Practice: Living the Interior Life From Day To Day

Reading about the interior life is not the same as living it. (Neither is writing about it.) ’nuff said. … [Read more...]

Time: Quantity Has A Quality All Its Own

Not quality time.

This was first posted in January of 2004.I've got three kids (soon to be four); the oldest is just shy of seven years old. I've got a full-time job. And yet I've got a web log; I write open-source software in Tcl; I've written a couple of (unpublished) novels. (And my wife is still speaking to me!)And, far from neglecting them, I spend a lot of time with my kids. How do I have time for all of this?Partly, it's because Jane's mostly a housewife these days. A lot of household … [Read more...]

Penny Whistles and Me (UPDATED)

Tin Whistles

I've been listening to a lot of Irish Traditional music recently, and a lot of Irish traditional songs are played on the penny whistle, also known as the tin whistle. (That wind instrument you hear on records by the Chieftains or the Dubliners? Probably a penny whistle.) The penny whistle, a cousin of the recorder and the flageolet, is one of the simplest wind instruments: a whistle, or fipple flute, with six finger holes, capable of playing two full octaves on a diatonic scale (i.e., without … [Read more...]

Jerry Reed: Tupelo Mississippi Flash

The late Jerry Reed had a knack for novelty songs like "When You're Hot, You're Hot," "She Got the Goldmine, I Got the Shaft", and this song, "Tupelo Mississippi Flash," which is not quite a song about the discovery of Elvis Presley; but in addition to that, he was truly an outstanding guitar player—which is also on display in this song. Give him a listen. … [Read more...]

Either/Or, Both/And, This-then-That


I frequently read on one blog or another that Catholics aren't either/or, we're both/and. And this is true: not feasting OR fasting, but feasting AND fasting, each in its proper season. Not celibacy OR marriage, but celibacy for some AND marriage for others.I ran into another example or either/or thinking recently during an on-line discussion of the man who was shot for texting during a movie. I see two facts, here:A man was texting during a movie, which is rude; the light from the … [Read more...]

Word I Wish I’d Written: Self-Confidence

As she plunged down toward the forest roof in a long shallow dive she reflected that there was possibly something complimentary in the way Granny Weatherwax resolutely refused to consider other people’s problems. It implied that, in her considerable opinion, they were quite capable of sorting them out by themselves. Some kind of Change spell was probably in order. Magrat concentrated. Well, that seemed to work. Nothing in the sight of mortal man had in fact changed. What Magrat had achieved was a … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Knights Particular


The colony of S'Mary's World was originally established as a number of politically independent but economically interdependent settlements, all under the general guidance of the Prefecture. The system worked well in the earliest years of the Hard Times, when the colonists were reasonably united in purpose and the fight for survival necessarily took precedence over internecine squabbling. As agriculture was established and the next generation grew to maturity, eroding that unity, friction … [Read more...]

The Measure With Which You Measure

Poverty Rate

Apropos of Monday's post about Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics, Mike Flynn (science fiction writer and statistician) carries on with a related problem: the measure with which you measure. He looks at the U.S. poverty rate over the last 50 years: the percentage of the population that's living below the poverty line. We have data on the poverty rate going back to LBJ's war on poverty, which began fifty years ago.But what is that data, really? It's a measurement; and unless you know … [Read more...]

Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey series takes an abrupt left turn with the fifth book, Strong Poison. Detective novelist Harriet Vane is on trial for the murder of her lover by arsenical poisoning. She had opportunity; they had been lovers. She had motive; she'd left him due to something he'd done. And she has know-how: she's just written a novel involving arsenical poisoning, and is known to have had possession of some arsenic. Lord Peter, on the other hand is not so sure. It might have been … [Read more...]