Thursday, November 30, 2006

Its time for a Holiday...Bowl!

The Ags are going to the Holiday bowl to face California on December 28th. So write it in on your calendar and get ready to watch the Aggies BTHO Cal!

Here's a "montage" of the final drive that put the Aggies in the lead against t.u. Stephen McGee, you are the man.

I wish my physics class was this fun...



Check out how far they can go. Can somebody say Joooooordan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pope photo essay

Fox news has a photo essay of Pope B16's trip to Turkey. Check it out HERE.

Age of the ill enlightened


There was a great piece today in the Wall Street Journal about the falling down of Europe. Read the article HERE. Make sure to read the whole article, its worth it.


Reading this really made me think about my political science professor (oh yeah I have a test tomorrow, I guess I better get to reading!). She's more liberal than McDonald's is with mayo on a burger, and that's saying something. All we hear about is "Europe is better than us because they have free health care" or "Europe is better because they can accept muslims for who they are." Are they really? Can they really? This is the same prof who told us that all senior citizens were rich because of social security. I'll check with my grandparents, but I don't think they're going to Tahiti anytime soon because their check from Uncle Sam finally came in.


Europe is losing its soul, plain and simple. Victor Hanson talks about it in terms of the enlightenment, and that is sound. I think the freedoms he discusses are what Locke describes (or more familiarly Thomas Jefferson) in saying that we have the God given rights as men to "life, liberty and property." Hanson discusses the lack of freedom that Europe allows itself out of fear of the extremists:



"sketch a simple cartoon in postmodern Denmark of legendary easy tolerance, and
then go into hiding to save yourself from the gruesome fate of a Van Gogh."


If you were however, to publish a cartoon that was offensive to Christians, well hey no problemo right? I agree with Hansen that the cause is that Europe has gotten so cushy in its welfare state society, it doesn't have the cajones to fight back if fighting means the loss of some of that cush. Mark Steyn (he was always a very sharp, funny columnsist) in his new book "America Alone" says that Europe has "neutered itself" by handing over all defense issues to us and spending their money on their own social welfare. The result is a society unwilling to stick up for itself.



Just as the Europeans are stunned that their heaven on earth has left them weak
and afraid, so too millions of Americans on the Left are angry that their own
promised moral utopia is not so welcomed by the supposedly less educated and
bright among them. But still, what drives Westerners, here and in Europe, to
demand that we must be perfect rather than merely good, and to lament that if we
are not perfect we are then abjectly bad--and always to be so unable to define
and then defend their civilization against its most elemental enemies?


If we have it so good, why complain about how bad it is? I've never understood this. I even read on a Starbucks cup once under their "The Way I See It" heading the following "Every civilization is measured by how it treats its poor. If this is the case then we are doing a horrible job." If its so bad, what are you doing paying five bucks for a cup of coffee that could be used to better the poor? Oh wait, you don't really care about them, you hate Wal-mart where they can actually afford things or get a job, you just want to have something to complain about. You want to stick it to the man. Modern day hippies.



We especially ignore among us those who work each day to keep nature and the
darker angels of our own nature at bay. This new obtuseness revolves around a
certain mocking by elites of why we have what we have. Instead of appreciating
that millions get up at 5 a.m., work at rote jobs, and live proverbial lives of
quiet desperation, we tend to laugh at the schlock of Wal-Mart, not admire its
amazing ability to bring the veneer of real material prosperity to the poor.
We can praise the architect for our necessary bridge, but demonize the
franchise that sold fast and safe food to the harried workers who built it. We
hear about a necessary hearing aid, but despise the art of the glossy
advertisement that gives the information to purchase it. And we think the
soldier funny in his desert camouflage and Kevlar, a loser who drew poorly in
the American lottery and so ended up in Iraq--our most privileged never
acknowledging that such men with guns are the only bulwark between us and the
present day forces of the Dark Ages with their Kalashnikovs and suicide belts.


To the hippies I say "power to the people, not you bunch of minority whiners." No soldier wants to go to war. But they are willing to fight for their country, the country that protects the freedom to whine. Let's not go the way of Europe. Let's stand up and let the terrorists know that we will be strong and we will be victorious.


I will now step off of my soap box. Thank you, and God Bless America! Read that article!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

All about the (feel of the) Benjamins'

I guess even our new bills will be a thing of the past now that a US District Judge sided with the American Council of the Blind. The ACB wanted American paper currency to have each bill be distinguishable from the others. Evidently other countries already do this, so saith the article anyway. The story is HERE.

