Friday, January 31, 2003

Wow! Today's high in Tucson was 84 degrees, a new record. The previous record was 83 degrees, set in 1911. It's been one of the warmest January's we've had, and very dry (.08 inches of rain vs. the normal .99).
From Slashdot, a thought provoking article on globalization in IT and engineering -- The New Global Job Shift. For those of us in the field, it's pretty scary. I may not be employable in 10 years, or, I'll have to take a huge pay cut to compete.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Wow. Check out this cool article about Technology and Life's Dominion. Perhaps the neatest thing is that it's not on a "religious" website but a science/technology one. Be sure to check out some of the links, too.
Over at Swimming the Tiber, Sean Roberts blogs about infant baptism. Although he's since responded at more length I thought I'd put my own two cents in.

First, I think the biggest problem is thinking of original sin as something of which a baby is guilty. It's much more accurate to say, as Sean does at some point, that babies are stained with original sin from conception. The point is that original sin is not actual sin. Saying we are guilty of original sin can confuse people into thinking that we are responsible for original sin. We are not. Calling it original "sin" is the classic usage but it's easily misunderstood in just this fashion. Thinking of it as a deprivation (we are lacking the harmony with God we would have had had Adam not sinned) is much more helpful. It is therefore perfectly appropriate to think of babies as innocent. Babies are not guilty before God of anything, because they have not sinned. They are deprived of the grace they should have had, and which is ordinarily restored to them at baptism.

Second, I'm quite surprised neither Sean nor (apparently) anyone in his class brought up Limbo. Thinking about Sean's dilemma it's easy to see why the church fathers conjectured a Limbo as the place where unbaptized babies who die are sent. After all they are not guilty of sin, but they lack the grace of baptism. The Church now (as Sean points out in a subsequent post) merely entrusts these babies to God's mercy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

I went to see A Moon for the Misbegotten at Arizona Theatre Company tonight with my friend Mary. Wow, what a powerful play. It was an excellent production. The play is a little long ( 2 hrs. 40 minutes including intermission) but it didn't drag at all. There's a lot to think about in O'Neill's opus.

Incidentally, Mary just got engaged last week, and she's trying to finish up her dissertation in time to graduate in May; plus, of course, she's looking for a job. A prayer or two her way would be appreciated as she has a lot to do :-).

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I was reading Not For Sheep a bit. The author adopts a very sarcastic tone much of the time, and I started reflecting on sarcasm. The definition of sarcasm is:

1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual b : the use or language of sarcasm

On reflecting on that (especially the first definition) I wonder if sarcasm is really reconcilable with Christianity. Offhand, I can't think of any way that sarcasm could be used charitably -- it seems to always involve, if not an explicit, direct desire to hurt others, at least a willingess to make fun of them. Furthermore I think that sarcasm tends to encourage a viewpoint on life that is lacking in Christian joy. I have noticed for myself that when I was younger I tended to use sarcasm occasionally or infrequently, but now I generally avoid it. Perhaps I'm becoming mushy in my old age.
David Morrison blogs about "bug chasers" -- gay men who deliberately seek to be infected with HIV. He also references this article in Rolling Stone about the phenomenon. All in all it disturbs me and disgusts me to no end -- it's taking the gift of life and throwing it away, suicide done slowly, and just for the thrill in some cases. What drives people to a state like that? What the hell are they thinking?

Monday, January 27, 2003

Here's the text of Bp. Weigand's 1/22 homily re: Governor Davis.

As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone — politician or otherwise — who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart.

Thanks to Mark Shea reader Julianne Wiley for the link.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

I bought the new Avril Lavigne CD on Wednesday. I've been listening to it a fair amount. So far I really like her; my favorite song is "I'm With You". Here are the lyrics:

"I'm With You"

I'm standing on a bridge
I'm waiting in the dark
I thought that you'd be here by now
There's nothing but the rain
No footsteps on the ground
I'm listening but there's no sound

Isn't anyone tryin to find me?
Won't somebody come take me home
It's a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you

I'm looking for a place
Searching for a face
Is anybody here I know
'Cause nothing's going right
And everythings' a mess
And no one likes to be alone

Isn't anyone trying to find me?
Won't somebody come take me home
It's a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand
take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you

Oh why is everything so confusing
Maybe I'm just out of my mind
Yea yea yea

It's a damn cold night
Trying to figure out this life
Won't you take me by the hand
take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you

Take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you

Take me by the hand
Take me somewhere new
I don't know who you are
But I... I'm with you
I'm with you
I'm with you...

