On Praying for What You Really Want

Should I ask God for what I want? Is it arrogant to ask the Lord of Creation to listen to my requests, or to think that they might affect the way things are? Ought I instead to assume that God knows what I need and pray simply for His will to be done?I see these questions come up time and again. I've asked them myself, and I often see others asking them. My basic response has always been that we should ask God for what we really want, when we want it, and then trust in Him to give us … [Read more...]

New Directions

I've been writing here at Patheos for a little over a year. When I started, I promised myself that I'd post every day, and I've kept to that schedule; but in the meantime, other responsibilities have crept up on me. I started assisting in my parish's RCIA program last year, and this year I'm leading an increasing number of the sessions. I've also got new responsibilities in my Lay Dominican chapter. And then I got started with Quill, which I'm enjoying immensely but which also takes up a … [Read more...]

Peace and the Warrior Ethos

During my career I've been privileged to work face-to-face with two retired four-star generals, who were as unlike as you can imagine. The first was a good old country boy who lived on what remained of his family's Spanish land grant in Texas. He was a mustang: that is, he'd started as an enlisted man and worked his way up. This is not easy. I got the idea that he might be glad to let you underestimate him, but that it would be a Bad Idea. The second was someone you simply couldn't estimate … [Read more...]

Jack Aubrey on Midshipmen

man of war

In the Royal Navy in Jack Aubrey's day, there was no naval academy. Boys from naval families went to sea at a young age as "midshipmen", also known as "young gentlemen". They were treated as officers—of a sort—so as to learn both seamanship and the art of command, and might with luck and skill ultimately "pass for lieutenant" and become real officers. But as they came to sea before showing any affinity for it, and because they were often quite young, the midshipman's birth on a man-of-war was … [Read more...]

Review: A Call to Duty, by David Weber and Timothy Zahn


A Call to Duty, by David Weber and Timothy Zahn, is the first book in a new sub-series set in David Weber's Honor Harrington universe.The Royal Manticoran Navy was formed shortly after the settling of Manticore, based on six battlecruisers purchased to defend Manticore against pirate attacks. And then the plagues set in; Manticore's population was decimated and more than decimated, and there were far too few people to maintain the navy. Now, many years later, the RMN is still trying—sort o … [Read more...]



Today is #GraceOfYesDay, celebrating my friend Lisa Hendey's new book, The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living. Be sure to get your own copy or the spaceman gets it. … [Read more...]

Catching up….

So I got back from the conference late Saturday afternoon, had my Dominican chapter meeting and similar church responsibilities all day yesterday, have work responsibilities all day today and (most unusually) through the evening, and RCIA tomorrow evening.I'm hoping to get back to a regular blogging schedule ASAP, but it may take a few days. … [Read more...]

Coding Beyond The Screen, Part I

I'm sitting in Portland International waiting for my flight after the end of the Tcl/Tk conference, so it seems an appropriate time to continue my series on software aesthetics. Previously I talked about writing individual procedures, small and large. But what about entire modules—files—of code?Some modules are simply one utility procedure after another with a header comment at the top. Those are straightforward. More often, though, I prefer to implement a module as an ensemble command: a … [Read more...]

Portland, O Portland

So today is my last full day in Portland, and due to the weather and the conference activities I haven't actually been out of the hotel since Tuesday evening. (It was genuinely icy at times yesterday.) I'm going to have to go out today, though, as the conference is over just before lunch and the hotel restaurant is your basic $50 steak place. The clouds appear to be thinning this morning, so with luck even if it's cold it might not be wet or windy. We shall see.My talk went well … [Read more...]