Tuesday, May 31, 2005

RIP - Samuel R. Frankel

(Note: In lieu of a discussion of the theoretical aspects of prayer, today I resort to the practical elements of its implementation.)

I have just learned that my friend and former employer, Samuel R. Frankel, died yesterday - he was 82.

Please remember him in your prayers, and his family.

"The souls of the just are in the hands of God."

Requiescat in pace

A Picture of Tuesday

GKC wote a story called "A Picture of Tuesday" which can be found in IP's CW 14. In case you are not into GKC tech code here is the translation:

GKC means Gilbert Keith Chesterton (who married Frances Blogg, hence this blogg!)
IP means Ignatius Press
CW means Ccollected Works of GKC published by IP (there are some 20 volumes available so far)

Anyhow, it is a short story and very interesting, and has some creative (ha! see below) link to GKC's great novel, The Man Who Was Thursday. I would have more to say about it, as I wished to honor Tuesday appropriately, but I cannot this time, for reasons I will explain in a separate entry (see elsewhere). And I dare not spoil GKC's wonderful story by telling you thkngs you ought to be surprised about! But I will quote something for you, which will not spoil it, because I promised (in another entry) that I would explain about shifting the days of the week. So here is the excerpt:

"It is certainly very good," he said, "like creation. But why did you reckon Tuesday the second instead of the third day of the Jewish week?"
"I had to reckon from my own seventh day: the day of praise, the day of saying 'It is good,' or I could not have felt it a reality."
"Do you seriously mean that you, yourself, look at the days of the week in that way?"
"The week is the colossal epic of creation," cried Starwood excitedly. "Why are there not rituals for every day? The Day of the creation of Light, why is it not honoured with mystic illuminations? The Day of the Waters, why is it not the day of awful cleansings and sacred immersions - "
["A Picture of Tuesday" CW14:62-63]

Next Tueday we shall begin - and perhaps see the Division of the Waters...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Writing project: on prayer (part 3)

With all the ursine excitement about this writing, and mustard, and Beethoven's 9th, I just had to get something into print today...

What is prayer? (more on the same)

Last time I asked "1. Are there perhaps different kinds of prayer?" If praying only refers to God, then it seems clear that there can be only one prayer. For God is one, and who are we to think we can approach Him as we might approach a fellow human being? Who are we to use anything other than the "proper form of address" - the "Form of Business Letter" or the "Standard Blogg Template" (oops I keep mis-spelling that word) or whatever it is called? Haven't people been struck by lightning for less?

On the other hand, if we take a good working example of someone who prays, and see what he does, we find that there are a variety of kinds, both in its actual format, and its intention - each might be as different as any actual speech or communication between humans - and yet still a communication nevertheless. Now let us consider Jesus, Who certainly prayed - and prayed often. We have recorded transcripts (translated, naturally) of some of the forms of address He used in His prayers. He certainly used different words most of the time, though we know that at least once He repeated the same prayer as well. Thus we learn that there are multiple syntaxes (spellings of prayers), and we also know that repeats are permitted. I am not going to do any real formal analysis here, neither using Semitic verbs (which I do not know) nor using automata theory (which I do know). We also learn that there are multiple semantics (meanings) for prayers. Sometimes indeed Jesus is thanking, sometimes praising, sometimes asking. Also, His prayers seem, uh, familiar - He speaks to God as if He belongs - and He speaks on both common or little things and unque and big things. (You can look up all the quotes you like; for now I am just jotting this down.)

The dictionary indicates that prayer has a four-dimensional character, enumerated as:
(1) Adoration
(2) Confession (or Contrition)
(3) Thanksgiving
(4) Supplication
(The memory aid, or mnemonic, for this is ACTS.)

So it is clear that there indeed different forms of prayer. But is prayer as wide open as speech? Or as computer scientists put it, as strings of characters? (Of course we should say phonemes if we are talking about spoken prayer. We have not yet gotten to such things as "mental" prayer.)

One view might say "yes" - since we are told to "pray always" - but then are things like "jabberwocky" or "bunchoosa blutterspangle" prayers? Clearly there is something about "intention" which must be added to the simple "character generation" explanation of prayer. Not even devout C programmers can type:
in order to do a decade of the Rosary. ( Though this approach might attract some new interest and discussion about that most interesting prayer.)

