Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming Attractions

Sometimes we ask questions that we're afraid to know the answers to. It's an exercise that -- like sausage -- you're better off sometimes not knowing how it's made.

But if we fail to ask ourselves the Big Questions, what we don't know can hurt us.  For weeks I've been freaking out in slow motion over a rumor. I forced myself to do the research before reacting though.

I typically react quickly with credulousness (I'm a sucker -- I'll believe it), stop myself, disbelieve it, demand proof, adopt a wait-and-see attitude, bounce the idea off people I respect, think about it, and then draw conclusions. I'm trained to be suspicious.

So what's got me fretting?

This question: Is Senomyx the new Soylent Green?

I think I'm ready to answer that question ... coming soon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dr. Suess Does Star Wars

Art, Son of Adam has a great series of cartoons that depict What If Dr. Suess Had Thought of Star Wars?
He really nailed the Suess style and made me chuckle. Suess doing Star Wars? Totally believable -- On Beyond Zebra!

Check out the whole series here.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #96-97

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: A little Dab'll Do Ya
The whole last couple of weeks have been light due to the birth of #6. He's worth it!


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things You Don't Want To Hear

Today was an extremely windy day, with wind gusts up to 60 miles an hour. The building I work in is only a four story structure that is wider than it is tall, and I'm on the top floor.

After a particularly strong and sustained gust I turned to my coworker and asked, "Is it me, or is the building swaying? I think I felt my desk move."

He said, "It's not you."


Pound Of Cure

The saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But what happens when the cure isn't much better than the ailment?

Mrs. Nod, Nub, and I got a green cold that was particularly unpleasant. The girl Nodlings: Blynken, Nod-girl, and Nib are down with the flu. Poor Nib has pink eye to boot -- nasty stuff that. We're trying desperately hard to keep them all away from the baby, Dab.

The doctor offered us Tamiflu for the flu bug, but the side effects are supposedly pretty nasty, including nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and confusion/suicidal tendencies (mostly in Asians, don't ask me why). If the disease makes you feel sick, but the medicine makes you feel cruddy or worse -- is there a benefit here?

The doctor also said that Elderberry juice has been shown to have both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. That's available relatively inexpensively at Whole Foods with no known side effects.

The bookworm, Wynken, is currently unscathed by any of these maladies because he keeps away from the girls and doesn't have to wipe snotty toddler noses.

I'm thinking of just continuing to bunker down the Nod-ettes in the isolation ward with a bottle of Elderberry juice and a stack of movies as long as your arm until the plague passes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things That Irk Me

Things that currently irk me that I can't control:
  • Light bulbs - The country that invented the incandescent light bulb will soon be without them. The environmentalists have forced laws that will result in their disappearance in the name of "saving energy" starting about 2012. "Although the United States is not phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it has set minimum efficiency standards for lighting which preclude most legacy incandescent designs; these minimum standards phase in between 2012 and 2014." -- WP
The main problem -- the only viable replacement is those stupid looking compact fluorescent bulbs that contain mercury and require a hazmat team to clean up if you break one in your house.  They claim that CFLs will result in less mercury pollution in "the environment" because the main source of mercury emissions is coal burning plants which produce electricity. Use less electricity, produce less mercury emissions.

The flaw here is the same as above: instead of bio-accumulating mercury in fish where I might eat it, I'm bringing it directly into the house where my kids will break it.

That, and fluorescent lighting in general is awful in color, can trigger seizures in certain at-risk groups, and depletes your Vitamin D.  Traditional incandescent light bulbs should remain available until a real energy friendly and non-hazardous replacement can be found. In the meantime, I'm stocking up.

  • Dishwashing soap - More backwards innovation from eco-friendly regulations. All the major producers have removed phosphates from dishwashing soap, and now stuff won't get clean. "Until recently, dishwashing soap contained about 8 percent elemental phosphorus. That's the magic element that "strips food and grease off dirty dishes and breaks down calcium-based stains." It also prevents food from reattaching to the dishes. Or used to. As of July 2010, the nation's detergent manufacturers, bowing to laws regulating phosphorus in 17 states, reconfigured the formula for all dishwashing soap to contain less than 0.5 percent phosphorus." -- source
Now our dishwashers don't clean properly, build up unsightly white films on dishes and washer alike, resulting in double-washing (wasting more resources) or hand-washing (wasting both time and resources), or buying new washers (wasting time, resources, and money).

The salt in the wound? The "problem" this solves is that detergent contributes 2% towards "algae blooms" in water bodies which use up more oxygen for the fish. The big contributor is lawn fertilizer, not detergent.

