Thursday, December 29, 2011

When you pray, you are much more beautiful, like flowers, which, after the snow, show all their beauty and all their colors become indescribable.

-- Our Lady of Medjugorje

Friday, December 23, 2011

Adeste, Fideles

Because Latin is not offered at UNA, I will also go on a second small rant today and get a bit of Latin out of my system. Ahem.

Adeste, fideles
Laeti, triumphantes,
Venite, venite ad Bethlehem
Natum, videte, regem angelorum...

Cantet nunc Io
Chorus angelorum
Cantet nunc aula caelestium
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo...

Deum de Deo
Lumen de Lumine
Gestant puella viscera
Deum verum, genitum non factum...

Ergo, Qui natus
Die hodierna
Jesu, Tibi sit gloria
Patris Aeterni, verbum caro factum...


And, yes, I know what all of that means without having to look it up. I am insufferable, aren't I? Sigh... I wish UNA offered Latin. But would seem so awkward to bring it up with Dr. Christy in the middle of German. Doesn't ANYONE on the staff know it? Come on...

In Pace Christi,


A Small Rant On Terry Bowden

When coaches say they're staying or that they have no intentions of leaving, THEY ALWAYS LEAVE. Especially this year. 'Tis the season to fire coaches, lalalalalalala. I mean, seriously, people.

Yes, I saw the article in the paper this morning about Terry Bowden leaving. Why? As far as I could tell, he was doing decently here. We made it to the playoffs yet again. He had just signed a one-year contract. Why is he leaving? I've never even HEARD of Akron before (though apparently they are the Zips, of all things. At least that shows some imagination. It's better than yet another team called the Tigers).

If you don't know, I also like Auburn, and I'm also frustrated that we just lost BOTH our offensive and defensive coordinators. At least we'll have Malzahn for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. That makes it slightly less insulting. Still... How can any football program have any sense of stability when the coaching staff gets changed so often?

I haven't heard that Saban is switching colleges yet, though... He'll probably just stay there. The Alabama-ites love him. They think he's the second coming of Saint Bear Bryant and don't you dare say a word against either of them. Instead you must decorate your Christmas tree with houndstooth print instead of tinsel and beads and instead of singing Christmas carols you must gather round and sing, "Rammer Jammer".

Yup, I'm a little annoyed.

This is almost certainly my last post before Christmas, so a huge MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you out there, and a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No, things that are true and things that are better are, by their nature, practically always easier to prove and easier to believe in.

--Aristotle, Rhetoric

In Pace Christi,


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tiny Little Post

I don't know how much I'll be blogging over winter break and into the spring semester. I'd like to keep it up (gasp!) though I have no real idea why. I like posting random quotes, so maybe I'll keep up a string of random quotes to amuse myself and drive whatever readers I have to distraction. You are in no way obliged to read them. Half of the time I won't even know who said it. But I'm going to put it anyway. Here's today's little serving.

-- Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

In Pace Christi,


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists somewhere is that none of it has tried to contact us.

-- Unknown

Winter Break Is Great

I still can't get used to the fact that I can actually sleep in till, oh, I don't know, seven in the morning. It's great not having class and no homework to do. Not that I have exactly nothing to do... My dad has found things for me to do, shelling pecans and whatnot. We have a pecan tree that produces a LOT of pecans (one Saturday we when out there for about forty-five minutes or so and picked up 13 gallons of pecans, no joke). So, yay, we get to shell them now. And it kind of hurts your fingers to do that when you have to pull the shell off and it pokes your fingers. So my fingers hurt... And I only did 1 3/4 quarts of them today, and I had help. But people will pay good money for pecans, even unshelled, and I'm not real sure why. Perhaps they are a fad or something. Next thing you know, it'll be persimmons. We have those, too, and they are VERY messy, let me tell you...

I'm not real sure what my point was when I decided to randomly post on my blog, which should be obvious as I started rambling about pecans. Yes, the joys of life on a farm. I even rode my horse today, which I haven't done in a long time. I won't be saddlesore tomorrow, though. I'm never saddlesore, and never really have been. I can sit down just fine, thank you very much. I might be a little stiff and not wanting to move fast, but I will be able to sit down just fine. So I've never really understood it in stories and stuff where someone gets on a horse for the first time, gets off, and collapses to the groan moaning that they can't walk. Am I just weird this way, or what?

Today is my sister's birthday. She's 16, so she'll be getting her driver's license. This is kind of scary. I didn't get mine until I was 17 (yes, I am really weird), so it doesn't seem right that she should be already licensed. (I actually got my license on the day she got her permit, I think.) And the fact that my brother is 13... yikes, I feel old now. I should stop before I scare myself any further.

In Pace Christi,


Monday, December 12, 2011

If you look at a thing 999 times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it for the 1000th time, you are in danger of seeing it for the first time.

- G. K. Chesterton


Master gave Dobby a sock! Dobby is FREEEEEEEEEEE!

Yes, I was the one skipping out of Bibb Graves chanting that to myself under my breath. I'm sure all you Potterphiles out there are pleased and everything.

I had three finals today, but it wasn't as bad as I thought, and now I am FREEEEEEEEE for the rest of the year! Woo! Not even the fact that I had to wait 15 minutes on a shuttle or that some poor guy's car broke down at the intersection at Martin's right in front of me on the way home can dull my enthusiasm. It helped that I came home and ate chocolate chip cookies that I made the other night. Chocolate solves many problems.

When I came home, I saw that the lights in the tractor shed were on, the horses were standing at the gate waiting to be fed, one of our dogs had wrapped his chain around something again, and the other dog was gnawing on something that died, oh, a month or two ago. When I came inside, I saw that one of my brothers had taped a drawing of a skull and crossbones to the door and learned that my other brother was going to bed at 8:00 tonight for misbehaving, while my sister was groaning over a literature test.

So, yes, everything is well with my world. I am feeling very happy and content. I would like to put a big smiley face on this post, but the best I can do is this:


In Pace Christi,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Truth cannot change because it is a person, Jesus Christ, and He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

-- John Martignoni

The Blog Post To Rule Them All

All right. So I'm supposed to summarize all the speakers over the course of this semester, my reactions to them, and tie the semester up with a bow? Okay, I'm not real sure how to do that, but I'll give it my best shot. (I'll give it all I've got... Let me open my eyes to a new sunrise, I pray... Now I've got that Alabama song in my head. Does anyone else like the group Alabama? I love them!)

All right. Our first Honors Forum was where Dr. Brewton talked to us about the values of the Honors Program, which are (1) integrity (2) creativity (3) curiosity (4) achievement, and (5) service. I went nuts with the integrity one, dragging in quotes from G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, and more. Integrity has a very real meaning for me, but it's hard for me to express what exactly I understand by 'integrity'. As Chesterton pointed out, the more you are convinced of something, the harder it is to explain your reasons WHY you support it. The closer something is to your heart, the more instinctive it is to defend it- the more heartfelt and passionate. An attack on it is something personal. As for creativity, I suppose I get a point for creativity this semester by attempting to prove in my English research paper that cholesterol and saturated fats do not cause heart disease! Yes, I know, I'm a little nuts. But, hey, it was something different. And, as I've said before, I suffer from a severe case of linguistic curiosity, which I hope should suffice. As for achievement, I don't know what sort of achievements the Honors Program is looking for. One must define one's terms before the debate can begin. You tell me what achievements you want, and then we'll see what I have. I suppose it consists of service, however. Everyone is obsessed with school kids doing tons of community service hours. And leadership skills, and all that. They want everyone to be leaders, I think. I don't know. I don't think I'm cut out to be a leader, unless it's in a matter I know very well and the responsibilities of which I am familiar with and feel capable of executing. I don't know if I'd be capable of true leadership in an extremity. I don't think I've ever been in such an extremity. We don't know a lot about ourselves until we've been placed in those sorts of situations...

I believe we are also supposed to mention the Steve Jobs article and the visit to the art museum. I didn't write much at the time about the article, so I don't really know what to say now. I just remember feeling a sense of, 'Wow, look at how everything turned out for him. Divine Providence at work there, for sure.' People often look back on some past event and think, "If such and such hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here,' and so forth. But how many think of the One who allowed that to happen or prevented it from happening so He could order all things aright for you?
As for the art museum... I'm not real sure what I can say. I have very conservative tastes in art, and I mentioned my firm belief that a pile of shredded tires is not art. Perhaps I could attempt to define here what art is? I think art is an instinct within all of us. We were created in the image and likeness of our Creator, so it stands to reason that we are like Him in many ways. He created, so I think we too have the urge to 'subcreate' (as Tolkien called it), to bring new order and meaning and light and life into this world out of the chaos and the darkness. If done properly, art is probably a means of worshipping God. We pay homage to Him and His Creation in our attempts to make little things of our own. It shouldn't be vanity, and it shouldn't be mockery, and it most definitely shouldn't be blasphemous. It should be like a little kid imitating his daddy, because he loves his daddy and wants to be like him. That, I think, is what art should be like.

Are we supposed to have a paragraph or something for each Honors Forum? I'm not sure how to do that, since I wasn't very good at blogging or taking notes in the beginning and had only about two paragraphs, if that much, for the second forum. But transformative experiences were mentioned and I do believe such things can occur. (Okay, I know how I'll do this blog-post-to-rule-them-all: philosophize everything! Yay!) Conversions do happen. I always love in stories the characters who were on the bad guys' side but who experienced a change of heart and joined the good guys. Does anyone else have a special place in their heart for those guys? Sure, you can admire the good guys who stick true to their mission and maintain their goodness through the hour of temptation, but don't you also feel for the people who've done the harder task of responding to grace and working their way out of the darkness into the light? Perhaps that's why I love Return of the Jedi so much (it's my favorite of the Star Wars movies)- because Anakin sacrifices his life to save his son. I love that so much. It's sad that he dies, but it's awe-inspiring that his love for his son ultimately saved his soul.

