Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Alias--there is nothing more upsetting than they way abc markets and advertises Alias. They make it seem all about sexy chic girl power Buffy the vampire slayer. The show is just so much more than that, in fact it is nothing of that. It is girl power, but it isn't sex based, it actually has a great story and great writing.

I'm not quite sure where they are going with it now that the Alliance has taken a blow. Obviously the new villain is Sloan and Sark and Derevko, but this changes the whole dynamic of the show. We'll see.

The Bucs won. Another team wins the super bowl and its name is not the Bills. I should have known that the Bucs would take this one. It is similar to the Bills superbowl against the giants and the Redskins. The Bills offense was very highly ranked and on the paper the Giants did not stand a chance, but they ground it out and the slow plodding team with a solid defense won, even if by three inches. The Redskins did have an explosive offense but a very solid defense and the smacked the pancakes out of the Bills. I jus think defenses are able to disrupt good offenses easier than offenses disrupting defenses. Another example was the New England/Rams super bowl. The Patriots smacked the Rams all up and down the field and look what happened.

So what's the deal with the Bills. I'll tell you. A solid pass rushing linebacker, a freak type defensive end, a solid pass catching tight end and chunky defensive line guy who can join with Pat Williams in stuffing the run. Give the Bills all that and they'll rule the world.

Friday, January 24, 2003

I may not blog until Monday, so I need to go on the record with a Super Bowl pick . . . I can't. I hate both. I pick . . . the Raiducs.

I'm horrible with taking care of plants but someone gave me a piece of advise that I think is the best advice I've ever gotten on plants. She said, "water them when they wilt."

Much love to Kat at Come On, Get Lively blog, for her courage in sharing such a personal experience. Our prayers are with you KL.

I did see the anti-Planned Parenthood posters at Blogs4God. The truth was I thought they were very funny and creative and it never crossed my mind that they could be offensive. But I do see that it could be for people who have gone through the abortion experience. Of course, no one in their right mind would think that KL intended to offend anyone. I do think the posters are quite effective and hope that women who have gone through such a painful experience would understand that this is a means of sorts of attacking groups like PP whose mission in life is to promote a horrendous ideology under guise of care for women.

Thursday, January 23, 2003


VATICAN, Jan 22, 03 (CWNews.com) -- The new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has advanced the view that Church teaching on the justice of warfare are evolving-- much like the Church's stance on the death penalty. In an interview with the Roman news agency I Media, Archbishop Renato Martino said that war may be justifiable "under extreme circumstances." But he said that "modern society has enough means [of resolving conflicts] so that we need not have recourse to [war]." Archbishop Martino, who came to his new position at the Vatican after years of representing the Holy See at the UN, said that the pursuit of world peace requires "a lot of work and a lot of courage," as well as constant prayer. Addressing the crisis in Iraq specifically the archbishop said that he still does not believe that war is inevitable. "I think, I pray a lot, and I hope that all the threats coming from both sides& will not lead to action," he said.

I sympathize with the Vatican's tendency to avoid war at all possible cost, but war is a necessary but horrid evil and part of human existence. I think the Vatican and the Europeans tend to weary of wars because they have had centuries of wars. On the other hand, we in the US hadven't had the same war histories.

However, until the heart is cleansed from sin there can be no peace.in the world. Furthermore, that's not going to happen until the Kingdom of God is established on this earth.

So, what to do? This is why we pray the Lord's prayer, "Thy kingodm come, they will be done on earth as it is in Heaven . . . lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

In the mean time we need armies and we must fight just wars.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

I am teaching an catechist formation course on the Creed. This area of theology tends to be the area that I like best, but this is the first time that I am actually teaching it. I have had to teach Scripture, Vatican II and Morality, so this is unusual for me, but I love it.

I finished a "short story" I was revising. It went from 25 pages to 74 pages. I think I need a couple more run throughs, but I think I am satisfied with it. Now, I have to focus on another short story which I have given some time and distance. This sother story is 20 pages long and I don't anticipate any major revisions.