Now all that talk, about Jesus,and His praying, and the Rosary - all that seems to say that praying means something between us (a human, or humans) and God. But if prayer is fundamentally a communication between us and God, does that mean we cannot ask, apologize, or thank another human? No, that does not make sense. So there must be another thing happening here. Either that kind of thing is NOT prayer, or else it is a different form of prayer. (There is another question which I will state here, but must defer to a later discussion: Is "prayer" a one-way communication? That's for later.)

So: Is "Please pass the mustard" a prayer, or isn't it? Some say it is not formatted properly (you didn't say Amen at the end!) Others say we must not pray to humans, so it is not allowed, reach over and get the mustard yourself! Some say that broadens the word "prayer" too far, and then means anything at all.

So then, when a mother takes her five year old son for walk and he says "Mommy, look at the bird!" she does not hear his love? No, go deeper: when a father hears his daughter make the "ah" sound for the first time (beginning a long discussion with his wife whether that was the ah in father or the ah in mama, settled by going out for ice cream) has that baby not made an unmistakable communication from herself to her parents - even if she hasn't the slightest idea of the rest of their discussion?

It seems to me that even many of our relatively boring communications between ourselves, providing they reflect somehow on one of those three aspects of prayer we share in with God are somehow in some weak, faint sense, share somehow in the nature of prayer. Perhaps we might "close off the set" and add the fourth (adoration) by understanding it in the only correct way it may apply to a fellow human - that is, the honor and respect due him as a child of God. (No, I never mean to suggest we adore each other - but there is such a thing as honor, such a thing as respect.) But then this simplifies nicely (as it now covers the C, T, S aspects too) and arranges everything into one!

We might simply say that prayer is a form of dignified communication which puts things into their proper order.

It thus excludes the mechanical communications (like the "ping" of the INTERNET), or the undignified forms (like ridicule or slander or unkind words and the rest).

So far, then, we have gotten this far:
1. Prayer is a form of dignified communication
2. Prayer has a number of forms, both in its syntax (what you say) and its semantics (what you mean)
3. Prayer is a form of communication, fundamentally between an individual and God, but also (in a limited sense) between humans.

Somehow prayer is an expression of a relationship... maybe that is the point I am trying to make. Yet, all these other things enter in as well. (And I seem to be making it more of a mess, not less.)

But we have some new challenges, too, and will proceed to those next time.

Science Monday 2005/05/30

"And God said, let there be light. And there was light."

On Mondays I will explore a little of science, so everyone get out their cyclotrons, and their integrating goniometers. (Oh, yes... Tomorrow I will explain (by means of GKC) why I have shifted the days of creation - it was his idea, not mine! And if you already know, kindly do not spoil it by blabbing it in your comments.)

Why should I do this? Well, because from the time when I was six or so, I wanted to be a scientist - and now I am one. It is perhaps advantageous to be a Computer Scientist, as I am able to deal with many of the different departments of science - perhaps even better than being a mathematician (though they have it good too!) Don't worry, I will try to keep both the math and the CS to a minimum (oops: "minimum" is both a math thing and a CS thing... hee hee)

And also because GKC points this out: "Science itself is only the exaggeration and specialization of this thirst for useless fact, which is the mark of the youth of man. But science has become strangely separated from the mere news and scandal of flowers and birds; men have ceased to see that a pterodactyl was as fresh and natural as a flower, that a flower is as monstrous as a pterodactyl. The rebuilding of this bridge between science and human nature is one of the greatest needs of mankind. We have all to show that before we go on to any visions or creations we can be contented with a planet of miracles." The Defendant 74-75, emphasis added.

And so, to begin.

Nearly everyone who knows me knows that no more than 1.2 minutes of time can go by without my mentioning Chesterton. But I do read other authors! (Sometimes I even read Belloc, hee hee.)

However (ahem!) there is one author in particular who I esteem in a similar fashion: one who has written a number of books about science, relating it to human nature in a most unique way. He has the advantage of having doctorates in both theology and nuclear physics, and has specialized in the study of the history of science. I refer to Father Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B. It was through his work that I learned of Pierre Duhem, the Catholic French thermodynamicist and historian of science, who (just about a century ago) made one of the foremost discoveries of the 20th century.

