Friday, February 26, 2010

Latin, pt. 2

Dr.Nuke posted earlier, regarding Mass in Latin:
may help promoting the unity among those that do not share a common language during service/prayer.

I was in Vienna for Easter in 1975 (I was 9). I didn't want to go to Mass, and tried to argue with my parents that there was no need to go, since none of us spoke German & we wouldn't be able to follow anything. This is the point in my life where I discovered Latin.

My parents: when we were children, Mass was always in Latin.

Me: that's stupid

... fast forward to 2010 ...

Some one: I want Mass to always be in Latin

Me: that's stupid

We went to Mass that Easter Sunday. Mom told me later it was some Hungarian?/not-German/not-English congregation. Definitely not speaking the vernacular, Mom & Dad decided to see how much Latin they remembered.

So ... I got to listen to Mass in Hungarian, and my parents in Latin. I assure you, there wasn't any unification goin' on with me.

Conversely ...

The first time I was in Germany with Mr.Gopher, we went to Mass with his parents. Who do speak German :-) I thought "well, I speak German, sort-of" (having, courtesy of Dr.Nuke & Mr.Gohper, learned how "sort-of" it was)... I thought steadfastly, "I can do this". ha ha. I very quickly realized I couldn't: I just recited it all in English. My father-in-law thought it was cool that I did.

I agree with Dr.Nuke's point #3; which is likely the intent behind the person I quoted. It would be nice to be able to follow some of the service if visiting a foreign land (like Lake Street in Midtown). I don't know if this is the way to do it. After all, the reason I could follow the Mass in Germany is that it is the same. Even today, at the sign of peace, we both say to each other "Der Friede sei mit dir". Not that I think peace is any more effective in German ... it's just that it is German; an offering from me to him.

At our wedding in Gladbeck, the Mass was (obviously) in German. However, being cognizant of the mixed audience, we had the Gospel read in both German and English, that being the most important of the readings to understand. We also had the Lamb of God in - yes - Latin. Sung by a Frenchwoman. Why? I am particularly fond of the arrangement; we used it at St. John's.

Almost everyone at the wedding was Catholic. It was unifying, as an aspect of our Catholic cultural history. Basically, the reason many people argue we should keep doing it on occasion. And, the reason I don't object to doing it on occasion. I see it as similar to taking the kids to the Minneapolis Art Institute to look at Greco-Roman art. It's important to understand how we as Catholics got to where we are, in order to figure out which direction we should be demanding the Church take from here. (Yo, Your Holiness: call me; let's discuss bureaucracy & theology. The staff over at St. Albert's can give you my number.)

Anyway - the Agnus Dei in Latin at my wedding: Ultimately, it was a mass offered by us to our families and friends in celebration of our marriage; it wasn't next Sunday's liturgy. And there were quite a few people singing with it; Violaine sung it a capella while standing in the middle of the congregation - she couldn't get up to the front. It was particularly appealing, truly driving home the point that we all get together and we worship together - it's an audience participation event. (and something we can do without the priest)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Modern Technology

It will be apparent, too, to anyone who has carefully considered
the wireless telegraphy chapters, that it ought to be
possible to make the sending stylus or its equivalent control
a wireless transmitter and a wireless receiver to operate the
receiving stylus, so as to be able to send pictures by "wireless."
Experiments to this end have been made with some
measure of success, and sooner or later we are almost sure
to hear that the difficulties, which are by no means small,
have been overcome.
Marvels of Scientific Invention, Thomas W. Corbin, Lippencott, Philadelphia, 1917

I suppose their 'wireless' isn't quite the same as the one I am using right now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Laugh? Cry?

