Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wolf in the Fold

This LA Times article on Internet child pornography includes this:

On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.

This comes in the wake of the arrest and indictment for pedophilia of a Dayton man (whom I don't know, thank God) who was the head of a small Star Trek club here in town, and was a major officer in a small national one. He also apparently molested kids in local soccer clubs and in my own town. Whether he will be found innocent is an open question; but it's certain that he was behaving with a great lack of propriety towards young boys.

And it's ten to one I've seen him around.

There's no denying that there are some creepy, creepy fans out there. But what's scarier is that some of them have social skills and not only gain acceptance, but take leadership roles among their fellows. Marion Zimmer Bradley's creepy husband Walter Breen, for example, who was one of the early members and apologists for NAMBLA.

We need to take this problem seriously, and protect children and inexperienced young fans from predators and the abusive. Fandom should be a safe place to play and socialize and grow, not an open hunting ground.

UPDATE: Well, the good news is that the quote was exaggerated.
And the bad news is that the quote was exaggerated.
Read all about it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Blazon New Trails

Rushing in where angels fear to tread, my attempt at a blazon in English of the new Pope's new arms (via Zadok the Roman):

Per pall inverted cappato; dexter, or, a Moor's head sable, crowned and adorned gules; sinister, or, a bear of St. Corbinian sable, passant, armed and langued gules, bearing a pack gules crossed with a saltire argent; in base, azure, a cockleshell inverted argent.

I couldn't find anything in English heraldry that quite corresponded with "cappatto", so I just used that as a description.

Monday, April 25, 2005

What the Female Disciples Were Doing Before Passover

Scrubbing until they practically lost their minds.

But fortunately for them, Jesus' mom could get that Upper Room looking immaculate.

Less humorously, what the female disciples were doing on Good Friday afternoon.

A very different story of sainthood.

The Mad Sindonologist and His Dutiful Daughter

It turns out that Katja Orlova (SCA person referenced for the medieval bratwurst recipe noted below) was in her mundane persona the daughter of a rather important chemist and Shroud of Turin investigator. I think you might want to spend a moment at her memorial page for him. He sounds like the sort of man we all would have liked to know.

"There's no laboratory test for Christ-ness!"

The Beauty of Bavarian Culture

I've been noticing the last week that people from Bavaria look eerily like Ohioans from Cincinnati and Dayton of German descent. Logically, there must be some kind of cultural ties. And indeed, they are among the righteous of sausage culture, for they have a reasonable facsimile of white bratwurst in Bavaria. Even if they call it weisswurst or even bockwurst. And even if they sometimes make it out of veal and not pork, or pork and beef.

Strangely, Bavarians not only do not eat the skins, but reject them in a uniquely proactive way. Another page gives a more refined technique and notes that weisswurst traditionally was not eaten before midday.

But I could easily be persuaded to eat company with soft pretzels, and I have always felt that a sweet, not too spicy mustard is right. While weisswurst looks skinnier than true bratwurst, and I feel that grilling after boiling, and serving with horseradish and skins-on are still the best way -- at least these weisswurst are made of the right things, and then cooked in their skins, not denuded until on the table. Yes, these Bavarians have a feel for the good things of life.

Btw, it seems that springerle is not the only righteous German taste treat with roots in the late Middle Ages. Yes, here's a period bratwurst recipe with redaction by Katja Orlova. See? Porrrrrrk and beef. Ya gotta have pork to make bratwurst.

From Mainz, Germany, a bratwurst that could have come straight from Zinzinnati. Still not quite as plump as could be, but note the beautiful color of the skin of the grilled bratwurst, and the nice white innards. Mainz is in southern Germany, but not as far south as Bavaria!

Make your own weisswurst (though I hope it doesn't turn out so reddish).

Everything you need to know about real sausage casings

Weisswurst in beer, with apples. Mmm!

Bavaria Sausage appears to be the solution to all your wurst problems. They have multiple styles of bratwurst (none of them quite puffy enough, alas) and more kinds of sausage than you can shake a stick at. They even have pinkelwurst, which I only know from my Aunt Dee's mom making it for New Year's (with huge amounts of kale). Mrs. Doscher's pinkelwurst is about as thick as your arm, so again this isn't quite puffy enough. But hey -- I've never even seen the stuff for sale before.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

So You Want to Learn More Latin....

Vatican Radio has a show called The Latin Lover which is beloved by language geeks everywhere. (Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, of course.)

Learn Latin as a language, not an accomplishment! Hang with the cool crowd like David Drake and read Ovid!

I myself don't really know Latin well, though I took two years of it. Still, I could generally follow along this week, and that's not too bad.

Is the Pope Cat-holic?

Folks back in Germany say the Pope loves cats, and vice versa. So does the Pope's secretary in Rome.

"Every time he met a cat, he would talk to it, sometimes for a long time," said Cardinal Bertone. "The cat would follow him. Once about 10 cats followed him into the Vatican and one of the Swiss Guards intervened, saying 'Look, Your Eminence, the cats are invading the Holy See.'"

O felis culpa!