Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It's not great; a bit jumpy, to be sure. Never tried Cinquains before; the only one I know has a 2+3 rhyme scheme, and I don't know if that's traditional. Today I prefer initials.

Thou, Lord, hast made
This cathedral chamber
Sing of thy praise, to thy glory

Thou, Lord
Have set me here,
Heart unto Thee longing
Thine own self to seek 'till life's end

Come, Lord
Fulfill your work:
Feed, pray, as Only thou
Can satisfy, my soul enflamed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The debate whimpers on

Dear Toby,

you wrote

Well, I would like to see your survey data, because I certainly don't believe it. Since that seems to be what you were originally talking about, maybe you can ignore the rest of this. But since it's about something important to me, I'll say it anyway.

I've done what digging I could, and I'm annoyed at myself having slightly shifted the axes of the survey in my thinking; I don't expect you'll find much to enjoy in it, yourself, though. The refference is note 36 here

My original focus on taxes comes from the setting in the first half of the video clip, so I won't harp on that. But I'll still focus on legal issues. That is, I disagree with you that sex is most fun between one man and one woman, who ought to be married, without trying to avoid begetting. But since that sort of thing only affects the people involved, it doesn't matter much if we disagree about that.

Well, if one does successfully avoid begetting, that certainly reduces the number of people involved. Success is arguably tricky, though. What's more, much of what follows is in fact supposing other people are involved, potentially adopted children in particular.

I also think here you're transplanting my use of the word "fun" beyond the scope I intended for it. And I don't see how it's a legal issue?

What does matter, and affects many people, is the attitude of the government towards this. And yes, it is a matter of the government's attitude towards individuals, not just couples. The government says that X and Y may marry but X and Z may not; that is discrimination between the individuals Y and Z.

See, that's very sneaky of you to suppress the "X"; the government makes a statement about the pair (X,Y) and an oposite statement about the pair (X,Z). It's worth noting that we can then infer which statement the government would make about the pair (Y,Z), or (Y,Y) for that matter. Or, how about, following your example, suppress the second in the pair: X may marry, but X may not marry? Surely we're not discriminating against X on the basis of sex in this case, because we admit both possibilities even though X's sex doesn't change?

The current laws that don't recognise marriage between two individuals of the same sex discriminate based on sex just as much as past laws that didn't recognise marriage between two individuals of different races discriminated based on race

There's an important difference, though. Laws ignoring marriage between two individuals of different race are fundamentally motivated by a desire to prevent procreation arising from "different" races, so-called "miscegenation". This in turn was necessary to establish as fact in Law what was a lie in Nature, that distinct races were and ought to be sundered species. On the other hand, the heretofore universal understanding that a marriage involves one man and one woman arises from similarly heretofore-universally understood connection between marriage and the foundation of a new family potentially including new people (new voters, new soldiers, new workers! Who doesn't want these?).

(where in both cases, 'sex' and 'race' are further defined by the government, sometimes with and sometimes without fidelity to an
underlying facet of human nature).

"Sometimes with", eh? With fidelity in the case of "sex" perhaps, and without it in the case of "race"? Or have you suggestions of a facet of human nature faithfully classified by "race"? Let me be even clearer: Sex is a real difference. Ask any doctor whether the sex of his patient is relevant to the care thereof. Race is a much fuzzier and mutable thing; it may be a relevant notion for insurance companies, but a surgeon usually doesn't need to know his subject came from the East Caucasus mountains in order to find his way around.

I certainly can't accept the government's doing this for such a flimsy reason as that an opposite-sex couple (healthily and happily married) will raise a child better than a same-sex couple (also healthily and happily married).

I simply can't agree that a single-sex pair can be healthily married. And that's not a matter of on-average tendencies...

That may or may not be true on average, but it's certainly not true in every case. Given that a couple is raising a child together, the child should have a stable home with the customary legal protections, and it's quite perverse for the government to say that their family won't get the same status as the family next door because it might have been better for the child to be raised by somebody else all along, rather than the healthy, happy parents that they have.

