Friday, January 30, 2015

Male Altar Servers

This week, we had Catholic news from Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish, in San Francisco. The pastor, Fr. Joseph, is switching from having male and female altar servers, to just having male altar servers. He said there are two reasons.

1. Young boys and young girls usually don't get along well. It's easier to have just boys or just girls.

2. The point of being an altar server is to prepare you for becoming a priest. Since girls can't be priests, it's contradictory to let them be altar servers.

Unstated Reason #3 is "that's the way it was, before the 1990's."

Some people are upset about this, and they want the local archbishop to step in. Legally, that's impossible. Church law says that a bishop cannot force a priest to include female altar servers, which means the local priest gets to make the decision.

What do you readers think? Is this a sexist power play? Or is it a logical consequence of the premise "altar servers are priests-in-training"? There is a girls-only Catholic group at that parish, so it's not like gender-separated activities is a completely foreign concept to them.

Personally speaking, I'm more interested in why people think altar servers are necessary, or why they think altar servers must be children. The truth is that altar servers are optional, not mandatory, and there is no age limit. I'm not sure how "kids only" became the norm, but it's been that way since at least the 50's. I've only seen teenager/adult altar servers in places where there are no kids. I think it would make more sense, if they only had priest-age altar servers. That'd better connect it with the idea that being an altar server is preparation for priesthood.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Things Thursday

One of the Catholic Church's problems is that exceptions have become the norm. I think that's why they're super-hesitant to make any exceptions to rules, in general.

1. Saint John Paul II allowed churches to have female altar servers, in some situations where no male altar servers can be found. Altar servers are unnecessary for a mass, so it's always an option to have none. Today, basically every church has male and female altar servers.

In fact, there was a huge backlash this week, when a church in San Francisco decided to go back to the pre-90's scheme of only having male servers. More on that tomorrow.

2. The Catholic Church teaches that the mass should normally be offered in Latin, but it can occasionally be offered in other languages. People with selective hearing only paid attention to the "mass can be offered in other languages" part. Now Latin mass is a rare exception, not the norm. Which is the exact opposite of the rule.

3. Blessed Pope Paul VI clearly said that churches should distribute the Eucharist on the tongue, and not on the hand. You could only get Eucharist on the hand under specific circumstances, and you had to jump through a series of hoops to get it. The United States Bishops did not meet the requirements, but that didn't stop them from switching to communion on the hand. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a modern church with an altar rail for receiving on the tongue.

Non-priests who distribute communion on the hand still have the official title "extraordinary ministers of holy communion". The "extraordinary" means that they are only used under extraordinary circumstances. The title is basically a joke now, since they are used all the time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

George Edward Stanley

Most of the modern Nancy Drew authors are unknown ghostwriters. One of the few we know about is George Edward Stanley.

The reason we know about him is because, well, he's dead. The University of Southern Missisippi has a copy of most of his various manuscripts.

I wish I knew about him, before I did my review for The Mystery in Tornado Alley. It turns out that the book does NOT take place in a fictional university in Oklahoma; it takes place in the university where George Stanley worked as a professor. (Stanley always mentions Oklahoma somewhere in his books, as an Easter egg. This makes me suspect he wrote the other "Nancy Drew Goes to Oklahoma and Meets University Professors" book.)

Also, I'm surprised that the Tornado Alley book went through four drafts, considering how awful the final book was. I wouldn't mind going to Mississippi and reading all four drafts of the book, just as a matter of curiosity. That's probably never going to happen, but I'm sure it would be interesting!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Living Legends: Wrath of the Beast

This week, my walkthrough is Living Legends: Wrath of the Beast. It's a mixture of Goldilocks and Brave, which is a crossover I probably never would have thought of. It works really well, because they both have bear villains.

The game is a sequel to the popular Living Legends: Frozen Beauty. The first game in the series is the not-incredibly-popular Living Legends: Ice Rose. The first game is still good, but going back to it after playing the much improved sequels has proven difficult for some gamers.

Monday, January 26, 2015


My schedule got messed up again, with the release of Twilight Phenomena 3 and Living Legends 3. Why can't my favorite videogame series be like Nancy Drew or Mario, and announce release dates months in advance? That way I could prepare for their new games.

