Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A list of books (a beginning)

There's a lot going on, as usual, and of course I'm spending a lot of time in late December of 2016 so I can't pay a lot of attention to what most of you call the "present" - but hopefully that will be done soon.

I'm also getting to play with some very interesting mathematics, which involves the solution of intersecting hyperbolae. It's a delight since it seems to unite in one place all of computer science, mathematics, and literature - what DOES the Doctor mean by intersecting hyperbolae anyway? A sort of star-crossed exaggeration? Hee hee! More on that soon, maybe - it has some very cool diagrams, and the math is fun - so I hope I can give you the proper lit'ry effect too.

But there was another little project which loomed up in my thought, since someone (I forget where, maybe at Love-to-Learn) was trying to collect titles of books for young people to read. This is a good idea, and I think I ought to try to do that myself.

So, while I have a brief moment, I will give you some of the titles I would recommend for inclusion in any good library.

Hmm, hmm, a difficult topic... there are so many good books. Well, let's start with the obvious ones, and we can always come back. I will put them into order by title so there won't be any debate about silly things like rank. Not all orders are TOTAL orders, and there are relations which aren't orders at all... but we must not get technical about that here, Doctor. aHEM! All right.

Admiral of Ocean Sea by Morison
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Carroll
Around the World in 80 Days by Verne
Ben-Hur by Wallace
The Brave Little Toaster by Disch (and its sequel, The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars)
A Christmas Carol by Dickens
The Dawn of All by Benson
The Everlasting Man by Chesterton (the cover of my paperback copy says: "More thrilling than any novel"!)
Ex-Cub Fitzie by Boyton
Father Brown stories by Chesterton
From the Earth to the Moon by Verne (it has a sequel too)
The Haunted Bookstore by Morley (and its prequel, Parnassus on Wheels)
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Verne
Kim by Kipling (also The Jungle Books)
Life of Christ by Ricciotti (and his History of Israel, Acts of the Apostles, Life of St. Paul, The Age of Martyrs)
Little Women by Alcott (and sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys)
The Lord of the World by Benson
The Mad Scientists' Club by Brinley (also their New Adventures, The Big Kerplop! and The Big Chunk of Ice)
The Man Who Was Thursday by Chesterton
Manalive by Chesterton
The Miracle of the Bells by Janney
The Napoleon of Notting Hill by Chesterton
The Neverending Story by Ende
The Nine Tailors by Sayers (and the other Lord Peter stories)
Orthodoxy by Chesterton
The Phantom Tollbooth by Juster
Robinson Crusoe by Defoe
Secret Agents Four by Sobol
Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle
Sinbad and Me by Kin Platt
Swiss Family Robinson by Wyss
The Thirty-Nine Steps by Buchan
Treasure Island by Stevenson
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Verne (and The Mysterious Island which is a sort of sequel)
Who Is Bugs Potter? by Korman (and many of his other works)

All right, whoa! That's almost 50, quite enough for a start. Yeah, there are a couple non-fiction titles in there, but they're excellent and ought not be neglected. You can also add the books of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Tom Swift series, and the dozen or so in the "Danny Dunn" series.

(There are also the Nero Wolfe mysteries, and those by John Dickson Carr and Agatha Christie, and others of the great age of detective fiction, and others like the adventures of Alistair MacLean, though I hesitate to glob all those together; these require some discrimination - yet I should mention their names.)

Though some of these are a bit dated, they are all worth reading. (Yes, I have intentionally omitted Tolkien, but I have no time to elaborate on that today. The same with Wells.) Eventually I ought to do reviews, or at least add something to explain a little about their importance, but I can't do that today either. And maybe eventually I will provide a list of essential Reference Works.

Oh yes, one more item. If it was actually available, I would mention that huge thing the author calls the "Saga" - De Bellis Stellarum, but... oh, yeah, that's by me. Oh my. Maybe it will be done soon, and MAYBE some part of it will appear in some real, regular place where it can be bought! See, if I wasn't spending time writing this, I could be writing that. I'm not like Caesar or Aquinas or Chesterton who could write multiple productions at once. Wow, like textual counterpoint, or a verbal fugue, maybe? Intense! No, though I do come kinda close with my code generation, but (ahem) I'm not supposed to reveal such szekrets on a blogg. This will attract spies.

And if you would like to read some additional discussion about this topic, you can go here.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

De Bellis Stellarum - a first hint of what is coming


De Bellis Stellarum
A multi-part Saga
by Dr. Thursday

"It is between light and darkness, and everyone must choose his side."
-- the last words of G. K. Chesterton.
[Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 650]

On a cold day in November of 1845, a young engineer named John Fisher, an English-born descendent of Catholic recusants and now an American citizen, rescued a young woman from a collapsing bridge. Five years later, he chanced to encounter the formation of a great power of evil - and he swore he would do anything in his power to fight that rising darkness. His plans were laid, and over the next century and a half, the Battle of Light and Darkness went on.

And so - as the 21st century began, and the last of those entrusted with Fisher's Plan died, the responsibility for the Battle fell upon a handful of young men.

These went through a series of amazing adventures, culminating in the re-founding of an ancient order of chivalry, the restoration of a stolen and long-hidden treasure, and an unbelievable journey with an even more unbelievable companion to resolve a war that reached beyond our world.

Are you interested yet?

Well - stay tuned for more information. The Knights will come again.

* * *

I am sure you are wondering why I wrote this now, and not give a link to Amazon or at least to Loome Books. (Gulp!) It's to remind me of what's at stake, as I am about to embark on the most critical episode of the Saga, and I need your prayers if it's to be completed. And yes, I hope to arrange to have some part of it available in the near future - God willing.

Because, as Mark Weaver told his brothers, "Someone has to do the hard jobs."

Sunday, January 01, 2012

From Darkness Into Light - an excerpt for 2012

Happy Octave-day of Christmas!

It is also the feast of the Circumcision, and the start of the civil new year 2012.

And, I've already heard and seen silly whines from the Media about this so-called "Maya end-of-the-world" thing, which is, apparently, just the usual kick people get from seeing the odometer in their car turning to all zeros. There are several reasons why it is so unimportant: the Maya calendar was terribly inaccurate, as it was set up not to indicate any periodic action of the cosmos, but for the casting of horoscopes. Moreover, the "overflow" is just an end of the baktun denoted "twelve" - the famous "long count" will read - but even funnier, there is still disagreement among archaeologists about the coordination between the "Long Count" and our own calendar. We might as well worry about the 2000th anniversary of the death of Caesar Augustus, which I believe is coming up. (Yes, I checked - it's August 19 in 2014.) Oh woe... (hee hee hee!)

Anyway, to reassure you, and to give you something exciting to look forward to, I will give you an excerpt from my 13-part forthcoming novel, From Darkness Into Light, a major component of my Saga. God willing, some part of this complex and lengthy adventure tale (also known as a "Boys' Book") will become available in this new year...

And I shall also remind everyone to pray for the defeat of evil in our world, and for assistance to those who are needy - and to be grateful for all the good things we have.

Dr. Thursday.

* * * * * * *
an excerpt from:

From Darkness Into Light
Part Ten:
(Fall 2015 part 1)

The third calendar of the Maya was the "long count" which reckoned the number of days since the mythical beginning of the Maya era, which was dated 4 Ahau 8 Cumhu for reasons unknown (equivalent to B.C. 3111).
Victor W. Von Hagen World of the Maya 177

Whoever put in order this computation of katuns, if it was the devil, he did it, as he usually does, ordaining it for his own glory.
Friar Diego de Landa, first Bishop of Mérida (quoted ibid 179)

Tuesday September 8, 2015

It was another hot day. Bernie had started his SCUBA class again, and the water was refreshing – but he was almost panting as he headed back up the hill. At least the clubhouse was pleasantly cool. After he grabbed a glass of water, he went into the computer room to check his e-mail. Marty was there, working on the Chandler Clock puzzle, while the two Gregs were doing homework. He glanced at Greg Weller's screen, and saw a list of very odd words.
"Imix, Ik, Akbal, Kan, Chicchan, Cimi... What the heck are those, Greg?"
"This is for Ancient American History. Those are the day-names of the Maya calendar."
Bernie peered at the list. "Oh yeah... the Long Count and all that. And the world was supposed to end in 2012, wasn't it? Late December?"
"Sure! You missed it, huh? Where were you?"
Bernie sat down at a computer and pulled up his calendar tool. "Around. Marty and I were seniors... let's see... December 2012. Was it the 12th?"
"No, but we thought that shoulda been the date – twelve-twelve-twelve. They said it was supposed to be the 21st."
Bernie examined the display. "Friday? Oh that was the last day of school before Christmas. Nope. Hey Marty, the end-of-the-world was scheduled but we missed it!" He laughed. "Rats. Maybe we'll catch it next time."
Marty turned towards the others. "What was that all about anyway?"
"The Maya had some really goofy calendars. One of them was called the Long Count – it was like those old adding machines, with five gears that ticked over as the days went past. They counted in twenties, so as the units gear turned past 20 days, the second one ticked over. The second gear counted to 18, so the third one would register a 360-day unit called a tun, kinda like their year. Those extra five days were unlucky..." He trailed off.
"Oh yeah. But what was supposed to happen in 2012?"
Greg Weller leaned back, staring up at the ceiling as he lectured. "It's the end of the baktun, that's a roughly 400-year interval. All four lower gears would reach their highest place, and then, as that last day of the baktun expired, they would all carry, and the fourth gear would make the fifth gear advance."
"Overflow! And it would go back to all zeroes?"
"Nah. That's what you would expect, given the way the fearmongers liked to whine about it, like good old Y2K. The Maya did expect all sorts of disaster on the last day of such intervals. But actually – it would be..." He dropped his voice, trying for a Boris Karloff effect. "Thirteen, zero, zero, zero, zero."
Marty snorted. "Oh big deal. Good old triskaidekaphobia strikes into Meso-America!"
"Yeah – of course that would really be the first day of the new world, if we survive the end-of-the world terrors... and if that's really the correct date in the first place! Our professor said it was based on somebody-or-other's correlation between the Maya Long Count and what he called our 'standard calendar' – and he said there's a group of historians who think they were off by a couple years: the Goodman-Thompson-Martinez correlation started with 3113 BC but the one used by von Hagen gives it at 3111 BC. And apparently they found another small error, so now they have a revised theory." He chuckled wryly.
"Sure they do – yet another doomsday bunch, always revising their predictions! So what's their latest guess?"
"The last day of the current baktun – the end of the world, – comes this year, 2015, in late December – the 23rd."
Bernie and Marty looked at each other. John's birthday. "Yeah, right," Marty laughed. "That's John's birthday, it better not end then!"
"I once took a look at the math," Bernie chuckled as Marty went back to his work. "Remember, the Maya might have had a 'zero' but their so-called year was as lousy as the old Roman one – worse, since they never did any intercalations."
"Did any what?"
"Intercalations are periodic adjustments, like Leap Day, to deal with the fact that the day and the year aren't even units of each other. If we didn't have leap year, eventually we will have Easter in the winter, or Christmas in the summer. But Julius Caesar put in the major fix, and back in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII made it even more precise."
"I gotcha, Bernie!" Greg Weller nodded. "But the Maya didn't do intercalations, neither in their 260-day tzolkin nor in their 365-day civil year, so their 'new year' floats around the solar year. That means their calendars go out of sync with the seasons after a while."
"Why is that?" asked Marty, not bothering to turn.
"Uh... let's just say it was a good thing Columbus found them." Bernie chuckled again as he signed onto the e-mail program. "And not just because of their stupid calendar."
"And don't forget good old Bishop Zumárraga – right Greg?" Greg Jones spoke for the first time.
"Who's that?" Bernie said. (He knew, of course, but he wanted to hear their comments.)
"He was the first bishop in the New World. He ordered a printing press and by 1544 they were printing books. He was the one that St. Juan Diego came to see – with his tilma – and the roses – and the painting of Mary of Guadalupe!"
"Correct." Bernie nodded. "I don't know if you guys knew about this. I told Marty and John a while back..." He continued to elaborate. [Some details from earlier part of the story omitted]
When Bernie was finished Greg Jones said, "Wow, amazing! Too bad I can't put that into the paper I'm doing about the bishop. Greg's doing one about the Dark Side."
"Sounds good – we ought not forget our enemies," Bernie mused...

Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Thursday.