Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 40: Joke Pictures

Welcome Conversion Diary readers!
This week we're going to keep it light with some little joke pictures I made:

1. Cat Stevens in Space!

2. The Rescuers foretold*

3. Mongolian pet shops are hardcore!

4. A little reported greeting Pope Francis gave upon meeting Vladimir Putin

5. Putin's next formal reception was a little more laid back

6. Pope Francis's, on the other hand...

7. Still, he's had worse

*In case you don't get this one, the two actors are George C. Scott and Geraldine Page: these two pages will explain the rest.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes Vol. 39: Presidential Trivia Edition!

                I’ve been reading a good deal about various past Presidents lately (mostly the comparatively obscure ones, because they have some of the best surprises) and have stumbled across some (I think) interesting little factoids. So, for today’s 7 Quick Takes, I’m going to share some in the form of a series of trivia questions (visitors from Conversion Diary, I again apologize for the conspicuous lack of cute babies).

1.       Which Presidents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery?
A.      John F. Kennedy (which everyone knows) and William Howard Taft. Why Taft? Taft had a really remarkable career, which included Secretary of War, Governor of the Philippines (which he successfully calmed down following the American-Filipino War), Solicitor General, Governor of Cuba, President of the United States, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Apparently, it was considered only fitting that he should be laid to rest in the Union’s most hallowed ground (his wife, Helen, is interred there as well). 

2.       Who is the only President to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor?
A.      Theodore Roosevelt, though he was awarded it posthumously. He won it for his suicidal bravery during the Battle of San Juan Hill, during the first half of which he was the only mounted man on the battlefield (which he did to inspire his troops), and during the second part of which he ended up storming San Juan Hill with only four other soldiers (the others didn’t hear him calling the charge). Roosevelt then ran back to his men, all the while under heavy fire, to berate them for not following, then became the first man to reach the enemy trenches while leading the charge. It’s frankly a miracle he survived.
So why did he have to wait until the Clinton administration to get his reward? Politics. Roosevelt made a stink about the delay in bringing the troops home after the war (many of whom were contracting tropical diseases), which resulted both in the homecoming of the troops and the embarassment of many of the top brass, who got even by letting Roosevelt's cause for the Medal of Honor sit and rot for the rest of his life. Roosevelt shrugged it off and ran for governor.

3.       Who was the first President to take up Golf?
A.      Once again, William Howard Taft. Taft was a surprisingly active man considering his weight: he enjoyed dancing, was the first President to throw the opening pitch of the baseball season, and in golf he found an engaging past-time that didn’t place over-strenuous demands on his body. His love for golf helped popularize the sport among Americans, and thus began a long, often painful history of golfing Presidents.

4.       Which President annually dressed as Santa Claus to deliver gifts to school children?
A.      Theodore Roosevelt. Among his many other virtues, Roosevelt was an extremely kind man who loved children (something he no doubt learned from his father, Theodore Roosevelt sr. who created a boarding house for New York’s orphaned newsboys). Every year he would visit Cove School in his hometown of Oyster Bay, dressed as Santa, to talk with the kids and hand out presents (he bought the presents out of his own pocket). Santa got fairly mobbed by his young friends on Christmas 1898, after his exploits in Cuba. Roosevelt continued the tradition until 1918, when his rapidly failing health prevented him. His son, Archie, filled in for him instead.  

And we got some cute baby pictures in after all!
5.       Which President, while serving as an officer during wartime, didn’t lose a single man under his command?
A.      Harry S. Truman. Commanding an artillery regiment in France during the First World War, Truman decided he couldn’t face the prospect of losing a man under his command, so he vowed to see them all safely through to the end. Miraculously, and despite some close shaves, he managed it, and his troops never forgot that fact.

6.       Which President (not counting Obama) was accused of having a Black ancestor?
A.      Warren G. Harding. The rumor that his great-great grandmother was a black woman had begun generations before and entered family legend. His great-great grandfather claimed that it had been started by a thief whom the family had caught in the act as an attempt at extortion, but considering how socially debilitating it would be if true, who knows whether that’s the case or not? Remember, at the time the ‘One-drop’ rule was in effect: in certain parts of the country, any proven Black ancestors meant that you were legally Black (and no, now that you mention it, that doesn't make any sense).
To his credit, when the issue came up in the 1920 election, Harding didn’t bother denying it. His answer when confronted with the question was, and I quote: “How the hell should I know?”

