Monday, September 29, 2008

Wake up dead man: video

I can't help posting the video of them taking the body away. The quality is poor, the angle is bad, and it's just plain dark outside. My camera wasn't meant to see in the dark. But I waited up to see how it would end.
It was sort of casual business-like; one guy is actually whistling while he works. The only audio I can make out is "It's not a murder", and "You'll have to talk to your lawyer about that" (presumably to the question: what do I do about this?)

I thought there would be a black hearse or something, but instead there were two white vans and a dark SUV. They did body-bag poor Ivan, so there isn't anything gruesome to see.

The neighborhood is all a-buzz, but the next-door neighbor isn't talking; she avoided me like crazy after work today. This whole thing is distracting and vaguely unsettling.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wake up dead man

Just before 9pm on Sunday night, the doorbell rang. The man at the door was clearly agitated.
"Call the police! There's a dead man in that house!"

That house is right next door. Over the last 2 years it has been a revolving rental property, with all kids of strange comings and goings at all hours of the night. Strange men have been arrested, walls have been constructed, de-constructed, a new set of cars every couple of weeks. Rumors of massive housing code violations. Last week had ICE swarming the property without success. A few minutes later, the neighbor reported 2 men running from the house and taking off in a dark colored SUV.

As it turns out, the agitated man, David, was right. The police were called and showed up within 10 minutes. The paramedics showed up too, but it was too late for Ivan, the victim of an apparent hanging.

Ivan, a quiet computer technician, had been living in the basement for the last year. He had not been seen or heard from in two days, according to the landlord, who also lives in the house. David persuaded her to open the door to Ivan's room with her key, whereupon she began screaming hysterically. "Call the police!", David said. When she didn't comply immediately, he ran out of the house to the house next door.

Circle back to the doorbell.

Right now, we're waiting for the coroner, or the hearse, or something. May God have mercy on his soul. More to follow.

Call me a Doubter

But this just restores your faith in miracles.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I want to be the King

The British Government is entertaining a proposal to overturn the 300 year old ban against Catholics in the Monarchy. It's not a done deal yet, but it's high time that England gave up its institutionalized Catholic bigotry.

Yes, I know that is exactly what the Church of England was based upon (rejection of Rome), but since Europe is losing all of its Christianity anyway, this is a small thing to ask. Oh, and girls could also inherit the rule.

The 300-year-old rule excluding Catholics from the throne is set to be abolished under plans drawn up by Downing Street.

The reforms would also put an end to the automatic male succession - so if Prince William's eldest child turned out to be a girl she would be his heir.

The blueprint is the work of MP Chris Bryant, who has been charged by Gordon Brown with reviewing the UK constitution.

It would also limit the power of the Privy Council.

According to The Guardian, which has long campaigned for the changes, the Government would like to see them implemented quickly if Labour won a fourth term at the next general election.

Legislation including the 1701 Act of Settlement bars all Catholics and anyone married to a Catholic from reigning and forces any monarch coming to the throne to reject Catholicism.

Leading QC Geoffrey Robertson told the newspaper: 'I welcome this as two small steps towards a more rational constitution.'

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sometimes You Just Want It To Be Fast

High Performance SSH/SCP - HPN-SSH
On this page:

* Abstract/Introduction
* Patches
* News and Updates
* Theory and Implementation
* Papers and Presenations
* Contact

(PI) Chris Rapier PSC, Michael Stevens CMU, Benjamin Bennett PSC
Are you using HPN-SSH? Please let us know

SCP and the underlying SSH2 protocol implementation in OpenSSH is network performance limited by statically defined internal flow control buffers. These buffers often end up acting as a bottleneck for network throughput of SCP, especially on long and high bandwith network links. Modifying the ssh code to allow the buffers to be defined at run time eliminates this bottleneck. We have created a patch that will remove the bottlenecks in OpenSSH and is fully interoperable with other servers and clients. In addition HPN clients will be able to download faster from non HPN servers, and HPN servers will be able to receive uploads faster from non HPN clients. However, the host receiving the data must have a properly tuned TCP/IP stack. Please refer to this tuning page for more information.

The amount of improvement any specific user will see is dependent on a number of issues. Transfer rates cannot exceed the capacity of the network nor the throughput of the I/O subsystem including the disk and memory speed. The improvement will also be highly influenced by the capacity of the processor to perform the encryption and decryption. Less computational expensive ciphers will often provide better throughput than more complex ciphers.
Performance Gap
With many high bandwidth connections, there is a performance gap between what SSH is capable of and what the network link has the capacity to do. The difference between these two numbers is the performance gap, or the underutilized portion of your network connection. This gap, in most situations, is the direct cause of undersized receive buffers in the SSH congestion control mechanism. The graph below shows the optimal receive buffer versus the effective SSH channel receive buffer for various round trip times along a 100Mbps path

The difference between the red and blue line is, essentially, wasted throughput potential along the path.
Normal vs. HPN SCP Performance
The effect of raising the SSH buffer sizes can be seen in the following chart. The standard SSH throughput, represented by the red columns, closely matches the expected throughput for this path if the receive buffer was limited to 64KB. By increasing the size of the SSH channel receive buffers throughput, represented by the blue columns, improved by as much as 1000%. The variation now seen is due to the complexity of the cipher and the limits of the hard drive.

