Thursday, December 29, 2005

Leaving Tucson

I didn't want to blog about it until I'd put my notice in at work, but since I did that today... it's official. I'm going to be leaving Tucson. I've accepted a job at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon (a suburb of Portland). It's a wonderful opportunity. I'm going to be an Interoperability Engineer in their Enabling Platforms and Services group -- testing the latest & greatest hardware/firmware. It's going to be a lot of fun. I really like the folks I'll be working with, the money is good, and there will be much better opportunities for advancement. There will also be much less stress and pressure. Marie will be moving with me and so our relationship is moving forward in a very positive direction. I'm very happy about that since I'm absolutely crazy about her :-).

Of course, having been in Tucson for 13 years, and having been an active member of the community and parish, I'm having to say a lot of goodbyes. It's sad. While I'm glad to know that people care and will miss me, I feel like I'm letting them down. I'm doing my best to hand off things and close out things as best I can. Between the various choirs and church activities, CTAC, work, all my friends at the rink, and of course my family and old friends here... it's hard.

My first day on the new job is Jan. 23rd; I'm leaving Tucson around the 17th or so depending. I'll be having a huuuuuge yard sale January 7th! Come take stuff off my hands!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A big Happy Birthday! to Colleen! She is 21 today.... oh, to be young again! :-) Have a good one C!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wow! A belated Merry Christmas! to all! I sang for the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Christmas Eve services, which were very joyous and fulfilling. Marie sang at the 8 p.m. as well and was drafted to sing a (brief) solo when the person who was supposed to sing it was sick at the last moment -- she did fine.

Christmas day we went up to Tempe to have Christmas day breakfast with my Dad, stepmother, nieces and nephew and my ex-sis-in-law. Afterward my Dad and stepmom and Marie and I went to see "Memoirs of a Geisha." I liked it a lot, but Marie and stepmom thought it was a bit slow in the middle.

The week before Christmas was marred by news of the death of an old friend, Steve Hickman, on the 22nd. I met Steve at Artisoft; he was in the QA department. Steve was a heck of a guy -- a very dry sense of humor, but behind the mask a very kind and caring man. He'll be missed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Today was a very cool day. This evening was our 4th (?) annual Collegium caroling in Winterhaven. I started this back when I was in Lane Justus Chorale, and since the LJC was disbanded and we all started singing with Collegium, it's been that group plus friends etc. Tonight we were caroling for almost 2 hours and had a whopping 21 people show up!! Wow! It was a lot of fun, and we really sounded great. I often call this "geek caroling" since besides the carols we also do some nice 4-part stuff (Carol of the Bells, Coventry Carol, and the Victoria O Magnum Mysterium). It was awesome and we got a lot of compliments.

After caroling Marie and I went to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We both really enjoyed it, and I thought it was very well done.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Apparently the Vatican has finally published the new document on homosexuals in the seminary. Our own Bishop Kicanas is one of the bishops designated to talk to the press. The Star has a very balanced story on it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Check it out...

You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox








Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


Reformed Evangelical


What's your theological worldview?
created with

Monday, November 28, 2005

Well, Thanksgiving went well. Had a nice time meeting Marie's parents and sister and uncle etc. Had a great Thanksgiving dinner. Marie and I went to see Rent on Thanksgiving evening -- it was terrific. Friday I had to watch the Wildcats lose a heartbreaker to Sata... er, ASU. *sigh*

Anyway, it was a good trip, but it's good to be home. Yea!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off in just a bit, up to Tempe to visit my Dad and stepmom, then up to Vegas on Thursday morning for Thanksgiving with Marie and her family. This is my first time meeting Marie's family, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bwahahahahha! Okay, I know this intrastate rivalry is maybe a bit juvenile, but I had to smile when I read that UA fans painted ASU's "A' mountain red and blue. Way to go :-).

In other, stranger and sadder news... this case from Florida -- Fla. Teacher Pleads Guilty in Sex Case. Sad because she abused a 14-year old boy. Strange because the woman was a) a newlywed and b) stunningly beautiful. It's not like she couldn't have had any number of willing partners, so why a 14-year-old? And how could her marriage be so bad as for her to do this already?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I have been cleaning house and found this today:

Faith of our Fathers

The church spire silhouetted
In the lambent sunset
Thrusting to the sky its burden
Shouting to Heaven

I think it's from 1991.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A good article in today's Star on the importance of lay ministers in the Church today. Bishop Kicanas has headed the USCCB committee on this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Red Rings of Wax

When I came home from work today, my copy of Marie's book was in the mailbox. Wow! It's so amazing to see this book that she has worked so hard to bring to fruition finally appearing in print. I am so proud of her, and happy for her. She's amazing.

Go buy a copy! It's only $11 and would make a great Christmas gift for the poetry-lover in your family. I do have to warn you that there are "adult themes" present -- it's not a book for children. But it is honest, and true, and heartfelt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Here's a cool story on some good work by my company, Scientific Technologies. We've helped link Louisiana's immunization registry to our states so evacuees could have access to those records.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hey, this is pretty cool -- Forbes and Yahoo are teaming up to form a virtual time capsule! Check it out, it's free so what's the harm? You've got until 11/30 to get your message into the time capsule.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Take a moment, if you can, to thank a vet. Their sacrifices need to be appreciated by all of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If I was ever in doubt that Tucson really loves the Wildcats, this excerpt from this week's Monday Memo by Bishop Kicanas should remove it:

"They Played Like Wildcats!" -- When I celebrated Confirmation at St. Thomas More Newman Center near the University of Arizona campus on Saturday evening, you could hear the crowds of people streaming from Arizona Stadium celebrating the Wildcats stunning victory against formerly unbeaten UCLA. Congratulations to Coach Mike Stoops and the players for a great victory!
Sad news -- the Paulist priests are pulling out of Tucson. They've run St. Cyril's parish for 30 years. The Diocese of Tucson has been hard-pressed for priests as it is and this won't help.
CNN reminds us it's been 30 years today since the Wreck of the Edumnd Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called ’gitche gumee’
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of november turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the edmund fitzgerald weighed empty.
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of november came early.

