Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa

Past Posts of Note
Substantative, in chronological order
The Sunday obligation and illness: question, research & my answer

Denial of personhood: Dei Filius & Terri Schiavo

On Modesty 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Differing with Dulles 1 & 2 on pro-abort politicians

Mad About Manuals 1 & 2

Absinthe recherches early, required reading, 2, 3, 4.

First time at an abortuary

The Maundy

TPOTC impact & analysis and more

Contraception reflections 1, 2

Meiwes, propheta, übermensch

Headship Loggerheads 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Matrix: Revolutions

Matrix: Reloaded
1, 2 & 3

Terrorist Attack Preparations, and follow-ups 1 & 2 & 3


Casuistry of Drinking

Review of Auto Focus

Parish Review 1

The Power of Shame

Biblical Hermeneutics

Ayoob on Guns

Against the Ordination of Women

Two Cents on Braveheart


Thematic Meditations

E-mail Me
oldoligarch @yahoo.com

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Any e-mail I receive is fair game for publication, with comments, unless you explicitly say so beforehand.

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If you get a strange e-mail from me with an attachment, delete it.

From what I can tell, there's a weblog-combing robot working its way through the blogosphere, collecting publicly-available e-mail addresses, and then sending spam and / or suspicious attachments to other bloggers. I've gotten two e-mails from people about this during my week-long absence. Greg Popcak over at exceptionalmarriages.com also notes that the same thing has happened to him and Amy Welborn.

From what I can tell, the e-mail is actually sent from another account, and the sender's address is simply falsified -- in this case, changed to appear as if it is coming from me. There's no way I can tell for certain what's going on unless someone forwards the offending e-mail to me, however. I only use this e-mail account for blogging, and I'm certain my computer is 100% virus free, so the exploit must be some clever manipulation of Yahoo. Since none of the messages have come from non-bloggers so far, I'd bet this is just another twist on the mass-marketing ploys that have used public e-mail addresses for a while now.

Sorry for any needless anxiety this may cause anyone. C'est la vie cybernetique.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/26/2002 05:02:00 PM | link

For some reason I decided to try Michelob's new product: Michelob Ultra, the "Low Carb" beer. Now that I am old and decrepit, I find that too much sugar during a drinking bout can really exacerbate a hang-over (sugar crash + dehydration), so I thought a low-carb beer might be useful to have in my repertoire of trusted drinks. I would not describe myself as a beer-drinker (I much prefer hard liquor), but I offer the following review, for what it's worth:

Michelob Ultra is basically an attempt to make a flavorful extra-light beer. 95 calories per bottle and 2.6 grams of carbs certainly limit one's options. Michelob therefore decided to emphasize a crisp, dry barley flavor while teasing out as many hints of malt (the sugary / starchy constitutent from the grain) as possible from the low-carb wort. Michelob credits an "extended mashing period" for getting these results. It's a decent 8.4 proof, given how little the yeast have to work with.

Michelob Ultra begins very nicely and has a flavorful, smooth finish, but it is watery on the palate in between. The beginning has a good balance between barley (the dominant flavor), hops and malt flavors. On reflection the "let down" in the middle isn't surprising since that is the point in the tasting where the malt shows its strength. The finish was enjoyable, and had enough hops to produce some aroma. Since I had to grade papers later that evening, I didn't have more than one, so I can't comment on its overall intoxication potential. (One wonders whether a low-carb beer more readily facilitates the absorption of the alcohol, although the fabulously dense Guinness is clear evidence to the contrary. Experts please advise.)

Basically Michelob had to chose how they wanted to make an ultra-lite beer, and to me they have taken the better path. While it falls short in the middle, the beer avoids tasting like Rolling Rock (which is fine if you want to drink a very pale ale, which I often don't) and reminds you of the heartier beers you should be drinking if you weren't worrying about calories -- which is a good corrective IMHO.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/26/2002 05:22:00 AM | link

In college, it was not uncommon for people whom I had never met before to come up to me and tell me they knew "who I was" because of my unabashedly conservative affiliation. Eventually, I got used to it.

Last week, however, I returned to Yale, and experienced a new phenomenon. I went to Mory's, imbibed heavily (as is traditional), and wandered downstairs to the bathroom. There I was greated by an undergrad who told me he enjoys reading "The Old Oligarch blog." That was patently surreal.