The next Honors Forum was about STEM careers, and I am proud to say that I am going on to Calculus 2 and Chemistry 112 next semester! I do not intend to major in either field unless something really life-changing occurs (and, as I just said, things like that can happen), but I am willing to take those classes and, I dunno... 'broaden my horizons'- that sounded like a good, gooshy term that would sound good in this post, particularly as that is what we are constantly being told to do as we are lectured constantly that we must STUDY ABROAD! So, huzzah and all that. I actually do not hate math, as most people seem to do. I used to hate math, but after about eighth/ninth grade I loved it and still love it. I think I've mentioned in several posts that Cal 1 was fun. (Okay, that rhymed.) I think most people don't like math because they don't understand it and frankly are a little afraid of it. Which is very understandable, I will be the first to say that. But you don't have to be afraid of math. Math is your friend. You may not be good at it, but it is your friend. Actually, I once saw a book in a catalogue that purported to prove that mathematics is 'God's science' and so forth. I should have gotten it; it looked really interesting...

Our next Honors Forum speaker was Tammy Irons, who spoke to us about ethics and integrity. I of course had a heyday with that topic and went on one of my usual rants about how I feel (very deeply) about cheating and practicing what you preach and so forth. I doubt there is any need to rehash what I have rehashed already. I've already used some of my best quotes in posts before, such as, "From of old promises were held sacred," and, "Good and ill have not changed from yesteryear..." Speaking of the last one, that reminds me of something G. K. Chesterton said in his book Orthodoxy. (Oh, boy, here I go again!) He said he found the notion that something that had been held as morally wrong many years ago could be viewed as okay now, and the discrepancy dismissed with something along the lines of, "Oh, that was many years ago. We don't have to believe that now." He then humorously suggested that that implies that what we believe on Monday we don't have to believe on Thursday. (Or something to that effect.) Which is really quite true and which pokes another hole in the hot air ballon of moral relativity.
Good and evil do not change. Our perceptions change; the situations change; the doers change, but good and evil do not change. The standards have been written in eternal stone; they are graven in letters as deep as a spear is tall on the scepter of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea; they have been engraved on the Fire-Hill and on the World Ash Tree. (Narnia, of course. Provided I've remembered that all correctly.) Why should they change? If you believe in absolutes at all, you should know this. People seem to think everything can change nowadays. It's probably due to the fact that our world changes so much around us. But, if you look, human nature doesn't really change. Individuals change, but human nature remains pretty much the same. There's one constant in the world, even more constant than the sun. People also don't always seem to believe in the immortality of the soul, which seems really depressing to me. Yes, I want to be a little blob of nothingness after I die. Perhaps they want to think that because they are afraid of Hell, or they are afraid of not meeting loved ones, or who knows what. I have never been one of those people, so I cannot fully fathom their thinking. But that would form another constant in this world. We, with our immortal souls, shall live longer than the stars.

The next Honors Forum was given by Dr. Wesley Desselle. What I recall that he stressed the most was the need for trust between a doctor and his patient, the need for mentorship for apprentice doctors (and members of all professions, I should think) and, again, basic integrity. You need integrity for everything! If you don't have integrity, a basic soundness and wholeness of mind, heart, and soul, you will get nowhere. It's a fact of life! Your fragmented soul will be worn, torn, weary, and teary, and you will probably look as miserable on the outside as you feel on the inside. We can't run forever from the only One who can heal our broken bodies and stained souls.

"Our hearts were made for Thee, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in Thee." -- Saint Augustine

As for mentorship, I whole-heartedly agree with that. I did promise not to rant about my stories I write on my blog (unless I start another blog where I can do that... nah, no one deserves to read my demented thought processes like that), but I think I can do that safely here for a moment, as long as I confine myself to merely mentioning that most of the characters in the world I have created ('subcreated') learn their trades in apprenticeships, under the guidance of a master- a mentor. Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan seems to like the term 'mentor'. It's used about as much as 'Craftsmaster', especially in the later books.
As for trust... I think anyone can appreciate the value of something as fundamental as trust. Yet it is a very elusive thing, usually hard to win and easy to lose. You have to be careful with it- an incautious blow can shatter it, yet if you do nothing to break it, it can endure a lifetime. It's as bright and brittle as glass, the substance most easily shattered by a cat or a housemaid. Like happiness. And I see I've gone all G. K. Chesterton again... I so do love Orthodoxy...

The next Honors Forum was presented by Dr. Santanu Borah. I'm not really sure what to philosophize about for his forum. He presented a medly of topics, showed us both sides of the issue, and left decisions up to us. I already tried my hand at the gun control rights issue on my post for that, and am not sure if I'm supposed to rehas that here or what. I'm thinking of what our last speaker told us- that former debaters make the best persuasive speakers and leaders, because they have been trained to recognize that there is an opposing side, look for it, refute it (respectfully, we hope) and offer a solution. Perhaps that was what Dr. Borah was trying in some way to get across. If we ever hope to win a debate (or an argument... if there's much of a distinction at times), we have to keep our temper, recognize the validity of the other side (oh, yes, there's usually valid points for the other side, or there wouldn't be that many people on the other side, now, would there?), and attempt to lead the others to our way of thinking by acknowledging the validity of those points and offering a common solution. You don't win converts by bashing them on the head with your own points, using them like sledgehammers. People are much more willing to be convinced if they think, or know, that you will listen to them and give their arguments weight. If they think or know that they will be treated fairly, they will at the very least go away less disgruntled. I may not have much of a social life, but I know a tiny bit about human nature.

The next forum was presented by the guy who talked to us about government contracting. As I recall, I didn't get much out of that forum and so went on a rant about how I believe in the principle of distributism, which is basically the political theory that problems that can be solved at the lowest level of government possible should be solved there. Which really seems common sense, come to think of it. The more we govern ourselves (and become starfish-like, Dr. Brewton!), the less the government has to do (or has the opportunities to mess up). After all, involving the government in more things will hardly help it run more efficiently, now, will it? And why should the feds have a say in what we do in our elementary schools? They can't possibly know all the details about the situation that we do. Which is why WE should make the decision, not THEM.
Ooh, quote time again. I have a quote for everything! I am a veritable gold-mine of quotes.

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." -- Ronald Reagan

And the next Honors Forum (yes, I know I'm capitalizing inconsistently... I don't know whether it should be capitalized or not. The fashion is currently to decapitalize/decapitate everything and make it smaller, less important, minimal. I believe in plainness of decoration oddly enough, but I believe in correct grammar, including capitalizing what should be capitalized! And, as if anyone's not aware of the fact by now, I love capitals! I love being contrary to the modern trends of today's heathen society- I have never been a normal teenager-, and so I shall capitalize what I think is reasonable. By the way, have you noticed all these teenagers nowadays going Goth and talking back to their parents and in general 'acting like teenagers'? The hilarious thing is that they think they are being 'nonconforming'. Here's the secret: they're conforming to everyone's idea of what a teenager should be! They are 'conforming to nonconformity'. I, however, have no delusions and do not believe that one's teenage years should necessarily be spent in a state of sullen disobedience, moodiness, etc. There doesn't have to be so much drama to growing up. It's the fate of many children. [And now I'm quoting Louis de Wohl... Lay Siege to Heaven. Sigh...] Growing up doesn't mean you get to act like a brat. I think maturity is more properly expressed in accepting and handling responsibility in, well, a responsible manner, than in simply doing 'adult' things, such as smoking, etc. Doing stuff like that really doesn't demonstrate maturity. It demonstrates your immaturity: you are willing to do stupid/risky/unnecessary/whatever things in an attempt to LOOK grown-up, with the result is that you look like a stupid teenager TRYING to look grown-up. It's the truly mature people who actually look grown-up. So, anyway, I have spent my teenage years NOT conforming to nonconformity and instead nonconforming to nonconformity! There, have I confused anyone yet? I am doing my 'rebellious teenager' bit, not by acting as people think teenagers must [and I think that belief only contributes to their behavior], but by acting as a normal person! Haha!)
Okay, what was meant to be a parenthetical note got EXTREMELY out of hand. Well, I did say this would be the blog post to rule them all. Anyway, the speaker was Dean Jacobs and she talked to us about some of the values needed for teaching. Apparently I seized on the last bit of her talk, had a mini-rant about Facebook (which I consider to be of little to no value, on a sliding scale of frivolity), and then a more major rant about my feelings about lying. I shouldn't rehash that rant ('rehash' is such a great word, wouldn't you agree?); I think I've ranted enough about plenty of conceivable topics, but what CAN I talk about? Perhaps I should have been given more definite instructions about this end of the semester blog post. Or perhaps no one simply realized how absolutely nuts I would go re-philosophizing everything. The latter of which is probably the more likely case.

Ah, the next form was presented by the Wizard of tUNA. Tuna. TUNA. Whatever. He was great in that he terrified us in the front row by 'smashing' his finger and having an endless supply of blue bottles in his bag, and the fact that he apparently minored in philosophy would have sealed his awesomeness were it not for the fact that his philosophy- his Weltansschauung, his Lebensschauung, 'his way of looking at the world, his way of looking at life'- clashed with mine. I got a little defensive there, sad to say. I could forgive him for saying that values are subjective, since everyone says that now and I get a little tired (which is my fault) of trying to tell everyone that good and evil don't change through time and they are not one thing for one man and another thing for another man. It was when he used Ockham's Razor to disprove the Unseen World that I got a little annoyed. The point of the world of the spirit- of Angels, demons, Heaven and Hell- is that it cannot be proved or disproved with our science, because our science is of its very nature only able to gather facts about the physical world around us. It has no tools with which to study the eternal, the immutable, the immaterial, the spiritual. That is not its place. Even science has its limitations. I know that sounds like blasphemy to some, but it's true. Human minds are limited, and so is human science. And some things we are better off not knowing about. I know it sounds blasphemous again, but it's true. Be that as it may, science does not clash with theology. Theology was called 'the Queen of the Sciences' in the Middle Ages (take that, Dr. Bibbee!) and faith should fit hand-in-hand with science. All the scientists before the Age of so-called Enlightenment (I would prefer to call it the Age of Endarkenment. All the 'Enlightened' rulers in Europe of that time period were absolute rulers, despots. Read up on your history) were Christian men- Catholic, even. Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, was a monk. Louis Pasteur was a dedicated Catholic, who said that after having learned so much about the world, he had the faith of Breton peasant, and that if he were to learn everything about the world, he would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman. St. Albert the Great was almost as much of a omnidisciplinary scientist as Aristotle was, a real live Catholic walking encyclopaedia. And he's a Doctor of the Church! He taught St. Thomas Aquinas, too, the patron of Catholic schooling. Faith should work with science. Science studies the natural world; faith the supernatural. Both the natural and the supernatural were created by the same Lord, so they are of their own nature harmonious. Thus, the disciplines that study them should be harmonious. It's the endarkened men that have decided that faith and science must not walk hand in hand.
So, as I was saying, science has its limits. It cannot prove the existence of the spiritual world (or they say it can't). But, if it can't PROVE it, how can it DISprove it? Really. When all else fails, I think of Puddleglum's speech to the Green Witch in Narnia, The Silver Chair. He basically tells her that she may be right in saying that there's nothing more to the world than the underworld they're trapped in, and she may be right in saying Aslan's nothing but a myth. But he tells her he's on the side of the myth and the make-believe, because he would rather that those things were real. It reminds me of what Tolkien said to C. S. Lewis on that walk that converted the latter, talking about the story of salvation and about Jesus Christ: "There is no myth that more men would rather find true." It fulfills the heart's deepest longing.

