Pollak, an ardent Republican, kissed his wife goodbye before heading out on a business trip to Asia several years ago, he handed her his absentee ballot for the coming presidential election and asked her to mail it.

...
Bonnie Pollak, a Democrat, weighed her options. Should she be loyal to her spouse, respect his legal right and mail the ballot? Or remain faithful to her deeply held beliefs and suppress his vote?
"It was a real dilemma," says Ms. Pollak, 58 years old, a student in a doctoral program in social welfare who lives in Manhattan. "I decided to do the right thing."
Ms. Pollak threw the ballot away.

The story of betrayal of love is interesting for three reasons:
  1. That Mrs. Pollack's "deeply held beliefs" include suppressing the votes of those with whom she disagrees tells us never, ever to vote her faction into power. 
  2. That she ever thought there was a dilemma in the first place is rather telling.
  3. That she evidently agreed to be interviewed and quoted tells us... something. 
Fortunately, this could never lead to a public school teacher publicly berating a student for expressing double-ungood badthink.


Samantha Pawlucy, a sophomore at Carroll High, said her geometry teacher publicly humiliated her by asking why she was wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt and going into the hallway to urge other teachers and students to mock her.
“I was really embarassed and shocked. I didn’t think she’d go in the hallway and scream to everyone,” Pawlucy said. “It wasn’t scary, but it felt weird.”
 Miss Pawlucy shows more maturity here than her teacher, whose behavior she simply regards as weird.  And kind of sad, in its way.   Well, that will teach her not to advertise her beliefs, at least when they are not the right beliefs.
The teacher then allegedly called a non-teaching assistant into the room who tried to write on the t-shirt with a marker. She allegedly told to remove her shirt and she would be given another one.
During the incident, Samantha Pawlucy said the teacher told her that Carroll High is a “Democratic school” and wearing a Republican shirt is akin to the teacher, who is black, wearing a KKK shirt.
We suppose it is good to learn that all that talk about tolerance and diversity were flat out lies.  Oddly enough, the principal stood up for freedom of speech!

9. I May Not Agree With What You Say...

Cremonini complained that looking through the telescope made him dizzy and gave him headaches, and he rejected the moon's rocky nature until a new physics could be developed to explain why the moon did not therefore plummet to earth; but the charge that he rejected the new astronomy because he refused to look through a telescope is a calumny.  He was in fact a good friend of Galileo, and the whole thing was a tongue-in-cheek exchange between three friends.   But he said
Disagreement about learned matters does not make enemies of honourable men, rather, it is a sign of great ignorance to dislike people who do not accept your opinion.
These are words that Philadelphia geometry teachers should take to heart. Or Mrs. Pollack. 

10. It's Not Really Murder...
... just really late term.

But once you get used to the idea, these things are just matters of degree.  Quantitative bounds are more slippery than qualitative bounds.  There was an Illinois state senator once who balked at calling this murder when a baby accidentally survived an attempted abortion, so the ground rules have been set. 

11. Taking the World's Temperature 

Here is the official USHCN climate station at the University of Arizona Atmospheric Sciences Dept.  Can you find anything wrong with this picture?
Question: Was this thermometer set in a parking lot in 1867?
12. Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Former official says that new technology should be presumed illegal until approved by the government.

Well, that's enough for today, sports fans.  Tune in again next time when we see how James Chastek regards Richard Dawkins as a Thomistic philosopher supporting Aquinas' "Fourth Way" during a bungled attempt to disparage it. 

13 comments:

  1. One notes in #5 that if they think it's so harmless why are they using euphemisms to refer to it?

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  2. That motorcycle looks scary.

    I wonder what the power source is? And whether the software can overcome the stability/speed/traction problems?

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  3. Truly horrifying stuff in some of those news items.

    Re #4:

    Who ever thought that marrying national monuments, oneself, your pet dog, or a warehouse could ever lead to three people marrying?

    I'm reminded of a moment back in January of this year when Rick Santorum was campaigning in New Hampshire. He spoke with some students from New England College, and when they got to the topic of gay marriage, he asked one student who advocated that "people should be allowed to marry who they want" why not then allow "three people"?

    I remembered watching the exchange (here's the video) and thinking to myself: Just answer the man's question, because it's a good one. But you could see that the young woman he was talking to hadn't really thought through her position, and really couldn't even make a coherent argument. It's painful to watch.

    And worse, though not surprisingly, various students in the audience, in response to Santorum's question about group marriage, shouted "That's irrelevant!" Again, painful to watch. Of course, it's relevant. Whether or not one agrees with Santorum's argument, at least it's logically coherent. You couldn't say the same thing for a few of those students.


    Re #7:

    That Mrs. Pollack's "deeply held beliefs" include suppressing the votes of those with whom she disagrees tells us never, ever to vote her faction into power.

    I assume you mean the "faction" of people who have no ethical qualms with voter suppression, regardless of their political stripe. I could easily say that things like this and this mean we should never, ever vote their "faction" into power. :)

    Re #12:

    Former official says that new technology should be presumed illegal until approved by the government.

    Oh the sf-nal possibilities in the headline alone!

    But yeah, this is just another example of state protection for big business and monopolies against competition. Funny thing about some capitalists is they like being protected against capitalism.

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  4. I hope the former Mrs.Pollack is now Ms.Pollack, divorcee.

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    Replies
    1. No. Had you read the article you would've discovered that the Pollacks worked through the problem and learned to deal more diplomatically with their differences in political commitment. Mrs. Pollack even describes how she wrote to George Bush to request a greeting for her husband's birthday.

      JJB

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    2. Despair is a sin; redemption a hope.

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  5. "And worse, though not surprisingly, various students in the audience, in response to Santorum's question about group marriage, shouted "That's irrelevant!" Again, painful to watch. Of course, it's relevant. Whether or not one agrees with Santorum's argument, at least it's logically coherent. You couldn't say the same thing for a few of those students.
    "

    So, a question that troubles me is that some claim that gay marriage is a right and inserting that it opens the door for other troubles is in fact, irrelevant. Compare this to the technology point. Gay marriage advocates would answer that you must do what "is right" and if undesired results come about, too bad.

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  6. Perhaps #2 was the catalyst for #12? Pure stupidity seems to account for most of the rest. Just another day in Postmodern land!

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    Replies
    1. I'd rather be in the Postmodern Land of Being than in the perpetual Modernist Solipsistic Mindscape our culture won't leave behind.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. (12) is truly whacked out loopy...

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  10. BTW Mike I borrowed your discussion of Hypatia to respond to a Christian friend's praise of "Agora". Incredible the tendentious drivel that people will accept when it's in a movie.

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