Today at the University of Minnesota Industrial Hygiene lab
we return to the on-going saga of our grad student's valiant efforts to get data.
We open on the scene of her meeting with her research adviser,

meet with Pete - ok
missing peak in last experiment - just what we wanted
annoying peak at 0.7 still there - hmmm
check out experimental set up - looks ok
find wiggly thing that's not supposed to be wiggly - hmmm
find leak - good
correct leak
annoying peak at 0.7 gone - great
set up power source - good
turn power source on
power source "on" light lights up - yea!
power source makes the right ticking noises - good
fiddle with voltage regulator - looks right
loud pop - huh?
flash of white light at ammeter scale - wow, pretty lights
no more voltage
no more joy

Pete & I looked at each other and sighed ...

I'm now experiencing the joys of trying to get someone at the U's electronics shop to come fix my power source.

Maybe I'll go mattress shopping today. If it was an hour earlier, I might have called Mr.Gopher and suggested doing lunch.

I have nothing else to do in the lab until the power source gets fixed ...

I might as well laugh - it doesn't make my nose run afterwards.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Retarded: redeux


Apparently the newest target of PC-mania. "developmentally disabled", "developmentally challenged" "otherwise abled" ... ???

How about just "fucked up just like everyone else in the world"?

I am handicapped ... or is it developmentally impaired (maybe that's 'retarded') ... or crippled ... or otherwise-abled ... ?

Hell if I know what you want to call me - I just go with whatever the government form has in its demographics:
Race: Other
Gender: F
Military Status: No
Handicapped: Yes

Now ... don't be pissin' me off about this. I am handicapped (or whatever), therefore I get to pick whatever damn term I want to talk about myself or my fellowly-abled.

This is right up there with being black and calling your friends niggers. They get to because its a self-reference? But I can't, because it's grossly offensive? Is it only offensive because I'm white? Would it be equally offensive if I was Asian & calling someone nigger?

What about calling people Black rather than African-American? Is that okay these days? Or what about Colored? Is that as equally offensive as nigger? At least one person I know, who is African, didn't particularly care for being called "African American" since he was white.

Who thinks they're appointed by Linguistic Gods to tell me what I can or cannot use? I'll use any word I want any time I want. If you don't like it ... oh, well. Mind you, I do have a sense of social propriety. I'm not going to yell, "yo, cunt!" across the table of some executive business meeting.

Most women I know find 'cunt' to be the maximum offensive euphemism for 'woman'. Why? Because it's only used when trying to be offensive? I guess the Vagina Monologues wouldn't have the same advertising draw as the Cunt Monologues, or the Pussy Monologues. (One of the scenes in the play is a list of every single word possible in the English language to use as a euphemism for vagina - wow.)

Know what ...? letting Them get away with this is tantamount to signing away one's power.

By being offended at a given term, you give Them power over you.
Making Them stop using a word is not exercising power over Them; it's giving them the power to offend you.
Sure, being called a nigger by some red-neck home-boy is likely on par with being called cunt by some red-necked home-boy. Know what ... I don't give a damn.

Yup, I've been called a cunt. And ... I didn't give a damn then. Don't care now. If he was so g-damned stupid to think that his pie-hole-noise would somehow hurt me ... he's even stupider than his actions would indicate.

It isn't the word. It's how its used. The [person] who complained on my blog
... what's with using the word retarded? just wrong any way you look at it.
apparently failed to notice the term 'retarded' was applied to the Catholic Church, and not some 'developmentally disabled' person. The term 'retarded' was also immediately followed by "retarded ... as in developmentally retarded' - explicitly stating the application of this word was not about a person.

I'm a scientist; whether or not I have finished my MPH (almost there, almost there, almost there), I was a scientist long before grad school. When I wrote "retarded growth of the microorganisms" ... I was not referring to "developmentally disabled bacteria".

John Stewart Mill, a famous sociologist of the late 19th Century, wrote in his 'Sociology':
"However much their pursuit of these objects may be for the present retarded by want of electoral organization," should this monumental text be re-edited? (maybe to accommodate inadequate 21st Century education to realize that he meant "these people don't have their political shit together"). Are these pursuits are "otherwise abled"? no ... His point is that they hadn't grown and whether or not they would was yet to be determined.

