Mimsy Were the Borogoves

The green was the light the tree did not consume. — A. S. Byatt (Still Life)

Revolution: Home Refrigeration—Wednesday, May 11th, 2022
Properly-arranged refrigerator

A well-ordered refrigerator is a boon to any home.

I write a lot on this blog about living through the home computer revolution. It was an amazing time and what happened during the late seventies and early eighties changed our lives in ways we can’t even imagine. It certainly changed my life when I chose to buy a computer at sixteen instead of a car. Even things that would have happened anyway happened far differently because of the personal computer. The Internet was already murkily envisioned before the personal computer, but it was a centralized resource that people would have to buy time on or even travel to in order to use.

A huge amount of what we use daily on the Internet today came from people working on personal computers in their offices and homes. It’s hard to imagine a web-based Internet like we have today without people like Tim Berners-Lee having a computer on their desktop that they could use to develop things like the first web browser and server. It’s hard to imagine an Internet like we have today without, first, computers on our desktops in our homes to access that Internet, and, now, computers in our pockets to access that Internet on a momentary whim.

But the personal computer is not the first or only amazing revolution we’ve lived through in the last hundred years. I also collect interesting old cookbooks. Not as many as a real collector but a lot more than the average weekend chef. Two of the books I’ve picked up recently are old refrigerator/freezer manuals. Judging from these manuals the home refrigerator was just as much of a revolution as the home computer.

In the oldest cookbook I own, the 1893 Charlotte Cook Book, there’s a (very good) mustard-flavored salad dressing that ends with a note about how well it keeps in hot weather:

Beat yolks of eight eggs, add to them a cup of sugar, one teaspoon each of salt, mustard and black pepper, and half a cup of cream; mix thoroughly. Bring to a boil a pint and a half of vinegar, add one cup of butter, let come to a boil, pour upon the mixture, stir well and when cold put into bottles, or put in a cold place. It will keep for weeks in the hottest weather and is excellent for cabbage or lettuce.

That it will keep for weeks in hot weather is important when you have no means of refrigeration—except a hole in the ground, or an icebox that is literally a box filled with slowly-melting ice!

If the 1942 Montgomery Ward Cold Cooking manual is to be believed, people initially treated the home refrigerator as a summer or warm weather appliance. They had an entire section for convincing people to “Use Summer and Winter”:

Though the Darkness Hide Thee—Wednesday, April 27th, 2022
Rainbow in darkness

There are some glories that God does allow us to see, such as the symbol of his saving grace.

Just before Easter I posted a piano file for the hymn Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!. The song came to my attention at a recent mass with more modern lyrics that reminded me of the annoying tendency of modernizers to dehumanize and bowdlerize once-insightful songs. References to man’s sinful nature may offend some, but they are necessary to accept God’s grace.

When hymnal publishers update lyrics that refer to humanity, removing the references to “men” or “man” and replacing them with “us” or “all” or reworking the line to excise the reference to humanity entirely, most of the time the changes end up just looking silly, as when they replace all of mankind with the self-centered “us”. Or when “And if wicked men insult and hate you” becomes “And if wicked tongues insult and hate you”.

Really? It’s the tongue that’s doing the hating, and not the people? It seems that if these modern bowdlerists were sincere in wanting to improve the texts and thought that providing body parts with agency would do so, they’d at least choose the brains or the mind rather than the tongue, but of course that would be too close to acknowledging that wicked people exist.

In many cases, the changes seem explicitly designed to exclude everyone except the congregation. When hymnals replace “Let men their songs employ” in “Joy to the World” with “Let us our songs employ”, we’re no longer speaking of humanity when we sing the songs. It’s supposed to be joy to the world, not joy to us. One of the great messages of Christ is that he was Christ for the world.

But there’s a deeper and more dangerous reason for those kinds of changes. The dehumanization of the lyrics externalizes the sin both from humanity and from the singer. I’m not a sinner. It’s my tongue that does the sinning, it’s my eye that’s sinful. Of course, if the bowdlerizers making those changes actually believed that, they’d be both mute and blind, because they would follow Jesus’s command to tear out the sinful flesh.