The ship was the pride of the american side
Coming back from some mill in wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for cleveland
And later that night when the ship’s bell rang
Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T’was the witch of november come stealin’.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of november came slashin’.
When afternoon came it was freezin’ rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin’.
Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya.
At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it’s been good t’know ya
The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the edmund fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they’d have made whitefish bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
May have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake huron rolls, superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old michigan steams like a young man’s dreams;
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below lake ontario
Takes in what lake erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of november remembered.

In a musty old hall in detroit they prayed,
In the maritime sailors’ cathedral.
The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the edmund fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call ’gitche gumee’.
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of november come early!

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Two short things -- first, a cool (to geeks like me anyway!) story on the new Boeing 777 attempting to set a record for longest nonstop unrefueled flight -- Hong Kong to London! That's 12,500 miles, or about 23 hours of flying time... wow! Very impressive.

The results of yesterday's Tucson City Council election are a bit surprising, at least to me -- Democrats swept the races, so Tucson now has 5 Democrats and an independent on the Council and a Republican mayor.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

BWahahahaha! The Angry Twins bring us the Top Ten Changes a Catholic majority will bring to the Supreme Court. My favorite:

3) Supreme Court opinions will be deemed infallible and unreviewable by any earthly authority [Ed. - Sorry - that does not appear to be a change at all]

Thanks to Catholic Light for the link!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Whoa! Yale School of Music has received a $100 million donation that will enable them to make grad school tuition-free! That's terrific!
Wow, check this out -- Anne Rice has returned to the Church! God works in mysterious ways...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Today was our first Collegium Musicum concert of the year, a lecture recital by Lani Johnson. We performed Heinrich Schutz's Weihnacts-historie. This is a 17th century piece in German, an early oratorio-style piece. It was very cool! Besides singing in the choir I had a part in a bass quartet singing the high priests' parts. I did fine and was actually pleased with how I did.
More reaction to yesterday's Wildcat victory, from the Arizona Daily Star -- Confident Wildcats on 'whole other level' and Charles Durrenberger says the Wildcats had Total domination. There's an article about the crowd rushing the field -- Fans pay no attention. As usual Greg Hansen's column is entertaining:
Picture your best day of the year: The mail includes a notice from the IRS, detailing the $4,286 you have overpaid. The office phones with news that you have been recommended for a promotion, a raise and a Christmas bonus.

You meet your cardiologist at the golf course. He slaps you on the back and says "Mr. Stoops, the X-rays all came back negative. You don't have high blood pressure or a heart problem, after all. It was just some bad pizza."

Or, if you're an Arizona football player, the best day of the year is beating undefeated UCLA 52-14 the way the long-suffering Wildcats did Saturday.
I have to agree.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Today's football game was an AMAZING upset! Arizona stomped all over 7-th ranked UCLA (previously undefeated), winning by a final of 52-14. It was a truly amazing, astonishing game. Arizona's defense was strong, shutting down UCLA's running game and most of their passing game. UA's offense came alive under Willie Tuitama's leadership, and kicker Nick Folk did a great job on the rare occasions he had to punt. He got a lot of practice at kicking off -- almost all of them went into the end zone.

It was a very convincing win and I'm sure the national press will be scratching their heads over this one. Check out Sports Illustrated -- Desert Blues.

In other news, my alma mater's legendary coach, Vern Friedli, and the Amphi Panthers came up with Friedli's 300th win. Congrats to all!
Wow, I had the strangest dream last night. I don't remember that much, but basically I had come home to my house, only it's not the house I have now. This house has a carport and I get the impression it's on a military base for some reason. Anyway I come home (I don't know how I got there) and my car looks different, like it's shorter. When I look closer I realize it's been hit from the side by some kind of impact and that makes it look shorter. But it's in the carport, so how could it have been hit?

I go in the door and there are people in my house stealing my stuff. I start yelling at them to leave but they don't, they just keep stealing my stuff and start yelling at me. I decide to call the cops so I pull out my cell phone and call 911 and ask them to send someone pronto because I am being robbed. I am wishing I had a cell phone with a camera because they are right there. I'm trying to memorize what they look like so I will be able to describe them later.

And then I wake up! How bizarre.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I've just been watching a PBS special on the Apollo 8 mission. It's inspiring to remember. I was only 5 at the time and while I have good memories of Apollo 11, Apollo 8 is a little blurry. The inspiring reading of Genesis at Christmas time by the Apollo 8 crew is one of those moments in history that move beyond words. Sadly, in this day and age the crew could never read a passage from the Bible without being excoriated for their religious insensitivity.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Here's a cool article on The Truth About Hypocrisy. A good message that bears repeating:
I will say this and repeat it: Hypocrisy consists not in failing to practice what we preach, but in not believing what we preach.
Thanks to Mark Shea for the link!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I'm in a strange mood. Marie is home in Las Vegas so I'm not planning on celebrating All Hallow's Eve by doing anything except going to Collegium Musicum rehearsal. At the same time, it's going to be a stressful week at work, and my boss is in town. I made a major breakthrough in my skating today. I'm in a very unsettled mood...
So President Bush has nominated Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. This looks like a good solid choice. Interestingly enough, a friend of mine is now clerking for Alito in New Jersey. No word on if he'll get to move up or not if Alito is confirmed... talk about being in the right place at the right time, though!

