Thursday, October 31, 2002

With my wife's help, I've been able to chart out a story for Nano month and I am ready to roll, so call me butter. I'm so excited that I am going to wait till it's 12 midnight and then I'll jump "write" in.

We're having a health fair at work today. Free Cholesterol screening, blood pressure check, wieght and body fat check, hearing test and flu shots and . . . a 10 minute massage

I think I should have skipped the weight check and blood pressure check. If I were a dictator, I'd have a massage every hour for 20 minutes. Boy, was that relaxing. So relaxing that I was momentarily confused as I tried to make my way back to my office.

I guess I need to get back into sports. Probably basketball or soccer and it'll have to be Friday nights. And unfortunately, my next three Fridays are taken because I teach those nights. Oh well. Time for the hearing test.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Years ago, when I was a senoir in College and at the time, seriously considering the priesthood. I had the following discussion with a couple of friends.

"So Ono, what's the plan for after graduation?"
"Well, I'm thinking of the priesthood."
"Cool. Do you know which order?"
"Not yet. I've decided that I am going to Washington DC to get an STD first and then I'll decide which order to join."
"Ono, you don't have to go that far to get one of those."
"No! I meant Doctorate in Sacred Theology!!!"
"Yeah, right, Ono . . . STD huh!"

The Quotations Page

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

Ever since Clyde "the Glide" Drexler exited the NBA, I've been drifting in and out of the NBA. We got back into when San Antonion was doing well and they one the Championship, but then dropped out again. But this year, looks like a winner. There is now motivation to get up every morning. Why? You ask. Well, it is because I HATE THE LA LAKERS!!!!!

For Nano, things are much clearer now. I think my wife and I are going to tag team on this one. We have our daughter in mind and want to write something that she can read when she's 7-10 years old with a heroine that she can identify with.

50,000 words is about 160 pages, so if we do 16 chapters with 10 pages each, you can call me butter. Like Stu Scott says, "call me butter, cuz I'm on a roll."

If you were a dictator, a nice one, what would you do? . . .

First thing I'd do is make it illegal to not wash your hands after using the facilities. I just made a quick visit and the person who was leaving as I was did not wash their hands.

I'd also make flies illegal, by the way.

Atheist to a Theist on Some failed endorsements and business start-ups

Quite funny, I think my favorite is . . .

Mother Teresa and Oil of Olay

al-Qaida Airlines

Johnny Walker Lindh book "Afghanistan on Five dollars a day"

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Google Search: Reason why Ehud Barak had to dress as a woman

I am so confused about what to do about NaNoWriMoxyz . . ., at first I had planned to do a story about WYD and an assasination attempt. I was at WYD 2002 and so my mind was working up a story line. I was fortunate to have some access to behind the scenes stuff, so there was a story brewing. But . . . I'm not convinced it is easily 50, 000 words. I can make it 50, 000 words but it would require serious research and the Nano thing doesn't allow for the luxury of serious research based writing, unless of course, you were prepared aforehand.

I then decided that I was going to convert a short story I had to a full length story, but that is not going to yeild even close to 50,000 words. I had also considered modifying another story but, still, that was 5,000 words, tops.

Then there was a new story I have been working on that seems very promising. I had written three chapters but then decided to wait for the Nanomonth and complete it. And this is my best option, but . . . the story is quite adventurous and may not be my most wholesome work. I wanted to write something that reveals the issue of how people appear normal on the surface but their histories reveal terrible traumatic events that have shaped them. So basically, all four protagonists in this story have major issues, but they all are very, very likeable (in fact if you don't like anyone of them, you may be eligible for a refund.). So? You ask.

Well. last night I was laying down with my little girl and i realized that there really isn't too much fiction/fantsy out there for a young black girl to latch onto and identify with. And if anything, as a writer, I could and should fill that gap.

I then became sensitive to the role of black women/girls in my stories. In one that is complete and needed just a few touches, the black women are portrayed positively, but the one who she may most likely identify with wasn't as fully developed as desired. So I have tossed some ideas around for development and they are promising. In fact in most of my stories, the black women were all positively portrayed but inexplicably underdeveloped and so I have ideas to develop them.

However, there is one short story that I just completed. The people are generic.
In the most recent story I am working on with four neurotic people, I am now concerned at the negative imagery and the morality of what I am wiriting. It's like, all of a sudden, I got a conscience. Now, I'm plagued with questions of, should I only write things that my daughters would be proud of and that would contribute to their sound development? Probably not, but there would have to be more good stuff than unhealthy stuff.

So now I'm tossing around ideas for Nano about the adventures of a young girl. Obviously, that young girl would be someone my little girl could identify with. But can such a story reach the 50,000 word plateau. I don't know, but I'll find out.

From quiz

Here's my score about which Christian sect most matches my beliefs.

1. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (100%)

2. Orthodox Quaker (99%)

3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (91%)

4. Seventh Day Adventist (78%)

5. Eastern Orthodox (74%)

6. Roman Catholic (74%)

Hmm, I am more of a Quaker and Seventh Day Adventist than I am Catholic.

The Quotations Page

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Monday, October 28, 2002

How Hard Would It Be To Trace the Sniper's Phone Calls? By Brendan I. Koerner

Police arrested two men Thursday morning in connection with Washington, D.C.-area sniper shootings. Someone claiming to be the sniper placed several phone calls to police earlier this week. How easy is it for cops to trace a phone call?

Contrary to what pulp screenwriters seem to believe, it's pretty darn easy nowadays. Tracing problems are a relic of manual switchboards, which required operators to physically connect circuits. In order to track down a caller's location, police needed 10-20 minutes to figure out the maze of circuits. This is where the cinematic stereotype of "Keep 'em talking" comes from—shorter calls could only be traced back part of the way, to a nearby switching station rather than the source phone.

Digital switches have sped up the process. Beginning in the mid-1980s, phone companies began using electronic switching systems, which can automatically identify any caller's number within a fraction of a second. Those numbers can then be correlated with information from an automatic location indicator to find the phone's address. There is no foolproof way to avoid tracing on an ESS network when making a direct-dial call. (And don't think for a second that hitting *67, which masks your number to Caller ID boxes, can foil a police trace; it only works against civilians.)

Some local phone companies allow users to trace calls through a feature called *57. Users hang up, wait 10 seconds, and then press *57. The caller's information is immediately forwarded to the phone company's computers, where it can later be accessed by the police. But the feature isn't available everywhere, and in some cases it won't trace calls made with calling cards or through operator assistance.

Mobile phones have proven harder to trace over recent years, but that is changing, too. The Federal Communications Commission has ordered that, by 2006, all cell-phone networks must feature location-tracking technology, ostensibly to assist 911 operators. As a result, many new mobiles now come equipped with chips that link them into the Global Positioning Satellite system. Triangulation using coordinates from adjacent cell-phone towers is another effective tracing technique.

Tracing a phone call is only half the investigative battle, of course. Few suspects, alas, are dumb enough to stay put after placing a taunting call to the cops.

Weekend movie veg report

The Rainmaker, based on the novel by John Grisham about a young, just-out-of-school lawyer (Matt Damon), who joins a small firm with a boss who has ties to the mob and a loser, but quick-witted, para-lawyer (Danny Devito). Damon is representing a dying young man against a major insurance firm with big hired guns, chief counsel played by Jon voigt. Danny Glover is the judge and Claire Danes is Damon's love interest.This movie was written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I have one word for the movie, excellent. I had seen it before and it didn't quite make an impression then, I think my tastes were different then. The story is told in a slow developing fashion, not rushed. All the actors were excellent. I was particularly impressed with Danny Glover, who I think is one of the top ten most distinguished male actors, and Matt Damon. I've always been suspicious of Matt Damon's acting abilities, but he had me hello in this one.

As much as I am not a fan of Mr Coppola, I must say that the man can flat out tell a story. He does very well in capturing the complexities of relationships. He did it in the God Father and he continues to do so in his movies.

My wife and I borrowed from the library, the movie, The Election starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. Disgusting, we only got 15 minutes into the movie and decided that if we wanted to watch p0-r-n movies we would rent them. The movie is a thinly disguised soft you-know-what flick.

My wife and I drove for hours yesterday around Calvert County in Southern Maryland. Actually, I was dropping off catalogs for our business at different parishes. Calvery county is a fast growing county in Southern Maryland. Calvert county is on the western shore of the Chesapeake, it is a beautiful place. I'm thinking of setting up a website so that people can donate to our attempt to buy a house out there.

The Catholic parishes out there seem to be relatively new. We saw two newly built and probably newly created parishes that were mouth watering. They were perfectly built, it seems, so that they wouldn't upset conservatives or liberals. The sanctuary has a communal feel and yet the buildings do actually look like churches.

The one miracle was that the baby slept for almost three hours while we were driving.

Ebay wish list: 1 cable for my digital camera so that I can take pictures of all these great places

power cable for my business computer monitor.

I love ebay when I'm selling stuff, but I hate searching for items.

