Monday, June 30, 2008

Young Hooker Shows Skill With Legs

In another wind assisted race, 23 year old MARSHEVET HOOKER took first place in the women's 100 meter Olympic tryouts, showing that she...

Now wait a minute- you didn't think I meant... Could you guys get your mind out of the gutter? Sheez.

Gay Man Gets Aids from Push in Backside

What? Oh. You should be ashamed of yourself!

I was talking about how TYSON GAY would have set a new world record in the 100 meter dash, if it weren't for his being aided by a tailwind more than double the allowable speed for record setting.

You people. Always expecting the worst from me.

Mega Cubes

Finally!!! After 3 years of waiting since Mr. Verdes announced that he found a way to mass produce them, the 6x6x6 and 7x7x7 cubes are out for sale! You may not share in my excitement, but to make the 7x was quite a feat of engineering.

In order to show the solution complexity of these cubes, take a look at the number of permutations (the number of possible ways to mix-up the cube, and therefore the number of possible solutions). Making some assumptions about the symmetricality of the pieces of the puzzle, I'm pretty confident that I correctly calculate the number of possible permutations as:
8! x 37 x 24!4 x 48!3 x 12! x 210 = 2.14 x 10237
4!24 x 8!6

To put the size of this number into perspective, it's generally accepted that there are 'only' an estimated 4 x 1081 atoms in the entire universe. That's more than a tripleplex order of magnitude. Wow. Can you feel the excitement? Or, in another fantastically incomprehensible comparison between two ridiculously large numbers, our big number is within 1000 times of A SHANNON NUMBER of Shannon Numbers. (1 x 10240). Ha. Chess has got nothing on this big momma of cubes. Bear in mind that the original 3x3x3 Rubik's cube (that you nevertheless still peeled the stickers off of), has only a puny 4.3 x 1019 possible permutations. Pshaw. A THREE YEAR OLD can solve that one, and teenagers can solve it in LESS THAN 10 SECONDS. That's no competition for the 7x7x7.

And because I just know you're still with me, and so eager for more gratuitous quantifying, I'll go on.

So, there are two hundred fourteen septseptuagintillion possible ways to the mix up the 7x7x7. This is written out as:

And the whole point is to find the one correct solution.

Incidentally, if anyone feels so inclined to chip in, I would really, really like one of each, but my wife would kill me if I spent $80 on another cube. But, if you'd like something in return other than a daily dose of punishing complaints on your nth favorite blog, I'd be willing to trade: would you be interested in my drawing a PORTRAIT of you or your kid in exchange for a cube? That's a pretty good deal for a rubik's cube... (Does that sound desperate enough?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

That Doctor's Name Sounds Familiar

Dr. Philip Nitschke, an euthanasia provider in Australia, IS ADVISING ANYONE who believes they might have Alzheimer's to avoid being diagnosed. His argument runs something like: 'Surely you don't want to suffer from Alzheimer's. Before you start suffering, kill yourself. But to keep those who assist you (that'd be me) from being prosecuted, we need you to do it before there's any evidence that might convict us. Thanks for your help, and we hope your next existence is more enjoyable.' But in his own words:
"Don't go to your doctor. Don't have the tests done. And if you do have the tests done that show that you're starting to lose mental capacity, make sure it is not recorded..."
This is from the guy who told National Review "that the peaceful pill [a suicide pill] should be available to troubled teens."

Again, I'm more than willing to concede that Dr. Nitschke has the right to die. Let's all step aside and let him jump to the front of the queue.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Incomplete Sentences

Take a look at THIS, and then compare it to THIS. (They're both short)

Here's how I interpret what I see, in relative order:

If you're found guilty of writing threatening notes and building a fake bomb (but not actually causing physical harm to anyone) you face 73 years in prison.

If you're found guilty of impersonating a medical doctor, collecting service fees from running 6 unlicenced abortion clinics resulting in grand theft, seriously injuring at least 9 women, attempting genocide on Hispanic Americans, and killing countless babies, you face only 9 years in prison.

Yeah. We Americans sure know what justice is.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Juno, I Think They're Missing Something

After Time Magazine BROKE THE STORY last week of the 'pregnancy pact' in Gloucester, Mass, there's been a lot of talk about the 'Juno Effect'--referring to the spike in teenage pregnancy because recent movies such as 'Juno' and 'Knocked Up' glorified it. Planned Parenthood is on the warpath, and doing anything they can to undermine whatever pro-life message that might have been in these films. Mass media has picked up the torch, attacking any pro-life groups who defend the films as well as the high-school students at the center of current attention in Gloucester.