When, I'm done with the second story I will try to return to my dormant Nano project which has been percolating. However, I think I am all set for a short story type publication.

unfortunately, I'm not going to make the March for Life. I did watch parts of the Vigil mass and I enjoyed Cardinal Bevilacqua's homily. I have been at the shrine during those Vigil masses and it is amazing how packed it is. People actually utilize every inch of the Shrine for sleeping after mass. It is a great atmosphere. The weather is teeth chattering cold as artic air has invaded the DC metro area, but hopefully it wouldn't dampen the spirits at the March.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

The Buffalo Bills, by signing seven of coach Gregg Williams' assistants to 2 year contracts, have shown a commitment to him. He went from 3-13 in the first year to 8-8 his second year. The big issue is the off season roster moves and draft picks. The Raiders have made it clear that the AFC is going to have to contend with a short passing game that eschews the run. That means teams have to invest in more coverage type linebackers or more defensive backs. The other key thing is to have skilled pass rushers that can disrupt the Oakland timing and also bully their receivers.

The Bills have 2 lock down corners and emerging safeties, they need at least two more very good corners and a serious pass rush threat. Offensively, we could use a tight end and if Peerless Price leaves, a decent #3 reveiver, we already have to quality ones sans Prince, Muolds and 2nd year man, Josh Reed.

Could next year finally be the year for the Bills???

I was glad to see that Colin Powell spoke out in favor of affirmative action. I was shocked to see that even after supporting the anti-affirmative action case and then nominating judges with shaky civil rights pasts and the Trent Lott fiasco, President Bush went to worship at a Black church in Prince George's Co. for MLK. In his remarks, he noted that "prejudice is still present in America." Wow, what insight!

I am very curious to see what the Bush and Rove strategy for the 2004 election is. Regardless of what you say about them, they can strategize effectively and so I am curious about them writing off the Black vote. They are also flirting with, at least, splitting the Hispanic vote by potential Supreme Court nominations. Estrada, a potential nominee is no not liked by leaders of many Latino groups, but the Latino population is diverse and it is hard to see what the impact would be. I think the Bush camp is comfortable with the potential Latino vote, but I still think they are stradling the edge of a cliff.

The truth is that I paid very attention to the White Water scandal, the Clintons and the McDougals. At the time that the whole Clinton scandal was coming to a head, I was very unsympathetic to Clinton and I considered them all crooks.

On npr's Dianne Rheem show, Dianne interviewed Susan McDougal and I was floored by the interview. Of course she presented her side of the story, which I believe. But what bothered me were the prison stories that she had and how women are treated in prisons. It sounded so bad that it doesn't even sound like America. Regardless of if you think whe was deserving of prison or not, there is no reason for her to be placed in isolation for months, she did not murder anyone. Also the stories she told about many of the women in prison is enough to give anyone pause.

In the parable about the sheep and goats, many people who thought that they were deserving of Heaven were counted among the goats. When they asked why, XT told them that when he was in prison they did not visit him. Susan McDougal's story is, I think, a call to do something for prisoners, especially many women in prison who need help. The point is not do away with jails, but to make them more humane. There is no reason that scores of mentally ill women should be locked up in isolation and live in despicable conditions that show little difference with the horrors of third world jails.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Re:The Vatican's guidelines on politics. I wish they hadn't done it or had been more discreet about. The reason is that it then forces Catholic politicians to take stand vis a vis the gudelines and any clear thinking politician who is serious about being elected is then under pressure to present himself/herself as independent of the Vatican and not simply a mouth piece for the Vatican.

Being an elected official is a subtle thing that demands diplomacy, so that a Catholic elected official can fully intend to bring her/his Catholic morals to bear on a situation without alienating populations within her/his constituency. I think these guidelines force Catholics to be less subtle which makes their jobs more difficult. Oh well!


VATICAN, Jan 16, 03 (CWNews.com) -- In a strongly worded new document on the political responsibilities of the Catholic faithful, the Vatican has emphasized that believers can never legitimately give their support to policies that violate fundamental moral principles or the natural law.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has released a 15-page "note" on civic responsibilities, addressed especially to Catholics engaged in public life. The document, entitled "On Some Questions
Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life," is signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of that Congregation. It was made public on January 16 with the approval of Pope John Paul II.
The Note stresses that Catholic citizens are free to follow their own judgment on political issues, and that the Church does not become involved in partisan politics. At the same time, the Congregation notes, a faithful Catholic cannot support initiatives that violate the dignity of human life; nor can a Catholic in good conscience support a political initiative, party, or movement that is incompatible with the moral teachings of the Church.