I got pulled over this morning, kind'a. For dwb (driving while black) . . . just kidding. I hadn't changed my registration sticker and a cop followed me to the drive through of a McDonald's. He came out of the car and, first thing was that I noticed that he was black so I breathed a little easier. (I don't necessarily hold stereotypes about white police officers, it depends on what part of the country, I'm in. I happen to know many fine and very good white cops.) Well, he told me my registration had expired, thankfully I had the sticker in my car and informed him that I kept meaning to put it on but never got around to it. He advised me to do so immediately so that I don't get puilled over.

I haven't been pulled over in a long time. The last time I was pulled over, to the best of my recollection, was when I lived in Buffalo. We lived in Amherst, a fast growing suburb of Buffalo, which was been voted the safest city in America a few times. When my family first moved out there, there were only a few black families out there. My brothers and i got pulled over and followed by cops not infrequently. I tell you, I would get into a panic attack whenever I saw a cop car because i knew I was going to get followed.

The neighborhood was nice as were the people. Every now and then, people would do ignorant stuff like, young men in a car driving by would make the slash sign with a pocket knife, or little girls riding bikes would giggle as they rode past and say silly things like, "there's another one of them." My brother who was at the highschool, who had some academic problems at the time was considered as dumb, but an excellent athlete, he ran track at the state level and played basketball pretty well. My dad, of course, was furious at them, because their view point was that black kids were good for athletics but don't expect much from them academically. He made the point that both he and my mom have Ph.Ds from Stanford and UNC Chapel Hill, my brother is a trauma surgeon with certifications up the wazoo, and another brother is a computer engineer. I don't think that meant anything to them.

The community in Amherst has now changed and is a lot more diverse and so things are getting better there. I loved the Catholic parish that I was a part of, it was just that I was frequently the only black person at mass and almost always, people thought I was new, or never heard of the Catholic faith, or they would hand me missals to show me where we were during the mass. They were very well-intentioned and some openly expressed that they wanted and perhaps needed more diversity, but it is hard to deal with that week after week after week.

Moving to the DC area was a God send, it was great to see black faces everywhere and at Catholic churches. Being black in a Catholic Church did not mean that yours was a foreign culture to Catholicism. Anyway . . . I changed my registration sticker this morning.

Via :-First black American woman candidate elected to Athens city council

Hours after becoming one of the first non-Greeks to win public office, U.S.-born Yvette Jarvis said she'll work to help immigrants during her term on the Athens City Council.

Jarvis is the first black American elected to office in a country that has historically been ethnically and racially homogenous, and is struggling to assimilate thousands of foreign newcomers.

"No one looks at me like I am a foreigner. I am in the privileged position of them accepting me as one of them," she said. "I am a Greek."

Jarvis became one of the first immigrants to hold public office, finishing fifth on the socialist party ballot with 5,140 votes. By comparison, the ticket's top vote-getter for a seat on the Athens city council received 12,630 votes, according to official results announced late Friday.

Three other non-Greeks -- a Pole and two Palestinians -- who sought seats on the council were not elected.

Local government elections were held throughout Greece Oct. 13, but Athens' was forced into a run off a week later after neither of the top two candidates received the 50 percent required to win.

It took almost two weeks for officials to count the thousands of ballots for Athens city council.

A former professional basketball player for Panathinaikos Athens, Jarvis, 44, gained fame in Greece for her athletic ability as well as for being a model and actress.

Jarvis gained citizenship after marrying a Greek. She emigrated to Greece in 1982 from Boston.

Moose for President?

BALTIMORE (AP) - The man who led the sniper investigation has been showered by a grateful public with gifts and flowers, and even has a fan Web site that declares him "a total superhero."

One highway banner urged Montgomery Police Chief Charles Moose, the frontman for the tense three-week probe, to run for president.

"THANKS MD POLICE!" reads the hand-lettered sheet hung from an overpass on Interstate 70 near Frederick, Md. "MOOSE 4 PREZ!"

Several other banners hang above highways in Maryland, where John Allen Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, were captured early Thursday.

Blacks startled by sniper's identity

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (AP) - For several weeks, John Morgan kept looking for a white Chevy Astro minivan or a white box truck being driven by a white male who was responsible for a string of sniper-style killings in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

So when police announced they had arrested two black men - John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo - driving a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice, Morgan, who is black himself, was flabbergasted.

"With everything I had heard on television and what people were saying, everyone assumed they were going to be white men," Morgan, a telecommunications engineer said Sunday before services at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in this Washington suburb.

As the Washington area celebrated the end of the killings, some blacks questioned their own strongly held stereotypes about blacks and the types of crimes they may or may not commit.

Many criminologists, psychologists and sociologists who profile serial killers and other criminals had suggested for weeks that the sniper was likely a white male, probably in his 30s or 40s, who was a loner with a background in the military or weapons training.

Beverly Foster, a 49-year-old black dentist from Arlington, Va., believed them, saying she didn't think blacks "killed like that."

"It just seemed too senseless, too random. It just didn't fit us," she said as she left the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. "I'm not saying that we can't, but with all of the past things that have happened, it just didn't seem like the type of thing we would do."

I keep saying this is th eyear of the Buffalo Bills, there's still a few seats left on the band wagon!!!

2002 Season Super Bowl Champions: The Buffalo Bills!!

You heard it here first.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Barbers seek Jackson 'Barbershop' apology - Oct. 25, 2002

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- In a classic tale of what goes around comes around, a group of barbers in Los Angeles has asked the Reverend Jesse Jackson to apologize for demanding an apology from the makers of hit movie "Barbershop."

Members of the National Association of Cosmetologists led by Chief Executive James Stern Thursday said Jackson erred when, in September, he demanded the film's makers apologize for for jokes about U.S. civil rights icons Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks made in the movie.

Stern told Reuters his group had screened the film, a comedy starring Ice Cube as the young owner of a community barbershop, and the 100 or so African-American cosmetologists at the screening found nothing offensive about the movie.

Stern added that members of his group have seen their businesses hurt by Jackson's comment, and he said if the leader of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition did not apologize himself, his group would sue Jackson for defamation of character.

A Jackson spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.

Unfortunate news, Senator Wellstone is dead. We commend his soul to God.

It is bizzare that this should happen for the second year in a row. I'm not sure, but this could mean that the GOP has a real chance of getting the senate, it is pretty much agreed that they have the house. I think I'll cry for days if the GOP scores on all fronts. (It is a shame that all we can think of regarding Mr Wellstone's death are the political implications.)

This November I am voting on one thing alone, health care and prescription drug coverage. Republicans will not deliver, so it is Democrats all the way. However, it does not seem much will be done in this area over the next two years. If the GOP wins both houses, we might as well kiss health care and prescription drugs goodbye. If the Senate remains democrat, then they could pass something but reconciliation would be impossible. The senate is not the problem because, the Senators from Maine can be counted on to deliver for prescription drug coverage and health care, it is the house of reps that's the problem because the bills that come out of there on health care and prescription drugs are a sham.

It is horrendous, but over 40 million people have no access to health insurance. That is unconscionable. And then the problem with senoirs and drug costs is unbelievable. And then there's the problem of health insurance costs that's squeezing small businesses and from what I understand, maine is getting crushed because about 60% of its businesses are small businesses. This is why we can count on the Senators from Maine.

It turns out that the shooter, John Allen Mohammed, once lived in Clinton maryland. His first ex-wife and child still live there. Clinton is a small town 30 minutes SE from DC. My wife used to work in Clinton and we live in Waldorf, which is 20 minutes SE from Clinton.

For the most part, in Southern MD, we felt a little safer because there was talk that this person was in his comfort zone more north and west in Montgomery County and in NorthernVirginia and on the I-95 heading South. Well, it turns out that he did live in Clinton at one time and was probably just as comfortable with the area. And so we were not as safe as we may have thought. Not that we felt spring chickeny down there, but there was sense of distance. Anyway, that's all water under the bridge . . . polluted water, I might add.

Buffalo Bills news

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is scheduled to attend Sunday's game, during which the Bills will host their annual Canada Day celebration.

Several thousand fans from up north are expected to attend the game and festivities, which will include the Canadian national anthem, bands and a Canadian-themed tailgate party behind the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will serve as the color guard for the Canadian anthem.

Over the past several seasons, the three teams that border Canada - the Bills, Lions and Seattle Seahawks - designate one home game per season to recognize their fans who cross the border every Sunday to attend games or watch them on television.

"Our Canadian fan base is very important to us," said Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe. "This past summer a few of our players were in Mississauga for a Practice with the Pros' clinic, which generated a great response. Hosting a Canada Day event is another way for us to say "We appreciate your support."

FYI-the Buffalo-sthrn Ontario area kind's forms one huge market. There was even talk once of Toronto trying to steal the Bills. Toronto gets Buffalo's news stations and Buffalo gets Toronto's news. A friend from Toronto would tease me that in Buffalo we always had house fires. Well, in Toronto, they always have car accidents and this is the stuff of the five o'clock news.

