Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Thanks to Catholic Light for the text of Boston Archbishop O'Malley's installation homily. It's very inspiring.

In a community of faith, we learn to worship our God, to forgive one another and to serve those around us. We discover the true dignity of each and every person made in the image and likeness of God. No matter how small the unborn, no matter how debilitated, and unproductive the aged and infirm, we must take care of each other. No one is expendable. Each and every person counts in God’s sight. The Gospel of Life will always be the centerpiece of the Church’s social Gospel.
The Motley Fool has a article about cohabitation and finances. Am I the only person who finds it amusing that people who don't want to go through the paperwork and commitment to get married now want to have all the legal rights of people who do? Especially now when they are basically setting up an alternate structure ("domestic partnerships") which are making people jump through many of the same hoops anyway.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

It's not surprising to me, but Tucson ranks #1 on the list of bad cities for asthma. Unfortunately asthma, like type II diabetes, seems to be one of the growth diseases (scourges, really) of the 21st century. It's really a huge problem. Some folks think the high incidence among children is due to environmental factors, others think it's due to lack of exposure to dirt/dust/pet dander. I think there's something to this last theory, myself, at least in some cases. Kids don't eat enough dirt! It builds their immune systems.
You wouldn't know it from reading the secular press, but Bob Hope was a Catholic when he died. Apparently years of prayer by his wife eventually had their effect :-). He was married for 69 years; how often do you see that?

Monday, July 28, 2003

Mark Shea is hilarious. Check out his version of the Nigerian email scam.
It's a sad day. Comedian and entertainer Bob Hope has died. Bob Hope was a class act -- he gave freely of himself and displayed a dedication to our fighting men and women that is sadly rare among entertainers today. He'll be missed.

"Thanks for the memories", Mr. Hope.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Friday Five

I mean to do this every Friday, but I often forget... anyway:

1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?

This is hard! Maybe "Still Waters Run Deep" or "Life On Schedule" or "A Man for All Occasions"

2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?

Mostly choral music -- Barber's "Agnus Dei", the Howell "Requiem", also a lot of Palestrina. On the more modern side, some Gershwin and a variety of pop -- Amy Grant, Sting, and yes, Debbie Gibson.

3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?

Live action, definitely.

4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?

I can see Jason Alexander or Richard Dreyfus, or Wayne Knight. For my family... hm. Hard. Jerry Orbach could play my Dad, perhaps, and Meryl Streep my mom (the budget's infinite, right?). Drew Barrymore could play my friend Amber Lee, Marisa Tomei could play Maria.

5. Describe the movie preview/trailer

A series of quick crosscuts between.... graduation (both of them), my Mom's funeral, out at sea on a destroyer, UA football games, the Rolling Requiem, walking in the rain with a girlfriend, and skating lessons.

These are hard questions!

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Robert Cringely's latest column proposes a "son of Napster" that he believes is both legal and able to effectively cripple the RIAA and its members. It's an interesting idea and I think he is right both that it is not illegal and that RIAA would bring all its considerable resources to bear to try to get legislation to make it so. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

CNN is reporting that the Pentagon claims Saddam's sons are dead. Assuming this is true, it's a pretty big breakthrough, and I hope it will help things settle down a bit in Iraq now.
Here's some cool news! A small swatch of the Tilma of Guadelupe will be displayed in Tucson in October! It's been said that a close examination of the Tilma shows an image in the Virgin's eyes. Pretty amazing stuff!

Sunday, July 20, 2003

The Star has an article today about the sexual abuse settlements and how they are affecting the Diocese of Tucson. Not surprisingly it's making it difficult for the diocese to survive. Also not surprisingly, some people think that they shouldn't have to contribute to the settlements. I guess "we are church" only applies to the good times.
My head hurts! I spent most of yesterday, as well as this morning, playing in the Ye Olde Pueblo Open, organized by the Southern Arizona Chess Association. This was the first tournament I'd played in since 1991! I was expecting to get my butt kicked. All in all, I played 4 games (had a bye for the 5th round since I have to go to Mass sometime!), won two and lost two. The last game in particular lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes and was a real nailbiter. I thought several times that there was no way I could win, but I managed to pull it out.