As it turns out, he met me once in passing last year and is the friend of a friend. So greetings to JZ and any other members of his loathsome Political Union party of origin.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/26/2002 04:36:00 AM | link

The Old Oligarch has been visiting his friends in Connecticut over the past week.
That's why there's been so little on the blog. More to come. Soon.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/26/2002 04:24:00 AM | link

Congratulations, you're Nashville, the country music capitol of the world.
What US city are you? Take the quiz by Girlwithagun.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/16/2002 04:42:00 PM | link

Welcome to the Yahoo searcher looking for "find biblical integration on pandas." Try searching for "unclean animal," "abomination" and "living idol to Chinese Communism."

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/13/2002 11:18:00 PM | link

Tuning your AM dial in the DC area? How about WUST, 1120AM, Washington Catholic Radio, which also has a streaming audio broadcast over the internet available at http://www.catholicradio-dc.org. The Legionaries of Christ are working to expand offerings there. The latest advance has been a 15-minute segment produced exclusively by 10 to 17 year old boys from the ConQuest summer program.

Three other well-known Legionary publications are The National Catholic Register, www.catholic.net, and Faith and Family Magazine.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/13/2002 09:43:00 PM | link

Don't Read That: One Practical Basis for Academic Authority

Maureen sent me a thoughtful letter in reply to the earlier post I wrote about student plagiarism and related issues. In part of it, she writes:

"There's something missing in what we teach kids today. Some kids use the Net the way it was meant to be, as an exciting, convenient, idiosyncratic and not wholly reliable resource. Some use it to reach out to others and publish their own opinions and writings. And some take an X-File fanfiction story, search-and-replace the names, and claim that it's aboutthe characters from the sitcom The Nanny. I find this unutterably sad."

Very true. I agree there is a wide spectrum of student utilization of the Internet, ranging along the lines you mention. As far as I can tell, the problem might be more acute at the Community College level simply because the students there do not have a grasp of what constitutes "an authority," what is "amateur work," and what is complete bunk. I frequently get a bevy of citations -- sometimes in the same paper -- which range from very scholarly material to something the student picked up on a message board.

Truth be told, however, I'm not sure if this is a product of the Internet, or simply a long-standing weakness exacerbated by the Internet. For example, the library of the Community College for which I've most often taught must have had a raging hippie in charge of acquisitions during a key buying period in the early 70s. There are many volumes of commentary on Plato which depict him as a shaman, or mystic, or an otherwise equally interesting, semi-hallucinagenic counter-cultural figure -- typical of literature from that benighted decade. Every semester, I'll get a student who has done library-only research and has relied on one of these books -- only sometimes using any others. To someone only slightly more familiar with philosophy, the hippie-dippy commentary has "KOOK" stamped right on the cover, but the intro. student can't see it yet, so I have to kindly redirect him to scrap whatever writing he has based on the kooky commentary and start again.

After this happens, every scenario that follows is a total waste of time. The student has to re-do the research and paper, and worse, un-learn the weird image of Plato and Pythagoras he's picked up through this literature. In the worst case, the student won't want to re-do the paper, and contests my objection to the book. Then I have to spend an hour or two going through segments of "Plato for Crazies" and showing how this or that reading of the Gorgias or the Republic or the Timaeus is just plain wrong. This is an hour that could have been spent teaching what Plato actually said, but instead, the student only learns what he didn't say, and is exhausted after that exercise, and doesn't learn anything else unless forced.

Fortuntely, for the most part, a good librarian weeds out such volumes over time. But the point remains, I think: Unless there's a guiding hand structuting what research materials the students use, the finite amount of time given to the educational process for any one course means students will certainly get lost unless those in charge of the educational environment make value judgements (often based solely on authority, without defending the choice to the student) and thereby they separate the wheat from the chaffe. When this doesn't happen -- such as whenever anyone consults the Internet -- many people dive off into pedagogical black holes.



Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/13/2002 04:13:00 AM | link

A website to frustrate feminists and Catholic phenomenologists alike: Objectify millions of women just by clicking. Almost as much fun -- conceptually speaking -- as www.humanforsale.com, or the the posthumous version.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/12/2002 02:17:00 AM | link

Another brief rant about the Microsoft style of OS management which interrelates every single little app with everything else on your computer: I made the utter mistake of upgrading to MS Media Player 7 (useless bells & whistles, less stable, slower loading files, system hog.) Add to that it, it caches information about pretty much everything it plays, or which apps launch it, etc. I shaved a few more meg from my C: drive by deleting wmplibrary_v_0_12.db as per this article at www.annoyances.org (good site).

