How I Work

My favorite gadget

Tom McDonald tagged me a few weeks ago to do a post on "How I Work"; and apparently the answer is slowly because I've not got around to it until now. I'll be talking primarily about the work I do at home: blogging, other writing, preparing for RCIA classes, personal programming projects and like that, as opposed to my day job. (In my day job I sit in an office with an ancient Windows box and a big monitor doing mathematical modeling and writing software. There.)Location: Southern … [Read more...]

Ngaio Marsh: A Man Lay Dead


Ngaio Marsh (pronounced "NYE-oh") is one of my favorite mystery authors; and she’s striking because she’s so quietly different than her contemporaries from the 1930’s.  Her sleuth, Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn of New Scotland Yard, is a gentleman like Lord Peter Wimsey; but he’s neither as whimsical nor as damaged as Lord Peter (we gather that Alleyn had some formative experiences in the Great War that led him to leave the Foreign Office for the CID, but they don’t come into the foreground), a … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Does God Love What Is Good?


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Given intellect, says Thomas, God must also have volition: He must be able to will, to choose:We perceive, further, that God must have volition. For He understands Himself, who is perfect good, as is clear from all that has been hitherto established. But good as apprehended is necessarily loved, and love operates through the will. Consequently God must have vo … [Read more...]

A Cloak and a Sombrero like G.K.C.


‘He’s a dear little man,’ said Lady Alleyn emphatically. ‘The nicest possible little man.’‘Not so little nowadays. He’s very plump and wears a cloak and a sombrero like G.K.C.’— Ngaio Marsh, Death in a White TieI'm quoting this not so much because I like the prose particularly, but because it highlights how well known G.K. Chesterton really was in England back in the 1930's when this was written: well enough known that Marsh could refer to him by his initials without any explanatio … [Read more...]

A Rant About The Person Who Wrote Matthew’s Gospel

Statue reading a book

So I'm listening to a sermon, or reading a blog post, or reading a book, and the speaker or writer or author says something like, "...the person who wrote Matthew's Gospel," instead of simply saying "Matthew". Why? Or someone will say, "Of course, it's essential to understand what was going on in Matthew's community while the Gospel was being assembled." Again, why?This is a pet peeve of mine: the attitude that the manner in which the sacred scriptures came to be written is the most … [Read more...]

A Tour of Tim Powers: On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides

After the disappointment of Dinner at Deviant’s Palace I waited with muted anticipation for Tim Power’s next book; perhaps The Anubis Gates had been a fluke.  And then, two long years later, came On Stranger Tides, a book about pirates in the Caribbean that inspired the Monkey Island series of point-and-click adventure games as well as (much later) the fourth of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.Like The Anubis Gates, On Stranger Tides riffs on actual historical figures and concerns wh … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: God Always Understands


We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Next, Thomas shows that God must be identical to His intellect.  This is a difficult point; it almost seems obviously wrong.  God also has will, and love; if He is simply His intellect, how does that leave room for the rest of Him?The problem here is that our mental model of most things is the machine.  If you think of a car, you know that it has brakes and pi … [Read more...]

Duo Gadjo: Sous Le Ciel de Paris

Duo Gadjo is a jazz duet; I've mostly encountered their versions of classic French jazz tunes and songs, including "Sous Le Ciel De Paris", which features the pair on guitar along with a properly musette-style accordion. It's a recording that makes me happy:But, of course, part of the reason it makes me happy is that the tune reminds me of this: Professor Fate's theme from The Great Race, one of my favorite movies, seems to be a rather drunken variation on the same melody. … [Read more...]

Ngaio Marsh on Sophomores

Remington Portable Typewriter

The cub, as Hambledon had called Gordon Palmer, was seventeen years old, dreadfully sophisticated, and entirely ignorant of everything outside the sphere of his sophistication.— Ngaio Marsh, Vintage MurderThe cub in question is an insufferable young upperclass lout out on a world tour in the mid-1930's. It's the unknown unknowns that get you at that age.____ photo credit: Remington Portable via photopin (license) … [Read more...]