The word retarded has meaning outside of a person's physical or mental development. By demanding Society ignore those other meanings detracts from the rich melange called the English language.

There are so many different physical manifestations that are today considered to be "handicaps". No one would look at me and call me a cripple - during martial arts classes or biking to school or carrying my 3 year old son.

I'm not sure if people would be understanding of assigning me to a category of "handicapped", since it's not obvious. Is it still a "handicap" if it's not obvious?

Am I handicapped? Some times I wonder myself.

Yet, I can't drive without having my neurologist reassure the DMV every 6 months that I'm safe. I can't go anywhere without my medication, on the off chance I get stuck somewhere, e.g. another unplanned 3-day stay Children's Hospital. I really shouldn't do contact sports. A serious amount of pharmacological attention to detail before/during/after pregnancy. This does handicap my life. Yet "crippled" seems more severe. That, to me, is a perception of severity. Even I wouldn't apply that term to myself.

A co-worker's sister is retarded. She doesn't seem to feel comfortable with any particular term for this, seeming equally uncomfortable with retarded (due to PC-ness) or 'developmentally disabled' (because it's long and sounds euphemistic).

Developmentally disabled is a euphemism. So are most words related to bodily functions or parts. We use euphemisms for things that make us feel uncomfortable. We curse what makes us feel uncomfortable, usually using euphemisms to help distance ourselves psychologically.

The problem is not society's use of a word. The problem is society's delusional beliefs about what that rate/level of development means about a person's intrinsic value. Changing the word ain't gonna do squat to change Society.

Therefore, move out of my way; let the handicapped get on with her life and change society, not her language.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gravely Imperilled

The future of mankind will be gravely imperilled, if great questions are left to be fought over between ignorant change and ignorant opposition to change.
John Stewart Mill, Sociology, 1879.

he also wrote in his introduction to the book well the commentary is mine:

The great increase of electoral power which the Act places within the reach of the working classes is permanent. ha ha ha The circumstances which have caused them, thus far, to make a very limited use of that power, are essentially temporary. 131 years later, does it still count as 'temporary'? It is known even to the most inobservant The powerful certainly observed this, that the working classes have [... for good or ill realized their goals/opinions are in conflict with the powerful...]. However much their pursuit of these objects may be for the present retarded seriously retarded by want of electoral organization, by dissensions among themselves, or by their not having reduced as yet their wishes into a sufficiently definite practical shape, it is as certain as anything in politics can be, that they will before long before 2010? find the means of making their collective electoral power effectively instrumental to the proportion of their collective objects.

His introduction is poignant in its delusional futility. He - and perhaps the rest of Socialists in general - completely and totally underestimated the willpower of the disenfranchised classes. Their will to do nothing is astonishing. He also completely and totally underestimated the lengths to which the propertied/powerful would go, in order to protect their status quo. Or the awe inspiring, subtle creativity they would employ.

The disenfranchised have had their "collective objects" co-opted by the rich & powerful. The powerful, fearing to loose their proportion of that power, have convinced the Little Guy that "you can be just like me". So, all these tea-party idiots are running around defending the rich & powerful because they think they, too, can become rich and powerful, and want to have those power-perqs.

What better way to fuck the little guy, than to get her to do to herself?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bumper Sticker of the Month

an oldie but a goodie

If you're not Outraged,

You're not Paying Attention

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will move our Pope and bishops to bring back Latin as a sign of the oneness of the Church.

God, help us all. "It's always been done that way" is such a retarded reason for doing anything. Retarded, as is a retarding growth or development. Retarded as in stupid, too.

I would think that social justice or caring for and feeding the Poor would be a much better "sign of oneness". You know, those minor, piddling, little things that Jesus (not the old white dude in Rome) said we ought to be doing. Shouldn't the direct commandments of Our Lord and Savior be the Truly Unifying factor for Catholics?