Fr. Jaki has found an excellent summary, which will give you a hint of what I will explore in some future articles:

The origins of science are less known than its discoveries. We profit from its conquests, enjoy its benefits without any concern about the source from which they derive. Yet there is no more interesting study. In no domain os human progress secured by som spontaneous and necessary evolution. It is important to know the conditionsin which science was born, the conditions in which its progress accelerates so that our future procedures may be better oriented. For this reason the works of Duhem must be highly esteemed. They estabish on thebasis of vast evidence that the principles on which modern science rests were formulated before Newton, before Descartes, before Galileo, before Copernicus, before Leonardo himself, by the masters of the University of Paris during the 14th century.
[Albert Defourcq, "Les origines de la science moderne d'apres les decouvertes recentes" in La Revue des Deux Mondes July 15, 1913; quoted in Jaki, Numbers Decide 108]

Yes, it will be painful for some, because they feel that science ought not be related to religion - especially the Catholic religion. But that's too bad, as it is a matter of history, despite the efforts of some to suppress this fact from being published. Stay tuned for more...

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Today is the (transferred) feast of Corpus Christi. It is also our Uncle Gilbert's 131st birthday. Therefore, I offer for your consideration two quotes....

[The poetry of St. Thomas Aquinas] came into public use through the particular circumstance of his being asked to compose the office for the Feast of Corpus Christi ... It does certainly reveal an entirely different side of his genius; and it certainly was genius. As a rule, he was an eminently practical prose writer; some would say a very prosaic prose writer. He maintained controversy with an eye on only two qualities; clarity and courtesy. And he maintained these because they were entirely practical qualities; affecting the probabilities of conversion. But the composer of the Corpus Christi service was not merely what even the wild and woolly would call a poet; he was what the most fastidious would call an artist. His double function rather recalls the double activity of some great Renaissance craftsman, like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, who would work on the outer wall, planning and building the fortifications of the city; and then retire into the inner chamber to carve or model some cup or casket for a reliquary. The Corpus Christi Office is like some old musical instrument, quaintly and carefully inlaid with many coloured stones and metals; the author has gathered remote texts about pasture and fruition like rare herbs; there is a notable lack of the loud and obvious in the harmony; and the whole is strung with two strong Latin lyrics. Father John O'Connor has translated them with an almost miraculous aptitude; but a good translator will be the first to agree that no translation is good; or, at any rate, good enough. How are we to find eight short English words which actually stand for "Sumit unus, sumunt mille; quantum isti, tantum ille"? How is anybody really to render the sound of the "Pange Lingua", when the very first syllable has a clang like the clash of cymbals?
[GKC, St. Thomas Aquinas CW2:508-509]

Bowing down in blind credulity, as is my custom, before mere authority and the tradition of the elders, superstitiously swallowing a story I could not test at the time by experiment or private judgment, I am firmly of opinion that I was born on the 29th of May, 1874, on Campden Hill, Kensington; and baptised according to the formularies of the Church of England in the little church of St. George opposite the large Waterworks Tower that dominated that ridge. I do not allege any significance in the relation of the two buildings; and I indignantly deny that the church was chosen because it needed the whole water-power of West London to turn me into a Christian.
[GKC, Autobiography CW16:21]

Saturday, May 28, 2005

GKC about the INTERNET

Did you know that Chesterton wrote about the INTERNET?

Yes, actually he invented the INTERNET...

Of course it is just too funny for me, when I say in e-mail shorthand that his CW (short for "Collected Works") are available from IP...

but in this context IP means Ignatius Press, not "Internet Protocol"! Ha ha!

Well, so he didn't write about the INTERNET. Actually, he wrote about Bloggs.

No, no! I mean blogs. Though he did write about Bloggs, too; he actually started something called An Encyclopedia of Bloggs, which was about his wife's family. [Maisie Ward, Return To Chesterton, 15]

Well, sorry to mislead you again. I am wrong, wrong, WRONG.

He did not mention the word we now call "blog" but he just about predicted them (not technologically, but in essence) - and he certainly understood the usefulness of the idea behind them.

