CT 13: God Not A Genus

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous chapter, Thomas showed that God's essence can not be represented as a genus and a specific difference, and thus God is not a species within a genus.  Now he goes on to show that God isn't a genus, either.  It does not strike me as likely that He could be, mind you, but Thomas is always thorough.Let me note again: these terms, genus and species, … [Read more...]

The Enlightened Family: Why, It All Makes Sense!

Father and son

In paragraphs 52 and 53 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis talks about the light that faith shines upon the family; and it's a light of considerable brightness.In normal human terms, a family arises when a man and woman marry and have children. It's the natural social unit larger than an individual by which people support each other, and in which children are raised and educated. But the light of faith reveals so much more:The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the … [Read more...]

Sudo, Sudon’t: Decreasing the Cognitive Load

Last week I talked about the joys of using the "sudo" command to manage resources installed as "root" on Unix-like systems, and some of the unpleasant links you have to jump through in the name of security.The context of the discussion was ActiveTcl's "teapot", which is a repository of Tcl library packages available to all Tcl programmers on the machine. That's a very good thing; and it's because the teapot serves all users that it's installed in a central position that's owned by … [Read more...]

Remembering Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach

I don't really remember Dionne Warwick. Well, except that she sang a surprising number of songs I never ever think about, except that I recognize them immediately when I happen upon—or they come across my eclectic Pandora channel. When I think of the 1960's, I think rock'n'roll and hippies and psychedelia; but it was also the era of Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick, and their songs were very much in the air when I was small.Here's one I recently rediscovered; and gosh, can't she sing? ( … [Read more...]

How to Describe Characters

Magrat arrived at as near to a run as was possible in the queen outfit, which ought to have had castors. * * * * *Ponder said nothing. When you’re a cork in someone else’s stream of consciousness, all you can do is spin and bob in the eddies. * * * * *Granny Weatherwax seemed to generate a gyroscopic field—if you started out off-balance, she saw to it that you remained there. — Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies. … [Read more...]

The Family that Mines Together, Dines Together

The Village of Maryland

So my youngest (who is ten) came to me on Sunday afternoon and said, "Daddy? Will you play a Minecraft LAN game with me?" She loves playing Minecraft, and building outrageous pink and gold structures, but sometimes she wants company.Now, Minecraft is designed to be multiplayer, but in our house it's generally played single-player because we've never managed to get it to play reliably on our LAN. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. This particular day it didn't, and after about … [Read more...]

Review: Post Captain, by Patrick O’Brian


Post Captain is the second volume of Patrick O'Brian's well-known Aubrey/Maturin series; and as with my review of Master and Commander I'm writing this with an eye to those who have tried to read O'Brian and have failed. Most fail in the first book, for reasons I noted last week; but some last to the second, and here again the failure is understandable.Do not get me wrong: Post Captain is not a bad book; I've read it with enjoyment a number of times, most recently this past week. But it's … [Read more...]

CT 12: God Not Contained Under Any Genus

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous chapter, Thomas shows that God's essence is simply existence itself, ipsum esse, a point he'd been working up to for some chapters.  In this chapter and several that follow, he's concerned to prove some corollaries, and to situate God within certain traditional metaphysical categories—or, more accurately, to show that He is a special case, and the … [Read more...]

The Terrible Contradiction of Staffing

In Chapter 4 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis notes that the story of faith isn't simply the story of a journey; it's also the story of the building of a city, a place where all can live together in peace:In presenting the story of the patriarchs and the righteous men and women of the Old Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews highlights an essential aspect of their faith. That faith is not only presented as a journey, but also as a process of building, the preparing of a place in which human … [Read more...]