Saturday, December 30, 2006
We've had alot of fun so far on the way out stopping at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and also the Battleship Texas (WWII era) and San Jacinto Monument right on the outskirts of Houston. I even had the flu when we went to the Texas and San Jacinto, but it was all fun as long as I wasn't giving up my lunch.
We'll be heading back to Texas (God's country) in the morning and I hope I'll have more time to blog then. Peace out.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Beer BlessingFrom the Rituale Romanum (no 58):
Benedic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen
Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"As I was unfamiliar with the Spanish convention of naming boys for theIt's a good read.
Savior, it startled me upon arriving in my new parish to read on the bulletin
board: 'If there is no usher at the 7:30 Mass, Jesus will take up the
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
The story is nothing but a put down of how "intolerant" we Christians are when we avoid anti-Christmas stores who want to take our money but not acknowledge the reasons for the season. Of course when a city councilman from Monroe, WI states that 90% of Americans are Christians the writer makes sure to let us know that its actually "roughly" 80%. Thanks, you're right Ms. Stange, that is way less than 90%. Ms. Stange, wanting to inform us, lets us see the big picture, that "The assumption at work here appears to be that, while we are a diverse society, Christmas is a national holiday that trumps all other seasonal celebrations." If I may offer my humble opinion madam, I thinkthe assumption at work here is actually that since this is a major holiday in which Christians are being advertised to, they feel like the holiday should be acknowledged.
Thank goodness gracious (and of course not God, because then we would have to thank everyone's) that the Ms. Mary Stange is nice enough to teach us that "Of course, if you are a Jew celebrating Hanukkah, or a Muslim marking Eid al-Fitr, or a neo-pagan Wiccan for whom the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) is a major observance, you probably had appreciated the more inclusive acknowledgement that the end of the year is a festive time for you, too. " Ah that's right. I wish I remembered how many people Wiccans had on their list for gift giving this time of year! This is a major shopping holiday for them too right? And who can forget Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim Mardi Gras? I certainly cannot. I don't know how they get all that holiday season shopping done after fasting so long.
What if perhaps, just perhaps, those folks weren't doing all that much shopping for their respective holidays and instead us intolerant, irrespectfully full of ourselves Christians were. Sure there are eight crazy nights worth of presents to get for Hanukkah as Adam Sandler tells us, but who is that wild and crazy group paying Target's electricity bill come December time? Might it be Christians (church lady lip pursing action!). So is it too much to ask that our reason be acknowledged without being patronized by "holiday trees"? Honestly, outside of Christmas, who is decorating a pine tree? So I think the patronizing might not be all for us. Are there a bunch of angry people upset that the trees in their airports aren't being refered to as Kwanza trees? Come on Stange, not every one is as offended as you and your kooky out of touch friends. But the terror that is this article of Ms. Stange's did not end there, alas for all readers, you will be bombarded with useless data.
For those interested, evidentley "if you are Wiccan, the matter of being un-included this holiday season must especially sting." I'm so sad. "A group of Wiccan families is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for the right to bury their fallen heroes in military cemeteries in graves marked with a pentacle, the five-pointed star that symbolizes their religion, much as a cross does Christianity or a Star of David, Judaism." Now, first of all, if Wikipedia serves me well "Because there is no centralised organisation in Wicca, and no single "orthodoxy", the beliefs and practices of Wiccans can vary substantially, both between individuals and between traditions. " Why then does every Wiccan want a pentacle? Every Christian wants a cross, okay got it, every Jew want a star of David, Islamic crescant and so on until...your head explodes because only about 1800 out of over a million people claim to even be Wiccan in the military. Even then how many of these people are really going to be buried in a government cemetary? I have no problem with giving it too them, but was that sob story supposed to make me think "Wow, they are being screwed, this Christmas lets just call it a holiday tree because the Wiccans aren't getting their head stones at Arlington." Come on Mary Stange, this has nothing to do with the "sting" of not having a winter solstice banner hanging in Macy's. By the way, I see from Wikipedia that only about 134,000 people in the US claim to be Wiccan. Isn't that about the same number of people from Australia that a few years ago claimed to be members of the "Jedi" religion? Do you see what I mean folks?