I'm rather amused at the hysteria coming from Planned Parenthood. Some person signed me up for their email newsletter and I've stayed subscribed since it's entertaining. With each nominee they've come out with all kinds of stuff -- mostly (of course) a plea for donations. The thing that I've never gotten a good answer for is, if the American public supports abortion as PP claims, then what's the big deal? If Roe v. Wade were overturned, surely that broad base of public support would ensure that legislatures would enshrine the Right to Abortion as PP wishes?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I had another letter to the editor published in today's Star, in response to a story about a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription for "emergency contraception". Here's the letter:

Customers and pharmacists have rights
The editorial states, "Employers should require that pharmacists park their personal religious beliefs at the door when dealing with consumers."
It's hard to believe I live in America when I hear such statements. What is freedom of religion if not the freedom from being compelled to violate our conscience? Every soldier has this right, even in wartime. No one should have a right to compel another to violate his conscience by telling him to just follow an order.
It's ironic the left, the so-called champions of choice, are the ones trying to force pharmacists to act in this way. A woman's right to a prescription doesn't mean the right to force another to fill it.
In a multicultural society, it's important we respect the values of others, even if we disagree with them. In a free market, there should be plenty of people whose consciences read the morality of such acts differently. A more constructive approach would find a way to compromise between the consciences of some and the demands of others.
Gordon Zaft

I wish I had saved a copy of what I originally wrote so I could show the effect of the editing. I know there was some but I can't say precisely what it was.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I went to the doctor on Tuesday since I've been sick. While there he ordered another round of bloodwork since it's been a few months. Good news -- my weight is down to 210 (which makes me "overweight" on the BMI instead of "obese" --yay!) and my blood pressure is 112/80. My comparative bloodwork:

June Oct
Hgb A1c5.5
Cholesterol 202188

I don't quite understand the cholesterol numbers. The triglycerides are the first time they've been in an acceptable range -- thanks to Marie's cooking and the near-total absence of fast food from my diet.

The doctor prescribed me antibiotics and eyedrops since he decided I had both generic "creeping crud" and conjunctivitis. Unfortunately, I lost both prescriptions and called and called to get them replaced. Finally they called in the eyedrop prescription on Thursday but not the antibiotics, and I was back at work on Friday and got so busy I forgot to call. End result -- my eyes feel much better, but my throat is still killing me. *sigh*

Sunday, October 16, 2005

It's been a long weekend, mostly because I've been sick as a dog. I'm slowly feeling better.

A nice article in today's paper on the local Benedictine monastery -- Nun's haven struggles with age, money woes. I hope that the nuns find a way to stay; the monastery is a beautiful, peaceful place.

I attended the UA football game yesterday -- it was disturbing. Once again the Wildcats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We could have, should have won this game, but again it was the same old litany of penalties, fumbles, and interceptions.

Friday, October 14, 2005

*bleah*! I've been sick for a couple of days, had to stay home from work yesterday. Just a cold, I think, but I was pretty miserable. Marie took good care of me though, bless her heart :-).

An interesting article in today's Star -- UA nuke security lax, ABC News says. People always seem to get inordinately excited when they find out UA has a reactor, until they actually look at it. It's very small. It's been there almost 50 years, and it's pretty harmless.

Friday, October 07, 2005

So Marie came home on Wednesday and we had a long talk about our future and some of the issues we have. We were both relieved (and maybe a little surprised) that we were able to come to agreement about them and we can move forward in our relationship. I'm really happy.

There's a collector from Sierra Vista who has been willing to take some of my "classic" machines off of my hands, in my ongoing quest to get the house in some semblance of order. Today I was able to give away my 9-track tape drive and a Q-bus controller for it, as well as an AT&T Unix PC with a bunch of docs and some other miscellaneous docs. I'm still hoping to give away my IBM PC RT and some other smaller stuff to this guy if he's willing.

Of course that still leaves me with quite a lot of stuff to get rid of, but I am making progress. Yay!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Founder's Day

On this day in 1898, 13 young men at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston met to consider establishing an organization to work to build up the men of the Conservatory as musicians and as men. That meeting eventually resulted in the formation of what is now known as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, a fraternity for men in music.

I joined Phi Mu Alpha in 1983 as a re-founding member of the Alpha Upsilon Chapter at The University of Arizona®. Sinfonia has had a profound influence on my life, and I'm proud to call myself a member.

Happy Founder's Day to all my brothers in Phi, Mu, and Alpha!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I'm very tired... mentally, physically, spiritually. It's been a very exhausting few weeks. I'm feeling very poor -- the litany of things that have come up wearies me -- had to get my car fixed ($900), my washing machine just broke, my kitchen sink needs a plumber, and I just discovered that the pipes for my hot water heating (radiators) are leaking at the furnace. I was anticipating getting a raise in July, but didn't get it.

I've not been sleeping very well, it's still too darn warm, and Marie has been gone for 3 weeks. She's coming home in the morning, but when I talked to her just now (she was getting on the bus to come home) she sounded sad and said she was sorry to be leaving her family again.

The rink is still closed (though I've heard it may be open soon) so I've not been skating, which is okay since I'm feeling poor, except that not skating makes me feel cranky, lethargic and fat.

I just feel like I need a break, or something good.

Dutch Legalize Polygamy

Another under-reported story -- apparently a Dutch threesome have engaged in a legal civil union.

Thanks to Catholic Light for the link.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I can't believe there's been almost no coverage on this -- credit card minimum payments will be going up substantially. This is really going to hit people hard. I'm really surprised they didn't go into this more gradually.

Update: Here's another story on this. I'm really surprised there hasn't been more coverage about this.

Netherlands: Government-Approved Killing Since 1998!

Those wacky Dutch are still at it -- now they've approved official standards for when babies can be killed with government approval.