I was thinking today of the merits of Canada being the 51st state. That would be an interesting arrangement, too many things to work out. If would weaken Federalism in the U.S. but it would definitely tip the scales in favor of the Democrats in the House and Senate.

Anyway, I like Canada, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Surgeons deliver 46-year-Old Fetus

RABAT (Reuters) - Moroccan surgeons have relieved a 75-year-old woman of what she thought was a long-standing tumor but turned out to be the remains of a 46-year-old fetus, Moroccan newspapers said Thursday.

The woman had complained of abdominal pains, so she underwent surgery in July by a team led by Professor Taibi Ouazzani in Rabat's Avicennes hospital, the newspapers Al Ahdath al-Maghribia and L'Opinion said.

How the team determined how long the woman had carried the fetus was not disclosed, and officials at Avicennes were not immediately available for comment.

Ouazzani's team plans to show a video about the surgery at a news conference Friday.

Here's my theory about the song, first the lyrics:

I Shot The Sheriff

Bob Marley

I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot no deputy
Oh, no, oh
I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot no deputy
Ooh, ooh, ooh Yeah

All around in my hometown
They're tryin' to track me down, yeah
They say they want to bring me in guilty
For the killing of a deputy, for the life of a deputy
But I say, oh, now, now...

Oh, I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self defense
Ooh, ooh, ooh
I said, I shot the sheriff, Oh Lord
And they say it is a capital offense
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Hear this

Sheriff John Brown always hated me
For what I don't know
Ev'ry time I plant a seed
He said, "Kill it before it grows."
He said, "Kill them before they grow."

And so, oh, now, now,
Read it in the news

I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self defense
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Where was the deputy?
I said I shot the sheriff but I swear it was in self defense

Freedom came my way one day
And I started out of town, yeah!
All of a sudden I saw Sheriff John Brown
Aiming to shoot me down
So I shot, I shot, I shot him down
And I say, if I am guilty I will pay

I shot the sheriff, but I say, but I didn't shoot no deputy
Ooh, no, oh
I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot no deputy
Ooo, ooo, ooh

Reflexes had the better of me
And what is to be must be
Ev'ry day the bucket a-go-a well
One day the bottom a-go drop out
One day the bottom a-go drop out
I say, I, I, ...

I, I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy, no
I, I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy, no

Okay, here's what happened.

We are in time of slavery or legalized segregation. The house is a small two room house and the living room is cramped. About 20 men sit around nervously in intense discussion. The host's children cuddle nervously in the corner and his wife and other women feign discussion and house work as they listen in. The windows are shut as is the door and a couple of men sit upfront as though non-chalantly, though they really are sentinels.

The sheriff and his deputy have been reported killed and witnesses say it was a black man, possibly Bob. The black community knows that there will be hell to pay and they need to know what to do, or at least, what really happened. Finally, Bob admits, that he killed the Sheriff but not the deputy. The distinction is hopeless, killing either one is murder nonetheless. However, Bob insists that there is a story behind the killing. The men shift in place nervoulsy, knowing that if they are caught in the presence of the murderer, they could be charged with conspiracy. And this is a capital offense.

Bob chides the injustice of the system that presumes him guilty even before a hearing or trial. It is then he tells all present that the killing was in self defense. Self defense? How? They ask incredulously. He tells them how Sheriff John Brown always hated him, for no particular reason. He suspects it is because he was an educated black man and thus a threat. He further tells them how whenever he tried to teach other black men and women and especially children how to read, the sheriff always interrupted his efforts and took steps to destroy the seeds that he had planted.

But how does that help your case? they ask. He responds, ask yourselves the questions, where was the deputy when the Sheriff was shot? The deputy was generally considered a good man, a just man, respected by both black and white alike. He treated the black population with respect and they all liked him and were devastated by his death. He had often prevented lynchings and other injustices. What do you mean, where was the deputy? They ask. He was with the Sheriff when they both got killed, right? Bob responds. He continues.

Here's what happened. The other day I was heading out of town. I had my belongs in a sack and my rifle to hunt for food. It was a beautiful day and I was singing and whistling, thinking of my few days of relaxation. I had just crossed the road on the county line and was headed into the path through the woods. All of a sudden I noticed to my left at a distance, Sheriff John Brown aiming to shoot me down. Standing next to him was the deputy. As he was about to squeeze the trigger, I noticed that the deputy yelled at him, what are you doing? The sheriff was undeterred about killing me. It was then that the deputy grabbed the sheriff to stop him and the sheriff shot him and killed him. I then knew that I was next and my only recourse was to shoot him and so I shot him down.

Bob continued . . . I was scared, my reflexes got the better of me and I accept whatever punishment I deserve for killing the sheriff, but I swear I did not kill the deputy. As he was speaking, the door burst open and all the men in the center of the room cleared leaving Bob exposed. it was the authorities. Bob looked around and he understood what had happened. His brothers had called the police. He understood, if he wasn't apprehended then the entire community was at risk. As they dragged him out, he yelled out continuously, I shot the sheriff but not the deputy . . .

Via Eve Tushnet's page:Black People Love Us!

It is funny.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Thoughts on being Catholic and acceptance of abortion from Sursum Corda

Unrelated but related thoughts: Just as many who commit abortions depersonalize the fetus so also do many Catholics depersonalize women who are forced to consider abortions. I tend to think that we can approach the issue differently without compromise to principle, if we saw that there are human stories to these situations. I personally think that pro-life is just another cause for many Catholics and not deeply personal enough. Seeing the personal dimension does not mitigate the severity of the situation, but at least you see that there are human beings involved and slogans aren't helpful.

I once worked with a lady who was pregnant and the boyfriend did not want the baby. After months of holding out, it became clear that he would leave her if she had the baby. Well, one day she came in and her stomach was not as blown up as it had been. It was an horrendous thought and everyone knew what she had done. I know that she and other women have to aching inside but she never showed it. Part of me wanted to rant at her because I felt that she did not show any contrition or even, awareness that she had done something terrible. On the other hand, I knew that there had to be things going on in her head.

If I knew what was going in her mind, i think I could have handled it much better. Hence, my support of powerful Catholic fiction or even blogs. For a man, it would be invaluabel to get into the mind of a woman who is considering an abortion or has had one and maybe put human feelings and considerations to what's going on. It is so easy to treat these things as simply an issue and forget that we are dealing with human beings. That's one reason I thought Kat Lively's book was a real contribution because it cast the whole abortion issue in a human way. We need more of that so that we can approach it with the sort of compassion that Christ would and less with the fire and brimstone saber rattling.

Smart move folks!

Investigators also made a plea for any witnesses in past attacks to come forward. Charles Moose, police chief of Montgomery County and the sniper task force coordinator, said some illegal immigrants might have been witnesses to Tuesday’s shooting, and he tried to assure them that deportation wasn’t the task force’s intent.

Oh really? Well the other two hispanic men who were in a white van and were arrested at a Virgina gas station, were summarily handed over to the INS for deportation proceedings when it was determined that they were not the shooters.What makes them think that any illegal residents will come forward. That's a joke.

Best hymn ever: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Interesting reflection on Mathematics and God at Flos Carmeli

I commented but realized that my comment was getting quite long and I thought i would post it here and perhaps add to it later. Here is Steven Riddle's post

Mathematics offers a lot of wonderful and weird corners to kick around in thinking about God. I'll share one of my favorites.

It has been shown that in iterative systems of non-linear equations certain sets of things can happen. Systems can immediately stabilize, or have an "orbit" of 1. That is if f(x)=x^3 and you start with a value of 1 and use the solution for the next iteration of the function, you will discover that the solution is always 1.

Another thing that can happen is that the value can waver between 2 numbers and you can have an orbit of period 2 in which the two are always feeding back and forth, or you can achieve a "hopf bifurcation" in which as the value approaches the bifurcating point it eventually "lands" on one of two options and then follows a trajectory from that point, no longer wavering between two values. Up to the value of bifurcation, there is a tendency of the value to "wobble" back and forth. Many other things can happen as well. There are stable orbits of periods 2, 4, and higher numbers, where the values in the system will always be one of two or four numbers.

But the number three is particularly important. If a system achieves an orbit of period 3, it is considered the gateway to chaos. Technically chaos looks a lot like randomness, but it is nothing of the sort. Chaos might be better termed weak determinism. That is, if you knew every factor affecting the system, and factored them all in, you would be able to predict what would happen for the next two or three cycles of the system, but then your predictions would become less and less accurate. This is one reason why long-term weather forecasting is unfeasible. We don't know all of the factors affecting the system AND even if we did, our ability to model weather mathematically has a finite limit defined by how many decimal places we use to calculate the next cycle, and it is in a place beyond the last decimal used that there is enough variation to create wildly different scenarios.

I once modeled the logistical difference equation using double precision (so about 16 decimal places) and starting the model with an initial difference of point 15 zeros 1. What this means is that I ran a "mathematical experiment" twice. You plug a value into the equation, then you take the results and put them back into the equation. You do this for as many rounds as you like. I did this for one hundred rounds on the first trial. I started the second trial with a value infinitesimally different. After only 5 repetitions, small differences had emerged. At ten repetitions the graphs of the two experiments looked like I have started with diametrically opposed numbers. From that point on, there was no similarity in the graphs.

