More Lovecraftian Rock and Roll

I was just listening to Pandora, and a song came on that I hadn't heard or thought of in ages—but it grabbed me and took me back to that same golden summer afternoon I wrote about last week, the one I spent listening to the radio and reading the tales of H.P. Lovecraft. And I listened to it for a while and thought, "You know, I quite like this. It's held up pretty well."The song is called "Couldn't Get It Right", by the Climax Blues Band, and here it is: … [Read more...]

Late to Love

My friend Sam Rocha has just released a CD of what he calls Augustinian soul music: soul music based on the theology and writings of St. Augustine and especially on Augustine's Confessions. The album is called "Late to Love"; click the link to hear the title track, which is my favorite on the album.You can give the whole thing a listen on SoundCloud for a limited time.Update: And if you want to buy it in MP3 form, you can get it from Amazon here: Late to Love. … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett on Consumerism

Magrat put on her best dress, the green silk one that was unfortunately now a mass of creases. She took out a bundle of tissue paper and slowly unwrapped her occult jewelry; Magrat bought occult jewelry as a sort of distraction from being Magrat. She had three large boxes of the stuff and was still exactly the same person.— Terry Pratchett, Witches AbroadWith me, it's computer and camera gear. And, yeah...still me, after all these years. … [Read more...]

The Tale of the Sultan and the Sword Smith

Of a time and of a time there was a sword smith, renowned throughout the land; and that no mean backwater, but the land of the Great Sultan, for the smith dwelt in Damascus, city of steel. His blades were the equal of any in the land, for he knew well that to craft a blade both strong and durable it must be heated to white heat—and then quenched in the body of a fat slave. He had mastered this skill long since, yet he yearned for more: he yearned to produce a blade of legend, and to present it … [Read more...]

Review: Full Fathom Five, by Max Gladstone


Full Fathom Five is the third book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, following Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise.Gladstone has invented a world where "gods" are real and where "soul" is a kind of energy that can increase, decrease, and be transferred from one person to another. People generate soul-stuff naturally over time; Gods receive soul-stuff from their worshippers, and provide comfort and services in response.At some point in living memory, someone figured out the science … [Read more...]

CT 10.2: Thomist Taxonomy, or What’s a Species?

Genus: Tree.  Specific Difference: Bearing Apples.  Species: Apple Tree.

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.In the previous post, we began to explain what it means for a being to have an essence, so as to understand what Thomas means when he says that God is identical with His Essence. In this post, we continue to provide background to Thomas' words, explaining what he means by definition, genus, and species. In each case, Thomas' notion is considerably more precise tha … [Read more...]

The Glorious Multiplicity of the Magisterium

The phrase "the magisterium of the Church" is simply a fancy phrase for the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. This teaching authority resides in the Pope and in the college of bishops speaking together, and is ensured by the Holy Spirit through the apostolic succession.In paragraphs 48 and 49 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis explains why it has to be this way.Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are … [Read more...]

Software Development and the Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci

One of my regular goals as a software developer is the intentional reduction of cognitive load—that is, I try to reduce the number of things I have to think about to get the job done. This applies to interfaces used by the customer, but it applies in spades to the interfaces used by the programmer: which is to say, APIs of the modules of code in the system, and the interfaces of the tools used during development.It's like this. A large software system is fiendishly, horrendously, a … [Read more...]

Music to Flee Shoggoths By

I discovered H.P. Lovecraft the summer I turned 14 or 15.That's not quite right. My elder siblings—excuse me, I should capitalize that ominously—my Elder Siblings had a couple of books of Lovecraftian tales around the house, and I'd dipped into them once or twice. But the summer I first really got into Lovecraft was the summer I turned 14 or 15. I remember golden afternoons sitting in my room at the top of the house, with windows open on both sides of the room and a fan going to keep the … [Read more...]