Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Flynncestry: The Flynns of Loughrea

The Leaving of Ballinlough 

Part I, The Flynns of the Sil Maelruain is here.

We know from his gravestone in Washington, NJ, that TOF's ancestor Martin Flynn was "born in Loughrea in the County Galway."  When years ago TOF wrote a letter to the Connaught Tribune asking after these Flynns of Loughrea, he received letters from Ireland, England, Australia, Canada, all from Flynns with roots in Loughrea.  One correspondent, Fr. Jarlath Flynn, told TOF that the Flynns of Loughrea had come originally from Co. Roscommon.  (Another sent me an article from the Connaught Tribune about the history of the Flynns of Ballinlough.) Hence, much of the previous episode in this saga.

Meanwhile, a Flynn in Ballinlough passed on a story told by her father. John Flynn, that after the Cromwell War, one widow Flynn, rather than pay rent to the new English landlord, took her family to live with her relatives in Loughrea.  The article in the Tribune had mentioned that intermarriage with the Burkes was evidenced by the name Fiachra, a traditional Flynn name, showing up in Burke families.  Since Loughrea was the seat of the Burkes, it seemed at least plausible that the widow was a Burke.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Who Sez the Know Nothings Are Dead?

h/t Mark Shea

or that the Klan is moribund? Their tudes and tactics apparently live on in what used to be the Democratic Party of Washington State. A life-long Democrat himself until driven out by anti-Catholicism, this fellow Miloscia has been attacked with unparalleled vitriol. OMG, he's been a lobbyist for the Catholic Church! that evil band of idolators. Note the button-pushes intended to appeal directly to the Triumphant Will,  bypassing the Intellect: the bishop's mitre, the references to Mississippi OMG!, the various secular obsessions with the pelvis, "health choices" as a euphemism for You Know What, and so on.

Sometimes, TOF thinks that it is the devotion to logic and reason that really outrages these emotionalists.

TOF being a certified Olde Pharte™ can remember Ancient Days, when the Democratic Party was referred to only half in jest as "the secular wing of the Catholic Church." Caesar, however, is never to be trusted when Power is on the table.

Be interesting to see if the National party stomps down hard on this local lizard and the rock it crawled out from under.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In Psearch of Psyche: Man the Animal

Man, the Animal

Man, the Animal: Making Sense 

It seems like only a couple days ago that we were speaking of that strange borderline between plants and animals; viz., the possibility of sentient plants. Wait a minute, it was only a couple days ago! How time flies when you're having fun. Or reading this blog, which is not always the same thing.

Today, we take up the animal soul and see what that means for human life.

While Scrolling Down the Web One Day

in the merry, merry month of October, TOF found this image of Hans and Pastor Dietrich conversing by aid of the talking box. Now my image of the Krenken is influenced by Nicholas Jainschigg's original art for ANALOG, which I have in my office, but this fan sketch by Greg Stevens is not too bad.

I had not known anyone had ever done fan art for any of my stuff. I wonder if there's any more out there.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In Psearch of Psyche: Day of the Triffids!

Chapter One: A Sensational Show

Psyche, in psearch of you
Is TOF's Faithful Reader ready? Yes, that's right. It's the next inpstallment of that pscintillating pseries, In Psearch of Psyche!  For those coming late to the party, the previous chapters were:
  1. "To Deepen into Art..."
  2. In Psearch of Psyche: Some Groundwork 
  3. In Psearch of Psyche: Man the Vegetable
For those disinclined to wade once more through those swamps, some key points are these:
  • Psyche, or soul, is the substantial form of a living body, no more mysterious in its way than the sphere that somehow informs a basketball.
  • There's more to it than that, of course: the form is "in motion" and not simply shape and arrangement. That's what makes the Argument from Motion (q.v.) so interesting.
  • Soul is whatever a living body possesses that a dead body does not. It cannot be the matter of the body itself, since materialistically-speaking, the corpse consists of all the same matter as the organism that immediately preceded it. And in fact, your matter is continually changing at the atomic level. You are not today the stuff you were ten years ago. Since you are in fact the same person, you cannot be only your stuff.¹
  • Inanimate forms possess (generically) four powers: gravity, electromagnetism, strong (nuclear), and weak (radiative). Without these powers, atoms would have no substantial form: The negative charges of the electrons would cause them to plummet into the positively charged nucleus. The positive charges of the protons would cause them to fly apart from one another, rather than huddle together in a nucleus.
  • Living things are those whose actions are immanent: that is, their acts originate within the thing itself and are done for the sake of the thing. A basketball does not bounce for its own sake; but a petunia blooms for its.² 
  • The simplest of living things are the vegetative things, which include plants, fungi, and the like. (This is psyche-ology, so we won't worry overmuch about distinctions of bodily classifications made by creative taxonomists.
  • The vegetative psyche, a/k/a the reproductive soul, possesses (generically) four powers in addition to the powers of the inanimate form: nutrition/metabolism, development/growth, and reproduction, plus homeostasis to maintain these in balance.
  • A plant does not have two souls. Its inanimate powers are recruited into the service of the organism, so that (e.g.) the chemical processes of electromagnetism provide for the digestion and incorporation of food into the stuff of the organism.
  • Man³ likewise incorporates both the powers of his inanimate stuff and his vegetative powers, which is why the Late Modern obsession with eating and reproductive acts reduces Man to little more than a vegetative state.
1. not your stuff. This so upsets the Usual Suspects that they deny the minor premise. You are not the same person you were ten years ago. You only think you are. How "you" can think without being "you" is carefully ducked.
2. Note to the excessively literal-minded:
This does not imply conscious intention.
3. Man.
Do we really need to reiterate that this is the base meaning of "man" as "a rational animal," the same root as "men-tal"? When we mean Man, the Male, we'll say so. Males, alas, lack an exclusive word for themselves as rational beings, to which lack their wives will nod wisely in agreement. The original word for males in Anglo-Saxon was weremann (in contrast to wifmann), abbreviated wera ond wifa as it reads in Beowulf.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Throop's Revenge