This is a case where I wonder if the Vatican really means what it is saying or it is, rather, setting up an ideal to strive for. No credible political party, probably on the face of the earth, can represent moral norms in all its fullness.

I also wonder what the Holy See's take on "give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and give to God what is God's."

Another question is in regard to the common good. is it always the case that the Church's position reflects the common good? Oen to think about is the school vouchers issue. The common good is not in mind but rather the advancement of the Catholic educational system. The truth is that hope for public education lies in public schools. While private schools play an important role, they could never develop the capacity to educate the nation's students. So in the interest of the common good, wouldn't it be best to shore up as much as possible the public system as a priority before shoring up private schools?

Different topic: I predict that the lions fire current coach and hire Steve Mariucci.

My new favorite commercial is for some kind of chapstick, where the mafia boss is sitting at his desk with another guy and he goes, "Jimmy, you have insulted me, this is no good for a man. (He reaches into his pocket, the other guy flinches expecting a gun, but instead he pulls out a chapstick). Here Jimmy . . . goes not clear without a gloss for full protection, and I know about protection . . ." I find the calm tome and serious ambiance regarding chapstick very funny. So until I find the Ivory Toad, I'll stick to this chapstick.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

In supporting the anti-affirmative action lawsuit regarding U of Michigan admissions I suppose that Karl Rove and President Bush have made a strategic decision to cast off the Black vote. That would make sense for them, especially since they were less than convincing on the Trent Lott issue and right at the heels of that fiasco, they are nominating judges that are no friends of the Black community. It might work out for them because the affirmative action seems to scare or at least, not sit well, with all but the people it helps and many on the left, which is not enough of a punch to knock out the Republicans in 2004.

However, if this issue and others eventually stir up the Black community and there is record turn out, it could be significant.

MLK weekend coming up. Not doing anything on the day itself, but will be at a Prayer Breakfast on Friday and at a discussion on Friday afternoon. It recently has hit me that he was truly a great man, flawed, but great.

The Sacramento Kings have staked their claim, they are definitely the team to beat. They spanked Dallas yesterday. Dallas, i think, has the best record but they are a team of cream puffs, no toughness for the dog fight that is the playoffs. I'm jumping on Sacramento's band wagon, but I have my eye on Houston and San Antonio, whose band wagons are looking comfortable. (what can i say, I have no pride. I am a basketball casanova)

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Joe Lieberman is now in the race for the Presidency. I honestly think he can and probably will win. Not to underestimate Bush, but I think way too much has to go perfectly for Bush to have a favorable rating going into 2004: the economy, war with Iraq, terrorism, state economies. If Bush wins, he may face difficulties keeping the House and Senate Republican.

For the life of me, I still cannot figure out why Bush did not propose $300 Billion in capital gains tazes as opposed to abolishing the dividend tax. No one in their right mind would oppose a capital gains cut, except maybe for a few, but that would be a shoo in. This is why I think that Bush is trying to help out his friends with this tax cut proposal.

And then how about the allies-asking-Bush-to-let-inspectors-finish-up situation? That's a can of something for this administration. They are committed to war in the next two months but the allies are asking more time than that and the inspectors want six to twelve months. I think the Bush guys have a smoking gun and they'll play their hand very late in the game so that they can move militarily within a week. My heart goes out to all those military families who have had to endure separation more than once in the past three years. I can't imagine leaving for that long and have a small family and more on the way, etc.

Congressman Rangel's been pushing for the draft. I am not entirely opposed to such an idea. He is proposing something similar to what Israel does, where everyone has 2 years of service. He also wanted to broaden the concept of such service to include security of ports, etc and also analytical appointments, such as working as an analyst, etc. It is interesting but it wouldn't fly. No one feels that strongly about it to stake their political career and civilians do not see the need. Besides, high tech weaponry obviates the need for foot soldiers en mass. Where, in past times, 500 soldiers were needed to destroy an arms depot, a high tech plane can do that with precision guided missles. Another issue regarding the draft is that the economic toll would be horrendous in this day and age, that is they forced it now and included the entire 16-35 group. They would have to phase it in to dampen the economic impact. Anyway, not going to happen.

