Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

«— Actors on a Stage
—» More Desolation

Finally

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Thankfully, someone has some sense.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:56 am

«— The Girl with the Cross
—» Finally

Actors on a Stage

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I wonder if the winner is scripted, too. Particularly good quotes to juxtapose:

The terms of the agreement make it seem as if the two candidates will be holding what amounts to a joint press conference rather than a debate in the traditional sense since there will be no direct interaction between Mr Kerry and the president.

Neither will be allowed to quiz the other and all comments must be made through the moderator, Jim Lehrer of the Public Broadcasting Service.

“It basically is ensuring that there will be a healthy exchange of ideas. There’ll be a lot of topics covered. No gimmicks, no tricks, no sudden surprises, so that we really can have a debate that’s dominated by the issues,” Karen Hughes, an adviser to Mr Bush, said yesterday.

The negotiators even argued over the temperature in the hall, with the Bush campaign wanting it to be above 70F (22C) while the Kerry campaign wanted a cooler environment.

Most importantly, the rules state: “When a candidate is speaking, TV coverage will be limited to the candidate speaking.”

The television networks have objected to this provision that they cannot show a reaction shot of Mr Kerry when Mr Bush is speaking, or vice versa.

Mr Kerry spent yesterday in Wisconsin preparing for the contest, before flying to Florida last night. Mr Bush also spent the night in Florida as the two prepared for what could be the most decisive engagement of the campaign.

Yawn. I think I may just vote for my priest this year instead.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:48 pm

«— A More Perfect Debate
—» Actors on a Stage

The Girl with the Cross

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The heartbreaking photo circulated among blogs and other news sources throughout the world has a miraculously holy ending.

Fearing the chain holding the cross around her neck might break, Viktoria took it off and wrapped it around her left hand when the siege began.

The cross was a gift from her Orthodox parents that replaced one from her baptism that somehow got lost. Viktoria said she wasn’t very religious, but always wore the cross anyway even while sleeping.

During the siege, the tiny cross became her talisman of hope. “All three days I held it in my hand and prayed,” Viktoria said.

Her mother was praying too, keeping vigil with other parents near the school. Other relatives went to church services daily and lit votive candles.

And from now on, Viktoria said, she will be in church every Sunday, her cross over her heart where it belongs.

The full AP article is available from various sources. The ABC News article includes the photo above.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:31 pm

«— Taming the Tongue
—» The Girl with the Cross

A More Perfect Debate

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According to Slashdot, there will be a debate between Badnarik (Libertarian) and Cobb (Green) opposite the staged debate for The Only Two Candidates You’re Supposed to Know Aboout®. Too bad Peroutka will not participate. I wonder if he was invited.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:53 pm

«— Mystery
—» A More Perfect Debate

Taming the Tongue

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Nevertheless, these people are doing the same: in their delusions they not only defile their bodies and disregard Authority, but abuse the Glories as well. Not even the archangel Michael, when he was engaged in argument with the devil about the corpse of Moses, dared to denounce him in the language of abuse; all he said was, “May the Lord rebuke you.” But these people abuse anything they do not understand; and the only things they do understand—merely by nature like unreasoning animals—will turn out to be fatal to them.

St. Jude, Brother of God, Ju 8-10 (NJB)

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:26 pm

«— Straw Poll
—» Taming the Tongue

Mystery

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The mysteries of our Faith are unknown and not understandable to those who are not repenting.

Archpriest Nicholas Deputatov, “Awareness of God” in the Orthodox Word Magazine, July-August 1976

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:31 am

«— A Refreshing Sip of Realism
—» Mystery

September 27, 2004

Straw Poll

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OK, quick show of hands: Why does the following situation exist:

  1. The Republican Party claims to be the Pro-life Party.
  2. We have had a Republican President and a Republican majority in Congress for four years.
  3. Killing babies is still legal.

Discuss.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 2:55 am

«— The Color Wheel
—» Straw Poll

September 26, 2004

A Refreshing Sip of Realism

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In following some links related to my previous post, I found a wonderful interview with Aidan Nichols, OP. Although I’ve heard his name before, I have never before been exposed to his thinking. This interview is brilliant and beautiful, especially where it touches on the Transcendentals — beauty, truth, goodness and unity.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 2:32 am

«— What I Miss
—» A Refreshing Sip of Realism

September 25, 2004

The Color Wheel

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The other day, the topic of politics came up while I was standing post with three shipmates. I indicated that I still didn’t know who I was going to vote for, but, “I’m definitely not voting for Kerry.” One of my fellow watchstanders looked at me like I was a dunce, “Well? What does that tell you?” That’s just the point, it doesn’t tell me anything.

