Thursday, November 29, 2007

On whether Ornette Coleman shall be anathema

A colleague at my last job inflicted Coleman on us from time to time. Now every time I rag on him (Coleman, not the colleague) someone rises up in his defense. One fellow I argued with claimed his work obtained an excellence above all Beethoven's opera save the late quartets which do apparently measure up to Coleman's greatness! His excellence at any given time is a function of his sidemen (he seems have had some good trumpet players associated with him), but even granting a degree of excellence doesn't preclude diabolism. His music is a lie--after the Father of Lies--on multiple levels, beginning with his fake saxophones, including the album title The Shape of Jazz to Come and lying deeply in his notion that there is nothing to choose between cacophony and melody, chaos and rhythm, tension and resolution. But mostly the lie is in his conceit that progressivism is some substitute for talent.

That all said, don't despair. In practice, to enjoy Ornette Coleman is probably less harmful to the soul of a sophisticated listener--who, on the deepest level, almost certainly doesn't believe the lies, but only plays along for while--than it is to that of the poor urban black teenager to hark the paeans to the gods of murder, pimping, cash and large shiny jewelry.

Then, I could be wrong on all of this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have no friends on facebook.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Little known Beatitudes

Blessed are they who sneeze.

Some of the guys with no arms and no legs who have had jokes told about them:

Bill, Jack, Matt, Phil, Russell, Bob (Boy), Nick, Doug, Pete, Pat, Lucas.


Update: Axel and Rod, natch.

Another update: D'oh! I can't believe I forgot to mention Claude.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This is extremely worrying.

Apparently, the north-central Manitoba boreal forest is now emitting (yes, emitting) 2 grams of carbon per square meter per year. There is now no hope for us. The planet will be an inferno in six months unless we act now and act decisively.

I appeal to all my faithful readers to gain weight. Our bodies are more than 18 percent carbon. That means for every ten pounds you gain, nearly two pounds of carbon are safely sequestered. If you commit to gaining ten pounds each year, you will effectively counteract the disastrous effect of more than 400 square meters of poisonous boreal forest.

Eat! Porterhouse steaks, fois gras, veal cutlets, ice cream and candy--it matters not. But please, I implore you: Eat!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Today, I am Bick Pentameter. (a little more "poetry" inspired by this)

Lines written on the Feast of Guardian Angels

It seems so long ago that cannon blast,
did win the waterline of th’Eve Marie;
She's scuttl’d now in icy depth of past,
seen but by Wisdom's eye if wisdom be.
But soon, in minutes, hours perhaps, or years,
when, bubbling to the face, her gift, her son,
the solitary splinter’d plank careers,
one half unconscious ragged soul hangs on.
Its tar will fill his throat and eyes, its nails
five times will pierce his passive flesh, its mass
will break his back; his strength his weakness hails
till salty wounds flow freely to this pass:

His low'ring head into the gulf to see
the mermaids rolling, arching, joyful, free.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My dream of a nonjudgmental world.

In my spare time I fantasize about a truly beautiful universe where no man would ever judge a book by its cover.

Just think: you could spend 25 years of your life browsing libraries and bookstores for a single volume on ornithology...

(including eighteen months in the children's sections).

Friday, September 07, 2007

Moral Ambiguity on Hogwarts Grounds, distilled

Tom: (knock knock)

[Dick (Rubeus) opens door]

Tom: I'm here to kill Harry. Is he here unarmed and huddled in that corner under an invisibility cloak?

Dick: Is who here? Harry?

Tom: Yes Harry! Is Harry here unarmed and huddled in that corner? [points]

Dick: No.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Open letter to David Creamer SJ. (Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies, St. Paul's College)

Dear Fr. Creamer:

As a relation of mine has enrolled in your course Introduction to Catholic Studies this fall, I trust I will give no offence in having elected to send this from my pseudonymous email account. I realize I risk having my note discarded out of hand by this choice, but I assure you: I write in good faith and if you respond I will happily reveal myself to you at end of term if you wish.

