Stan Rogers: Watching the Apples Grow

I've finally got my Internet access back (at close-of-business on Thursday) and so I'm scrambling to get some posts up. And when I thought of what I should post as a song for Friday, this sprightly tune by Stan Rogers popped into my head: "Watching the Apples Grow". It makes me happy. … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Using Magic

Oh, you could do it all by magic, you certainly could. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea already cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford.That’s why it was left to wizards, who knew how to handle it safely. Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards—not “not doing magic” because they couldn’t do magic, but not doing magic when they co … [Read more...]

Technical Difficulties

The internet has been broken at our house since yesterday morning. It isn't clear whether our DSL modem needs replacing, or whether it's the ISP's fault; but it's kind of irrelevant as I signed up with a different internet provider last week and they are coming to get everything installed tomorrow. With luck, I'll be completely back on the air as of tomorrow afternoon.In the mean time, have a nice day! … [Read more...]

Review: Going Postal


So last night I finished reading Terry Pratchett's Going Postal to my wife and kids. Going Postal is in an odd category: it's a full-fledge novel that I have only ever read aloud. I read it to Jane when it was first released, and now to Jane and my kids. Jane and I loved it on the first reading, and I'm glad to say that it held up on the second reading.In fact, I might go so far as to say that Going Postal is one of Pratchett's best, and it's certainly one of my favorites, in part because … [Read more...]

CT 7: The Everlasting Existence of God

Moses and the Burning Bush

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.When I first read Chapter 7 of the Compendium, I rather thought that Thomas was repeating himself. In Chapter 3 he showed that God exists; in Chapter 5, he showed that God is eternal. Here in Chapter 7, he's showing that God exists "always". Hasn't he already done that?I think the key is the distinction between the words eternal and always. As I argued … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Claiming the Community


In paragraph 45 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis makes a point about the Profession of Faith that I hadn't previously considered: the Creed isn't simply a statement of abstract belief, to which we give assent. In it, we are making claims about God and claims about our relationship to Him and to other Christians; and we are truly claiming a place in that community:The creed does not only involve giving one’s assent to a body of abstract truths; rather, when it is recited the whole of life is d … [Read more...]

Adventures in Clojure: Nearly Constant Data


As I noted last week, the Clojure way is to keep immutable (unchanging) data separate from the mutable data. Thus, you keep the network of rooms distinct from the data structure that indicates where the player and other things are at the present time. The latter changes while the game runs, and the former doesn't.At least, that's the theory. As I showed a couple of weeks ago, you can define the world map as a single, immutable data structure, and never change it thereafter. But there are … [Read more...]

My, My, This Here Anakin Guy…


We were on vacation last week, and during the week the kids managed to watch all six movies in the Star Wars saga. (It was that kind of vacation.) The best part of the whole film fest was this video, from the extras disk: "Star Wars: The Saga Begins", by Weird Al Yankovic. (Full disclosure: I own the vinyl of Weird Al's first album. I was given it by my best friend's mom out of a clear blue sky when I was in high school, because it seemed like my kind of thing.)And having played … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Murder

Monkey Typing

“You mean you knew there was going to be a murder before it even happened?” Ribaud said in disbelief. “Didn’t somebody do something?”“Son, around here, you always know about a murder ahead of time,” Parry replied calmly. He drained the rest of his soda in a great swallow. “That don’t mean it’s healthy to mix in another man’s quarrel.”— David Drake, Night & Demons … [Read more...]