Before deleting aforementioned case, I had a look through it. Not only did it have information about movies I've played (not a big concern), it had all sorts of browser- and e-mail-related information, including texts from e-mails sent and received from people (the e-mails had multimedia attachments) and URLs of pages I've surfed to with multimedia content (including one credit-card website). Again, the security-conscious have another reason to hunger for old-school modularity in programming. Is there an end to the bits and pieces of user-generated information strewn throughout the Win 9x directory?

As a side note, if you made the same mistake of upgrading to Windows Media Player 7, you can revert simply by going to Explorer | View | Folder Options | File Types and re-associating your multimedia file extensions with mplayer2.exe in the c:\windows\media player\ directory. Mplayer2 is the old player, which still works fine, and uses and newer codecs you've installed. If you don't feel like hunting through all those icons, you have an alternative. Before opening any file that would trigger the new player, use the shift-right click option to get "Open With" in the context menu, find mplayer2.exe, and check the "Always open this type of file with this program" option (something like that) to reassociate.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/12/2002 02:14:00 AM | link

Thanks to Lynxx for the following observation, apropos taskmon.exe and microsoft defrag:

"Norton Speed Disk will also use the Applog files generated by Taskmon if you customize the defragmentation to 'sort files by last access date.'"


Thanks, Lynxx.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/12/2002 02:00:00 AM | link

My previous post has been misunderstood. (Not surprisingly. Whenever I dash off anything, it's usually vague.)

But it is nonetheless correct. I contrasted the average liberal's religious insistence on gun-control laws with their complete reticence to pass regulatory laws about the more lethal genitals of the AIDS-infected man. (This much was clear. My mention of the DC gay district seems to have confused things.) Some have highlighted the non-consensual nature of the Beltway sniper's crime, such as Erin, who writes that my analogy was flawed:

"I have to disagree with your analogy between the Beltway sniper and promiscuous sex. I agree with your contention that people who have unprotected sex while infected with AIDS are deliberately exposing others to the disease. But that sex is consensual- the person who consents to have unprotected sex with someone else knows they are taking a chance (rape is a different issue, of course). There is nothing consensual about the Beltway sniper."

Consensual sex between fully-informed individuals was not the basis for my analogy. There is nothing consensual about the thousands of people infected with HIV each year who are completely unaware that their "partner" has AIDS or, in many cases, are falsely informed. This goes way beyond rape. The primary cause seems to be AIDS-infected men who simply don't know, don't want to know, don't care, or don't care to mention that they've been infected -- even though they've been engaging in serial promiscuity -- which everyone knows is potentially lethal behavior these days.

Don't believe me? The data is everywhere. How about the study published in May 2000 in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (summarized by liberal-approved Aegis.com), which states regarding heterosexual-to-heterosexual transmission of AIDS:

"The researchers interviewed 581 heterosexual adults with AIDS. Although nearly 80% of the study participants reported knowing their partner engaged in primary risk behaviors such as injecting drugs, only 35% of the men and 56% of the women knew their partner had HIV."

Or better, the findings of the 14th International AIDS Conference, summarized here, which states:

"The rates of unawareness among minority gay men ages 15 to 29 in the study were staggeringly high. Among those found to have H.I.V., the AIDS virus, 90 percent of blacks, 70 percent of Hispanics and 60 percent of whites said they did not know they were infected."

"The study involved 5,719 men who were interviewed at dance clubs, bars and other places frequented by gays in Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Seattle. It tested the men for exposure to the AIDS virus, finding that 573 had H.I.V. Of those, 440, or 77 percent, had said they were unaware they were infected."

If liberals insist that gun-owning men are risk-factors by the very fact they own a firearm -- regardless of the meticulous responsibility of some gun-owners and the criminal carelessness of others, they should also insist that AIDS-infected men are risk-factors by the very fact they walk around every day with pontentially-lethal AIDS. The latter group of men are routinely more lethal. Therefore, liberals should enact genital-control legislation against them.

Although more people have been "casually" killed by promiscuity than by irresponsibility with a firearm, the media jumps on every single case like our sniper and showcases some "expert" who clamors for gun-restriction legislation, yet when there's another statistic about increasing AIDS-infection, we get special TV shows about "raising awareness" and the need to fund AIDS-research. The media's done well in "raising our awareness" about snipers, but what about "sniper-prevention programs" in schools? (I picture a third-grade class learning how to put a trigger lock on a banana.) Or sniper-related research?

