Archive for the ‘Blogdom’ Category

Relationship Advice and the Church

February 20th, 2013 No comments

It isn’t the Church’s job to teach a man what does and doesn’t make a woman desperate to have his baby.

Zippy Catholic

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July 27th, 2010 No comments

Yes, there’s a new look at this place.  I’ve changed hosting providers, and migrated the blog from Blogger to WordPress.  We’ll see how that works out.

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Crass Commercialism

October 22nd, 2009 No comments

I’ve updated the blog template to show my wishlist.

Because I know you were all wondering what to get me for my birthday / for Christmas / for the anniversary of the breaking of the Siege of Vienna / out of sheer gratitude for my witty blogging…

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Memed! Name five people …

September 1st, 2006 No comments

Dale has tagged me with the “name five people” meme, so, here goes…

If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be?” (Explaining why is optional.) Name five people from each of the following categories:Saints, Those in the Process of Being Canonized, Heroes from your native country, Authors/Writers, celebrities.

  1. Saints
    1. Benedict of Nursia
    2. Thomas More
    3. Joseph
    4. Athanasius
    5. Maximillian Kolbe

  2. To Be Canonized
    1. Pope John Paul II
    2. John Henry Cardinal Newman
    3. Pope Leo XIII
    4. Kateri Tekakwitha
    5. Bishop Frederic Baraga

  3. American Heroes
    1. Thomas Jefferson
    2. Col. David Crockett
    3. William Jennings Bryan
    4. Benjamin Franklin
    5. Father Jacques Marquette

  4. Authors/Writers
    1. Wendell Berry
    2. G. K. Chesterton / Hillaire Belloc (can I get them as a twofer?)
    3. J. R. R. Tolkien
    4. C. S. Lewis
    5. Masanobu Fukuoka

      And, of course, S. M. Stirling 🙂

  5. Celebrities
    1. Pope Benedict XVI
    2. Larry Wall
    3. Richard M. Stallman
    4. “Doc” Watson
    5. O-Sensei Morehei Ueshiba

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Crass Commercialism

October 30th, 2005 No comments

The NEW Eclectic Amateur! Now, with ads from Google!

We’ll see if this is beneficial or baneful …

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Tagged with the Book Meme

June 8th, 2005 No comments

Dale has tagged me with the Book Meme, so here goes …

1. Total number of books I’ve owned.

Oy. I have no idea — I tend to count this in terms of “number of bookshelves required” or “number of boxes needed on moving day.” I keep purging, but there doesn’t seem to be much more room in the house.

A quick visual SWAG says about 2,000 downstairs, plus probably another 500-1,000 upstairs (this counts the kid’s library and homeschooling materials).

I’ve probably given away or sold almost this much previously, so let’s say a lifetime total of around 4,000 books.

I have said before that my Dances With Wolves name should be “Reads Too Much.”

2. Last book I bought.

My last book purchase was a career-related twofer, The Basics of FMEA and Building Embedded Linux Systems.

Due to space and time limits, I’ve learned to make good use of the library, so my bookbuying is well off the pace that it was at B(efore) C(hildren).

3. Last book I read.

Not Dies the Fire, but that’s because I’ve moved on while desperately awaiting publication of The Protector’s War. (Remember what I said about “Reads Too Much”?)

This is tough, because I tend to juggle a few at once. The last two books I completed are All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promise of Pasture Farming and The Contrary Farmer’s Invitation to Gardening, both by Gene Logsdon. Other books I am currently working through are Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationshiop with God by Dallas Willard, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character … in You and Your Kids! by Turansky and Miller, Is This Your Child’s World? How You Can Fix the Schools and Homes That Are Making Your Children Sick by Doris Rapp, and The Java Developer’s Guide to Eclipse by Shavor, et al.

Why yes, there was a reason I named this blog Eclectic Amateur

4. Five books that mean a lot to me.

Aside from the Bible, which gets to be at the top in a category of its own, here are some that come to mind:

  1. The Lord of the Rings. Read umpteen times in sixth grade and then some after that. It’s still one of my regrets that I haven’t learned to write in tengwar.
  2. The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis. Heck, everything by C. S. Lewis.
  3. By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark Shea. Sorry, Mark — I don’t rate you quite up there with Professors Tolkien and Lewis. But, this little book was very helpful to me in articulating my view on sola scriptura, which of course has had other ripple effects …
  4. The Imitation of Christ. I would be a much better person if I reread this more often.
  5. The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry.
  6. Anything by G. K. Chesterton.

OK, so that’s more than five. 🙂

5. Next!

Hey Bubbles, you there?