Now for the Shock-and-Awe moment of the story where Ms. Stange reveals the super-dee-dooper secret origins of Christmas that surely no Christian has every heard as she writes "there is a deep, and seasonal, irony here — one that might come as a shock to the "Save Merry Christmas" crowd." Or it might just be a shockingly awful spin of the story of the origin of Christmas. You see according to Ms. Stange "Christmas is, in its origins and its symbolism, perhaps the most pagan-inspired of all Christian holidays." Yes, I see. When Christians first saw the pagans (wiccans of course) giving presents and singing "O' Silent Night" they wept with joy at the inspiration they recieved. They said "Oh Partinicus, I am so inspired. We should take over this holiday and suppress Wiccans everywhere for Jesus." "I think you are right Linicius, I too am inspired for this cause." Or, maybe during the conversion of the pagans (who were probably NOT Wiccan as it didn't exist before the 1920s) the Christian missionaries who were instructed to attempt to allow as much of the indigienous culture to remain as possible, might have taken the pagan holidays and "baptized" them. The missionaries knew that though you can change religious beliefs, you can't change the entire culture of the people. The people will still want to celebrate things that are traditional to them. So, if they still want to celebrate around the time of the old winter solstice and want something to celebrate show them a party concerning their new found beliefs. Now they have a reason for joy, the birth of Joy itself! Could it be that in this fashion it became popular to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ on the 25th of December?
While we're on the subject of Christians-are-really-just-pagan-copiers why not take a look at what Ms. Mary has to offer next. "Most of the popular symbols surrounding Christmas — evergreen trees and other greenery, mistletoe and holly, the Yule log, candles and bonfires and holiday lights, mystical spirits with the ability to fly and to enter and leave a house through its chimney, tricksters who treat or taunt little children, not to mention those elves — all derive from older, pre-Christian Europe."
So sure Christians think that evergreens symbolize the everlasting reign of Christ and blah blah blah, but Wiccans know that they are wrong. I think Ms. Mary may have forgotten that just because something may have its origins as one thing it can still transform into another. For instance, at Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. At the same time, Jews celebrate the Passover. What was once Jewish is now Christian, but with a different twist. This example is a little different as Christians didn't just add to the pagan holiday but changed it. Sure we kept the evergreen, but we changed its meaning. For us, the winter solstice even has meaning, and we're not Wiccan. It can symbolize that even if evil may seem to triumph (the shortest day of light for the year) God and his goodness will succeed (the brightening days to come). As far as the spirits coming down the chimney, I'd like to remind Ms. Stange that similarity does not imply descent. If the story of a Bishop in Myra turns into a story about a man who gives yearly gifts on Christmas and the way he gets into the house is through the chimney, it cannot be implied that because pagans believed that spirits came through a chimney it is the pagan descendant. That's like saying that because some ancient Middle Eastern religions used arches made of gold in their worship then McDonalds must be an ancient cultic temple.
The last paragraph of the article is indeed a work of art (it'll take me another beer just to suffer through it again). "In fact, nothing could be more in keeping with the "Christmas spirit" than to embrace and celebrate religious diversity. And nothing could be truer to the spirit of the First Amendment than to honor American war dead as they and their loved ones would wish. No single group of self-proclaimed Christians holds a premium on the meaning of this magical season. And no government agency should decide what "qualifies" as an appropriate religious symbol." Because nothing says "I am the way, the truth, and the life," like religious diversity at Christmas. And while we're on the subject of Christmas, just go ahead make a statement about the first amendment, its all the same to a Wiccan. Finally, no one could say it finer that Ms. Mary Stange: Christmas time doesn't belong to Christians. I guess you called this one right Ms. Mary, Christ came for all of us, let's celebrate.
What also caught my eye was a short paragraph that said:
"the governor said he wants to ensure the process does constitute cruel and
unusual punishment, as some death penalty foes argued bitterly after Wednesday's
Pretty sure Jeb isn't looking to make sure Florida's executions are cruel and unusual. Just a thought.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
And after finals, the best thing I could hear all day came from today's first reading from Isaiah:
"Do you not know or have you not heard?The
LORD is the eternal God,creator of the ends of the earth.He does not faint nor
grow weary,and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.He gives strength to the
fainting;for the weak he makes vigor abound.Though young men faint and grow
weary,and youths stagger and fall,They that hope in the LORD will renew their
strength,they will soar as with eagles’ wings;They will run and not grow
weary,walk and not grow faint."