I think what I most like about this song is that it is, to me, evocative of our life on this earth and our search for God, for meaning in our lives. The question "Isn't anyone trying to find me?" could be said by anyone. It's something I've been feeling a lot lately in trying to come to grips with the loneliness I've been feeling. The beauty of Christianity is, in part, that Someone IS trying to find us, and to take us home. All it really takes is for us to say "I'm with You".
Music for Mass
SSPP Latin Schola
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Prelude: Alma Redemptoris Mater (Palestrina))
Gathering Song: I Heard the Voice of Jesus (Traditional)
Penitential Rite: Kyrie (Chant Mass)
Gloria: (Chant Mass)
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 25
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia (Chant Mass)
Preparation of the Gifts: O Bone Jesu (Palestrina)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
Holy,Holy: Sanctus (Chant Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Chant Mass)
Great Amen: (Chant Mass)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Agnus Dei (Chant Mass)
Communion: O Salutaris Hostia (St. Gregory Hymnal 226a)
Tantum Ergo (St. Gregory Hymnal 242f)
Recessional: Send Us As Your Blessing, Lord (vs. 2) (Walker, OCP)

Friday, January 24, 2003

Over on In Between Naps, Joseph D'Hippolito commented:

3)Institutional corruption cannot be solved one person at a time. It can only be solved by boldly and courageously confronting the issues that cause that corruption. Had the US taken that same approach with racial segregation, Jim Crow would still be alive and well in the South.

The context was problems Mr. D'Hippolito sees in the Church. However, in thinking about it, it occurs to me that the many people who oppose the pro-life effort to criminalize abortion on the grounds that it won't stop it, won't change hearts and minds, I ask -- should we not have outlawed slavery? Should we have simply worked to change the hearts and minds of slaveowners so that they would see the error of their ways?

"Of course not!" is the reply. So how, exactly, are the cases different?
When I read articles like this one on the current war debate I have to recognize that my social liberalism, already tempered by my Catholicism, is also further tempered by my experiences as a Navy civil servant.
It looks like the Itanium port of VMS may not be just a smokescreen after all. Check out HP lines up OpenVMS for Itanium, which claims that it will be available for early adopters late this year and released in '04.

Happy Birthday ElfGirl!

A big tip o' the hat to my buddy Brenda ElfGirl. Happy Birthday Brenda!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Wow, a bishop with a spine! Bishop challenges Davis on abortion. Yep, that's Sacramento Bishop Weigand and California governor Davis. Unfortunately it probably won't make a difference either for the lives of the unborn or for Davis's soul, but it's a good effort. Thanks to Mark Shea for the link. There's also a Zenit article.

The Vatican document referred to is Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life.
Wow! CNN reports No more eulogies at funeral Mass. A better title would be "New Archbishop Enforces Liturgical Rules" but I suppose it's too much to expect for CNN to do any research at all (sarcasm). Eulogies have never been part of the funeral rite in the Church, as anyone who's ever read it would know.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

There's a lot of good stuff over at In Between Naps on today's Roe v. Wade anniversary. A couple of choice quotes:

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" -
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, February 3, 1994, National Prayer Breakfast.

"Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!" - Susan B. Anthony, 1869.

Also, a disturbing but important article on the reality of abortion.

Finally, President Bush's remarks to the protestors gathered for the March for Life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Eep! Slashdot is reporting a remote root exploit in CVS. This means that CVS servers that are publically available... like, oh, all the open source projects, pretty much(!), are vulnerable. Fortunately there is a fix available.

Monday, January 20, 2003

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST My friend Amber Lee was just in a car accident. I only could talk to her briefly (understandably) but she says she's okay but her car may be totalled. Please pray for her and the other person in the accident. She's a starving student and really can't afford this kind of stuff, not to mention the mental/emotional/spiritual trauma.