This is getting the notion of "someone else" backwards altogether! For a child to be potentially placed in the care of a single-sex couple, it necessarily follows that neither of them conceived nor bore this child OR one of the couple has been unfaithful. The child belonged with different people in the first place; the single-sex pair are "someone else". Again, I'm not saying that a pair of men is inherently incapable of meeting the material needs of a growing child; I do say that the example they give includes a priori a fundamental defficiency, and a child shouldn't be kept in their long-term care any more than it should be raised by a convent or monastery.

I don't know that either you or I will tell the other anything that we haven't already heard. I don't like it when the government tries to tell people what to do,

I'm not sure what you mean here; the government no longer asks people to avoid sodomy, for instance. I believe the various states still restrict sale of tobacco and alcohol to minors, whether said minors, the salespeople, or their respective parents feel otherwise?

and I don't like discrimination on the basis of sex; much less do I like discrimination on the basis of sex in order to encourage people to do things differently.

Again, I'm not sure what differently-done-things you think government is encouraging by discriminating on the basis of half a pair's sex.

You seem to have different values from mine, and apparently you have statistics to show that the government is telling people what to do and discriminating against them in a way that will do more good than harm in the end.

Different values? Almost certainly; but why not ask me what I value?

No, that's not my meaning in claiming statistics, and neither do I think this is a case of the government permitting some harm so that more good may result: it really is an assertion that one specific kind of harm should NOT occur, that of children being raised under an a-priori bad example of human sexual expression; rather, children should be raised such that they mature understanding what children's AND parents' roles are in a family, whether they then go on to establish families of their own or not. I don't pretend that all extant families are healthy or happy; but we don't need to add to the list of possible reasons a family can be unhealthy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

You're really NOT going to like it...

At this cardinal point in the history of our Null Epistolary, we wish to thank our Lord God for giving us the unhappy atheist writer DNA who revealed His glory by pointing out such wonders of creation as are manifold to be seen, both on Earth and in the Heavens, whether fully known or thoroughly mysterious; and who painted them with such charm and hilarity, even through his own hidden pains.

We pray, Lord God, overlook Thou his honest, if stubborn, ignorance of Thee, the first Author of all he authored and wrote about; and admit him in time to the fullest happiness which only Thou canst by the vision of your Loving Mercy and Justice can give.

This has been blog post number 42.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Ego Vir in Via scribo

Hic est gaudium medium. (Non est gaudium magnum, quia non novum pappum nuntiat; interea, gaudium maior est quam favam gellam repperire ... )

Si non Latinam sciis legere, pagina ipsa hae utiles praebet.

eh? quid cogitat?


ok, sorry for any and all solecisms, anglic calcae, and generally-bad or painful Latin in the above...

some guy on the street


Dear United Sandmen,

Never mind making my eyelids heavy, I don't want sand near my eyes. But if you could re-arrange those sandbags to hold back floods of useless distractions, I'd have an easier time with my preferred variation on counting sheep.

the much-too-imaginative some-guy-on-the-street

Monday, July 20, 2009

unlicensed poetry

Dear Quizitor,

You tell me

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.
What Poetry Form Are You?

or failing that,

I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.

A couple years ago, you told me instead

If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
I'm the triolet, bursting with pride;
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
No, it isn't obsessive. Now hide
All the spoons or I might get convulsive.
If they told you I'm mad then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.

of which, of course, I can produce no evidence; but I'm not quite sure what to make of the shift. Perhaps I'm become more staid in my preference for 62-storey drop-subjects! Who knows?

But what I most want to know is ... where can I get some of those cream buns?

some guy, who, while largely pedestrian, is fond enough of versifers

Friday, July 17, 2009

Further to Mr. Bat's recent observation

Dear Blogger,

Is it possible that the "interests" search links just *don't work*?

some guy on the street

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Sad.

echo <<eof >> /dev/null 

Out of idle curiosity, I tried following the evident link on your profile page. It seems a shame, altogether.