Sure, the Church used Latin for 1500 years. (The author fails to note what it was using before that.) So what?

Does he seriously think that making men learn Latin will make them better priests? Who gives a damn, if they can say Mass in Latin? "Increasing popularity of it"?? Great, 10 people want it in stead of 5. That's a 100% increase!! He fails to observe that requiring priests to be able to have a Latin Mass does not mean the people can follow it. They'll sit - stand - kneel and spew forth words that they might recite by rote. (as many of them do in the Vernacular) Why not require parishoners to speak Latin before they're even allowed to attend mass in Latin? Can't recite the Mass in Latin? ... oh, well, can't make your Confirmation. We'll be a much, much, much smaller Church, but, by God, we'll all speak Latin!

Will learning hosana, hosana ... agnus dei qui tolis (serious miserere here) ... Vater Unser ... uh, oops ... kyrie eleison ... uh, oops ... adoramus te ... Pater noster qui in caelis ... OMG WTF?

Does God speak Latin? Given the proportion of the population of the Catholic Church, She likely speaks Spanish. Now that's a much more practical language to learn to unify the Church.

Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. Really? Sexist bullshit is a pretty unifying factor for the Church offices in Rome; I already know they're Hell-bent on never changing that.

Latin is a unifying factor for all Roman Catholics. Really? Which Catholics is he talking about? 'Cause none of them are the ones I know. The handful of the "I want to be able to go to a Latin Mass" crowd whom I have met all think Latin is a divisive factor (admittedly they wish it wasn't, but they realize it is). And, I've never personally met anyone who thought the Mass should only be in Latin.

Latin, for any American Catholic under 40, has no ability to unify or create community. Some people @ St. John's in East Lansing thought it was nice that we sang the Lamb of God (a.k.a. Agnus Dei) in Latin occasionally. It had a very nice musical setting, admittedly. This is an appreciation for music, not an in depth connection with the divine they want every day for eternity.

A friend in Michigan worked at Zondervan's bookstore (a publishing house of Christian material ranging from bibles to theology to fiction). Garth had a woman come into the store one day who had recently converted to a sect which really emphasized personal bible study. Not remarkable in that part of the state. She was looking for a copy of the King James (not revised) version as being "more authentic". These are people who hold to the "infallible transcription" theory of biblical liturature. My friend pointed out to her that the original texts were written in Greek. She seemed devastated and on the spot decided she needed to learn old Greek, to put the least distance between her & the Word of God. Greek, not Latin.

Perhaps this deluded Catholic missed his language by a few centuries ... We ought to go back to having the liturgy in Latin, but keep the proclaimation of the Gospels in Greek, and the Psalms in Hebrew. None of this mamby-pamby 20th Century Vatican 2 bullshit ... NO! WE WANT TO BE UNIFIED ...

unified with whom?

How about unified with the Rest of the Roman Catholic Church? (read: 75% of the 1 billion Catholics in the world who are all living in poverty in 3rd/developing world countries). They don't speak Latin.

Using Latin will unify the American - and possibly European - Catholics who are all AARP members. It won't do shit for the woman in Mumbai living on 2 cents/day, who knows that when the Poor shall inherit the earth, she's going to be sitting pretty.

I've never heard a justification for Latin in the Church other than "that's the way we've always done it". Hey, we've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God for all of Human History. That's what we've always done ~ why change now? Sin is the one, true unifying experience.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow

... let it snow somewhere else.

The Gang out back on Tuesday

I have data!

I have data!

It isn't what I expected. Nor what I want.
There's something wrong; hopefully with my set-up, and not experimental design. Like leaks into the instrument (please,please,please).

But ... what the hell?! ... I have data!!

My new co-worker, Ms.Ireland, has a very independent, motivated spouse. He wrote (his idea) to the manufacturer of our brand-new instrument. (btw, did I mention I get to use the brand-new whiz-bang instrument, and not the one connected to the 25-year old computer with 1992 software that doesn't work??). He asked if they had web-based tutorials, or a "Gizmo for Dummies", since his wife was working at "some laboratory" at the U.