In order to understand the quote which reveals this, you need to know some background first. In 1925 GKC finally had his very own newspaper - called G. K.'s Weekly - and he could publish whatever he wanted (well, up to what propriety and the law allowed, anyway) - at least, he was its editor, and he did not have to face someone else's editorial revisions. So, in a very early issue he wrote:

This paper exists to insist on the rights of man; on possessions that are of much more political importance than the principle of one man one vote. I am in favour of one man one house, one man one field; nay I have even advanced the paradox of one man one wife. But I am almost tempted to add the more ideal fancy of one man one magazine ... to say that every citizen ought to have a weekly paper of this sort to splash about in ... this kind of scrap book to keep him quiet.
G. K.'s Weekly, April 4, 1925, quoted in Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 497, emphasis added

Isn't it wonderful to think that we are doing something GKC also got to do? Something which he wished for "every citizen" to be able to do?

I cannot resist a postscript, since GKC mentions "splashing":

I believe in getting into hot water. I think it keeps you clean.
[ILN March 10, 1906 CW27:142]

Writing project: on prayer (part 2)

On the way home from Holy Mass (or was it last night before I fell asleep?) I was thinking about what I was going to write here, and how I might begin to get some order into the many curious ideas I could examine under this topic of prayer.

The first thing I realized is that, true to my discipline as a Computer Scientist, I must set up the definitions or axioms upon which I will build the rest of the structure. And the first one is what prayer is.

What is prayer?

As you may know from this Blogg, or from your own, there is a thing called a "template" which is a kind of starting point - a framework - into which one's own special distinctions are introduced. (I am not getting formal on you, so don't worry.) But I am going to use this idea of a template and make an analogy in order to help get things started.

And so I ask: What is a cow?

Or, to put it another way: When I say the word "cow" what comes into your head? For me, I see a black-and white cow, with a bell around its neck, standing by a fence in a grassy meadow. It is facing left, and chewing some of the grass. You, if country-born, may see a completely different view (involving getting up early and certain smells) than one who is city-born (as I am). But there are going to be some common elements, and I will answer them as a child, not as a scientist.

What is a cow? (1) it is a kind of animal. (2) It gives milk. (3) It eats grass. (4) It usually lives on a farm or ranch. Oh yes, scientists know that the child's "cow" is the common word for the female of the domestic ox (Bos taurus); "cow" is a general word for the female of a variety of mammals. But the "female of the domestic ox" is a kind of animal that gives milk, eats grass, and generally lives on a farm or ranch - how to balance these two views and get more information? (The best answer is to go and see a cow, if you dare. But we are not dealing with cows so let us proceed.)

So what is prayer? What do you have in your mind about it? (This book is part of what is in mine.) Do you see a kneeling child with folded hands? The "Our Father" aka "The Lord's Prayer"? A rosary? A book of prayers?

It's harder to explain "prayer" than "cow" because it is not a substantial thing, something we can see or touch, or even draw pictures of, for then we might imagine the grass it stands on, or the bell around its neck.

But in each case there are some common things which even a child knows, and some things which specialists will point out. The first common thing is prayer is a means of communication. The second is that it is a personal act, though it may also be done with other people. The third is that it has to do with God. The fourth is that (all too often) a prayer is a request or entreaty that something be done or accomplished or altered.

Now I also recognize that there are some very bothersome aspects about this term for some people. Some take a narrow view and make "pray" identical to "worship." For them, this whole study may be borderline or blatant blasphemy. Others take a vague view and class it with anything from "daydream" or "contemplate" to "meditate" - though this last word has two totally opposite meanings. [I may explore this in an appendix; I don't know yet.] Still others broaden "prayer" to any act relating to, or suggestive of, religion or religious activity.

"Prayer" comes from the Latin prex, which means a prayer, request or entreaty. "Pray" is currently used in certain legal settings, and simply means "ask." Sometimes, in older novels we might read phrases like "What have you been up to, pray tell?" - just a fancy way of saying "I ask you to tell me." "Pray" also has the meaning of "the offering of adoration, confession (others say contrition), thanksgiving, supplication to God." Clearly, for those who adhere to the First Commandment (however they are numbered, it comes out the same) that "adoration" can only apply to God, though most of us certainly will say words of contrition, thanksgiving, or supplication to our fellow human beings.

