Unconscious Inertia

I finished the following in November:

  • Alice-Mary Talbot, ed. Holy Women of Byzantium: Ten Saints Lives in English Translation. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1996.
  • Michael W. Lucas. PAM Mastery. Detroit: Tilted Windmill Press, 2016.
  • Glen Cook. Sweet Silver Blues. New York: ROC, 1987.
  • Glen Cook. Bitter Gold Hearts. New York: Signet, 1988.
  • Henry Winterfeld. Detectives in Togas. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1965.
  • Glen Cook. Cold Copper Tears. New York: ROC, 1988.
  • Glen Cook. Old Tin Sorrows. New York: Penguin, 1989.
  • Glen Cook. Dread Brass Shadows. New York: Penguin, 1990.
  • P. G. Wodehouse. Right Ho, Jeeves. Project Gutenberg, 2004.
  • Glen Cook. Red Iron Nights. New York: New American Library, 1991.
  • Glen Cook. Deadly Quicksilver Lies. New York: ROC, 1994.
  • Glen Cook. Petty Pewter Gods. New York: ROC, 1995.
  • Glen Cook. Faded Steel Heat. New York: ROC, 1999.


It’s just been me and the kids for a few days. My wife left Thursday for an academic conference, and doesn’t come back until Tuesday.

A couple years ago, we bought a Ford Transit, thinking that with eight kids we’d be using it all the time as a people-mover. This for various reasons turned out not to be true. In fact, the only time we regularly used it for all the kids was to go church Sunday morning. So a couple months ago we sold it (for more than we paid, as it happens). Looking at usage and gas costs and all that, this was the right decision! But when I had to make two trips this morning to bring everyone to church, I did kinda wish we still had the Transit.

While at church, we discovered that our youngest, age 3, had gotten a tick on her back at some point (impossible to say precisely when, but probably yesterday). I had myself all geared up to deal with an uncooperative little girl—but she was docile as a lamb while I pulled it out.

Also at church today, we had a visiting deacon (he was stopping on his way to visit family in Tennessee). Once again, I was struck by how much more fluidly the liturgy flows when a deacon is present. Not my call, of course, but I’ve begun to think that perhaps every Orthodox mission/parish should take as its second goal (the first being “full time priest”) the cultivation or acquisition of a deacon.

#bigfamily #Christianity

I finished the following in October.

  • D. J. Butler. Witchy Eye. Riverdale, NY: Baen, 2017.
  • Victoria E. Bynum. “Newt Knight and the Free State of Jones: Myth, Memory, and Imagination.” Journal of Mississippi History 75, No. 4 (Winter 2013): 27–36.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans. The Wizard Lord. New York: Tor Books, 2006.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans. The Ninth Talisman. New York: Tor Books, 2007.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans. The Summer Palace. New York: Tor Books, 2008.
  • A. Lee Martinez. Gil’s All Fright Diner. New York: Tor Books, 2005.
  • A. Lee Martinez. A Nameless Witch. New York: Macmillan, 2007.
  • A. Lee Martinez. The Last Adventure of Constance Verity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin. A Wizard of Earthsea. New York: Bantam Books, 1975.
  • Corey J. Stephan. “Catechisms, Communion, and Latin Scholastic Reception of Byzantine Thought: St. John Damascene’s De fide orthodoxa in St. Bonaventure’s Breviloquium.” Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol. 19, No. 4 (2021): 1215–1235.
  • K. E. Mills. The Accidental Sorceror. London: Orbit Books, 2008.
  • K. E. Mills. Witches Incorporated. London: Orbit Books, 2009.
  • K. E. Mills. Wizard Squared. London: Orbit Books, 2010.
  • K. E. Mills. Wizard Undercover. London: Orbit Books, 2012.



Here’s some things that came across my desk this week:

  • Fellow Mississippian Blake Watson presented a talk this week on home-cooked apps at MagnoliaJS.
  • MagnoliaJS is a—previously unknown to me, but been around since 2021—software development conference in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Antoni Sawicki explored a niche of a niche: Windows NT 3.1 on DEC Alpha AXP.
  • Chris Siebenmann explains your email’s “Sent” folder and notes some potential issues.
  • Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld magazine notes some techniques for blocking AI bots.
  • Glad to see somebody’s put together a gateway for your Chaosnet Lisp Machine LAN to talk to these new-fangled systems using TCP/IP.

