Archive for September, 2009

The Life of St. Macrina ends with an account of her funeral, and a career soldier’s story of one of her deeds.

Part 4.


This stuff is really amazing. You don’t often get this sort of detailed personal eyewitness account of an event from the ancient world, much less of a private citizen’s family event.

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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as we hear about the saint’s last hours from her brother’s point of view.

Part 3.


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The Brand of Silence continues, as Prale continues his quest for answers.

Chapter 14: More Mystery


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St. Irenaeus’ Against Heresies still has the top number of downloads: 66, 541. (Being very long helps, with those who download chapter by chapter.) That’s about 8% of total downloads. The next highest, the short-short fantasy anthology Fifty-One Tales by Lord Dunsany, is only 31,542 downloads. 🙂

Amusingly, my top 25 items are also all of the items with more than 5000 downloads; 15 of those have over 10,000 downloads. A good chunk of them are long religious nonfiction books. You might think this would mostly be the theology stuff, but no. The popular devotional works and books on prayer are clearly the winners, along with the super-long novels. The Rosary has slipped down to the top 25; but there are a great many recordings of the Rosary available for free online or for not very much money, so that’s not surprising. My conclusion is that a lot of people are hungry to know more about prayer and to deepen their relationship with God. Parishes and churches should do more to serve this need.

Epic poetry continues to be popular, but people don’t want to download it very much unless it’s totally finished. Also, they like the fantastic adventure ones better than normal stuff. That’s fair. I just need to work on not getting discouraged by these huuuuge masses of poetry while I’m doing them. (Yes, I need to finish The Ring and the Book. I’ve only got two more books to go, you’d think I’d get to it.)

I had 74 items with between 1000 and 5000 downloads. That’s a decent bell curve, I guess.

122 items had under 1000 downloads. Of those, 62 items had under 500 downloads. That’s a discouraging stat, especially since only 16 of them were from this year. But some stuff just isn’t going to get downloaded as much, especially if it’s a short poem or a story by an author whom people don’t recognize.

Of course, the major issue is that I need to make all the finished stuff more easy to find from this podcast page, and provide more information or more appealing description for files that need it.

I continue to appreciate the support of all of you who follow this podcast, and of all my listeners. I hope to make next year’s podcast more interesting for you all.

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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with another chapter that will be a bit more relevant to a lot of us than we’d like. Even most Americans who live below the poverty line are well-to-do by the standards of the rest of the world, and rich by the standards of history. So those of us who are doing okay, are like Bill Gates compared to someone really poor.

Book 3, Chapter 15: How to practice real poverty while being actually rich.


UPDATE: Links fixed. Sorry, folks.

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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, with a chapter that strikes me to the heart.

As a bibliophile and fan, I’ve spent a lot of years chasing avidly after certain material objects, not just using them with due diligence and care. Though middle age has freed me from a lot of the overenthusiasm, I still probably get a lot more into things than good sense really warrants, whereas I probably should be having the screaming fits of delight over doing good works. And yes, I did occasionally get a warning word from people about this; but it was never about greed and materialism, even when my greed was really kinda nakedly visible. We only think of greed as being about money, not about collecting or following your hobby, or buying everything that you can afford. Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should be buying it or buying it right away. We need to separate our hearts a bit from naked desire, so that we can tell what we need from what we just like and can pass up. And we don’t always have to feel obliged to get what we want.

Book 3, Chapter 14: Of poverty of spirit in the midst of wealth.


UPDATE: Links fixed.

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Download Stats

Yesterday I went over to archive.org and added up all the downloads of my audiobook files over there. It turns out that since I started this podcast on September 20, 2005, people here and at archive.org have made:


I’ve read 211 separate works, and you’ve seen how many podcast posts there’ve been.

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“Morale” ends with a spark and a bang, as we learn that psychological warfare works both ways.

Parts 6 and 7.


You’ll notice how much stronger this story is than “Tanks”. A year or two can make a big difference in a writer’s skills — or an editor’s, for that matter.

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“Morale” continues, as Sergeant Walpole comes up with a plan, and Murray Leinster anticipates the feelings of many television viewers. (Really, an impressive act of extrapolation, in a story published in December 1931.)

Part 5.


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“Morale” continues, as Sergeant Walpole takes a midnight ride into a battlefield.

Part 4.


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“Morale” continues the saga of man vs. supermonstertank in the East Coast’s countryside. Sergeant Walpole continues his dogged attempts to report in, and my brother’s new kitchen appliances become relevant to the plot.

Part 3


Another fascinating thing about old science fiction is the stark contrast between when people understood the uses of technology (and therefore thought its application was sure to be widespread in ten years), and when the technology actually became practical and widely adopted. Sometimes it just takes a while.

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On the Soul and the Resurrection is a philosophical and theological dialogue between St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Macrina, when she was on her deathbed, and he was freaking out. (Another brother, St. Basil the Great, had just died a few months back, and St. Gregory was still mourning him when he found out his eldest sister was about to kick the bucket, too.) It’s probably fictionalized for educational purposes, but also seems to try to preserve St. Macrina’s teaching as faithfully as possible. I think you’ll find it interesting, especially once it really gets rolling next week.

This dialogue comes chronologically right after Part 2 and before Part 3 of The Life of St. Macrina. I’ll finish up The Life next week or so (there’s about three parts to go); but On the Soul and the Resurrection will take a lot longer.

Part 1.


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The Life of St. Macrina continues, as she persuades her mother to turn the household into a religious community.

Part 2.


I have to say that I really love the 4th century habit of calling the religious life or the Christian life “philosophy”, and of calling religious and hermits “philosophers”. It’s beautiful and fitting, but also very very Greek. 🙂

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The Life of St. Macrina is a biography — or to be exact, a panegyric or praise — of a brilliant, well-educated, well-born, rich, and beautiful lady of the Roman Empire, (from what today is Turkey) who chose the religious life over any other form of happiness. (Also, there’s a lot about her mother, St. Emmelia. That lady’s not named in the book, but you probably wanted to know.)

It was written by one of her little brothers, St. Gregory of Nyssa. He was the comparative black sheep of the ten children in this extremely Christian family descended from confessors of the faith, and yet he turned out to become a bishop and famous theologian. Some black sheep. 🙂

Part 1.


Btw, Roger Pearse said I should record some more of his stuff soon. So now you know where I found the text of The Life of St. Macrina. 🙂

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Me not pay attention to other sites. Me sleeping through exciting parts.

Monachos.net is a pretty well known Orthodoxy site that’s been around a long time, and which has tons of good patristics material, and links to good stuff on other sites. But for various reasons, I haven’t been over there for about five zillion years. So I didn’t realize that they were podcasting.

I guess the general idea is much like Father Z does when he podcast on patristics — quotes from the Fathers, and then reflecting on them. It’s called A Word from the Holy Fathers. I’m sure it’s worth a listen.

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