I've honestly never even thought about this. I guess I've heard about the blind being able to distinguish between coins by size and feel of the edges such as a quarter having ridges around its edge and a nickel being smooth. I suppose it goes to show just one more thing I take for granted everyday.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I knew I had good posture...

What you always knew about posture but were taught was wrong. Slouching is a good thing. Read about it HERE.

Back in God's Country!


Amy and I are back in Aggieland after watching our Ags BTHO t.u. the day after Thanksgiving (actually I only caught the last two minutes of the game since we were at Union Station in St. Louis)! We had a blast in St. Louis with my sister and brother-in-law and I think Amy has found the city of her dreams. Now that I'm back I have two tests waiting for me tomorrow so I will try to catch up to everything else later.

Also, the picture is Amy and I looking very colonial at the history museum in St. Louis.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yukon Ho! Up north where the cold air blows!


Actually we're going to St. Louis, not the Yukon. None-the-less we are excited that we're leaving in the morning (in about 5 and a half hours actually, yikes!) and headed to my sister and brother in laws place for Thanksgiving. They couldn't leave St. Louis so Amy and I decided it was roadtrip time. I don't know how much chance I'll have to blog there, so it may be sparse up here for a couple of days. Just keep checking anyway and we'll see if I get the time. Have a Happy Thanksgiving if I don't get to say it, travel safely, and say a prayer for our troops who can't be home right now to celebreate with their families.

Sad News for Pro-Family

Sad news for Pro-family, an amazing number of children born out of wedlock. Get the story HERE. It seems the problem is not teen moms but instead 20 somethings.

"While out-of-wedlock births have long been associated with teen mothers,
the teen birth rate actually dropped last year to the
lowest level on record. Instead, births among unwed mothers rose
most dramatically among women in their 20s."
So, is the problem that the maturity level is dropping, or is it that values are going in the trash can? The teen birth rates actually dropped, seemly saying that we're getting through to them. Is it still the generations where teen pregnancies rose that is still producing these pregnancies out of wedlock only now they're older?

But the bright side, well the article seems to think its that

" just because a mother is not married does not mean the father isn't
around, Ventura noted. She noted 2002 statistics that showed that about 20
percent of all new mothers under 20 were unmarried but living with the father at
the time of the birth. That same was true of about 13 percent of all new mothers
ages 20 to 24."


Oh well as long as they're living together I guess that takes care of that. No more pesky problems right? I have family members who have had children out of wedlock and they aren't religious. They are nice people and I love them, but I sincerely sympathize that they don't know what they're missing by bringing that grace of marriage into a relationship, and creating a family within that. I suppose we should just offer this up to the Holy Family in prayer, that the sanctity of marriage might be realized.

Watch out Santa, a new list is out!

This Christmas Forbes.com has put out a list of the "Richest Fictional Characters" around. Santa, however, being non-fictional was of course not on the list. Check out the story HERE.

How are our recruitment numbers this year?


This is from the Curt Jester, and its hilarious. I wish I could do the things that man can with Photoshop.
So, what are you waiting for young men and women. Get to the nearest RCIA class ASAP!

Soldiers Getting Back

This picture says it all. Shrine of the Holy Whapping had it linked from their site. Check them out too. Here's an article with the original speech.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pray always

Br. James Brent has a good article on prayer over at catholic exchange.com. The link to his article is HERE. With that in mind there is a very good website run by some Jesuits in Ireland called Sacred Space. Its purpose is to help lead you in prayer by using short prayers leading up to the daily gospel reading, and then it asks you to meditate on that reading. Try it out sometime, its nice to use between classes or during a break at work.

Also, the same group of Jesuits has a site called Pray-as-you-Go. This website has daily meditaional prayer that center on the daily gospel reading, but these are downloadable mp3's so you can "pray as you go." I think they're pretty neat. They also have a "final review of the day" mp3 as well, but I keep forgetting to listen to that one. Whoops. Even if you don't have an mp3 player you can listen to these tracks via windows media player or via whatever your default audio player is. I hope you like them.

I've also linked their mission statement here (the jesuits that is) so you can find out more about them.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Never Graduate, Never.

Classes you shouldn't miss. And they're free!