Now, what I find most interesting in this is the number of different systems that can be modeled using non-linear dynamics. In fact, it seems, almost anything can be modeled in this way. Computer "random-number generators" are in fact, weakly deterministic in this way.

For the theologically minded this whole complicated mess appears to suggest that behind the apparent chaos at the surface of things, in fact, most systems are "weakly deterministic" that is weakly predictable, given all possible information, and ultimately guided very strictly along their paths, although these paths are never seen.

Okay, so I've guided you through the morass to this conclusion--it appears that many systems are both governed and guided by some overarching considerations and if one could know all possible parameters affecting the system at all times, one could predict what would happen in the system.

To me, that speaks profoundly of the action of God. He is, after all, omniscient and omnipotent. So He indeed can know every factor that affects a system, and He can know the outcomes that are hidden from all of us. Now, admittedly, we are talking merely metaphorical references here. But the study of Chaotic Dynamics was only one of the things that profoundly convinced me of the presence of God's guiding hand in all that is.

This is NOT a proof of the existence of God. Or, if it is, it is flawed in the way many such proofs are by presupposing elements that would tend toward that existence anyway. In other words, if one starts by believing, this simply is an element of reinforcing belief, but if one is an unbeliever, this argument by analogy and metaphor is not a convincing proof, or even a very good support for one's contention.

But I am stunned by these "hidden jewels" that open up worlds of thought, speculation, and appreciation for the Divine Grace that penetrates and permeates all that is. In thinking through these complex questions, one catches a glimpse of Divine Action as one allows the Divine to enter into one's way of perceiving the world. As I said, in the course of my studies, this was only one among many of the marvelous "proofs" or evidences of God's action in the world. I hope in the future to share others.

My comment

Interesting reflection that would cause many to drool up a response. There are a few things that came to mind as I read this,but I'll note just a couple.

First, the key thing in analogy between us and God is to recognized the God (creator)/World (all created) distinction, i.e., that God is a different kind of being and is the cause of this world.

"Cause" is used technically in the sense that there are different kinds of causes and God is the final cause of this world, i.e., the end, the goal, reason for being, etc. Thus, God's knowledge of the world cannot be referenced analogically. We, as humans, know the world in a certain way especially in terms of causality: cause then effect and in terms of temporal sequence. On the other hand, God being a differnt kind of being who exercises his knowing in his own way, does not need to predict the future because he knows it and that's because he is the cause of time itself.

In terms of a super-creature then, not God, but a super creature who could take in all the data and try to predict outcomes, it still is not clear or certain that the prediction could rise above certainty. It would always remain probable and that's because many, like my self, believe that probabilty and ambiguity are a real part of the created being's situation. If there's essential ambuiguity or probability in the human state of affairs then it means that in these cases there isn't pre-determination, because it is a probable future that could be changed.

Of course, the kicker, is the issue of human will,which is a whole different animal that I believe actually militates against deterministic systems.'s personality test:

(Submissive Introvert Abstract Thinker )

Like just 8% of the population you are a MASTERMIND (SIAT). You can be silent and withdrawn, but behind your reserved exterior lies an active mind that allows you to analyze situations and come up with creative, unexpected solutions. Normal people call this "scheming." Don't learn German.

Anyway, your sense of style and originality are your strengths, and people will respect your judgment once they get to know you. If you learn to be a little more personable, you could be a great leader--you've definitely got the "vision" thing down. Just make sure all the plotting you do behind those eyes of yours is healthy.

Famous masterminds in television: Dr. Claw, The Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Montgomery Burns.

I am presently wrestling with a decision I have to make. I have two plants in my office which I acquired earlier this year. Actually we had used them for a meeting and I was stuck with them. Anyway, I enjoyed taking care of them at first, but now, I can't stand them and I am slowly letting them die. But I feel so terribly guilty because they are beautiful plants and are not deserving of the death. But I don't want to care for them amymore.

Update I've decided to water them and let them live. I will embark on pruning activities later today.

Buffalo Bills Voodoo

Playing the Bills has become hazardous to teams' won-lost record. With Houston's loss to Cleveland on Sunday, the Bills' opponents are now 0-6 after playing Buffalo. Dating to last season, the Bills' opponents are 3-15 in the next game.

Why It's Not the Right Time for a Dogma on Mary as Co-redemptrix from Zenith

Forget Co-redemptrix, that's little potatoes, I can tell you why she belongs in the Trinity.

Pope calls sacraments, prayer antidotes to family, marital problems

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II said the best antidotes to family and marital problems are an intense prayer life and regular recourse to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and confession. In an Oct. 18 speech, the pope also encouraged parents to maintain open lines of communication with their children, citing the dangers of leaving young people unguided in a "society saturated with eroticism." He made his remarks to participants in an Oct. 17-19 plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The theme of the gathering was "Pastoral Care for Families and Couples in Difficulty."

Not that Eucharist and Penance can't have a positive effect on marriage, but truth is, and we all know this, marriage works simply because the couple works hard at it. Sacraments are not a magic potion or panacea.

From the Buffalo News

The Bills are the only team in the NFL to score at least 23 points in every game this season.

Monday, October 21, 2002

I found a news article on the Israeli vs Lebanon water issue. War is likely, though, probably not imminent. I hope cooler heads prevail here.

On Friday I was asked by a few people what made me return to the Catholic faith. As a pentecostal I was virulently anti-Catholic and of course dead set against Mary worship. Also, as a Pentecostal, I was a strict Sola Scriptura type. The difference, though, in my case, was that Sola Scriptura also meant the Old Testament, to me that was as much the word of God as the New Testament was.

I had felt that worship of Mary was idolatory and took away glory from Christ. However, it struck me that in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms, there were other things that were clearly not God that received the highest praise. Most especially Zion and the throne of God. It meant that something could be praised and receive praise and it wouldn't be trespassing "God's territory."

One of the verses that did for me was Psalm 50.2 in KJV, which says, "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." Zion is called the "perfection of beauty" a phrase that one would have hoped would have been used exclusively for God,but no, Zion was the perfection of beauty and Zion is not God. Further still, the verse says, "God hath shined." Zion being the perfection of beauty does not overshadow God, rather it provides the perfect outlet for God to display his own glory. This opened the space for the possibility of such a person as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Further, Paul in Galations 4:17 (I think) says that Zion is the mother of us all. So I knew that we had a mother, Zion and that she was the perfection of beauty out of whom God has shined.

Now, of course, I have swung to the other extreme, so to speak. I believe in Mary worship and I never make the distinction between worship and adoration that is commonly made. I honestly do not see how Mary can obscure Christ. This is why I don't bristle at charges of Mariolatory or worship of Mary. I do believe that we should and do worship her.

There is much to say about worship and what precisely it means. But my guiding rule is that worship is dictated by the being so there is never a concern about going overboard with worship.

PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.42

1. Have you ever felt like you were expected to set a good example for others?


2. What keeps you on the right path? For example, why do you think you turned out the way you did as opposed to the nut ball sniper out there?

I was raised as a strict Christian with the fear of Hell instilled in me. It still works quite well.

3. Sometimes things seem different than they really are. When was the last time you believed something to be one way only to learn you had it all wrong?

Happens quite frequently, but I am a Cynic in general so finding out the truth of things does not phaze me.

4. Can you recall a time when being alert and observant kept you safe?

NO (bad memory, sorry)

5. Who in your personal circle of relationships do you think is smarter than you? Are they smarter in just one area, or overall? How do you feel about that? How do they interact with you?

My brother is much smarter and many of my friends and my wife, but most people I interact with, even the extremely intelligent, tend to interact respectfully with me and I do the same.

6. Let's daydream a little: Describe in detail the most perfect lazy day, start to finish.

Wake up late, breakfast already prepared. I lounge in front of the TV. Lunch is fixed. I take a walk, lounge in front of TV, read a magazine, book, or newspaper, eat take out. Sleep really late.

7. Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, what as? If not, how come? What is the most favorite costume you ever had?

No, I don't do Halloween.

BONUS: Come on baby tell me what’s the word?
Go to sleep.

Today's Comment Question: What gives you the creeps?

A lot of things. I do like being creeped out for some uncanny reason.

The Art of Laura James Online

I once blogged on her work. I don't think the website design is all that great and it definitely does not show her best work. But check it out.

Some of her art not on the website yet. This is all copyrighted stuff--FYI

Sunday, October 20, 2002

China complicates the N. Korea situation, but it seems that China, Japan and S. Korea are all very alarmed at N. Korea's revelation of its nuclear program. This is good and we can expect them to put max pressure. This is in contrast with Iraq, where the neighbors are not interested in putting max diplomatic pressure and do not publically display any alarm.

I'm still trying to get news about the Israel vs Lebanon snafu regarding the water station that Lebanon is building and that Sharon as called "grounds for war."

Kevin Spacey's middle name is Spacey??