And the next forum was a visit from the estimable Mr. Lee, who showed us pictures of John Deere tractors! Yes, farmers are awesome. He didn't tell us much about values, but what he did was great. I had my belief in the nobility of the trade of farming reconfirmed, and in my blog post I said that farming is one of the most basic and satisfying trades. Why? Because we're in contact with the earth, with God's good Creation. The mother earth stuff is nonsense; it's sister earth, like in the song of St. Francis. A man is never as close to his Creator as when his knees are in the dirt, quoth a Friend of Medjugorje, and he is absolutely right. In farming, we are in close contact with the soil, with the sunshine and the rain, with the fundamental cycle of life and death, with hard work and honest toil. If you can go through all that without bitterness, you find it purifies the soul. That close contact with the work of our Maker's Hands cannot help but remind the depths of our souls of Him. Some small part of our souls, no matter how damaged by original sin, cannot help but remember Him from the moment of our own creation, and we always remember that moment. Our hearts burn within us, whether we will it or not and whether we understand it or not, whenever we subconsciously, spiritually recognize the works of His hands. Why do so many people love the Sea? It's one of the three things in Creation, along with the starry heavens above us and the essence of light itself, that remind us the most of our Creator. Even if we blind ourselves to His words, our souls still go on searching, and they catch a glimpse of what they were created for in the natural world.
Which is probably why satan wants us to destroy our planet and lock ourselves up in cities of stone and metal, of screeching noises and flashing lights, and of false glitter. Yes, I can go all prophet of doom when I want to. But I feel this all very deeply...

Dr. Brewton, I have a feeling you are SO getting more than you asked for on this. Whether you are getting WHAT you asked for is a different question entirely.

Trustee Pierce spoke the next Honors Forum about leadership. I believe I have already mentioned once in this mega-post about my self-perceived lack of qualifications for leadership. Part of the reason I would be so hesitant to accept the role of a leader, much less jockey in position for it, is that I understand how many responsibilities are attached to it. I feel I can't do everything that would be asked of me, and I don't want anyone to suffer because of my ineptitude. Who knows, in such a situation I might be given the grace to act in a non-inept manner. But I wouldn't want to risk it; I wouldn't want to tempt that grace. But I agreed with the good Trustee's measurements of a leader, and how it takes character to be a true leader- again, character being 'a firm and seasoned substance of the soul', consisting, as the Greeks said, of fortitude, prudence, temperance, and justice, which are also, incidentally, the Four Cardinal Virtues of the Catholic Church.

I'm not sure what to write for the studying abroad thing. I mean, ask me later in my college career. I really don't want to go anywhere right now. I appreciate the value of it, but I'm not ready to do all that yet. I'm the person who can't talk about the myogenic theory of heart disease in front of a classroom of about twenty of my peers without being the epitome of awkward. I much less couldn't go to a foreign country and attempt to function in a rational manner there.

And what can I say about the corporate man who came and gave us the lecture on how corporations work and how to be a good employee? Thanks for your time, I guess. I didn't get all that much out of it, other than a bunch of notes and a firm belief in never underestimating the power of... No, that train of thought's not particularly charitable; I shouldn't finish it. Yes, I'm typing out my thought processes. This is why I prefer to type, rather than write: at least my typing keeps up better with the speed of my thoughts! But his advice on how to be a good employee was useful and well-detailed, and kindly meant, so thanks for that, Mr. Hargett.

All right, that takes care of all the forums. Now, how do I tie this all together and put a bow on it? (Yes, I'll never let you forget that figure of speech, Dr. Brewton. It was too funny to ever let it get away.) Well, I could reminisce about my semester and say how much I've changed as a person over the course of it. The problem is, I don't think I've changed all that much fundamentally. I'm still as random and quirky as ever, with just as strong a dash of nerdy and naive coupled with fervent Catholicism (if that offends you, go put a helmet on), and pretty much mostly harmless... unless you call my torrent of words harmful. Come to think of it, it might be. If anyone has actually read this post all the way through until now, kudos to you. You deserve a fudge brownie. If I had any, I would give them to you. Chocolate for everybody. Mmmmm.
Anyway, I perhaps have changed in small ways since the beginning of the semester. I am slightly more independent, with big emphasis on slightly. I have so little use for the modern world (oh, no, I sound like a jaded poet! One of my worst fears: being remembered as a poet. Seriously. Suffer through Shelley in high school and you will have this secret terror as well) and I also have absolutely no social life whatsoever, so I really don't go much of anywhere. But I've learned some streets in town and gone a couple of places (Christmas shopping, I admit it... I started in October). I don't know that I am more responsible, since I was (hopefully) a rather responsible person beforehand. I don't know that I am more patient or more understanding, though hopefully a bit more knowledgeable. I hope I haven't tested anyone's patience too severely. I hope I've just been a nice little clueless freshman who will hopefully grow less clueless as time goes on. Maybe one day I will learn where is what in Lafayette, and where exactly Flowers Hall is. (No, I don't know. And I don't know where the infirmary is, either. Blame the maps. The maps are terrible.)

I guess that's good for this mega post-to-rule-them-all. I certainly think its LENGTH qualifies it to rule them all! Now for a digital cyber bow to put on it...

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obligatory Honors Post 12/6/11

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas! Or, Santa Claus, to the less enlightened. (Yes, Virginia, it's true.)

Tonight our speaker was William Hargett. I didn't catch whatever he had been the CEO of, but he was in the energy industry, oil to be specific. He spoke to us about the hallmarks of a successful employees, which are (1) showing up (2) being prepared (3) professionalism (4) doing the right things right all the time (5) exceeding expectations and (6) seizing opportunities.

One's role in a corporation, he said, begins with (1) apprentice, stretching through (2) independent contributor and (3) expert to (4) manager/mentor. He also stated that mere knowledge does not equal good business sense, or even common sense, which is refreshing to hear someone else confirm that. I have long maintained that "Knowledge = wisdom/common sense" just doesn't compute.

Elaborating upon his earlier points, Mr. Hargett said that showing up consists of (a) being there, of course (b) standard office etiquette (3) complying with the company culture (d) the cultivation of a profession appearance (try to avoid casual speech matters, informal manner of dress, etc.- perception is reality in the world of business) and (e) avoid the breakroom! Get to work and stay away from the gossips who lurk around the water cooler.

Being prepared, for its part, consists of (a) knowing and preparing for all scenarios (b) working hard (c) becoming a master of the 30-second summary (d) becoming a master of the 5-minute overall summary and (e) becoming a master of KISS- Keeping It Short & Simple. Brevity is highly valued in the professional world! And when planning for something, plan for EVERYTHING - the who, what, when, where, why, how, the resources necessary, the likely effects, you name it.

Doing a job right the first time, he said, consists of (a) prioritizing (b) working diligently to get it done right (c) considering how to improve for the future (d) considering the effects of it and (e) reporting it all correctly. He also warned that one should keep an open mind when working as part of a team.

One's professionalism depends on (a) execution of one's duties (b) teamwork (c) leading, following, or getting out of the way (Sorry, Mr. Hargett, but I took exception to the way YOU phrased the last part of that... Any poor unfortunate souls who read this blog surely know by now how I feel about there being better modes of expression...) (d) willingness to learn from failures (e) a results-driven consciousness and (f) integrity, of course. Everyone values integrity. Did you know, by the way, that 'integrity' comes from the Latin word 'integritas', meaning 'wholeness' or 'soundness'? If one has integrity, then one has a wholeness and soundness of heart that can be trusted.

Mr. Hargett then proceeded to seizing opportunities, which he warned us can be in many places under many guises, and it may be an unlikely player who points them out to us. They should be seized quickly, for they will not last forever. (It is a pity the Xerox commercial didn't work for him. I don't watch TV, so I had no idea what he was talking about. Of course, some commercials aren't worth watching, but the odd one can be funny... Does anyone remember the little-kid-dressed-up-as-Darth-Vader Volkswagen commercial?)

As for exceeding expectations, one should (a) manage the expectations of one's boss (b) adapt to changing circumstances and duties (c) communicate (d) clarify (e) anticipate and (f) have good performance reviews, which means one has kept one's boss happy. I suddenly find the word 'boss' immensely amusing. It doesn't help that I am thinking of video games or of the magazine put out by Dixon (a company that makes hydraulics, I think... I may be totally wrong on that, but they have a great magazine. I was the one standing waiting on the shuttle and reading it today. If you had looked over my shoulder, you would have seen articles about Bermuda, wine-making, and the Salem Witch Trials! The joys of randomness.).

Mr. Hargett also told us that Luck = Preparation + Opportunity. Recognize opportunity when it comes and, well, carpe diem. He finished off with Murphy's Law, and its Corollaries, making for: "If it can go wrong, it will. It can. It should. At the most inopportune time." So prepare for anything and everything, at the worst of times. Are we all now properly paranoid?