Update: She's okay. A little bruised and sore, but okay. Her car probably will be totalled though. The cops came and cited the other driver as being at fault, so that's a good thing. She is kind of shaken up but she's at home with her folks now. Prayers would still be appreciated, though; thanks.
Check out Heather's Michelle Kwan Nationals 2003 articles link page. There are a ton. My favorite so far is Christine Brennan:

I have a question: Has anyone in skating ever loved competing more than Michelle Kwan? She skated magnificently, surpassed only by herself at an earlier age, in 1996 and again in 1998. She was on such a roll that when it came time to throw in her final triple jump, the seventh of her program, she uncharacteristically bagged it. "I was too jazzed," she said. "I just wanted to do the nice footwork and then blast (the arena) apart. At that point, everyone's just coming off the walls."

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 Olympic gold medalist, Michelle Kwan. The third time has to be the charm, doesn't it?

And, if you think I gush too much about MK, check out Kirk Wessler:

I want Michelle. Only Michelle.

Michelle Kwan is the queen. The diva. The icon.

And again:

Kwan is Kwan. There is only one, and I'd pay to watch her.

You bet your sweet spiral, I would.

I couldn't agree more.

Happy MLK Day

Unfortunately I'm one of the many working stiffs who don't get this day off. Judging by the parking lot this morning, though, most of the people in the building (bankers and lawyers, mostly) are indeed off. Lucky them.
Richard Chonak blogs about protest as "liturgy". Actually, this is a topic which could use some in-depth exploration.

For some generally irreligious people, a political demonstration may be the most moving event they ever take part in, and the one which gives them the greatest feeling of solidarity with humanity. No wonder it takes on the character of a ritual whose basic texts become fixed with time.
Wow! In looking through comments over at Catholic Light, I came across this cool list of Chant Links. Check it out, there's some really good stuff there.
The FreeBSD Project has announced FreeBSD 5.0 is now available. I downloaded the .ISOs from my favorite mirror although I won't have a chance to load it up for a bit, I expect. Still, it looks like it's pretty neat, some new features. 5.0 is a "new technology release", though, and may not be for everyone. Check out the Early Adopter's Guide for more info. The Slashdot discussion is amusing as always.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Yea! I just went rollerblading for the first time in ... probably 5 months. It felt good. I went over to the bike path at Reid Park; fortunately it wasn't too crowded. The weather has been terrific lately, it's ideal weather. I only went for about half an hour or so, just to get my legs back. The first 10 or 15 minutes or so were pretty shaky but after that it started coming back to me and being more fun. I didn't fall, which helps. Good stuff.
Michelle Kwan wins her 7th US Figure Skating Championship. This is her 6th title in a row! Last night's long program was vintage Michelle. Today in the exhibition she skated one of my personal favorites, her "Fields of Gold" program. This program expresses best the things I love about MK's skating -- her poise, grace, elegance, strength, and skill; her love of skating; and her ability to express a mood to her audience.

One of the unexpected treats of the exhibition today was Kimberly Meissner, who won the novice division. Mark my words, this skater is going places. She's only 13 years old but has a confidence, poise and style that are memorable.

Friday, January 17, 2003

David Morrison blogs about parents of homosexual children. It's a powerful reminder of how difficult love can sometimes be. What he says applies to a lot of other situations as well.
I don't know whether to cravenly appeal for attention or critique the newest member of St. Blog's, The Catholic Blog Reviewer. On the one hand it's nice to have someone running around looking at blogs. On the other, it seems too much of an exercise in collective navel-gazing to me. Do we really need this? Isn't Nihil Obstat bad enough? Anyway, check it out.
Speaking of ice skating, Michelle Kwan has won the short program competition at Nationals. Michelle had five 5.9s and no mark lower than 5.7! Way to go MK!
Cardinal Ratzinger and the CDF have issued a Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life. One (of many) interesting points is this reflection on why the Church supports religious freedom:

8. In this regard, it is helpful to recall a truth which today is often not perceived or formulated correctly in public opinion: the right to freedom of conscience and, in a special way, to religious freedom, taught in the Declaration Dignitatis humanae of the Second Vatican Council, is based on the ontological dignity of the human person and not on a non-existent equality among religions or cultural systems of human creation.[28] Reflecting on this question, Paul VI taught that «in no way does the Council base this right to religious freedom on the fact that all religions and all teachings, including those that are erroneous, would have more or less equal value; it is based rather on the dignity of the human person, which demands that he not be subjected to external limitations which tend to constrain the conscience in its search for the true religion or in adhering to it».[29] The teaching on freedom of conscience and on religious freedom does not therefore contradict the condemnation of indifferentism and religious relativism by Catholic doctrine;[30] on the contrary, it is fully in accord with it.