Apparently the Nazi occupation didn't teach them very much about the value of life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I am feeling somewhat better about things. Marie has been gone since 9/14 and so I've been a bit cranky, plus stress from work and not skating have not helped at all. I think, though, that I've resolved some of my issues and so I'm feeling better. Not that everything will necessarily work out for me as I'd hoped, but that I know where I stand on things.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Another interesting story in today's Arizona Daily Star on the resolution of the Diocese's bankruptcy case. Check it out.
This is pretty cool. Teams from the Mount Graham observatory's Large Binocular Telescope project have succeeded in moving the second of the telescope's 8.4m mirrors up the mountain.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Diocese of Tucson has completed its Ch. 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The Arizona Daily Star is reporting how the abuse victims' lives will change. This bankruptcy case seems to have been a model for how such proceedings should go -- all concerned seem to have worked together to do what was best for the victims, instead of finger-pointing or grandstanding. It's encouraging.

"I know that nothing can take away the hurt and harm that happened to you," Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas told victims on Tuesday. "You are not at fault and you did not contribute to the hurt that happened to you. But I hope that today will be a continuing of the healing that will take place."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Just a quick whine... I'm having a singularly bad week. I'm looking back to last spring and things seem like they were so perfect then, in many respects. *sigh* I'm sure things will improve but right now I just want to scream, cry or beat my head against the wall.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Shameless Plug

Gromagon Press is now taking pre-orders for Marie's book, Red Rings of Wax. While I am admittedly biased, I can truthfully say that it's a very good book and there's some really good stuff in there. Check it out. It's only $11, so buy one! Buy 2!
I went to the UA - Purdue football game last night. It was a very... intense game. We could have and should have won, but we lost 31-24. *sigh* See the Star's coverage of the game. Basically our defense was pretty solid, our kicking game was excellent, but the offense was inconsistent and plagued with costly mistakes and penalties. It was so frustrating! The good news is that most of the problems are fixable. Check out Greg Hansen's column for some good commentary.

Highlights of the evening -- a 51-yard field goal (wow!) by Nick Folk. The stadium was packed (56,400!). At halftime the youth league football players did their thing, which is always entertaining -- 10 or 12 year olds (maybe younger, they are pretty short!) playing football and the crowds going wild in a very supportive way. And the Pride of Arizona's new Led Zeppelin show is terrific.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Phew! This week at work was absolutely crazy. Very, very busy with a couple of projects that were all heating up at the same time.

This morning was a "choir retreat" for Collegium Musicum. We rehearsed for 3 hours, then had a potluck lunch. Our first concert of the year is November 6th I believe.

Tonight I'm going to watch the Wildcats play Purdue. Should be fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Marie left yesterday on a trip to visit friends and family. She won't be back until October 5th! I miss her horribly...

In other news, for those that don't read my skating blog, Tucson's only rink, Polar Ice, closed on September 9th. It's unclear when/if it will reopen; so I am on a forced break from skating :-(.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Today is my 42nd birthday... actually, it was my best birthday in many years, as far as I can remember. I slept really late (yea) after going to the football game last night (the Wildcats beat NAU 31-12). Then Marie and I went and had a picnic at Sabino Canyon and opened presents. She gave me a couple of really nice gifts -- things that are very personal and original and that no one else would think to give me. She really is the world's best girlfriend as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I've been having some discussions with Marie about Aquinas and his proofs of the existence of God. In researching this to try to understand it better myself and answer her questions I came across this cool article by Peter Kreeft. Check it out!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Whoa! Chief Justice Rehnquist has died. As if life weren't bizarre and strange and mixed up enough right now. This should make life very interesting, especially with the John Roberts confirmation hearings supposed to start Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is very disturbing -- consecrated Hosts stolen in Boston.
Wow, long time no post! Sorry 'bout that. Life has been pretty crazy. School has started, which (since I'm not in school) means mostly that Collegium Musicum has started up again. RCIA starts this Thursday.

CNN has an interesting article on "helicopter parents." Wow. I have a friend whose parents are exactly like this. I've never thought it was helpful. When I was in college I spoke to my Mom about once a week at most, even when we were in the same town. If you can't be independent when you get to college it's going to be a lot harder to be independent afterward -- I've always thought college was the time to make that transition while you still have some kind of safety net.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A friend sent me this link with the subject line "Mario Cuomo is an idiot." Wow, is he ever right. At least, Cuomo's understand of the faith the claims to profess is... nonexistent.

MR. CUOMO: That was essentially the position I took in 1984. And I think it's a good position. Again, let's try being constructive and practical about this. He should answer the question, for the sake of clarity, for the sake of the system. Why? If people believe--especially as a Catholic now, I'm concerned. If people believe that there is a possibility that as a Catholic when you go on the bench or you go into the Congress or wherever as a public official, you would put your Catholic church teachings before the Constitution, then they will not know where you're going to be, because the Catholic church can come up with a teaching any day. They can change teachings, and they do.

It simply does not work in this democratic system to say, "Look, I'm going to be a judge or a legislator, but I want you to know, my conscience comes first and contraceptives, divorce, war, stem cells, abortion, if my church gives me a clear ruling, that's what I must do." That would end our influence in the United States of America politically.

Clearly Mr. Cuomo doesn't let things like his CONSCIENCE influence him, no, of course not. What an idiot.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is the 3rd anniversary ot this blog! Wow, what a long strange trip it's been... Check out the archives for some interesting (at times) reading.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Looking for music! Our choir director is looking for the Credo that goes with the chant Mass that's in the OCP Music Issue (I believe it's Mass XVI). Can anyone point me at it?


Friday, July 29, 2005

This is pretty cool -- scientists have found another large planet-like object orbiting the Sun.
Greg's funeral was Wednesday evening up in Tempe, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. That's the same church where I made my first Communion back in 1969, and also were Greg and Terri were married and where the girls made their first Communion as well; and Chelsea and Geoff were baptized there. So it was a familiar setting. There was a pretty big crowd there. The Schola from SSPP sang, and they were wonderful. I'll try to post the music in a bit.