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Please, Just Stop.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Ephesians 5:11

--I would once again like to point out the excessive use of cuss words among today's youth. This is deeply saddening. There ARE much better ways to express yourself, even if you don't believe it, and it CAN be accomplishsed without resorting to sesquipedalian loquaciousness. (And, no, I have no clue either if I've spellt that right. Spelled... spellt... now I've confused myself. The English language... groan... and don't get me started on our insane alphabet...)

I don't know, it may be just me, but many of the things that 'inspire' (sarcasm intended) modern youth to cuss are relatively minor things. Tripping on your way up the stairs does not count. Nor should engaging in a normal conversation with a friend on your ever-present cellphone count. Nor should it be the reflex reaction for any given unpleasant situation.

Just think... one day you're going to be called to account for every breath you took, every action you did, every thought that passed through your mind (willingly, at least), and every word you spoke. If that isn't enough to scare a man straight...

And there's always the point that though silence may be misinterpreted, it can never be misquoted. It's something to think about...

In Pace Christi,


Obligatory Honors Post 11/29/11

I'm not really sure what to write for this blog post. No offense intended whatsoever, but the forum was basically an ad for "STUDYING ABROAD"!!! Dr. Z (as Dr. Brewton appeared to be calling him) spoke for about ten minutes before running out ("Time is Galleons, little brother." Bonus points to whoever can instantly tell me who said that.), but he did stress to us the importance of studying abroad and learning multiple languages, including a sort-of joke that goes like this:

"What do you call a person who speaks three or more languages?" "Multilingual." "What do you call a person who speaks two languages?" "Bilingual." "What do you call a person who only speaks one language?" "American."

Which makes me feel very warm and fuzzy inside that I am taking German. I would also be taking LATIN, if this university would actually GET WITH THE PROGRAM and OFFER IT.

Yes, I know. I am very annoyed at the lack of Latin at UNA. Or Greek, for that matter. Greek sounds like a fascinating language to learn. Or Old English! I would love to learn Old English! Distant runners up would have to be Italian (finally I would know what are all the terms in my piano books... actually, I can guess half of them due to three years of Latin) or Old Norse... yeah, I'm weird. I read dictionaries and encyclopedias for fun. I love looking up the meaning of names and random words. Yesterday in my piano lesson I translated 'morendo' as 'dying away' even before my teacher pulled out her dictionary of musical terms. This somehow sparked a small discussion, which ended with me saying how I love etymology (kudos to Dr. Christy for throwing it in our German lessons) and her naming three relatives, each of whose names I knew the meaning of instantly.

(They were, by the way, Dante, Dominic, and Vincent. Good, old-fashioned, strong-sounding names. I love old names! Or, at least, names that MEAN something, instead of this let's-smash-two-names-together-and-name-our-poor-child-this sort of thing you see so often know. Anyway, Dante comes from 'durante' which is the Italian derivative of the Latin participle 'durans' which means 'enduring'. Dominic means 'of the Lord', which should make sense as 'Dominus' is 'Lord' and 'Dominicus' means 'of the Lord'. The days of the week in Spanish, anyway? I think Sunday is called 'Domingo' at anyway... And Vincent means 'victorious', from the Latin verb 'vinco', which means 'to conquer'.)

I am such a nerd. I am the queen of all nerds. All hail me, supreme ruler of dictionary-readers.

Aaaaaaaanyway, back to the discussion that should be at hand. The students who spoke to us about their own trips abroad had awesome Powerpoint presentations and notes and that sort of thing... which makes me feel very small as I had to give an oral presentation in English this morning about my research paper and I was pretty much the epitome of awkwardness up there in front of the whole class. The fact that I knew ahead of time I would only receive blank looks as I trotted out the myogenic theory of heart disease did not help. But the Honors students who spoke to us tonight had a much better fate. They even got us to laugh. I think it is a measure of your success if you can get your audience to laugh. An audience that is entertained is an audience that is relaxed and willing to be persuaded.

And I haven't even taken Speech! And I doubt Rhetoric in high school helped much... I basically read Aristotle's book and answered questions....

They really push this traveling/studying abroad thing. I accept the fact that it's a good thing, but I don't want to go anywhere right now. Let the people who have such things as social lives go first. I'd like to get used to college life before I do anything of that scale. As Dr. Brewton said, going after junior year is probably a much better idea. Ask me then and see what I'll say.

In Pace Christi,


Monday, November 21, 2011

Today Is Monday

Again, me and stupid blog post titles. Anyway, campus DOES look slightly less full than it usually does. People seem to be skipping class, I guess. Or at least some people are. I'm obviously not. I am being a good little clueless freshman and coming to class.

However, the upcoming break is making its presence known. The first couple of minutes in Calculus we discussed the probability of Arkansas going to the BCS. Yep. Personally, since Auburn obviously isn't going in that direction, I was willing to root for Alabama. I mean, it's like they're our sister college in Alabama (the state, that is), and most of my family wears crimson. But after LSU beat Alabama, I'm willing for LSU to go to the BCS (or even Alabama, if things turn out nicely... Stanford, Boise, and Oklahoma all lost... so does that make LSU the only major undefeated team around?). Anything as long as it is an SEC win. We have to prove that we rule the BCS, after all.

On a related note, it is nice to see that UNA survived the first game of the playoffs. I didn't see the paper this morning (and didn't really get to look at it yesterday), so I'm not real sure what this means. Does this mean we go up against Delta State again? That ought to be interesting. Invariably, whomever we beat in the regular season we lose to in the playoffs and if we lose to them in the regular season we beat them in the playoffs. Case in point two days ago.

Something must have been wrong with the victory torch early this morning, or someone simply forgot to turn it on, but it wasn't on. However, I came out of chemistry and it was on, so it was nice to see the pretty flames. Because flames are just pretty. And ON FIRE.

In Pace Christi,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almost Obligatory Pointless Thursday Post

Okay, I am officially stalking the Guillot in hopes of Oreo cake. I've been in there every day since and there has been no sight of the Precious. Chocolate pie, chocolate chip cookies, lemon cake with chocolate icing, but no Precious. They stole it from us, nasty tricksy hobbitses...

I got a copy of the new Flor-Ala this morning. I like reading people's tweets on the back. I'm glad to see someone else shares my opinion of the squirrels around campus. Dr. Bibbee told us on the first day of class that they were, in his words, 'rats with fuzzy tails', and they do seem to enjoy frolicking about and occasionally bombing hapless students with acorns. Don't say they don't, because they do. And they waste acrons by only eating half of them- that's so they can hit students on the head with the other half, I suppose...

The people in Lafayette should all be up by 9:00, right? At least I've never slept in past 9:00. (You may gasp in horror now.) So if I timidly plink away on the piano, it will be okay with everyone? My playing sounds much worse when I'm trying to play quietly and thus miss notes or don't hit the keys hard enough for the hammers to strike the strings (inside the piano... that's how a piano works, by the way. Open the lid while someone is playing sometime. It's cool).

If I did wake anyone up, I'm sorry! It must have been with the Star Wars Theme Song, if I did. Or the Imperial March (a.k.a. Darth Vader's Theme Song). It was very embarrassing when the Georgia band was playing that the other Saturday... :(  And, for your information, yes, I am the one today who was wearing a bright purple UNA t-shirt and an Auburn jacket. I'm confused that way. But it works out as long as we're not in Division I. On a related note, I hear we got rejected by the Ohio Valley Conference... Well, that throws a wrench in the system.

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Obligatory Honors Post 11/15/11

Tonight our speaker was Steve Pierce from State Farm, who is also a UNA trustee. He focused mainly on leadership in his speech, trying to define what it means to have leadership. At one point, he even speculated that leadership is not a thing that can be learned; rather, it is something inherent that one either has or one doesn't. He warned that sometimes as a leader the decision one must make that is the best for one's community is not necessarily the most popular decision among one's community. I can understand that.

He also said that a leader must research their decisions before deciding anything. Again, one would think this is self-explanatory, but many people do not do this all the time: just look at the newspapers at the stupid things politicians and famous people do. You read the paper and you think, "What an idiot!" And yet we don't often think about our decisions as much as we should, either.

Another important part of making a decision, Trustee Pierce said, is looking ahead to the consequences of one's actions and decisions. All possible results must be included when making a decision. You cannot make a decision for your community if you do not first study what sort of impact it will have on your community. These results must, however, be viewed impartially. Many people want something to have a desired effect so much they will steamroll ahead regardless, not bothering to really check if their decision will have those results.

Take the decision to extend St. Florian Road to Industrial Park. It's a stupid decision. There's no other word for it, and I don't say that just because I live on the road. People complain about the traffic situation in St. Florian, and I know it can be bad... for about twenty minutes of the day, around 5:00. And you're telling me that building a major thoroughfare and ending it in the middle of a tiny town whose roads are farm-to-market roads that are simply not designed to handle that sort of traffic is anywhere near a good idea? I don't have the figures, but I do recall that traffic into St. Florian will increase by several thousands, while only lessening the traffic on the existing major thoroughfare of Church Road (no, I can't think of the County Road number at the moment; no one uses it) by only 100 cars or so. Yes, great idea. And the Industrial Park already has far many more egresses and ingresses than most industrial parks. Is it so vital that it needs another?

Rant finished. Trustee Pierce also insisted that leaders must not take the easy way out and go along with people for various reasons, because they are afraid of confrontation, etc. He said you must be willing to stand up for the right thing to be a leader. He also said that sometimes true leadership is never acknowledged or rewarded, implying that a true leader must be humble and willing to admit his own mistakes. (Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings comes to mind...)

He also gave us one of his favorite quotes (I love quotes!), this one by Helen Keller: "What a shame it is, to have sight and no vision."

In Pace Christi,




That Oreo cake was really bothering me during chemistry lab, so I went to the Guillot first thing after I got out of class and the cake was gone! THE PRECIOUS IS LOST! I feel so dejected! I think I shall have to go crawl away in a corner and cry...

Well, the best I can do is go back tomorrow and hope for the best. If not, there was some other kind of cake next to the refrigerated sandwiches and sushi (eel roll sushi...? NOT my thing...) that appeared to be labelled 'Hawaiian Wedding Cake'. But if it has nuts, scratch that... I don't like nuts in a lot of stuff.

That looks weird in print. Oh, well, I'll take raisins in stuff. I'm just weird that way.