Just what to do, then? Hmmm ... then, is it a terrible sin to ask someone to pass the mustard? To apologize for spilling it on her dress? Or to thank her for passing it? Wait a second. What is going on here? OK, this must mean we need to get into this meaning more precisely. And among the most interesting and critical points to be explored are these:

1. Are there perhaps different kinds of prayer?
2. What about asking someone to pray for someone else? Is that a prayer too?
3. What about those who have died? Have they been disconnected from our communications? Or is it perhaps merely that we never hear them reply?

We shall proceed after this pause for more typing, and your comments. Please do not push as you attempt to get to the keyboard, you may spill the mustard.

* * *

I know you are all screaming "Hurry up, Doctor, we all wanted to read the high tech stuff about heaven." Sorry, but it will take some work to get there. Just be patient. If you have a nice Beethoven symphony (like say number 9) get it out and listen to it. You'll need it later.

Friday, May 27, 2005

GKC's birthday

Just a reminder to all the nieces and nephews of our Aunt Frances and Uncle Gilbert:

This Sunday, May 29, marks Chesterton's 131st birthday. I know I won't have enough candles (I don't even have a cake yet), but perhaps I will have some bacon. And beer.

Also note that Corpus Christi is celebrated that day - and it is the Year of the Eucharist!

So, for your consideration let me just give some quotes which may assist in contemplating this great mystery:

Madeleine looked at him doubtfully for an instant, and then said with a sudden simplicity and cheerfulness: "Oh, but if you are really sorry it is all right. If you are horribly sorry it is all the better. You have only to go and tell the priest so and he will give you God out of his own hands."
[The Ball and the Cross, chapter 9]

As to Transubstantiation, it is less easy to talk currently about that; but I would gently suggest that, to most ordinary outsiders with any common sense, there would be a considerable practical difference between Jehovah pervading the universe and Jesus Christ coming into the room.
[The Thing CW3:180]

And lastly, one of the most powerful of all GKC's writing, wherein you might catch a glimpse of how this new Way must have appeared to the ancients (and still does today!):

The members of some eastern sect or secret society or other seemed to have made a scene somewhere; nobody could imagine why. The incident occurred once or twice again and began to arouse irritation out of proportion to its insignificance. It was not exactly what these provincials said; though of course it sounded queer enough. They seemed to be saying that God was dead and that they themselves had seen him die. This might be one of the many manias produced by the despair of the age; only they did not seem particularly despairing. They seem quite unnaturally joyful about it, and gave the reason that the death of God had allowed them to eat him and drink his blood. According to other accounts God was not exactly dead after all; there trailed through the bewildered imagination some sort of fantastic procession of the funeral of God, at which the sun turned black, but which ended with the dead omnipotence breaking out of the tomb and rising again like the sun.
[The Everlasting Man CW2:295-296, emphasis added]

Writing project: on prayer

I have probably a dozen or two writing projects, all trying to get some time from me. Now that I have this electronic newspaper to "splash about in"[GK's Weekly Apr 4, 1925 quoted in Ward's GKC] I will attempt getting at one or more of them. It has at least two benefits:

(1) I may actually get some notes down onto paper (well, you know what I mean!)
(2) I may get feedback - perhaps negative, but that will only come from friends.

So. Having said, that, I will start. +

A book on prayer? Well, it might be called something like "The Technology of Prayer" or "A Computer Scientist on Prayer" or something.

Why do I want to do this? Because there are some interesting things which have become visible to me, as I hack further into the overgrown garden called Computing, and begin to see the fence (hedges? walls?) which some enemy has planted between this yard and the next-door neighbor's - he calls himself "Philosophy". [Note added in proof: I mean he calls his garden that.]

(Yes, another topic for me to address - probably when I comment on Newman's Idea of a University - is the "problem" of the chasms between the various departments of knowledge. Or else when I comment on Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, a related work.)

Another reason is the peculiar experience of saying the Rosary during a Holy Hour (this was while I was working on my doctorate) in a little church when at the start of the decade, they switched languages (Polish, possibly)... Thinking about computers and then experiencing such a switch made me derive certain facts regarding the communications to/with heaven.