I cannot wait for the long weekend, I cannot wait for the long weekend.

This month has been a drag. I think I strongly dislike Januarys (ies?).

I also don't like the fact that from here on football news slows to a trickle. There's still basketball and I remain an ardent fan, but I no longer have a team that I am nuts about, so nothing to follow except general scores.

I'm back to trying to finish my short story which is now at 70 pages and with revisions will get to about 80 pages. The question is, should I then make it a full length novel or keep it as a short story? Extending it to full length is not too too difficult. I'll just keep adding little episodes, no need for any major story line shift.

Friday, January 10, 2003

It was inevitable, having a little one has forced the Veggie Tales on me. I had vowed never to watch or listen to them (in my quest to be different, I tend not to like things that are too popular). But alas, my brother-in-law got my little girl a best of veggie tales songs video. So there it is it has been a baptism by fire. FYI, she also got a Chicken suit elmo thingie that sings and dances, enough to make you pull whatever hair you have out.

Vatican to reinforce Catholic orthodoxy

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent in Rome, Robert Piggot, has been given prominent coverage in a lengthy report arguing that the Vatican intends "to reinforce traditional standards and discipline" and "crack down especially hard on homosexuality in the Church".


In the wake of the pressure the Church has been placed under by the abuse scandals he says "here in Rome, many see the scandal as what they call an 'Anglo-Saxon' problem."

"Anglo-Saxon problem" ???? I'm waiting for the punch line. Bold faced dishonesty about the cause and magnitude of the sex abuse problem is why Vatican officials have to say things like, "we've nothing to hide," because everyone knows that they've covered up and hidden all kinds of stuff. I guess they have nothing to hide because it is all hidden.

Piggot quotes Gerry O'Connell, the Vatican correspondent of the Roman Catholic journal The Universe, saying that some of the pope's chief advisers have analysed the American cases and concluded that the problem is not paedophilia, but homosexuality.

Regression: Homosexuals=evil, adulterers=not-so-bad

His article concludes: For Vatican conservatives the priority seems to be to reinforce Roman Catholic orthodoxy in the Church as a whole, rather than indulge liberals in its unruly provinces.

This priority would be relevant and effective if anyone of them can prove what on earth "orthodoxy" has to do with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, etc Gal 5:17ff. Many "Orthodox" Catholics, as frequently defined, can bevery un-Christianlike, mean-spirited, selfish, rude, etc.

Orthodoxy in fact has nothing to do with conservatism. True orthodoxy maps out a region in Catholic thought and practice that is in line with its tradition in faith and morals. And fortunately this region is broad. So the fact is that you can have authentically orthodox Catholics with either a conservative bias or a liberal bias. Conservatism is simply a reluctance or hestiation to embrace inevitable change, while liberals embrace change more willingly. Most reasonable people fall into the category of conservatives who are not opposed to change but need to be certain that the change is valid and acceptable or liberals who embrace change but with conservative impulses, i.e., respect for the past out of which the present change has grown.

An example is Scripture and even theology in general. The Church has pretty much embraced the validity of modern exegetical criticism which is hard to call conservative. I would term people who embrace modern exegitcal methods are their primary approach to Scripture as liberal orthodox. Conservative minded orthodox Catholics, on the other hand are wary of modern day biblical criticism, which caution the Church has embraced also over the years. Anyway, I digress . . .

I think the Vatican and many conservatives have convinced themselves that homsexuality is the problem in this sex abuse scandal.What that tells me is that the Church is not yet ready for any real introspection and growth.

I think most reasonable people would agree that Bush' foreign policy has been or is tithering on the brink of disaster. It has to be embarrassing that the N. Korean UN diplomat would only speak to Bill Richardson, former Clinton administration Energy secretary and UN Ambassador.