Today was a good day. The Bills beat Miami in Miami. Bills are now 4-3 and are streaking upward. I truly believe that they are going to win the super bowl this year. They have the most explosive offense in the league and a fastly improving opportunistic defense.

Alias was good tonite, nothing spectacular, but pretty good. The Practice was interesting and raised some questions about freedom of religion, the state vs the parent. I have all kinds of thoughts and if I were Eve Tushnet, I'd do a "vast post" (gulp) but I hate doing vast posts (gulp, gulp).

The issue was that a Christian Science couple's child dies of an illness. They did not seek medical treatment because they believed that prayer could heal. The prosecutor seemed to be suggesting that they were guilty because they did not care for the kid as the state sees it fit. I understand the thrust of the argument to be more like, the state lays down the terms of parenting and parents who fall sort of that are criminal. But, I think I say nay to that. Parenting is part of "natural law" and the state should rather serve as a steward to parents and not regulate parenting. However, the state, for the common good and the good of an individual child, may insert itself and interrupt the parent child relationship if the parenting falls below a reasonable standard. However, the standard is not imposed by the state, on the other hand, the standard of reasonable parent care emerges from visible and reasonable consensus in society.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

The shooter has struck again. I sure hope they catch this guy and lock him up for life in miserable conditions. I'm not worried for myself, but my wife has to go shopping, etc and she's with our baby, that gets me hairy.

Notre Dame is winning at the present time, which is good.

Weekend veg movie report.
We first saw Robocop, which thoroughly enjoyed, my wife didn't and the fugitive, which is a solid movie, solid acting all around.

I bought a box of Krispy Kreme donuts (doughnuts) to help out a local high school's dance something. A box cost me $4.00!!! Is it just me or didn't these things use to be a couple of bucks?

I finally got my 100 things up, why people do these things is beyond me. Weird . . . and yes, I am one of them.

I realized I missed my weekly rant about how bad ER has become. Well, this week's was actually not too bad. Hopefully, it is a sign of better things to come. In the meantime, Sidney Bristow of Alias has been trapped under a solid sheet of ice all week. I hope she's not dead yet. She can't be because the show is about her and it is only the beginning of the season. Phew, I was kind'a worried there.

I have Dell UltraScan monitor, it is real old, but the power cord is missing. I'm thinking of buying one on ebay or perhaps just ditching it and buying a new monitor, or rather, another monitor. If you have any advice for me, this would be a really good time.

I can't figure out why I can't sell anything but Fontanini on ebay. Here's what Fontanini figures look like.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Thank God for ebay.

I found this NetRing: 100 Things and I read a few of the 100 things webpages. Wow!

People are . . . what's the word . . . unusual. I wonder if the internet attracts certain kinds of people. I think so, I think introverts prone to depression. I am an introvert, I've never been depressed, but I am moody, so I guess I fit the mold. Actually, I'd say the internet attracts introverted people prone to depression who are opinionated. There, I have stereotyped the internet world.

i just completed my 100 things, I'll probably post it tonite.

The Shocking Truth About Opus Dei Exposed!!

I am working on a 100 things about me thing. It is hard. I've been thinking about it for days and I can't think of a hundred things. I am simple, I am simplicity itself, I am God . . . Oh my God, did I say that out loud!

I am conflicted on the use of the divine name, YHWH. I know a priest who is furious that we use the divine name, given that Israel was instructed not to utter it in vain and as a result they didn't utter it at all as a matter of course. They revered the name so much that in the first century Jewish scripture translators would wash every time they wrote the name.

Now, I know that this is not a big deal to many, but it is to me because I am very much an Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) person. I utter the divine name bcause it cannot be avoided, but I never feel good doing it.

BTW, what I mean by "I am Old Testament person" is that I believe that the Hebrew Scriptures are not primarily symbolic and for our use, that is secondary. Rather, I think that it is an honest account of true experiences of God. And so if God did or did not like things in the Old Testament, He really does or doesn't. So if there was or should have been trepidation in uttering the divine name, then, we ought to pay heed to that, somehow.

When is Vatican III going to occur? I used to think in the next 20-30 years. I no longer think so. I think it won't be for another 80-100 years.

I don't think there's been a vaguer set of documents than those of Vatican II considered collectively, and that is actually a good thing. Vatican II's style is more in resonance with the human spirit, but does not do much for controlling types, i.e., the powers that be. If there is going to be a Vatican III. I'd suspect that they would want two things to happen; first, that Vatican II be blurred by time and secondly, create a theological distance from Vatican II by the promulgation of many encyclicals in the interim.

Liberals love Vatican II as is, but conservatives, I think tend to bristle at parts of it. The popes since Vatican II have tried to theologically rein in the free spirit of Vatican II and few more encyclicals should do the trick. Not to question their motives, but I do think the Council hit on something special that in the context of the Church's administration would be very difficult to maintain.

One example that jumps out is Dei Verbum VI (the last chapter). It was the desire of the Council that the Word of God would be venerated as much as the Eucharist . They wanted to elevate the Word of God to that level so that Catholics would have as much of a devotion to the Word as they have to the Eucharist. Well, that fell flat on its face. One thing to note is that there is not much gained in terms of control if the Word receives as much attention as the Eucharist, on the other hand, the interests of the powers that be are maintained and protected if devotion to the Eucharist is unrivaled.

What's my point, as one who loves phenomenology, I like to examine the hidden assumptions of what appears plain, assumptions and presuppositions that people exercise unconsciously. There is much risk in exposing Catholics to the Word, (i.e., reformation) such exposure must be done in a very controlled environment, on the other hand, there is little to no risk in exposing Catholics to Eucharist. Now, some may contend that Sacrosanctum Concilium, states that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Herein lies the tensions and ambiguities of Vatican II. It is no secret that the conservatives got their way with Sacrosanctum Concilium but the progressives scored a major coup with Lumen Gentium, and further with Dei Verbum and Gaudium et Spes is just off the charts.

I think Vatican II did something that cannot be undone, it set the Church on a path it is not yet ready to take, nor do the powers that be necessarily want to go there. As a result the pendulum will swing the other way, because that is what pendulums do. But Vatican II has shortened the arc and will force the issue and force new considerations a century down the line.

What new considerations? If you are still alive then, then you deserve to know and you will know then. I'd be betraying God's trust if I told you.

I've been much reflecting on the issue of the Pope's relationship to the Bishops. I think we are still at the Vatican I monarch stage of things and that Vatican II's notions of collegiality are much lacking.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

From Hegel's "Lectures" in Werke:

"Africa is in general a closed land, and this maintains its fundamental character. . . The realm of the Absolute Spirit is so impoverished among them [the Africans] and the natural Spirit so intense that any representation which they are inculcated with suffices to impel them to respect nothing, to destroy everything . . . . Africa does not have history as such. Consequently, we abandon Africa, to never mention it again. It is not part of the historical world; it does not evidence historical movement or development."

From a grad student at Catholic University of America

Suggestions for the revision of the [CUA] Theology MA comprehensive exam at the Catholic
University of America, to make it slightly more relevant and challenging than is currently the case:

1. Summarize Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologia in three succinct sentences. You may use your Bible.

2. St. Martin of Tours, Pope Clement VII and Karl Barth were not contemporaries. Had they known each other, how might the history of the Reformation have turned out differently?

3. Define a moral system that satisfies Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates, and the entire population of Ancient Rome, ca. 3 BCE.

4. Memorize the Bible. Recite it in tongues.

5. Do moral theologians have a sense of humor? Illustrate.

6. What would it mean to be eternal, co-eternal, and non-existent all at once?

7. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo decide to rob a bank. The note to the teller is 1,200 pages long, not counting footnotes, complete with a promise of damnation if the teller does not accept immediate Baptism. In the middle of the heist, they engage in an extended debate as to whether or not the money really exists. Are they committing a mortal or a venial sin?

8. Speculate on what the current status of salvation history might have been if Abraham had just stayed in Ur.

9. How many different ways can you spell Schillibeeckx?

10. Why is Simon Stylites important in the history of Eccentric Spirituality?

11. Has the Church always taught anything? Be specific.

12. Compare the discernment process of Ignatius with that of Sherlock Holmes.

13. Does Karl Rahner believe in verbs?

14. Chart the progress of a mystic climbing Dante's Mount of Purgation from the inside.

15. If the headquarters of the Church are in Rome, where are its hind quarters. Illustrate.

16. Which of the following do not belong in a given group:

a. Rahner, Kung, Howdy Doody, Dulles, Schillebeeckx?
b. Ecclesiology, Christology, Mariology, Phrenololgy, Eschatology?
c. Esther, Madonna, Ruth, Judith, Sarah?
d. bishop, cardinal, priest, deacon, cowboy?
e. John XXIII, Malcolm X, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II?

17. In light of Protestant theology of the 60's, discuss post-modernist architecture of contemporary Church design. If God is indeed dead, have they buried him standing?

My wife hates it when I think about these sort of "Eucharist jokes" but what can I say. I should note that my humor is absurd and unfunny, but I amuse myself greatly. For the following joke to work, you have to picture this in your head and assume that it was really happening to you.

