Words I Wish I’d Written: Droit de Seigneur

The duke often mused on his good luck in marrying her. If it wasn’t for the engine of her ambition he’d be just another local lord, with nothing much to do but hunt, drink and exercise his droit de seigneur.*____ * Whatever that was. He’d never found anyone prepared to explain it to him. But it was definitely something a feudal lord ought to have and, he was pretty sure, it needed regular exercise. He imagined it was some kind of large hairy dog. He was definitely going to get one, and damn … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: The Albertines


The Albertine Order of St. Mary's-without-the-Arm grew by necessity from the logic of colonial survival.From the Day of Landing, 1 December of year 1 YOE, it was clear to Prefect Consolmagno Higgins and his followers on the Our Lady of Loreto that the new colony of S'Mary's World would be unable to maintain the technological level planned for and expected by the framers of the Articles of Colonization. Much of the Loreto's materiel and many of her passengers were killed in the catastrophe … [Read more...]

Unnatural Death, by Dorothy Sayers

Mystery novels thrive on novelty, on how to murder the victim and hide the perpetrator in new and previously unused ways, and this was especially true in the Golden Age of the whodunnit. Peter Wimsey's career began whimsically enough in Whose Body? with a mysterious body in a bathtub. He investigates a country house mystery that perhaps isn't really a country house mystery in Clouds of Witness. But Lord Peter has to truly extend himself in his third outing, Unnatural Death, because it's not … [Read more...]

Friendship Evangelism


Recently I ran across this entry at a site called "wikiHow": fifteen steps to Persuade a Christian to Become Atheist. It explains how to befriend somehow with the express purpose of destroying their faith in God. Really, it's kind of creepy: to befriend someone, and to try to become their close friend, not because of shared interests or mutual liking, but with the intention of changing them.Naturally I think that the destruction of a Christian's faith in God is an objectively evil goal, … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Divine Office, Part II

Last week, I began talking about the Divine Office as a daily devotion. Today I want to go into some specifics.Each day, the Divine Office consists of a number of distinct sets of prayers, the Hours. I usually pray three of them. I begin my day with Morning Prayer, also known as Lauds. After work, or sometimes after the kids go to bed, I will pray Evening Prayer, also known as Vespers. And just before going to bed, I will pray Night Prayer, also known as Compline.The intriguing … [Read more...]

The Dread House of Lego

Lego Castle

This was first posted in December of 2003.Whilst out and about with my two boys this evening (fetching home a copy of Panther for my PowerBook, as it happens), we discovered that there's now a Lego Store at the Glendale Galleria.Not only is there now a Lego Store at the Glendale Galleria, it's directly next to the Apple Store where I went to get my copy of Panther. With two small boys in train, I had about as much chance of avoiding the Lego Store as—I can't think of a comparison t … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Popular Music: Sisters, Andrews, Boswell, and Puppini

Here's a little something upbeat for New Year's: the Andrews Sisters with "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". But I was interested to discover (via the magic of Pandora) that the Andrews Sisters' recipe of upbeat rhythms and close-harmony was anticipated by the Boswell Sisters, a rather jazzier trio that performed with the likes of Jimmy Dorsey, Bunny Berrigan, and Benny Goodman in the first half of the 1930's. Interesting stuff that you won't be able to sing in the shower, because you, you ain't them. … [Read more...]

S’Mary’s World: Calendar

Calendar/Sun Dial

The calendar for S'Mary's World was established by the Articles of Colonization, as was usual in the early colonial era.  Every earth-like planet has slightly different periods of rotation and revolution, and practicality dictates that local matters are scheduled according to local time. Maintaining a proper chronology is essential to colonial success, and so practicality also dictates that the calendar be established and well understood prior to landing.  In that era, prior to the discovery of w … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Provision for Discourse

On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse.— Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility … [Read more...]