In Pace Christi,

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you, and help you, and uphold you with My right hand of justice.

Isaiah 41:10

In Pace Christi,


More Things I Have Learned About Una

Okay, you remember the drill. I list random things I have discovered about UNA in no particular order except probably that of increasing randomness.

1. I know now where Rogers Hall is. It probably helps that we only go past it every day on the shuttles.

2. Someone on campus is losing paperclips. I've picked up at least four on the ground, and three of them were in the same place- on the slope behind Bibb Graves, going up towards the library. The other was on the ground in front of Bibb Graves. Well, I shall start a paperclip collection. One is green and another is yellow so I shall have all sorts of pretty colors.

3. Schoolchildren have invaded campus! I don't know where they're coming from, but they're here- little midgets in matching shirts jumping up and down and (sort of) following their teachers around. I suppose they come to see the lions, but I'm not sure if that counts as a full field trip. Maybe they also go on a little tour around campus and someone tells them stuff... wholesome ghost stories about the different buildings on campus, perhaps?

4. They sell Oreo cake in the Guillot! I should have got some today instead of a more nutritious sandwich... if only to use up the last fifteen dollars or so on my Mane Card. I'll be there tomorrow, however. Let's hope there's still some. If not, I will be very sad and may even blog about my sadness because of the lack of Oreo cake. Oreos are one of the best foods in the world, because they are made of chocolate. WIN. Chocolate is one of the most important substances known to man, along with cheese.

5. It IS true that UNA communicates with its students primarily through email. We are all supposed to have a mailbox, and they told us in SOAR to check it every week. So I faithfully check it every week. However, there has been nothing in it for the past 6 weeks. Some people obviously don't check their mailboxes, because some have yellow flyers in there from the Matisyahu concert.

6. The flags look pretty on the bridge.

7. Apparently, a dude checks/cleans the Harrison Fountain (it IS called that, right?) every morning. At least, I've seen a dude fiddling around with it a couple of mornings. It probably helps that I get to campus by 7:40 and sit by myself in my classroom in the Math Building for ten minutes with my head on my desk and thinking, "I hope class hasn't been canceled and I am sitting here in this freezing/roasting room for nothing..."
The dude was in the fountain one afternoon, complete with rubber gear to not get wet.

8. What is with the temperature in the buildings? I know most of them probably have old heating units and stuff, but seriously... In the summer the air was on and it was 60 degrees in the Math Building and in Wesleyan. You could hardly sit on the desks in the Math Building for fear of frostbite. Ditto for Wesleyan. To top it off, they had fans going constantly in the language lab in Wesleyan. Now you know why I dubbed it the meat locker. Now that it is fall, however, they have turned the heat on and now it is 80 degrees in those buildings. I walk in, take off my coat(s), and fantasize about opening windows.

9. The Darby Drive parking lot scares me. There's so much broken glass at the far end of the parking lot. I routinely swerve to miss a patch of it in the morning... probably doesn't help that I insist on parking at the far end of the lot. I mean, when I get there in the morning (usually) there's only about four other cars, if that many. I can park wherever I want. But I am a person of habit and like to go for the same spot over and over again.

10. What will it take to get UNA to offer Latin? I'll write a petition if anyone else is interested... Does anyone know the president's email address? Maybe we can swamp his inbox. Or perhaps I should just starting bugging Dr. Christy, since he's the head of the foreign language department. Does he know Latin? He seems to know everything else. It's most disconcerting when he suddenly says something in French (or even Dutch... or was that Flemish?) when trying to explain a German term.

In Pace Christi,


Friday, November 11, 2011

This Is A Completely Pointless Post

I'm wearing my new boots.

I told you this was a completely pointless post.

But I am very proud of my new boots! My old ones were falling to pieces and I could no longer delude myself into thinking they were anything other than that. So we went first to the co-op and looked at Muck boots but pretty much everything there was too big for my feet. It was all men's sizes you see... and the smallest was like a 9, and I needed a men's 7 to equal a women's 8 (I think I have that right). But then we went to Tractor Supply Co. and found some that worked (after thirty minutes of wandering around the shoe section and laughing at bright yellow rubber boots and rock-hard cowboy hats). At first I thought I wouldn't be able to get my feet out of a pair. I sort of fell over trying to dislodge the boot. No permanent damage was incurred.

We eventually had success and now I very much like these boots. Not only are they especially handy for rainy conditions (tennis shoes and rain puddles do NOT mix!), they are very warm. And I like the clomp-clomp sound of them. Plus they are very handy for stepping on the toes of annoying little brothers. If you have little brothers you know precisely what I mean.

Of course, now I feel like Sadie from the Kane Chronicles, who loves her combat boots so much she sleeps with them on. Which is weird, because I don't really like Sadie that much...

As an aside, DR. DIAZ ROCKS. We had no chemistry today due to it being Veterans' Day.

In Pace Christi,


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, and what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2

As an aside, this is my 61st post.

In Pace Christi,


What Is It With Me And Papers?


Why, oh, WHY, do you have to assign another paper right when I was trying to do my English paper? Gah! At least you picked a topic that I can discuss intelligently without looking at a book beforehand: the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. How I love to make fun of those crazy Roman emperors.

Seriously, my high school world history book was awesome. Most of what Dr. Bibbee has taught us sounds familiar (no offense meant). And it loved the Roman emperors! In fact, I think it blamed them the most for the fall of the Roman empire, along with the people themselves. Rome prospered when its people worked hard, worshipped gods that embodied natural virtues (and crusaded against Moloch of Carthage, to whom children were burnt alive in sacrifice), and had to fight for survival. When they became masters of the Mediterranean, they developed a love of luxury that I think ultimately killed their empire. Roman citizens no longer wanted to work in the army, so they hired barbarian auxilliaries. Etc., etc.

The rise of Christianity, however, didn't kill the empire or even help kill it. The empire's attempt to kill Christianity killed the empire. You would think the bad guys would learn, but noooo... 2000 years of trying to stomp us out, and we're still around. I think someone from that time even noted it: "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity." And they were right.

I was a little annoyed when Dr. Bibbee said Christians did not serve in the Roman army. Out of all the points I could have brought up with him, that was the one I chose. Incidentally, tomorrow is the FEAST OF ST. MARTIN, WHO WAS A ROMAN SOLDIER BEFORE BECOMING THE BISHOP OF TOURS. Take that! He's the most famous for cutting his cloak in two and giving half to a begger, who then appeared to him that night as the risen Christ, saying, "Martin, stil a catechumen, has covered Me with his cloak."

Ha! Today, by the way, is the feast of St. Leo, another awesome guy. Let's put it this way: Attila the Hun was advancing on Rome. The emperor, too cowardly to do anything against him, tried to leave the city and was killed by the citizenry for his efforts. (Ha!) Pope Leo, meanwhile, takes charge and goes out to parley with Attila. Attila agrees to the pope's request to spare Rome. Later he mentioned that the whole time he was talking with Leo he could see a man standing next to the pope, threatening him with a sword if he did not do as the pope said. Leo was very devoted to St. Peter, the first pope, you see...

Yeah, the popes got the papal states over a period of time, largely because they were the ones who actually DID SOMETHING when the last few Roman emperors fled.


Soooooo, I did the outline for Dr. Bibbee's paper yesterday. Today I did the first draft for my English paper, which, if I haven't mentioned it, purports to demonstrate that saturated fats and cholesterol do not cause heart disease. Yes, laugh at me. Then go google the Myogenic Theory of Heart Disease and make faces at the words 'myocardial infarction' while I laugh at you. (By the way, 'myocardial infarction' seems to mean 'stuffing the heart muscle' in Latin. I'm sure it doesn't, but it looks that way. Personally, every time I see 'infarction' I have a mental image of a fart gone horribly wrong and imploding in the heart... but then I have two younger brothers, so that's probably expected.)

And, yes, I wrote the whole paper today. It only took me 6 hours. I write better in one sitting.

An annoying fact: I have German tomorrow at 9, and history at 1. Dr. Diaz was completely awesome enough to cancel chemistry for Veterans' Day. However, that does leave three hours for me to kill in the middle of the day. Perhaps I'll lurk in the library again. I prefer lurking in the library to the Guillot. (GUC, to those of you who STILL don't know the building names... You know who you are... Your guilty smiles give you away...) Lurking in Lafayatte (ooh, nice alliteration) is okay too, even if I am magnetically attracted to the piano and it will probably take a crowbar to pry me off of it.

There's an idea. I can bring my piano books tomorrow (well, some of them) and play something OTHER than the eleven thousandth rendition of Fuer Elise. I do love the song so, though, primarily because it's got my name, but surely it gets old after a while? I have a Star Wars book. :)

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yes, I Am Still On The Face Of The Earth

My blogging rate has slowed down of late. Probably because schoolwork is setting in. I still have to do research about the causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire for Dr. Bibbee for tomorrow. Don't worry, Dr. Bibbee, it will get done. I like learning about the Roman Empire. I've just had a lot of stuff going on yesterday and today.

I went to the book club meeting in Lafayette today. Free lunch! Free food is always the best kind. And this was some very good pizza. And THEN they had a dish of mini candy bars! I officially LOVE you, honors program guys! Yes, I am a chocoholic. And not very apologetic about it, either.

I didn't really have many ideas for making the Honors Program more starfish-like, however. All of the suggestions and reasons put forth were valid and worth consideration, I felt. However, I don't really know how to implement starfish techniques. I think personally I am more comfortable with a spider-like network (if only because the simple logicality of it appeals to me) but I appreciate horizontal, not only vertical, communication in such a layout (Dr. Bibbee pointed this out Monday... or was it Friday? ... with his little chart on the board with how the Roman Empire worked under Caesar Augustus. Everyone reported to their superior, and the superiors ultimately reported to Augustus. That worked great as long as they had a good, capable emperor. With insane emperors, however... you get the picture.) Anyway, I think I operate on a bit more of a starfish-like pattern. I really don't know. It's hard for any person to truly know themself. We're a little too close to ourselves to analyze ourselves completely without bias.

Anyway, now for the obligatory part of this post.