There's even a NEW REALITY SHOW ON NBC that is puts 16-19 year olds in charge of babies in order to teach them "that parenthood is a very grown-up grind."

But is that the only interpretation of the 'Juno Effect'? I think not.

To me, it's not surprising that there are 17 pregnant girls in a high school of 1200, but it is surprising that there aren't 100s more. Teenage boys and girls are humping like rabbits. And then coerced into aborting by parents and teachers when they magically conceive. And it's obvious that contraceptives aren't working, either. ACCORDING TO The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, 54% of women who had abortions used contraceptives. 54% failure rate, and they want you to think that contraceptives are more effective than abstinence. (Actually, I think abstinence is the wrong choice of words. We should be promoting chastity of mind and body, not merely abstinence.)

At one college campus in one year, according to figures provided by Feminists for Life of America, “of 3,000 college women, 600 had pregnancy tests; 300 of these tests were positive; and 6 women had babies.” Yes. That means that half of the women tested were pregnant. 98% of them ended in either miscarriage or abortion. I'd bet maybe 1 or 2 was a miscarriage.

So back to Gloucester. We know that kids have been and are promiscuous. We know that there's been an increase in pregnancies, as the pregnancy rate for teens is up 3% nationwide in 2006, but abortions are on the decline overall. So, instead of saying that 'Juno' has put it into these teenagers' minds that they have to have to get pregnant to be cool, we should think that it has put it in their mind that it's really not cool to kill the baby should they get pregnant. I wouldn't doubt that some of the girls got pregnant to be in THE INNER RING. (If there's only one linked article you read from this blog, make it 'The Inner Ring'.) But I do doubt free contraceptives from the school would have prevented this.

Juno is not convincing kids to have more sex just to have babies. Juno is helping them see that abortion is not the only choice once they are pregnant. Now, we need to help them see that chastity is an earlier choice.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When Pathos Meets Pathetic

I hate California politics. But I hate Massachusetts politics more. At least California came up with Ronald Reagan and Judge Bill Clark.

Just when my hopes are all up that a Democrat from Massachusetts might be 'officially' mentally unstable enough to perform congressional duties, ANOTHER ONE goes and proves that there's no end to the insanity coming out of Massachusetts. And State rep. Fagan is the Chair of the House Ethics Committee. Well, maybe he's trying to be as insane as Kennedy in order to fill his shoes in the big show.
"I'm gonna rip them apart," Fagan said of young victims during his testimony on the bill. "I'm going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”
Would he be such an aggressive defense attorney if one of his own daughters were a victim of rape?

In either case, this guy has got to be removed from any kind of position of authority. There's just no amount of drunkenness that will excuse that kind of thinking.

Spanking Has an Impact on Child Development

Idiotic Canadians. Once again, they're going south fast. This time they're OUTLAWING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, and it looks like it's going to pass, as conservatives are getting smacked down in the media. Their current law of not allowing implements to be used on children under 24 months actually makes sense, but to completely eliminate the option for parents really bums me out.

Senator CĂ©line Hervieux-Payette deserves a nice pat on the back for suppressing parental rights of child rearing. I think she's just mad because her parents gave her such a stupid looking name. And she's Canadian.

Clearly, she's an intellectual welter wait.

Speaking of pats on the back, this is one of my favorite Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen quotes:
There is nothing that develops character in a young boy like a pat on the back, provided it is given often enough, hard enough and low enough.
But READ IT IN CONTEXT, it's even better.

I'm also fairly fond of this cartoon from 1860. It depicts Lady Columbia (early symbol of the United States of America) spanking Stephen Douglas, as Uncle Sam cheers on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

This will give you a very happy feeling. I guarantee it.

You really should go directly to youtube and see this in higher quality. It's well worth the time waiting for it to load. Just click on the video to do so. Also, check out MATT'S STORY if you're so inclined.

Seriously, if that didn't warm your heart you are either dead or had no soul to begin with.

For those of you accustomed to and expecting me to be critical, did you notice that the Americans were much wilder and independent and intentionally unchoreographed than all other peoples? The Americans were the only ones who were fighting each other for the title of being the most pre-eminently different...always seeking their 15 chronological units of fame, while Matt always deferred to other people having the foreground. I like that guy.

Monday, June 23, 2008

All Natural, Organic Sex

More and more we are being bombarded with commericals, commentaries and articles WHICH PROMOTE HEALTHY EATING. Certainly, there is a lot of wisdom in taking care of your body, and for the most part, I agree that we are putting things into our bodies in today's world of mass-produced food that are just not healthy to ingest. But the fact is that I'm not one to get overly concerned about such things.

