ABC Awards Nomination!

abc-awardWell, I find myself quite humbled and honored by Naru’s nomination of me for the ABC Award.  Please check out her blog, which is written with such humor and good style that you might find yourself sucked in for an hour or two.  And thanks to all my dear readers who keep me motivated to write!

Since some of you might have read my Liebster Award post and my Medieval Interrogation. I promise to try to make this, my 200th post, contain new information about me.  Some of which is a bit silly, but hopefully humorous.  Without further ado, let me paste the rules:

1. Download the award logo and add it to your acceptance post.
2. Nominate a few fellow bloggers and share the award.
3. Since the award is ABC, take each letter of the alphabet and use it to tell something about yourself.

Here goes:

A: Arcueid Brunestud.  My ideal woman.  I’m fairly certain an Arcueid doesn’t exist in real life, but one can dream–and no, it has nothing to do with her being a vampire. >.<

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B: Baltimore.  This city holds a place in my heart for two reasons: 1) the first ancestor of mine to come to America settled in this city in 1775 and 2) this city holds the seminary where I went and where my classmates still are.

C: Cats.  I love cats.  Since I moved out of my parents’ house, I haven’t gotten a chance to own one; but, I love visiting to see these two characters:

Dexter

Dexter

Cindy

Cindy

D: Despondent.  The virtue which I most want is none other than cheerfulness.  But, as a writer, it is no wonder that I should have to carry the cross of the blues.  However, for now, I’m doing pretty good at saying “Jigoku e ochiro!” to depression.

E: Escaflowne.  The techniques displayed in the mecha fights in Escaflowne seem to come right out of medieval fencing manuals.  As a lover of swords and medieval combat, these fights always carry me into the sublime.

F: Fathers of the Church.  Catholic spiritual writers don’t write like they used to.  The early Church Fathers have the most interesting vision of religion followed by the mystics of the Middle Ages.

carlo-braccesco-four-doctors-of-the-church

G: Games.  I love Chess, Go, and Shogi above all; but, board games of all sorts delight me–as long as they’re not ridiculously complicated.

H: Historian.  I love history, as is likely apparent from my similes and references.  There is nothing like warfare in particular to show forth the best qualities of people, and the people who are remembered most fondly in history are also those people who are most original.  So, I find the study of history a continual delight.

I: Imprimis.  This is the name of the newsletter of my Alma Mater: Hillsdale College.  Going here was perhaps the best experience in my life.  All my best friends studied here with me.  You might also call the college a cathedral to Western Heritage.  It’s hard to believe that it will have been five years since I’ve graduated come this May!  How time flies!

J: Jimmy Stewart.  He happens to be my favorite actor.  It is rare to find such modesty in Hollywood!

This image is from Winchester '73.  I might also mention that I love old movies and Westerns.

This image is from Winchester ’73. I might also mention that I love old movies and Westerns.

K: Kind.  I am a very kind person, though my timidity often prevents me from opening up to others.  Just imagine Robert E. Lee or George Washington.

L: Liberty.  One of the dearest concepts to the human heart.  By writing, I hope to fire people for the desire of true liberty: liberty under the law and under God.  Additionally, I want to squash the notion that liberty equals license and freedom from pain.  True liberty involves struggle each and every day.

M: Mustache.  During college, I discovered that a handlebar mustache rather suited me.  Now, a much simpler one adorns my face but I still consider going back to the handlebar.  My real hope is one day to grow a fine looking beard.

Jeb Stuart: Owner of the most perfect beard ever to grace a man's face.

Jeb Stuart: Owner of the most perfect beard ever to grace a man’s face.

N: New Jersey.  The state of my birth, from which I have just succeeded from escaping again.  May I remain here in Virginia!

O: Oblomov.  The eponymous hero of this work by Ivan Goncharov does nothing but sleep and eat all day and refuses to visit other people.  As such, he dies in miserable obscurity even though he had the chance to escape isolation.  Nothing worked so well in convincing me to break out of my shell; though, its literary merits are indeed questionable.

P: Plaid.  Though I may not have a drop of Irish or Scottish blood in my veins, I love plaid.  From pajamas to flannel shirts, I try to stock my wardrobe with as much of it as possible.

Q: Quizzical.  This word refers to my personality.  I eschew being easily defined.  At best, this mysterious quality makes me interesting.  At worst, people label me an odd fish.  Someone’s best attempt at definition was to say that I “was a creature who subsists on tea.”

By typing in "creature who subsists on tea" on google search, I found a great way to play a prank on someone.

By typing in “creature who subsists on tea” on google search, I found a great way to play a prank on someone.

R: Reflective.  I am a retiring and meditative sort of person.

S: Seafood.  I prefer fish over meat.  This makes it very easy to be Catholic during Lent, but I sometimes wonder whether I should avoid fish too on Friday in order to make it more penitential.