Tonight our speaker was William Lee, a commercial farmer. Cue happy dance of joy on my part! As soon as I saw the slide of a tractor and planter, I knew this would be a good speaker for me. Everyone else may have been sitting there with zero comprehension or close to it (and perhaps nodding off a little, especially in the back), but I was sitting in the front with rapt attention. I come from a family of farmers! I live on a farm! I like hearing about farms!

In fact, I was probably the only person wishing that Mr. Lee would get more technical with his discussion! If he had started listing the model and year of every piece of equipment he owns and described in great detail its function, I would have loved it. I love hearing about equipment and the differences. My only regret is that it goes in one ear and out the other. I can't hold onto it. If I could write it down, however, with nice little charts and mnemonics, maybe I'd remember it all better.

Anyway, Mr. Lee does primarily row-cropping (and I understood that term even before he explained it!!!!). He has about 3,000 acres, some of which are near International Paper's Courtland mill. I don't know if his are the fields that have the very neat irrigation system with the pipes-on-tires contraption that wheels across the field, but, whatever. It was neat meeting the owner of fields that I have driven past.

Towards the end of the forum, he showed us some pictures of his equipment. They were all green. They were all John Deeres. After several green John Deere tractors, a very impressive green John Deere 12-row planter, a green John Deere sprayer (he said it could do 600 acres in a day!), and other green mobiles, he said, "This is not a John Deere commercial." To prove his point, his next picture was of his homemade soil-sampler mobile, which had been painted red, white, and blue. He said, "I took a picture of it because it was not green." It was a jeep-y thing he bought for $1000, cut a hole in the floorboard, and rigged up a thing so he could take a soil sample without climbing on and off of a four-wheeler. Very ingenious, I thought. It even had a GPS. Cool.

He also had a picture of a John Deere combine picking cotton, and then sequential pictures of said combine unloading a bale of cotton without stopping. The bale looked like the big round bales of hay, but I had not known they had machines to make such bales of cotton. It was very cool.

Mr. Lee didn't get around much to talking about values, but he did mention that he believes strongly in conservation (ironically, they use herbicides to kill the straw they use for cover...). He said he believes in 'leaving the land in a better shape than he found it', which is a very good goal.

He also had a quote by Benjamin Franklin, which was the only part of his talk in which he spoke too quickly for me to write it down. (Most of the time he spoke rather slowly and had a delightful Southern accent that is nice to listen to after so many doctorates... no offense meant. But I really like listening to the Southern accent and secretly regret that I don't have more of one myself.) So I can only paraphrase the Ben Franklin quote. It went something like this: "There are three ways by which nations gain wealth: one, by war, as the Romans did, which consists of plundering other nations; two, by commerce, which is mostly stealing; and three, by farming."

Mr. Lee did try to express that farmers find some sort of transcendental satisfaction in their work that is lacking in other professions, a sort of quiet inner joy that farmers have and which drives their efforts. He even said he couldn't express it as he would like, but I think I know what he means. Did you know that the only profession divinely mandated by God in the Bible is that of farming?



In Pace Christi,


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today is Thursday. But You Knew That Already.

Yep. When I can't think of a title for my completely pointless blog post, I aim for snarky. As you can tell, it really doesn't work. I have a weird sense of humor.

I wish I had known it was going to rain before I went out the door this morning. (And, yes, I do seem to be in the habit of posting some rain-related quote every day it rains. Don't worry, I'll run out of them sooner or later.) All I saw was that it was cloudy. But as I was halfway into town it began to sprinkle. It's not so bad dashing to the shuttle, but walking across campus in the rain... not so fun. Especially when your tennis shoes get wet and then soak your socks, because your socks don't dry for hours. Not fun at all. So I did a mad dash across campus, jumping puddles and running up the hill to the math building.

I can understand the purple ribbons on everything for Spirit Week. (It IS Spirit Week, isn't it?) But the pink bows... OCTOBER was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is November. Can we get out of the pink hoopla by now, for goodness's sakes? I don't know how much more aware I can get. And whoever put two enormous pink bows on each of the benches around the ampitheater.... gah. It's so gaudy. And garish. And ghastly. And I can think of a bunch more g adjectives, but I'll just leave it with this... gollum, gollum...

Yes, I can do a very good Gollum impersonation in real life. Why I might think that is a good thing, I have no clue.

We did our compare and contrast essays in English this morning. I did not find it very hard at all, because I picked a topic I know very well- the Lord of the Rings and Narnia. I compare/contrasted Boromir and Edmund. I also shot for overkill as I picked 3 compare points and 3 contrast points. I got three full pages out of it though, so that is good.

Did I mention lab has been a mite more exciting the past few times? Last week we set magnesium on fire. (We love torching things in chemistry lab!) Unfortunately we had to put it in a crucible so we could not watch the pretty flames. This week we boiled stuff. We also broke a lot of stuff. One of the girls across the bench broke a beaker, we dropped our watchglass twice (fortunately it didn't break either time) and then the group down from us allowed their beaker to boil over it and sort of had a watery explosion. I'm not really sure what it did, but the beaker fell off and broke, glass went everywhere, clouds of steam were billowing off it, and everyone in the room was staring. Finally the guy said something along the lines of, "I guess we'll have to start the experiment over."

In Pace Christi,

Es regnet, Gott segnet. - It rains, God blesses.

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. - Called upon or not, the Lord is nigh.

In Pace Christi,


Obligatory Honors Post 11/1/11

Neat number, that. 11/1/11.

ANYWAY, Dr. Mike Moeller, aka the Wizard of Tuna (for reasons unbeknownst to me... but he did have it written on his lab coat) was our speaker tonight. He started off strong by pouring liquid nitrogen on the floor (and it gave those of us sitting in the front row quite a turn, I assure you). He then proceeded to 'freeze' his finger in said liquid nitrogen, all the while assuring us that it was quite safe and that you had to do it at a certain rate: too fast, and the cell membranes of your finger would rupture; too slow and ice crystals would form in your finger and they would rupture the membranes. After pulling his finger out of the liquid nitrogen (did I mention he was wearing two pairs of gloves) he tapped his finger with a hammer and then slammed the hammer down on it.

It was a cork finger.

Needless to say, he did yet again another very good job of thoroughly terrorizing us in the front row.

Then he began his serious presentation. He began with the premise that science is objective and deals with facts while values are subjective and deal with feelings. I take issue with that. I am not a moral relativist; I am am moral absolutist. I believe there are definite rules of right and wrong. And I do not believe it just because I want to (though that IS a lesser reason), which would make it relative, and I don't believe those rules are just for me or just for other people. So I wouldn't say values are subjective. People's perceptions of them are subjective, relative, and subject to change, but right and wrong don't change.

"It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange... How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."

-- Eomer and Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings

As always, Tolkien says it much better than ever I could. And, yes, I felt the need to put it in large, bold print. Should it have been in all caps as well?

Dr. Mike also said that science is not scientists. Scientists are not Mr. Spocks. He said values intersect with science in three different ways- epistemic, culturally, and when they emerge from science.

I was probably the only one among the students who knew what epistemology was before he told us tonight. It's the study of knowledge! Or, indeed, how we know things. (I read philosophy books for fun...) Dr. Mike listed some things that scientists like: simplicity, reliability, testability, accuracy, precision, generality, heuristic power (discovery and invention), novelty, controlled and unbiased observation, peer review, confirmation of predictions, repeatability and statistical analysis, universalism, and communism. And, no, not Communism with a capital C. He means good communication among scientists. What he said scientists don't like include: error, fraud, and pseudoscience. And I agree on the last three. What professional would not dislike a quack?

It was when Dr. Moeller introduced the concept of Ockham's Razor that I began to wonder if he had minored in philosophy or something. I was, yet again, probably the only student who knew what the Razor was (and, no, I don't think he lived in the first millenium). Basically, it means take the simplest explanation of something. Whether Ockham intended it to be that way or not, the Razor is used to get rid of troublesome ideas such as angels and demons, as Dr. Moeller pointed out.

Personally, I think that is bad science. The simplest explanation is not always the true one. We just don't know. Paranormal activity MAY be ghosts. (In a previous post I mentioned that I do believe there can be ghosts.) Crop circles COULD be done by aliens. We don't know. Personally, I think that if we can't DISPROVE something, it's rather silly to just toss the idea out the window without giving it serious consideration. But people don't want to be held accountable for their ideas, so they love cowering behind science and avoiding the thought of possible eternal ramifications of their actions. No, I'm not trying to convert anyone here. But if you can't disprove God, you shouldn't harp so much about the fact that you can't prove Him. And there are very nice proofs in science and in logic that He does exist.

Cambrian explosion? DNA? (Read Numbers Up.) The differences between macroevolution and microevolution? The Big Bang itself? The insane odds that life could even develop, the odds that conditions would be perfect enough on Earth for life to develop? The fact that almost all cultures have believed in some sort of deity?

I need to get back to the topic at hand... Sorry. But stuff like this is kind of personal for me.

Dr. Mike Moeller wasn't afraid to be controversial, like a bunch of our speakers. For how our cultural values affect science, he said it affects what studies are conducted (does it ever) and what sort of funds they get. For values emerging from science, he brought up stem cells.

Since I've already gone off on two separate rants by now, I'll just throw this out on the table: why did he not mention adult stem cells not a single time???

Adult stem cells have a much higher rate of success. What cures there have been from stem cells have come from adult stem cells.  Plus, you don't have to destroy any completely innocent human lives in the process. I think it was a bit unfair when he turned the issue back on embryonic stem cell naysayers when he asked us what we should do with the embryos that are already frozen. It was a bit like saying, "Clean up our mess for us." I would be tempted to say, "You shouldn't even be doing it in the first place?" To be fair on my own part, I really don't know what to say. I don't know enough about it to say. I'm not majoring in cryonics. But it really depends on whether or not the frozen embryos (I also noted how he cleverly avoided the use of the word 'embryo' as well) are dead or not. If they are dead, they should be honorably buried. If not... well, that's another can of worms.

This is what happens when the rules of right and wrong are skewed, turned on their side, inverted, torn to rags as slogans and attacks, and plain thrown right out the window. It's been this way since Eden and it will be this way for the rest of time... but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The sad fact of life is that it seems to be only getting worse.