Head on over to one of Scott Hahn's many ministries and check out their free online courses. The courses are listed --> HERE. They offer three different tracks of study: Apologetics, Biblical Theology, and Salvation History. They are great classes that Amy and I have used in the past. I especially have enjoyed Reading the Old Testament in the Gospel of Matthew.


After you've looked at those, make sure to check out their whole site. It's loaded with great stuff like audio and links to things you didn't know you wanted to see, but now that you know its there, you have to. Have fun and leeeaaaarrrrnnnn.

Don' t get hit by a leonid!


It's back, the meteors are coming. Don't worry, I'm not wearing my aluminum foil hat. The annual meteor shower called the leonids is coming this weekend and this years should be better than usual as astronomers say we're passing through some of the debris left from the comet Temple-Tuttle (please, no purple nikes allowed). Get the story HERE.

Adult stem cells work, embryonic have yet to

Another synopsis of the stem cells working on dogs to help fight muscular distrophy. This one is from Catholic News. The article is HERE.

Some new blogs

These blogs aren't really new, but they're new to me and I'm going to put a link to each on mine. I think they're worth checking out.

Snoringscholar
A Catholic Life

Thursday, November 16, 2006

And then there were six...


As if 5 of them weren't enough to last us a lifetime, Sly is giving us another heart warming film about... Judge Dread. Just kidding, but seriously, another Rocky? Really? I liked the originals, all of them I'm a little embarresed to say, but I really don't think that Stallone is helping the Rocky franchise by doing this one based on "a computer simulation" which says he would win. Yes, that is really the basis of the movie. Anywho, the trailer for the new movie is HERE.

Holy Arrest Batman!

The Dynamic Duo strikes again. This time posing as drunks looking for a party, then foiling a drug users dastardly plan. Get the story HERE.

The Watch Tower


I just got through talking to some very frustrated Jehova's Witnesses. Wow, they don't do well when you offer them some reading material. Of course they showed up preaching the "end of days." They also told me that Jesus could have been no greater than a man, and that he definetly couldn't be God. We talked about scripture and the Trinity for nearly 30 minutes before they said they were "through wasting their time on a follower of Babylon."


With this in mind, there are some links to some good material you'll want to know if you ever get approached by Jehovah's Witnesses below. They come from Catholic Answers @ catholic.com.










I'm going to try and read the paper they gave me and formulate a response to mail to their church and I'll probably post it online as well. Here's to the Truth.

Another story on stem cells

There's an article this morning over on Fox News about using stem cells from adult dogs to treat muscular distrophy in other dogs. You can read the article HERE. So another story about success in stem cells, and again it has nothing to do him embryonic stem cells. I seem to see a pattern...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

War Ideas

Great new post today by James Fitzpatrick on the war in Iraq. Read it HERE. I think Fitzpatrick's column must be in reply to the statement put out recently by the US Bishops Council. The council did nothing but state the obvious in my opinion, that when we're no longer needed we need to leave. The problem is, we are still needed and so we can't leave, and putting out a statement about leaving sounds like they want us out now, which I think many of them do. Being a former soldier, I know that no troop wants to be there, but ask someone who has been in Iraq if there is a need and they will answer yes. On foxnews.com there was an article in which Gen Abizaid, our top man in Iraq said "no" to a time table for withdrawal. That article is HERE. Of course there was also no suggestion offered as to a solution in the bishops' statement. That just adds to my opinion that the statement was about nothing.

I want to mention that I do respect the thoughts from the USCCB, but I wish they would either make suggestions toward a reasonable solution, or not make statements that sound like whining. All in all, I think Fitzpatrick really sums it up, and I have to say, if I was a more eloquent writer, that's what I would have wanted to say.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day


Happy Veteran's Day to those who have served or are serving. Remember the fallen, and those who have yet to return.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Election Blues


I really never thought that it would happen. That the dems would win both the senate and the house. Hopefully the Roberts Court is strong enough now to save the Partial Birth Abortion ban and maybe with some new legislation, strengthen pro-life causes. I hope that the older justices can hold on until we swing back congress to our side. By the way, Catholic Exchange has a good article about why congress might still be a little pro-life HERE.