T: Tolkien.  Dumas might be my favorite author, but within my genre of choice, Tolkien is the writer whom I most wish to emulate.  Terry Brooks is my second favorite writer in the Fantasy genre.  Despite certain accusations against Brooks, he is one of the least derivative modern fantasy authors–until he returns to Shannara in the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara.  Yet, in those books, he is mostly culpable for copying too much from his prior works rather than the works of others.

U: Utawarerumono.  Best harem anime ever made.  One might validly place Tenchi Muyo in this place, but I’d disagree.  It doesn’t have Towa or Karura.

Look up awesome in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of Karura.

Look up awesome in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of Karura.

V: Venus.  My favorite planet.  (Can you tell that I’m running out of ideas?)  How can one not love a planet whose temperature reaches 462ºC and can melt our strongest probes in half an hour?

W: Wizards.  From Allanon to Gandalf to Walker Boh, wizards tend to be my favorite characters in fantasy novels.  I suppose because they are so learned–something which I hope to be.

X: Xenophile.  Looking through the two pages of X words under the dictionary, I only found one which related to me.  A xenophile is one who is attracted to foreign peoples, manners, or cultures.  All my dear readers know that, but might I also add that I find foreign women attractive?

Y: Yukon.  One day, I want to visit the frozen vasts of Alaska, though I would settle for the Yukon territory.  You might say that Jules Verne and Jack London fired my imagination enough as a kid to want to see the frigid north.  I also want to take down a moose: I hear they taste like fillet mignon.  And, if I can see wolves in the wild, that would be icing on the cake.  (I won’t shoot the wolves!  Don’t worry!)

Wolves are too cute looking to shoot. :)

Wolves are too cute looking to shoot. 🙂

Z: Zinfandel.  My favorite table wine for three reasons: 1) It’s very American, 2) few other wines are as jammy and full, and 3) even the best ones are inexpensive comparatively.  Want a great Cabernet Sauvignon?  Spend $200.  Want an awesome, top class Zinfandel?  Spend $45.  Of course, the $9 – $15 dollar range in Zinfandel is better than the same range in any other grape.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed that!  Now, for me to nominate some people:

Dusty Thanes

Beneath the Tangles

Rayout

Feidor S. LaView

Black Strawberry

Cacao, Put Down the Shovel!

Caraniel’s Ramblings

Anime Commentary on the March

Pacificparatrooper

MIB’s Instant Headache

Forgetting One’s Sins

Dear Readers, the idea for this article came from my reminiscences about my Alma Mater, Hillsdale College.  I feel that I was too shy to take proper advantage of the great minds and personalities which surrounded me there.  Among my reminisces, one professor stands out: Dr. Reist.  He was a hoot.  A professor not easily forgotten.  I’ll never forget the first time he walked into my classroom:

He says: “My wife broke her leg.”  The students collectively gasp.  Then, Dr. Reist says: “I told her having sex standing up was dangerous.”

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That’s a masterful way to break the ice!  One day, when he noticed people were not participating or had not done the readings, he told us that we weren’t free.  Which is an interesting way to put it!  And sealing one’s lips as one looks down at an unfamiliar text hoping that the professor won’t call on one may be compared to slavery.  After all, how much more preferable is it to be able to gaze steadily upon the teacher confident in being able to provide an answer to any question and being free to participate or not as you list?

flying-eagle-1

This professor, a fellow New Jerseyan, had once been Catholic but converted to a variety of Protestantism–even became a minister.  I suspect the reason for his conversion lay in that he felt Catholicism’s emphasis on faith and works placed too much emphasis on personal merit than on God’s election.  (But, even our merits are God’s gifts to us.  The idea of cooperation between grace and free will tends to overcomplicate matters from most Protestant perspectives.)  However, he seemed grateful for many of the lessons he learned as a Catholic.  For example, he once told us: “Do you know that it’s a sin to forget your sins?”

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And it certainly is: the sin of pride.  In our unending process of repentance, we ought always remember where we have been and all the patience God has shown us and continues to show us despite our iniquity and lack of amendment.  Even if we claim that we have progressed far from where we once were, that does not cancel out the fact that we did not deserve to be extricated from our wicked ways of living–that it was pure Mercy which brought us out of each vicious circle.  Even after confession where our guilt is washed away, can we ever stop mourning for the wounds we have placed on Christ’s body or forget that we still deserve temporal punishment and have deserved everlasting flames?

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So, whenever a non-believer claims that Christians have a nonchalant attitude toward sins because God is so ready to forgive, you can tell him that this is the attitude of the proud or the ignorant.  An educated Christian knows that he ought never stop pouring tears into his pillow or cease remembering the wounds of Christ until Christ himself has wiped away every tear  and welcomes us into Our Father’s house.