A satire from long ago has gone up over on the story preview page.

Kelvin Throop was a character that showed up in a variety of shorts, written by several different authors over the years. Throop was a malicious creature who deliberately answered all of his inbox with pure honesty. Some of the episodes were "The Blue-Pencil Throop," "Kelvin Throop Rudes Again," "The Quality Throop," etc.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Flynncestry: The Good Old Days of Murder and Mayhem!


Once upon a time, there was a tribe of Gaels descended from CONN THE HUNDRED-FIGHTER and so known as the Connachta.  The Connachta grew fruitful and multiplied and divided into the Ui Briuin, Ui Fiachrach, and other tribes; and the Ui Briuin subsequently split into the Ui Briuin Ai on the plain of Mag nAi, the Ui Briuin Breifne (O Rourke, O Reilly, etc.) and the Ui Briuin Seola (O Flaherty, etc.).  The Ui Briuin Ai, in turn, diversified into the Sil Maelruain (O Flynn, etc.), the Sil Muiredaigh (McGeraghty, O Connor, etc.) and the Sil Cathail (O Flannigan, etc.)

AD 554. CURNAN, the son of Aedh Abraidh, 8th Christian king of Connacht, went to St. Columcille for protection from the High King, Dermot son of Cearbhail; but Dermot's soldiers ignored the guarantee of sanctuary and forcibly took Curnan from Columcille and killed him, "which was the cause of the Battle of Cul-Dreimhne."  Columcille went to his relatives, the O Neill of the North, who allied with the king of Connaught to defeat the High King.    It is from Curnan that the O'Flynns trace their descent. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beyond the Bounds

"The love of Theory is the root of all evils." -- Wm. M. Briggs, Statistician to the Stars

A recent issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction announced itself as devoted entirely to “stories that deal with touchy themes or go beyond the bounds of Political Correctness.”

Now, while PC generally entrains touchiness, the converse is not true. Not all touchy subjects are politically incorrect. Indeed, to treat traditional values in a dismissive way is in many ways the hallmark of political correctness. This is because political correctness has little to do with adherence to the orthodoxy of any particular political creed. Rather, it is the bizarre notion that something must be correct because it is politically orthodox. It surfaced among Marxist "political officers" in the grand old days of the Soviet Union, and was most egregiously instanced in Lysenkoism. It is to be contrasted with the opposite process, by which something becomes orthodox because it is correct.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When the inmost sea of all the earth was shaken with his ships

TOF has been reminded that today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, forty-two years after the First Siege of Vienna. In recent years, this has been re-imagined by the bien pensants as a minor border skirmish, barely noticed by the mighty muslim world, although much puffed about by the puny West. That in itself, beside being an instance of what W.S. Gilbert noted as "the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/Every century but this and every country but his own", it is even if true an indicator of what a significant victory it was: The very fact that an existential threat to the West was just a ho-hum to Islam tells us what a David-Goliath thingie it was. It would not be until 1683, a century after Lepanto, when the Jihad finally faltered and broke at the Second Siege of Vienna.

