Monday, March 31, 2008

Quote of the day

"Do you still want me to write my name?" Patient

"Yes, please, even though I know who you are." Me

"All right." ::writes her name on a sticker:: "And so do I!" Patient

"And if you didn't, it would be even more amazing you got here!" Amelia


They recently found some new sermons from St. Augustine in a codex anthology thing. :-) Pictures of the pages can be found here, but regrettably the site is in German. But still, if you remember enough Latin, you can puzzle out a good bit of them. It's so cool. :-)

Hat tip: Unlocked Wordhoard.

Travel is hard on the critters

Amelia: "Ethan left yesterday to go to Mexico, and D'Artagnan has been frantic because he will never get fed again. Because of course, if Ethan is gone, he will never come back, and of course nobody else could possibly feed him. This morning he was missing Ethan--he looked up at his bed very pitifully. But then he forgot what he was supposed to be doing and wandered off to play with his ball. That's dogs for you."

As for my pretty little Lilly-cat, she came home yesterday too, with my parents. Yay! They'd left her with Grandad while we were all gone, as she would have hated being home alone. Grandad took good care of her, but it wasn't the same, and Lilly was just about frantic with joy at coming back. She flopped herself down smack in the middle of the living room and reveled at being in her place. But then, every once in a while, we'd hear her set up a yowling somewhere in the depths of the house when she couldn't find us.

So we'd go retrieve her, and set her on somebody's lap, and she'd calm right down.

This was very endearing until she needed attention at four a.m. I'm sure it's good practice for being a mommy, but I'm not very awake this morning. I think my coffeepot just finished brewing...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

More on Aquinas and just laws

This is a good essay by Dr. Esolen. I am confirmed in my suspicion that I oversimplified the purpose of law last Wednesday.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Worldview in our world

I was rather pleased to read this post by Gene Edward Veith because next week in Awana, we're going to be talking about politics in the six worldviews (Christianity, Islam, Marxism, secular humanism, new age, and postmodernism). I'm looking forward to it, but I'm generally in over my head. There's nothing like describing six views of biology in fifteen minutes.

For the last two times, we were discussing law. I didn't quite like the book's presentation of Christian law, so instead we talked about Aquinas' four principles for a just law. They are that it's a result ("ordinance") of reason, for the common good, by a proper authority, and published so everyone knows about the law.

On the one hand, I feel terribly awkward discussing Aquinas with my Protestant third through sixth graders, not to mention out of my depth; but on the other hand, that much is pretty straightforward and even if you disagree with him, he's a respectable source. It won't hurt them to at least be familiar with one thread of Christian thought. And now they've heard about Aquinas and can pronounce his name. :-)

I also found it helpful when we got to postmodernism, because we were able to do a neat little compare-and-contrast chart. Postmodernism pretty much denies all four of those criteria. I summed up that view as law being a result of power, for the subjection of minorities, by whoever can get the power, and communication of the law will be spotty at best. All of this, of course, is simplified and probably gruesomely oversimplified; I know it's a very slippery worldview, and of course no two postmodernists will agree entirely on anything. But I think it's worth teaching.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A boy named Sue

I enjoyed this from the NY Times. And yes, it does talk about the Johnny Cash well as a few other things.

The list of names I'm grateful not to possess just got a lot longer.

(P.S. It is my life's goal--or one of them at least--not to inflict awful names on my offspring. Just so you know.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Corned beef and a bobtism and a philly cheesesteak

Having just made it back from the east coast, it seemed only right and proper to blog about it. I didn't exactly have internet access while I was gone: that's the reason for my long silence. I didn't really ignore you, I promise.

Saturday, March 15: Becca and I flew out. The layover in Dallas was long and slightly traumatic: I couldn't see my flight on the computer screens, and when I finally tracked down my carrier, the lady was rescheduling everyone in line in front of me. I got up to the counter and timidly poked my itinerary at her: "We don't go there!" "But-- but--" "We work through United for that destination. Gate B-30." Phew. I was on the phone with Rebecca once she found her gate, and hung up with, "Lord willing, I'll see you at Dulles." A man nearby said, in a soft Texas drawl, "Sweetheart, you're in Dallas." :-) Em and Jonathan picked us up at Dulles without any problems, and we picked up Kay for some midnight McDonald's.