What I do get overly concerned about is when I'm belittled for drinking Mountain Dew by chemical activists who see all the causes and biological destruction wrought by bleached sugar and flour, yet they pump their body with chemicals to prevent or destroy conception. In my albeit limited experience of life, I still find it very commonplace that those who are most adamant about not ingesting MSG are also those that are most likely using various forms of contraception, and most likely THE PILL. Really. How many people do you know who are at once public activists for healthy food and also parents of large families?

Is the vegetative soul more important than the procreative soul? Why are unnatural chemicals and hormones and barriers ok with sex, but not with eating? That's ridiculously contradictory. Would you put a diaphragm at the top of your esophagus to prevent the possibility of food getting into your stomach to inhibit digestion? Isn't taking the pill the same thing as the premeditated vomiting in BULIMIA NERVOSA? Both allow you to binge in their respective vices; gluttony and lust, and both allow you to suppress the actualization of their respective purposes; nutrition and procreation. Both allow you to recklessly partake in their respective acts: binge eating and intercourse, particularly if you have a voracious appetite for either. (Bulimia is etymologically from the Greek boulemia, which literally translates to 'the hunger of an ox'.)

Surely, repeated use of the pill and other invasive contraceptives often causes major fertility problems for those who wish to start a family, if not infertility altogether. Rather than willfully overlooking this blatant crime against our bodies, we should all enjoy organic, all natural sex without any additives or preservatives, just as nature intended.

Next week: How prolonged exposure to Hegel and Nietzsche in your intellectual diet can bring about various kinds of brain damage.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Insane in the Membrane

In my line of work, I'm usually surrounded by older women (and men) who have done everything they can to look younger, slimmer, curvier. I've become quite used to cosmetic surgery, and if I might say so myself, quite adept at spotting a good job from a bad one.

In a way, I've become desensitized to the practice because I spend so much of my time amongst those that routinely try to shave off a few years or a few pounds the easy way. Given how many surgeries some women get, and while I haven't lost nearly as much sensitivity as they surely have, I am usually not surprised of the various crazy ideas that some people have to change what they are to what they think they once were, or should have been.

The problem is that people get cosmetic surgery because they want to change those aspects of themselves which are out of their control. Their bottom lip isn't as puffy as Angelina Jolie's. Their boobs aren't big enough. They're wrinkling at what they feel is too young of an age. Sadly, the results of plastic surgery, even when performed by the most capable hands, always looks the same. The more that is done on one face, the more similar that face looks to all other faces. They all take on the Michael Jackson look. Shiver.

At any rate, I've stopped complaining about it, which for me is usually a sign of approval, but in this case it is not. It's just not that big of a deal. It's sad, and I feel poorly for those who don't feel comfortable in their own skin. I'm reminded of that comment by Jean Kerr:
"I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want --an adorable pancreas?"
But sometimes, there's an indication of some greater problem. I'm sure by now you've heard about HYMEN REPLACEMENT. What is truly disturbing about this procedure is not that it's merely pretending to replace the hymen which is a lie in and of itself, but the reasons that it's being performed. At one point, a doctor says:
"These [Muslim] women can...adopt our mentality and wear jeans. But in the moments that matter, they don't always have the strength to go against their culture."
What this is really saying is that the only thing that matters is that we not only no longer value virginity, but that we should no longer value religions that promote chastity. This is not just a Muslim issue, although it is clear that while the public mistreatment of women happens more frequently in Islamic countries, it's really men (qua vicious men) that are mostly at fault. Men who love their fantasies more than their wives. That fantasy may come in the guise of chastity, or it may come through a more vicious reality: pedophilia. Look at what another doctor notes:
"I have colleagues in the United States whose patients do this as a Valentine's present to their husbands..."
Oh, I long for the days when a face-lift was done in private because of the shame--the days when a boob job was still controversial. Why would a man want this of his 'beloved'? Because he has a fantasy about removing the innocence of a girl, of deflowering the pure of heart and body. There is no other explanation. He is pretending his conjugal mate is as innocent as a child, and this is utterly disgusting. Especially because the women who are giving this 'Valentine's gift' to their 'husbands' have so little respect for themselves and their lover that they would aid and abet this crime of innocence. This is pedophilia, and it's on the rise in our world. Child porn is protected as free speech. Capitalism has given our 8 year olds sweatpants with "JUICY" written across the butt, and parents have bought it and into it. Fathers are too weak to question why their pre-teen daughters are wearing micro minis to school or the mall, until the day they get mauled. Women want to be 'like a virgin'. Men want to 'like a virgin'. At least the article got this much right:
"[men are] the biggest of all donkeys"
Women are not free of guilt, though. With hymen replacement they are changing something that they actually had control over. They chose to lose their virginity. And even for those women that punctured their hymen due to childhood accident or rape, chastity of mind and heart is much more obvious and important than chastity of the genitalia. Not properly understanding chastity of the body has it's dangers: PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD OF THE GROWING PHENOMENON of young girls only willing to be lesbians or only perform oral sex (or worse) because they 'want to save themselves for marriage'. This ploy is one of the various methods that Planned Parenthood uses in their plot to sexually activate our children and then kill their children. This is not chastity. This is like stealing your food and clothes because you want to save your money to tithe more to the Church.