Recently, Dr. Peter Bouteneff wrote an essay entitled, “Orthodox Christians and the Presidential Election” It was originally posted on BeliefNet. Though the article is too short for such a complex subject, Dr. Bouteneff’s reasoned, temperate and moderate essay has sparked a firestorm among some conservative Orthodox writers.

The Priests Patrick Henry Reardon and Johannes Jacobse have been particularly vexed by Dr. Bouteneff’s essay. Priest Patrick has posted two entries on Touchstone Magazine‘s “Mere Comments” blog: “More on the Confusion of the Orthodox,” and “Still More on the Confusion of the Orthodox.” The latter article quotes Priest Johannes’ article on the subject, though without a link citing its source. Both follow-up on an article on the same site by James Kushiner, “Orthodox Confusion.”

These articles attempt to remake the thorny issues facing our society into simple political issues with high-contrast answers. I find this false dichotomy rather less than helpful. I particularly disagree that there is a significant difference between the two political parties with the highest profiles: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party nominee for Vice-President, writes an article that compares President Bush’s voting record with Sentator Kerry’s. On a variety of significant points, the two are indistinguishable.

Priest Patrick then begs the reader, “Permit me, please, one other comment rendered in all charity,” and proceeds to question the ability of the largest Orthodox seminary in North America to train priests, implying that the seminary’s moral clarity (and, by extension, Dr. Bouteneff’s) is lacking. I question the moral clarity (and the pastoral compassion) of a priest who can only see complex issues in two colors.

Update: In the comments to an article on the Orthodoxy Today blog, Dr. Bouteneff offers a rebuttal to criticism.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:43 pm

«— Standard Formats
—» The Color Wheel

September 24, 2004

What I Miss

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After reading, for the fifth or sixth time, a post by Peter Sherry (Who wouldn’t want a pair of fierce trousers?) about repenting of his attitude towards Kentucky, I have a confession to make. I know I shall probably be flamed, but I’m still embarrassed to say I’m from Kentucky.

I try to get around it; I hem and haw. I say, “Well, my dad was in the Navy, so I’ve grown up all over the place.” Truthfully, the last twelve years of my life were in the Bluegrass of Lexington. I should probably just say, “I’m from Lexington, Kentucky,” and get over it. But I cannot.

I sorely miss a lot of people there. I miss Joseph-Beth Booksellers, where I learned the true meaning of customer service — and was spoiled for life. (There is a related story I need to blog.) I miss Sweet Jessamine Rose, a wine by Nicholasville vineyard Chrisman Mill.

Mostly, I miss St. Athanasius parish. They have been intimate companions on my journey for the last twelve years. And they are growing. They had over sixty people at last Sunday’s Divine Liturgy, and they are preparing to purchase land out by Chrisman Mill! I feel like a parent who’s missing his little girl take her first steps because he’s on a business trip.

Yet, there is much I do not miss at all: The bickering in Lexington over development. The denial of folks flaunting bumper stickers that read, “Development Destroys Bluegrass Forever,” while steadfastly refusing to produce workable solutions when greenspace could be preserved using civil engineering such as Charlotte, North Carolina, has done. The insular, provincial attitude of so many people in that state. (And I didn’t really live out in the country, so I missed the worst of it.)

North Carolina still holds the record for the state that I’ve lived in more than any other state. It edges out my twelve years in Kentucky by a month or two. (Thank Jesus!) North Carolina is a state I’m proud of. Cheerwine shreds Ale-8-One like Enron papers. And North Carolina has coastline property.

North Carolina authentically carries Confederate heritage; she is truly a Southern state. When North Carolina good ol’ boys fly the Southern Cross — the Confederate Navy Jack — they actually have claim to. They are not fronting. I cannot hold Kentucky’s exclusion from the CSA against her, though; she was prevented from seceding by the Union (I can’t remember how). To her credit, however, she claims President Davis’ birthplace and his baccalaureate from Transylvania University.