Joking aside, my analogy was perhaps obscured by my reference to the "gay district" in DC. I used it only as an example because it is the summit of infection. People presume that it should therefore be the summit of AIDS-awareness and "safe sex" as well, but as the Whitman-Walker clinic reminds us, and the above studies confirm, this doesn't mean people aren't infected unawares. Truth be told, however, the most common victims in DC, I believe, are black women whose men pick up the disease whoring around town.

So my initial point stands: Those who are lethally wounded without their consent because of an irresponsible or (or in this case criminally-minded) gun owner can be compared to those who contract a lethal disease because of an irresponsible (or in some cases, criminally-minded) AIDS-infected "partner." The latter are more fatal, but are generally mollycoddled by liberals. Iowa makes a precedent to the contrary.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/11/2002 12:15:00 PM | link

There's a hole in the blogosphere. Another casualty of the working world.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/09/2002 02:19:00 PM | link

Everyone's heard by now, just across the Maryland border from here, there's a sniper killing people. Each victim has been killed with a single long-range rifle shot. It seems the gun-restriction crowd is repeating their familiar mantra because of this. For the counter-argument, if you don't know it by rote already, see Miss Lucas.

To it I add: Why don't liberals prosecute unprotected sex as vigorously? An uncontrolled profligate is a far more dangerous man than our sniper. For every victim this sniper has waxed in the past few days, I'm sure ten have contracted AIDS in DC from an infected "partner" -- many of the latter's victims perhaps met their death just as naively and unsuspectingly as the former met the sniper's bullet. If you're afraid that civilian control of deadly firearms will lead to too many unknowing, unforewarned, innocent deaths, and therefore you believe that the use of such a tool must be strictly outlawed, I'll listen as soon as you start prosecuting half the gay district for manslaughter and you require that AIDS victims license their genitals as deadly weapons.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/07/2002 09:41:00 PM | link

A joyous day for Opus Dei. With their founder canonized, perhaps now they will get some rest from their critics. To those that remain, I call their attention to the words of Rabbi Gamaliel, spoken about the apostles:

"But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. . . . Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:34-39).

Sancte Josemaria Escriva, ora pro nobis!

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/07/2002 07:11:00 PM | link

Dangerous Precedent: If I'm not mistaken, today the US Supreme court upheld the ruling of the Wisconsin Supreme Court which forbade an unemployed father of nine to father any more children unless he can prove he can support them. (I only saw a passing blurb on CNN, and can't find a story on the net about it yet.) I can only imagine what the standard for reproduction wil be in twenty-five years.

God help us: an unlimited right to orgasm at all costs, with anyone, with state-funded abortion for the "mistakes" and multi-million dollar AIDS research programs to pay for the social consequences, but we readily outlaw a true "reproductive right" when a deadbeat dad gets $25k behind in child support.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/07/2002 04:56:00 PM | link

It seems Google has confused my site with My Mindless Mind. A loss for both of us, I'm sure.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/04/2002 08:54:00 PM | link

Ah, the places you don't want to go . . . with Windows! (On Spyware and Taskmon.exe)

Tweaking my computer is somewhere between a hobby and taking care of my most valuable piece of equipment. Part of the job is making sure nothing runs on my computer which (a) shouldn't be running (spyware, etc.), or (b) unnecessarily takes up resources. Both are routine menances with Windows. This week, I'll talk about one in each category.

Spyware A few weeks ago, I tried Lavasoft's AdAware, after Zorak used it on her machine and found some spyware. (Spyware = a program installed on your computer without your knowledge, used to target you for marketing purposes. Marketers insist on calling it "adware" which is too kind a term. This stuff preys on the ignorant to create even more annoying forms of net marketing, not to mention violating one's privacy.) Zorak turned to AdAware when she got a pop-up ad while browsing her work's private online e-mail system, which set off the alarm bell. (They obviously don't use banner advertising...) AdAware took care of it in a jiffy. It's a no-nonsense, quality program.