We, both women and men, together, need to absorb and live the THEOLOGY OF THE BODY, to overcome society's Theology of the Bawdy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

.Verily A Gorgeous Numeration Day

I wish THIS would have shown up on Pi day. But, today's just as beautiful.

OK, I'm Fibbing. Today is much, much more beautiful.

Happy Phi Day everyone! It's a Phine day indeed!

(In honor of Fr. Barry, I'll give 1,123,581,321 WLIIA points to whoever can guess what's up with the title.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And He Was Caravaggio's Superhero, Too

SPRINGING OFF OF YESTERDAY'S POST ABOUT MY PORTRAIT OF MICHELANGELO, I have some thoughts about another Michelangelo: Michelangelo Caravaggio.

Caravaggio had no shortage of skeletons in the closet. More than likely, that is also a literal statement. He once killed a man over a disputed call in a game of tennis. Now that's a temper. Consequently, he spent the next few years in Naples, where he fled after being exiled from Rome. During that time, he painted religious theme after religious theme: something he was not naturally apt to do, but he wanted to get back to Rome where the big money was. The only way he could set foot in Rome was to appease those Cardinals who might put in a good word for him with the Holy See, who would perhaps forgive his murder, and he knew they wanted religious art, so he gave it to them.

All of this really doesn't have anything to do with the real point here, other than to bring up ways that Caravaggio, (who was and is a superhero as an artist) was a complete loser who still managed to do amazingly spiritually and religiously charged works. But I'd say it was almost accidental that his stuff is so meaningful. He supplied the techne, the Holy Spirit supplied the meaning. Caravaggio is the number one reason that I find it generally useless to study the life of the artist in order to understand his art. When he wasn't using his favorite hooker for a model of one of the saints, he was making narcissistic remarks about his own greatness.

'The Entombment', or deposition, is among those he did prior to the exile, and is interesting for many reasons, but foremost on my mind right now is the way that he paid homage to his favorite painters in this painting, including Raphaello and Michelangelo, the latter being Caravaggio's namesake. Of course, Caravaggio's favorite painter was Caravaggio, and so he put his own face as Christ's. This was not abnormal for Caravaggio to do. Just take a look at DAVID WITH THE HEAD OF GOLIATH. That's pretty morbid painting yourself as a decapitated giant.

It's a good thing the works stand on their own. In fact, studying the mindframe and intent of this artist would actually lead you away from the true merit of his works. Needless to say, that's a bad thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Superhero

Superman had Bizarro. Spiderman fought his own desire for familial love. Now Hollywood is pushing the drunken, philandering HANCOCK as fighting his own demons while saving the planet.

So all superheroes have issues. That's fine. Real superheroes need to be fallible in order for us to relate. It's just that mine were real people and they've all been dead for a while. Most are now Saints. Of those that are not Saints, they all tend to be Italian, and architects, painters or sculptors. Go Figure.

Michelangelo is one of my biggest superheroes, and yet quite the troubled man himself. I sketched this portrait after the one by Volterra. SEE HIS HERE.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Just in time for Father's Day

My son and I were out playing golf today, and as usual, we were having quite a good time. As we were walking towards the green, I reached down and grabbed his hand and told him I loved him.

"I love you, too, Dad." he replied

In saying "I love you more!", I started the age-old game.

"No, I love you more" "No, I love YOU more"

This went on for a few moments, until I tried to change the game, "How much DO you love me? To the moon and back?" This was, of course, a breach in children's comparative questioning etiquette. Going to the moon before some earthly and visible marker is like going to double dog dare before double dare. That's a definite no-no.

I had half expected him to go straight to penultimate 'I love you to infinity', which has been his strategy of choice of late (penultimate because there's always the over-the-top 'to infinity and beyond'), but I also half expected him to think about the effectiveness of only going to PLUTO THE PLUTOID, given that we've been talking about and learning about the poor old has been so much in the last few days.