7.       Of the four murdered Presidents, who was the only one who wasn’t shot in the presence of his family members?
A.      William McKinley. Compounding the tragedy of our four Presidential assassinations is the little noted fact that three of them were committed right in front of the murdered man’s family. Lincoln and Kennedy both were shot in front of their wives, while James Garfield was gunned down while in company of his two sons (ages 16 and 18). McKinley was spared this, in part, due to the fact that both his children died in early childhood and that his wife, Ida, was too weak and sickly to join in most of his public events. McKinley’s response to being shot (after stopping the crowd from beating his murderer, Leon Czolgosz) was to urge his secretary to be careful in how he told his wife.

             Bonus Trivia!
McKinley had a habit of wearing a red carnation in his lapel for good luck. He didn’t have it on him when he was shot because he had given it to a little girl just a few minutes earlier.
Rot in Hell, Czolgosz! 

Vivat Christus Rex!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 1571

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
    Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)
         By G.K. Chesterton 

Friday, October 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 38

1.     Missed the last few weeks for the usual reasons, so some of these are left-overs from earlier attempts. As always, hosted by the marvelous Conversion Diary. If you came here from there, I sincerely apologize for the lack of cute children on this blog. 

2.     Remember how last time I said I was in the market for a gas mask? Well, I got one! That military surplus store came through (though it was a bit farther away than I had anticipated). The staff was friendly, laid-back, and helpful, and I walked away with an Israeli civilian model mask that fits over my glasses and beard (which I hadn’t even considered until the clerk brought it up), a filter, a hydration straw, and a couple of old field manuals: one on first aid, the other on setting booby traps (let’s see people ignore that “no solicitors” sign now!). Actually, that inspired me to go on something of a bug-out bag shopping rampage, and I ended up with a few more tools for my car, an extra roll of duct tape (forgetting I’d already gotten one), lots of rope, and a blanket for my car (getting ready for winter). Now I really should get the actual bag part, but I’ve been spending way too much lately and need to go on a freeze for a while (look, there was a rare DVD of The Return of Godzilla available and a complete eleven-film set of the Gamera series: I wanted to grab them while I still could).

3.     I’m listening to a biography of Calvin Coolidge at the moment, which I’m enjoying. The more I learn about him, the more I relate to Coolidge: the quiet, introverted, bookish lawyer who made friends slowly and eventually rose to be an extremely successful President. He also had an amusingly deadpan sense of humor, as in the famous anecdote where his response to the lady who informed him that she had made a bet that she could get more than two words out of him during the evening was “you lose.”
Oh, and I find this picture of him and his wife to be an absolutely hilarious image of the principle “opposites attract”:

She looks like she's about to start flirting with the cameraman, he looks like he's severely constipated. True love, ladies and gentlemen!

4.     By the way, there’s one particular set of invoices at work that have been the bane of my existence for months and now are possibly almost done. There are three of them (all for the same PO), two of which are released for payment while the third and largest sits there with no word on what the holdup is.  Interestingly, the numerical designation of the company they come from starts off with “666.” Coincidence? I think not.

5.     This week I learned that some people can not get around to reading emails for months on end. I honestly didn’t realize that. See, since e-mail is more or less my equivalent of Stephen Hawking’s voice box, I have my email up pretty much all the time as a matter of habit, whether at work or home (sad, I know). So the idea of missing an email for months (heck, more than a day or two) is completely foreign to me. This actually makes me feel a lot better about the oft-long waits between correspondents’ replies (“they’re not ignoring me! It’s just that they’re just normal and I’m not!”).

6.      Today I once more indulged my odd habit of making dark jokes out of historical figures. Gives you a pretty good idea how my mind works. Here are a couple samples:

“Startling new evidence has emerged proving that the hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole was actually created in a fit of bitterness by Robert Falcon Scott as one final "F you" to Roald Amundsen.”

