About willduquette

Poe and the Carol of the Bells

Just in time for Christmas, here's Trans-Siberian Orchestra with a tune called "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24", which strikes me as a sort of unholy cross between "The Carol of the Bells" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells". I hasten to add, there's no actual Poe here; but I can't listen to this without thinking of the Brazen Bells:Hear the loud alarum bells, Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they … [Read more...]

Of Brute Facts and Uncle Andrew

One reason for oak trees

Yesterday I quoted the maxim "from nothing, nothing comes"; it's actually a philosophical principle that goes back to the ancient Greeks (notably Parmenides), and it's more typically stated in Latin: Ex nihilo nihil fit. And what it means is that "nothing"—pure, philosophical nothingness—cannot be the cause of anything coming to be. Parmenides used this to argue that change must be an illusion, because any change involves something coming to be that previously wasn't. Sure, it seems that the … [Read more...]

Scholastic Maxim of the Day

From nothing, nothing comes.That's not an excuse for not having a more substantial blog post...but it could be. … [Read more...]

Review: The Latest Honorverse Novels


Once upon a time, David Weber wrote reasonably-sized individual novels concerning a character named Honor Harrington. And then Honor Harrington was captured by the Bad Guys, and the next book, Echoes of Honor, was ever so much bigger. You see, Weber needed to tell us the whole story—not only the years Honor spent working to escape, but also everything that was going on while she was out of the picture. So we heard about what was going on with our continuing characters on Manticore, and with t … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Infinity and Imperfection, or God and the Oaks

Two imperfect birds.  But they'll grow.

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Just because something is infinite doesn't mean that it is infinitely perfect—depending on how you define "infinite" and how you define "perfect".  I can imagine an infinite patchwork quilt, infinitely long and infinitely wide, that contains an infinite number of stitching errors.  It might be perfectly huge, and yet by no means perfect.But as Thomas expla … [Read more...]

Lee Press-On and the Nails: Hat Back Boogie

All I know about Lee Press-On and the Nails is that they are a San Francisco area swing band; and it's quite possible that I'm happy knowing no more than that. But they've got a song that I like (Pandora is the culprit, as usual), and here it is: … [Read more...]

Paarfi of Roundwood: On Brevity


Paarfi of Roundwood is the supposed author of Steven Brust's "Khaavren" romances, which begin with that most excellent tale The Phoenix Guards. Paarfi, a Hawklord of the Dragaeran Empire, is a scholar and historian who has learned (evidently through first-hand experience) that the rewards of scholarship are great but unsustaining, while the rewards of writing popular trash for the consumption and amusement of the masses put dinner on the table. The Phoenix Guards is one such amusement, a tale … [Read more...]

You Shall Surely Die. Also, Beer.

...though probably not on a trip to the Holy Land, as Frank Weathers makes clear in his report...from the Holy Land.And somehow, in that one post, he sums up the problems with being tied to the news cycle, the incentives for the news media to ratchet up every bit of outrage, the freedom that comes from letting go of it for a while, the need to die to self, and the spiritual benefits of kissing it all up to God and going on pilgrimage. As the Marines say, "Hooah, Frank."And, and beer. … [Read more...]

Review: Honor Harrington and the Honorverse


I'm a longtime fan of David Weber, and especially of his Honor Harrington series, which I've been reading since it was a much shorter series than it is now; but I'd let my interest lapse for a few years, and I'm now several books behind the most recent. And so a few weeks ago I embarked on a project: to re-read all of the "Honorverse" series to date. I'm now into Storm from the Shadows, the 18th book (according to one count), and so I'm ready for a recap.The series concerns the career of … [Read more...]