Load Data From Your R Script Directly, No Files Needed

Ran across this nice little trick a few months back. One of the things I miss about SAS was the ability to copy/paste data directly into a SAS script. While it’s nice to load from an external file, for small datasets it can be more useful to have everything in just one file. This is especially useful with students who have trouble understanding the concept of a working directory or file paths in a smartphone app dominated world.

Here’s what I found months ago (I believe on Stack Overflow):

Input = ("
participant condition time qsans qscorr
1 1 350 10 3
2 1 360 6 6
3 1 360 3 2
4 1 360 8 4
5 1 360 7 2
data = read.table(textConnection(Input),header=TRUE

There are no line numbers on that snippet – you’ve simply got 5 variables with 5 lines of data. The data is then read through a textConnection function into a data table. You can now work with it as you would any other data set.

Mass of Joy (just not too much) and Peace

In Fall 2016, my church in Cleveland (Our Lady of Victories) began using a new mass setting in addition to the previous two in regular “rotation”. The reason was pretty simple – the two we have include one that is great for stark services and simpler seasons (Missa Simplex) and one that is great for big formal celebrations (the much maligned at times, Mass of Creation). While both are nice settings, we were missing an element of liveliness and energy that the Mass so richly deserves. So along with the music director, the cantors began ‘trying out’ new settings privately, and we eventually settled on Mass of Joy and Peace.

Joy and Peace is a very upbeat setting, which (in my opinion) is much more fun to sing than either of the two others. Apparently others agree as well, giving rise to some very interesting arrangements online. My favorite being a contemporary arrangement by Daniel Houze. Moved into a rock beat, this version certainly hits the criteria for the concept of a “joyful noise”. The comments on YouTube, however, are less than positive. Several commenters lament the fact that it’s “too Protestant” or “liturgical abuse”. I find this quite ironic since the word “joy” is right in the title – apparently anything that sounds too joyful isn’t “Catholic” enough. Overall this makes me a bit frustrated as a young Catholic active in music ministry as a cantor. Apparently there is a very fine line somewhere that we are expected to hit – not too dirge-y and not too happy, or else our faith and reverence are called into question. Coupled with a widespread problem of participation in mass (In the past 20 years, I’ve only seen a handful of congregations that I would classify as “conscious, active, and full participation” as advised by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal), and you start to see the problem.

So what is the solution? Finding the middle line but broadening it with wide acceptance. If you don’t like the ‘energy’ of your mass setting, you can still participate, just not as loudly. If you feel sad during the mass rather than happy, speak up (and sing up). And if you find a church that has the right mix of traditional hymns with present-day worship, support it. In my case at OLV, I feel that many are supportive of the idea of energetic praise, we just need some of the ‘old guard’ to join in seeing the mass not as a simple ‘ticket punch’ (e.g., if I die this week, God knows I was here this Sunday, so I’m good) but as an expression of…. well… joy and peace!

The Political Obsession

Recently a friend posted an article to Facebook about a colossally stupid thing two individuals did. The story wasn’t important, although it was interesting within it’s context. What I found really interesting was the first comment, which read “I bet they voted for Trump!”. Given our political climate in the United States over the past several years, it got me thinking: What causes people to become politically obsessed to the point that literally everything revolves around politics?

politics photo Continue reading “The Political Obsession”

Jerry Lewis, Under the Sea, and Idolatry

Last night at Delta Writer’s Group, I proposed a ‘speed writing’ challenge based upon 3 very random lists of prompt material that came off the top of my head. The lists were “People”, “Locations”, and “Conflict”. When I rolled the wheel, I got “Jerry Lewis”, “Under the Sea”, and “Idolatry”. Five minutes later, this appeared. Who says you can’t make a story out of the most random of things

Sebastian the crab dressed in his Sunday best
To worship the comedian revered above the rest

“Hey Mon, tis Lew day”
he screamed with delight

“We gonna follow tru day”
His psychosis bordering on fright

The chorus began its calypso serenade
As his likeness was erected and upright it stayed
In view of the crows, the mania, the glee
All praised the Lewis, under the sea