I am dismayed at the choice of a work by disgraced ex-priest Gregory Baum for course reading material. The purpose of the work Amazing Church seems to be to undermine faith in the dogma that the Church is One in time—the first of the Church’s four marks enumerated in the Nicene Creed—by exclaiming the deception that the Church can change Her teaching rather than the truth that the face of Her constant teaching develops to meet the world’s novel challenges while maintaining internal consistency.

I have been attempting to read the text, however I was grieved upon beginning Chapter 1 to find the encyclical Mirari vos of Pope Gregory XVI excerpted with little context and seemingly for no other purpose than to heap ridicule on the pre-conciliar Church, thereby casting doubt for the uncatechized reader on the second mark of the Church, Her Holiness. Trapped in the social and cultural assumptions of our own day, the Holy Father’s commentary on social upheaval does sound ridiculous, however in the wake of the murderous French Revolution (of living memory in his time) his writings are apt, to say the least, and positively prescient considering the coming tide of communism, about which, if the Pope knew nothing specifically, the guidance of the Holy Spirit was true.

I fear the end result of teaching particularly young men and women from Baum’s book, even if not intended, will be to foment dissatisfaction with the Church’s teaching on sexual matters and foster an attitude of accommodation with more worldly, accepting views of fornication, contraception and homosexuality. Will you be able to rise and defend the teaching in the encyclical Humanae Vitae as a priest must, when the tenor of the course is set by a laicized priest who, since long prior to his contributions to the publication of the regrettable Winnipeg Statement, has apparently made dissent from Church teaching his life work?

If the focus of the course is to be the development of doctrine, wouldn’t it be better to start with John Cardinal Newman than with the lightweight and dubious Mr. Baum? He could appear later in a more advanced course, say Apostasy 201. Even if you would defend Baum’s private opinions, you cannot deny that they are contentious to a degree wholly inappropriate to an introductory level course.

Finally, If you will not reject the text I pray you will at least discuss this matter with your colleagues to consider how best to approach teaching it so as to avoid loss of faith in your students, many of them at a time of life wherein their metastatic searching for serious answers will elicit great effect for good or ill in life and eternity.

Yours in Christ,

a cricket

Monday, August 20, 2007

Comments on the Fred Thompson campaign from CNN watchers

... are hilarious. My favorite is the one Posted By Tia, Iowa : August 17, 2007 3:43 pm
What and idiot!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We have broken speed of light

Unfortunately, Doctors Nimtz and Stahlhofen were in Pottery Barn at the time.

Taxi firm pays blind man after refusing ride

From the story:
North Shore Tax driver Behzad Saidy refused to take Bruce Gilmour and his dog from a West Vancouver coffee shop to Gilmour's Vancouver home in January 2006, saying his Muslim religion prevented him from associating with dogs because they're "unclean."

Unfortunately, following this incident, relations between Gilmour and the cab company continued to sour in the wake of his ill considered decision to drop his guide dog in favour of a seeing-eye Jew.

More Proverbs

"The man returning from his daily labors having not sinned may have six slices of ham and glass of milk on turning in."

(some sources add "and still be okay")

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chinese proverb loopholes

The well known Chinese proverb: to save a single life is better than to build a seven storey pagoda, is always presented thus. Seven storeys. This explains the lesser known fact that Chinese insurance costs take a great leap forward for Chinese architects designing pagodas of eight floors or more.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Master, what is the one great purpose of NASA?

They shall furnish a Shuttle to service the Space Station.
That is the first and great purpose. The second is like unto it.
They shall maintain a Space Station to provide missions for the Shuttle.
On these two purposes hang all the law and profits.

Some quips just need to be ripped off.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Little known facts II.

