Happy St. Stephans Day! (and some other thoughts)

I have come to be a  bit partial to Saint Stephan and his day/feast.

Most of this is due to the “The Song” – especially the great version by the great Mel Torme.

I couldn’t find Mel Torme’s version in an embeddable form, but here is a traditional version, and a jazzy version:

I just like the song Good King Wenceslas I suppose and the Croatian connection to St. Stephan’s Day.

So while I work a long day this 12/26 defeating network (and some security) problems for both fun and profit (mostly profit), I will keep humming the song to myself.

There is another advantage for St. Stephan’s day: There is no chance my evil/insane Iranian relative will ruin the day for me.

He has ruined many Christmas gathering and other family gathering with his loud, obnoxious, vulgar, boorish and bullying behavior. His actions on Christmas day at the dinner table would best be described as “escalating confrontational madness”.

He loudly and repeatedly mocked and denigrated Christianity – as a guest at a Christmas day dinner (and a fairly secular one at that). When the person he was primarily aiming at said she was offended he started going ballistic. I said I was offended as well, but I guess he was more insanity-driven by a woman telling him that.

I actually thought I was going to have to force – physical violence to subdue him. He seemed to threatening by word any body language two of my Aunts and my Sister. He wisely didn’t threaten me directly. I placed my self in a location to defend the one Aunt and my sister if need be.

Anyways, I am done with him. No more contact. Not now not ever. He has had a negative effect on every gathering he is part of. I will no longer listen to crazy talk. I will no longer listen to his conspiracy theories. I will not listen to the “Poetry” he forces on me and other guests. I will no longer provide him free computer help to correct the problems the people he pays cause.  I will no longer sit politely to take for sake of a family gathering. His wife is my favorite Aunt, but no more for me. I am done with him and all that.

Update: I know where some of his rant came from (at HotAir) Iranian President Ahmadinejad  delivered a Christmas Address to to the UK on British TV.


Slashdot reports this morning:

“From the EFF webpage: ‘Over a period of twelve hours, between this Thursday night and Friday morning, American Rights Counsel LLC sent out over 4000 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube, all making copyright infringement claims against videos with content critical of the Church of Scientology.'”

Some thoughts:

1: This shows how an organization engaged in Influence Warfare can use the Western Legal System (aka Lawfare) to protect (provide security for) itself against counterattacks.

2: Can a religion or religious philosophy be copyrighted? In the use, copyright is supposed to be used for creative or artistic stuff. Does “religion” fit into that? I don’t think so. I think religion is “public domain” so to speak.

3: I think my first amendment freedom of religion rights lets me discuss Scientology in any medium through any media that I want.

(video clip found from here)

Update: The videos are back.

Don’t Blame Buffy!

WTF is this?

Sociologist Kristin Aune claims that Buffy, the Vampire Slayer is responsible for young women not attending church.
Of course, you have to wonder about her finding, that is that 50,000 women a year are skipping church on Sunday because they’ve been empowered by Buffy. The book contends that Buffy makes Wicca more popular and, therefore, lures girls from the church.

To say that this reasoning is a stretch is an understatement. By her reasoning, the fans of Buffy should all be signing up for witchcraft classes, believing in vampires and fighting evil in their own backyard. It’s a leap of faith to say the least.
[Link: TV Squad]

Rubbish. In the mythology of the series, when Wiccans where shown (heh…in season 4 episode “Hush”) they were presented as a joke, as pretend witches as nothings, as just clueless 20 year old girls who Willow ends up avoiding.

I guess this is what postmodernism and academia have come to – spewing nonsense.

Note: Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite tv shows ever!
Don’t mess with Buffy!

Milwaukee News Item #1: Married Catholic Priests

This will be new for my fellow Milwaukee area Catholics and post-Catholics:

For the first time in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s history, a married Roman Catholic priest with children will be serving the faithful in southeastern Wisconsin.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan asked his priests and deacons this week which of them would be willing to accept the man – a former Lutheran minister – as an associate pastor at their parish.

The priest and his wife, who have juvenile and adult sons, are moving from the Diocese of Venice, Fla. She has accepted a job here.

Although no married priest has served here, about 100 married priests have been ordained in the United States since the late Pope John Paul II created an exception in 1980 that allows married Lutheran and Anglican or Episcopal priests who have converted to Roman Catholicism to become priests, Dolan wrote in a letter to priests and deacons this week.

I am ok with married catholic priests.

This should be looked at as an experiment leading to the establishment of clergy orders that allowed married priest.

If it is okay for ex-Anglican and Lutheran ministers to be married catholic priest, why not allow priest who got it right the first time to be married?

I am okay with female priests too. The allowed ordained small numbers of woman (mostly nuns, I believe) during the cold war period in Eastern Europe. So, there is not a real theological problem with it.

In Which I defend Rev. Wright (only a little bit)…

There has been a bit made (e.g. here) about recent written comments of Obama‘s Rev. Wright – though the original seems to have since been removed.

I strangely feel compelled two defend Wright on two points:

1) By saying “Italians“, he was clearly referring to Romans of the time of Jesus.

2) Metaphorically linking lynching (rather, the popular image of a dead lynched person handing from a tree for all to see) to crucifixion (giving it a more contemporaneous spin) is quite clever.

Note, I do find “black liberation theology” to be crap and have ever since I ran into it in college.

Hmm…reading his wikipedia entry…how does an enlisted PFC in his his first hitch transfer from the Marines to the Navy? That’s sounds odd.