Clinton's Korean policy was widely attacked by the Bush administration but now they're right back were Clinton was, only a few years too late. The situation was not difficult to read: a war with N. Korea is a last and lousy option. It is almost like going to war with Russia or China, we'll win but the cost will be too high. 35 miles from the DMZ is Seoul and at the border is a million man army and hundreds of attilery shells pointed at the city to reduce it to rubble within days. No one wants that. The situation is also compounded because targetting the nuclear sites will no doubt endanger S. Korea and Japan with the radiation pollution and China and Russia would balk with the US in their back yards creating another tense situation. Thus it has always been clear that the only reasonable recourse is to deal diplomatically with N. Korea first before threatening war.

The Bush administration came in running its mouth with an axes of evil speech that included N. Korea on a whim just so it would not seem that they were solely targetting middle eastern and islamic states. Now they have to retrace their steps and hope that the situation can de-escalate.

We cannot beat everyone into submission. We need friends, but we have very few these days. These days we have to threaten countries to assist us and only the UK is willing to give us unconditional support and even that is wanning. The Israeli-Palestinian situation has gone down hill since Bush's arrival and Afghanistan is falling apart again.

The problem is not that the administratio doesn't have the diplomatic brain thrust to have dealt with these issues, it is the fact that Bush intentionally surrounded himself with hawkish men trapped in a cold war mentality. Bush himself, though not dumb, is short sighted and so dogmatic that he seems unwilling to acknowledge the nuances of international diplomacy.

There's still time to right wrongs but time is running out. I think Bush needs to realize that it would take a little more than having Jesus Christ as your favorite philosopher to get things right.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Sisters of Selma - Sr. Antona

"I am here because I am a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness."

People search far and wide for hearts of gold and stuff like that, I will not rest until I find

The Ivory Toad of Shanghai


VATICAN, Jan 8, 02 (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican's secular court opened its 2003 term on Wednesday, with a statement from the top judicial official: "In matters of justice, the Vatican has nothing to hide."

Doesn't it give you the hibby jibbies when a state official says "we have nothing to hide"?

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Is anyone else baffled by the Bush administration's response to the North Korea situation? They've all of a sudden become meek doves. I guess some axis of evil states are less evil than others. Never mind that N. Korea's government is more likely than iraq to export missle technology to other nations. One thing we know about Saddam Hussein is that he is trying to resurrect the Babylonian empire and be its ruler, so he is not going share technology at his peril, but N. Korea will!!!

I'm not for war, but I feel that if we should be making war plans, then they should be focused on N. Korea and not Iraq. Iraq is not the most immediate threat but N. Korea is.

The other policy objective would be to relocate the capital city of S. Korea to a point further south and not within shouting distance of the DMZ. I think that's were the real fear is, that N. Korea would put a serious hurting on the Seoul in an attack even though the U.S. would wipe out the N. Korean army relatively quickly.

I heard that since 1995, the US has given N. Korean about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food in humanitarian aid. Far more than any one else. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. I just find it interesting that the Clinton adminsitration was much more hawkish about N. Korea than is the Bush administration.

Yesterday's 24 on Fox was really quite good. The plane that was bringing Jack Bauer and Nina Meyers back crashed creating a potentially hazardous situation because they were in the middle of no where and an injured Jack would have to walk Nina, a criminal and traitor, all the way to safety. Nina who was once Jack's close friend at the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) had killed Jack's wife in last season's 24. Nina is also the reason that info was given to terrorist who blew up the CTU building and plan to explode a nuclear device in LA. So she is one dangerous madre. Also, a key issue is that she is the only person who can lead them to the bomb and she has negotiated immunity in exchange for the knowledge of its whereabouts.

The plan goes down, and of course, true to trite formulas, only Jack and Nina survive in relatively good shape. And because they have to flee assasins who apparently shot down their plane, he has to trust her with ammunition which she eventually turns against him and takes him hostage. The show ends with her asking for a presidential pardon for a crime that she is about to commit, the murder of Jack Bauer. The president has to grant it in an emotional scene, emotional because Jack saved his life in last season's 24.

The acting is getting better. The president guy, I forget his name, was less wooden. I like his chief of staff and his wife. The story line with Jack Bauer's daughter is getting stupider by the second. The story line with Kim (?) lady who finds out that someone in her dad's company has something to do with terrorism is intriuging, but it needs to go somewhere fast.

