“The more I study the history of the Orthodox Church in this country, the more I am convinced that our work here is God's work; that God himself is helping us; that when it seems as though everything we do is ready to fail, …on the contrary, it not only does not die, but grows in new strength and brilliance.” [said just before leaving the United States for Russia]
Saint Tikhon, enlightener of America

«— Authority and Qualification
—» The Great Fast Approaches

Silence as a Defense

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A fascinating passion play is beginning to be noticed by mainstream media. The Washington Post has reported on the questions of financial accountability which have become, as Father Joseph Huneycutt noted, “the elephant in the living room.” The Post article only tells the story according to the accuser, the former treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America, because his beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, has requested that Church officials remain silent on the matter.

Ordinarily, we might think ourselves justified in inferring guilt in this move. However, it brought to mind the example of Abba Saint Macarius the Great:

Then it once happened that an unmarried pregnant girl accused him of fathering her child. The pious saint did not protest; he quietly accepted the responsibility she had unjustly laid on him, and was attacked and beaten by the villagers and the girl’s family, who demanded that he support her. He did so, selling the baskets that he wove and giving the money to her parents. When the time came for the girl to give birth, she was in great agony and cried out that it was not St. Macarius, but another man who was her baby’s father. As soon as they heard this, the villagers felt ashamed of the way they had treated the saint, and went to ask his forgiveness. When they arrived at his little hut, they found it completely empty; he had fled from their praise and flattery.

May the Lord continue to have mercy on the Church in our land.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:24 pm

«— Yet Another Inconclusive Study of Aspartame
—» Silence as a Defense

Authority and Qualification

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Doctors for Dissent

Ran into this on Fr. Joseph’s blog.

…if you have a Ph.D. in engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, or one of the other natural sciences, and you agree with the following statement, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged,” then please contact us…

No. I don’t care what a medical doctor thinks about how my submarine works. I don’t care what an astrophysicist thinks about how my spleen works.

And I don’t care what mathematicians, medical doctors, physicists, veterinary doctors, computer scientists, or my local car mechanic have to say about biological evolution, because they are unqualified. They have no authority in the relevant fields.

The New York Times ran an article on this, noting the lack of biologists and noting that signers often possessed beliefs that verged on fundamentalism — including scriptural literalism and disbelief in the great age of the earth and the cosmos (4.5 and 15 billion years respectively, give or take a few billion).

Several said that their doubts began when they increased their involvement with Christian churches.

Some said they read the Bible literally and doubt not only evolution but also findings of geology and cosmology that show the universe and the earth to be billions of years old.

Roger J. Lien, a professor of poultry science at Auburn, said he received a copy of the petition from Christian friends.

“I stuck my name on it,” he said. “Basically, it states what I believe.”

Dr. Lien said that he grew up in California in a family that was not deeply religious and that he accepted evolution through much of his scientific career. He said he became a Christian about a decade ago, six years after he joined the Auburn faculty.

“The world is broken, and we humans and our science can’t fix it,” Dr. Lien said. “I was brought to Jesus Christ and God and creationism and believing in the Bible.”

He also said he thought that evolution was “inconsistent with what the Bible says.”

Just in case you wondered, the advice of a chicken doctor on how to read the Bible also doesn’t interest me.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:16 pm

«— Hacker Hatchery
—» Authority and Qualification

Yet Another Inconclusive Study of Aspartame

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The Safety of Aspartame – New York Times

Amazingly, though I’m told the web is full of damning evidence that aspartame — a sweetener made from aspartic acid and phenylalanine — is E-VILLE, this NYT editorial says that

a provocative if inconclusive report that says aspartame may cause cancer, even at levels long considered safe.

If all this evidence is available, why is yet another report inconclusive, when the sweetener has been studied and restudied since it was first introduced in 1970?

What’s that you say? It was only introduced in 1980? Well, you see, it was first introduced in 1970, at the height of the media-induced saccharine scare. So, the FDA recalled it, deciding to study it further. Ten years later, it was the most widely studied artificial sweetener and received FDA approval. Twenty-six years later, hints and rumors still do not amount to damnation.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:00 am

«— How Government Works: The Night Watchman
—» Yet Another Inconclusive Study of Aspartame

Hacker Hatchery

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Running a Hatchery for Replicant Hackers – New York Times

In a surprising move, the NYT uses the word “hacker” correctly in a sentence and gives a surprisingly accessible definition for it.