Thursday morning Greg's ashes were interred with my mother, at Evergreen Cemetery here in Tucson. There was a short service with Fr. Wagner from my parish. It was nice. My Dad read this piece written by one of Greg's friends:



Truman Wood (Tempe, AZ )

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

As you might expect, I've been frightfully busy and not in the mood to post. Greg's funeral is tomorrow and we've all had various chores to do to get ready to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

My particular chores were to arrange for the graveside service, and to arrange for music for the funeral. My nieces and nephew had picked out some songs, and I picked out the rest to complete the service. The Schola from my parish volunteered to drive up to Tempe to sing for the funeral. Wow... let me tell you, that is friendship. All my friends have been so supportive, and my parish has been great. Fr. Van from SSPP has been very helpful and accommodating, all those things that you need at a time like this. The folks at work have been great, and I'm going to be off work Wed. and Thursday for the funeral and graveside service. And of course, Marie has been so kind and supportive.

Greg's obituary is online with a guestbook. Feel free to sign, and thanks for all your prayers and support.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I had a call from my Dad last night just after 8 p.m., informing me that my oldest brother Greg passed away yesterday. Needless to say, this is quite a shock. He was only 48!

Prayers for him and for our family would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I thought I'd share some of the minutia of my life...

I'm in cleaning up and throwing out mode a lot these days... right now the big target is old software. I have a lot of really old software that I paid good money for at the time... dBase IV version 1.5, Paradox 7, Paradox for Windows NT, PC Tools (several versions), original copies of DOS and Windows, Microsoft Project, the list goes on and on. I'd give them away if anyone wanted 'em. I'm sure there's little to no market for this stuff anymore, and as far as I can tell I can't even recycle the manuals (according to the handout I have you can't recycle this stuff). So, out it goes. It's a little sad, but very freeing as well. I should have thrown this stuff out a long time ago!

I went to a birthday party tonight for my friend Laura. It was really cool. A small crowd but lots of fun.

It's been incredibly hot. This seems to be turning into one of Tucson's hottest, if not THE hottest, summers. We're at 32 or so consecutive days over 100 degrees, and it shows every sign of breaking the record (39 days). *sigh*

I finally fixed my lawnmower today. The fix, as usual, is replacing the spark plug. Since I don't have a shed to store my lawnmower in, I basically wind up replacing the spark plug every year. This time I bought two so I can just replace it next year without having to run any errands. Yea! Having fixed it, I went on to mow the front lawn. I'll mow the back tomorrow.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

There's a guest editorial in today's Star from Bishop Kicanas. As the bankruptcy case is now concluded, it does seem appropriate.
As bishop of Tucson, I again make this public apology. I express the firm resolve that this diocese will do whatever is humanly possible to reduce the risk that a child could be abused at a parish or school, at home and even in the larger community.
Let it be so.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the Diocese of Tucson's bankruptcy plan has been approved. The case was resolved remarkably amicably and quickly. I think that's good; now the victims can get on with their lives and the Diocese can work on recovering.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I had always heard of the "blame the victim" mentality, but never have I seen it so strikingly displayed as in this post:

If you are American then please either let us get on and deal with
stuff and leave us alone. If you do want to communicate with us then
please write something along the following lines:

"I'm so, so sorry. Our country has caused yours dreadful harm. Please
accept my sincere apologies and please know that the policies pursued
by our deluded government are not supported by myself and many of my
compatriots. Indeed we despise our politicians as much as you do and
can only regret that their perverse actions have resulted in such
terrible anguish for yourselves and the inhabitants of so many other


DON'T YOU GET IT?? IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!! Your horrible closeness to us
is what brought us this problem. I don't want you close to us. I want
you far, far away. I use those very trains, stations and buses which
were ripped apart today. I work at the hospital which took those
casualties. Even last night, before this happened, I wrote a vitriolic
email to another American trying to get me complicit in some other
nefarious activity. I won't go to America, I don't like America and I'm
getting pretty damn close to hating Americans. Actually, I want you
people to get that we hate you. Maybe not all of us, maybe not hate.
But we loathe and despise you and your society and we don't want your
sympathy - we want your contrition, your self-doubt and your sincere
Now, granted that the poster is a Brit, and obviously he's very upset about what happened 7/7. Also, obviously one can make a pretty good argument that US policies (which, realistically should include the Clinton administration, not just the current administration) have in some ways made the situation worse than it otherwise might be.

My point, though, is that the poster does not ONCE place primary blame where it belongs -- on the TERRORISTS. No, this Brit seems to be in the fine tradition of Neville "peace in our time" Chamberlain. Appeasement doesn't solve the problem, it just emboldens the terrorists. Fortunately, I'm confident that most Britons are willing to see that tiptoeing around in hopes of "not provoking the terrorists" will not work and will just bring more and more terrorist acts.

All of the above should NOT be taken to say that there aren't any number of non-military things we can and must do to decrease terrorism and bring about real peace. We can and must do more to bring about justice, rule of law, democracy, and economic opportunity to the Middle East -- first, because it's right, and second, because it will make the world as a whole safer. But craven idiots like the above won't accomplish this goal.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terri Schiavo's parents have issued a statement concerning the autopsy results. I have to say that they have handled themselves amazing throughout this time; I really admire their courage and tenacity in fighting for their daughter's life.

Terror bombing in London

CNN is reporting that terrorists have struck the London tubes (and a bus). How awful! My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. America is with you!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A story on Datamation shows that DECnet is still hanging on to life and indeed thriving in some ways. I really liked DECnet when I was a VAX system manager -- it was incredibly easy to set up and use and gave transparent access to remote files long before PC networking did. DEC always had great technology.
Here's a really inspiring story a friend sent me about a college quarterback who gave up everything to enter the seminary. It's nice to see that men like Joe Freedy are stilling willing to answer the call.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Wow! Amazing success from the Deep Impact mission. Check it out. NASA is doing some cool stuff!
Hope all my readers had a wonderful Independence Day celebration!