In reality, he didn't even pause with his reply. He said with a deadpan face to my lunar question: "No way. That's how much I love God. I only love you up to the flag over there."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Parents Drink

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialed the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper. "Hello?"

"Is your daddy home?" he asked.

"Yes," replied the small voice.

"May I talk with him?"

The child whispered, "No".

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked "Is your Mommy there?" "Yes"

"May I talk with her?" Again the small voice quietly replied, "No"

Hoping there was someone more communicative with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, "Is anybody else there?"

"Yes," muttered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?".

"No, he's busy." whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?"

"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Firemen", came the hushed answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background, the boss asked "What is that noise?"

"A helicopter", answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive. Again whispering, the child answered,

"The search team just landed a helicopter."

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated, the boss asked, "What are they searching for?".

Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle... "Me".

(H/T Baby Kunz)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Antarctica: The Sluttiest Continent on Earth

Ok, It's been well documented that many teenagers become promiscuous because of boredom. In fact, this is true for adults as well, and the fact isn't limited to the sexual appetite. 'An idle mind is the Devil's workshop.'. Now, of the major boring places in the world, Antarctica in the winter must be right up there at the top. But even so, I'm still shocked to hear that A SHIPMENT OF 16,500 CONDOMS was just delivered to the coldest continent. Apparently things get pretty hot down there in the winter amidst all that boredom.

But wait. There are only 124 people in Antarctica during the winter. A quick search on google yielded an average female/male ratio at 1:3 yielding a maximum of 31 mating pairs. (Logic is confined to the natural) Given that shipments will resume in mid September, those 16,500 condoms have to outlast the lust for about 100 days.

That's 5.32 unit units per each mating pair each and every day.


Seriously. That's ridiculous. Bring a book or some crossword puzzles.

Monday, June 9, 2008

We're a Pair O' Ducks

For EMMA, it seems that every day (or at least some portion thereof) has been opposite day lately. I was trying to explain to her that the statement 'Today is opposite day.' is a logical paradox: if it is a true statement, then because it is said today, the opposite statement must be true, and therefore today is not opposite day. That makes the original statement both true and not true at the same time in the same respect, which is only valid if there's a 'Friedrich' somewhere in your name.

This sort of paradox is kind of similar to Jourdain's Paradox (except that opposite day is not double reflexive):

The statement below the line is true.
The statement above the line is false.

Anyways, she answered my longwinded explanation by saying with a smile: "Are you opposing me, Daddy?"

I'm so, so proud of my little girl.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

An Argument With Gaping Black Holes

Remember the EQUANT? Remember PHLOGISTON?

Of course not. Unless you are incredibly nerdy, or perhaps attended one of 4 colleges in the world that still has its students read Ptolemy and Lavoisier, you are completely forgiven for your ignorance. You're not a scientist, right? That kind of specific knowledge is something only they have, right? The reality is, even professional physicists have no recollection of such mistakes of logic commited by their forebears.

Equant and phlogiston theory are two great examples of what happens when theorists are trigger happy to conceive of their theories as fact, or are willing to explain away the empirical data with unreasonable logic in order to avoid recognizing that just perhaps the premises they are working from are false.

There are a myriad of articles just like THIS ONE. Dark Matter is the new Phlogiston. Dark Energy is the new Equant.

The theory of Dark Matter arose out of the necessity to deal with obvious emperical data that depicted a gravitational pull that could not be explained by the existing model of the cosmos. In order to save the model, which worked on many other planes, physicists posited the existence of a material that by all stretches of the imagination cannot exist in the way that we know 'existence'. But they'd rather change metaphysics than physics.

The same goes for Dark Energy. They "are even willing to burn down their old sainted Einstein and revise his theory of gravity, general relativity, to make the cosmic discrepancies go away." This is to say, they are not willing to accept that they are viewing acceleration and motion from a different, relative plane of observation, but are willing to discard the reality of relativity in order to deal with obvious logical fallacies that their further theories present when taken to their natural conclusions. Some of them even recognize that they are betting long odds:
“We are placing a large bet,” Dr. Mountain said, “using our credibility as collateral, that we as a community know what we are doing.”
Even so, I fear the physicists of tomorrow will be standing on the shoulders of midgets. Midgets obsessed with darkness are leading us into another dark age.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Just Plane Fun

This ONE ADVERTISEMENT has been flying around the net and has almost restored my faith in the intelligence of newsprint editors.