Thanks be to God.
Also is the speech was B16 reminding us what the media tends to forget, human dignity and rights are also violated in more ways than one: “alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia. How can we fail to see in all this an attack on peace?”
The Pope continued his message that religion is not a place for violence:"Today, however, peace is not only threatened by the conflict between reductive visions of man, in other words, between ideologies. It is also threatened by indifference as to what constitutes man’s true nature."
Finally is regards to the removal of the Christmas trees from the Seattle airport (just kidding, but its along those lines): “There are regimes that impose a single religion upon everyone, while secular regimes often lead not so much to violent persecution as to systematic cultural denigration of religious beliefs.”
Enjoy the speach.
The EU is so backward right now that they'll do one of two things with this 1) They'll say "its okay, we accept you for who you are. Your culture and religious prefernces are fine with us, even if it comes to sacrificing camels. Heck the camel probably deserved it anyway so give it a try on one of our runways." or 2) "Whoa, you guys really are from a different culture. Maybe we should wait a bit. You know, you guys could really help to bring some stability to the middle east..."
My bet is they'll probably choose option #1 so that no one thinks they're being "intolerant" of Turkish culture. I don't think sacrificing camels is the norm in Turkey by the way. I think B16 was probably right though in regards to Turkey's status with the E.U. I'm not sure they go together like peas and carrots.
Last thought on this: were the airplanes really that bad that the airline workers felt it was worth sacrificing camels on the runway?
Monday, December 11, 2006
I'm sooooo sad that Kofi has to step down, especially after such a riveting farewell speech. It was so fresh and original to hear "Human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity." Wow, what insight. I also listened in amazement when he said the U.S. "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused." The raw intellectual power of this man, how will he ever be replaced?
But certainly Mr. Annan wasn't just preaching to his lib Euro-buddies was he? You don't mean to say he was....no....just putting one country down to raise himself?
Alas, I think our friend Kofi is nothing more than another man trying to give himself a final shot of glory. And again it comes at our expense. Have we abandoned our "own ideals and objectives" or are our ideals just very different from someone who developed UNICEF into a tool for "population control." Maybe when Kofi says that our "friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused," he means his friends. You know who I'm talking about Mr. Chirac, Mr. Schroeder, and I guess anyone else who doesn't like America. I seem to recall our friends like you know, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom not disagreeing with us a whole bunch. You know, the other 22 countries that went with us into Iraq. Sure, not everyone has agreed that we should have gone into Iraq, but the fact of the matter is as Mr. Annan said in his speech that as the world's superpower we "must accept the special responsibility that comes with their privilege." So we have.
My little Kofi, if you could see past the spotlight that's been in your eyes these last few years you could see that there were really only a few people clapping. That clapping you hear drowns out the crying from the families in Africa where your dear UNICEF has told them to use condoms and abortion to keep themselves from overpopulating and hence starving themselves. If you'd have opened your ears to that instead of the cheers you've sought by insulting the US, you might have even heard the victory cheers in Uganda for winning battles in the fight against AIDS by using abstinence education.
But you have been busy Kofi. You and Kojo have been hard at work. It must have been rough going making sure all the money went to the right places and "right" places when the Oil-for-Food program was running. And as I've mentioned UNICEF before, I may as well mention it again, it takes alot of time to put the right people in charge. You know what I mean, the "Co-ordinating Committee on Health -- aligned UNICEF with UNFPA's major partner agency, International Planned Parenthood, which ranks second only to the the Chinese government in the volume of abortions it provides." Second to only the Chinese government, well Kofi, what are you doing falling behind? You better set the tone my friend.
Why stop there? Kofi, can I call you Kof for short? Kof, you hit the nail on the head when you said "The Security Council is not just another stage on which to act out national interests." I mean you are so right. When Iran threatens everyone who wants to stop them from making "the bomb" by taking action at the security council, they are totally just using the council as a stage. Oh, my fault, you were just putting us down again. I see, Iran has every right to put on a show at the Security Council (I hear Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a great Gene Kelly in their new Singing in the Jihadist Rain), but should we use UN channels such as the Security Council to try to stop them from using a WMD against a country they want to be "wiped off the map," we're trying to hijack the council for national interests. I understand.