But they don’t believe that. They just want to dehumanize sinfulness.

Among the worst of these are the changes made to “Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!”. Originally, it very clearly put the sin on man and not on man’s body parts—when it mentioned sin at all.

Critical (fantasy) race theory—Wednesday, April 20th, 2022
Talk about Critical Race Theory

I created this blog specifically to segregate my political and other (currently, vintage food and vintage computer) blogging from my game blogging. Sadly, some very egregious politics has been blundering around in gaming over the last several years and it’s starting to come to a head. I’m crossposting this on my main blog because it’s as much about the resurgence of virulent racism as it is about gaming.

One of the things that has always interested me and seems never to be explored in games is how having real, definite races of people would affect the imaginary differences we’ve made up in the real world. It seems as though having truly different fantasy races ought to make it obvious how ridiculous man’s tribal hatreds are today. The same ought to be true of the discovery of truly alien races.1

I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently Shadowrun 2E handles inter-human racism the same way I do in Highland: the new creatures are so obviously different that humans in these worlds no longer view each other as different. Inter-human racism is gone. In Highland, there’s the added change that the cataclysm jumbled up cultures so drastically that cultures are no longer associated with skin color.

In reality, I suspect that this is wishful thinking. It is easy to be disappointed by the resilience of such racism in the real world, and it’s hard to say that it would not remain resilient even in worlds like that of D&D or Shadowrun. When self-described anti-racists make claims that are right at home among slavers, it’s difficult to be optimistic about any impending end of racism.

This is especially true when people complain about it being “racist” to name a player character’s fantasy race. There has long been a weirdly racist attempt to analogize human races to fantasy races. But in games such as Dungeons and Dragons where the rules of the game make it abundantly clear that fantasy races really are superior and inferior in various ways, this conflation of real-world and fantasy is blatantly racist. Players and pundits who make this equivalence are accepting the racist belief that some human races are superior and some are inferior.

Traffic calming blocks emergency response—Monday, April 18th, 2022

“OHCA survivability is greatly influenced by how quickly emergency medical services (EMS) are administered… the patient’s odds of survival dropped to less than half when the response time increased from within six minutes to ten minutes or more. Obviously, ‘precious seconds’ is not an exaggeration when it comes to EMS response time.

“Yet robbing those seconds from OHCA victims is precisely what traffic calming accomplishes. Lane reductions, speed bumps, chicanes, and other devices used to inhibit traffic have been popularized today as the prescription for slowing travel speeds in the name of public safety.”

“The effect is the same when car lanes are eliminated. Traffic is constricted, which can critically impede EMS response at all hours of the day.”

Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!—Wednesday, April 13th, 2022
Early in the morning (Holy, Holy!)

Easter is coming, and Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, while not specifically an Easter Day song, is perfect for that morning sunrise. Reginald Heber wrote the lyrics specifically for Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Easter season officially ends on Pentecost, after which we return to Ordinary Time; the first Sunday in which we return to Ordinary Time is Trinity Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

Which is when we’re most likely to sing this song at Mass.

Holy, Holy is a very beautiful song, both its lyrics and its rousing melody. It’s the melody, of course, that I’m going to reproduce using the piano script.

Here are the full lyrics from Gospel Hymns Combined, an 1879 collection of hymns:

    • Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
    • Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
    • Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
    • God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
    • Holy, Holy, Holy! all the saints adore Thee,
    • Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
    • Cherubim and Seraphim falling down before Thee,
    • Which wert and art, and evermore shall be.
    • Holy, Holy, Holy! tho’ the darkness hide Thee,
    • Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
    • Only Thou art Holy, there is none beside Thee,
    • Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
    • Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
    • All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky, and sea;
    • Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!
    • God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
    • Amen.

Modern hymnals often change these lyrics, which I’ll talk about later on my blog, but these are the longest-running lyrics and the most inspirational.

Reginald Heber’s religion wasn’t Catholicism; he was an Anglican. But the songs he wrote, especially this one, have spread throughout the hymnals of Christianity. In the text comparison I used while researching the lyrics, you can find Methodist hymnals, Lutheran hymnals, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Moravian hymnals.