In Pace Christi,


Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows' Eve

I'm just so traditional that way, calling this post 'All Hallows' Eve' instead of the generic 'Halloween'. Hey, I don't see anything wrong with tradition. I read Orthodoxy, I know the 'democracy of the dead' spiel. I like it.

DR. STOVALL ROCKS!!!! She was wearing plastic vampire fangs in class this morning, AND she passed out candy! And it wasn't the cheapo stuff, like tiny pixie stix and plastic-tasting faux-licorice sticks. It was the good stuff, like Reese's and Hershey's and Whoppers and Kit-Kat bars. I bet half the class didn't mind the quiz near so much after she went around with the jack-o'-lantern of candy.

Dr. Christy was at it again with his German puns. He says McDonald's has a commercial in German with the slogan, "Man ist, was man isst," which is funny after you realize it means, "You are what you eat," but that the words for 'are' and 'eat' sound just the same.

Dr. Diaz experimented today in chemistry. At precisely 10:00, he stood behind his desk tapping his ruler on the top of the desk, looking out over the sea of faces. After a moment or two, he said to the guy on my left, "How long do you think I could stand here before they stop talking?" The guy guessed about ten minutes.
So, smirking a little (you can't deny it, Dr. Diaz), he proceeded to test this theory. He actually let five minutes go by, and apparently NOBODY noticed that he was standing there. Finally, someone from the back sang out, "Good morning!" which alerted about half of the class that the teacher was, in fact, in the room. Others, however, continued to talk. About what, I do not know.
Then the big guy that always asks really in-depth questions yelled, "HEY, ---- IT!" That startled us into near-silence for a few moments, before we all started laughing at the abruptness and unexpectedness of it.
There were two girls to my right, however, who kept whispering throughout all of this. It took Dr. Diaz turning to them and asking, "What are you talking about, ladies?" to make them be quiet. Then we launched into the wavelengths and frequencies of light waves and Planck's constant.

Dr. Bibbee had his glory moment of humor today as well in history. Apparently, the dude who attempted to rob Kappa Sigma was wearing white gloves, so we derived great amusement from imagining him as a mime. Hilarity ensued. I really don't know how much of Ancient Rome we discussed today, but we sure do have some interesting conversations. Oh, well, Dr. Bibbee did warn us on the first day of school that he lives his life 'on a tangental basis'- always going off on tangents.

And, no,  I didn't go trick-or-treating. I haven't in years. A much better system is going to the store, picking out a bag of candy that you like, and eating it without all the hassle. My little brother spent the hour before he went out changing his mind every thirty seconds about what he was going to be. He was going to be a vampire, Voldemort (don't ask), an army guy, and a Ringwraith (from the Lord of the Rings). He settled on Ringwraith... I think. My other brother went as a beekeeper (which he is, incidentally, so he had all the equipment).
I settled for pilfering from their candy when they got back. There's always sure to be some little chocolate tidbit that they don't want. And there was. Milk Duds. But they were stuck together so much they were more like Milk Wads.

In Pace Christi,


Friday, October 28, 2011

Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings the abundance to drive away hunger.

-- Saint Basil

(As an aside, today is the Feast of Saint Jude and Saint Simon, Apostles! Te Deum laudamus!)

In Pace Christi,


Happy Dance

I managed to get the WiFI/LionAir/whatever in the library to work today! Aren't I so clever? Of course, yeah, it was only after ten minutes of texting my friend- "What do I do next??!!" Still, me and technology do not always get along, so this is a marvelous accomplishment.

Today was also a banner day in that I had no problems staying awake in chemistry today. Yeah, I know, what is the world coming to. However, we started Chapter 6 today- Atomic Structure- which is something a bit more exciting than coffee cup calorimetry. Dr. Diaz was asking us when we thought the theory of atoms was first expounded- people were guessing the 1600's, the 1400's, even the 1900's, while I kept mouthing, "The Greeks. It was Greece." Dr. Diaz wrote "400's BC" on the board and told us it was two Greek guys. Somebody suggested Plato, another Socrates. Sorry, but they were more focused on philosophy than the natural sciences. Aristotle, however... Yep, he was one of them. As Dr. Bibbee, my history teacher, puts it, when Alexander the Great had Aristotle as his tutor, it was like having a group of Nobel Prize winners tutoring you now.

So they managed to come up with Aristotle, but they could not come up with the other name. Cue massive "Uhhhh" around the room. (I also note that there are a lot fewer people in the class than there were when we started out. For example, my row consisted of me and two other girls; empty seats surrounded me. The guy behind  me who always puts his feet up on the chair beside me was absent; perhaps he's dropped the class, like he's been talking about before the teacher walks in for weeks. (He said that if he changed his major to architecture he could get away with no chemistry. Perhaps he has. I don't know. Or maybe it's just the Friday Syndrome. Few people show up on Fridays. But I'll be there the Monday of Thanksgiving, Dr. Diaz. I'll show up, even if it's just me and that other guy who promised to show... I like atomic structure.)

I couldn't have told you that Aristotle thought of atoms, though it is reasonable since he did so many other things, but I sure as anything knew the name of the other guy! Democritus. Now, if you ask me why I know that name I shall have to respond that I don't really know. It may come from high school with four excellent courses of biology (the biology lab, on the other hand, was not excellent but nauseating...), chemistry, physics, and AP physics. (Which is probably the reason why when we did rectilinear motion the other week in calculus I was very happy. It was stuff I'd been doing for two years in physics and one year in calculus.) Anyway, one of my high school science textbooks told a story about Democritus and the seashore- how it looks to be smooth and uniform from far away, but how when you get close you can see that it is made up of many tiny particles. That was how Democritus thought the entire world was. Of course, he thought atoms were hard and perfectly spherical, but they hardly knew about electrons, protons, and neutrons then.

Not to mention croutons. :)

Yes, this is definitely the blog of a nerd. Now you know why I identify so strongly with Carter in the Kane Chronicles, and his, "Gee, history is fun!" attitude. His sister calls him Mr. Wikipedia and the same could probably be applied with some truth to myself...

I don't do entirely geeky things, however. I waste time spectacularly looking up random things. Me and the search bar... I do some very random stuff. And then wish for brain bleach. To make a long story short, NEVER look up Sailor Moon videos. Don't even ask. They seem a lot better when you're 5 than when you're 18.

And I play Lego games online. I can blame that on my brothers. They are Lego nuts.

To complete the randomness of this post (and to complete its slide from nerdy into complete nonsense), BROTHERBAND TRILOGY 1: THE OUTCASTS COMES OUT ON TUESDAY!!!!!

I found its website. I couldn't watch the trailer because I don't want to turn on the sound in the library (and I, of course, stupidly forgot my earphones... not that they work very well, anyway. The right one doesn't work at all.), but I will when I get home! And then bug my family about it with a countdown. Though I doubt I will be as obsessed over this book as I was over the Son of Neptune. Hey, it's Percy's fate we're talking about here... And to complete my joy, I have learned that the Heroes of Olympus series will consist not of three books, but 5!!!! YAY! PERCY SHALL NEVER GO AWAY! And if he dies, well, we'll bring him back to life. Nico will help.

In Pace Christi,


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Short Day (But Not As Short As Last Thursday)

I really don't know why I like blogging so much. Perhaps because it gives me a perfect academic excuse to procrastinate another 30 minutes on doing my homework?

(Not to worry, I've already done my calculus homework, and it wasn't near so dreadful as I was fearing. Even if it is highly unlikely that I will remember any of the formulae for Monday.)

I learned something today. The Human Environmental Sciences (a name which I still think is ludicrous), which include culinary arts and interior design, is housed in Floyd Hall. And it is not called the Floyd Science Building. It is called Floyd Hall. It has its name spelled out on the building. But so many people do not know the names, or even the positions, of the buildings, they feel compelled to add a little clarification: "Floyd Science Building." The Math Building is, however, for reasons unknown, purely and simply the Math Building. Which is weird, especially considering the path leading past the GUC and all the other important buildings is called Shelby Way and there is the Harrison Entrance by the fountain...

What else is there to blog about today? I've already mentioned my football ecumenicism, haven't I (my English class today brought it to mind- don't ask), and my prospective topic for my compare-contrast essay. I should probably not post if I do not much of anything to post about.

Hmm, I know. As the shuttle I was on passed another shuttle at the Decauter Avenue/Hermitage Drive intersection, the driver of the other shuttle shot my driver with a finger gun. Yeah, I know, pointless... but as they're adults it seems so funny.

In Pace Christi,


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Survived

Three tests today. At least I wasn't very concerned about any of them. The calculus quiz was about integrals (which I've been doing for a long time), the German was... well, German, and I have no idea why I stress about the history tests. I was the one talking about Macedonian phlanaces! (Or is it phlanaxes... Sorry in any case, Brittany.) Disappointingly, there wasn't a question about the Punic Wars on the test. I was so looking forward to waxing eloquent about the wars, causes and effects.

Someone apparently shares my opinion of the Wesleyan coke machine. They had taken a marker to it and written on the white cap of the large glowing Coke bottle that's on the front of it, "STEALS MONEY."

I think I will continue my blog even if we do not have freshman forum in the spring. I like this blog! I like writing about random things. I don't think anyone actually reads what I write (well, maybe a couple do), and I can't see how very entertaining it is, but it's actually rather therapeutic. (Did I spell that right?)

The guys selling the suckers are STILL out there! Sheesh, I thought they were pushy on Monday. Today they were roaming the campus, trying to get us to buy suckers. Lollipops. Whatever. Is it a fraternity doing this or what? I still can't see why. Now that is something I would never have the guts to do- walk up to random people and ask them to buy stuff. That's just not something I could ever easily bring myself to do. I think I am rather socially awkward. No doubt partially due to my nerdiness...

In Pace Christi,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Truth sits upon the lips of dying men, and falsehood, while I lived, was far from mine.

-- Sohrab, from the poem Sohrab and Rustum

Obligatory Honors Post, 10/25/11

Our speaker tonight was Dr. Donna Jacobs, Dean of the College of Education. She was, I have to say, possibly our most engaging and- dare I say it?- entertaining speaker so far. At least I wasn't trying not to fall asleep. (And, yes, I sit in the front row. What is it with me with sitting in the front row and falling asleep? Especially chemistry... stupid warm Floyd Hall...)