Living Legends 3 is one of those "so good, I'm playing it immediately" games. The last game was a mix of Sleeping Beauty and Frozen. This one is a mix of Brave and Goldilocks. I haven't played Twilight Phenomena 3 yet, but I bumped it up near the top of my games list, because I played the second one recently, and I can still remember it.

Living Legends 3
McKenzie and Co.
Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon (French)
Regeria Hope
Twilight Phenomena 3
Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding
Dark Strokes: Legend of the Snow Queen

As of my writing this, I have recorded all eight videos for Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding. (That was originally going to be next.) Katie and I have done three videos for French Nancy Drew, and I have done the first two videos for McKenzie & Co. There are six different boyfriends you can get in that game, so I figured I would let the YouTube viewers pick which guy I should pursue!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Litany of Saints

As I mentioned earlier, we're doing a litany of saints at our wedding. Now I need to juggle names around so they fit the song. In this case, there are four verses, and each verse contains eight measures with names. How does this look?

Verse 1, Mary and the Early Church
  • Holy Mary, Mother of God
  • Queen of All Hearts,
  • Mary, Queen of Apostles,
  • And Saint Joseph, her husband
  • Saint Michael and all angels,
  • Peter and Paul
  • All the Holy Apostles
  • Matthew and the Evangelists
Verse 2, Martyrs, Male Religious
  • Catherine of Alexandria
  • Blaise, Christopher and George
  • Saint Stephen and all martyrs
  • John Henry Newman
  • Louis de Monfort, Jean Vianney
  • Francis of Sales and all Bishops
  • Francis and Claire of Assisi
  • Vincent de Paul
Verse 3 - Female Religious, Doctors of the Church
  • Catherine Laboure
  • Kateri and Faustina
  • Katharine Drexel
  • Bonaventure and Bellarmine
  • Bernard of Clairveaux
  • Augustine and Monica
  • Therese of Liseux
  • Thomas Aquinas and all doctors,
 Verse 4 - Married Saints
  • Anne and Joachim
  • Louis and Zelie Martin
  • Isidore and Maria
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • Jane Chantal
  • Thomas More and Philip Howard
  • Juan Diego and Saint Louis
  • Rita of Cascia

...I just now realized that I forgot to put some Popes on the list, other than Saint Peter. Granted, the Popes fall under the "male religious" category, but usually they are listed separately.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fire Emblem

I've been a fan of the Fire Emblem series ever since high school. Many times, I've tried starting a video walkthrough for a Fire Emblem game (usually the DS or GCN one), but I always stopped a few videos in because I don't think people will like it. Either I go through the game too slowly, or I realize that there's not much crossover between tactical RPGs and Nancy Drew mystery fans.

I'm told that Fire Emblem has finally become popular, due to Fire Emblem 3DS. Does this mean the time is ripe for an Arglefumph Fire Emblem walkthrough? Right now, I'm in the mood for Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second NES game.

I'd also like to do a walkthrough for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, but it has the same issues as Fire Emblem. Namely, it's long, and I don't know if there is enough interest.

Friday, January 23, 2015


This week, I did a video walkthrough for Fright. I am glad to say that it's been popular! As in, more popular than anything I've done in a month. For a while, I was worried.

I'm not sure what's going to appear on my channel next week. I am hoping to do French Nancy Drew, but I haven't actually started it yet. And I've got some half-finished reviews...I better hurry up to get stuff done before the Fright walkthrough is over!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Things Thursday

Today is the March for Life, so I figured I'd do a Three Things Thursday on various life-related issues.

1. We're still waiting for the 2014 population data to be released, but the 2015 fertility rate in the United States is projected to be at 1.97. Estimates say that out country will stay at this rate, with a possible slight increase, for the next 35 years. If those numbers are correct, we'll hit 400,000 citizens in 2050.

China's fertility rate has hit a low of 1.66. That's because their country is actively working to lower the population. The forecasts say that China's efforts will finally take effect in the 2030's. Their population will actively decrease due to many deaths and fewer births, and India will steal China's title as "country with the most people".

Japan is still in bad shape. Not only is the population getting older, but each year, the number of babies born hits a new record low. The average age in Japan, in 2014, was 46.2 years old. It's expected that the average age in Japan will hit 50 in the early 2020's.

2. Recently, I've seen some arguments that say that abortion and contraception are good, because they eliminate poverty. I am disturbed at how similar this is to the arguments for eugenics. "Make sure poor people don't reproduce" is not an ethical or a viable solution for poverty.