“Well, that could’ve gone better.”
-J. Bruce Ismay upon landing in New York, April, 1912

7.     And we’ll round out with an actual quote:

“Some people misunderstand evil, and believe it will relent. And because their misplaced hope inspires dark hearts to dream darker dreams, they are the fathers and mothers of all wars. Evil does not relent. It must be defeated. And even when defeated, uprooted, and purified by fire, evil leaves behind a seed, that will one day germinate and, in blooming, again be misunderstood.”
-Odd Thomas, Odd Apocalypse

 Vivat Christus Rex!

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes vol. 37

Still hosted by Conversion Diary, which is the reason I now regret giving back my parents' XM radio.

1.       It’s been so long since I’ve done these that I’m tempted to just tear down and start over. That happens kind of a lot. I’ve made several attempts to restart the series, but I kept getting distracted while deciding what to include and then forgetting to finish. I do most of these at work, you see, so when an actual, you know, assignment comes across my desk I kind of have to drop blogging and do it. Often that leads me to other things I need to do, at least one of which will make me want to walk out the door and start that rattlesnake sanctuary I’ve always dreamed of. If nothing else, the temperamental printer or my stroke-inclined computer will be sure to do the trick if they think I’m enjoying myself too much.

2.       Still working on finding other jobs (around Michigan now: no longer moving to Texas). I just applied to one that I really hope I get, but I won’t say anymore because I highly doubt I will (lack of retail experience, you see). It does, however, encourage me to look more into that particular field for other possible jobs, because I think I’d really like that sort of thing, and might be pretty darn good at it. More later.

3.       Writing wise, I’m slowly slogging my way through The Order of the Rattlesnake: a book about a secret society of knights battling witches in the modern day. The idea behind it was partly because I wanted to try my hand at a young adult book (so of course it features horrible murders, heavily-implied rape, and sociopathy, because apparently I have a horribly dark imagination) and partly because of a comment I found on John C. Wright’s blog (highly recommended, btw). I don’t remember which post is was from, but it ran:

“But I have to say, what I’ve found is that the ideas [in modern fantasy] mainly boil down to “They say witches are evil – BUT THEY’RE NOT! They say vampires are evil – BUT THEY’RE NOT! They say werewolves are evil – BUT THEY’RE NOT!” and so on.”

And so I decided “I’m going to do the complete opposite: I’m going to make this about knights vs. witches in which the witches are actually every bit as bad as they’re made out.” We’ve had quite enough of these “OMG! Vampires are totally innocent victims!” stories: time to start nudging things back a bit. My witches are really evil and magic is a very bad thing.

4.       This has been a really staggering year for film-industry deaths: Shirley Temple, Bob Hoskins, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall (the last of the Golden Age Hollywood stars), and now the mighty Richard Kiel. Kiel is, of course, most famous for playing the beloved Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker: one of the two essential Bond henchmen (the other, of course, being Harold Sakata’s Oddjob), though he had many, many other roles during his long career (several of which ended up on MST3K). His most famous role apart from the Bond films was probably as the intimidating alien in the classic Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man (“That sounds encouraging!”). Like many actors famed for playing bad guys, Kiel was by all-accounts a good-natured soul and was a fervent evangelical Christian. As something of a cinephile, I’ve always had especial fondness for working actors like Kiel, and his intimidating presence will be missed. May eternal light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace.

5.       Problems I don’t think normal people have: I’m in the market for a gas-mask, but I can’t find one that will fit over my glasses. I plan on checking out a nearby Army surplus store to see what they’ve got (Why am I in the market for a gas mask? You read the same news I do, right?).

6.       I note that some people seem to consider the Charley Chan movies racist. I’m really not sure what hateful racial stereotype is advanced by having a courageous, polite Oriental gentleman travelling around the world out-witting predominantly white opponents.

7.       Sign on the entrance to REI: “Service animals only.”
Me: “You can’t bring animals in here! This is an outdoors store!”  

