28 August 2015

Proof positive that men - at least modern men- are pathetic

A study of the accounts held by 'women' who used the Ashley Madison website reveals some interesting facts.  First the numbers were heavily slanted.  Accounts held by 'women' were outnumbered by the male accounts by about six to one, just to start with.  But a fair number of those accounts were believed to be made by men pretending to be female.  And further looking at the those five million accounts shows the most interesting fact of all:  almost none of them showed any activity at all following the creation of the account.  Only 12-13,000 accounts ostensibly owned by women showed any activity at all.  Statistically, the percentage of active females accounts is indistinguishable from zero.

In practical terms, the men who threw away their marriages, their families, their very lives, did so for nothing.  It was the Faustian bargain perfected.  Uncle Screwtape said it best:  "To get a man’s soul and give him nothing in return–-that is what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.”

A coworker died last night.

Pray for her.

26 August 2015

That's a kick in the something or other.

Ran into an old nemesis today, or, at least, his book. I doubt the guy knows who I am, even though we ran into each other in class back in the day. He was a master of modern scholastic debate. That is, he would take something you said, twist it into something you didn't say, show how the Thing You Did Not Say was patently ridiculous, and then declare victory. He's still teaching. He has published at least this one book. I haven't seen anything else by him except this one. it's self published, and he puts it on his own course every year.

That's it. I'm going to start self publishing. Look for more in October.  I don't have  a class upon whom I may inflict my genius,  You'll have to do.

23 August 2015

On the CCCB voting guide

I have glanced over the guide myself, and read a few posts on it.  Personally, I am not that fussed about it one way or the other.  It seems to me the bishops were trying to write something that would not offend anyone, which means that pretty much everyone will be offended by it for some reason or other.  I am of the opinion that our faith is inherently offensive to the world and its master, and if you are not offending anyone by it, you are doing it wrong.  So, it seems the bishop's may have inadvertently done God's work when they tried not to offend people, but managed to do so anyway, despite their best efforts.

One of the curious things I find in the document is this phrase:

"Demanding the right to life for even the smallest among us – the human embryo and the foetus – since they too belong to the human family, while also providing assistance to pregnant women facing difficulties; "

Apparently, I am not alone in finding this phrase interesting.  Many are commenting on the choice of words here.  Some are pointing out that the document does not mention abortion.  If it did, this would have been the place to bring it up.  Also, some have noted that the document does use the words embryo and foetus, and are wondering why they would use the terms favoured by the abortion industry.  I am not terribly concerned over either, and I suspect the bishops are trying to do a few things here.  First, they are establishing themselves as not merely being anti abortion, but as pro life, which is what this section of the guide s dealing with.  Secondly, by using the terms of the abortion industry, they are effectively saying that it does not matter of you call it an embryo, or a foetus or a baby, it is still human and deserves respect and protection.  In so doing, they are attempting to wrest those terms away from the abortion industry, and removing the battles over semantics.  I would give them some praise for this attempt.

Another thing that stands out is this line:

"Ending excessive, unjustified spending; "

That is so vague as to be utterly meaningless. To both the right and the left, "excessive unjustified spending" is any nickel spent on the other guy's pet projects.  I really can't praise them on this one.

On the whole, I find this document  neither helpful nor a stumbling block.  While I have focused on one line as specially vague and pointless, the document as a whole suffers from a vague pointlessness.  It tells me nothing I did not already know.  It neither thrills nor offends me.  I won't be glancing over it again.

18 August 2015

That's progress for you.

My father was offered a job a few months before he finished High School. He was told that if he could hold the job for those months, he would be given his diploma. He got his diploma.

The diploma mattered back then, because it wasn't common to finish High School. Many people dropped out, so finishing the degree marked you as different, a worker, a learner. It was an accomplishment that set you apart. If you had a diploma, you had a job.

Time passed. By the time I was a kid, almost everyone was graduating from High School. The diploma no longer set you apart, but having a university degree did. It wasn't common. Businesses expected to be in a long term relationship with their employees. They didn't expect employees to know everything from day one. A degree- almost any degree- meant you were intelligent and were capable of being trained. If you had a degree, you had a job. If you didn't have a job, it was usually because you had taken a year off to travel.

To put it succinctly, a degree in the sixties and seventies put you in the same situation as a high school diploma in the thirties.

More time passed. By the time I graduated from High School, the situation had changed, though we didn't know it yet. Degrees were becoming more and more common. Having one no longer set you apart. Businesses now expected you to know everything from day one, and were unwilling to train you. If you did train yourself, there was a very real chance your training would be out of date by the time it was completed. Many new fields of learning exploded onto the university scene, but few, if any employers, cared.  A degree in the nineties no longer was the equivalent of a 1930's diploma.

Now it's even worse. Students are incurring huge amounts of debt to get a degree that merely makes them level with everyone else, and in no way helps or sets them apart from their fellows, and some are, quite frankly, a hindrance.

As a result, the university degree is paradoxically both more important than ever- because you need one just to be even with everyone else- and more useless- because it no longer sets you apart- than ever.All the time and debt invested in obtaining a degree puts todays graduates in the same situation as the High School dropouts of 80 years ago.

16 August 2015

I bet my church has something yours doesn't.

Bullet holes!

Cool, eh?

Apparently, years ago, some nutbag came into the church with a handgun and started firing at the ceiling.  Fortunately, he was the only one in the church at the time and no one was hurt.  Also fortunately, he only shot at the ceiling.  Not the paintings, nor the statues, nor the stained glass.  Just the ceiling.  Weird, yet true.

11 August 2015

Some stuff I've been working on lately.

Finally finished the St Michael piece I mentioned months ago.  Actually, I finished it about a month ago, but never got around to taking any pictures until today.

This one is my own design.  It turned out well for a first try, although I am not happy with parts of it.  My intention was to make it for this year's craft shows, but the thing took me over fifteen hours to make.  It's a mixture of intarsia, carving, and careful wood dyeing, all skilled work.   Even if I were only paying myself minimum wage, that would mean I'd have to charge $150.00 for the thing, and no one is going to pay that.  I could probably shave a few hours off if I tried to produce a series of these, but it still wouldn't likely be profitable.
Also, I have been working on a few angels.  I decided to make a few large decorative angels which are scaled up versions of the ones I use for Christmas tree ornaments.

The small ones are the ornaments.  The one on the lower right I cheated on.  It is made from a single piece of pine, which I cut into out, reshaped, coloured, and then put back together.  The one on the upper left is made out of true intarsia, which means that the different colours are achieved by using different species of wood (except for the white drape- Maple wasn't quite light enough so I put a light whitewash over it to get a better colour)  It is made out of Ipe, walnut, maple and beech.  Far more demanding than the white angel. I was pleased with how it turned out.  For the record, the small ones are made of maple, like the large pine one.  The colours are dyes I applied.

10 August 2015


Puff and Younger had a brilliant (sincerely) idea for the upcoming season of craft shows:  Photograph the stained glass windows of a few churches, print them off and sell them as bookmarks.  It's a great idea.  I like it.  One small problem:  Stained glass windows are among the hardest things out there to photograph.  First set of photographs was disappointing.  I will figure this out, though.