Now, Zorak's machine is separate from mine for a reason: she can install whatever she wants and face the consequences, without disturbing our domestic bliss. I, however, am an absolute fascist about what goes on my computer. So I thought I would be squeaky-clean when I ran AdAware. But I was wrong: Aureate had somehow found its way onto my computer, and I was glad to remove it. The average user will probably unearth two or three spyware programs taking up your precious system resources and hogging your internet bandwidth -- just so they can report your activities to marketers (unbeknownst to you) and give you extra pop-up ads to watch while browsing. You owe it to yourself to get rid of any suspicious apps running on your machine, especially if it is an older model or you have a dial-up connection.

For the power-user, another great way to check out what's running in the background of your system is Process Viewer. Spyware won't be listed in your Control-Alt-Delete "Close Program" menu. You need to get down to brass tacks to see it.

Useless Microsoft Crap There are other examples of pretty useless programs installed by default, or running in the background that I could write about. Earlier I wrote about how Internet Explorer has the nasty habit of saving every website you've ever visited, even after you "delete history" and "empty cache," in your c:\windows\history\history.ie5 directory, invisible to you while in Windows (use DOS to see it).

Today, I finally decided to figure out what taskmon.exe is. It's always running in the background when I use process viewer, and it is my list of programs to run upon startup in my registry. A little Google searching first led me here (scroll down), and then to this more informative page.

As it turns out, taskmon.exe monitors and records every application you've ever run on your computer for the purpose of optimizing your disk when you use the built-in Microsoft disk defrag utility. Any time you run any application in Windows, Taskmon takes a note. To me, this is annoying for three reasons: (1) There's a performance hit whenever you use a new app., (2) It's taking up system resources and time in my boot-up routine, and (3) I don't use the Windows Defrag, I use Norton. Now, of course, nowhere in any Windows help file will you find mention of what Taskmon does, so . . . there it stayed, until today. To top it off, it puts all this voluminous information in your c:\windows\applog directory (always wondered what that did!) which on my machine takes up more than 15 Meg of disk space. Add one more annoyance: If MS Disk Defrag thinks it makes more sense, it will actually fragment your files in order to achieve its "optimal" scheme of putting more-frequently used programs (or bits of programs) first. The MS Disk Defrag program intentionally fragments some files...Sheesh!

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/04/2002 07:37:00 PM | link

I spent early Wednesday afternoon at a new small arms range, Gilbert Small Arms Range in Springfield, VA, just a few minutes south of the Beltway, off of I-95. I went around noon, and it was very quiet: only two other shooters on a decently-appointed 10 lane range. The two men who run the place were in their mid-fifties, personable, informative, and helpful in getting me oriented and signed up for a short membership. (You have to sign up for a membership to shoot there, 1 month minimum, which was $8). Their rates are good. Even though they charge per-hour for the lanes, they do not charge a fee for each weapon you rent, which is great for me since I usually try several. (I am "shopping around" for a gun.) They are cheaper than Maryland Small Arms range, where I used to shoot before we moved, which is on the southeast side of the Beltway by Route 4.

This time, I shot only Glocks. I'm trying to decide between the .40 cal medium-sized Glock 23, the compact-format .45 cal Glock 30, and the full-sized .45 cal Glock 21. I did not try the .45 cal Slimline Glock 36, since I only noticed it as I was leaving.

In general, I don't find caliber makes much of a difference in terms of kick or accuracy. I notice no real difference between the .40 and .45. Any suggestions about which caliber is better for personal defense?

In terms of gun size, I don't like the compact .45, because with a smaller pistol I notice the recoil and I am a little less accurate with it. Does 1 inch extra length or height really make a difference in most civilian concealed-carry situations? The compact .45 strikes me as clumsy to hold onto. I think I'd prefer being able to grasp the weapon quickly despite its slightly increased bulkiness. I don't have big hands, and the bottom side of my hand (i.e. opposite the thumb) covers the bottom of the magazine, even when I am fully choked up on the backstrap. Moreover, with the compact .45, I have to break my grip on the gun to depress the levers which release the magazine or the action. It's a slight reach on the large .45, and much easier on the .40.

Glock enthusiasts, drop me a line.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/04/2002 11:03:00 AM | link

Welcome to the Google searchers looking for:
(a) "textual analysis of stereotypical teenage boy." (Ten years ago, you may have found it here.)
(b) "assessment of The Lamb's Supper" (A "must read" for Catholics about the Book of Revelation)
(c) "a shame culture in the Illiad" (See Eve or Shame Dogma for that one.)

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/04/2002 10:26:00 AM | link


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