Friday, November 29, 2013

Okay, you may now listen to Christmas music.

Thanksgiving is concluded, it is permissible to think about Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas music. That is all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wicked Awesome Hockey

I was lately in Boston for reasons of business and, while there, was able to take in my first NHL game. First hockey game at all, at all, in fact. It was well enough in its way, but I can't see it catching on.

Baseball Phanatics

So, clearly I'm not being very diligent about reporting on my baseball trip from *ahem* two months ago. Where were we? Oh, yes. The last post was about the Nationals, so this one will be about the Phillies. This was another good game, but the home team went back to their losing ways unfortunately. The game was still great fun and had some interesting plays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year is like all the others in that there is much for which one ought to be thankful, but unlike others in that this year we have just bought a house. Seems crazy, but it's true. May you find many things to be thankful for and remember to give thanks for them the rest of the year as well.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Capital Day for Baseball (Capitol?)

So the day after my dad and I went to see the Pirates, we ventured to Washington DC to see the Nationals take on the Braves. It was the second of two games that day (apparently, due to a technicality, it was not considered a doubleheader) because the first game was postponed from Monday after the shooting at the Naval Yard in DC that is just down the street from the ballpark. The atmosphere was a bit somber, but a good time was still had. Because my parents live pretty close to DC, we took the Metro in a bit early and took a look at the World War II memorial which wasn't built the last time I was there. Pictures and more reminiscences after the jump.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

So Tired

Turned out that I wasn't able to keep up with posting from the road for the baseball games. I will get some more of the pictures and such-like up here soon, but there is laundry to be done, naps to be taken, kids to be cared for and... you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pirates Narrowly Avoid Being Perfect Victims

Monday evening was the Pirates hosting the Padres. It was a bit of a drive, but I think worth it. Here's a slightly crooked shot of PNC Park from the Roberto Clemente bridge at 9th in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Hate Airports

The flying itself isn't so bad, but all the things that go along with it are incredibly annoying. Dealing with what Mark Steyn calls the TSA's Gropenfuhrers, planes that are packed to capacity, dismal food, short connections in illogical cities. If it wasn't so much quicker, no one would bother. Anyway, after the jump, here's a picture from the airport.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It Begins

My vacation, that is. I just left work and I'm not headed back until October. Saturday I fly out to meet my dad for a tour of baseball where we'll see six games in six days at six different parks. (We'll actually see seven games at seven parks, but the seventh game isn't consecutive with the others.) We're going to see the Pirates, the Nationals, the Orioles, the Phillies, the Mets, the Yankees, and the Red Sox all on their home fields. I'm going to try to be good about documenting the trip here with pictures and posts, but we'll see how it works out in practice.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aubrey-Maturin First/Last Lines

I've been thinking about first and last lines from books. Some last lines are famous (The Lord of the Rings) and some first lines are famous (Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice). But often times books are famous without their first and last lines being famous. So, maybe we'll have some first/last lines posts. Or maybe I'll be lazy and just do this one. We'll see. Below the jump are the first and last lines to every book in the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. Despite having read them all several times, I was surprised by how long some of the first lines are. The first line from The Far Side of the World is particularly long. If you haven't read any of these books, I can scarcely recommend them highly enough.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Twitter Test

Just a quick test to see if this post automatically gets tweeted.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

You'll Have the (Most Miserable) Time of Your Life

I'm dropping my kids off at camp today. I hope and expect that they'll have a good time. But I'm afraid that they won't. My first summer camp experience was one of the worst weeks of my life. I was painfully shy, knew next to no one and spent most of the week by myself. It was better the next year, but if I'd had my druthers I wouldn't have gone. Ultimately, I'm glad my parents made me go, but I do hope that my younger daughter (who is shy much like I was) has an easier time than I did.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Large Mob Is Still A Mob

I've been on Twitter for a little while now, and it seems that there is a consistent bias (I don't mean to pick on Mr Geraghty specifically, his was just the tweet that sent me to my soapbox) against paying any mind to people with few followers. Now, granted, it can be very hard to pay any mind to someone you don't follow, since you won't see what they say most of the time. But I'm not just talking about the fact that folks with few followers tend to be harder to find and their words are seen by fewer people.

When replying to someone who has thousands (or even millions) of followers on Twitter, there is a tendency among folks of all stripes to denigrate any offering from someone with only a few hundred (or dozen!) followers. The unstated assumption seems to be that if you had anything worth saying, or if you were at all correct, more people would be paying attention to you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Great Day for Baseball

On Saturday evening I was able to go to the M's game against the A's and use the company's season tickets. Well, a couple of them. I'm not sure how many they have. The ones I got to use were the really, really good ones though. How good? Well, I was next to the visitor's dugout, not behind it, but beside it. And in the front row with only a camera well between me and the action. I do think I was closer to home plate than the pitcher was. It was... amazing.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I understand my dad just a little bit better.