For the 4th I took Marie up to Phoenix to meet my family (Dad, stepmom, oldest brother, nephew, oldest niece). We went to Red Robin for lunch, and had a nice time. Marie was nervous, but she was a trouper and I think my family liked her. It was good. I'd forgotten how yummy the Royal Red Robin burger is (and how filling!). Yummm. After lunch we hung at my Dad's for a little, then went to see War of the Worlds. I enjoyed it a lot (amazing special effects), but there were some definite holes in the plot that leave one wondering...

After the movie we drove back to Tucson, getting in just in time to watch the fireworks. Yea!

My new addiction is Coca-Cola Zero. Wow, this stuff is good. It tastes a lot like Coke used to taste back in the old, old days. Yummy. I just wish there were a caffeine-free version as my tolerance for caffeine seems to have gone south about 2 years ago. *sigh*

Friday, July 01, 2005

My apologies for not posting more -- life has been keeping me pretty busy and I have no idea where this week went!

One of the myths about stem cell research is that embryonic stem cells are far superior to adult stem cells. An article in Science Daily gives the lie to that, though:
In a ground-breaking study, scientists at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh have discovered that adult, or post-natal, stem cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to multiply, a previously unknown characteristic indicating that post-natal stem cells may play an important therapeutic role.
Thanks to Rae for the link.

Monday, June 27, 2005

My parish celebrated its 75th annversary on Saturday, with a Mass with Bishop Kicanas and a wonderful dinner afterward. I'll have to back-post the music from Saturday, and also from Sunday. It was a wonderful celebration -- the church was packed, and so was the hall for the dinner. All our (living) former pastors were in attendance along with a number of others -- 10 priests and one bishop in all! The Tucson Citizen had a nice article about the anniversary.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I'm in a strange mood... I've been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and throwing out stuff in a truly amazing fashion. Those who know my house, however, will know that I'll have to keep this pace up for several weeks to really have accomplished something. Still, it's a start. Anyway in the course of all this I've come across all kinds of amazing stuff -- old letters, of course, but also more obscure stuff like my high school grades (!), a gift certificate (still good!) for $20 at Trinity bookstore, wedding invitations, and much more. I've been fairly ruthless but there are some things that are truly hard to part with, even now.

One of the more interesting things to find is various scraps of poetry I've written at various times. Lesson #1 -- when scribbling dates on things, include the year! I found one that said "12/22" and I'm guessing it's from 2000, but it's hard to be sure.

I've been blessed in many ways, and all this poking around is a good reminder that I've had a lot of kind, interesting, and nice people cross my path over the years. It's hard to let go of that sometimes, in a world that can be cold. I'm working on it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Marie's imminent arrival in Tucson (she's coming on Tuesday) is inspiring me to do a lot of things I've been meaning to do for a long time. So far:
  • Fixed the hall closet light
  • Fixed the diverter in the bathtub
  • Fixed the drain in the kitchen sink
  • Trimmed trees in the front yard
  • Purchased two window AC units for the house
  • Thrown out huge amounts of stuff
  • Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning
It's really inspiring. Yea!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Wow, this is amazing. I had an autopay charge on my checking account that I didn't understand and I finally (FINALLY, as you'll see) got around to inquiring what it was. It was for a credit card I'd had. I was mystified since I thought I'd paid it off and closed it a long time ago. After some research at my bank and the credit card company, I discovered that a) I had closed the account in June 1999, but that when I moved to my current address in December 1997 they had not gotten my change of address correct, and so after a few months of statements being returned they had stopped sending them. It also turned out that while I had closed the account, I had not paid it off and in fact I've been making the minimum payment for all this time and STILL owe them $400 or so. Questions that come to mind:
  • Why did they get the address change wrong?
  • Why the heck didn't I notice?
  • Why didn't they get the correct address when the account was closed?
  • Why was I so asleep at the switch on this one?
Anyway... sheesh. See, I even blog about stupid things I do! Have to get this resolved. They corrected my address and are going to send me some back statements so I can see some of what was going on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bad News -- it was 110 degrees AGAIN today! Aaaaaaah!

Good News -- I went back to Best Buy (but to the other Tucson store) to double-check the price on the portable AC unit I was looking at the other day. I found what I've been looking for for years -- a window AC unit that should fit my incredibly small casement windows, and for only $90! I went home to double-check the size of the windows and yep, it looks like it should exactly fit. I'm going back tomorrow to buy the unit. Yea! Then I just need to get it installed. If it fits I'm going to get a 2nd one for the other bedroom.
Happy first day of summer! In Tucson we celebrated by posting record-setting heat yesterday -- 110 degrees! Eeep. Today's high should "only" be 107.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, and especially to mine!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I have not forgotten about this blog! I have been travelling. Last weekend I was in Las Vegas to meet a girl that I met on the Internet. We have really hit it off! It's very encouraging. She will be coming to Tucson soon, which will be awesome.

Monday to Thursday I was on an Opus Dei retreat. It was a good experience, as they always are. This one was at Thomas Aquinas College, which is an amazing place. The weather was great, and it was a lightly attended retreat so it was more intimate than if we'd had a larger contingent present. Friday was a frantic day at work, trying to catch up on a zillion things that were going on before I left.

I've been pricing portable AC units for my bedroom -- I've decided my swamp cooler just won't cut it for another Tucson monsoon season. For those not from around here, evaporative coolers don't work well once the relative humidity climbs, which is exactly what happens in monsoon season. I found an 8000 BTU unit for $300 at Home Despot, and a 10000 BTU unit for $380 at Best Buy. 10000 BTU is kind of overkill for the bedroom (it's not THAT large) but it seems like a good deal so I'm considering the larger unit. Plus, the larger one is a Whirlpool and the smaller one is not a name brand I recognize. They both have 5 year warranties though.