Celebrated in verse:

Battle of the Books

The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (or GLVWG, pron. "glivwig") proposes to put on a Battle of the Books, for which we will practice this coming Thursday. In this battle, three contestant authors will read portions of a book of their own exemplifying elements of the writerly art; to wit:

  1. First Impressions: The book’s cover, with title and blurb, are the author’s first chance to make a good impression. Each author will be given a chance to read the blurb and show the cover (if available) before reading the opening page of his or her book.  
  2. Enter the Hero: There is a place in every book where we meet the protagonist (another first impression), and each author will read the paragraph in which the hero is revealed to the reader.
  3. Meet the Bad Guy: Ditto for the antagonist. 
  4. Look Who’s Talking: Dialogue is perhaps the most enjoyable part of reading as the characters interact and move the story forward. The authors will read a short exchange of dialogue without explanation.  
  5. Let’s Go Places: Every scene has to take place somewhere. Each author will read a paragraph that sets a scene for a chapter or segment. 
  6. Random Read: The authors will be required to read from a random page and paragraph selected by the audience.  
  7. Closing Lines: Every book has a conclusion, and each author will share the closing line of his or her book to conclude the program.

TOF will be one of the three contestants vying for the coveted jelly beans to be awarded by the audience.

He appeals here to his Faithful Reader: Which of the TOFian novels shall bear pride of place in this noble contest? Nominations are hereby solicited. Where possible, indicate where in the book you think any of the above categories would be suitable.  Vote early and often.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Timothy Leary, Batu Khan, and the Palimpsest of Universal Reality

Because this story was a longer one, it has been put on the story preview page in two parts. Originally, the two parts were published in a single issue of F&SF.

More than one person has noted the change in tone from Part I to Part II. This was a deliberate choice, and some may find it neither to their taste nor their liking. There is a certain amount of degradation involved. It is also a bit subversive.

Part II is now available

Summa theol. Part IV, Q. 274, Art. 1: Whether there are taxicabs in heaven

From the long-lost rough draft:

h/t Dr.Boli

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Good Old Days

This picture, recently posted by Bro K on Facebook, was taken in the backyard of my mother's parents' house, which was two doors up the street from our house, which I judge from circumstances to be only recently at this time. Only three of the bros were then extant: (from left) Dennis, TOFling, and Kevin. One leaves to the imagination the identification of Pere and the Mut.

In the 1950s, they had not yet invented cool socks for fathers, and the smile was still in its early days. Kids actually dressed up back then -- so I suspect this was snapped on a Sunday, possibly even an Easter Sunday.

In the background is a field now occupied by various habitats for humanity. The public housing complex later degenerated into a center of petty crime before it was demolished and replaced by Section 8 housing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Way, Part III: The Big Kahuna

Previous episodes in this exciting series, now drawing toward its thrilling climax:
  • Background lays out the history of the Argument from Motion and the impatience of those who demand that it prove more than it asserts to prove (e.g., that it prove that Jesus is Lord or some such thing, as if the objector were genuinely concerned about this shortfall). The initial proposition in Euclid does not prove every conclusion in Euclid, and the same is true in other sciences as well.
  • Part I A Moving Tale discusses the concept of "motion" used in the Argument from Motion, and how this is persistently misunderstood today. Kinesis means the actualization of a potential, so "change" is a better summation of the concept than the modern term "motion," which to the our ears sounds like local motion only.
    Recall that we are using "motion," "change," "actualization [of a potential]," and "kinesis" as synonyms.
  • Part II Two Lemmas demonstrate that 
  1. Whatever is being actualized right now is being actualized by another. In many cases, a thing is changing as a whole because it is being changed by one of its parts. The cat crosses the room to the milk dish because its legs are moving it; its legs are being moved by its muscles, etc. This is because the changer must be actual while the changee must be in potency and what is in potency cannot make something else actual.
  2. There cannot be an infinite regress of instrumental changers, since an instrumental actualizer has no power to actualize diddly squat unless it is concurrently being actualized itself. Obvious instrumental changers include... well, instruments: golf clubs, clarinets, et al., which have no power to strike balls, make music, etc. unless they are concurrently being employed by a golfer or musician. Not all instruments are obvious: e.g., the muscles are used instrumentally by the nerves to move the arms. But not all changers are instrumental, either, and such "accidental" series can in principle (if not in fact) regress without limit.
A number of objections and misunderstandings were also dealt with in these prior posts.

We are now ready for the Big Kahuna:

In The Belly of the Whale: Publisher's Weekly Review & Pre-Order Links

 Hello Fans of Michael Flynn. I am pleased to let you know that Dad's novel In the Belly of the Whale will be released by CAEZIK on July...