Steam, by Jove!

Paying Too Much To Be Insulted. (Updated) (Again!)

In my 'Religion & Its Monsters' class - about the relationship between the sacred and the monstrous in Western civ, we were talking about Dante, and specifically his relationship with Brunetto Latini. In trying to explain here, here's the professor:

"it was a pederastic the ancient Greek cultural tradition of older men raising young boys into manhood, like what the Catholic Church is doing with altar boys."

Now, he did give a quick "Sorry." to my incredulous "Excuse me?", but this was just beyond the pale. The class was ending, and I know my own temper, so I packed up and left quickly. Prayed about it, talked to my wife, and sent off a calm(er) email of protest at this insult to the head of the Religious Studies department. No response yet, and I'm back in that class tomorrow.

We'll see how things go.

Sadly, this doesn't surprise me. The professor has been using the whole 'sacred vs. monstrous' theme to play 'bait the Christians/chip away at the faith'. It's the usual, the monstrous is only depicted as monstrous because the ruling types needed a way to keep people on the reservation. 

Other telling quotes from the same professor:

"I don't really understand Job, it doesn't make any sense."

"The only people who read the books of the prophets do so because they're trying to prove they're devout by reading the whole Bible, or looking for a way to criticize other people."

"There's an argument that says that Cain didn't really know what he was doing, that he couldn't have known he would kill Abel."

Really, the first clue should have been that he takes Freud seriously.

At least I have my Semantics class to fall back on this semester.

UPDATE: Got an email back from the department head - expressing concern and apology, and promising to talk to the professor. Followup may not be until next week. I'm working on my forgiveness. I need to be better at this.

UPDATE PART THE SECOND: Nothing direct from the prof today, but boy howdy did we focus on the rampant homoeroticism in Canto 15 of Inferno, and started on Paradise Lost. Did you know that Lucifer did not rebel out of pride? He refused to kneel to Adam because God had told him to love and worship only God, and that bowing to Adam was idolatry, so the poor angel was caught in a Catch-22, and was punished for following orders. Also, the Bible condemns sodomy, but is silent on homosexuality.

Also, we're not allowed to bring up any cultural context or interpretations outside of the text...except his.

I will be so glad when this class is over.
Steam, by Jove!

Advice To My Fellow Conservative Orthodox Catholics

I posted this in the combox over at Mark Shea's blog, but I figured I could put it here, too.

May I offer a few bits of advice to my fellow conservative orthodox Catholics?

1) Let’s strive for being more conservative (reserved, reticent, cautious) and orthodox (obedient, submissive, conformed) in our words and thoughts. I struggle with it, too.

2) Remember that there’s no Shadowy Liberal Conspiracy – that’s just Liberalism. We deal with it every day, and we’ll weather it, like every other heresy. Have faith. You can’t fix it today, and not in a combox.

3) Step away from the computer. Turn off the radio – even EWTN! Turn off the TV. Take your rosary and go outside. If it’s a beautiful day, thank God for it. If it’s not…thank him for that, too. A bad day is better than no day. Walk around for a while. Listen. Smell. Just observe the things close to you. If it’s rural, enjoy the open spaces of our Lord’s Creation. If it’s suburban, take in the quiet human community – wave to a neighbor! If it’s urban, revel in the history of our great cities, large or small. Go to a small, local restaurant, regardless of quality. Eat a meal, and savor the work of human hands and the fruits of God’s blessings. Can’t afford that? Take your lunch or a snack outside, do the same thing. Can’t get out of the house? Watch your kids – just relax, and take them in, all that they are and all that they do. Be amazed at the miracle of a young human being. No kids and can’t get outside? Find a window, and just stare out it for a while. Think about what you see, the growth of the natural features, or the crafting of the manmade. Your rosary? You don’t have to say it, but it never hurts. Sometimes I just sit and hold it, and listen. But get away from the information flow. Give yourself a break. You deserve it!

Steam, by Jove!

