Sunsets and Popes

First, here’s the sunset off my porch today:


And if you like that, here’s a larger version in pop-up form.

And for fun, a picture of the trees back behind my house earlier today:

What can I say? It was a pretty day around these here parts.

Second, I have nothing of interest to say about anything else, except to note that I’m still fiddling with my Mac like the shiny new toy it is. Hey: F9, F10, and F11 buttons? Geeeeeenius. I mean, really. As soon as I saw them, I thought: I want to lick my Mac (I did not). Thanks to Justine for pointing these zany bits of functionality out to me. I’ll also note that I broke with the overall mac aesthetic and picked up a two button mouse with a scroll wheel. No, it doesn’t look as cool as the Mac mouse, but now I don’t feel as if I’m mousing with one arm chopped off at the ball joint. There’s are limits to cool vs. functional, and those limits involve a second button and a scroll wheel. That is all.

As toward the big news of the day, I have no opinion as to Pope Benedict XVI, although I was curious about his name and looked up some of the previous Benedicts to see what the name represented. Given who the pope was prior to his elevation, I suspect the name had more to do with a tradition of intellectual, scholarly Benedicts than the reform-minded ones. Not being Catholic, this is something I don’t see myself spending to many processing cycles thinking about, although of course having said that I’m sure the new pope will do something that impacts my life directly and then I’ll be compelled to comment. Life is like that sometimes.

33 Comments on “Sunsets and Popes”

  1. One recommendation:

    Toss the two+wheel mouse and get a 4- or 5+wheel mouse and bind the extra buttons (and maybe while pressing, say, the Command key) to Exposé. F9–F11 are, um, out in the boonies compared to right underneath the thumb, and you can switch between things rather quickly if you can hold down a mouse button, watch everything slide, move your pointer over the window you want, and release.

  2. I second the motion for a 4/5-button mouse. Admittedly it sounds like my Intellimouse Explorer is still much clumsier here in Win2k than it would be in OS-X, but it’s still really nice to be able to navigate back in webpages and Windows Explorer without having to take the time to actually move the mouse pointer to the button.

  3. Every serious Mac user dumps the Apple mouse. I have a simple Logitech two-button with scroll wheel. I map expose to the scroll wheel “click.”

  4. “I map expose to the scroll wheel ‘click.'”

    That’s such a great idea that I just did it, too. thanks!

  5. I actually also map the upper right and left-hand corners of my screen to the F9 and F10 Expose keys. I find its useful when I drag things between windows since I can just whack a corner with my mouse and then select the appropriate window.

  6. I used to have the upper right + left corners mapped, but I kept triggering Exposé when I just wanted to get to the Apple menu, so I dumped the upper left. Still have the upper right & find it very useful.

    Incidentally, just for giggles, sometime try hitting one of those F-keys while the shift key is depressed. (This works with window minimization, too.)

  7. psst… hey john…

    you can zoom in to then out of any part of your screen.
    then command+option+= (equals) to zoom in.
    move your mouse around to change what you’re zoomed in to.
    command+option+- (minus) zooms out.
    command+option+8 turns off the zoom function.


  8. Mr. McDonald is correct. I’ve been using Apple hardware since 1985.

    They have yet to make a keyboard/mouse combo that offered acceptable functionality. Looks? Cool, no doubt, but the one button mouse is just a flea-ridden dog.

  9. Also, given your propensity to noodle around in Photoshop, here’s a great little Mac only program that seems right up your alley.

    Comic Life

  10. I’ve been using Macs since 1996 and have no idea what the F9, F10, and F11 keys do. I do, however, have a 2-button mouse with a scroll wheel that you will pry out of my cold, dead right hand.

    At least until I get a 2-button wireless mouse with a scroll wheel.

    I rather suspect I under use the amazing functionality of my PowerBook. My husband says that I am functionally computer illiterate and he’s right.

  11. I really liked the one button mouse myself but mostly because it was circular and it fit into my tiny girl hand really well.

    I got use to holding down the control key to get the extra menu that shows up with the right click button on the two button mouse. Worked fine although it was an extra step.

    I had to get rid of the Hockey puck(the old one button mouse) that came with my G4. Not because I didn’t like it but because the ball kept getting stuff on it and jumping. To much eraser fragments at the computer table. Now I have an optical two button mouse. Which I like fine though the hockey puck still has a place in my heart.