In related news, four horsemen were seen today in the Valley of Megiddo.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:45 am

«— Poverty of Soul
—» Hacker Hatchery

How Government Works: The Night Watchman

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How Government Works: The Night Watchman

My parents sent this to me via email. Pretty much sums up why I’m usually a libertarian. Also, it’s funny.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:08 am

«— Feed Reader Help Wanted
—» How Government Works: The Night Watchman

Poverty of Soul

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In Communion » Types of Religious Lives

This article by St. Mary (Skobtsova) of Paris represents an indictment of various types of pietism. After evaluating various modes of Russian piety, she states that poverty of soul — complete kenosis, self-giving, self-emptying love without regard for oneself — is the only valid path of ascetic identification with Christ. Everyone will find some conviction of himself in this article.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:26 pm

«— How To Become A Hacker
—» Poverty of Soul

Feed Reader Help Wanted

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Mac users and free software folks: I need a Free (as in speech) news and feed aggregator for Mac OS X. I’ve been using NetNewsWire 2.0b25 for what seems like forever; I’d forgotten it was a beta. So, when a couple of feeds stopped working — related, it appears, to being valid Atom feeds — I went to their website to get an update. I was shocked to find that it wasn’t Free or Open or anything even similar. I mean, I downloaded the beta without charge! Doesn’t that mean it’s Free?

Stop. I know the answer, and I already feel like enough of a dweeb.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:20 am

«— Feel It
—» Feed Reader Help Wanted

How To Become A Hacker

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How To Become A Hacker

vikram writes that he wants to learn hacking. The link above is a good start.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:57 am

«— Four Things
—» How To Become A Hacker

Feel It

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“Feel,” (iTunes) the first single from Chicago XXX, is now available from your favorite media outlet. Download it, play it, request it until your favorite DJ is deaf.

I haven’t figured out whose lead vocal that is. Lee Loughnane? If some other Chicago fan has a clue, help a brother out and leave a comment.

Update: “Feel” debuted in the number one position, which should surprise no one. It beat out such hits as “Troparion for the Sunday of Orthodoxy,” by Capella Romana, Chicago’s “If I Should Lose You,” cowritten by Burt Bacharach, and King’s X’s “Complain.” I’m talking about my own Top 25 playlist, of course.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:43 am

«— The Mighty Victoria
—» Feel It

Protected: Four Things

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:15 pm

«— Hypocrisy
—» Four Things

The Mighty Victoria

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Nor’easter ’06 – 1

Originally uploaded by Kevin Basil.

I have determined that I will name my new Jeep The Mighty Victoria.

She has earned this moniker because she stood toe to toe with the great Nor’easter of ’06, and she emerged victorious. This morning, I was waking up in a motel in Connecticut. After I spent much of the day driving, I arrived unharmed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Meanwhile, a mighty nor’easter dumped record amounts of snow on New England, up to two feet in some locations.

If there were any doubt, I love my new Jeep.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:39 pm

«— Writing Bookmarklets
—» The Mighty Victoria

Protected: Hypocrisy

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:20 am

«— Not Porn: Chicago to Release Thirtieth Album
—» Hypocrisy

Writing Bookmarklets

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I recently installed a WordPress plugin that lets me look at my stats, and “writing bookmarklets” is pretty high on the list of search strings. In fact, I come up on the first page of a Google search. Crazy. “Better Living Through Bookmarklets” has some good information to get someone started. “Tips for Writing Bookmarklets” has some really good tips for writing bookmarklets once you’ve gotten a feel for it.

I highly recommend hacking the bookmarklets of others to see what makes them tick. Good targets are Jesse Ruderman’s bookmarklets and Tim Powell’s.

I saw one article in my Googling that advised using “ugly variable names,” ie, random alphanumeric strings, to avoid namespace interference. Ick. Encapsulate your bookmarklet in a function to restrict the scope of your variables. This is also a helpful trick to dispense with void().

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:24 am

«— Kentucky Underground
—» Writing Bookmarklets

Not Porn: Chicago to Release Thirtieth Album

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The Official Site of Chicago the Band – XXX MARKS THE SPOT FOR CHICAGO’S 30TH ALBUM

Chicago, the legendary rock ’n’ roll band with horns and one of the best-selling and longest-running American bands, begins a new chapter in their history with the release of their 30th album, Chicago XXX. The first single, “Feel,” will be released on February 14. The album will be released March 21 at all retail and digital outlets and at www.rhino.com.

OH YEAH, BABY. I’ve been waiting for a new Chicago record for years. This is going to be awesome. Only a week until the first single is released.

Also, according the press release linked above, they’ll be touring with Huey Lewis and the News this summer. I’m sorry I missed their collaboration with Earth, Wind, and Fire, although that’s available on DVD. But, seriously, I’m familiar with a relatively small number of EWF tunes. I love Huey Lewis and the News and know a bunch of their songs; seeing them together will be something I just can’t miss!

Ooh! I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:54 pm

«— Marriage Cocktails
—» Not Porn: Chicago to Release Thirtieth Album

Kentucky Underground

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Kentucky’s Underground Economy – New York Times

In this New York Times op-ed piece, Bobbie Ann Mason decries exploitation of Eastern Kentuckians and their land. Mountaintop mining is the process of bulldozing the top off of moutains with Caterpillars and TNT and extracting the coal below. The impact on people and land is devastating.

Bobbie Ann Mason is a native of Western Kentucky and an artist in residence at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Other articles on the subject:

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Filed under: — Basil @ 11:20 pm