Sunday, October 28, 2007

I am - yet again - on hiatus...

I'm going to be writing some college application essays this week...once I finish those, I'll be putting out an essay on A Bright Shining Lie, which is a huge nonfiction book without a hero, and return to my chattering.

Meanwhile, here's some stuff I've dredged up...

There once was a lady called Ayn Rand, who wrote huge novels championing "Objectivism" (a sort of atheistic libertarianism); I found this old review of her book Atlas Shrugged interesting. (I still can't believe any sane person would name a fictional character Midas Mulligan.)

The B-Movie Catechism discovers that my web-name of "Histor" isn't quite that original, and takes a look at the lottery system in the meantime. Furthermore, his post on costumes for Hallowe'en (or All Saints' Day, if you prefer the latter celebration as my family does) inspired me to come up with animal/creature costumes:

A FROG from Frogs, (sorry, folks, no pic)


AN ALIEN FROM WAR OF THE WORLDS (dare you to try it!),

THE DEADLY MANTIS from the movie of the same name,

and of course GODZILLA.

As for me, I'm going to dress up as one of the Blues Brothers...

Anyone got a pork-pie hat they could lend me?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I attended Saturday evening mass at a nearby parish, where for whatever reason the responsorial psalm resembled the song, "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, The Old Grey Goose is Dead." Couple that with a communion hymn ("I Am The Bread of Life," to be exact) which completely lacks even the suggestion of poetry, and a Kyrie Eleison remniscent of a marching cadence, and you have a delightful instance of music getting in the way of mass.

After the mass, my dad asked, "Is there a patron saint of bad liturgical music?"

I don't think there is.

September 1st, 1983: The Day The World Almost Ended.

From Dale Price.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

In the paleo-future.....

Mark Shea recently wrote an article about old predictions about the future, such as those collected on a blog called Paleo-Future. (Hat tip to Sci-Fi Catholic.)Of course, most of these predictions were wildly inaccurate, although some have come true. (I think here of a Renaissance woodcut that depicted the technology of Utopia, with submarines, "light projected great distances," fire that burns on water, and plants modified to bear larger and tastier fruit.)

Since I have nothing wise or illuminating to say about that, I'll just show you an old prophecy that I came across in the book Misguided Weapons, which quotes at length one Dr. Vannevar Bush.

Dr. Vannevar Bush was head of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, which was in charge of everything American scientists did for the war effort, from the Manhattan Project to penicillin production. After the war - in September of 1949 to be exact, he wrote a book (Modern Arms and Free Men) on the nature of a future conflict. Of course, this could only refer to a confrontation with the Soviet Union, which by then had its own atomic bombs.

The most notable predictions:

  1. Future navies would operate only against enemy submarines, since they alone would be capable of strategic bombardment. Bombers, missiles, and land-based rockets would be useless because...
  2. Jet aircraft and anti-aircraft guns would make short work of any bomber before it got in range of any important target. Jets, however, would be incapable of dogfighting, since their velocity wide turning radii would leave them at the mercy of more maneuverable propeller aircraft. (Bush apparently believed that speed is a liability in a fighter aircraft.)
  3. As for missiles, their predictable flight paths would make them easy to shoot down.
  4. Rockets (i.e. ballistic missiles) would have a practical range of only 400 miles, and therefore only submarine-mounted rockets would be threats to the U.S. homeland.
  5. Even if rockets were capable of intercontinental flight, they would be impossible to guide, and would miss their targets by hundreds of miles - making them completely useless.
  6. The limited supply of uranium would make it "quite a few years" before the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had enough bombs to wage an all-out nuclear war. (In 1951, the USSR had 25 bombs, while the U.S. had 438, 268 of which had been built after the Soviet bomb test.)
  7. No totalitarian regime would be capable of producing the sophisticated products which free countries like the U.S. were capable of. (Bush, however, does praise the Nazi-developed V-2, which required "great ingenuity and engineering skill," and which formed the basis for all subsequent rocket science.)

Now, this is the exact opposite of what Paleo-Future is about. Bush is prophesying that various forms of technology would not be used in the future: by 1959 all of his predictions were proved wrong. So spectacularly wrong, in fact, that the author of Misguided Weapons conjectures that Bush was deliberately making false predictions in order to confuse the Soviets. However, Bush may have in fact believed everything he said, in which case a scientist, with access to the most up-to-date information on military technology, and years of experience in military research, was flat-out wrong about everything he expressed an opinion on.

I think you know what that implies.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A recommendation:

If you watch movies, I'd suggest you go to this website. The reviews are really good, such as this one on Elizabeth: The Golden Age: [this sequel] everything bad, evil and corrupt in the world ultimately is
ultimately the bitter fruit of Religion. And by Religion, I mean

technically Protestantism might be a form of religious devotion too. But The
Golden Age carefully expunges anything like actual belief or religiosity from
its minimal portrayal of the faith affiliation of its heroine.

The problem with Elizabeth was that she devised a reasonable, temperate religion intended to please everyone, and killed everyone who was not pleased by it. She was proud as a peacock, excessively secretive (excusable, considering her decidedly tense and dangerous childhood), and somewhat dishonest.

I wonder how the filmmakers would portray the Nine Year's War, in which (to use a similar modern example) Elizabeth played Khrushchev to the O'Donnell and O'Neill clans' Hungarian freedom fighters.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


The SoV2 folks banned me! Apparently I'm a traditionalist extremely-medieval Republican Pharisee (all of which are quite true) so therefore I'm Not Church.

Therefore, I'm putting the "We Aren't Church" banner up to protect all those who Are Church from my site.

Incidentially, the folks at SoV2 don't like o's, i's and e's, preferring to substitute y in their place. Which, naturally, makes them the
Spyryt yf Vatycan II "Cathylyc" Fayth Cymmunyty.

Over and out!

Why do people come to my blog?

If I can judge from the searches they use to get there, they're looking for:

st. thomas zombie (He's a good friend of mine...when he's not trying to bite my siblings. Zombies these days...)
costco leatherman charge (Umm....)
fu manchu stars (Which reminds me - The Honorable Manchu never did take up my challenge. Chicken!)
same score (Huh?)
islamic caliphate 2040 (Probably not.)

That, folks, is why you really come read Est Puzzlementem. Encourage people interested in the things above to visit this site!


Thursday, October 4, 2007

"Offertory Hymn"

(Dedicated to Cathy of Alex, who asked for it, and to a certain church in Waxahachie, TX....)

Loudly, harshly
Starts the Offertory
Organ, guitar,
Join in cacophony

Hastily the senses
Erect their best defenses...

Saints and angels
Stop their meditation
Poor souls quake at
This new irritation:

"Take those things away!
We were just trying to pray!
How are we supposed to raise our hearts to Him...

While list'ning to that Offertory Hymn?"

Before I do anything else....

Please pray for Therese Mary Catherine, and for my mom.

Finishing some unfinished business...

First off, I finished Moby Dick. 615 pages of stirring action, despondent meditation, fearsome omens, and boring blather about whales. Don't expect a review, other than these two points:

a)It could be abridged, and
b)It's a good book.

Secondly, a long while back Cathy of Alex (as she calls herself) asked for a parody to "Music of the Night." I have finally written it, and it's going up on the next post.

Finally, from the Sci-Fi Catholic... says I'm an Uber Cool History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you don't let your son watch Star Wars: he becomes a history/literature geek. (Not that I mind not having watched Star Wars...)