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Ten Things

May 1st, 2005 No comments

Yes, I’m late to the party. I saw the ten things list from Henry Dieterich; here’s mine:

Ten Things I’ve Done (That You Probably Haven’t):

  1. Fenced competitively for a Big Ten university.
  2. Shorn sheep. Even used hand shears at least once (and left a relatively non-bloody sheep).
  3. Learned traditional West African music from an internationally-recognized African composer.
  4. Had nine living grandparents.
  5. Contributed to multiple free/open source software projects
  6. Flunked RCIA. 🙂
  7. Caught a Blanchard’s Cricket Frog in the wild in Michigan.
  8. Worked at a cyclotron.
  9. I can draw a circle on the map around all the places I’ve lived, and the radius is less than 100 miles.
  10. Read The Lord of the Rings. 15 times. In sixth grade. Did I mention that one of those times was in a single day?
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Anti-Science Fundamentalist Thinks He Is Scientific

March 11th, 2003 No comments

Over on Mark’s blog a few weeks ago, there was some fun when a fundamentalist atheist troll by the name of “Jon Peters” came flaming along.   (Conversation rescued from Haloscan)

The physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, if it were true, would violate numerous scientific laws and principles.
— Jon Peters


Reality trumps “numerous scientific laws and principles.” If it happened, it happened — regardless of whether there’s a scientific model for it. Data precedes theory, at least in good (and rational) science.

Mark is entirely correct — the ancients did not have to have derived relativity and be versed in double-blind experiments to know fundamentally that dead men do not walk again. (Any more than they needed knowledge of microbiology to know that virgins do not, in the general course of events, conceive — at least while remaining virgins.)

G. K. Chesterton says it better than I would:

But my belief that miracles have happened in human history is not a mystical belief at all; I believe in them upon human evidences as I do in the discovery of America. Upon this point there is a simple logical fact that only requires to be stated and cleared up. Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them. The open, obvious, democratic thing is to believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a miracle, just as you believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a murder. The plain, popular course is to trust the peasant’s word about the ghost exactly as far as you trust the peasant’s word about the landlord. Being a peasant he will probably have a great deal of healthy agnosticism about both. Still you could fill the British Museum with evidence uttered by the peasant, and given in favour of the ghost. If it comes to human testimony there is a choking cataract of human testimony in favour of the supernatural. If you reject it, you can only mean one of two things. You reject the peasant’s story about the ghost either because the man is a peasant or because the story is a ghost story. That is, you either deny the main principle of democracy, or you affirm the main principle of materialism — the abstract impossibility of miracle. You have a perfect right to do so; but in that case you are the dogmatist. It is we Christians who accept all actual evidence — it is you rationalists who refuse actual evidence being constrained to do so by your creed. But I am not constrained by any creed in the matter, and looking impartially into certain miracles of mediaeval and modern times, I have come to the conclusion that they occurred. All argument against these plain facts is always argument in a circle. If I say, “Mediaeval documents attest certain miracles as much as they attest certain battles,” they answer, “But mediaevals were superstitious”; if I want to know in what they were superstitious, the only ultimate answer is that they believed in the miracles. If I say “a peasant saw a ghost,” I am told, “But peasants are so credulous.” If I ask, “Why credulous?” the only answer is — that they see ghosts. Iceland is impossible because only stupid sailors have seen it; and the sailors are only stupid because they say they have seen Iceland.

— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Jon, undaunted, continued on, ignoring my wit (and worse, GKC’s) but lecturing one and all on rationality and science. This counted as a bad move, especially because a number of readers actually are familiar with the findings of modern science — unlike Jon himself, who let loose with this howler:


Prove that there is a privileged frame of reference using modern science,

I just did. The masses of the two bodies are not equal. Thus, their relative motion is not equal. Thus, the earth orbits the sun. The sun does not orbit the earth.

Jon Peters

And my amused (and probably less than charitable) reply:

I am stunned.

I was already amazed to see such a prime specimen of 19th-century Scientific Triumphalism™ in full plumage here at the beginning of the post-post-modern 21st century.

But now, I find that Jon actually believes in ether!

A rare find! Someone call H. G. Wells, his time machine has been stolen!

Hint: Try googling for Michelson Morley. It’s pretty cutting edge stuff, the data was only collected in 1887. Kind of fringe too, it only got Michelson the first Nobel in science to be awarded to an American.

For extra credit, try reading up on “photoelectic effect” and “special relativity” — especially the part about “no priviledged frame of reference.”

(I always knew freshman chemistry would be good for something. I just didn’t it would be this …)


Proper Terminology

May 26th, 2002 No comments

Doug has reminded me that the proper term is “People’s Republic of Ann Arbor”.

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