Anyway, I was thinking . . . what if a priest after a very busy day had to say mass in the evening and besides having a busy day, he hadn't eaten all day and all he could think about was food. Well, during mass, as he is praying over the gifts, when he says "Bless this gifts . . ." that triggers the meal prayer, "bless us O Lord and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord." After which he proceeds to gobble up the hosts and the cup . . .

Via ibidem

Dell Dude Staying Put

Despite the rumors, Dell Computer pitchman "Steven" -- "Dude, yer gettin' a Dell!" -- is going to be around for more Dell commercials..."Dell loves him and he loves Dell," Bonnie Schumofsky, agent for 21-year-old actor Benjamin Curtis, said Wednesday. "The rumors that he was given a pink slip are untrue."

My wife and I were pretty worried when we heard about the rumors and I almost swore that I'd never touch a Dell again.

Scientists disagree over roller coasters' harm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Researchers who looked at the impact of G-force on the head and neck say in a new study that roller coasters aren't as dangerous as previous studies suggest.

Other researchers disputed the findings in Wednesday's Journal of Neurotrauma and said more work needs to be done.

The University of Pennsylvania researchers who conducted the latest study looked at data from rides at three parks and developed a mathematical model calculating the effect of gravitational force.

They found that roller coasters don't produce enough "head rotational acceleration" to cause either bleeding or swelling of the brain.

"Looking at the absolute maximum head acceleration, we found that those numbers were nowhere near known thresholds for brain injuries," said Dr. Douglas H. Smith, a neuroscientist and co-author of the study.

Politicians and consumer advocates have long questioned the safety of roller coasters, citing more than a dozen reports of brain injuries since 1979, most of them since 1990. One elderly patient died.

On Oct. 1, New Jersey became the first state to limit the G-forces of amusement-park rides. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has proposed legislation that would subject roller coasters to federal oversight.

Smith and colleague David F. Meaney examined data from three rides with high G-forces: the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Fla.; Speed - The Ride at the NASCAR Cafe in Las Vegas; and Face/Off at Paramount's Kings Island near Cincinnati.

They found the coasters produced accelerations to the head that were one-ninth the force required to cause torn blood vessels in the brain and one-eighteenth the force required to cause brain swelling.

G-forces are what coaster riders feel during sudden up-and-down movements and when they are whipped around corners.

While a coaster such as Face/Off can produce a G-force of 5, simply "plopping" into an easy chair can produce a G-force of 8 to 10, the study said.

Dr. Robert J. Braksiek, an Iowa physician who co-wrote a study of roller coaster injuries in the January issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine, said the new research fails to account for injuries reported in the medical literature.

"Roller coasters do cause brain injury and that fact can't be debated. Although rare, it does happen," he said.

Markey said the researchers based their conclusions on the effect of coasters on "normal healthy individuals" rather than children or adults with pre-existing medical conditions.

Dr. Toshio Fukutake, co-author of a study contending that roller coasters were responsible for four cases of otherwise healthy patients developing bleeding on the brain, said there are much faster coasters than the ones in the Penn study.

"We need more research using a real human model on the bigger and faster machines," he said via e-mail.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

This is great. I've been fooling around with a story idea for a while now. I really like the idea but it meant that I would have to delve into another culture and understand how they think. I found a few blogs, which I think are indispensible. But I just hit the motherlode. I found a website that would take me where i want to go. . . what? Excuse me? . . .you want to know what it is? No.

I've decided to cheat on the November writing thing. I have a story, the one mentined above, that I just started recently and I have another that I need to extend and a finished one that I need to make additions to. I think that all the work that needs to be done adds up to 70,000 words, so I'm not violating the spirit of the agreement.

I'm picking up here and there that the rosary's new mysteries celebrate or give it a deeper Christological focus.

No, No, No, No, NO!!!

Mary is what brings about true depth inChristology or in understanding the Trinity for that matter. It is a contradiction, maybe a paradox, or something, but the truth is that you have to focus on Mary to get the real depth of Christ. Try it, I promise you, it works!

Memo to self:

Update spiritual classic by Louis de Montfort, The Secret of the Rosary, why? obsolete

Discard all fifteen decade rosaries, why? obsolete.

Brace self for barrage of new spiritual classics that'll give spirituality of new mysteries.

I'd be remiss if I did not offer up a silent prayer for all the victims of the Bali attack. May their souls rest in peace.

Diary of Iseema bin Laden |

Sharon: Water Pumping Station in Lebanon is Grounds for War

I heard this story first here at Israpundit and then on NPR's All things Considered.

Here is the BBC's report on this.

An alleged Lebanese scheme to divert water from a river feeding Israel's largest reservoir could provoke a war, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has warned.

Israeli army radio quoted the prime minister as saying on Tuesday that the issue constituted a "casus belli", or "grounds for war".

He was addressing senior military and civilian officials after a cabinet meeting.

Lebanon opened a pumping-station on the River Hasbani in the spring of 2001 to irrigate a drought-stricken village but denies that it plans to dam the river.

The river supplies between 20 and 25% of the water flowing into the Sea of Galilee, an official at Israel's Ministry of Agriculture was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.

It rises in Lebanon and flows for about 50 kilometres (30 miles) through its territory before joining the River Jordan and emptying into the Sea of Galilee.

Army radio said Mr Sharon had notified the United States that Israel could mount military operations should Lebanon begin pumping water out of the Hasbani or its tributary, the River Wazzani.

The Israeli Transportation Minister, Ephraim Sneh, said Mr Sharon had called for a "good and enlightened way" to settle the issue but was ready to "act".

"If Lebanon put into effect its project to siphon water from the river, it would be serious enough a reason for Israel to act," Mr Sneh told the radio station.

A spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon has denied Beirut is siphoning water from the Hasbani, saying it is only piping water to a village suffering a shortage.

At a ceremony to mark the start of the new water supply to the village of Wazzani last March, a Lebanese Government official said it was a "first step".

"This is the first step towards liberating our water, a symbol of sovereignty and simple rights," said Qablan Qablan at the opening of the pumping station.

Israel controlled the Hasbani during its occupation of southern Lebanon in 1978-2000.

Would it be too much for Israel to negotiate with Lebanon so that Lebanese people in the region can enjoy the modern day benefits of water? Oh I suppose Arabs are not human and don't need water. Okay, that statement was extreme, but this is a Lebanese river which does empty out in the sea of Galilee. Lebanon has as much right to it as does Israel. This is were normal people sit down and negotiate, but not Sharon, who sees this as yet another way to stick it to Arabs.

Apparently the U.S. representative is shuttling back and forth but Sharon's saber rattling has vastly complicated issues. As much as it is clear that Israel possesses military superiority, this could spark a region wide war and even though Israel will kick butt, they will take a pretty bad punch adn it si not clera that they'll receive overwhelming US public support if the truth of the story gets out.

Israel has legitimate concerns but what they need is someone else, and not Mr. Sharon in there to lead. The man is obsessed with war, hatred of Arabs and destruction.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

One interesting thing I note in watching Star Trek, especially Voyager, is the not-so-subtle comparisons between the Borg and s starship. Both have a captain who gives direction, both have a crew that carries out the directives of the captain, both seek perfection and knowledge. But the kicker is how they go about doing this.

The borg model is definitely convenient, because everyone is forced into the hive mind and there is ostensible unity in purpose and action. The individual becomes absorbed into the whole for the sake of the whole. The human model is muddled and ineffecient. Competeing egos seek self interest, the whole at any time may be undermined by the individual and the individual only seeks the good of the whole out of self interest but motivated by love and respect for the other individuals and the whole. That is the human way.

I note this because whenever we see uniformity in thought and action, the absence of chaos and disorder, a dominating central command which obliterates individuality, we need to be wary because this is not human. If the post-Vatican II Church suffers chaos and disorder as opposed to a pre-Vatican II situation, it is because it is only know allowing its humanity free reign.

At the present time I can make my daughter do what I want, but I am resigned to the fact that at some point, she'll do what she wants and not what I want. And then the only time I can get her to do what I want is if I inspire a love and respect of me in her so that she'll consider my interests in her decisions. That's somehwat chaotic, not orderly but it is human. This is where the Catholic Church has to go and is going, to a land where it can no longer impose. Rather to lead, it must inspire love and respect among its followers. It is only in the disorder and lack of uniformity that ensues, will it find a higher level of order that emerges (not imposed) by love.

Interesting thoughts on Vatican II by A Religion of Sanity.

BBC NEWS | UK | Slovakia face fan ban over racism via lagtime

The Football Association has lodged a formal protest over racist chanting by Slovakian fans at England's Euro 2004 qualifier in Bratislava on Saturday.

A "torrent" of abuse was directed mainly at England striker Emile Heskey and defender Ashley Cole throughout the match.

The complaint to European football's governing body Uefa, which has already launched an investigation, could result in a ban on Slovak fans travelling to the return fixture in England in June.