The manufacturer wrote back: "Is she working for Dr. R's group? We just sold him one of those." uhhh. yes. So, they're coming out tomorrow afternoon to spend an hour with Ms.Ireland & me. Thankfully, I have data (perhaps even more thankfully data that isn't what I expected) to at least base our questions on.

Of course, considering how much we paid them for the thing (waaaaaay more than my car), and they're over in St. Paul ... I think the least customer service could do is drive 25 min. westward to our labs. :-)

I have data!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It Might Get Loud

what do these people think they're doing, who

a) crank up the stereo volume in their internal combustion transportation vehicle to the point that with their windows closed and my windows closed, at 10' I can still hear it?

b) talk on their cell phone on the bus for more than a few minutes loud enough that they can be heard 6 rows away?

c) play YouTube videos on their laptop at a coffee shop so loud as to be heard 5' away?

Obviously their parents never included "that's not polite" in their social behaviour modification process.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

which is which?

der Ausschuss / Ausschuß:

I - committee, board, caucus, panel

II - junk, wastage, spoilt, rejects


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

my little capitalist

Jr.Gopher#1 asked me the other day if he could get 50 cents out of his piggy bank. Of course, I asked why. He wanted to buy a paper airplane. I said no, thinking that a rather exorbitant price, and reminded him of what he's saving his money for (a Mac the Truck from Cars). I mention it to his teacher, just as a point of amusement. She laughed, and told me the Rest of the Story ...

Jr.Gopher#1 and one of the girls were selling paper airplanes for 50 cents; or rather were trying to sell them to the other students. Who didn't have that sort of cash. Milk money is 35 cents.

Monday I picked him up & found some rather pretty paper airplanes in his stack of papers-to-take-home. Definitely worth at least 5 cents, maybe 10.

veni, vedi, ... suffragi

I came, I saw, I voted.

Today was caucus night here in Minnesota. The Republican, DFL, Independence & Green parties all met across the state. My new year's resolution was to get more politically active. So, I headed out to caucus.

I figured the Cataclysmic End of the World would occur if I attended the Republican caucus. The Minnesota DFL (a.k.a. Democrats) just isn't doing it for me these days. So, between the other 2 parties, the closest one was at the library. The Hosmer Library is down the street from our house, at 4th & 36th, we're at 16th & 36th. So ... off I went to the Green Party caucus.

Yes, I only went after looking at their party platforms. Yes, they're (9/10) okay with me, as far as policy statements go. That is the policy positions I agree with, not their execution ... which is where I anticipate diverging from the majority.

e.g. suggestion @ the caucus to have a position on supporting the RNC 8 and eliminating the state's PATRIOT-ACT imitation. This is the only point I spoke up about - the two should be separated. I'm all for eliminating the law in question; I'm not so hot on the overly-general-vague statement about the RNC 8. Separate the two. The party went with my recommendation, which was nice.

I didn't participate in the discussion about which person should get the Green endorsement for the gubenatorial race, since the Greens aren't putting forward their own candidate. I have no idea who the two people in question were anyway. When the discussion got around to party platforms and positions ... well, now there I have opinions.

I had to come home and confront Mr.Gopher. "Hi, honey, I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to be out of town on May 1st. I volunteered to be a delegate to the Minnesota Green Party Convention." This is Mr. CDU Gopher (read: one of the more conservative parties in Germany, that of course, being "conservative" in a more rational sense than the Dorks here use).

I figured the Green Party would benefit from my participation and lobbying for economic reform and non-environmental positions. I might as well put the gregarious side of my personality to use for the benefit of Mankind. Well, at least the benefit of a few people here in Minnesota.

I'll have to put a more in-depth post about the ins & outs of a political convention in May.

My new year's resolution was, after all, to be more politically active.