Well, I'm bummed that it's a hoax, but it does crack me up. I do appreciate the marketing team that came up with this. It seems they're quite at ease with exposing their own Derrie-Air, even though the plane's design implies they want people to leaf their tail alone.

Some time ago, I ran across another advertisement that is a touch more cheeky. Or less, depending on your perspective. Actually, it puts the graphic in graphic design. The difference is that this one is actually a real company. I repeat: it is a real architectural firm. Some of their stuff is even attractive.

FROM THEIR WEBSITE, we learn that:
"Dick Busch Architects, based in Chesterfield, Missouri, has developed a reputation as being one of the premier architectural firms in the country. You will find, through our process, that we work closely with you to obtain an intimate understanding of your desires and thus are able to custom design a plan to completely fulfill your needs. Please browse our portfolio to see how we have done just that for past clients.
Oh my.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oh, My Bad, I Guess He's Healthy Afterall

Every once in a while, you run into A HEADLINE that just knocks your socks off.

This is exactly why women should be up in arms about the 'health' industry and the lies it feeds to them on a regular basis about contraception and abortion. Of course, it shouldn't take occurrences like this for people to understand that all pregnancies are 'viable'. I don't know about you, but I can just hear in this woman's words that she completely bought into the death industry's lies about when and whether she should get pregnant, when and whether to terminate it and under what conditions, and why to not procreate again. Unfortunately, I can also hear in her words that her opinion on the matter hasn't changed one iota.

Another truly sad result of this is that these children are not given the dignity of dying in the company of loved ones-in the arms of their parents. God forbid we ever have to bear such a cross, but it seems to me more fitting, beautiful and cathartic to hold your child in your arms as he suffers and dies from a debilitating disease than in the cold hands of a murdering doctor. As in the claims made in cases like those above, if it is a 'sure thing' that your child will die, ought we not want to give them the dignity of dying surrounded by our love in the same way that we will want many family and friends around us as we ourselves enter our new life through death?

A Superb Example of Sublime Vocabulary Skills

Shall I say the editor of THIS ARTICLE languishes with languages? The only sentence of import is the following:
"Only the pyramid's base — or the superstructure as archeologists call it — was found after a 25-foot-high mound of sand was removed over the past year and a half by Hawass' team." italics added
I admit that laymen often mix up technical terms, but professionals shouldn't, especially when they make a living as fact checkers. Perhaps his understanding is only superficial, but even the youngest of children understand what 'super' means. I have known my share of stupid archaeologists, but none of them would actually call the foundation a 'superstructure', even if there were subterranean chambers. Maybe if they were superterrestrial...

Oh yeah. And the true spelling is 'ARCHAEOLOGY', not 'ARCHEOLOGY'. Why drop the dipthong if there's no extra cost to print? Isn't it more fitting for a science concerned with ancient artifacts to implement orthographic figures that are themselves ancient?

This is why we should study Latin and Greek from the 5th grade onward. Then idiots and other dipthongs would be less likely to mess with our precious prefixes. Unless, of course, today is opposite day; in which case you can ignore the superscription.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Rose by Another Name Still Reeks

Almost every day, my 8 year old asks me something like: "Why is 'bacon' called 'bacon'?" or, "Why is it called 'red' instead of something else?" or, "Why is it a 'hypostatic union' instead of 'hypostatic onion'?" Well, ok. I'm making the one up about 'red'.

All these questions remind me of Juliet's WHEREFORE and the nature of nomenclature.

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

ROMEO (aside):
Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
In this little passage, there is a treasure trove of wisdom concerning semantic values and nomenclature, which is to say the accidental signification of a thing (or person in this case). A thing is called such and such by accident. The syllable or series of syllables that call to mind the essence of thing has nothing to do with it's essence, except perhaps in the case of onomatopoeia. In Juliet's case, accidental signification of her beloved as a Montague is keeping her geniune love from flowering. Yet in other situations, accidental signification can be used to justify more sinister acts.

In the world of Political Correctness, we often try to better the value of a thing by changing its name. We call it 'sexually active' and not 'promiscuous' or 'active homosexuality' instead of 'sodomy'. It's all about legitimacy. And when it comes to sex, making arguments for legitimacy are always at the expense of true intimacy.