Anybody know where I can get a wheelbarrow's worth of phosphorus for my dishes? Some people are adding vinegar to try to get rid of the calcium stains. Let me know if that works for you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Little Dab'll Do Ya

SO ... I've been off the grid for at least a week now. I hadn't realized how much blogging is a force of habit, that once broken, is really hard to start up again.

I feel rusty. Or maybe that's tired. Maybe it's the baby waking us up every couple of hours (feels like minutes) in the night. He's a cutie and make no mistake (said the proud papa).

What have I been doing all this time? Not much that would interest you: changing diapers, snickering at the mustard yellow color, practicing the burrito baby wrap to make him all snug and cozy, getting that cramp back in my arm that can hold a young 'un for hours on end, looking for the binky (pacifier) when Momma isn't available, re-discovering my patented "Daddy pat" that can put any baby to sleep, and just holding and marveling and laughing at this awesome baby boy, that's what.

Like I said, nothing to you, but music to me.

We had some really great Name the Nodling entries that made it harder and harder to pick his cybernym. Must I pick just one? Awwwright. That's my prerogative. First I leaned this way, then that. But after due consideration the winning selection is (drumroll) ....

... Dab.

Reminds me of the old Brylcreem jingle "a little dab'll do ya".
Bryl-creem, a little dab'll do ya,
Use more, only if you dare,
But watch out,
The gals will all pursue ya,--
They'll love to put their fingers through your hair.
Bryl-creem, a little dab'll do ya,
Bryl-creem, you'll look so debonair.
Bryl-creem, the gals will all pursue ya,
They'll love to RUN their fingers through your hair.
Say hello, handsome!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baby Nod En Route (Really)

3:00 This time for sure. We are in hospital getting the epidural. Baby on the way.

Stay tuned to this space!

5:25 contractions regular, pitocin administered. Waiting game now.

6:45 water broke

7:00 we have a baby boy!! 9 lbs 2 oz. Mom and baby doing well. He's chubby and already nursing. Praise God. :D

Grok This

If this is Greek to you, don't worry, hang on, and the next post will. Or might. No promises. If this post does make sense to you, then nod, smile slightly, and go about your latest regex.

Deep End's Paul Venezia offers a field guide to understanding your resident Unix veteran:
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 1: We don't use sudo
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 2: We use vi, not emacs, and definitely not pico or nano
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 3: We wield regular expressions like weapons
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 4: We're inherently lazy
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 5: We prefer elegant solutions
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 6: We generally assume the problem is with whomever is asking the question
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 7: We have more in common with medical examiners than doctors
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 8: We know more about Windows than we'll ever let on
Veteran Unix admin trait No. 9: Rebooting is almost never an option

Where others may see intractable, overly difficult methods, we see enlightenment, born of years of learning, experience, and most of all, logic.

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today Is ...

I looked at the calendar today (Feb 14) and realized suddenly that today is ... Sts. Cyril and Methodius Day.

What? You were expecting something else?

Evangelists to the Slavs, creators of the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet among other things.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #95

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: A Live Action Controversy. No matter what side of the debate you come down on, the self-examination is worth doing.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Breakfast Stout

On this edition of Me and the Homebrews, WBN makes Northern Brewer's Breakfast Stout.

Stout is a heavy ale, usually black in color, low in alcohol, high in satisfaction for a cold winter's day. It's the beer that eats like a meal.
Beer for breakfast? This smooth, low alcohol stout is good for lunch and dinner too. If we had to pin it down, it's a cross between an oatmeal stout (a high proportion of flaked oats creates a silky texture) and a sweet stout (lactose gives sweetness and a full body) with the coffee-like flavor of roasted barley. A buttery note from the yeast completes the impression of a complete meal in a glass.
Oh, yeah. Most unfermented beer smells and tastes kinda funny before the yeast get in there and convert all the sugars to alcohol. In this case, the wort smelled wonderful -- like roast coffee and a big bowl of oatmeal, and there definitely is more than a hint of chocolate on the palate.

The best part is it only takes 4 weeks to make!

O.G. 1.033
F.G.  1.015
ABV 2.23%

With an alcohol content that low, you can drink twice as much. Your taste buds will thank you, even if your waistline doesn't.

Something different we're trying this time: keg conditioning. Normally we put all 5 gallons in the keg and force carbonate so we can drink it sooner. This time we put the priming sugar in the keg with the beer and set it aside (not in the fridge) in order to rouse the yeast into making the bubbles for us. Think of it as a giant bottle of beer.  Natural fermentation usually leads to a "softer" carbonation which doesn't suffer from undissolved CO2 bitterness.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

24:15 So Right, So Wrong?