Thanks to Zenit for the link. Zenit is worth checking out and supporting, by the way. It's a great source of info on what's going on in the Church and the world, a good corrective for the bias often found in our American news media.
Last night I took my friend Amber Lee to the Stars on Ice performance in Phoenix, as an early birthday present. Wow, what a terrific show! The cast:

  • Salé & Pelletier
  • Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze
  • Katarina Witt
  • Alexei Yagudin
  • Kurt Browning
  • Todd Eldredge
  • Meno & Sand
  • Ina & Zimmerman
  • Roca & Sur

The special guest was Scott Hamilton. What a lineup! Between them they've won 8 Olympic gold medals, 2 Olympic bronze medals, and a boatload of world and national titles. It doesn't get much better than this. The evening flew by and was over far too quickly. If I had to choose I would say the two things that stand out most were Scott Hamilton and Salé and Pelletier.

Scott Hamilton was amazing! He did two skates, the first was the "Double Bogey Blues" and the second was to the tune of Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" with special lyrics that were amusingly tailored to Scott. The second skate included 3 (count 'em, 3) of his trademark backflip. This from a man who fought off cancer 6 years ago. He's amazing and inspiring. The best part of watching him is that he so clearly loves what he's doing and relates to the audience so well. The crowd gave him a well-deserved standing ovation. It's a memory I will cherish.

Salé and Pelletier were riveting. Like Scott, they have great ice-presence. They work so well together it's like they are one body with two parts; grace and elegance personified. Their skating is smooth and it seems utterly effortless, easy. When Pelletier does those moves (I wish I knew what they are called) where he spins her and throws her out and she lands on one foot skating backward, it seems the easiest thing in the world, like they do it every day before breakfast (twice). It's beautiful.

All this gushing is not to say that the rest of the performances were not also memorable. They really were. If you like ice skating at all you should definitely go!

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Check out Aristotle's Missa "Na Na Hæ Hæ". This guy cracks me up!
President Bush has declared Sunday January 19th "Sanctity of Life Day". This is so great!

He proclaimed this Sunday as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, urging Americans to mark the occasion at home or in places of worship, to help others in need and to "reaffirm our commitment to respecting the life and dignity of every human being."

Here's the text of the proclamation.
Newly inaugurated Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano continues to amaze and impress. In her State of the State Address on January 13, she identified five priorities:

  1. Education
  2. Economic development
  3. Homeland security
  4. Protecting children and seniors
  5. Land/water preservation

I did find it somewhat amusing that a Democrat is paying homage to George W. Bush:

This is the same process the state of Texas used in the 1990s, with promising results. By combing line-by-line through state budgets and operating policies, Texas state government generated $8 billion in savings from 1991 to 1995, without hurting the quality of state services.

All in all it was an exciting speech, especially the close:

Today, we stand at the foot of another great mountain, looking up to the summit of a new Arizona. As we plot our ascent, let me tell you from experience: we will get to the top. And the view from there will take our breath away.

Let’s get at it.

Incidentally, Arizona is the first state ever to elect female governors back-to-back. Everyone thinks California is so progressive but they've never elected a female governor.
The inimitable Fr. Andrew Greeley holds forth on how priests must do their part to heal church's wounds.

Priests should take an ad out in their local newspaper in which they tell the laity that they understand their anger and they are angry, too, in part at themselves for not responding earlier to the abuse crisis.
Wow. The Arizona Daily Star reports major cuts at The University of Arizona(tm). State support has been shrinking for some time, but with the state facing a $1 billion deficit it's clear things aren't going to get better. President Likins is now choosing to cut whole departments rather than nickel-and-dime everyone to the point where they can't get things done. I support this approach for two reasons -- 1) it's better to do things well or not do them at all, and 2) for too long the University has absorbed budget cuts by cutting budgets across the board. Because this approach wasn't particularly dramatic, it impacted the University badly but to outsiders it seemed like the cuts did not affect the University very much, which encouraged legislators to continue axing support for education. With the impact of cuts being felt more obviously it's clear to outsiders what the impacts are. Some of the programs being cut:

  • Extended university
  • Humanities program
  • School of Landscape Architecture
  • School of Planning
  • School of Information Resources and Library Sciences
  • School of Health Professions and Medical Technology Program
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences
  • Flandrau Science Center
  • Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies Program (IDP)
  • Undergraduate degree program in environmental hydrology and water resources
  • Doctoral program in French
  • Masters’ program in Russian
  • Institute for Local Government
  • Nuclear Reactor Laboratory
  • Arizona Cooperative Extension Office in Greenlee County
  • Marana agricultural center

And there are more, of course. I'm saddened about the reactor being closed, although the UA lost its nuclear engineering program just a few years after Three Mile Island. Still it was pretty neat to have a nuclear reactor in the engineering building! Also, note that the Humanities program is not the Humanities Department but a separate entity. The Arizona Daily Wildcat coverage is here. Also check out the Arizona Daily Star editorial.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

In surfing I came across a new document from the Congregation for Clergy -- Instruction - The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community.

Among the various aspects of ecclesiastical discipline, docility to the Church's liturgical laws and dispositions, that is to say, fidelity to the norms which organize divine worship in accordance the will of the Eternal High Priest and of his Mystical Body, merits special importance. The Sacred Liturgy is an exercise of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, a sacred action par excellence, "the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed...[and]the fount from which all her power flows". In this area, consequently, the priest should be even more aware of being a minister and of his obligations to act in accordance with the commitments he freely and solemnly undertook before God and the Church. "Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See, and, as laws may determine, on the bishop...No other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy of his own accord". Arbitrariness, subjective expressions, improvisations, disobedience in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist patently contradict the essence of the Holy Eucharist, which is the sacrifice of Christ.

Here's the link on the Vatican website.
I was driving to work this morning and I had another one of those moments. For a couple of minutes I was convinced that September 11th never happened and that it was some kind of bad dream. I can't really describe it very well, but I was looking around me at how normal everything looked and thinking that it didn't happen, it couldn't have happened. Of course, it DID happen. The illusion of safety and security is just that.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Check it out -- Fr. Andrew Greeley (yes, him) writes about the flaws in our democracy. He's pretty much right. The connection to Tucson, of course, is that Fr. Greeley teaches at UA part-time.
I was just listening once more to Rain Perry's album, The Balance. Wow. If you like music with lyrics that make you think, or that reflect life as it really is (good and bad), you gotta check her out. One of my favorites is a chorus from the album's closing track, "The Real Thing":

Well, welcome to the real thing
It's not ideal
It's hard and it's frustrating
And I can't make you feel
A glad reaction
I don't hold the key
But take a part of me
And maybe this will be the real thing
This could be the real thing

There's a lot of truth in that.
I was watching my new DVD of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring last night. It's great, but an inquiring mind wants to know -- if the Ring makes the wearer invisible, why is it in the prologue section of the movie we can see Sauron wearing the Ring?
The Arizona Daily Star has a good update on the current status of the Central Arizona Project which delivers Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson -- Arizona looks OK for now with CAP. The article mentions Tucson's water thriftiness:

Tucson also has a stronger conservation ethic, as seen in the greater prevalence of grass in Phoenix. The typical Tucsonan uses about 150 gallons a day, while Phoenix residents average 250 a day, said Val Little of the Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona.
Saturday stuff -- I drove up to Tempe for our family gift exchange (since my Dad and stepmom were out of town for Christmas). It was really nice to get everyone together. After the exchange we went to my Dad's for lunch. My stepmother is an excellent cook and lunch was terrific as always. After lunch I went over to visit my godson Tommy and his parents Claudine and Rob. Finally I stopped off to see my Dad again, then headed home to Tucson after a quick dinner at In-N-Out Burger, yum!

The Arizona Daily Star reported today that Arizona is still in a drought. For all of 2002, Yuma broke a record with a mere 0.03 of an inch of rain, while Phoenix tied the 1956 record with just 2.82 inches. Tucson had 7.84 inches. Tucson's average yearly rainfall is 12 inches. Interestingly enough, Tucson's average yearly rainfall is actually higher than San Diego's (10 inches).

Friday, January 10, 2003

In the discussion over on Catholic Light, someone mentioned that Rich Mullins was in the process of becoming a Catholic. This was definitely news to me! I found an article that talks more about where he was at: Rich Mullins -- Enigmatic, restless, Catholic.
Over on Catholic Light, Sal blogs about Our God is an Awesome God. Here's my version of the song:

Our Dog Is an Awesome Dog(Dedicated to "Roadie" Lorentzen)

Our dog...
Is an awesome dog
He bays
At the moon above
With whiskers on his face
Our dog is an awesome dog!