Even though things are rapidly deteriorating between Jack and Nina, Jack's hatred of her grows as does her fear of him and desire to kill him, I'm sticking to my original prediction that they are going to end up together romantically involved. Don't ask me how.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

The Basics -- Cost of being a stay-at-home mom: $1 million - MSN Money

This msn article is written by a stay home mom and "the cost" referred to is the potential income given up by stay-at-home-moms. Now we all know that often a second income goes towards child-care, car expenses, etc defeating the purpose of a second extra income. However, the catch-22 here is that we can't paint the picture then that life is financially rosey when moms choose to stay home.

The reason is that there is, from what I understand, a slew of legislation that could benefit stay-home-moms, such as tax breaks etc. But if the situation is presented as not urgent or relaxed then there is no impetus to assist single income families in which moms choose to remain home and care for their kids.

Thus the balancing act. While we argue the financial futility of second incomes being drained by the transportation and child care costs, we should also present the flip side that a single income is not as rosey as it may seem.

Monday, January 06, 2003

I just read the Catholic Writers Association's newsletter The Write Stuff. In it there was an interview with Emily Snyder a Catholic fantasy writer. Now, that interview was intense and dense, it is going to take a few reads to get it. I just wonder how Mrs. Lively managed to get down everything, it must have been quite a feat.

Any writing I was doing came to a crashing halt in mid December for a host of reasons. I have been largely uninspired to do anything until now. I feel the juices slowly flowing back. My problem is endless revisioning. Right now, I'm stuck in the middle of revisions and I think I'm dreading thinking them through. Besides, i was motivated by the 1stBooks Publishers December deal to publish for only $399. But since I missed the deadline, I guess I'm now just strolling along. I need something to light a fire under me. Perhaps it was that interview.

Alias is getting better and back to its old form. They had a good old fashioned SD-6 mission with Dixon involved again. The danger is also back. The danger I refer to is the fact that all last season, Sidney's life as a double agent with SD-6 and the CIA provided a context of danger and tension. There was always the fear that SD-6 would sniff out her CIA missions. But this year they seemed to have made this extremely safe and relaxed, so she no longer seems worried about SD-6. However, with Jack Bristow (Sidney's double agent dad) under suspicion at SD-6, the danger and tension is back.

They need to do something with Derevko (Sidney's KGB mom) soon, or they'll lose momentum on that story line.

For any half-way decent football fan, this weekend was great.

First, the Fiesta Bowl. I'm not sure why people acted surprised that Ohio State was competitive and even won. Mel Kiper Jr. had said weeks ago that Miami may have been the best team but they weren't head and shoulders above everyone else. Well, I guess he was right. And don't tell me about a blown call because that is simply part of the game. If they were that much better then their season shouldn't have to come down to one play. With all the hype, I just wondered if the expected Ohio State to come in, roll over and play dead?

Same idea with the Falcons and Green Bay, who cares that green Bay had never lost a post season game at Green Bay, were the Falcons supposed to play dead or forfiet the game?

I have to confess, I thought the Niners and Steelers dead in the water, but I am a full believe in the never say die attitude. I pulling for the Titans and the Jets to reach the AFC finals and I don't care who gets there in the NFC. I would be content if either the Jets or Titans won it all. I' d love to see Steve McNair get his due as a quarterback or Herm Edwards win the Super Bowl, and perhaps open more doors for Black coaches.

Yesterday, when I was watching the games, during a commercial break I surfed to the Discovery channel and was hooked for the next couple of hours. They had a show on a survival course for Marines and the next show was about an Army Sniper training school class. I'm a sucker for military stuff, not joining is one of my greatest regrets. If you can imagine, these programs took me away from NFL playoff games. They were awesome and no, I don't think it's a mid-life crisis thing--I'm not even a midlifer yet.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Business-wise, I hate the last week of the year and the first week of January. Nothing like returns to hit sales figures. Bush is going to be giving a speech on his economic stimulus plan next week. I normally wouldn't root as hard for a president that I don't like, but in this case, I hoep to God that he and the Democrats get reasonable and pass something reasonable. I do think that tax cuts on stock dividends is not going to help the economy short term, but a payroll tax cut on the first $15,000 of earnings. Anyway, let's hope they get something through.