When is being right actually wrong, and can we be wrong to be right? If you’re confused, you’re not alone. It’s just flat out hard to tell which end is up in this complicated world of ours. Even theologians get it wrong sometimes, and that’s their full time job. Fortunately, we have the Commandments, the Catechism, and the constant teaching of the Magisterium to help us find the “straight and narrow path” that leads to life. (cf. Matthew 7:13-14)

Some friends and I were discussing the recent videos made by Lila Rose and her group Live Action which uncover Planned Parenthood’s failure to report illegal sex trafficking of minors, among other things. This has led to a big media splash in various places, and has led many to renew the call for the Government to defund Planned Parenthood, which takes in roughly a third of its operating budget using public dollars numbering in the millions. Defunding an organization that primarily exists to perform abortions is certainly something I can support.

What makes me uneasy is the Live Action videos themselves.

Continue reading >>>

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

26 Years Of World Youth Day

The youth come, they are irresistibly drawn to the Vicar of Christ because he speaks the Truth.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Lila Rose?

Lila Rose and her Live Action undercover investigative videos of Planned Parenthood have created a firestorm of media coverage lately.

In the videos a man and a woman pretend to be a pimp and prostitute running an underage sex trafficking ring. Planned Parenthood does the predictable thing: aids and abets the pimp under the mistaken guise of "helping" the women get "needed" services.

The result has been a huge backlash against PP with several calls to defund them (about time!) from the millions they receive in public dollars.  Here's the problem: As much as I want it to, I don't think it will stick.

Here's why in a nutshell -- it's all based on a lie. Not the kind of lie that is against the law, but the kind of lie that our enemies tell. It's the "ends justifies the means" tactic that is the hallmark of the Father of Lies. They can and do tell those types of falsehoods all day, every day. Theirs is the tactic that says "if you just repeat the lie long enough and loud enough, people will believe you". It's the necessary lie.

But that tactic can't and won't work for us. We can't overlook it for the "greater good". One may not do evil so that good may result from it. Doesn't work. Ours is definitely the harder path; ours is the way of love and truth. It's so much harder to do things the right way that sometimes it is tempting to borrow a page from the forces that oppress us. That's why God fights for us: because we can't do it on our own. To attempt it on our own is an act of pride and hubris. Note that I am not ascribing any such motives to Lila Rose or Live Action -- the motive was good, but the motive was flawed.

The excellent site Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good has an article by Christopher O. Tollefsen that puts it succinctly:
Yet for all the good that may come of these videos, the way in which Live Action has made its mark is itself extremely troubling, for it is predicated on a form of falsity, which is exercised in an unloving way. Promising and welcome as the effects of these videos might be, they represent a real and dangerous corruption of the pro-life movement itself by endangering the pro-life movement’s commitment to its ideals of love and truth.

It is tempting to refer to the “pimp” character in Live Action’s videos as an “actor.” But this is misleading. Actors perform for willing and aware audiences who realize they are watching a fiction. The “pimp,” rather, lied, repeatedly and pervasively, in his conversation with the Planned Parenthood worker: he presented himself as other than he truly was, and his purpose in doing so was clearly to deceive.

In so presenting himself, the “pimp,” and all those who abetted him, did damage to his own integrity, creating for himself an appearance in the world deliberately at odds with his inner self. But integrity—a unity of one’s acting self in all its aspects—is a great good, and we destroy that unity in a lie only at a great cost to our wellbeing[.]
So we have the task of constantly evaluating ourselves and examining our motives in this fight against the scourge of abortion. But we have to fight clean, and we have to trust God to deliver us from evil because He is Truth and Love itself -- and Love conquers all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

All Your Stink Are Belong To Us

I don't know whether to laugh or cry: I just saved $60 on diapers. Of course I had to pay over $200 to get that "savings", but I was going to buy them eventually anyway, right?

I was doing some errands for my wife to get ready for the new Nodling (Min? Nip? Bit? Mote?) and I ran into a 1-day sale at Babies R Us. (Yes, at this moment I feel like a Mommy-blogger, gender notwithstanding -- no, wait, I provided for my family in true manly fashion!)

I usually blow off anybody who's trying to hand me anything, but I suddenly realized that we actually use Huggies diapers. Buy a certain amount and get a gift card for $20 which activates within 6 hours. So I bought a load, got a $40 gift card, came back that evening and bought more diapers using the gift card -- and got another gift card for $20. Cha-ching!

Now I'm stocked up on Nub and Nib diapers and got a little for the baby (Nym? Pip? Noodle?) as well -- not nearly enough -- they don't sell newborn diapers in big enough packs.

I've actually considered wiping the little dears' behinds with dollar bills and just cutting out the middleman, but there's that whole absorbency thing and all.

Behold, my double-wide -- a 1000 diapers strong!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival #94

This week on Sunday Snippets, WBN presents: Cybernyms and Other Stories.


Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share your best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community.

