A Question of Values


This was first posted in October of 2004, about events that occurred around 1980.When I was junior in high school a fire in the mountains above our house threatened to make us evacuate, and my mother sent me to my room to pack, just in case. She warned me that we couldn't take everything. So I grabbed a brown paper grocery bag and went to my room and into it I placed that which I valued most—my Tolkien books. I had a boxed set of paperback copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ( … [Read more...]

A New Phone Scam?


We've been getting a new kind of phone call recently; we've gotten I've answered at least five of them over the last couple of weeks, and I believe Jane has answered some as well. I pick up the phone, and say "Hello?" There's a pause, and a brief ring, and then a voice with a strong Indian accent comes on:"Hello, this is Mark, from the Virus Control Center. I'm calling about your home computer, which is under attack. Hackers are breaking into your home computer."And I thought to … [Read more...]

The Mystery of Service


This month's post at CatholicMom concerns the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: the Visitation, or, as I often think of it, the Mystery of Service. Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Still Alive! (Except the ones who are dead)

So Joseph Susanka listened to The Wishing Wife last week, and liked it; and then paid attention to the lyrics, and still liked it; and then wishing to prove to me that it's just the sort of thing he does like, shared that he'd purchased the theme from the video game Portal. If you've not played Portal, the premise is that an amoral but driven computer named GlaDOS puts you through horribly dangerous "tests" in the name of Science! Eventually you destroy GlaDOS and escape; and as the credits … [Read more...]

Support the Dominican Nuns!

SummitNJ Monastery

Traditionally the priests and brothers in a religious order are termed the "first order", and the nuns and sisters the "second order"; but it's an odd fact about the Order of Preachers that the nuns came first.St. Dominic began his career of itinerant preaching in a part of France much overtaken by the Albigensian heresy. The Albigensians were gnostics who preached that the soul is pure and the body is evil; and they acquired followers in part by running schools for the daughters of noble … [Read more...]

How I Write

Writing in library

So I was wondering what to say about writing today, beyond that it was a busy weekend and Watchman for Daybreak is only 1,000 words longer, when I saw Elizabeth Duffy's post this morning and said, "A writing meme! I can do that!"So, four questions:What are you working on? What makes your work different from others’ work in the same genre? Why do you write what you do? How does your writing process work?1. What are you working on?At the moment, mostly Watchman for D … [Read more...]

App o’ the Morning: Avernum, Escape from the Pit


Usually on Tuesdays I blog about a book I've read recently; but in the last few weeks I've been doing less reading and more tapping, which is to say, I've been playing Spiderweb Software's Avernum: Escape from the Pit. I've been playing it on the iPad, but it's also available for Mac and Windows.Avernum is a classic open world role-playing-game. You have been exiled by the evil Emperor Hawthorne to a dim underworld of caves, giant fungus, and monsters called Avernum. Hawthorne has been … [Read more...]

CT 2: Thomas Takes on Faith


Thomas always likes to start by giving the reader an outline of what he’s about (I think because they didn't really have tables of contents in his day). In the previous chapter, he broke the world of Christian theology down into three headings, faith, hope, and charity; now he divides faith even further.Faith is a certain foretaste of that knowledge which is to make us happy in the life to come. The Apostle says, in Hebrews 11:1, that faith is “the substance of things to be hoped for,” as th … [Read more...]

My Joy is Complete


On Saturday I made my life profession as a Lay Dominican, and that was a good day. But today, Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, was a day of great joy.Some background. I've been a member of our parish's RCIA team this year, and for those who don't know, RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is the name of the usual process by which adults become members of the Catholic Church. For the last six months, I've been meeting and talking with people who are … [Read more...]