The real reason for the Second Nicene Council (A.D.787) was to discuss how to suppress the invention of the printing press. Luther discovered it 700 years later in the Vatican basement when he "accidently" got separated from his tour group. (He tucked it under his coat and later gave it to Gutenberg who became famous and prolific, which is why the Protestant Reformation is rightly blamed for Police Academy 3: Back in Training and Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Genocidal Dictator Momentarily Revisited

"Say what you will, that kettle is really quite black"

Pol Pot (1974, Oudong)

Update: Pa Kettle's response to the Oudong speech: "Pol, you do all the barkin', but it's me that's always in the doghouse. "

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Proverb

As it is not good for a man to eat much honey, so a scrutiniser of Majesty, shall be overawed by glory.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Little known facts. The first in a series

See Matt 18:19 for how most doubles tennis matches are really decided.

(I learnt this from a Protestant friend)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Alt Codes.

Don't forget the leading zero on these ones:

0130 ‚ 0131 ƒ 0132 „ 0133 …
0136 ˆ 0138 Š 0139 ‹ 0140 Œ
0142 Ž 0145 ‘ 0146 ’ 0147 “
0148 ” 0149 • 0150 – 0151 —
0152 ˜ 0153 ™ 0154 š 0155 ›
0156 œ 0157  0158 ž 0159 Ÿ
0160 Space 0161 ¡ 0162 ¢ 0163 £
0164 ¤ 0165 ¥ 0166 ¦ 0167 §
0168 ¨ 0169 © 0170 ª 0171 «
0172 ¬ 0173 ­ 0174 ® 0175 ¯
0176 ° 0177 ± 0178 ² 0179 ³
0180 ´ 0181 µ 0182 0183 ·
0184 ¸ 0185 ¹ 0186 º 0187 »
0188 ¼ 0189 ½ 0190 ¾ 0191 ¿
0192 À 0193 Á 0194 Â 0195 Ã
0196 Ä 0197 Å 0198 Æ 0199 Ç
0200 È 0201 É 0202 Ê 0203 Ë
0204 Ì 0205 Í 0206 Î 0207 Ï
0208 Ð 0209 Ñ 0210 Ò 0211 Ó
0212 Ô 0213 Õ 0214 Ö 0215 ×
0216 Ø 0217 Ù 0218 Ú 0219 Û
0220 Ü 0221 Ý 0222 Þ 0223 ß
0224 à 0225 á 0226 â 0227 ã
0228 ä 0229 å 0230 æ 0231 ç
0232 è 0233 é 0234 ê 0235 ë
0236 ì 0237 í 0238 î 0239 ï
0240 ð 0241 ñ 0242 ò 0243 ó
0244 ô 0245 õ 0246 ö 0247 ÷
0248 ø 0249 ù 0250 ú 0251 û
0252 ü 0253 ý 0254 þ 0255 ÿ

Some Alt codes

128 Ç 129 ü 130 é 131 â
132 ä 133 à 134 å 135 ç
136 ê 137 ë 138 è 139 ï
140 î 141 ì 142 Ä 143 Å
144 É 145 æ 146 Æ 147 ô

148 ö 149 ò 150 û 151 ù

152 ÿ 153 Ö 154 Ü
155 ¢
156 £ 157 ¥ 158 § 159 ƒ

160 á 161 í 162 ó 163 ú

164 ñ 165 Ñ 166 ª 167 º

168 ¿ 169 ¬ 170 ¬ 171 ½

172 ¼ 173 ¡ 174 « 175 »

225 ß 230 µ 241 ± 246 ÷

248 ° 250 · 253 ²

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Thought for the day.

You sure see a lot of straw man arguments on the interweb these days;
Look for a tin man argument and there is none to be found.
Though the cowardly lions will argue till they're blue in the face;
And flying monkeys abound.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A friend sent me this on Alberta's new Creation (no scare quotes) Museum.