As I've gotten older, from time to time, moments occur that cause me to have a little bit better understanding of my father and why he did the things he did. Most of the time they are very minor things and minor moments and this morning was no exception. I woke up because my son was awake and I blearily noted how light it was already and assumed I'd slept right through my alarm. After a few minutes I drifted off again. When I woke up next I knew it had been light before and it must be much later now. Probably 11 or something and I'd slept half the day away. Then my alarm went off. It was 7am.

Turns out that I've gotten to the point where sleeping until 7am counts as sleeping in for me. And here's where it connects with my dad: I'm pretty sure this is something he does/did. As a kid, I always used wonder why he never "slept in". Why would he wake up so early, even on a Saturday? Now I know: he was sleeping in on Saturday.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Why you shouldn't build that time machine.

But you probably will anyway. A couple of videos that could serve as PSAs about the dangers of messing with the space-time continuum. Watch out, there are a couple words that might offend your ears in the this one (from ToshiStation). But not this one.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Guilty and the Innocent

“If I were a defendant and were innocent, I would want to be tried in a military court, rather than a civilian court. If guilty, a civilian, rather than a military.”
~Robert Bork

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Bad Habits

"The life of adventurers, gamesters, gypsies, beggars, and robbers is not unpleasant. It requires restraint to keep men from falling into that habit. The shifting tides of fear and hope, the flight and pursuit, the peril and escape, the alternate famine and feast of the savage and the thief, after a time render all course of slow, steady, progressive, unvaried occupation, and the prospect only of a limited mediocrity at the end of long labour, to the last degree, tame, languid, and insipid. Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief."
~Edmund Burke, p. 172-3

The Vulgar Thomas Paine

Paine has a following still: with interesting archaism, the village atheist continues to pass out paper-backed copies of The Age of Reason. Radicalism having passed Paine by long ago, the twentieth century does not turn to him for political wisdom—merely for brilliant examples of what James Boulton accurately calls "the vulgar style" of political rhetoric.
~Edmund Burke, p. 158-9

Burke and the French Revolution

Burke knew that men are not naturally good, but are beings of good and evil, kept in obedience to a moral law chiefly by the force of custom and habit, which the revolutionaries would discard as so much antiquated rubbish. He knew that all the advantages of society are the product of intricate human experience over the centuries, not to be amended overnight by some coffee-house philosopher. He knew religion to be man's greatest good, and established order to be the fundamental of civilization, and hereditary possessions to be the prop of liberty and justice, and the mass of beliefs we often call "prejudices" to be the moral sense of humanity.
~Edmund Burke, p. 152

A Clear, Concise Indictment of D&D

And one that does not make accusations of immorality (well, perhaps a little bit, but not as you might expect).
D&D was originally as artificial as chess: ill-assorted groups of ‘adventurers’, patterned vaguely after the Fellowship of the Ring, wandering through improbably spacious underground complexes excavated for no clear reason, practising aggravated assault and grand larceny on an omnium gatherum of exotic monsters. Any attempt at ‘realism’ is an advance on this in a way, and in another way it only shows up the silliness of the original conceit. The Palace of Versailles was built round a royal hunting-lodge, and takes much of its asymmetry and structural inconsequence from that. Well, D&D is like a palace built round one of those astoundingly tacky hot-dog stands in the shape of a giant hot dog. It is a brilliant testimony to the skill of the architects, but less creditable to their judgement.
From Bondwine.

Friday, May 03, 2013

By This Shall All Men Know

That is, of course, a reference to John 13:35. Jesus goes on to say that it is the love we have for each other that indicates to the world that we are His disciples. Of course, I have no quarrel with that. But I have been thinking about another indicator that the Church of Christ has given up and left to other, older, more hierarchical forms of Christianity: clerical clothing.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I Will Not Compromise With My Conscience

The problem with all the recent attempts by the libertarian-leaning folks in the conservative movement and the Republican party proper to get social conservatives to acquiesce in a softening of what is expected of national politicians is that they fail to understand that these are moral questions before they are political ones. Too often, these people who urge us to compromise for a greater, future good are people without morals or with weak morals.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Communism and Reasonable Men

[A]fter the conduct of the Communist regimes in Russia and China and Hungary and elsewhere it is impossible for any reasonable man really to believe that Communism is the path to perfection.
~Russell Kirk, The American Cause (1957)