Of course, it's possible that I'm oversensitive to this issue, because I plan on having a child with Katie, after we get married. I only made $15,000 last year, and people say I am too poor to have any children. I find that to be offensive, and none of their business!

3. I think the debates on birth control will radically change, once male contraceptives are introduced. Right now, Vasagel is looking like the first male contraceptive that will be publicly available. It works by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from exiting. The polymer lasts for many years, and the effect can be reversed with a second injection. The estimated cost is about $300 per shot. The tests on rabbits and baboons have been successful, and they plan on doing testing on humans later this year.

How would male birth control change things? Well, I expect our society will pressure most men into going on birth control, in the same way that our society pressures women to get on birth control. I suspect that the percentage of men who never have kids will greatly increase, which will, in turn, make the fertility rate go down. I also suspect an increase of sexual activity would cause a rise in STDs, since male birth control doesn't stop HIV.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

McKenzie and Co.

For my birthday, I got the first-ever game made by Her Interactive. That's right. I got McKenzie and Co., made in 1995. It's a game about a high school girl, who wants to find a cute prom date.

That is literally the entire storyline. "McKenzie" is the name of the main character's car. She calls it "Marvelous, Cool, Kinetic movement, Ever-lasting friendship, Non-conformist, Zany, Ingenious, and Empowered". I am not making this up.

To my surprise, the seller packaged the game with the sequel/expansion pack. That means I have 8 CDs, for one game. You thought the first Nancy Drew game was bad, with two CDs? This game has EIGHT. How else can they hold all the video files of cute guys?

I think I will play this game in February, because a dating sim is perfect for Valentine's Day. And I'll try to make it interactive! That is, I'll let the viewers pick which cute guy I should be chasing.

(Please note I haven't tried to install the game yet. Since it's so old, it's possible I won't be able to run it on my computer. That would be the worst.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Girl Detective Reviews

I'm still chugging away at the Nancy Drew book reviews! Right now, I'm doing a chunk of reviews for the 2004 series. Here are the reviews for Books 7 through 9.

Book #10 is a special case, since a game was based on it. I decided to save it for later, so I could do a book and game review, on the same day.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Recently, I played both Botanica games. The series is about a woman who gets stuck on an alien planet. She needs to find her way back home, before the hostile natives kill her. Here's the first game.

And here's the second game, which is very much the same. This time, our hero must find her father, who is inside a volcano.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Updated Schedule

I got some of the games I was looking at! be honest, I got most of them. There was a sale, and I used compounding discounts to buy the lot for 65% off! Quite a deal!

I added the new games to my schedule. Now my schedule looks like this:

Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding
Dark Strokes: Legend of the Snow Queen
Grim Facade: Sinister Obsession
Princess Isabella 2
Sable Maze: Forbidden Garden
League of Light: Wicked Harvest

I'm starting Fright tomorrow! It's a very well-done game, and it lives up to its title.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Captain America 2

I finally got around to seeing Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.

As I suspected, the movie assumes that you saw the Avengers movie. That's a tad unfortunate. I really could have used an exposition-heavy scene, where Nick Fury hands Captain America his business card. He explains who he is, what SHIELD is, and why he thinks Captain America is the perfect fit for their organization.

Since I didn't get any of that, I spent the first quarter of the movie wondering who everyone was, and what was going on. Eventually, I decided to stop asking questions, and to pretend that it's the same secret government organization that the Hardy Boys work for. The movie's plot could easily work as a 1980's Hardy Boys book, since they're mostly nonstop action/fighting.

The second half of the movie is way better than the first. The first half tries to be a mystery, which keeps you guessing who the culprits are. It definitely wasn't as good as it could have been, and there were parts where my reaction was not "Oh, how mysterious!" but rather "Quit wasting time and tell me what's going on, already." I think it takes over an hour before we get to the plot twist that the movie is named after, namely, the Winter Soldier is really [spoiler].

Once the movie switched from "figure out who the bad guys are" to "stop the bad guys", it became much better. There was a lot of action and explosions, and the plot twists were based on information we know, not information we don't know. If I had to rewatch the movie, I'd probably fast-forward through the first part. Bring on Captain America 3: Civil War next year!

*reads description of Captain America 3*

Oh, dang. Another movie which forces you to watch the Avengers first. I'm not playing that game!