A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: March 2005


I remember that once, when I was a little boy, my Ma was cooking a pot roast, and she started by chopping off both ends of the pot roast before putting it into the pot. I asked her, Ma–why did you cut off the ends of the pot roast before putting it in the pot? It seems to me that you cook pot roast differently every time you cook it.

Well, she said, my Ma always cooked pot roast a different way each time. Sometimes she’d cut off one end, sometimes both ends, sometimes neither; sometimes she’d use lots of pepper or garlic or tomatoes or even, one time, mustard, anise seed, and dill. Why did she do that, I asked. Well, you’ll just have to ask her, she said. So the next time we went to Grandma’s house I asked her why she always cooked the pot roast differently each time.

My Ma, she said, was a terrible cook. Her pot roasts were as tough as leather and dry as toast. I decided that when I had my own kitchen things would be different, so every time I cooked a pot roast, I’d try a little experiment. That’s cool, Grandma, I said. Do you still do that when you cook?

Oh don’t be silly, she said. I ruined a lot of perfectly good pot roasts with those crazy experiments. One day I finally went out and bought a decent cookbook, and now I make a pretty good pot roast. Maybe I should lend it to your Ma.

One suppon a time

I member when me an two a my brothers were walkin home late one night an we found ourself in a graveyard. Lookit here, said Dave — this guy lived to he was 87 years old. Huh, I said. I seen a grave a minute ago had a guy who lived till he was 95. Stevie called us over and said here’s a guy who was 250 years old! What was his name, I asked. Lemme see, said Stevie, lighting a match — oh, yeah, here it is: His name was Miles, from Detroit.

(My brother Steve was almost complaining that my posts have been a little too erudite lately).

Kunonga watch I

From Archibishop Ncube Urges Mugabe Overthrow

Although Mugabe is regarded as evil incarnate by Zimbabwe’s Roman Catholic hierarchy, he does have friends elsewhere in the Christian Community. Zimbabwe’s Anglican primate, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, has used his pulpit at St Mary’s Cathedral in Harare to support Mugabe and his land reform programme.

He was rewarded by Mugabe with one of the farms, St Marnock’s, outside Harare, confiscated from its previous white owner, 25-year-old Marcus Hale. The bishop installed his son in the 2000 acre farmhouse, which overlooks a lake and sweeping fields of wheat and soya. The bishop also evicted 50 black workers and their families to make way for his own staff.

From his pulpit, Kunonga has compared opponents of Mugabe as “dogs against an elephant” and described them as “puppets of the West”. During one of his pro-Mugabe sermons, the choir began singing hymns to drown out his words. The choir was subsequently sacked by the bishop along with the cathedral wardens and cathedral council.

Anglican priests critical of Mugabe have been transferred to tough rural parishes and many have resigned. A plethora of legal cases between Kunonga and his disillusioned flock are stuck in Zimbabwe’s chaotic court system. In place of priests who have resigned, he has appointed men who have pledged not to criticise the head of state.

(Kunonga used to be a friend of mine. He is now an Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe, and very supportive of dictator Robert Mugabe.)

Follow-up on "all lavish of strange gifts to men"

Warren Steel, who is at the Department of Music at the University of Mississippi, had access to the original poem, by Edward Young. His “Night Thoughts” was a popular series of poems–Blake illustrated them, for example. Steel wrote on the Sacred Harp mailing list:

I have a copy of Young’s Night Thoughts handy. Night 4 is the Christian Triumph.

–in his bless’d life,
I see the path, and in his death, the price,
And in his great ascent, the proof supreme
Of immortality. –And did he rise?
Hear, O ye nations! hear it, O ye dead!
He rose! he rose! he burst the bars of death…

The theme, the joy, how then shall man sustain!
Oh the burst gates! crush’d sting! demolish’d throne!
Last gasp of vanquish’d death! Shout earth and heav’n
This sum of joy to man: whose nature then
Took wing, and mounted with him from the tomb!
Then, then I rose; then first humanity
Triumphant pass’d the crystal ports of light
(Stupendous guest!) and seiz’d eternal youth,
Seiz’d in our name. E’er since, ’tis blasphemous
To call man mortal. Man’s mortality
Was then transferr’d to death; and heav’n’s duration
Unalienably seal’d to this frail frame,
This child of dust–Man, all-immortal! hail!
Hail heaven! all-lavish of strange gifts to man!
Thine all the glory, man’s the boundless bliss.

So, since the resurrection, the poet views man
immortal; it’s he being hailed first. Then heaven,
or God is hailed as generous of gifts that are
strange (i.e. immortality). The glory belongs to
heaven, the bliss belongs to man. So I read it.

I think he’s right. I’m also convinced now that “all-lavish of [strange gifts]” is a adjectival phrase, like “God almighty” or “God all-powerful“. Note the parallelism in the poem to “all-immortal”.

Thanks, Warren!

"All lavish of strange gifts to man"

I posted the following questions to the Sacred Harp discussion list. This will be of interest to only those people who are interested in both grammar and Sacred Harp. I may be the only one in this group. However, hope springs eternal …

In Easter Anthem (236), the poetry ends:

Man, all immortal hail,
Hail heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine’s all the glory,
Man’s the boundless bliss.

I’m having trouble parsing this. Maybe you can help…

Question 1. Who is hailing, and who is being hailed?

I think it’s ‘Man’ and ‘Heaven’ hailing God, but it could be we are hailing ‘immortal Man’ (i.e., Jesus, I assume) and ‘heaven.’ (i.e., God, I assume).

Question 2: What does ‘all lavish of strange gifts to man’ ┬ámean?

It seems to me that ‘lavish’ has to be a noun, grammatically. If so, it probably means something like ‘lavisher’ or ‘giver’–i.e., ‘heaven, giver of strange gifts to man’; or ‘the lavished’, or ‘blessed’, i.e., ‘hail heaven, O ye who are lavished with strange gifts.’ Any thoughts?

Seven last words

  1. Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
  2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
  3. Woman, behold your son: behold your mother (John 19:26f.).
  4. Eli Eli lema sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34).
  5. I thirst (John 19:28).
  6. It is finished (John 19:30).
  7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).

Plagiarism detector

I learned about Copyscape.com today via rebecca’s pocket. Copyscape allows you to tell whether you’ve been plagiarized elsewhere on the web. I checked a number of pages, and found that I was feeling a bit sad that nothing I’d written had been worth plagiarizing … until finally I found that my description of C++ in my Real Quick C++ tutorial showed up at http://support.maguma.com/doc/reader.php?docset=sdkdocs&page=oop.html. Now I don’t know whether to be flattered or angry…


My ma was an O’Shaughnessy. My da is a Fitzgerald. It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re celebratin’ here at NASA. I’ve been asked to “take time to remember the enduring contributions of those Irish-Americans who have given this country … so much,” I’m pretty sure this doesn’t mean I can take off the rest of the month. Did you know that “Nine of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Irish-Americans?” When did they become Irish-Americans? During the act of signing? At the end of the revolutionary war? What were they before that? Irish-America-the-continent-not-America-the-country-ians?

Yes, I know, I’m being daft.

left-right blogosphere

I haven’t read the study, but I like the pretty picture. (via 3 Quarks).

Ascii mandelbrot set movie