10 September 2014

As an amateur historian nerd who can do with a distraction or two these days...

...this really gets me going:  They've found one of the ships of the Franklin Expedition!

Awesome!

Now go find the other, and, if you can, the grave of Franklin himself. 

9 September 2014

On a lighter note

On the weekend Puff and I attended Mass At Christ the King Cathedral in Hamilton.  While there, Puff noticed something interesting about this painting of the Adoration of the Magi over a side altar.


The magi are painted as kins, as was common, but notice the foremost king, dressed in red and ermine, with a chain of office, and a crown in a medieval style?  Unless we are much mistaken, he is dressed and crowned as a king of England.  The painter (perhaps on the instruction of the bishop) painted England kneeling before Mary and Jesus.  Keep in mind, the bishops and priests and congregation of the Cathedral at the time this was painted were mostly Irish.

Make of it what you will. Personally, I had a good chuckle.

Prayer request

For my son. The short version: He's being assessed to see if he is in the autism spectrum. Puff doesn't think he is, I think it's a possibility. Pray that Puff is right, or failing that, that he is correctly diagnosed and we have the means to give him the help he needs. The one thing I don't want is my son to become a label and a disability. He's really a good kid. He's also an odd one, but mostly he's good.

4 September 2014

Prospero's speech

Just a little music for today. I am not much of a fan of Loreena McKennitt, but here she touched upon one of my old obsessions (though not so much now) of Shakespeare, and did so in a haunting way. Prospero's spech at the closing of The Tempest is a fairly ordinary little closing speech for a comedy of the period. The actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience directly, asking for their applause so he may stop acting a role and return home. McKennitt, however, puts the speech to a chant like tone, and turns it into a plea for mercy and a cry of despair.

1 September 2014

Phenomena of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The church itself calls it a phenomena. Some think it's miraculous, however I hesitate to use that term, so I prefer to think of it as a masterpiece of serendipity. It was discovered in 2009 at the church of St Mary, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows in Kitchener-Waterloo, when they held an evening Mass for their titular feast day. Around 7:15PM on the feast of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, the light from the setting sun passed through a red stained glass window and cast its light on the wall in the sanctuary, As the Mass progressed the light moved slowly across the wall to the high altar until it came to rest on the pierced heart of the statue of Mary in the centre of the altar, before it dissipated entirely. It has occurred every year since then, (and most likely before then as well, though no one was there to see it) except 2013, when the weather was not permitting. Incidentally, 2013 was the year I went with my mother.

The feast day is coming a week next Monday, and the church website lists the day's events commemorating the feast, with exposition, benediction, confession, chaplets and rosaries with a Mass beginning around the time the phenomena begins. The website also explains that visiting the chuch on its feast day gives the visitor a plenary indulgence and explains the conditions- something not often seen or heard of today. I unfortunately cannot go due to work, otherwise I would take mother again, as we both wanted to see the phenomena. Last year, when it was on a Sunday, the church was packed full. The choir was excellent, and the service lovely, although, as I said, no phenomena that year. (Thank the weatherman. He said the weather would be cloudy with sunny periods. It was rainy, with rainier periods.)But the full church seemed to me to be a miracle in its own right. How it will be this year, I cannot say, but the church looks as though they are expecting a crowd.

So, if you are in the area or you can swing the time, go and see. But go early, just in case.

29 August 2014

As part of the university's cost cutting measures....

A department of thirty people was yesterday reduced to seven. This was done just before the classes start up again.

Pray for those who suddenly los their jobs yesterday, and for those left behind, who must now do the work of the full thirty.

25 August 2014

I'm back, with some here and there

It flipped over and I am back. I'm still planning on keeping it light around here for the time being.

First and foremost, a hearty welcome to Dale Price, who has become my newest 'follower'. (That word just doesn't sound right. There must be an alternative.) I've followed Mr. Price for years and think of him as one of the best bloggers out there, so I am happy and humbled to see his icon on my list. In honour of the occasion, I am planning on doing a post or two on some woodworking (He expressed an interest in learning the craft over on his blog) which I hope to have up in a week or two.

***

Speaking of woodworking, Woodworking for Mere Mortals published one of the coolest sets of plans ever: Build your own Tardis.

I wonder which Doctor I would pretend to be? Probably Tom Baker. He's the first one I think of whenever anyone mentions Doctor Who.