I'm also considering chucking Qwest+Dakotacom for Cox, mostly because for about $35 over what I'm paying now I can get faster Internet, phone with 60 minutes free long distance, and digital cable so I could actually watch UA football AND ISU figure skating competitions. Something to think about! Also they have a promotion where there's a rebate for the cable modem.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I've always maintained that President Bush, whatever his failings, is not dumb. One of the themes of the 2004 campaign seemed to be "Kerry smart, Bush dumb." Yet now that Kerry has finally (!) released his records, it turns out his college grades at Yale were about the same as Bush's! Hmmm.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A nice editorial in today's Star by the founder of Humane Borders. HB is a group that puts water stations in the desert to help keep border crossers from dying of dehydration. Why is it that such humanitarian aid is controversial? Hundreds die every year trying to cross our border!
Sorry I have not been posting much. Life has been pretty hectic lately and I'm not getting to write as much as I'd like.

The subject of gnosticism came up in a conversation I had recently, and I was rolling it around in my head a bit. Generally speaking gnosticism seems to come from the perspective that you have to have special knowledge, not available (or perhaps not comprehensible) to the average man. In thinking about this, I wonder if gnosticism is not inherently elitist. I don't know how you can get away from that; but I'm not an expert in gnosticism. Catholicism is pretty much the opposite of elitism since it says that God loves us all equally, king no more/less than pauper, and that we are all called to holiness and have hope of salvation. The Church is sent to all (thus the name "Catholic"!) regardless of their gender, race, class, or intellectual ability.


Thursday, June 02, 2005

As probably everyone knows by now, the identity of "Deep Throat" (Woodward & Bernstein's source on the Watergate coverup) has been revealed. Check out this cool article by Woodward about it.

Monday, May 30, 2005

At rehearsal yesterday we came up with some altered lyrics that are more suitable:

Lord, give new life
To this chosen
By the grace of ordination
O Jesus, Son of the Living God
Send your Spirit
In its fullness
On your son here present
Who believes and professes you.

Simplistic but it will do.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Weird weather here in Tucson! It rained cats and dogs yesterday, which almost NEVER happens in May. It's just strange. Wound up going to 5:30 p.m. Mass and was rewarded by getting to see my youngest goddaughter and her family. Aubrey is getting so big! She's 10 months old now. She's a very happy, smiley baby.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

On June 4th the Diocesan Chorale is singing for the ordination of our newest priest, and we are singing the Becker "Litany of the Saints." I'm wondering if we need to change one of the verses, though, as it seems too oriented toward baptism:

Lord, give new life
To these chosen
By the grace of baptism
O Jesus, Son of the Living God
Send your Spirit
In its fullness
On your sons and daughters
Who believe and profess you.

Suggestions? Maybe we should just omit that verse entirely.
I went up to Tempe last night to attend my nephew Geoff's graduation from high school. Congratulations Geoff!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Saturday afternoon I met with one of my former committee members to discuss my thesis research and how it might be applied to some problems they are researching. It was a very cool meeting. It's a very heady experience to feel like your work is appreciated and interesting to others and to see how others find it helpful and might want to work with it. It really inclined me to try to work with it some more and extend/revise what I'd done.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I saw the new Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith on Friday with a bunch of my fellow geeks (in this case, former coworkers from NewMonics). We had a great time -- it's a good movie, much better than its predecessor, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

If you are using Firefox (and geez, if you aren't, you should be! Click on the link on the right and go get it already, it's free and it rocks!), you should check out the cool FTP client plugin, FireFTP. It's truly awesome!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I went to the doctor today about a nagging sore throat I've had since Thursday. He doesn't see anything worrisome. He did set me up to check my cholesterol again though. Stats: BP 120/82, weight 223 (up 3 lbs since October, hmmph.!).

Monday, May 16, 2005

More signs that Germany is imploding -- Germany's population will plummet by 12 million in the next 45 years. There's no hope for the German economy with numbers like that.

Friday, May 13, 2005

And people wonder why so many are upset at judges lately -- a federal judge has struck down Nebraska's ban on gay marriage. I guess it doesn't matter that 70% of Nebraskans voted for this.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Never talk on the phone and be on EBay at the same time. I was INTENDING to bid on an item, similar to one which had just sold for $16. Instead, because I was distracted, I hit "Buy It Now" *and* "Confirm", with the result that I just bought it for $69 instead. Of course, EBay does NOT let you retract "Buy It Now" bids.

I sent the seller a note explaining what happened and begging for mercy, but it's up to him. Legally I am bound. Crud!

I am so stupid. On the positive side, it could have been a lot worse, I guess. Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Three words: Aaron Copland rules!

Sorry, was just listening once more to "Fanfare for the Common Man". It's amazing how such a simple piece can be so inspiring.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

My sister and I went to the cemetery this morning to visit my mother's grave, and leave some flowers. Afterward we went and had some breakfast and a nice visit. It was nice.

A Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Fun with numbers. Today is 05/05/05! I love little numerical coincidences like that. I still remember how tickled I was when it was 7/7/77. And of course who could forget 01/01/01?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Okay, this is the part where we remind everyone that Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. It commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when a small force of Mexicans defeated a much larger French (yes, French) army.

Today's Star has a story on a Cinco de Mayo veteran who is buried in Arizona --
Soldier in Battle of Puebla to be honored.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It's amazing how the web can work sometimes. I recently had an email from an old associate, one of the members of my committee for my thesis defense. He's interested in my thesis research. In thinking about that I decided to google my thesis research and found my work mentioned here. (the actual reference is here) Cool stuff!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tucson is a small place sometimes. My skating buddy Nicole has convinced me to sign my life away er, let her fix me up with her hair stylist for an "image makeover" so to speak. So I go out to the salon with her today to meet her hair stylist and sign up for an appointment etc. As it turns out, one of the owners of the salon is an old friend I'd not seen in a while; we've known each other since 7th grade. How bizarre! But very, very cool!