Dean Jacobs illustrated that education is more than just teaching 3rd grade math. It also includes human environmental sciences (what a silly term... it's so wishy-washy and politically correct), which include culinary (food is our environment...? Okaaaaayy), interior design, nutrition and child development, you name it. There is also something called HPR which includes sports and recreation. You can't expect me to remember or write down everything, can you? I can write fairly fast (if illegibly), but not as fast as our speakers talk, most times.

Dean Jacobs had plenty of amusing points to make. She said sarcasm can be an effective teaching tool- at the very least, it keeps the audience's attention. Also, she told us that teaching is one of the most scrutinized professions, and for good reason. She even read off a list of incriminating headlines for us. And I don't deny there are bad teachers. But you know how much the media loves hype. They've probably ruined the careers of many innocent people... wait, we KNOW they have. But with teaching, it's probably better to err on the side of caution.

She also said the teacher should be an aide, not a hindrance to the learning process. In other words, the teacher should probably not have a black and white mohawk. Yeah... I think that would be a hindrance to my learning process. It would... how does it go...? 'Project an ungroovy karma that disrupts the school's educational aura'. And if that line doesn't ring a bell, go read The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. Yes, sigh... I'm shamelessly advertising for his books again. (On a side note, also read Heaven Is For Real. It's worth your time, and it's not over 200 pages. Short, in other words, and it's pretty easy to read- it's written more like a conversation than anything else. It might even make you cry. We were discussing it before the speaker walked in.)

Things to avoid, especially if you want to be an education major, as presented by Dean Jacobs: (1) cheating (2) Facebook incidents- I am so glad I do not have a Facebook page! The more I hear about it, the less I want one. I don't have enough time as it is, anyway! I have three tests tomorrow, haven't even done my Calculus homework, and society expects me to obsessively update my status on Facebook and broadcast my thoughts to the world via Twitter? Come on, no one wants the punishment of reading my thoughts all day. I'm pretty random. And erudite. So you get a combination of nerdy and naive, with a slight dash of entertaining... hopefully. (3) hatespeech (4) inappropriate dress, hairstyle, etc. (5) disrespect towards colleagues and superiors.

I think I've already mentioned in a post (a loooong time ago) how I feel about respecting superiors. May I now mention that I hate cheating and I hate lying? I don't lie. It's like I almost physically can't, it's so repugnant to me. It's like uncreating the universe. See, I believe firmly in the power of words, that speaking is creating. Words are the houses of being. So to tell an untruth, to say that-which-is-not, is almost like blasphemy. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was in God's presence and the Word was God. To use words to do the devil's work... it's unthinkable for me. I just can't do it. Which may mean I do a creative dance to come up with nice things to say... or I just don't say anything at all.

Which brings me to a related subject. I feel very sad when I hear people cuss. I really do. It makes me very sad. In fact, I am sad right now just thinking about it. Do people know what they are saying? I hope not. Most probably don't think a thing of it, or they simply don't care. But I hear. And I am very sad. What makes me the most sad (and this will also get me a little angry, too) is when I hear thoughtless people say things like, "Oh, my God." That's so very pervasive, and so very saddening. Do people realize that the Israelites wouldn't even say God's name, whatsoever? They said Adonai instead, which means 'Lord'. They never said His name. It was blasphemy to do so. Note how the Jews tried to stone Jesus when He said, "Amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." They knew the power of God's name.

So, please avoid it. It makes you sound so juvenile, too. There's no good reason to do it. Please, make a little clueless freshman a little less sad and this world a little brighter and cleaner.

In Pace Christi,


Delenda Est Carthago.

I was SO disappointed that the PowerPoint presentation in history Monday about the Punic Wars did NOT include the famous Latin saying: "Delenda est Carthago." Carthage must be destroyed. I mean, that pretty much sums up the Romans' way of thinking, doesn't it? As Dr. Bibbee pointed out, they were just looking for a fight with the Carthaginians. They 'excused' themselves by helping rebels and other people that called for their aid (a bit like the United States, who had helped Columbia in the past put down rebellions in Panama, but as soon as the rebels offer to allow us to build a canal there... pfff! We help the rebels. Columbia was understandably amazed).

I don't know precisely what to think about Carthage. On the one hand, I sympathize with the Romans. What you don't hear often is that the Carthaginians were Phoenician. The Latin word for 'Phoenician' is punicus, whence we get Punic Wars. So the Carthaginians worshipped Phoenician gods... including the infamous Moloch. Yes, Moloch. And do you know HOW they worshipped Moloch? They built a fire in front of the statue of the god, and then they burned a child alive in that fire. Yes, they burned children to Moloch.


And if you don't believe it happened... go read Hittite Warrior. It's a great book, gives you great information about the Hittites, Canaanites, and Egyptians (and Phillistines!) during the time of the Judges in Israel. (Barak and Deborah make an appearance in the book.) Anyway, in the book, the main character helps rescue a child from Moloch. You talk about spine-chilling...

I've even read speculation that Moloch wasn't just an idol... but that the Canaanites/Phoenicians were worshipping an actual demon, who then moved on to Mexico. And if you don't believe that the Aztecs were horrid... you have been brainwashed, my friend. I don't care what atrocities Cortez and the Spainards performed in Mexico (and, remember, our histories of Cortez were written by the English and the Dutch... Spain's worst enemies), THE AZTECS DESERVED DESTRUCTION! Or, at least, their religion did. There is almost no way you can find anything more satanic than ripping the still-beating hearts out of the chests of millions of people every year. The Aztecs actually picked fights with neighboring tribes called 'the Flower Wars' in which the point was not to kill their enemies but to capture them alive so they could haul them back home to their temples and sacrifice them to their gods.

So, yeah... I can sympathize with the Romans' horror of the Phoenicians in one way.

But on the other hand, was it really necessary to kill 3/4 of the population, enslave the rest (the Romans even enacted legislation saying that no slaveowner could have more than a certain percentage of Carthaginian slaves, to prevent them from gathering in large enough groups to form a rebellion), and sow so much salt into the earth that you cannot even farm there today? I don't think so. In one of his letters, Tolkien (yes, my moral authority on so many things) mentions how he hated Delenda est Carthago as a child and couldn't understand why he was told it was so wonderful.

So I'm of two minds. But I do prefer that the Romans won rather than the Phoenicians. Because even Jupiter is better than Moloch.

In Pace Christi,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

--- Unknown (as far as I know of).


Okay, it was a calculus exam, but still, ONE CLASS TODAY!

English was let out so we could have our midterm professor/teacher conferences, and mine isn't until Tuesday. And calculus and English are all I normally have on Thursday, so, yeah, I was out of class at 8:50!! Big happy dance. After that I went to go see my academic advisor, however, who was very nice and lots of help, and which didn't take long. I was home by 9:40! I love it! I'm so looking forward to next semester when my schedule will be much less hectic.

Since we apparently don't have an honors forum in the spring semester, I am looking at 15 hours. My dad suggested getting a PE out of the way, but I'll have to look again at my catalogue to see if I have to have it. If so, meh... badminton? I would fail at badminton. It's a little ominous when you have to have permission to take stuff like snowboarding... HOW do they even DO snowboarding? I don't think there's a ski slope somewhere on campus, or even a snow-making machine. That I know of. I would have preferred archery for a PE class but UNA doesn't apparently offer that. That stinks. This is in addition to their COMPLETE AND UTTER MISERABLE FAILURE in not offering Latin. Even my advisor said she wished they offered Latin. I mean... I thought Latin and Greek were staples of college. Everyone's saying, "Go Greek!" after all. (I bet they don't know the whole Greek alphabet. I should ask some sorority member that sometime. "Are you required to know the entire Greek alphabet? Do you know any Greek words?" Actually, the word 'alphabet' itself comes from the first two Greek letters... alpha and beta. Alpha beta gamma delta epsilon...)

I had to wait 25 minutes on a bus yesterday. This is very annoying in cold weather. At one point I almost offered to the other students, "Why don't we go demonstrate in the president's lawn?" but that might not go over well with the faculty. At any rate, make sure there are enough buses to go around when one of the drivers randomly decides to take a walk in Wilson Park (and don't tell me they don't because I heard one of them talking on her cell phone to another and she mentioned it).

Men with leaf blowers have invaded campus. They will not leave. They are here to stay. They are loud. Bring earplugs.

I have now been in Willingham Hall! It has a basement and two floors and apparently an attic. The stairs to the third floor were blocked off with an impressive and motley array of desks and chairs so they obviously don't want you going up there. Is the floor bad or something? Hmm. Is it haunted? My cousin who goes to South Carolina told me that one of their dorms was a hospital in the Civil War and after the Yankees took it over a Confederate nurse poisoned some of their soldiers. They say sometimes students from the North wake up to find her standing there... Creepy!

I don't know how I would react if I saw a ghost. Perhaps I would think it was a living person. Perhaps I would scream and freak out. I really don't know. I've never encountered a ghost.

Wow. An appropriate October topic. I didn't even realize that.

Anyway, what IS a ghost? I think the term is used rather loosely. I do believe that souls of departed people can come back to try to tell us something- the good people, that is. Maybe they have something left to do. Maybe they haven't left Purgatory yet. We don't know. No one has ever come back from death and told us about it. It isn't for us to know. But perhaps there are evil people that have died and come back to torment the living. And perhaps there are demons that do the same and pretend to be good people so they will distract the living away from God. You just don't know.

It's very sad, though. If I saw a ghost (and figured out it was a ghost), I might just very well pray for them.

This is a very long post. I am very hyper. This is what a short day of class and relatively little homework does to you. (And Dr. Bibbee assigns strange homework when he doesn't have us doing papers. This week so far we have had to Google ourselves, introduce ourselves to somebody new, and look at ourselves in a mirror held in front of our nose so we could see what we look like if our faces were perfectly symmetrical. Don't ask why. It's a very long story. I don't know how we get onto these discussions in history. But I did tell Dr. Bibbee the other day that the projector was Hellenistic because the company name was Panasonic- 'all sound', more or less, in Greek.)

In Pace Christi,