So it came as no surprise to me to read THIS ARTICLE about economically suffering bordellos starting to advertise in Nevada. (you may not be interesting in this article, but I recommend it if nothing else than to learn why the ACLU is an evil organization)

According to the article:
" addition to the corporate taxes they do pay, a "sex tax" is actually
something Mr. Flint said many brothels would welcome, because it
would legitimize them in the eyes of the Legislature and the public."
Do you see the real problem? A 'bordello' is just a name to legitimize 'brothel', and 'brothel' is just a name to legitimize 'whorehouse'. Agnostic and Atheistic Capitalists fall for the taxation legitimization route, but it's the subtleties of language that undermines the philosophy of even Christian moralists. Proof of the effectiveness of this semantic game is the reaction many of you have in reading this. I'd bet that you don't react as negatively to 'active homosexuality', 'sexually active', or 'bordello' quite to the visceral degree that you do 'sodomy', 'promiscuous', or 'whorehouse'. Yet the latter terms get more to the point, and the proprietors of such houses of ill repute know that as well as they know that they can put spin on reality by choosing certain accidental names rather than others.

They even usurp common phrases: "We market Donna's [whorehouse] as a home away from home for truckers."

Yeah. A home away from home. Has a nice, wholesome ring to it, doesnt' it? The problem is that nice, wholesome rings are usually the first thing to be discarded when a trucker walks into a whorehouse.

Such is the purpose of semantic witchcraft: to undermine the reality of a word signifying a reality. In the romantic world of Juliet, this changing of a name could have saved two lives, but in the world's oldest profession, legitimization causes the death of souls.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

That's What I'm Tolkien About!

Yesterday, I went on a DIATRIBE about word order in modern writing, and the lack of appreciation most people have for the correct placement of the word 'not' in their speech, due to their not being trained in the arts of the Trivium.

Today, I'm going to contradict myself. Or at least it will seem that way for those who ignorantly believe that Liberal Education means an immersion in all things donkey.

After having discussed the need for knowing the rules of the Trivium, what we now need to understand is that while the rules of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric ought to be learned by all, those same rules can be bent to great pleasure and effect by competent Liberal Artists. To follow the letter of the law (of letters), gives rise to stagnant prose and dead poetry. But to bend the rules for effect is greatly admirable. One must be mindful that bending the rules does not mean breaking the rules. To break a rule is to deny it's existence. This is anarchy. For example, when Gertrude Stein or ee cummings denies the worth of punctuation or conventional grammar, it is breaking the rules for the sake of breaking the rules, which leads to a breakdown in communication. But for a writer such as J.R.R. Tolkien, when one bends the rules, one does so to elevate the level of communication and heighten awareness. Tolkien takes liberties with the rules to free himself from the bonds of mediocrity. Stein takes artistic license with the rules and ends up confusing the reader. The problem with artistic license is that it usually leads to things more licentious than artistic. But I digress.

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien repeats this poem:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
From a grammatical and logical point of view, the first stanza is a veritable encyclopedia of possible predications. The first line, as you will note, is of the form that we were complaining about yesterday. Is Tolkien that uneducated to not know the difference?

Actually, in this case, he is showing us just how well educated he is. That first line employs a figure of speech called HYPERBATON, which alters the proverbial "All that glitters is not gold" from Shakespeare's MERCHANT OF VENICE, which in turn is an alteration of the order of the earlier Roman proverb "Non omne quod nitet aurum est" (Not all which shines is gold)

Here, both authors are using the altered order for rhythm and punctuated meaning. Moreover, we know Tolkien clearly understands the difference in meaning, as he immediately follows the first line with the more grammatically correct "Not all who wander are lost". This is to say he understands the Aristotelian distinction between "All X are not Y" and "Not all X are Y". He is emphasizing the difference between negative predication to a positive universal and positive predication to individuals; and in so doing is calling to our attention his ulterior intentions.

For Tolkien, another sense of gold is meant here, and then it becomes semantically true that nothing gold glitters: There are at least three levels of meaning which are intended. The literal level is patently false. Gold does, in fact, glitter, and is beautiful. This reminds me of St. Thomas Aquinas' definition of beauty:

"beauty includes three conditions, integrity or perfection [integritas], since those things which are impaired are by the very fact ugly; due proportion or harmony [proportio]; and lastly, brightness or clarity [claritas], whence things are called beautiful which have a bright color.”-Summa Theologica, Prima. Q.39, Art. 8.

But in the story, the Ring is made of gold. And doesn't it glitter par excellence? Not really. Recall that it's not through the material qualities of the gold that the ring glitters, it is because of its power, its form. In fact, the ring is actually described as rather boring in design, not even holding a gem like the lesser rings. It doesn't grab attention by it's looks. It is through clarity of form that the gold ring glitters. Besides, the glistening ring represents the gaudy attraction of sin, which is far from valuable, far from true gold.