Sunday, March 16: Becca and I went to church with Jonathan, lost abominably at a quick round of Risk, and then headed back to Kay's for a nap before the wedding shower. I was well and truly showered with nice things, including a few scandalous ones. My friends must love me. ;-)

Monday, March 17: I dropped off Kay so she could fly to London, and picked up some scones before Becca and I ventured out to shop in Leesburg. We really wanted a purse for me, but somehow each wound up with a pair of shoes. These things happen. ::shrug:: From there we went back to campus, picked up Jonathan, picked up butter and buttermilk for the St. Patrick's party, and made Irish soda bread to go with Ben and Lisa's corned beef and cabbage. We even found Kanary's place, which is rather remarkable, as I hadn't been there in months and when I did go, it was always as a passenger, and Jonathan chiefly goes there at night, again always as a passenger. So we were navigating entirely by subliminal memories and group-think. (Do we turn here? Yes. No. I don't remember the road being paved. It wasn't paved. But it must be that road because I definitely don't remember this hill...) The party was delightful--lots of nice people there, culminating with the St. Patrick flannelgraph from VeggieTales and The Quiet Man. Lisa navigated us back, so we didn't get nearly as lost returning.

Tuesday, March 18: Becca and I went and had coffee with Lisa at her house and talked wedding-stuff until we were all just about blue in the face. Life is good. :-) After that we wandered over to campus, socialized for a bit, and Jonathan and I darted away for a bit of a dinner-date before a Macbeth reunion (thank you, Maggie!), candlelight ceremony (thank you, Emily-Rose), and bobtism (thank you, Turner, I think). At this point Jonathan and I took a deep breath and a long walk under the stars.

Wednesday, March 19: Jonathan's parents came and picked up Becca and me. We dropped off Becca with her friends in the area, and headed up to Jersey, where they live. The traffic on the Beltway was excessive, in my opinion, and it was a gloriously rainy foggy afternoon. But we got up into areas I'd bever been before, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. At their house I met David (Jonathan's brother), Lucy (the older dog), and Bowser (the younger dog).

Thursday, March 20: I think this is the day Jonathan and I met with his pastor for the pre-marital counseling. He was very nice, and I was glad to get to do it in person. We've been managing with 3-way calls (yay Verizon!).

Friday, March 21: Mrs. B took me out to lunch with five of her friends, chiefly church ladies. We got along splendidly. :-) We also got a good way through the invitations. They had to be measured, sliced, hole-punched, punched with the fancy hole-punch, and then stitched together. The Bs helped a lot--I'd never have been able to get them all done myself.

Saturday, March 22: Jonathan and I went to Philly with his friend and friend's new wife. We did all the touristy stuff I'd never done, not having visited there before: the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin's house and post office and press; and we also stood in line for 35 minutes for the best philly cheesesteak in town. (Jim's.) It snowed on us while we were there, and I was slightly bitter. We came home and worked on invitations again.

Sunday, March 23: Easter Sunday! For Jesus is risen! :-) We went to church--so fun! They had a little orchestra and a choir, and they sang good songs, and the pastor preached the resurrection, and the whole place was full of toddlers and teenagers and parents and Jonathan's friends and people who generally looked happy to be there. And as I was leaving someone gave me a helium balloon. I don't know why, but I didn't argue. :-) After church we put on Return of the Jedi and finished the invitations. When you get yours, do you know that those are real invitations, nothing pre-made about them.

Monday, March 24: Home! Albuquerque looked so good with the trees coming out, and it was warm, and Rebecca kindly picked me up and even recommended buying groceries on the way back so I'd have something to eat. :-)

Today: Back to work!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Farsi of the day

Today's Farsi is "pepper," which is just "felfel." I liked it because it sounded like pepper. :-)

Yesterday's Farsi of the Day

Yesterday's Farsi of the Day is "Harry Potter." It's pronounced "Ha-ree Pa-ter."