Other sanctions may include a fine or forcing Slovakia to play their next qualifying match for the championship in Portugal in two years time behind closed doors.

Here is a comment from lagtime

(Heskey and Cole are both black men. According the World Factbook, if there are any black people at all in Slovakia, they comprise the 0.2% of the population categorized as "other." Therefore, Slovakians have virtually no interaction with black people ... and yet they display this kind of horrific racial antipathy toward blacks? How can this be?

His thinking and that of commenters on his blog is that racial hatred towards blacks is innate. I don't think that's true, but I do agree that is a univesal phenomenon in our present world and has been for a very long time going back millennia. I guess it accounts for the distrust and defensiveness many blacks have towards people of other races, perhaps similar to how many Jews feel about Christians and just in general, the "nobody really likes us but us and we must fend for ourselves," feeling.

The word is that Bush will ask Ariel Sharon to keep Israel on the sidelines in the event of a US led war on Iraq, even if Israel is attacked. This was the same kind of request Bush Sr. made to Israel in 1991 and Israel was attacked and showed incredible restraint. However, it is widely believed, and Sharon may have even said it, that if Israel is attacked they will retaliate. It seems to me that Sharon is so full of hate, which is so unbecoming of a leader. Many Israelis are for tough action against the Palestinians, for now, only because of frustration not hate, but Sharon is burning up with hate. All he wants is to fight and destroy, he has no valid peace plan. I guess it was one reason that he and Bush somewhat get along, they seem to have a similar, fight first, think later motto.

Monday, October 14, 2002

PromoGuy's Monday Mission 2.41

1. What's the most expensive meal you've ever eaten? What was the occasion? Was it worth it?

Don't remember, but I have been taken to some pretty fancy restaurants, but nothing outrageous.

2. What do you like to do when nobody is looking?

Get a Q-tip and squigee out my ear

3. What's your special purpose?

I'm going to make a huge impact on the world.

4. Do you like Autumn? If so, why? If not, tell me about your favorite season.

I like all seasons. I like cool breezy 70 degree days.

5. Ever recommended a movie to someone only to have them hate it? Which movie? Did you feel uncomfortable about that?

Not really. I know a bad movie when I see one and so I normally let people know that a movie may be entertaining but bad, etc. I did recommend Ben Hur to someone but he wasn't to excited about it.

6. I've had hay fever all day! Sniffles, sneezing, I tell ya, it's awful! Do you have any allergies? Anything that just gets you down for the count?

Yes, I have allergies and I'm always afraid to take anything for them because, most things knock me out. Colds knock me out too. My wife thinks that because I don't get much sleep and my body can't fight it off effectively.

7. Do you like mixed drinks? What is your favorite? As long as we're here how about you order me something too? Just "suprise me!"

A mixed drink for me is Ginger Ale and coke, talk about boring.

BONUS: Why do we scream at each other?
This is what is sounds like, when doves cry ...dun dun dun dundun dun dun

Today's Comment Question: What is your favorite software program at the moment?
Microsoft Access

I have stuff on ebay, but it's not drawing much interest. I wonder if the shooter thing has affected sales or maybe the it's just the holidays and the fact that people are out and not at work browsing their computers.

San Francisco beats Seattle, I think Mike Holmgren is out of there. I suspect he'll get another job but this time as just a coach and not one of those super Gm, Exec VP, Coach, positions. To the uninformed like me, the Seahawks do not seem to have a plan, they just seem to be drifting aimlessly.

The shooter (we should stop calling him a snipper) has struck again and apparently is still driving the Chevy Astro van. I am so frustrated now. How is it that this car is driving around the DC-VA-MD area and no one has noticed it?

On the TV, they are showing how the 495 and the 66 and the 50 and other major highways have been closed up. It looks horrendous. I just hope there aren't any pregnant women, sick people, desparate children, etc in that traffic.

Since I'm not a death penalty guy, especially since that may be too easy, I hope when they catch this guy, that they lock him up in a 10 by 6 foot cell with no outside view for the rest of his natural life and may he live long in this cell so that he can reflect on his evil.

Just had to testify, but God IS good, all the time. Without going into specifics, Friday was not looking good and Saturday seemed to hit a new low. Things looked very bad. And all I could do on Saturday morning was simply say "Thank you Lord," why? Because 1 Thess 5:16 says "in everything, give thanks," and Phil 4:6, says "be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God." Well, I tell ya, God came through for me, big time.

He may not come when you want Him, but He'll be there right on time.

Tell me what shall I render, unto God for all His blessings?

Buffalo Bills beat Houston, barely. Sickening, how do you struggle to beat an expansion team with injuries???? Anyway, the Bills are 3-3 which is not to bad. The offense is fine and averages 31 points a game. So what's the problem you ask? The stinking defense!!!! They couldn' t tackle an elephant in a phone booth . . . sleeping!!! The Bills are supposed to have the best cornerback tandem in the league with the two Buckeyes, Antoine Winfield and Nate Clemens, which is close to being accurate, even though the Bills have no interceptions this year. However, the drop in quality between the regular package and the nickel package is horrendous. The number 3 corner is Chris Watson, who is decent at best, and all that teams are doing is isolating him and picking him apart. The safeties are also young, we have rookie free safety and second year strong safety, so we hope that the problem is simply lack of experience.

Good news is that Travis Henry, our running back racked up some yards, but he did fumble for the fifth time in five/six games. I still think the playoffs are possible. The offense will score its 31 points per game. The defense I think can get better and maybe hold people to an average of 30 points per game. We'll see.

Weekend veg movie report

I saw Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman, both favorites of mine. very good movie, great acting and it certainly makes more sense now in light of 9-11. Also saw The Hunt for the Red October, for the 10th time, always a pleasure. Sean Connery and Alec Bladwin are superb, great acting all around.

Watch ABC's The Practice and Alias, my two regulars on Sunday night and I catch the ESPN sunday night football during commercials. Both shows had good ones. I am still irritated at the way ABC has chosen to advertise Alias, they make it look like some kinky Melrose Place type show, when nothing could be further from the truth of the matter.

Pope to Mark 24th Anniversary, Change Rosary
October 14, 2002 10:02 AM ET By Philip Pullella
From Reuters via Amy Welborn's page

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul will mark his 24th anniversary as pontiff Wednesday by changing the rosary -- the most universal and commonly known Catholic method of praying -- for the first time in nine centuries.

According to Vatican sources, the Pope Wednesday will issue a document proposing that Catholics meditate on five more events in Christ's life in the new rosary, adding a further layer of spirituality to the age-old prayer.

Changing one of Christianity's most fundamental prayers after nearly a millennium will be a typical way for the 82-year-old Pope to crown 24 years of a pontificate marked by bold initiatives sometimes taken against the advice of aides.

Does this bother anyone else? As much as I think this pope is a great man, I really think he has no business changing or adding to the rosary. It sets a dangerous precedent and it'll begin to kill the devotion to the rosary.

He cannot make these additions based on revelation so they'll have to be based on theological refllection. At once you let theology begin to shape prayers, devotions and the like, that begins their demise, because they lose the untouchable simple devotional quality that they once had and become the pervue of theologians. They other thing is that the rosary itself, like the chaplet of divine mercy, is a spiritual gift and thus an object of and for meditiation. By meditating on the rosary we can gain new spiritual insights, because it is a spiritual gift. But when you add to it, you've, by default constrained its ability to provide new insights because you've circumcribed it with an particular interpretation that then extinguishes other insights.

But then, the report says that he wants to add more meditations on Christ's life. That's never a bad thing, but . . . I guess we'll see.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I was at the OB/GYN's office with my wife the other day and I witnessed a very strange conversation. A couple of pregnant women there were talking about having children. They were both due any day now. One had a couple of girls and a boy and the other had a girl.

For both, there was a big, no HUGE, issue about having a son. The one with a daughter said that her husband wants a son so bad that on the day of the sonogram he got all dressed up and was excited because he was 100 percent certain that they were going to have a boy. Well when she found out that it wasn't, she had to pull him aside so that their daughter would not be there and she told him that it was a girl. he went into a depression for a week! The other lady had a similar experience with her husband who needed a son so bad that she was afraid for him.

I just don't get it! I have a daughter and the truth is I can't even imagine having a son. If the Lord gives us one, I'd be happy but no happier than if it were a girl.I personally would love to have another daughter, maybe five. But I just don't get why the son craze, can you imagine what it does to their daughter's self image?

I recently came across this blog called | Once Upon A Blog

I mention this because of the discussion of the nature of blog. Alkisah's blog is highly personal and reflective and more of what I would expect a blog to be. A semi-anonymous way to express one's mind without fear of direct reprisal. Again, for someone like, I'd pay money to get into people's minds, so a blog, for me, is a psychologcial gold mine.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I think it's time to face it, ER is now offcially a loser. There is nothing to it anymore. I guess, we keep watching because we are hoping that what was once a very good show will redeem itself eventually. It is now out of control, no characters, no stories, just episodic dry soap-like shows.