I should have noted earlier: It's fixed now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Drama from the Skies

Dear Catholic Impressario,

I have composed the synopsis and dramatis personae for a theological science-fiction romance thriller set amidst Vatican Intrigue! I'm planning over the next month or two to complete a draft in a mix of natural speech and iambic pentameter, blank verse and rhyme. It divides easily into two parts, or five acts of roughly three scenes each, with occasional "Greek" Chorus narrating.

Do you suppose there might be any market for this?

the untried playwright

Highlights from Chapter 1 of Caritas in Veritate

echo <<eof >>/dev/null

From The Encyclical

Of course, these point to my own biases and prejudice as well; but since the pundits are playing the same game, I thought it'd make an interesting contrast to see how those who strive for orthodoxy might make out. Unlike some pundits, I've preserved note numbers and paragraphs, so you'll have an easier time finding the context.

  • 10. ... The correct viewpoint, then, is that of the Tradition of the apostolic faith[13], a patrimony both ancient and new, [LOVE that pairing!] outside of which Populorum Progressio would be a document without roots — and issues concerning development would be reduced to merely sociological data.

  • 11. ... In not a few cases, that freedom is impeded by prohibitions and persecutions, or it is limited when the Church's public presence is reduced to her charitable activities alone.

  • Without the perspective of eternal life, human progress in this world is denied breathing-space. [I'm put in mind of a moment in Star Trek VI, where Christopher Plummer declares "We need breathing-room!" and William Shatner replies ... it's knifty knack our Holy Father has for subverting the language of heretics and evil-doers to highlight the real values they have corrupted.] Enclosed within history, it runs the risk of being reduced to the mere accumulation of wealth ...

  • In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation ...

  • Only through an encounter with God are we able to see in the other something more than just another creature[17], to recognize the divine image in the other, thus truly coming to discover him or her and to mature in a love that “becomes concern and care for the other.”[18]

  • 12. The link between Populorum Progressio and the Second Vatican Council does not mean that Paul VI's social magisterium marked a break with that of previous Popes, because the Council constitutes a deeper exploration of this magisterium within the continuity of the Church's life[19].

  • ... on the contrary, there is a single teaching, consistent and at the same time ever new [Yay!][20]

  • Coherence does not mean a closed system: on the contrary, it means dynamic faithfulness to a light received. The Church's social doctrine illuminates with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging[22].

  • 13. ... Paul VI clearly understood that the social question had become worldwide [25] and he grasped the interconnection between the impetus towards the unification of humanity and the Christian ideal of a single family of peoples in solidarity and fraternity.

  • 14. ... It is therefore a serious mistake to undervalue human capacity to exercise control over the deviations of development or to overlook the fact that man is constitutionally oriented towards “being more”. [This is the sort of "orientation" worth talking about.]

  • 18. ... In promoting development, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians (even though these existed and continue to exist alongside their natural limitations)[44], but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed.

Wasn't that fun!?


Saturday, July 11, 2009


We hold that God has made us for His love
And for His sake to give love of our own.
His sake alone: for all our love's from Him
Who beauties made and very light declared
One ancient day of youth, and called it good.
And He made Man with freedom, that we should
Full freely love Him. And in this He shared
With dusty Man His Holy Image bright.
He made us, men and women, love and friend
To share one life, one flesh unto life's end,
Yet not to be life's end: that were God's right.
Pray I may be detached from breath and limb;
Salvation hangs not on thine, nor my own,
But on His cross who died, and lives above.

--some guy on the street

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gross Defficiency

Dear YouTube,

Why, oh why, oh why is there nowhere in youtube a video with soundtrack the original Star Trek theme music interpreted by meowing cats?


the LOLz are not enough

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Benedicta tu inter mulieres"

echo <<eof >>/dev/null

In some circles, this day recalls the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, which is also the first look we get at John the Baptist --- `a voice crying out in the wilderness saying "Prepare ye the way of the Lord"'. And what does he do? He leaps for joy in Elizabeth's womb, thus announcing the approach of the Lord Jesus in Mary's womb! Not even born yet and already working in his prophetic ministry. That's pretty cool!