To participate, create a post highlighting posts that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host blog at Go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

This is where bloggers gather on the first Saturday of each month to share
their favorite post from the past month. Since we skipped January,
I’d love for you to share TWO posts this month:
one from December 2010 AND
one from January.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Name The Nodling

Ok, so we're getting close to the birth of our 6th child (a boy!) and now we are faced with a very important decision -- one I'm hoping you can help with. Not only does our son need his IRL (in real life) name, but he also needs a cybernym, his online name.

His siblings are Wynken, Blynken, and Nod-girl (after the title of this blog and the famous poem); the younger toddlers are Nub and Nib. If you haven't met them before, let me introduce them here.

We need a cybernym for #6: after all, if you're reading this blog you're going to have to put up with whatever we come up with. We can only call him the baby Nodling for so long. :D

The Nodlings as a rule are not over-tall, but what they lack in height they make up for in numbers. Therefore, I like small names that refer to small things -- like Nub and Nib. However, I'm open to suggestions that might fit the WBN theme as well. For those of you not keeping track, this will give us 3 boys and 3 girls.

So how about it -- wanna help a guy out? Throw out some names and I'll pick something I like. It could be yours!

Just to get the ball rolling, a couple of good ones I've heard are: Dab and Pip.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

24:15 Praxis Makes Perfect

Orthopraxis isn’t something you get at the dentist.  You might recognize it more easily if I use a similar word: orthodoxy. Ortho is a Greek word meaning “straight, correct”. “Doxy” refers to doctrine and belief, “praxis” refers to “use, practice, discipline”. If we are to be faithful Catholics, we must have both right doctrine and right practice.

A quick example: in the period of the Divided Kingdom after the death of King Solomon the Jews split into two kingdoms — the 10 tribes of Israel in the north and 2 tribes of Judah in the south. The division began as a political dispute over taxation and forced labor, but both camps worshiped the LORD. Right away, Israel was condemned by the prophets. Why?

Because the Temple was in the south and was the only acceptable place to offer the true worship of the true God. Having gone north, the Israelites could no longer do this. They did not have right practice (orthopraxy) even though they had right doctrine (orthodoxy). In an effort to justify themselves, the northern kingdom set up rival temples and practices and eventually fell into idol worship, so that they no longer even retained their orthodoxy.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

False Alarm, Labor Averted

[11:15] Ok, that was unnecessarily exciting. Mrs. Nod has NOT gone into labor, crisis averted. Doctor just says to keep an eye on things.
This has been a test of the Emergency Nodling System. Had this been a real emergency, we would have relayed important information to you via this station. This is only a test.
Thanks everybody for the quick prayers. We'll let the little guy get another week or so under his belt (hopefully). I could deal with a St. Valentine's Day baby. Superbowl baby -- not so much.

Baby Nod On The Way

[9:05] Well, it looks as if Baby Nod has ideas of his own. My wife is 36 weeks, but the baby may have just kicked out her water.  We're en route to the hospital to find out.

Stay tuned to this space for updates to this thread.  Prayers appreciated.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I sometimes wonder about language. I know that all the Romance languages come from Latin, so they are the same "at root". But then again they are different for a reason.  So as an exercise, I took the text of Mary Had A Little Lamb and ran it through the transliteration process at Babelfish.

We started with the odd constructions of English poetry, simplified them into Spanish, complicated and contracted them by means of French, and then passed them into that wonderfully over-literal language German, and then back again into our native English.

I'm sure the "root" of it is perfectly intelligible, no?

Maria had a small lamb,
small lamb,
small lamb,
Maria had a small lamb,
of, which was white heavy and smooth rag as snow.
AND by all parts this Maria,
Maria was,
Maria was,
and by all parts this Maria was,
l' Lamb was reliably d' to go.

It is to l' followed; Train one day
l' School teaches one day
one day,
it is it to l' followed; School per one day,
against which rules which was.
It ensured that the children laugh and the play,
the laughter and made the play,
the laughter and the play,
the children to laugh and the play,
around a lamb in l' to see; School.

AND the professor gave it so much outside
return toward outside
in view of the return it
approximately in view of the return it toward the outside,
AND the professor gave it so much return toward the outside,
but it was expected still close
AND patientement over stopped,
patientement over,
patientement over
AND been waiting patientement around jusqu' Maria appear.

Why l' Lamb likes Maria so much?
Does Maria love so much?
Does Maria love so much? 
Parce qu' it makes l' Loves Maria of l' Lamb therefore,
the impatient cry of the children. 
Because Maria l' likes;
Lamb you know."
L' You, l' know lamb
You know lamb, 
Because Maria l' likes; You know lamb, the professor answered.

Overheard In My House

A sign of the times:

"Dad, before the Internet did anyone ever write things down about people and stories?"

Yeah, it's called: history.


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