I should play more often! Perhaps this is the kick I need to get out and do it more often. There are not that many tournaments in Tucson so it's worthwhile to make an effort for the ones there are.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Birthdays! Thursday, Maria's daugher Kristen turned 15! And yesterday my goddaughter Isabel celebrated her first birthday! Woohoo! *clap* *clap* :-) They are both beautiful, of course!

Friday, July 18, 2003

The Arizona Daily Star has a cool article about one of Tucson's best homegrown restaurants, Eric's Fine Foods. Eric's is just down the street from me, but I've not been there in a while. I should rectify that.
Here's the transcript of Tony Blair's address to the US Congress. It wasn't without a touch of humor:

On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but sorry.

God bless the UK!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

NASA has some cool pictures of the Aspen fire. They are just now letting homeowners up on the mountain again. It's all very sad.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I'm famous! Okay, not really, but I did get my name in the paper this morning, in the Arizona Daily Star's "Dry Heat" column. I'm whining about people who say "orientate" when they mean "orient."

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Archbishop Justin Rigali has been appointed to the be the new Archbishop of Philadelphia. Seems like a good choice. I was betting that he would be the new Archbishop of Boston, but I was wrong.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Ah! Relief! While Tucson's monsoon hasn't yet official been declared to have arrived, our first monsoon-style storm struck last night and gave us half an inch of rain. It was wonderful!

Friday, July 11, 2003

In the "what-world-IS-this?" department, Fr. Rob Johansen comments on Britney Spears and Catholic teaching on sexuality. Yes, I never thought I'd see the day... but read what he has to say, he's right on (as usual).
On my skating blog, I've posted about my strength and fitness. I'm thinking about taking a yoga class in the fall. Anyone have insights/experiences they'd like to share?

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Tucson's heat wave continues; it's supposed to be 111 degrees (F, of course) today. The Star has a whiny editorial about it, but it's balanced by an article about people who really enjoy the heat. Fave quote:

"I think of the heat as another force of nature - like a high wind or heavy surf or when it's snowing really hard," says Wallace, a captain with the Tucson Fire Department's hazardous material team.
I got a letter from the Tucson Symphony yesterday, saying that they wanted me to do a callback audition for the TSO Chorus. Specifically they called attention to excerpt preparation, rhythmic drill and sightsinging. After thinking about it for a while, I've decided not to do the callback. It's not a pride thing ("they should have just let me in to begin with"), it's just that I don't think I am likely to do any better. To be honest, I thought I did pretty well at my audition, better than I expected to do. So I will leave it at that and go sing in Collegium Musicum. Still, the audition experience was a good one and I'm glad I took the time to do it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

While I was in Dallas, I went with my friend Maria to look at pianos. I'm interested in getting a digital piano. I want a digital vs. a traditional mostly for two reasons... 1) tuning a traditional piano is expensive, and in Tucson at least, it's necessary several times a year, and 2) being able to do it with headphones on would be great. I really want a very simple piano, nothing horribly fancy. Anyway, after playing several different pianos at the store I wound up settling on the Clavinova series. The store in Dallas (well, Irving) only had the CLP-130 but the person said the CLP-120 had the same basic keyboard, just fewer features. Based on that I went and checked one out on my lunch hour yesterday (there's a piano store across the street, Hachenberg and Sons who have been in Tucson for a long time). The 120 goes for $1900, which is a bit steep for out of pocket, shall we say! I am thinking I might use next year's income tax refund on that though. Then of course I'd have to start taking lessons... it all adds up, but I need to get moving, I'm not getting any younger!
It's still very smoky today, and Tucson is enduring record heat. The Arizona Daily Stars asks, "Have we all died and gone to hell?" It's supposed to be 109 today and 111 tomorrow. My personal take on temperatures in Tucson:

  • 70-79: Nice!
  • 80-89: Pleasant.
  • 90-99: Warm.
  • 100-109: Hot.
  • 110+: DAMN hot!

So we will be in the DAMN hot! range...