***

Back to bloggers I admire: I never quite know what to make of John C. Wright when he does one of his posts about the wonders of the free market and the evils of eveything else. I admit his understanding of economics is stronger than mine, but his is his and mine is mine. My own opinion of the free market is pretty much the same as Winston Churchill's opinion of democracy: the worst system that could possibly be imagined, with the exception of every other system. Like any other system, it has its victims. There is a reason why so many of my left wing history teachers began their history of unions with coal mines. And that's only one way the system went bad. Too many times I have seen men acquire skills to support their families only to be made redundant by a shift in the impersonal market forces. I may be one of them. Supporters of the market will say something useless like get some more skills or find a new job. Yeah. Try it yourself. Let me know how it works out for you. I've already done it myself. It was always a move down, never up.

The best thing I can say about free markets and capitalism is that it is a real system that came from the way people actually interacted and did business with one another, and not some made up system created by someone who thought he knew better than everyone. I would say change it, but every suggestion I have heard turned out to be a cure worse than the disease. So I respect capitalism, but I do not love it, and I certainly do not trust it.

***

I've often quoted Zane Grey's statement that there's nothing dumber than an educated man, once you get him out of whatever field he's educated in. I agreed, but I have been rethinking, and with all due respect to Mr Grey's wisdom, it is now my opinion that there is nothing dumber than an educated person within the field they are educated, because they see nothing outside it. It seems like education exists these days mainly for the purpose of sucking the fun out of everything.

Case in point: this review of Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie which features a green woman, a sentient tree, and a talking raccoon.

The female reviewer begins by saying how much she enjoyed the movie,so much so that she spends her entire first paragraph praising it, only to state that she wants to register some complaints. It's a fairly simple rhetorical ploy. Basically, she's stating her credentials, stating that she enjoyed it, but despite that she has some issues, therefore giving the impression that the issues must be serious and worth listening to. It works the opposite way, too. I saw the movie, thought it was a pleasant time killer with a nifty soundtrack, but I didn't get too much investment in the movie on account of, y'know, the whole green woman, sentient tree, talking raccoon thing. So when I take the time to say that this review is idiotic, it must mean that the review really is idiotic if it can move someone who has no emotional investment in the movie to come to its defense. See how it works?

By the way, the whole green woman, sentient tree and taling raccoon thing sounds like an internet meme ending with the words: your argument is invalid.

I couldn't get worked up enought o do a whole fisk, so just skimming: she doesn't like the word "bitch"- neither do I- didn't like Gamora's costume- neither hot nor cold, but you do realize this was a comic book movie? A genre with a target audience of fiften year old boys? Where generally the women look like Dolly Parton in Zero gravity? Wearing clothes that appear to have been spray painted on? In short, given that context, it was tame. She also hopes that the post credits teaser is not a lead in to a Howard the Duck movie. I'm completely with her on that one. She descries the lack of diversity- heard that one so often I stopped caring. The audience I saw it with was fairly diverse, and didn't seem to mind much. I expect they, like me, just want to see a good movie. As long as it's good, I don't care whether or not the lead is white, black, or green. Which reminds me: how is a movie featuring a green woman, (with a blue woman as well) a sentient tree and a talking raccoon not diverse? It's so diverse it has stuff that doesn't even exist.

She spends some time on the "whore" joke. Didn't laugh at it personally, but she reacts like it is a trigger word or whatever the current nonsense phrase is. She doesn't like the attitude or the message. But the line is a joke. Any message attributed to it in the review comes from the reviewer, not the movie. At least, that is what they taught me during the wasted years of my overlong idjumacation. Meaning resides in the reader/interpreter, not the writer/sender. The writer here uses that to make her own meaning, and, under current style scholarship, it is virutally impossible to logically refute her. However, it doesn't have to be refuted. Her reading is her reading, and there are always alternatives. And I can come up with my own with just five seconds of thought. In this case, the word "whore" is used by Drax, and the movie spares no effort to point out that Drax is a muscle bound idiot. So, if this joke is indicative of the culture, then the cutlure would be that of muscle bound idiots, would it not? And rather than affirming that this word is commonplace, the movie could be seen as saying that only idiots think this way, and the author's insistence on reading it her way tells us more about her than it does about the movie. So there.

At any rate, she got worked up over a movie featuring a green woman, a sentient tree, and a talking raccoon. Her argument is irrelevent.

***

So there you go. More to come when the spirit moves.

18 August 2014

Public service announcement.

I haven't blogged for a while, and won't be blogging anything substantial for a little while longer.  This is  because Elder came to stay at home with us for a few days, and in the space of three of those days she burned through almost all of our eighty Gigabyte monthly limit.   The internet is now shut off at home, and will be until we get a new month's worth of internet access, of which she will not get a bit.

That is all.