#software #retrocomputing #email #LLM #networking

“Can an email address be case-sensitive? The answer is ‘yes…if you’re evil.’” — Dylan Beattie, Email vs Capitalism, or, Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Although in practice these days an email address is case-insensitive, strictly speaking—that is, according to the standard—it doesn’t have to be. As Beattie notes in the talk linked above, in the early days most email travelled on Unix systems, on which alice, Alice, and alicE are all equally valid, and, importantly, separate users. Mail administrators, even today, could theoretically enforce this if they had a reason.

But there is an important exception to this! The current email standard, RFC 5321, which updates RFC 821 (August 1982) and RFC 2821 (April 2001) requires in section 4.5.1:

Any system that includes an SMTP server supporting mail relaying or delivery MUST support the reserved mailbox “postmaster” as a case-insensitive local name.

#TIL #email #trivia

Some things that came across my desk this week:

  • Harvey Matusow—quite an interesting character—was interviewed by the BBC in 1970, in his role as head of the International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines. Twitter has a clip.
  • Now you can run old Windows screensavers under XScreensaver. Because.
  • Daniel Berrangé has come out with exactly the sort of software tool I like: it’s simple and, strictly speaking, it’s unnecessary, but it’s still great because it makes things easier. It’s called Bye Bye BIOS. Its sole purpose is to be run against an OS image (say, for a VM) which is set up only to boot via EFI and, if you try to boot it via (legacy) BIOS, tell you that you need to use EFI.

#computers #software

  • I do not mind paying actual money for useful software.
  • I do not mind purchasing an ongoing subscription for software which which provides a useful service on an ongoing basis, or which continues to improve.
  • I very much mind paying actual money for software which then still tries to show me ads.
  • I flatly decline to purchase a subscription for an essentially static app.

Also, I don’t have strong feeling about this, I just think it’s kind of odd how many apps I’ve seen where the lure to the paid rather than free version of an app is…being able to change the app icon. I mean, if that’s important to you, I’m not criticizing. The little icon square is just not something I care about. (Okay, fine, I care a little; I’m not going to buy an app with a swastika for an icon, or whatever.)

#software #economics

Some things that came across my desk this week:

#airships #transportation #sports

I read some things in September.

  • Howard Andrew Jones. The Desert of Souls. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.
  • Hisam ibn al-Kalbi. The Book of Idols. trans. Nabih Amin Faris. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952.
  • Carrie Frederick Frost. Church of Our Granddaughters. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2023.
  • Willa Cather. Death Comes for the Archbishop. New York: Vintage Books, 1971.
  • Howard Andrew Jones. The Bones of the Old Ones. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.
  • Howard Andrew Jones. The Waters of Eternity. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans. The Misenchanted Sword. NPP: Wildside Press, 2013.
  • A Que. “Farewell, Doraemon.” trans. Emily Jin and Ken Liu. Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine 140 (May 2018).
  • Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty. “Cold Comfort.” Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine 140 (May 2018).
  • Michael F. Flynn. “In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon.” Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine 140 (May 2018).
  • Shaun Stalzer. “The Piazza Brothers: From Italian Immigrants to Industry Leaders in Mississippi, 1853–1914.” Journal of Mississippi History 85, no. 1 and 2 (Spring/Summer 2023): 65–94.
  • Michael B. Ballard. “Wrong Job, Wrong Place: John C. Pemberton’s Civil War.” Journal of Mississippi History 75, No. 4 (Winter 2013): 3–9.
  • Xing He. “Your Multicolored Life.” trans. Andy Dudak. Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine 141 (June 2018).
  • Karin Lowachee. “Meridian.” Clarkesworld Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine 141 (June 2018).
  • Gary D. Joiner. “The Naval War in Mississippi.” Journal of Mississippi History 75, No. 4 (Winter 2013): 11–19.
  • John F. Marszalek. “Ulysses S. Grant and the Strategy of Camaraderie.” Journal of Mississippi History 75, No. 4 (Winter 2013): 21–25.
  • Rudyard Kipling. Plain Tales from the Hills. Project Gutenberg, 1999.
  • C. S. Lewis. A Grief Observed. New York: Harper Collins, 1994.
  • Rudyard Kipling. Captains Courageous. Project Gutenberg, 2000.