My greatest fear now is that the dems will try to pull us out of Iraq. Being a former soldier, I have alot of friends who were sent over there, and every one that came back said the same thing "It wasn't fun, but it wasn't near what they show on the news." Yes, people die every day, but they do in the US too. Basically they tell me this, good things are happening, people here don't understand what's going on because they're being told that nothing good is happening. We need to stay the course. Another thing is we need to be visible there until the job is finished, not hiding in a base outside of where the job needs to be done, but where the job needs to be done. The reason is because even though a base outside of the cities may make it easier to stop attacks on troops when they're in garrison, its much like having the cavalry in the fort while the indians attack the town. Why? The terrorists are attacking civilians, when they don't see anyone around, they can do what they want when they want. When they see troops around, its more intimidating and gives second thought. Of course attacks will still happen, but it changes the terrorists ability to execute their plans and gives the civilians a better sense of security for sure.


I'm also afraid of what the dems will try to do to our intel capabilities. Having been in that field myself, I've seen what we can do and what we can't in regards to privacy issues and let me tell you, the rules could never be more stringent. That's a good thing. The problem is when the dems discuss intell issues like the NSA's programs, they discuss it as if all we do is sit around spying on the family down the street or check out what the Johnson's are having for dinner. That dehumanizes the troops doing the work. Come on folks, we're people too and we don't want to invade people's privacy any more than we'd want our privacy invaded. The rules say that we'd get sent to a federal penitentiary for doing invading someone's privacy for no good reason, even with the Patriot Act laws. It's just ridiculus to me that the dems try to say that we're inhuman government robots ready to listen in on you talking with your grandma.


I have hope from this election though. Since the dems won the election, it seems to me that they will be emboldened to run on more liberal issues in the '08 election which could be a congress swinger AND will be a presidential election. If anyone noticed, no democrat ran on a very liberal agenda. Instead they basically posed as conservatives. Cutting to the chase, if the dems try to go liberal between now and '08, they would set themselves up for losing congress again as well as letting us keep the presidency and that my friends would be the better victory of the two. I also blame a little bit of this loss on conservative voter apathy. I don't feel like we "got out the vote." When there's a pres election you know we will. So here's to '08 and the escape from the new "America Held Hostage."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Law of Human Nature and C.S. Lewis


I think this will take me more than one post to talk about, but I wanted to mention that as I've been rereading C.S. Lewis's book "Mere Christianity" it occured to me that I kind of disagree with him on one point in his discussion of The Law of Human Nature. He says that among the different laws of nature that
"Each man is subject at every moment to several different sets of law but there
is only one that he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to
gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he
has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is
subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an
animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other
things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law does not
share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the only one he can
disobey if he so chooses."

Where I disagree with Lewis (and I am by no means the mind that he was so I say it very humbly) is on the point that we can disobey the natural law of man. Lewis's says we can because we can decide to steal rather than not steal which is inline with the law of human nature, or we can decide to lie which is adverse to human nature. However, I would say that while we can make decisions counter to the law of human nature, we are still accountable to those consequences and therefore the law of human nature will still rule. For example, if I choose to "disobey" the law of gravity by jumping off a building, you know its ridiculus because gravity still works and I will be a spot on the sidewalk. In the same manner, I think that when the choice is made to "disobey" human nature, the law of human nature still has its way and we will be a spot of the sidewalk of eternity if we don't make up for it. I suppose I miss Lewis's point a little, maybe I'm being too broadsighted for what he's discussing, but if we believe that every action has a consequence, then whether the liar is caught or not in life, in judgment he won't skip by the judge. If I sky dive with a parachute I'm sort of making up for the gravity and I'll live to take the elevator back up again. If I make mistakes against the Law of Nature and seek redemption sincerely, I have my parachute and I can take the elevator (or the stairs if you're slow to get it like me) and be right back up on top of the building where I can try to not fall off again.


Like I said before, maybe I'm missing the point of Lewis's argument, but I think it's worth the discussion anyway.

President Gates now the Sec Def nominee!