Huge 40K Nerd, Part the Second

I'm sincerely hoping that the next Battlefield installment is, indeed, Battlefield 2143.

But my wish? The sequel to BF3 wouldn't be BF4, but BF40,000.

Imperial Guard vs.Blood Pact. Leman Russ instead of Abrams, Valkyrie instead of Huey. Recon Class? Ghosts. Assault? Kasrkin. 

Hm. People would object to there not being Space Marines, and perhaps rightfully so.

Maybe MW40K would be a better fit. Instead of Juggernauts, Adeptus Astartes!

And yeah, this is all kinda brought on by the mess THQ has gotten itself into.
Steam, by Jove!

Selective Outrage

Troy Davis is dead by execution.

So is Lawrence Russell Brewer.

There were no protests for Mr. Brewer.

No last minute pleas for clemency.

No protestors.

No celebrities.

No Amnesty International.

No TV cameras.

If the death penalty is wrong, it's wrong for everyone. Not just sympathetic convicts.

EDIT: There were some protestors outside the prison. Not many, but they were there.
Steam, by Jove!

Gears of War 3 Quick Review

Overall, excellent. Traviss rescues the story from the inanity of Blezinski's writing, and ties things up rather neatly at the end. Plenty of monsters, some good (if predictable and somewhat overdone) set-piece fights, some very nicely done enemy transformations. Multiplayer seems to be heavily improved.

MASSIVE Spoilers below the cut.

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Steam, by Jove!

Books that improve on a second reading...

...and some that don't.

Today, the Successors of Heinlein!

Do: Buettner's 'Orphanage'. I thought this was a lazy Starship Troopers ripoff the first time I read it. Second time, I realized that it was a rather well-done homage to/retelling of Starship Troopers. Buettner hints at a slow-motion dystopia (easy 'reabsorbtion' of pregnancies at 1 month by a pill, super-Prozac available over the counter and commonly used by teenagers, etc.) rather than Heinlein's pre-Federation collapse. Where Juan Rico was naive and kinda dopey, Jason Wander was naive but covering with modern snark, sarcasm & cynicism. The dystopia speeds up as the Slugs start hitting cities, more than just a few that the Bugs managed. It's a very desperate situation, and desperate measures are taken. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I'm glad I picked this up again and gave it another chance.

Don't: Gerrold's War against the Chtorr. Great premise, but it takes forever to get anywhere, and the Heinlein-esque quotes and sexual 'liberation' are a bit tired.  The bizarre psychological games that consume most of a book are a very strange read. They also suffer from 'lastest neat thing-itis'. Remotely-piloted attack robot animals? Er....even given their backstory (and the sudden introduction of said backstory), it feels like retro-fitting on some chrome for the sake of having something shiny.
Steam, by Jove!

Carolyn Janice Cherryh, you got me again.

Moving a few things around in my bedroom, I came across my copy of Rimrunners.

Opened it up, read a few pages.

Finished it three days later.

I had forgotten how much I liked it.

Now, I've dragged out Downbelow Station, Merchanter's Luck, Heavy Time, Hellburner, Finity's End, and Tripoint.

There's something about these books that I dearly love*, even more than the Chanur series (which is saying something), and what I've read of her Foreigner books. For some odd reason, though, I've had trouble getting into Cyteen, let alone Regenesis. And I admit that I haven't tried Serpent's Reach or 40,000 in Gehenna in a while. I think I'm going to try those again, now.

In an alternate universe, somewhere, there's a Downbelow Station mini-series on HBO, instead of A Game of Thrones.

Who plays Signy Mallory? And in the Rimrunners spinoff, Bet Yeager?

Somewhere in my miniatures studio is a few pages of notes on building a model of ECS5 Norway...

*even with the docking method not working at all. Sure, you might be able to thrust up and sideways, but that station spin you're matching is pretty fast to provide anything close to 1g. Let alone the mass of a huge, long ship being perpendicular to the centripetal force, all concetrated at that nose anchor...