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Okay, I'm probably the only one about St. Blog's who would blog about this -- but those who know me probably wouldn't be surprised. Michel from Cerritos is asking "Give Me Nice Big Boobs!" Yep, just when you thought life couldn't get any weirder, along comes a girl asking for donations (she needs $4500) to get a boob job. Hmmph.

Of course, I am struck by the irony that I just finished giving a talk to our RCIA class about the social teachings of the Church. Somehow I'm not convinced that solidarity or the preferential option for the poor really applies in this case.

In case you are asking yourself, "Self, where did Gordon find this? What kind of sicko is he?" -- I can honestly say I got the link from ElfGirl.
Tucson is rated the 9th-fittest city in America. ElfGirl's hometown came in at #3, it must be all those hills :-). This is especially fun for Tucsonans because Phoenix came in 14th-fattest.

Tucson scores high marks for air quality, nutrition, climate, commute and recreational facilities, but loses points in the junk food, boob-tube watching and alcohol consumption categories.

I especially love this quote:

Low ratings for the Valley of the Sun came as no surprise to Riccitello. "I've always considered Phoenix to be right next door to hell for a lot of reasons," he said.
The latest thing on Customer-owned Networks and ZapMail. Shirky talks about the future of wireless networking (WiFi) and voice-over-IP (VoIP). Check it out.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

So last night was our first meeting of our penultimate (how I love that word!) class for the Diocese of Tucson Living Stones program. This class is on morality. I hope I can be forgiven for wondering what this class is going to be like when the teacher is an ex-priest teaching at Salpointe High School, which is *ahem* not noted for its orthodoxy. At least, my experience has been such. It also is a bad sign when the bibliography handed out the first night includes a book by noted dissenter Charles Curran.
Backsliding. I have gained 2 lbs. over the Christmas holidays. Grr. Must...redouble...willpower... I'll do it somehow.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Another example of how TV doesn't get it. I watched Boston Public last night. In one scene they show a supposedly Catholic funeral, except that a) the body is in an open casket placed in the sanctuary and b) a soloist sings "Ave Maria". I have never seen either of those at a Catholic funeral. Of course they make good TV, and hey, who cares about the details? Grrrr.
Democratic governor Janet Napolitano was sworn in yesterday as Arizona's 21st governor. She's our third female governor and the first Democrat elected to the office since Bruce Babbitt back in '82. She inherits a state government that faces a $1 billion deficit next year and a $280 million deficit this year. In other words, she's got a lot to do. She gave a very inspiring speech.

"My friends, we are all in this together."

Monday, January 06, 2003

In perambulating the Web I came across Greg Popcak's article, A Christian Perspective on Corporal Punishment.

I have always been of the mind that corporal punishment was acceptable so long as it was done without anger. I recall a very long discussion with my friend Nikki (she's getting her Ph.D. in clinical psychology) where she was very much against corporal punishment. Part of my argument at the time was that there are times when a problem is of sufficient urgency that nothing less would do. For myself I can only recall two occasions in my family where I received CP, and once at school (jr. high, obviously this was a while ago).

I have to admit, though, that Popcak's article is very persuasive. I'm re-thinking this issue and may well change my mind.
For those who like comparisons, my cell phone stats for my second month as a cell phone owner:

Anytime Minutes: 209 (of 300)
Night/weekend minutes: 378 (unlimited)
PCS to PCS calls: 1861 (unlimited)

Thats a lot of yakking! But I still didn't use up my daytime minutes.
According to the Belief System Selector, my #1 belief match is ROMAN CATHOLIC.
What do you believe?

Well, that's a relief :-).
Michelle blogs about people applauding at Mass and says "Can you imagine people applauding the Crucifixion?"

Points like this are examples of the tension present in the Church (especially now) over the Mass as sacrifice vs. the Mass as sacred banquet vs. the Mass as the gathering of the assembly. The "problem" is that the Mass is all of those things. If you view the Mass solely as the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, then applauding is definitely out, along with several other parts of the Mass (the collection! :-), the Eucharistic prayer, communion). The Mass is Calvary, yes, but it's also the Last Supper, and it is also the place where we gather in the Lord's name. So there are many things going on. It's important to realize that we should not emphasize one aspect to the degree that we lose sight of the others. To me this sort of thing is yet another example of the "both/and" of Catholicism.