Clearly, the HPN patches significantly boost throughput performance. This enhancement is entirely from tuning the SSH buffer sizes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't read this ...

... unless you are prepared to cry.

There is a season for everything, even things that make us cry or move us deeply. It reminds us that we are human and that we do feel.

I was thinking of posting something light, but this article took all the wind out of my sails: Knowing My Stillborn Son.

Go home and hug your wife and kids.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pray for India

Pray for our brothers and sisters in India. Attacks by radical Hindus against Catholics show no signs of abating, and seem to be increasing. These attacks include killing, raping, burning of Churches and Cathedrals, and imprisonment.

In a country with (nominal) religious freedom, there is no move by the government to stop these attacks; the attackers in some cases are the police themselves.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fairly Melodic

Hey, the piano got tuned yesterday!

We've had it for a while from Mrs. Nod's parents, but just got around to tuning it.
It actually sounds pretty nice. We'll have to have it tuned in a month or two, since it's never been tuned for 20 years, but hey.

The (gentle) plink of the piano key sounded good (especially after my harrowing dentist appointment -- remember to FLOSS!). Maybe one of the kids will show a real interest in playing. Heck, I'm kinda interested in playing now.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, me mateys!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Ye know what that means, ye land lubbers! Learn the 5 A's and don't be left out of this most auspicious day.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

He Who Loves Much

Today's Gospel reading was about "the one who is forgiven much, loves much". Thus, it is necessary to seek and obtain forgiveness in order to grow in love. I used to think that if you loved much, then you'd be forgiven much, but that's not how God works.

So, if someone doesn't get forgiven, or even think they need forgiveness, is it any wonder that their love is small?

That seems to explain the constant stream of hate that is coming from the lunatic fringe.

That should serve as a warning to ALL of us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dentists are Evil

Bad. Evil. Dirty. Rotten. Stinkers.

Barbarians all. Sadists. For-profit tooth gougers.

(Yeah, I gotta have a filling.)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Land of Nod

A poem by Robert Louis Stevenson:

18. The Land of Nod

From breakfast on through all the day
At home among my friends I stay,
But every night I go abroad
Afar into the land of Nod.

All by myself I have to go, 5
With none to tell me what to do—
All alone beside the streams
And up the mountain-sides of dreams.

The strangest things are there for me,
Both things to eat and things to see, 10
And many frightening sights abroad
Till morning in the land of Nod.

Try as I like to find the way,
I never can get back by day,
Nor can remember plain and clear 15
The curious music that I hear.

The other Nods

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Now, Nib isn't gaining weight like she's supposed to.
We have to keep a log of what she gets fed, and make an effort to feed her fatty and high-calorie stuff. We should all have that problem, huh?

Blynken and Nod-girl started ballet lessons this week, since they won't stop traipsing all over the house on-point. They're just classes through the county, not the drive-you-bankrupt kind. Those come later.

Sometime next month the piano gets tuned after 15 years, so I'm sure we'll be regaled with "music" in the coming days. O joy, O rapture unforeseen.

Such is the minutiae of life.

Nub's foot: round 2

Got a call from Mrs. Nod: Nub's foot may be worse. He started walking on it, so we thought he was feeling better, but now there seems to be bruising and swelling (just a bit), and bouts of crying for "no reason". Looks like it's the foot and not the ankle.

Time for an x-ray. In any case, we should know more tomorrow.


My poor Nub.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Crazy Soccer Dad

Apparently, I am a Crazy Soccer Dad.

My son, Wynken, had his first soccer game -- ever. I told him over and over, "I don't care if you ever win, I just want you to try hard and not give up".

Before the game, the coach sent out a list of guidelines for parents on how to be good sports, behave nicely, not to try to "coach" the kids, etc. I read and understood every word. I even agreed with it.

Day of the game, I show up with a camera, camcorder, and the Fam in tow. It's hot, muggy, and very uncomfortable at 9am. The game begins, my son doesn't start, I watch good-naturedly.

Whistle blows, my son subs in, the ball comes his way. I start yelling and cheering like a crazed fan. I just couldn't help it.

He tried hard, I was so proud. They won the game, which is just icing on the cake.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nub's got a bum ankle

My youngest son, whom we shall call Nub, stopped walking suddenly and refuses to put any weight on his right foot, but will only crawl from place to place.

Since he is unable to tell us what's bothering him, we took him to the doctor's. Not entirely conclusive, but seems like he has a sprained ankle (or something). It's entirely possible, given his loose ligaments for something like this to happen.

My poor baby!

It doesn't seem to bother him much, other than not walking. Kids are pretty smart: if it hurts, they don't use it.

Bishop of Arlington Speaks

Words from our own Bishop (2004):

The protection of human life is the first principle on which people must base their decision for the upcoming elections, said Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington in a pre-election letter to Catholics.

“It is simply not possible to serve and promote the common good of our nation by voting for a candidate who, once in office, will do nothing to limit or restrict the deliberate destruction of innocent human life,” he wrote.