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

It's very smoky in the valley today, and you cannot see the mountains at all (except for the westernmost end). Yech! When I walked across the street to go to lunch today one of the SkyCrane tanker helicopters flew right over me, on its way back to the airport I assume.
An interesting article from MSNBC on cholesterol-fighting drugs and their effects and implications. My doctor has suggested putting me on statins (like Lipitor) but I've been resisting because I think I need to really fix my underlying diet/exercise issues. Maybe I should take them, though.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Please pray for the repose of the soul of my e-buddy Brenda Elfgirl's grandmother, who passed away this afternoon.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
CNN reports on selective abortion and infanticide in India. The male-female ratio is already skewed and it's getting worse. The sad part is that NOW et al in the US are so committed to supporting abortion that they don't criticize this stuff because they'd have to admit abortion is wrong.
I came across a couple of neat articles on the Web today. The first is an article by CBC News, What the World Thinks of America. It has both the results of a poll taken to survey attitudes, as well as essays written by prominent journalists. The countries represented are:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • France
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom

The second article is in The Atlantic Monthly, Headlines Over the Horizon. This article by analysts at the RAND Corporation discusses international security issues that are approaching but are not being (adequately) addressed. They are:

  • The Israeli Wall
  • Russia's Shrinking Population
  • India's Hindu-Muslim Divide
  • AIDS and African Armies
  • Tehran-New Delhi Axis
  • Anti-Satellite Attack Threat
  • Consolidation in the Defense Industry
  • Aircraft Carrier Shortage
  • Pakistan-Indian Water Conflict
  • Challenges of Urban Warfare

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Wow, I've been very chatty today. One last post -- check out this cool article by Dinesh D'Souza on 10 Great Things About America. This July 4th it's good to see America through the eyes of an immigrant and remember that for all her faults, she's the greatest nation on earth and there's certainly no place I'd rather live. God bless our country!
CNN is now reporting that the Aspen fire is approaching Ventana Canyon on Tucson's northeast side. Eeeep!
Bonnie Henry writes about how Tucson is the Rodney Dangerfield of the West.
Music for Mass
Peter Dodge and Gordon Zaft, cantors
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gathering Song: I Heard the Voice of Jesus (KINGSFOLD)
Penitential Rite: spoken
Gloria: spoken
Responsorial Psalm: (OCP Respond & Acclaim)
Gospel Acclamation: Praise His Name (Joncas) refrain w/verse of the day
Preparation of the Gifts: Christ, Be Our Light (Farrell)
Holy,Holy: (Hurd Mass)
Memorial Acclamation: (Hurd Mass)
Great Amen: (Hurd Mass)
Our Father: Yantis
Lamb of God: (Hurd Mass)
Communion: We Are the Light of the World (Greif)
Recessional: Let There Be Peace on Earth (Miller & Jackson)

Alas, the verse for "Let There Be Peace on Earth" was the stupid "optional text": "With God as our Father, we are family. Let us walk with each other." GRR!
If you like Catholic jokes*... I mean, if you really like Catholic jokes*... check out the comments to this post on Mark Shea's excellent blog.

*By this I mean jokes that Catholics would enjoy.
I flew home from Dallas last night. Security at DFW is definitely tight -- I had to remove my shoes, was wanded all over, and had to unbuckle my belt and be patted down. The trip was uneventful (always a good thing!). As we were approaching Tucson I could see that the Aspen fire has really worked its way west and south -- the devastated area is now just enormous. The fire at night was really something frightful to behold, and the cloud of smoke in the east part of the valley is enormouse and thick, obscuring the mountains there. It's really bad.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Since I've been out of town, I missed this story on wacky ex-Catholics "ordaining" a Tucson woman. Not surprisingly in reading the story, they tout the liberal Catholic line -- abortion, contraception, homosexuality, etc. They are wanting to have their cake and eat it too. Too bad.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

While I'm usually loth to quote myself, I have to say you should check out my latest lyrics, Get Me To The Rink On Time. The skaters will know where I'm coming from :-).

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

From Slashdot, a cool link to an article on building a home network from scratch. Check it out, it's pretty neat and not so techie as to be inaccessible.
I've been on vacation to Dallas since Saturday but I had to blog about the appointment of Bishop O'Malley as new archbishop of Boston. I'm a alittle surprised that he got this appointment, but he was a Massachusetts bishop for a long time and should be relatively familiar with the territory. I think it's a good choice. I'm sure there will be a lot of discussion around St. Blog's about the matter.

My visit to Dallas has been a lot of fun, as I count fun anyway. It's been very relaxing. I am staying with some of my oldest and best friends and it's nice to be immersed in family life.