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

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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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Use the internet to defend the bearded man. Ahh, look at the glory of the beards! The website is a little hippie-heavy in some of its "showcase" pages, but the page on bearded civil war generals and presidents makes up for that.

I've sent them a page of bearded philosophers. Via Zorak.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/29/2003 03:16:00 PM | link

Coolest referring URL of the week: http://ultramontano.wunderblogs.com/.

An AOL-(disem)powered Googler arrived here asking: "What happens if Anthrax comes in through the air ducts?" Let's try a Jeopardy approach. My question in return: "What happens when you step on a landmine?"

Anticipating her cameo in the upcoming Matrix III, Googlers have been arriving looking for "Zorak Matrix Revolutions." Nov 5th, world simultaneous premier -- we're there!

Fun, old Wired article about how the special effects wizards of the Matrix: Reloaded created their own matrix just to do the special effects.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/29/2003 02:04:00 PM | link

Just when you thought it was safe to bet that Beavis and Butthead did not have an inspiration in classical art, you find this woodcut by Henckel.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/29/2003 02:02:00 PM | link

Cool tools: English, Greek and Hebrew Bible for palms and cells by olivetree.com.

They also present a WAP-enabled Bible at http://wap3.tv/base.html or the simpler GodBib.com. Obviously if you click on these links with your browser, you won't get the WAP version of the site.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/23/2003 02:39:00 AM | link

A poem I've always enjoyed. Perhaps the author had Psalm 2 in mind, applying it to the modern world. Villa is a modern Filipino poet.

A casual glance at Strong's concordance reveals that the only time God laughs is when people deny His existence (as a statement or as a behavior). See Ps 2:4, Ps 37:13, Ps 59:8, and Prov 1:26 if you interpret God speaking in the persona of Solomon / "the Father." A possible exception is Wisdom's delighted laughter before the Father, in Prov. 8:30.

Saw God Dead But Laughing
by Jose Garcia Villa

Saw God dead but laughing.
Uttered the laugh for Him.
Heard my soul crack with doom
Tragedian laughing!

Peered into the cracked skull --
Saw the tragic monkhood
In the shape of God's deathhead
Laughter upon its mouth a jewel.

Jewel bright, O Jewel bright,
Laughter of the Lord.
Laughter with eternity immured
O laugh bright, laugh bright.

Then did the Lord laugh louder
I laughing for Him,
I from the heart's honeycomb
Feeding braver, braver,

Till all the universe was Laughter
But the Laughter of the Lord
O the Laughter of His Word
That could laugh only -- after His murder.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/23/2003 01:57:00 AM | link

Watched Leno tonight with the parents (rerun). In his "funny headline" segment, a small town newspaper did a survey of some residents about what they thought about the Episcopal church accepting a practicing gay bishop.

One women responded: "I don't think the Church is ready for this yet. I think God would be rolling over in his grave."

I also enjoyed how thoroughly liberals have mastered the art of changing thought through owning language. Even their opposition, the woman, cannot couch her objection in terms which are absolute, but only in terms of what the Church is ready for now, and what the Church will be ready for later. With Feuerbach, nothing is impossible.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/23/2003 01:45:00 AM | link

The sparse postings are due to the fact that I am away on travel. More anon. In the meantime:

Vintage Tech
I just reassembled and ran a Tandy 1000 TL which has lain dormant for about 10 years. These early PCs were built like tanks. This thing still works as well as it did in 1993, when it was already an "older model." It sports an EGA display (luckily I still had the monitor around), a 80286 processor running at 8 MHz, and 768K of RAM. Thankfully it had both a 5.25" floppy drive and a low-density 3.5" drive so I could still transfer information from it without getting a serial port connection to another machine.

The thing I love about this beauty is that it has the DOS loaded onto a ROM. Boots in about 3 seconds, tops. MoBo is wonderful to look at: Every chip is ZIF-socketed in these massive brown sockets, RAM chips (24 of them, 32K a piece) are about has big as the upper half of your thumb, and there's more steel in that case than in most modern cars. You can stand on it and it won't bend. Best of all, every single component works fine, EVEN the EEPROM BATTERY, which has been maintaining the date and time flawlessly during the machine's 10 year dormition.

I thought it might be a vintage collectible by now, but alas, they're selling on eBay for $25-$75. I can't bring myself to just throw it out. Any computer buffs looking for a vintage machine and be willing to make me an offer? Must go to a good hacker home.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/21/2003 04:06:00 PM | link

Congratulations, John Paul II!