The bishop added that the protection of human life, from conception to natural death, is more than a Catholic issue. “It is an issue of fundamental morality, rooted in both the natural law and the divine law.”

In the letter, published in today’s issue of the Herald, the bishop said Catholics must follow their conscience when voting, but their conscience must guided by critical principles, which include the protection of human life, the promotion of family life, the pursuit of social justice and the practice of global solidarity.

However, the basis for all these principles is the protection of human life, he said, “since without it the other three would be rendered meaningless.

Missouri and Kansas Bishops Speak

The US Bishops' backbone-growing season continues. The Most Reverend Joseph Naumann and the Most Reverend Robert Finn, Bishops of the Diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph (Kansas ~ Missouri) have issued a timely statement regarding our moral responsibility as Catholic citizens.

This excerpt is particularly apt (emphasis added):

Even if we understand the moral dimensions of the full array of social issues and have correctly prioritized those involving intrinsic evils, we still must make prudential judgments in the selection of candidates. In an ideal situation, we may have a choice between two candidates who both oppose public policies that involve intrinsic evils. In such a case, we need to study their approach on all the other issues that involve the promotion of the dignity of the human person and prayerfully choose the best individual.

Limiting Grave Evil
In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely.

The same principle would be compelling to a conscientious voter who was confronted with two candidates who both supported same-sex unions, but one opposed abortion and destructive embryonic research while the other was permissive in these regards. The voter, who himself or herself opposed these policies, would have insufficient moral justification voting for the more permissive candidate. However, he or she might justify resorting to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection.

In 2004 a group of United States Bishops, acting on behalf of the USCCB and requesting counsel about the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and voters, received a memo from the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, which stated: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter's preference for the candidate's positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate's support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

iTunes - What's Playing

Time again to hit Shuffle on the iTunes and - dare I say it? - face the music. Here I go, unafraid. What secret or guilty pleasures will be revealed?

Hm. Child of the '80s. Good genre diversity though. What's playing on your iTunes?

Political Expediency and the Scourging of Christ

Today, I had a thought while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary: that those who attempt to compromise on principles for the sake of political power are guilty of the Scourging of Christ.

To wit, Pontius Pilate was afraid to let Christ go even though he found no wrong in him for fear of the repercussions from Rome that the Sanhedrin threatened him with. "You are no friend of Ceasar's". Therefore, he had Jesus scourged (nearly killed) in hopes of placating them.

Politicians who are "personally opposed" to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and other life issues but vote to allow them in a pluralistic society are guilty of the same sin.

Thus it is that the innocent suffer, because the powerful are afraid.

May God have mercy on us, and forgive us our sins.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Praying Mantis

This guy really never had a chance. I was out kicking the ball with
the kids when I heard this horrible buzzing sound from 50 feet away.
I ran over to our butterfly bush and saw a praying mantis devouring a
large black bug. Beetle? Cicada? Doesn't matter, the guy's a goner.

It was morbidly fascinating, I had trouble tearing myself away. The
*crunch* *crunch* was clearly audible from where I stood.
The kids thought it was great.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Small time hero

Jay Anderson over at Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate was one of the first to post about the Knights of Columbus' launch of their new Web site outreach Headline Bistro.

I checked it out and thought it was very snappy. News headlines, informed voter section, blogs, video, postcasts -- all great stuff.

But no RSS feeds.

Now that I'm blogging and reading everybody else's stuff, I can't make do without an RSS feed. So I sent the great folks over there a quick email asking them to consider setting up RSS feeds, and Boom! just like that, there they were.

Thank you for your note concerning the possibility of setting up RSS feeds rather than using e-mail updates. If you visit Headline Bistro you will see that RSS feeds have been put in place. If you click on the RSS icon it will take you to a new page, which enables you to send the feeds to your RSS reader. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

Elizabeth Ela
News Web Editor

That kinda makes me feel a tiny bit like a hero, although with a small "h". The great people over at the Knights of Columbus and Headline Bistro are the real heroes for putting out this great Web site.

So now that I've done the least I could do for you, (really it was nothing), in getting those RSS feeds, -- GO use 'em!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Catholic Voting Research

Here it is: a mash-up of voting materials for the serious Catholic. Specifically geared to the 2008 elections. I present pros and cons on both sides, rebuttals, and Church guidance. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom.

Without further ado:

VoteMatch Quiz,

Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics,

Convictions : Endorsing Obama,

Douglas Kmiec Makes His 'Catholic Case' for Obama,

Kmiec Obama : Articles from Catholic Blogs,

FUMARE: Would Kmiec Support Obama Even If It Meant More Abortions?,

Roman Catholics for Obama,

Catholics for McCain,

John McCain Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life,

Sam Brownback: Why I'm a Catholic for John McCain - Catholic Digest,

Catholics for McCain » Articles The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate: David Freddoso:

Beliefs - For Ex-G.O.P. Official Obama Is Candidate of Catholic Values - Question?,

USCCB (Catholic Bishops) on Faithful Citizenship,, (

Archbishop Chaput's 10 points for Catholic citizens to remember,


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