I guess my ambivalence toward the Bluegrass, in spite of good things about Kentucky, is because I’m still a North Carolinian at heart.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:27 pm

«— Spooky
—» What I Miss

Standard Formats

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I wonder if I should complain to the Greek Archdiocese? If you are going to put streaming content on your site, use standard formats, like video/mpeg, not RealMedia. And make it so that the content can be saved and watched later, so that people on slower connections can benefit from your content. You are not a company profiting from the content you are providing; you are providing it for the salvation of souls. So, it’s not like you are offended and accuse people of stealing if they save your content and watch it over and over. Right?

Anyway, just use standard media types that anyone can view, regardless of what reader their operating system comes with. Don’t be complicit with the corporate executives who just want to use your organization to make some money.

Oh, wait. Is RealNetworks run by Greeks? /me goes to check.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:01 pm

«— Photos from Olympus
—» Standard Formats

Spooky

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Someone sent this to me in an email, so I pass it along to you. Hopefully, I will get the syntax of the object tag right. I didn’t. Click the link instead.

Here is the text of the email:

Hey Guys,

This is really freaky!

Subject: Do you see it?? OMG you really can see it……….

YOU MUST READ THIS FIRST!!!! And be sure your speakers are on!

This is a Car Advertisement that was never released. Watch your screen closely with the SOUND ON…you do need sound. When the film crew finished filming the Car Ad, the people who edited it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. The Ad was never put on TV because of the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits. Watch closely as the car comes from behind the trees about halfway through the commercial, look and you will see the white mist crossing in front of the car, then following it along the road…Spooky!

Save this movie to disk for best results.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:32 am

«— My Generation
—» Spooky

September 23, 2004

Photos from Olympus

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Here are some more shots from the new Olympus:

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:57 am

«— Phood and Fotos
—» Photos from Olympus

September 22, 2004

My Generation

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People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
The Who, “My Generation”

(In response to Juliana’s post on Kid’s Food and getting old.)

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:06 am

«— Problem Solved
—» My Generation

September 20, 2004

Phood and Fotos

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I treated myself to an evening at Olive Garden this evening, then I ambled over to Best Buy and purchased a cheap digital camera. All in all, a good night.

At the Olive Garden, I had a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli and breadsticks, with a glass of Black Swan Shiraz. My bartender must have thought I needed carbs, since he brought three breadsticks for a single patron in the first basket! The shiraz was very smooth; I’ve learned from Dr. Bacchus that a good shiraz goes well with spicy, tomato-based foods. It was good to have a good experience after having a glass of cabernet at Chili’s a few months ago which turned out sharp and acidic and just rather cheap. My only objection to the Black Swan was that it was almost too smooth. Shiraz typically has a bold, distinctive flavor; it almost seemed like this was the radio single version: tamed and accessible. But that’s a quibble; it was a wonderful glass of wine.

I concluded with the Black Tie Mousse Cake and a cup of coffee, with cream and sugar. The sweeteners are slickly packaged in these cool, Italian looking wrappers: long and slender. However, I did not remember that the three sweeteners are distinguished by the color at the tips of the packets: light blue for Equal, pink for Sweet ‘n’ Low, white for cane sugar. I picked up blue, and I don’t remember anything after that.

At Best Buy, I shopped for a digital camera. I had a fairly simple set of guidelines: Cheap, while still producing acceptable images, cheap, cheap and cheap. Basically, I went in looking for the least expensive camera they had. I settled on the Olympus D-395. Since it’s the cheapest, it does not have optical zoom, but it turns out that it doesn’t really matter that much for my purposes. At the time of this writing, I haven’t noticed any pixelation, though there are other reasons making optical zoom optimal.

For simply having a digital camera, I am impressed with the Olympus. I could have spent about thirty-five dollars more and purchased a Sony with more mega-pixels. The usability factor of real batteries pushed me over the edge in favor of the D-395. I prefer buying batteries, and being back in business in seconds, to waiting for hours while an eccentric, product-unique battery charges.

I felt now was the time to purchase a camera, even though prudence nearly persuaded me to wait and use a camera as a reward for saving some money. Now is the time because, hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll take some leave. I’ll see M and the Little One, and I want to get some pictures!

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:58 pm