The Crap that is the Vactican’s New List of Seven “Social Sins” [Check the Comments]

I heard this about this on RedEye last night and read it at Soob’s blog this morning and just now at Bloomberg.com.

These are the new seven “social sins” (text cut from the Bloomberg.com post):

1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control

2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

3. Drug abuse

4. Polluting the environment

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

6. Excessive wealth

7. Creating poverty

Notably missing from the list: is the molesting/rape of alter boys (mentioned on Redyeye), and covering up aka facilitating the molesting/rape of alter boys.

This is one reason why the Catholic Church has lost adherents in the US (the numbers only stay up through immigration of catholics from south of the border). The church still has come to terms on this. Until it deals with this, the church’s priest leadership has no moral voice or authority over a fallen catholic like myself. I am a Post-Catholic nowadays, I guess.

Anyways, the new sins are crap. Really, they are mostly political. Many are socialistic.

Here they are one-by-one:

1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control

I don’t have a problem with people using birth control. More people should. Note I love babies: I hope to have a family and father many of them at some point.

2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

I am all for stem cell research.

3. Drug abuse

This really falls under the expansive view of the gluttony sin withthe sloth sin mixed in. Drug Abuse (eg.g meth, heroine, coke) is bad. I agree.

4. Polluting the environment

This is political and not a moral issue. I suspect the Church leaders would define this the same way the watermelons do (green on the outside, red on the inside) and use it to further the leftist agenda.

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

Idiotic. The world is getting richer across the border but lots of primates just care about is that someone has more bananas. Hey this is envy isn’t it?

6. Excessive wealth

Another point on the leftist agenda. Of course envy is deadly sin. So does this supered envy? Idiotic.

7. Creating poverty
Somehow I don’t think the church means getting pregnant young, hanging out in gangs, skipping school, not getting an education, and supporting implementing anti-entrepreneurial policies, high tax rates, and government central planning. I suspect the church means supporting entrepreneurs, the capitalist system, and classical liberalism.

Final count: 7 new sins; 4 of them pro-leftist. Only one of the 7 get the purpleslog stamp of approval.

Every time I think about going back to the church they piss me off and push me away.

Update: TDAXP has a post too.

Updated to remove typos and correct grammar.

“Positioning” by Al Ries and Jack Trout: Anything for 4GW or 5GW?

I recently read Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

This is really mostly a marketing/business book, but I am looking for ideas I can swipe from elsewhere fro 4gw/5gw.

I love the subtitle: The Battle for Your Mind. I am going to crib and re-use that soon.

The authors define positioning as what you do to the mind of the prospective customer of your product. Finding a position for product in the prospects mind is the key. This is difficult because all prospects are over communication- they got to much coming at them…and they is only so much room in their mind.

The authors also suggest that successful positioning will not involve the introduction of something new and different into the prospects mind, but will instead try to tie into something else already in the prospect mind.

That sort of sounds like the “embrace and extend” idea to me.

The authors write:

…the average person cannot tolerate being he or she is wrong. Mind-changing is the road to advertising disaster.

The authors suggest since people are over-communicated to, that they try to keep things simple to cope (optimizing the OODA…hmm). Therefore, if you are going to target a person’s mind, keep the message super simple and focused. They write:

You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind. You have to jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message, and then you simplify it some more if you want to make a long lasting impression.

Here is example I came up with for simplifying a message:

Instead of PNM, Gap-shrinking, DoEE, SysAdmin, A-Z…think
“doing right by bringing liberty and justice to all”. BTW, the “justice
for all” as a substitute message comes from a commentator on Barnett’s
site. If I find the link I will add it.

Anyways, the book has some useful ideas for 4GW as information warfare/strategic communications/political theater/ message-sending. It has some application to the memetic engineering aspects of 5GW.

Lastly, I want to mention briefly a positioning exercise they mention that they performed for the Catholic Church (I think for some lay leaders)that I found interesting.

They started with:

What is the the role of the Catholic Church in the Modern World?

…and worked there way to:

[…]the role of the Church as that of keeping Christ alive in the minds of each new generation and relating his word to the problems of their time.

Wow. Simple. Direct. Focused.

[Cross-posted to Dreaming 5GW

WTF is a “Cargo Cult”?

I am listening to Rear Guard Security Podcast #1 via iTunes. Ranum just mentioned “A cargo cult”.

I had no idea what that meant.

Now I know – its very odd!

A cargo cult is any of a group of unorthodox religious movements appearing in tribal societies in the wake of Western impact, especially in New Guinea and Melanesia. Cargo cults sometimes maintain that manufactured western goods (“cargo”) have been created by divine spirits and are intended for the local indigenous people, but that white people have unfairly gained control of these objects. Cargo cults thus focus on overcoming what they perceive as undue ‘white’ influences by conducting rituals similar to the white behavior they have observed, presuming that the ancestors will at last recognize their own and send them cargo. Thus a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will at some future time give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members. In other instances such as on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, cult members worship Americans who brought the cargo.

Thanks Wikipedia!

Interesting Documentary on the History Channel: Exodus Decoded

Last night, I watched a documentary from the History Channel that I had taped called “Exodus Decoded“. It was pretty interesting and suggested that the Exodus of the Hebrews in the bible was the historical expulsion of the semitic Hykos around 1500 B.C. It covers explanations of the plagues, the Pharaoh involved, what the Ark of the Covenant might have looked like. I found myself rewinding it often to replay sections.