I learned this happy fact while skimming the BBC-Farsi news yesterday. I do this, despite the fact I don't actually have much clue what any of it says (I can find the sections that say "Iran" and "Jehan" (world) and "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad." But I digress). Anyway, I was rather excited to come across this article, because it's about Harry Potter. And I know Harry Potter. :-)

If I ever manage to translate enough of it to find out what it says, I'll let you know...


Galilee AE has some beautiful new pictures up. :-)

McClay over at Provocations discusses education, Philippians 4:8 and Aristotle.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quote of the day

Overheard by Becca on the bus this morning:

"What are you listening to?"
"Don't you know you have to listen to Wagner on this bus?"
"But it's Wednesday. I can listen to Vivaldi on Wednesdays."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Word of wisdom of the day

"When I was in grad school, I had so little time I would put my dirty dishes in the refrigerator so they wouldn't mold.

..well, I spent all my time in the rat lab! I didn't have time to do dishes! I lived with the rats in the lab, and at the end of the year I had to kill them all. I've never gotten over that."

--The good doctor

Church graveyards

Russell Moore asks if our churches have lost something by not having graveyards anymore.

To which I reply, we certainly have.

I'd much rather be buried with the people I knew in this life, and will know in the next, than with some random people in a random corner of town I never saw before. I remember some of the saints I grew up with: I don't even know where their graves are.

The church is more than a building: it's a collection of people, living, dead, and not yet born. But our dead will live again, soul and body both. That's why Christians historically frowned on cremation: why burn that? You're going to need it again!

We've got hope. We hate death, but don't fear it. I suspect Moore is right, and a graveyard might show people we're serious in a way that snazzy playgrounds won't. If we didn't hide from our dead the way unbelievers do, they might witness for us. The tongues of the dead are ringed with fire beyond the language of the living.

Weekend report

I'm rather happy, despite the time change, because I had the most amazingly, wonderfully productive weekend in a long time. :-)

I PICKED UP MY ENGAGEMENT RING from the jeweler! It's beautiful; it fits; and they told me they've never made this ring out of 18K gold before. So I've got the only one like it in the world. It and I have been pretty much inseparable since then. :-)

Also Friday: Jonathan and I made contact with his pastor, finally, for a spot of premarital counseling. Yay! Verizon is an awesome company.

And I went and worked out with Marianne--another thing we've been meaning to do for ages.

Last but not least, I bought all the makings of wedding invitations. Some of it was even on sale.

I scoped out local restaurants for potential rehearsal dinner sites, and took pictures. I found very nice, professional places; I found places that obviously didn't want large parties; I found a hideously expensive place; I found places that might be possibilities.

And, of course, while I was down in Santa Fe, I dropped by Borders. (Books and coffee between them are just about irresistible.) While I was there, I ran into my jeweler. She herself hadn't been at the shop when I picked it up, and there was a certain amount of where-do-I-know-her-from?-ing on both sides, but contact was eventually made, and we admired the ring very much. :-)

I did normal church-ey things, prepared for Sunday school next week (for while I'm gone, so my kind sub will have something to teach), and attended the new building meeting--complete with a tour at the end. It's coming along! It looks like a building! Yay!

I know, it wasn't "weekend" by any stretch of the word, but I did get the invitation text drafted and proofread, and the restaurant pictures burned onto a CD. So I was happy.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Opera and its phantoms

"Lastly, with my bundle of papers in hand, I once more went over the ghost's vast domain, the huge building which he had made his kingdom. All that my eyes saw, all that my mind perceived, corroborated the Persian's documents precisely; and a wonderful discovery crowned my labors in a very definite fashion. It will be remembered that, later, when digging in the substructure of the Opera, before burying the phonographic records of the artist's voice, the workmen laid bare a corpse. Well, I was at once able to prove that this corpse was that of the Opera ghost."

--Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera, "Prologue."

Did you notice the phrase "before burying the phonographic records of the artist's voice"? In 1907, a room of that Paris Opera House was filled with phonographic records of the greatest stars of the day, and sealed, not to be opened for a hundred years. But the hundred years are over.

And here is the New York Times reporting of the burial of the records. Yes: the NY Times has archives from 1907 online. (!!)