  12. I was hoping he’d call himself Pope Elvis just because we’ve had two John Pauls in a row. This would be followed by Pope Page Plant, Pope Bono, and Pope Lars.

  13. I believe he has to be the first former Nazi to be elected pope (Ratzinger was in the Hitler Youth, as were all German children at the time). Israel doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, so it probably isn’t that big a deal.

    But still…

  14. He was Hitlerjugend, but it was mandatory. He was also a conscript in the German army but deserted and spent time in a POW camp. Let’s cut him some slack in the Hitlerjugend department; there are other more immediate reasons about him, from what I understand.

  15. I think the most interesting thing is the new Pope’s age. At 78, he is the oldest Cardinal to be elevated to Pope for almost 250 years. To me, it says that the church doesn’t want to be stuck with one guy for 25 years again.

  16. it’s still really nice to be able to navigate back in webpages and Windows Explorer without having to take the time to actually move the mouse pointer to the button.

    Both Opera (intrinsically) and Firefox (through an extension) allow you to do this with mouse gestures; right button-left button in Opera, not sure in Firefox. I love it.

  17. I don’t think Ratzinger should be condemmed for his actions during WWII – it seems like he was in an impossible situation and did the best he could – to his credit. But I do have a concern about the other Cardinals, who apparantly don’t think it’s an issue. Sure, the people here are (hopefully) smart enough to find out the facts, but what of the rest of the world? When the inevitable attack comes, that ‘the Pope was a Nazi’ – the leaders of the church didn’t think that it was enough of an issue to go with candidate #2, especially given the church’s history during WWII.

    I guess it smacks a little of arrogance – that the Catholic Church doesn’t much care what people think of them. In related news, an appellate court just reinstated a lawsuit by Holocaust survivors againt the Vatican Bank.

    Given that Ratzinger personally watched Jews being marched into Dachau, not that I’m saying that he could have stopped it or anything, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the lawsuit.

  18. Hold down the shift key and then minimize or maximize a window. It holds as true today as it did when the Bionic Man taught it to us so effectively as children; slow-motion == cool.

    There is no practical use for this feature other than to demonstrate to others just how cool your mac is.

    I keep the one button mouse and stick with the keyboard commands. power/option/ctrl combos are faster and I don’t have to take my hands off the keyboard and grab the mouse to use them.

    Now if we can just get you to switch to emacs or bbedit (go to to get their free application Text Wrangler which is only slightly less powerful than bbedit) your transformation will be complete.

  19. Speaking from the Jewish perspective I’ve got to agree re: Ratzinger and WW2, there were MANY people involved to one extent or another in the atrocities of the Holocaust simply because not being involved wasn’t an option, those who could got out at the first opportunity, those who couldn’t prayed for it all to end as soon as possible, you can’t spend the rest of eternity hating every single german who lived through the period on principle.

    That said, there are PLENTY of other reasons to be badly worried about Ratzinger. He was appointed head of the Inquisition (please don’t be fooled by its having been renamed 3 times to eventually become the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it’s still the exact same division with the exact same goals) in 1981 and retained the position until last week, when he resigned in preparation to becoming pope, a move he was confident making as he’s spent the last 4 years in near total control of the Vatican, ensuring he’d be a sure thing as JP2’s successor. The man is a radical with ultra-conservative views and a master at the game of politics, he plays over a span of decades and WILL eventually get his way, at which point most of us, all the non-catholics that is, will be on entirely the wrong side of the RCC’s new policies regarding ‘heretics’.

  20. Guy: You need not worry as a non-Catholic.

    On that point of Doctrine, JP2 broke down the walls. There is no going back, and Benedict XVI seems supremely unlikely to (since he helped internally with many efforts, particularly re Jews).

    Dominus Iesus (to address the inevitable counterargument) was a slap to theologians and catechists, nothing more. It was really badly timed, yes. But the point of it was more “Hey, people, if it ain’t the Truth, it’s not a religion!” than “They’re all evil and inferior”.

    No. What it seemed to be saying: It’s not that all others are bad, it’s that Catholicism has a closer view of the truth (being Christian) and is not in error (being One, Holy, and of Apostolic Succession).

    Which is what all religions say.

  21. Well, nobody expects the [spanish] inquisition.

    But I was trying to make the point that while I don’t think that Ratzinger bears any personal responsibility for the Holocaust, given what we know, I don’t think it indicates to the world that the leadership of the Church is terribly concerned about it either.