Vivat Christus Rex!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Diversity

                Yesterday, my office had its annual ‘diversity training,’ in which the message ‘don’t be rude to people just because they are superficially different than you’ was clumsily presented for our consideration. Because, I guess, if we somehow missed the message that every piece of media in this country has been screaming at us for the past few decades, an hour’s review of company policy will do the trick.
                Okay, to be fair, if you do encounter actually discriminatory behavior, it’s good to know the procedure for dealing with it internally.
                Another valuable lesson we learned is that Orientals are stupid. No, seriously; that’s the takeaway. They explained that stereotypes are always ‘wrong’ and that one stereotype is that Oriental people are smart. So, apparently, to avoid that harmful stereotype, we must assume they are stupid. Diversity ftw!
                On that subject, one of the videos they showed us was a brief clip of a talk being given by a charismatic gentleman from Vietnam. For the first part of the video, he spoke with a very thick ‘Asian’ accent, only to switch to perfectly normal English for the second part. We were then asked to consider why we assumed an Oriental person would speak with an Oriental accent.
                I pointed out that we assumed he spoke with an accent because he was, in fact, speaking with an accent. Apparently, proper diversity means assuming that anyone with an accent is faking it in an attempt to be amusing. At least, I can’t conceive any other lesson to take from the video (I was told that we weren’t supposed to think about it that deeply. Alrighty then).
                The whole ‘diversity’ thing rubs me the wrong way, and not just because in practical terms it usually translates to “confess your blood guilt, white-Christian-male!” In the first place, I need to point out that ‘diversity’ is not a noun of value. ‘Diversity’ is not positive and ‘uniformity’ negative, as ‘strength’ is positive and ‘weakness’ is negative, or ‘beauty’ is positive and ‘ugliness’ is negative. The mere fact of being diverse does not make a thing better or worse in any way.
                For instance, imagine two groups of six executives: one is comprised entirely of white men. The other has one white man, one black man, one Oriental woman, one Indian woman, one Hispanic homosexual man, and one Jewish homosexual woman. Only with the information provided, can you tell me which group is likely to come up with a more profitable idea than the other?
                Of course not! Because none of the factors listed are remotely relevant to the task at hand. For all we know, the ‘uniform’ group is made up of Nobel Prize nominees and Mensa members, while the ‘diverse’ group is comprised of a variety of deadbeat executive offspring riding high on a wave of nepotism. Or the reverse could be true, and the diverse group could be comprised entirely of geniuses (except the Oriental woman of course, because that would be a hateful stereotype) while the uniform group was made up of janitors from a special needs work program who snuck into the executive office on a whim.
                You simply don’t know. ‘Diversity’ tells you nothing about a person’s skills, interests, education, background, intelligence, thought-process, experience, integrity, or any other element that actually matters in business or society.
                Incidentally, it doesn’t even give you an idea of how truly diverse a group actually is. For all we know, the group containing the white man, black man, Oriental woman, etc. all grew up in the same town, went to the same college, subscribes to the same beliefs, vote for the same candidates, watch the same shows, and eat at the same restaurant. The only thing you know about them is that they all come from different ancestors (and two of them have different sexual habits). The group may be, in fact, as bland and uniform as drywall, once you get passed the superficial facts of sex and skin color.
                On the other hand, the group comprised entirely of white men may include one man who is an ex-Belgian Special Forces Commando haunted by the terrible things he had to do in Zaire, another man who spent twenty years in Greenpeace until he was kidnapped by a drug cartel, had his left thumb chopped off and mailed to his family, then escaped by tearing a guard’s throat out with his teeth, another man who was an Olympic curling champion from Miami despite the fact that he lost his left eye in a training accident and who regularly volunteers at children's hospitals, another who is struggling to decide between his love for the curling champion’s daughter and his dedication to the Buddhist way of radical detachment, another who was born in the Alaskan frontier where he killed and ate his first grizzly at the age of five, and another who graduated from Harvard business school.
                My point isn’t that ‘diversity,’ as it is generally thought of by our current society, is bad. My point is that it’s not good. It simply doesn’t matter. No group, no organization, no community is better or worse for having members showcasing a wide variety of different ethnic and religious groups. Diversity, as we generally think of it, is neither an advantage nor a defect; only superficial nonsense. It’s a big fuss over nothing.
                Though, I must add that I think if it does have any moral character, it must be a bad one. Focusing on diversity necessarily means emphasizing the various boxes people can be imagined to fit into, and though the ostensible point is to encourage us to look beyond these boxes, I think the practical upshot is more often that the habit of lumping people together into faceless categories is reinforced. I heartily agree with Justice Clarence Thomas in his assessment that it makes no sense to try to get beyond issues of race by constantly talking about it and emphasizing it. I mean, does it really help us look beyond differences in appearance and ancestry by making the presence of such differences a major selling point of your organization? “Look at how many blacks and Hispanics and women we have! Now if you make an issue of their sex or race, we’ll fire your ass. Isn’t it great to work in such diverse company?”
                With regards to corporations, the only thing that should matter is a person’s qualification for the position, not an eager desire to be ‘diverse’ and ‘inclusive.’ If you end up with all white men, or all black men, or all Orientals (blindly advancing the racist stereotype of their vast brain power in the process), then so what? As long as you select for qualifications and no other reason, you haven’t done anything wrong.
                With regards to people, there’s a largely-forgotten notion that encompasses all you need to know to navigate a diverse community: ‘courtesy.’ Just be polite, for goodness' sake! Don’t try to list all the different boxes of people you can think of and resolve to acknowledge their ‘okayness:’ just learn your manners and use them. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Don’t think about what box a person may or may not fit into, just be polite and courteous.
                Personally, I have all the social skills of an autistic rat snake, so I’m probably not the best person to be offering advice on this point. But it seems to me that all this talk of diversity and inclusiveness which is drilled into our heads over and over and OVER again is not only clumsy, ill-conceived, and often counterproductive, but unnecessary. Why go through all the complex sorting of people into a variety of different categories and then explaining how those categories are used against them, and then emphasizing that you really shouldn’t do the thing we just spent ten minutes going over? Instead, just say something like “this is the way a gentleman treats others. This company only employs gentlemen.”
                This policy worked well for Robert E. Lee. Do you think you know better than Robert E. Lee? (dials) "Hello? State of Virginia? I'd like to inform you of someone who hates Robert E. Lee. Yes, I'll hold for the National Guard."  