I watched Outbreak again on FX, it was entertaining but stupid. It did have a bunch of heavy hitters, Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey . . .

I just put a bunch of fontanini items on ebay to sell, I had to stop at 15 items because it is a pain to try to re-enter them all at once if they don't sell or to finalize them all at once. So I'll do more tommorrow.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen any of the people mentioned above in any recent movies, but then again, when was the last time I wen to a movie?

Thanks to Matt Collins, who saved my blog from the dreaded Run Time Errors.

I don't know what I was thinking, but (via KL) I signed up for National Novel Writing Month

I think the deal is that I have to write a 54K word novel in November. No problem, I'll just cut out an extra 2.5 hours from my sleeping schedule, leaving me with 2.75 hours of sleep nightly.

What am I going to write on? I hatched a corny plot of conspiracy and intrigue about World Youth Day and an assasination attempt. Maybe I can pursue that????

Man Tries to Change His Name to "God"

LAKE CITY, Fla. (AP) - A man who wanted to change his name to God chose a new name when a judge turned down his request.

The former Charles Haffey's new name is I Am Who I Am.

The former Haffey said after his first choice was rejected in April, he went to the Bible to find a backup. He drew on a passage where Moses asks God who he is and hears: "I am who I am or I will be who I will be."

"That's kind of wordy, so I'm just going for 'I Am Who I Am' as my full legal name," he said. "My first name, of course, would be 'I Am.'"

The 55-year-old said he sought the name change as a way to gain release from feelings of anxiety and rage that have plagued him since he served in Vietnam.

"I was fatally wounded in the mind and the spirit," he said. "I didn't suffer any bodily injury. It's just what I saw, what I did. I killed myself."

Who I Am said he became a Christian and was baptized in April. It was shortly after that when he decided to change everything, beginning with his name.

Last week, he bought a tombstone to be inscribed with his former name. He plans to plant it in the tall grass on his property.

He said it will read, "'Charles Walter Haffey, born Sept. 23, 1948, and died Oct. 21, 1968, Republic of Vietnam.'"

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Tim Drake's last blog reflects on blogging and its negatives. As usual, I gave the post a cursory read (I can't read things too closely, I am too lazy), and I don't necessarily agree with him in much of what he said. I think he made the right choice for himself but I think that people blog for all different reasons and it is up to them to determine if their blogs are living up to their internal mission statements.

TD does have some astute commens about St. Blogs. Truth is I became disillusioned with St. Blogs a long while back and as a result I only read a handful of blogs daily, not many, unless I am bored and have nothing to do. I don't think St. Blogs is the most welcoming or nicest place on the web and I suspect that many would consider that a virtue.

At first, like many other bloggers, I was most interested in unique visitors, but early on I went from a high number to a relatively low number. That low number, coupled with the tone of many in St. Blogs made me reconsider the whole issue of blogging, but then I realized that I really did not care how many people were interested in what I had to say, as long as even just five people were interested, I enjoyed exposing my mind for these five. After I made that decision, I noticed that the type of posts I did changed and that numbers went up.

Victor Lams does note that people get 5month blogging burn out. I think that is true. However, I think burn out comes when there is pressure on you to engage an audience and satisify your visitors on a daily basis. If one blogs without the pressure and just lets go, I think one can avoid the burn out. These days, if I have stuff to say, I say it and when I don't, I don't. I also try to post things of interest to me and not necessarily of interest to a particular audience,

Unlike Tim Drake, I do think that blogging is about one's self and not an "art form." My favorite blogs are the ones that tend to give little snippets into a persons mind. I love to know what people are thinking about any and everything. For instance, I am working on a novel (which is blossoning in my mind but not on paper yet . . .) and I need to know what and how certain people think so that I can develop certain characters. Blogs are indispensible that way. Anyway, I ramble, but that's what I do best.

A few Tylenols, Zinc Coldese and Riccolas, I am feeling a little better. One nostril is absolutely stuffed up, but I am not longer drowsy and out of it. I hate colds.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Some of you may notice that there are many error notices when you try to open my blog. If you have any ideas on how to get rid of them, please let me know. Like they say in the army, tanks.

Stuffy nose, cloudy head, runny nose, etc. Can life be more miserable?

Why, yes, of course! I have a wonderful life, wife, kid, you won't catch me complaining about a lousy cold.

Excuse me while I wipe my nose, Oh poor me, my knee, my back, . . . otherwise I'm doing great!!

The blog attrition is on, Dylan and TD, with KL thinking about leaving. C'est la vie. But perhaps we can start negotiations. Perhaps a less frequent blog update schedule but the blog stays . . . that's my final offer.

I don't read too many blogs and my blogworld is less one, I can't handle more blog demises, not right now.

I get tired of Bushites talking about the horrors of Saddam Hussein because he tried to kill his own people.

The Kurds are not Saddam's own people. He is Arab and they are Kurds. The Kurds are a different people.

That excuse for attacking Hussein hold's little water, stick to the fact that he is a legitmate threat to the peace and stability of the region, etc.

Bush keeps saying that all alternatives are being considered and war is not the only option, but when the administration is asked what exactly those alternatives are . . . they have none.

My question is, what makes Iran any less of a threat or Pakistan who tested another nuclear warhead today? I just think the administratin is unnecessarily war hungry and they haven't convinced many of us skeptics that they have a legitimate comprehensive plan, for the resolution of this Saddam problem or for the aftermath and nation building process that follows upon war.

Mom on strike

ALBANY, Ind. (AP) - An Indiana wife looking for a little more appreciation went on strike at home - and found instant celebrity.

Kathy Thompson quit doing housework Sept. 25, refusing to do laundry, cook or make the bed. She said she was tired of working, going to school and caring for the house while her husband Gary went out fishing.

When her unconventional campaign made it into The Star Press of Muncie, calls from around the world started pouring in, she said.

"It'll be something I can tell my grandkids," the 45-year-old said Friday.

Thompson has appeared on television shows including "Inside Edition," "Good Morning, America" and Indianapolis television stations. She was expecting an interview with CNN, and a television crew from Germany was due Saturday.

Monday, October 07, 2002

I missed Mr. Bush's speech but I don't supposed I missed much. I understand that there was nothing new in it and he still hasn't answered the question, why this very moment? The point is not that we shouldn't attack Iraq, it is that there should be more deliberation and consultation and collaboration with our Allies. Besides, it serves no purpose to do all this war talk just before an election.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

New front brakes $95
New Front tire $35+
Wheel Alignment$50+
Ono's Safety . . . Pric . . (Oh, shut up! It ain't priceless, it costs hard earned money and I can put a value on it)

Joining the list of movies that I can and do watch over and over again:

Jesus Christ Superstar

Princess Bride

Google search of the day, palying with breast milk

Friday, October 04, 2002

Google search of the day, "megachurch african american," not too wild actually

Musings blog speaks about being men being effeminate, especially in the seminary.

I did not read the posting too closely but I approach it with a yellow flag of caution. My issue has less to do with effeminate men and more to do with a system that seems to attract certain kind of men (and this has been an issue for a very long time).

I know, of course, that this article is in line with the conservative cry that this is what is precisely wrong with our seminaries, get the effeminate and gays out and the priesthood will be saved. I say leave the gays alone, energy would be best expended directed at structures regarding the priesthood. Actually the post I refer to is more nuanced than that, but I rant . . .

I guess, I get prickly when I hear people talk about men and women and the ontological composition or status of each gender. The bottom line is that we don't know what the truth is about men and women and all we can do is speak tentatively and cautiously about what we observe regarding the sexes. i am one of those who believes that we, more sense truth, than know it and articulate it, so we do well to refrain from pronouncing definite metaphysical judgments, in this case about men and women, and what is proper to each ontologically.

L.L. Cool J endorses NY Pataki

Now it seems like there's a rapper from Queens who is also entering the political fray-LL Cool J. He's just announced that he will be throwing his weight behind New York's Republican incumbent governor George Pataki. LL told news reporters that he's backing Pataki because he was impressed with the way he handled the 9-11 situation and he felt that Pataki has done great things for his hometown of Queens. He felt that Pataki has stepped up and has been all about action and even though McCall is African American, race has nothing to do with his decision.

Comment from Carl Ulmann (via dcthornton)

LL Cool J is the first rapper to endorse a candidate outside of the Democratic Party. As of yet, most hip-hop political activism has consisted mostly of artists supporting the status quo Democratic candidate. The entrance over competition for endorsements can only help the inner city community that has been largely taken advantage of by the Democratic Party.

ESPN's John Clayton has finally seen the light!

Last year, the Bills averaged 16.5 points a game. This year, they are averaging 30.5. Drew Bledsoe has meant two touchdowns a game to the Bills. For that alone, he's the most valuable player for the first four games of the season. The Bills are on the verge of becoming an NFL Cinderella team. They've had three overtime games. They play an exciting brand of football. Players have bought into Gregg Williams as a head coach and are having fun on Sundays. With the home crowd behind them, the Bills enter this game with confidence. The Raiders come in with that championship swagger.

Superbowl Baby!!!