And everyone seems to want to know more about it! So... I thought, what else can computer science tell us? And though I am not a theologian nor a philosopher by training, I have good authority on which to attempt this: GKC in his The Everlasting Man who compliments H. G. Wells for "having asserted the reasonable right of the amateur to do what he can with the facts which the specialists provide." [TEM CW2:141] Also, Dorothy L. Sayers, who applied her abilities in detective story writing to attempt to get further into the Gospels (she comments on this in her Man Born to Be King radio plays.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fat Thursday

As I consider myself to be a "distant nephew" of Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Frances, and since it is Thursday, we shall begin with some fat jokes. Yes, I am rather fat, thought definitely not as fat as "our Mister Chesterton." I also am somewhat of a joke, being a doctor. Really! (in the Latin sense, of course.) It's great fun, too: when I visit a friend of mine named James, I love to say "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physician."

OK, fat. First, since today is the feast of St. Phili Neri, we should quote something he wrote.

[Note: our "network policy" here is to give references whenever possible - after all, I have enjoyed so many books, perhaps you would like to know which ones!]

Now, if I can just keep from being side-tracked again. What was I doing? Oh, yes, the Neri quote.

Dum de dum... (flips through books, reads something else for a while, suddenly realises he is supposed to be writing an entry! OK, ok!)

Ah! Here it is. "In general, give the body rather too much food than too little." [Tilted Haloes 12]

Now, that is not really a fat joke. But it kind of explains the fat jokes we shall be examining here. And if you want to find out about how to be ascetic and fat, you need to read Chesterton. And here is one of GKC's very own fat jokes. OK, actually two. (He liked to poke fun at himself whenever possible.)

"...there are jokes against me. They range from the ancient but admirable story that my old-world chivalry prompted me to give up my seat to three ladies to the more recent and realistic anecdote, which tells how my neighbours remonstrated with a noisy local factory, pleading that 'Mr. Chesterton can't write', and received the serene reply 'Yes. We were aware of that'." [GKC as MC, 270]

I can't write either. When I sit here, I just hit keys and hope it spells a wrod. But most times I just get things like
which is a handy thing for politicians who speak C.
(In English, this is pronounced "no comment".)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Queries about books

This is a fun thing which I have seen answered by others - most recently on On Nothing, to whom I respond.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned
A rough estimate is 3,000.

2. Last Book I Bought
A big stack from Dover Publications, which I whole-heartedly recommend and indeed commend! (I have no connection with the company except as a satisfied customer.) A couple of titles: The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear, Ancient Egyptian Construction and Architecture, and a few others on ancient Egypt.

3. Last Book I Read
I am usually reading several at once... Let's see: Means to Message by S. L. Jaki. The Sleeping Sphinx by John Dickson Carr. Tom Swift and His Jetmarine by Victor Appleton II.

4. Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me
Others have assumed the Bible as transcendent to such a question, so I will too, along with the various books of prayer and ritual of the Roman Catholic Church, which are not "books" as much as "aids to memory"... (Since "memory" is an important term, I should talk about that in another posting.) And I may pick another five next time I think about it, but for today here is the list:
a. The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton
b. Science and Creation by S. L. Jaki
c. The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney
d. The Idea of a University by J. H. Newman
e. The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics

Each deserves a lengthy commentary on why I picked them and what role they have played in my life, but perhaps those will follow someday.

(And as I re-read this, other titles and authors shout to be included... Alice in Wonderland! The Phantom Tollbooth! The Never-Ending Story! J R. R. Tolkien! A. C. Doyle! Rex Stout! D. L. Sayers! Donald Knuth! Oh, they said five. I picked five. I am supposed to be able to count, even without a computer! Oh, is that what this thing is in front of me?)

5. Tag five people and have them do this on their blog.
Oof. Just about everyone I read has already done it or given the token to another. (Somewhere I hear a Gorgon saying "Sister, give me the eye!") Maybe the only one I did NOT see mentioned is Nancy over at Flying Stars.

Good luck. If you read this and have not posted a reply, you may consider yourself to have been tagged.

In Principio erat Verbum...

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
Qui fecit caelum et terram.

In 1540, Vannoccio Biringuccio wrote The Pirotechnia - history's "first clear, comprehensive work on metallurgy."[From the cover of the 1990 Dover edition.] In his preface he wrote:

"...whenever the excavation of a mine is begun, it is customary first to seek the grace of God, so that He may intervene to aid every doubtful and difficult effort..." [p. 14]

This I have done.

If you wish to know why I have chosen this name, it is because I am a Chestertonian (among other things) and GKC's favourite Blogg was his wife, Frances Blogg.

And that's all you need to know at this point. More will follow.