The left says gays are pedophiles—Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

Is encouraging pedophilia and child mutilation really an integral part of the LGBT community? Or is this what the institutional left thinks is part of the LGBT community? This is a common pattern for them: complain that common sense laws are bad for some vulnerable community, because that community is inferior or criminal.

Back in 2016, I noticed that memers on the left were using Dr. Frank N. Furter as the epitome of the transgender community, the kind of person you shouldn’t mind using women’s bathrooms.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Furter is a rapist, a child rapist, a murderer, and a cannibal. He shouldn’t just be kept out of women’s bathrooms. He should be kept off of earth.

I assumed then that it was the standard soft bigotry of low expectations that is so endemic among the white left when they talk, for example, about how only whites are able to plan for the future, be logical, and work hard. They say it’s racist not to call blacks lazy. Now, according to the left, it’s sexist not to call gays pedophiles, and hatred to oppose the sexual abuse of children. They seem to truly believe all the racist, sexist, *phobic stereotypes that Democrats have pushed throughout their history. It’s as if all their talk about “helping” vulnerable communities is just an excuse to continue their exploitation of these communities.

It’s obvious that the white left believes blacks are inferior, at least inferior to the white left. They proclaim it publicly. But do they really believe that gays are naturally pedophiles, that transgenders want to mutilate children?

It sure seems that way. The relevant text of the Florida law is:

The Missing Index for the Southern Living Cookbook Library—Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

The very nicest gifts are those we prepare ourself.

That’s in the Holiday volume of the Southern Living Cookbook Library. Well. Here is my Springtime gift to you: a combined index of the twenty-two volumes of the Southern Living Cookbook Library. I made this index for myself, but hope that other people find it useful, too.

There are no recipes in the index, just recipe titles and contributor names for searching. As the seventies move into vintagehood, some of the recipes will appear on The Padgett Sunday Supper Club.

I indexed both the recipes and, where available, the contributors. Only some of the recipes list the contributor, except in the Soups and Stews volume and the Party Snacks volume where none do. When listed, every byline includes both the contributor’s name and the city and state they submitted from. This made it possible to create an index by state and city as well.

It’s available as a PDF (PDF File, 2.5 MB), so that you can search it on your computer or portable device, and it’s available in print in case, like me, you enjoy browsing through books. It’s already become very useful for looking up similar recipes, and while I haven’t used the city or state lists yet I have enjoyed imagining a San Antonio-style meal, or a Charlotte, Shreveport, or Raleigh-style meal.

President Biden’s most anti-vax policy—Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
George Eliot: History repeats itself

Vaccinations have become an excuse for all sorts of heartless policies. Reading about the United States and Franklin Roosevelt’s rounding up of Americans of Japanese descent into camps, I often wondered how it could happen here. Now, we’re seeing the same thing, all over again. Australia is arresting “close contacts” and especially targeting aboriginals for temporary COVID camps and for their own good, of course. The European Union is considering ending the Nuremberg Code’s ban on forced medical treatments. For our own good.

Temporarily, of course. But two years after fifteen days to slow the spread, “temporary” is no longer a comforting word.

People are being denied jobs and travel if they’re in an unclean class. Patients are being denied critical health care or are being forced to take unnecessary vaccinations that are clearly dangerous for them.

All for our own good.

One of the most heartless—and inexplicable—COVID policies in the United States is firing health care workers and professionals, after all they’ve been through since early 2020. Back in September I wrote that if you view the Biden administration’s COVID policies as specifically to discourage vaccination, they make a lot more sense. Everything the administration does seems designed to make the COVID vaccines undesirable.

Lewis: Government in the name of science

The most anti-vaccination policy of the Biden administration currently has to be the heartless decision to fire health workers who choose not to be vaccinated. All this does is highlight that there are health workers who choose to forego vaccination.

Without this policy, the fact that some health workers don’t want the current vaccines would not be news. To the extent that some of these decisions were shared online, it would be shared only within a very tiny community.

The Biden administration’s decision to fire health workers makes their decision to forego the current COVID vaccinations far more consequential than it otherwise would be. What would have been a personal decision looks like a statement, and this is entirely the fault of the Biden administration.

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