Here's another article from CBC news; another from the Smithsonian; and, last but not least, one from ABC that mentions EMI's plan to issue the recordings on CD. I was unable to verify that last from the EMI website, though.

Hat tip: Brandywine Books.

The weather: update

You know how I was fussing about the weather yesterday? Well, it wasn't content to be cold and nasty: round about 7:30 last night, it started to snow. And it kept snowing. All night. And it's still coming down.

And we got more snow down at my house than up on the hill. We had 10 inches when I left for work, versus about 4 inches uptown. :-) Here's a friend who posted some pictures--it's been a really pretty snow. I might get some pictures up myself, if I can ever find batteries for my camera!

I don't mind snow. I like it, really. I just want it to go away until next October.


Esolen posts about law being a creative application of natural law to our circumstances--not merely an expression of our wills. Law is for the common good, which isn't exactly the sum total of our separate goods. I kind of like it.

Touchstone also posts about "evangelical fetus fatigue," arguing that young evangelicals are getting bored with the abortion wars and prefer cooler causes.

I must admit I disgree. I'm more inclined to Barbara Nicolosi's position, that we're not "pro-life" as much as "culture of life." Nicolosi is probably on to something: the current generation does do things differently. We don't generally organize mass political movements: we prefer to infiltrate The System. What good is it to change a law without changing the people who made the law?

There's also the point that our generation gets the fun of rebelling against the sixties and seventies rebels. Ha! One of my favorite quotes--possibly by Lewis or Chesterton-- is about a generation that "discovers orthodoxy with all the zeal of rebellion."

It's a worldview thing, not an issues thing. I can talk about that a long time, but will restrain myself now. Baby murder is murder, but if we can sneak in the back door and make people hate it and improve their thinking on a few other subjects at the same time, why should Groothius make a fuss?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I've been contemplating the weather. It's being weird. I wish it would just allow bahar to injas, but not yet.

March 1: sunny shirt-sleeve and yard-work weather
March 2: cloudy, snowed
March 3: sunny, started melting
March 4: melted most of the rest of the way
March 5 (today): cold and cloudy

What's that saying about March? In like a lion, out like a lamb. That'd be "in like shir, out like barreh." I think it's being lionish just now.

But I know spring is coming, because Rebecca found the first spider (ankabot) of the season. So there.

Quote of the day

"I can honestly say I'd never noticed any hippopotamus-like qualities about the typewriter." Me
"Maybe you just weren't looking at it right." Amelia


I know this is a little belated, but I just want to offer my most sincere congratulations to Thacia Olive and Ben22 on their recent engagement.

By all accounts, the proposal was perfect: lovely restaurant, lovely view, lovely weather, and a even a casket of jewels to pick from. What could be nicer? :-)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I found a medievalist's take on the recent Pew Report, that Americans are switching churches all over the map.

She's probably got a point, that it's not a cause for hysteria. My dad grew up Episcopalian; my mom grew up Baptist; they raised me Christian & Missionary Alliance; and I'm marrying a Presbyterian. Dad's been researching his family, and there were a number of dedicated Methodists and Presbyterians. We're still all quite Christian. I disapprove of chronic church-hopping, but all these changes are for the good, I'd say.

Jon without Garfield

Somebody has gone to the trouble of showing us what Jon Arbuckle's life would be like without Garfield. It's a terrible thing.

Hat tip: Brandywine Books.

Quote of the day

Words of wisdom from a patient, on the subject of writing down one's checks:

"If you forget to write a few down, you start getting calls like, 'Your account is overdrawn. We're coming to arrest you. Look outside your front door.'"

"Well, nobody else has ever done me any harm, really. I'm my own worst enemy."

"Coming to the dentist is fun. After you've had a few children, it's nothing."

And, my personal favorite:

"Life is hard when you shoot yourself in the foot."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Quote of the day

Amelia came and looked at my scratch paper, which had diagrams of my wedding ring.

"What's that?" Amelia
"That's a side view of the ring with a split mount; that's a top view, with the diamond inside; and that's a top view of the split mount without the diamond." Me
"Oh. It looked like some strange plumbing implement." Amelia

There you have it, folks.