Gloriosamente Regnante,
for 25 years!

Tour the Vatican Retrospective at Vatican.va

"God Bless Our Pope, The Great, The Good!"

The fourth longest pontificate in history,
surely a special sign of God's favor
and a great blessing for His Church.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/16/2003 01:03:00 AM | link

Someone visited today looking for "The Matrix Latin Mass." So place your bets now: Mass in the Matrix? And according to the Tridentine Rite?

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/13/2003 03:25:00 PM | link

Ah, striken again by my irrational urge to answer random questions from the Internet which appear in Google hits:

Greetings to the Japanese-language Googler looking for "disable embedded audio." The solution is here: Opera.

Opera is also the solution which completely insures that you NEVER see another pop-up ad again, of any kind. Really folks, it's that good. It rocks. And you can set it to run whatever you want in a click. Don't want to run Java applets? Click, done. Don't want to run embedded audio or video? Separate options for each, also 1 click. Try browsing the web minimalist style: no Java, javascript, or embedded A/V. It's so much saner. All browser manufacturers need to do is to decide it is worth it to give you the power to say no to net junk -- something IE and Netscape apparently will never do.

The restless hordes of Google searchers also want to know: "Is it safe to fly abroad in 10th week of pregnancy." The answer is No: An airplane is a flimsy metal tube hurtling miles above the earth which plummets like a rock if it ever slows down or stops moving forward. Hello, people! We're not birds.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/12/2003 02:48:00 PM | link

Rather than encourage the media in its countdown-until-we-can-dance-on-the-pope's-grave spectacle (will they have a pop-up icon next? How 'bout a scrolling ticker on various symptoms?) I instead can't wait unil Wednesday. Ad Multos Annos, JPII.

The irony of this article from the The Globe and Mail, noted by Zorak, was particularly rich. Liberals, of course, can't wait until the pope is dead, so they don't have to "listen" to him any more. (And by listening, they mean the most passive form -- it goes in the ear and no further.) Yet the main source of all their information, Fr. James Provost, whom they quote repeatly in the present tense as "saying this" and "saying that" has been dead for over a year. The Globe clearly got it here, from America via Google without looking too hard at sources.

It appears that the subsequent the traffic from the article -- people looking for the late Fr. James Provost online -- has prompted America to note Fr. Provost's death at the very top. America's series of articles is much better than the Globe article.

On the topic of transitions, see also the completely unrelated priest and his book: James-Charles Noonan, The Church Visible, on the role of the Cardinal Camerlengo and the interregnum.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/10/2003 05:08:00 AM | link

Reading an interesting book on the documentary hypothesis. More later.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/08/2003 11:07:00 PM | link

Chris from Rosa Mystica writes to explain the perennial search requests for "painted b--bs" that Google always sends to my blog:

I never understood the whole "painted boobs" search thing until a relation forwarded me a set of Mardi Gras pics, which were all of women flashing their chests displaying various artistry. 2 + 2 now equal 4.

While I was aware of the practice of Mardi Gras mammaropoikily (why not make up a new word?), I didn't connect it either. I guess that explains it, unless certain addicts have decided that the fun is too good to contain to one day a year. Now, will someone please explain why I get hits for "old lady p-rn" from Germany at least once a week?

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/08/2003 06:55:00 PM | link

Several people wrote regarding my question about tepid people in the sacraments of initiation.

Sean writes the following (in italics), and I respond (in normal type):

Reading your post about marginal Catholics, I was reminded of my RCIA experience... I came into the program expecting a class full Mertons, Chestertons and Hahns, all filled with zeal as they came into the Church. Instead, it was a lot of people who were there because their fiances wanted a Church wedding.

Soon after I was recieved into the Church, I was reading the
Proto-Catechesis of St. Cyril... at one point he acknowledges that people will come into the Church for many reasons, not all of them noble. It doesn't matter why you came, says Cyril, I have you now!

I think that's a great point. I certainly don't expect everyone to take their first steps into the Church with any great sense of direction, nor do I expect everyone to know exactly why they're there. So yes, I should cut everyone a large amount of slack. (And I do, when actually interacting with them.)

While never having had the experience of so many of my convert friends, I tend to act on convictions which have grown up and crystallized implicitly in my mind, and only sometime afterwards, am I able to sort out why. So I can certainly see how this might be the case with ostensibly tepid people attending RCIA, or those whose visible motivations are at best, extrinsic or pragmatic.