I know I'm not perfect. I tend to criticize alot, just ask my wife, she hates it (or look at my Nativity story post). I do get a little perterbed, however, when people like Kofi Annan continue to criticize America day after day while his own deeds go sight unseen. UNICEF is killing babies but the headline on YAHOO!NEWS is: "Annan criticizes U.S. in farewell speech." You know somewhere Beelzebub is loving it.
On the flip side, now that Kofi is out, have some fun looking at these pictures capturing the touching moments of his time in office (just kidding, its a Kofi Annan photoshop contest).
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Also, pray for the kid to get some sense. There have been other stories about kids like this who sound like the type that think they don't fit in and they want to be a part of something. They remind me of the Columbine types. If I recall there was a reservist they caught trying to give info to terrorists on deployment dates and unit strengths but he wasn't very smart about hiding it. Pray for these kids.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I remember some years back when they re-discovered St. Peter's burial place. Not that it was really ever "lost" I suppose. This has got to be exciting for Steve Ray.
Monday, December 04, 2006
|Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas|
For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.
Joking aside, this is kind of cool, but I wonder how much money was spent developing this. A RoboSalmon? What kind of information are they hoping this thing can gain for them that they can't already get? I can't see any use for this robot that you couldn't already get from current submersibles. I suppose that's why I'm not getting paid the big bucks though.
This reminds me of a Seinfeld stand-up act where he say "Let's see I just graduated with my doctorate, what kind of research should I do? Hmmm. Should I help to fight cancer? No. Should I work on helping develop new drugs? No. I know, I want to create a watermelon without seeds. Yes, I will use my knowledge to create seedless watermelons!"
Anyway, I guess I'm cranky from being up late. I know I shouldn't be this critical. If I could half the things these guys can with some electronics I'd be a happy engineer.
See the video below.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I guess 'ole Putin thought Britain should take a page out of Russia's playbook. Too bad he forgot that the Brits have freedom of speech. Get that story HERE.
This is one of the coolest things I saw all day.
If the kid is wearing hair that looks like it could represent a gang, kick him in the butt and get his hair cut. I don't know if my link will work, if not, its the video of the school forcing a kid in NM to cut his hair on the right hand side of the page HERE.
That's my stuff for the day.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Sorry to have to post the url and not just link it but blogger is still a little kooky.
Okay. What in the world is going on. Half the world know His Holiness B16 is pushing logical interfaith dialogue. He asks for basic human rights and freedoms to be given to people of all faiths not just christians, and the response he gets from the post is:
"The more one tries to defend the Pope’s remarks as being made “inadvertently,” the more the transparency of their real intention becomes obvious: To close the door on the dialogue between Muslims and Catholics permanently."
Oh yes, that's right. If he wanted to close the door on interreligious dialogue with muslims he should go to a predominently muslim country and insult them. Yes, this sounds like a wonderfully reasonable thing to do. OOOOOOr, maybe the Wall Street Journal has a nack for actually listening to what the Pope says and not watching Al-Jazeera for their editorials like the Post:
"Benedict XVI's evident intention is to engage the Islamic world, particularly its religious and political leaders, in an intense and long discussion of the religious, political and legal rights of their resident minorities, in other words, the Western tradition. The implications of this effort are obvious for achieving an acceptable modus vivendi with global Islam."
Oh so he does want to use interreligious dialogue so two faiths can come to an understanding. Hmmm. Interesting. So how can two different papers come up with stories on two different ends of the spectrum? The "Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virgina" says things like "No amount of apology can undo the harm the irresponsible comments about Islam and its founder have done to the prospects of dialogue between these two Abrahamic traditions," and "The Pope had no such noble intention to change the minds and hearts of Muslim militants." The WSJ's writer Daniel Henninger says "Benedict XVI's evident intention is to engage the Islamic world, particularly its religious and political leaders, in an intense and long discussion of the religious, political and legal rights of their resident minorities, in other words, the Western tradition."
If the Post can't get someone who is actually paying attention, they should just not cover it at all. Of course they do have their readership who were probably already saying this stuff before it ever got printed and now its just the "proof in the pudding." Anyway, for better analysis of this, I'd bet that the Curt Jester, Jimmy Akin or Mark Shea will have something up about this. Check them out.
This one is the first in a series so keep watching and see the great men and women we have to be proud of and thankful for.