Truly, the poem as a whole is about Aragorn. Aragorn is the crownless king of men. He, as Strider, scares the hobbits. He is homeless, wandering, ugly and dirty. He has no lustrous draw. But on a symbolic level, we know he is true gold, and he stands the trial of fire. In this, he is a Christ figure.

In yet a deeper level of metaphor, Christ is the gold which doesn't glitter. Christ is by His Divine Nature vastly more resplendent than fallen man: in fact, infinitely so. Yet the paradox of Jesus Christ is that he came to this world in the form of the most humble of circumstances, and took upon himself not the life of a King with golden crown, but as a poor servant. From Isaiah, Chapter 53:
2...There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.
3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Men, on the other hand, are but humble creatures who believe they are the source of their power and kingship--they crown themselves with gold and don purple cloth no matter their social status. Men, though, are not capable of giving life, but only taking it away. Thus, if you want to find what truly glistens with resplendency, don't go looking where the material gold is, i.e. the kings of the City of Man, but look to where the form of gold is held, i.e. Jesus Christ, the King of the City of God.

Had Tolkien followed the letter of the law of word order, these more subtle symbols would have died in his own mind. There would have been no rhetorical communication. The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. A true artist, a liberal artist, knows where and how far he can bend the rules by first knowing what the rules are.

So with this in mind, let's all pick up the PRIOR and POSTERIOR ANALYTICS, as well as the TOPICS, and get Aristartled!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Here, Birdie Birdie

Happy 2nd birthday FRANCESCO! Next, I suppose he'll be jumping off of the house into the ROSEBUSHES.

Are You a Trivia Buff, Too?

I find this truth to be self-evident: Not all men understand word order equally. What's less self-evident, but nevertheless equally true, is that journalists are the greatest offenders of word order, especially in understanding the correct location of the negative "not" in order to convey different meanings. This leads to one of my biggest pet peeves: when people intend to say something like: 'Not all women are beautiful.' but they actually say: 'All women are not beautiful.'. Oh, the world of difference it makes! Especially to beautiful women like my wife. More simply, this is a confusion of saying 'All are not' when one means to say 'Not all are'. Most people will trivialize my complaint. But not in the way I'm about to.

This was rarely, if ever, a problem when our youth began their intellectual life with the Liberal Arts. The trivium, which comprises the first three of the SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS, covers the arts of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. (and I believe they belong in that order; in time, nobility, and causality). In a word:

Grammar is concerned with the signification of things outside of us.
Logic is concerned with the true comparison of two or more distinct things or ideas.
Rhetoric is concerned with the communication of ideas and truths to others.

The trivium was the staple intellectual diet for all educated people in Western Civilization until the middle of the 20th century. Now, we have people who ought to know better (writers) making trivial errors such as in our example above: 'All women are not beautiful'. This violates all three ways of the Trivium: Grammar because it shows a lack of understanding of word order, Logic because it violates the rules of universal/particular predication, and Rhetoric because it fails to convey the intended meaning.

Unless, of course, they are trying to convey that they are a [bleep]ing idiot.

Tomorrow we'll look at those times when the violation of grammatical, logical, and rhetorical rules is not only acceptable, but admirable, and an integral part of life, liberty, and the happiness found in trivial pursuit.

Monday, June 2, 2008

When Telling Jokes...

It's all in the delivery.

I love XKCD. It's amazing how timely so many of the cartoons are with current life experiences.

Oddly Enough, I Shouldn't Loiter at Reuters

There's something particularly moving about THE STORY of the broken toilet on the International Space Station: Perhaps it reminds me that I would really enjoy coming up with news headlines myself:

Furthermore: I know I could handle a story about astronautical engineers caught with their pants down in deep space: and would work my hiney off for the news agency: given the gravity of the situation:

I would do my best to flush out many more jokes and plunge deep into the facts of how the particular breakdown of their only toilet is a real pisser: You might get plumb tired of my incommodious infecalities: but I could go on for many moons:

Headline writing is a kind of competition: you see: with the best puns coming from those covering the sports beat: but they're found in every section of the paper: I think I could hold my own given that there is usually no subtlety in headline punning: and most of the humor is of the bathroom variety:

As you can tell: it's almost too easy to accommodate toilet humor: Invariably: almost all humor written nowadays is of this same variety: Not to mention it's so childishly annoying that I fear this post may be my water loo:

(Oh poo: I think I've over-punctuated the colon joke:)

In my defense for such a crappy post: the hole thing was for the sake of emoting to Joe and Brian: I hope you enjoyed it just this once: