Sunday, March 18, 2012

On being moved to tears

Just a brief note today, as it seems the hours and minutes run past faster and faster as the sun shifts back to the north. Thursday I was busy proving theorems - oh yes, one has to do that sometimes, even when they are not assigned as homework - and then there was bread-making... we're a full-featured system here, as you ought to expect.

But there were two instances in the past few days which illuminated that old phrase about being "moved to tears" and I want to tell you about them.

The first was on Friday, when a friend from what we Yankees call "the Sunny Southland" ( in this case, Kentucky) read a portion of a new story to me. It was a profound insight into an episode from the end of the "Late Unpleasantness", known to some as the War Between the States, or the American Civil War. It wasn't any one thing - not so much, perhaps, as the striking juxtaposition of a gentleman of the Old South reading to me of how a hero deported himself in that agonizing moment of surrender... It takes a special skill to call such scenery into being with words.

The second was today, at the end of Holy Mass, when there was something about the motion of the altar boys to fetch the crucifix and candles as they processed down the center aisle to the tune of "Lift High the Cross" - and I was thinking of the bit in "Grinch" about what one does when one is not able to find a reindeer... something about that (joined with the thing from Friday) was almost too profound to write about.

For what does one do when one does not have a crucifix?

One makes one, from whatever might be available.

And telling that story well - so akin to the idea of surrender - that is the sort of special skill which can move even a grown man to tears.

Did you misunderstand?

Did you forget I am a Chestertonian? Behold:

"The cross cannot be defeated," said MacIan, "for it is Defeat."
[GKC, The Ball and the Cross]
O crucified Jesus, have mercy on the heroes, our fallen brothers, of both South and North - and on all the souls of the faithful departed.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Feast Day of Subsidiarity

Yes! March 2 is the feast day of Subsidiarity...

For it was 12 years ago today that our system for local ad insertion for cable television went live - a system that played over 200,000,000 commercials in those 5.5 years from 3/2/2000 to 8/31/2005. And why should that matter to such a complex and abstract philosophical term as "Subsidiarity"? What could MPEG and file tranasport - and that BIG DISH - have to do with papal encyclicals and one of the fundamental ideas in Catholic Social Teachings - an idea which goes back through many great philosophers and scholars all the way to Moses and his father-in-law!

Well.. I wrote a book about it, and there you'll find out how the encyclicals called Rerum Novarum and Centesimus Annus helped me design the program called "PUMP" which did the file transport for our system. Yes; there are not many pieces of software out there which cite Popes and encyclicals, but the idea persists even if the software is no longer in use.

It was a great day - and we still commemorate it. And sooner or later I will tell you the amazing fact about our starting, and how fitting it was that we began on March 2. None of us knew it then; I only learned about it later.

I also take this opportunity to again express my thanks to Traffic, Field Services, Operations, and especially Diane and Joe and Joe... You know that I don't forget, and I will always be grateful even when all the headends have been long forgotten. Sooner or later we'll have another cake, too.

P.S. If you are wondering about that book, all I can tell you is that it's ready, but there are no publishing houses with sufficient Fortitude to deal with something that is simultaneously very serious Catholic and very serious Tech... and I may be forced to do as the famous old "Little Red Hen" and do it myself. I'm much nearer doing the same thing with The Wreck of the "Phosploion", so stay tuned - and keep praying!

Who needs drugs...

When your computer can come up with amazing things like this!!!!


When I know more about this diagram, I will let you know.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

For A.P.....

Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. Amen.