I am not a big fan of applause at Mass, and as a musician I cringe when people applaud the choir after Mass. That's not what we are there for. But there is an appropriate place for such things -- it's at the time designated for announcements, namely, after the final prayer and before the blessing/dismissal. If a pastor wants to acknowledge people's contributions before the assembly, that is the place to do it, and for special liturgies it's often appropriate.

(N.B. the CCC discussion of the Eucharist is here.)
The American Dialect Society says Iraq On Our Minds And In Our Words. We bloggers are not left out either:

Blog, a log of personal events posted on the Web, was voted most likely to succeed.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Okay, I know this is very geeky of me, but I'm so thrilled. Over the last week or so I got my CVS server set up again. CVS is a version control system, and all the source code for my thesis project is stored in it along with a bunch of other stuff. Anyway I have it set up again after I messed around with the original server. The cool part is that I also finally built the Apache web server on this machine and got it running, and now I have CVSWeb running as well so I can use the web server to browse my source repositories etc. It's way cool.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

I came across And Then? today. Check it out, there's a lot of cool stuff on there. Besides, we left-coast types need to stick together!
It's been a fun day today. The high was in the mid 70s and the sky was so very blue! I had an RCIA team meeting at 1 p.m. to discuss the upcoming "semester", then off to my sister's house to install her new outdoor light and replace her doorbell. It didn't take very long. I'm always struck by the feeling of accomplishment that can come from doing even such simple things. After that I ran to the Catholic bookstore in town for some books, then off to 5:30 Mass. After Mass I went shopping at J.C. Penney and Dillards. I was looking for a coat. J.C. Penney didn't have any coats I liked but I wound up buying 3 shirts and a sweater :-). The prices were incredible! Finally at Dillards I found what I was looking for, a nice black London Fog overcoat. I've always wanted one, and I really could have used one around Christmas when it was cold and I didn't have anything to wear over my suit coat. And of course it was On Sale also, 33% off! So it was really quite reasonable. Now that this orgy of shopping is over I suspect I won't go again 'til summer.
A reader reports having difficulty with the color scheme for this blog (white on purple) and requests a change. Anyone else having trouble reading this? If so, suggestions for a text color? The purple stays :-).

Friday, January 03, 2003

Another cool new blog from someone joining the Church -- check out Christopher Cuddy's The Directed Path--Proverbs 3:6. Mr. Cuddy has the great blessing to be going to Franciscan University of Steubenville, starting January 2003!. What a great school!

Welcome to St. Blog's, Chris!
While wandering around the Web, I came across Mary Beth Bonacci's Real Love Productions. Check it out.

Sometimes it's pretty neat to read the raw transcripts of things. My buddy ElfGirl blogged about it a while back, how important it is to get to the sources. I was very amused in reading this transcript of a Bush press conference at the following exchange:

[Bush]Yes, Holly?

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

BUSH: I'm tired of these people calling you Heidi.

QUESTION: I appreciate you...

BUSH: And I will correct them, particularly on camera.
Today is J.R.R. Tolkien's birthday. Happy eleventy-first birthday, Mr. Tolkien.
In Terra Fiat Pax sounds so much better. Check out Richard Chonak's new words to this well-known song. He cracks me up.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Robert Cringely gives his techie predictions for 2003. His self-assessment of his 2002 prediction is 70%, which is not bad. Check it out. Note the last prediction:

15. And finally, with the continued (and to me totally inexplicable) rise of web logs, someone -- maybe Google -- will come up with an effective blog search engine to read all that junk for us and extract what we really care about.
Good news -- Experimental Drug Shows Promise for MS.
Check out a new (to me) blog -- In Between Dances.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Happy New Year!

The year 2003 is here, what will it bring? Many people are fearful, concerned about terrorism, the economy, war, and many other threats to our safety and well-being. For myself, I'm cautiously optimistic. Maybe this will be the year I meet my long-sought-for Miss Right. Who knows?

New Year's Resolutions:

  • Clean up/out my house
  • Lose more weight (goal: 200 lbs.)
  • Visit family and friends more often, especially those far away.
  • Attend 2003 Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia National Assembly in Washington, D.C. in August.