At the same time, your point is true only insofar as the tepid people in question actually enter the Church. I think we see as early as St. Augustine, if not sooner, that some of those tepid people with dubious motivations who go through the motions of formal catechesis only to continue living non-Catholic lives were not actually incorporated into the Body of Christ.

I think in particular of Augustine's Homily on 1 John 2:19: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us" (RSV).

Augustine preaches:

"And there are those who inwardly are in such sort in the body of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . as bad humors. When these are vomited up, the body is relieved: so too when bad men go out, then the Church is relieved. And one says, when the body vomits and casts them out, These humors went out of me, but they were not of me. How were not of me? Were not cut out of my flesh, but oppressed my breast while they were in me. 'They went out from us; but,' be not sad, 'they were not of us.' How provest thou this? If they had been of us, they would doubtless have continued with us. Hence therefore ye may see, that many who are not of us, receive with us the Sacraments, receive with us baptism. Receive with us what the faithful know they receive, Benediction, the Eucharist, and whatever there is in Holy Sacraments: the communion of the very altar they receive with us, and are not of us. Temptation proves that they are not of us. When temptation comes to them as if blown by a wind they fly abroad; because they were not grain . . . But of his own will is each either an antichrist or in Christ. Either we are among the members, or among the bad humors. He that changeth himself for the better, is in the body, a member: but he that continues in his badness, is a bad humor; and when he is gone out, then they who were oppressed will be relieved."

That's not really an argument for any broader point, just another observation.

Eve also dashed off a quick note to say:

Never, ever underestimate the combination of guilt plus moral dissociation. Remember how tripped out you were when I told you about the women at the pregnancy center who think "Abortion is wrong, but..."? Or, "I'm a Christian, but I'm sleeping with my boyfriend"? People don't think of moral imperatives as in fact imperative.

While that phenomenon may be true, I don't see how it explains the situation at hand. In particular: Why bother at all then with the hassle of convincing the priest that you intend on raising your child in the faith? Or in the case of weddings, that you intend to live a Christian life as man and wife? I agree that people tend to compartmentalize their thinking about where religion applies in their life. (They can be Christian in church, and on the job, but not in the bedroom or at the bar.) But that's quite different than the mental acrobatics involved in compartmentalizing one's own problems with the faith in the very act of participating in a relatively rare sacramental act. It would seem that the level of psychological dissonance would make it easier to avoid the whole mess of thinking about one's relationship to the faith and to postpone baptism until the child can decide on his own, or marry in a civil ceremony.

Others, who do think in Graham Greene absolutist terms, feel either a) really guilty about the ways their lives fail to live up to the Church, and want their kids to do better than them in much the same way that immigrants want their kids to be more materially successful; or b) unworthy of full Christian communion, i.e., sin of despair.

Now that makes a lot more sense, IMHO.

I would guess that a good chunk of the lukewarm-but-please-dunk-my-baby! people fall into one of those three categories (1)moral dissociation, (2)guilty, (3)despairing, or some combination of all three. I also think people really do try to hide these emotions / confusions behind a screen of "Well, we're just doing it to make (spouse's) parents happy" etc. That's easier to explain than going all Power and the Glory on your casual acquaintances!

I'll take the first two as an explanation for a good number of such cases, as well as Sean's observations for another bunch. I'm sure a priest with experience in the field probably has an even better way to categorize of these folks than the above, and more importantly, how to overcome whatever obstacle is keeping them from Christ.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/08/2003 06:28:00 PM | link

Greeting to the google searcher looking for women's pregnancy and cat litter. Yes, the cat waste can harm your developing baby, which is another reason why cats are worthless creatures. (Data is pending regarding non-women's pregnancy. < snark >)

The rising tide of search hits for everything regarding The Matrix: Revolutions reminds me that the simultaneous international release (9am, EST, Nov. 5th) is less than a month away.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/06/2003 11:59:00 PM | link

On the occasion of the first anniversary of his canonization, I suggest a patron for the blogosphere: Josemaria Escriva de Blogger.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/06/2003 11:42:00 PM | link

Got a bunch of mail I haven't gotten to yet -- had to grade a slew of papers.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/03/2003 05:58:00 AM | link

Uwe usually tells it like it is: Are they really Catholic?

I've had the pleasure of knowing the man for the past few years. He's German Lutheran, closest to what we would call "Missouri synod" over here.

Posted by Old Oligarch on 10/03/2003 01:24:00 AM | link


Friends Outside the
Prophetes Viatoresque:
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