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Private Sphere in 1957

Everywhere in America, individuals and private voluntary associations jealously reserve to themselves the rights of choice and action in those spheres of activity which most nearly affect the private person. The state touches these private concerns only upon suffrance, or not at all. Religious belief and affiliation are matters wholly of private choice; economic activity, by and large, is left to the will of individuals; social relationships are voluntary and private relationships; where one lives, and how is not determined by political authority. Quite as much as in England, an American's home is his castle. A great many Americans live their lives through without ever conversing with a civil servant, or even saying more than good morning to a policeman. Americans have no official cards of identity, or internal passports, or system of national registration. Until 1941, America never experienced peacetime conscription into the armed forces. Nowhere in the world is the operation of government less conspicuous than in the United States. If an American citizen desires to abstain altogether from political activity, even to the extent of never voting, no one interferes with him; and for millions of Americans, their only direct contact with government is their annual submission of income-tax reports. Private life looms much larger than public life in the American commonwealth.

Even in those concerns which have been opened to local or state or federal political activity, the theory persists that political authority operates only as a convenience to private citizens. The public schools, for instance, are intended simply to facilitate the education of young people, not to enforce the educational doctrines of central authority: although nearly all the states require that children should be schooled in some fashion, everywhere parents are free to educate their children privately, or in denominational schools, if they prefer such methods to enrollment in public schools. The American assumption is that education is primarily the concern of the family and the individual, not of the political state; and this frame of mind extends to many more activities in which the state acts as servant, rather than as master.
~Russell Kirk, The American Cause (1957)

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Before we get started, let me say that, after Checkerboard Nightmare, Time Friends was the best thing Kristofer Straub ever did. And the fact that the archives aren't available online is a travesty. Not that anything we can ever do will change that, but I'm glad I was able to say that publicly. Okay, now that is out of the way...

H8rs Gonna H8

What is this compulsion people have, primarily on the internet, but also in the real world, for using unnecessary abbreviations? In some circumstances, indeed, frequent abbreviation makes sense. When one tweets (loathsome term!), one must cut and abbreviate ruthlessly in order to be able to say much at all. But rarely is this necessary in a comment box and never in the primary source work.

I'm not speaking of those common workaday abbreviates like NATO, USA, USSR or the like. Nor do I object to the creation of abbreviations for a phrase to be repeated many times throughout a body of writing. What I question is the need for such terms as IIRC, IMHO, BTW, and the one I had never seen until recently: ISTR. That last, apparently, stood in for "I seem to recall."

I know I'm not the first person to rail against this impulse and I shan't be the last, but what I'm really curious about at the moment (ATM?!) is why some folks have this impulse. Are they really in that much of a hurry? Do these phrases really occur that often? Will they all be nearly universally understood? Also, where's my cane? I need to chase these dang kids off my lawn.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Okay, okay; so that's not the most creative title you've ever seen, or indeed, that I've ever come up with. On the other hand, it is right about the same level as the quips in the latest Bond film. In fact, the entire movie ends up seeming like nothing so much as a parody of itself.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Falling Behind

An interesting short film called A Little Bit Behind linked from Toshi Station. A word or two of language you won't hear on US TV, but otherwise unobjectionable, I think.

Monday, April 08, 2013

What's Wrong With the DH

I've never been able to articulate it as well as this, but I've always been four-square the designated hitter. As this article points out, it makes about as much sense as a designated free-throw shooter.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The loss of manners and beauty

I am saying, or suggesting, only this: when the faith and the institutions of society which nurtured beauty are fallen into disuse, neither money nor governmental decree can revive beauty. Manners and beauty are not the subjects of fiat. The arbiters of manners and artistic taste, as of morals, Davy Hume said, are men of strong sense and delicate sentiment, whose impressions force themselves upon the wills of their fellow men. Destroy that class of persons, and you destroy manners and beauty.

And, manners and beauty vanished, no culture survives that is worthy of the name. That consummation attained, the best a society may hope for is an endless boredom of utilitarian ugliness; but the odds are that soon such a "civilization" will feel at its throat the prick of the bowie knife.
~Russell Kirk, The Intemperate Professor, p. 159

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A proper fear

And there are things which rightfully we ought to fear, if we are to enjoy any dignity as men. When, in an age of smugness and softness, fear has been pushed temporarily into the dark corners of personality and society, then soon the gods of the copybook headings with fire and sword return. To fear to commit evil, and to hate what is abominable, is the mark of manliness. "They will never love where they ought to love," Burke says, "who do not hate where they ought to hate." It may be added that they will never dare when they ought to dare, who do not fear when they ought to fear.

~Russell Kirk,  The Intemperate Professor, p. 74

As for me and my house...

Joe Carter says what needs to be said.