Something that has gone under the radar is that we might be at war in the next three weeks. We should pray for peace, however, it is hard to see how there won't be war. We'll see.

Jets vs Colts, Jets spank colts. I am happy for the Jets, though sad for Tony Dungy, who is a fine coach and will win his championships someday. The Colts were not as good as advertised and shouldn't have made the playoffs anyway. As for the Jets, I'm glad Herm Edwards, the NFl's other Black coach has a very competitive team out there. Also, I'm happy for Ted Cottrell, Jets defensive coordinator, an African American who was coordinator of Buffalo's defense in the Wade Phillip years and fielded a top three defense for three years in Buffalo. He got snubbed for the Bills job and went to the Jets, who made him defensive coordinator and asst. head coach. There is almost no reason why he and Marvin Lewis and Art Shell and Sherm Lewis and Willie Shaw shouldn't at least get calls for head coaching vacancies. Parcells to Dallas is defensible, he is a proven turn arounder, but Coughlin to Bengals would be inexcusable. We'll see what Detroit, Seattle and Arizona do.

I watched American History X tonite for the second time. The movie is about a reformed neo-nazi skin head (Ed Norton) who has just done time and sees his younger brother going down the same path. He has to now convince his brother about the error of his ways. Avery Brooks is also in the movie and does a good job as mentor who guides him along the way. One poignant issue is that the brothers come from a regular middle class family and how is it that they turn into rabid racists. I absolutely love this movie as a social commentary. It is one of those movies that one can get students to watch to teach and reflect on the issue of race. Another movie I love as a social commentary is Stephen King's The Lottery.

Friday, January 03, 2003

I watched Star Trek nemesis today and I give it a 8+ out of 10. I thought it was very good: no cheesy lines, no unreasonable and tired plots and there was a real formidable and creepy villain, just like the borg when they first encountered it. It was well acted, story was well written. Very good.

I missed the bowl game today, but I see USC beat Iowa. More power to them. I guess Carson palmer, USC QB is the big cheese now. Ever since Rob Johnson, I've been weary of USC quarterbacks. And ever since the Bills drafted Todd Collins in the second round, I've been allergic to Michigan QBs, their running backs have been a bust in the NFL too, Wheately etc. The Bills made a living off SEC players because they are tough hombres back in the day, now they don't necessarily care much for the SEC. I just think the Big Ten's toughness is overrated and I say never overlook the defensive prowess of the PAC-10.

We went to the Macaroni Grill today. I ordered Lobster Ravioli. They gave me three raviolis! They were large raviolis but only three. It was somewhat filling but delicious.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

My lack of recent postage is because I am currently chillin' out in the Dallas, TX area. It has been a nice vacation, not too much scheduled. I am not looking forward to getting back to the daily grind but life must go on.

Notre Dame completely embarrassed itself as did Washington State in their respective bowl games. I've had the opportunity to engage in some serious football talk over the past couple of days, which is always a plus. Wife and I will be seeing Star Trek later today. That should be fun.

We had Christmas on Sunday and one of the things that I got was a Songe Bob Square Pants Uno card game. Fun, fun, fun!!! It has a special card called the "super absorbency" card. When the card gets played the person with the lowest number of cards must pick one from the deck ane one from each player to his/her side. Adds defensive strategery and is fun. We ushered in the New Year with a craft night, which I am pleased to day was fun.

Two years ago, my wife and I were with another couple and the ladies spoke about how they do things like watch football with us guys and would like us to do stuff with them, so I learned to cross stich (not the stamped wimpy variety-I'm talking the real McCoy). Cross stiching is intense, I do not find it relaxing but I think I'll continue with it in the near future.

My review of our biz, saintmartingifts.com is almost complete, hopefully, I should be able to get all documents to our accountant by the month's end. We ended up doing not as well as I anticipated. But the good thing is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are specific actions that can be taken to cut cost and revenue growth is expected. Also investments that have been made should begin to produce soon. We spent a little over $10,000 in advertising last year. A good number, but one that would have to decrease and become far more targetted. This year could be see a slight profit or a slight loss. There is revenue growth and market penetration is growing. Nothing that some prayer and cost cutting can't fix.