I have no scientific knowledge to offer in settling this question either way. My only arguments for an old universe are aesthetic. It simply delights me to contemplate that the wonder we see around us may have been created by such slow and tiny incremental steps--swirling about, not with protons and electrons or even in the murky layers of existence physicists call quantum indeterminacy, but in mystical undiscovered (and perhaps undiscoverable) layers of reality below that--that it almost seems that each particular creative act could have been an accident--a stray note on a string: out of tune and out of time. But, taken together, the trillions upon trillions of minute waves of the Conductor's baton have given us our unspeakably intricate symphony of symphonies of symphonies, which could not have arisen any other way than by His constant loving will.

As against that, "Bang! There’s a planet; Bang! There’s an amoeba; Bang! There’s a dinosaur; Bang! There’s a man," seems rather a crude way for God to have gone about things.

As for Adam and Eve, my own pet theory is that Adam was a product of evolution, but that Eve was born of an act of special creation. This implies I "believe" (that's too strong a word, actually) in evolution, but not in the mechanism of natural selection of random (undirected) gene mutations which I find ludicrous. That is to say, Adam was created from mud (if some protozoa and some proto-chimps weren't intermediate steps who can say?) and then had supernatural life breathed into him. But Eve was conceived whole, just as the Blessed Virgin was conceived holy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Post

This isn't about banking regs. Watch this space!

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Fruitful Email Exchange with Adolfo Continues (scroll down to the comments for the beginning)

wherein he tries to save my soul.

To my last missive Adolfo has replied:
Subject: Re: Adolfo, I think I'm in love with you.

Of course you's a natural reaction to meeting me.

Trust me, I understand your posts. Some are quite funny, others miss the mark. Many times, however, they remind me of someone who's just talking to hear himself talk.

In any case, hope being a smart ass is working for you in life. I have found that the endearing quality it first engenders sours very quickly.

God bless,

I think this first line, "Of course you are..." is very sweet so I didn't say anything about it. But I was nastier in my email reply--I mean more an ass (ah, still a long way to go):

Adolfo, my beamish boy:

"Trust me, I understand..." Not always, apparently. The "trust me" assurance doesn't engender confidence. Do you worry about the sin of pride? I do: all the time.

"...just talking to hear himself talk..." Really! That describes almost all the commenters on Mark's blog. At least I'm terse.

"I have found..." Ah. You were once a smart ass like me. I get it. Maybe one day I'll be like you and save Mark's combox readers (and the world) from people like me.

a cricket

I think A will probably be tired of it all and not respond again, but if he does, I'm still having fun. Who knows? Maybe he'll cure me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

St Joseph's Day "poetry" inspired by, among other things, this Rich Leonardi post

Lines written on March 19

The Orbs are silent, yet if one star,
alone may guess of who you are,
no man who bides in Adam's wake may know.
In darkness you arise and toil,
for Master who in darkness coil;
In darkness, home - you to darkness go.

You furnish board for those who starve,
and for the lame the step you carve,
the altar built is but for never wed
In living wood intricacies,
are wrought for but the blind to see;
In sturdy pine the ark but for the dead.

And in the night, the prayer you raise
is, like the suff'ring prophet's days,
delivered deaf and empty, dry and cold.
The lamb is lost, its love in vain,
and bitterness will now remain,
long, long as the vain limb and mind grow old.

Gnarlèd feet tread dusty sand,
with tool borne by gnarlèd hand;
now bravely face this day your blackest hour
But turn, the angel speaks: how could
your gnarlèd stick of long dead wood
burst into flower?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Don't like being a sinner?

I will forgive your sins. Just post them here in my comment box, and you'll be forgiven... by me.

I also promise not to read them... or if I do, it will be a sin which I will duly confess. In my comment box.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

In the elevator.

Sandra: The maintenance guy said the elevators all over the building are down. We could be here for a while;
Peter: Ummm, I got bad news. I reeeally have to pee!
Anna: I know! Let's play the name game.
Chuck: No, thank you.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Modern Troubles

My partner and and I were invited to my office holiday party. So we went. I was a little bit disappointed though: a) I would've preferred to have brought my wife, and b) now everybody at my office thinks I'm gay.

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I'd be a blackguard and a cad, if I weren't so ineffectual. The less said "About Me", the better.