“We have but one rule here, and it is that every student must be a gentleman…what do you mean I’m fired? I only said Mr. Sakura showed great intelligence…'racial slur'?!”

Vivat Christus Rex!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Feeling…Lonely. For those who don’t know, most of my contact with friends is via e-mail, and right now I’m in one of those ‘between’ stages where I’ve emailed most of them, but haven’t started getting any replies. Meanwhile, my best friend has been stuck working for the past few weekends, my own job happily sucks the life out of me like a gourmet vampire, my favorite blogs haven’t had any major updates lately, and I’m experiencing a slight crash from gorging on romantic fiction (okay, mostly Teen Titans and Monster Hunter International, but those are the kinds of romances that really get to me: the kind with super-powers, monsters, and lots of explosions. Not to mention brainy-brunettes and super-sweet redheads. Sigh…).

Seeing…My cluttered work desk. At least I’m supposed to get rid of that stupid nameless package that’s been sitting there for over a week waiting for someone to claim it today.

Smelling…My own coffee-breath. One of the reasons I got hooked on coffee was because I like the scent of it on my breath. Of course, this is really bad work coffee, but still.

Tasting…The aforementioned really-bad work coffee.

Listening…To the lawn guy working the weed-whacker.

Grateful…For a very nice weekend during which I got more of a handle on where I want my life to go and started hashing out some specific goals. Not too specific, but I’ll work on that. Plus I got to see my parents experience The Lego Movie for the first time. Enjoying people’s discovery of things I already love is one of my favorite things.

Hopeful…That I’ll continue to get a handle on my life. And, of course, that I’ll start getting some emails soon. And that I’ll find another job soon.

Reading…The Crusades by Hillaire Belloc, Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory, and Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia (not sure why I’ve suddenly decided to re-read the first couple Monster Hunter books: I just kind of started doing it after finishing the latest entry in the series).

Working on…The Order of the Rattlesnake: about a teenager who discovers that orders of knights work in secret against clans of evil witches in the modern world, battling monsters and sorcery with nothing but sword, shield, and prayer (sort of a reverse-Harry Potter kind of deal, where the young hero is inducted into a secret world dedicated to fighting magic). I’m not sure how happy I am with it at the moment: I love some of the characters (the heroine is a cheerfully politically-incorrect Sioux and one of the hero’s mentors is a sociopathic priest), but the story isn’t quite grabbing me (though that might be the aforementioned loneliness and soul-sucking talking). Anyway, I’ll probably keep working on it for a while, then I might switch to something else.  Oh, and starting to blog again, obviously.

Vivat Christus Rex!