Now that Defense Sec Rumsfeld has stepped down, President Bush has nominated Texas A&M University President Robert Gates as his new Secretary of Defense (the story is HERE). A while back President Bush wanted to tap him as the new founded Director of National Intelligence, but Gates said for "love of the university" he woulnd't do it. But now he feels like the changes that he's wanted to initiate have been started, he can go foward and take the position for "love of country." Below is the email he sent out to all of us Aggie students:


"By the time you read this, the President of the United States will have announced that he will nominate me to be the next Secretary of Defense. I am deeply honored, but also deeply saddened.As most of you know, almost two years ago I declined an opportunity to become the first Director of National Intelligence. I did so principally because of my love for Texas A&M and because much of the program we had initiated to take A&M to a new level of excellence had only just started.Today, two years later, all of the initiatives of greatest importance are well underway and on an assured path to completion. The faculty reinvestment program is on track and all 447 new positions should be funded by next September. Work is underway or in planning for more than $500 million in construction, some 90% of it on new academic facilities. We have made significant progress in increasing the diversity of our faculty and student body, and both the programs and funding are in place to continue that important and on-going effort. And many new initiatives are now underway or are already complete to enhance both graduate and undergraduate education, including, above all, the new University Studies degree program. The Corps is on the right track in terms of growth and grades, and the Capital Campaign will end next month having far exceeded our billion dollar goal.Some of you may worry whether one or another of these efforts will continue with my departure. You need to know that the progress we have made has been a team endeavor, and the team will remain. A remarkable faculty and a group of gifted administrators and staff who truly deserve the credit for all that has been accomplished over the past four-plus years will still be here -- above all, my strong right arm for nearly four and a half years, the Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. David Prior.I apologize for surprising you with this momentous decision and announcement, and for leaving as president before fulfilling my commitment to serve Texas A&M for at least five years. I hope you will understand the circumstances that made this necessary and that this appointment comes nearly as much a surprise to me as to you.I will have more to say to you before I leave (if I am confirmed by the Senate). But I must tell you that while I chose Texas A&M over returning to government almost two years ago, much has happened both here and around the world since then. I love Texas A&M deeply, but I love our country more and, like the many Aggies in uniform, I am obligated to do my duty. And so I must go. I hope you have some idea of how painful that is for me and how much I will miss you and this unique American institution.At this point, I expect to remain as President of Texas A&M until completion of the confirmation process and a Senate vote. I assure you, you will hear more from me before my departure. Robert M. GatesPresidentTexas A&M University"


I've thought nothing bu the best of Dr. Gates since I've been at A&M and I think he'll do a great job as the Sec Def. By the way, while I was on active duty in '03 I think, I got to hear Donald Rumsfeld speak and we got to talk to him for a little while. He seemed to me to be a great guy who was always criticized for being arrogant, but I think after meeting him that he was never arrogant but instead confident in the country and blunt in giving his thoughts. Thanks for your service Secretary Rumsfeld, and Dr. Gates we'll pray for your nomination from here in Aggieland. Make us proud and Gig 'Em!

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Few Days Off...


I've been pretty tired lately so I thought I'd just throw in a G.K. Chesterton quote until I write tomorrow.


"Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting
up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when
they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice."

GK, you're a genius.

Friday, November 03, 2006

St. Thomas Aquinas patron of students, pray for me...


I just found out I had a really bad grade and a really good grade. I made a 94 on the hardest physics test of the year and a really bad grade on the easiest math test of the year and that dropped my grade ALOT. I really need some Aquinas intervention (being that he's the patron saint of students)...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pythagoreans



I just started a book called "A history of Philosophy" by Fr. Frederick Copleston. Its the first of a nine-volume set written to chronicle the history of philosophy from the early Ionians to the present day. One thing in particular caught my eye while reading yesterday and I thought my sister might enjoy it. It's about the Pythagoreans.




The Pythagoreans were a group of people in southern Italy (Kroton) in the sixth centruy BC. Pythagoreas, is actually rarely mentioned and may have only been the founder of the group and therefore only its namesake and not its great leader. Everyone seems to know about the Pythagorean Theorum, but did you know, that the Pythagoreans did not study math for the science of it, but rather they studied math as a religion? It probably started after they discovered that different lengths of string on a lyre had different mathematical qualities. That is to say that "pitch may be said to depend on number, in so far as it depends on the lengths..." Anyway, using this as a basis, they proclaimed that the world consisted of numbers and nothing but them. They regarded numbers spacially such as one is a point, two is the line, three is the surface and four is the solid. Thinking this way they said that "all bodies consist of points or units in space, which when taken together constitute a number. They also held that all the elements were numbers and that the evens were finite while the odds were infinite. To "prove" this they drew diagrams like the following:






So, to ash, I think this proves that mathmaticians are wierd, and for the rest of us I think this is an interesting develpoment in early philosophy. For more check out the book.