    I don’t think that anyone would argue that any of the frontrunners for the papacy would have made a bad pope – and given recent scandals – picking one with Ratzinger’s history shows arrogance, in my opinion.

    If Pope Benedict XVI orders, or has ordered, a review of the Vatican Bank records to ensure that the Church did not profit from the Nazi regime, and finds that it didn’t – fine. But if he doesn’t, or he does and covers up unfavorable results – and then he loses in court, that’s another story. Then, we have a Pope who personally witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, and did nothing to right the wrongs of the past, which his organization profited from.

    If the Bank, and by extension, the Church, is blameless – outstanding. I hope that is the result. But if it is not, then I think the Catholic Church has set itself up for yet another major scandal – emphasized by the fact that their recently elected Pope was a personal, albeit unwilling, witness to the Holocaust.

  22. Actually, Penta, I believe some religions merely say, “Hey, your parents did this, so you ought give it a try. Why not, it’s easier than learning a buncha new songs at the place around the corner.”

  23. Hey John,

    So, yours goes up to F11? Mine goes to F12. That’s for when you’re crankin’ the CPUs and you just need that little extra bit of processing power . . .


    On Benedict: as a Jew, it doesn’t bug me that he was Hitler Youth. God help us if we’re all held accountable for what we did as kids — especially in that sort of environment. No, I’m content to sit back and see if Benedict does anything about the problem of sexual abuse in the priesthood. If he has the guts to confront it (unlike his predecessor), then he’s okay by me.


  24. I tried a cordless mouse but the battery would only last 40 hours or so – one work week.

    Is that typical, or did I just get a lemon?

  25. Hey Tripp, try rechargables. It’s what I’ve got in my Wireless Optical. It lasts something like 10 days to two weeks. I’ve got one pair in the charger, one in the mouse. Swap and you’re good to go.

    Re: Benedict XVI – A 16th? Maybe a Pius to undo the Medici damage maybe? Also, let’s judge this new pope by his actions now, not but what he has seen, done, didn’t do in the past. Christianity is based on the precepts of forgiveness and repentance. Though, personally, can we maybe get a fire and brimstone, younger pope to rout out the corruption that may or may not exist? Pope Augustus…hmm…

  26. As soon as I saw “German Pope,” I thought to myself, “Uh oh…here come the Nazi references.” Thankfully, it’s been kept to a minimum (as far as I can tell). The man is 78 years old. Are we to believe that he’s kept his anti-semetic beliefs well hidden for the last 50+ years, just waiting to spring them on the world as Pope?

    More interestingly, he’s the first Pope in history that was held by the United States as a prisoner of war. Don’t think that won’t get quoted in a “bash Bush” speech sometime soon…

  27. Well, for something a bit more recent, the new pope was the guy who some claim interfered in the 2004 presidential election when he ordered U.S. bishops to refuse communion to pro-choice catholics, including Kerry.

    Being a Hitler Youth is a non-issue. You were required to participate by law, and the nazis weren’t known for their kind and understanding ways towards non-conformists.

    Scroll mice rule. Now when I use a mouse without a scroll wheel it’s extremely frustrating.

  28. Tripp, get a rechargeable model, The Logitech MX700 would do but personally I recommend the MX1000, very nice piece of kit.

    Re: sexual abuse, he’s already dodged that one. “Regarding the scandal of sexual abuse by priests in the United States, he was seen by critics as indifferent to the abuse. In 2002 he told Catholic News Service that “less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type.” ( Opponents saw this as ignoring the crimes committed by those who did abuse; others saw it as merely pointing out that this should not taint other priests who live respectable lives.”

    P.S. I’m an idjut, this comment’s been pending for nearly 20 hours, just forgot about it midway :P.

  29. No, I’m content to sit back and see if Benedict does anything about the problem of sexual abuse in the priesthood. If he has the guts to confront it (unlike his predecessor), then he’s okay by me.

    Being a liberal atheist, this pope’s probably not going to be ok by me regardless. But I’m just the peanut gallery. The church turning a blind eye to molesting priests, well, that would piss just about anyone off. And as Ratzinger (as far as I have heard) has been spinning the problem as one of a few problematic priests, I doubt he’s going to address the problems in the church hierarchy.
    But who knows? This papacy is but a couple of days old, and the new pope may surprise me yet.

  30. Thanks for the mouse tips. This is for work use so it gets used a lot. I felt guilty consuming all those batteries.

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