Incidentally, my appointment is for next Tuesday. I'll blog about it. After that I think Nicole wants to go for new glasses. I'm like her living barbie doll or something! Still, I'll take fashion advice from any reputable source, and I know Nicole would never steer me wrong. Besides, she's having so much fun! It's cute.

Monday, May 02, 2005

More fun stuff:

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

15% Dixie

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Midwestern

Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link!

Friday, April 29, 2005

I took the afternoon off to go see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with a bunch of my fellow geeks -- guys I have worked with and work with now. I really enjoyed it, but I suspect for those who have never read the books it will be more than a bit confusing. It's not "great cinema", but then the books were not Literature. It's fun and if you take it for what it is, I think you'll enjoy it. Check it out.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Miscellaneous reflections... I've been thinking about my life lately, a number of different elements and how they interplay to make "me". One thing that struck me is how differently I am perceived by different people, both online and in person -- perhaps, especially, I should say how differently people on line perceive me than people I know in person. Here's a case in point -- my friend/skating buddy Nicole was teasing me the other day about having a dirty mind, saying something like "yeah, under that oh-so-nice exterior you're pretty freaky" or some such. At the same time, you have online people like CharmingButSingle -- she posted something about baring her cleavage at work and I responded with "we want a picture!" or some such and she said, "I read your blog and I don't think the pope would like you thinking about my rack, as we are not married. Rules are rules, my Catholic friend. Sorry! ;)" Now, granted, she had a :) there -- but the whole thing makes me question a) my integrity, and b) the way I present myself on this blog.

I am not a prude, and I think most of the people that I know in person would agree. I do love God, and the Church, and I try to be a follower of Christ. Of course, I fail often. Perhaps, though, I present too "good" an image of myself on this blog so that people online think I am something other than myself. On the other hand, maybe I'm making too much of this... Dunno. It's just bothering me a bit. It shouldn't bother me if people think I'm "holy", should it? We should all strive for holiness, right? Except that I'm not, at least not yet. I'm quite flawed in many ways, but probably not in ways that are obvious to online folks.

I have also been thinking about my toys. I have too many of them -- computers, mostly. Way more than any one person should have. It's my hobby. Some people collect cars, some guitars or shoes or clothes. For me it's computers. I am picking up a Sun Sparc Ultra 5 today from a guy in town for $70. I'm excited, but of course I already have way too much of this stuff already. I suspect I'm probably too attached to such things, and I need to really look at this. Of course, if I had a love interest I'd probably have no time/interest/inclination/money! for such things. Hmm.

So there you have it; no great thoughts, more just a miscellaneous whine. Anyway, that's what's on my mind -- feel free to comment if you wish (or send email).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A very neat article in National Review Online by Ned Rice -- The Pope Is Still Catholic. I especially loved this:

So if you think this or any other pope is just plain wrong on celibacy or homosexuality or anything else big, and this upsets you so much it interferes with your spiritual life, you’d be well advised to find yourself another church. Otherwise you’re like the orthodox Jew who, in light of recent developments, has taken it upon himself to decide that it’s all right for him to eat pork. You can be an orthodox Jew, and you can eat pork. You’re free to do either one. But folks, you just can’t do both. There are names for Catholics who don’t accept that they can’t do certain things and still receive the sacraments, and one of those names is Senator John Kerry.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Check out the Holy Father's homily from his installation Mass. It's quite moving.

How alone we all felt after the passing of John Paul II – the Pope who for over twenty-six years had been our shepherd and guide on our journey through life! He crossed the threshold of the next life, entering into the mystery of God. But he did not take this step alone. Those who believe are never alone – neither in life nor in death.

Sunday was the first time I heard, "... Benedict our Pope" in the Eucharistic prayer. It was a little jolting, in a way (just as not hearing a prayer for the pope was a little jarring the weeks before). I'd gotten so used to "John Paul, our Pope" that it's still a bit hard to realize he's gone.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Here's a cool story from the Arizona Daily Star on the Vatican Observatory. The Vatican Observatory has a Tucson office and conducts research using the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mt. Graham near Tucson.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Today was a long day. Schola rehearsal from 9-10, and then from 10-12 was a mandatory presentation at the parish on child safety and child abuse prevention. I learned a couple of useful things. Just last week I received a letter from the director of the Diocesan Chorale stating that the Cathedral rector has asked her to verify that all members of the Chorale have been cleared through the child safety office; we have to get a letter from our parish stating this and have it sent to her.

While I'm all for safety, asking choir members to do this seems a bit much to me. As it is, practically every volunteer in our parish has to be cleared -- all the school volunteers, obviously, but also lectors, eucharistic ministers, usher, RCIA volunteers, and of course all the actual employees. Our pastor has said he doesn't intend (at this time, at least) to make all the choir members go through the process.

I hope that this doesn't discourage people from singing with the Diocesan Chorale. While some of them will have had to go through the process anyway, not all of them will and some of them will undoubtedly decide it's just too much hassle. It's too bad.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Wow. What an amazing evening. Tonight my choir, the Collegium Musicum, sang in the UAPresents production of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, along with UA's Arizona Choir and Symphonic Choir, Arizona Symphony, and the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus. Here's a feature by the Arizona Daily Star on it.

The St. Matthew Passion is a huge, huge piece -- the concert was 3 hours. I was personally very pleased with our performance of this demanding and inspiring work, and I'm so glad to have had the chance to perform it. Collegium sang the Choir II part, and we had worked on this music since November! So a lot of work, a lot of music to learn. It was rewarding to see our hard work pay off in a good performance.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

My friend Rae is going to have to watch out for the paparazzi following her around :-). Some good publicity for St. Blog's here -- Faithful gather at St. Blog's Parish.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Wow. That's all I can say. I just got home from a duo piano concert by Liza and Lena Beriyeva. These sisters have both accompanied our Schola at SSPP, and they are both amazingly talented. They arrived with their family from the Republic of Georgia a few years ago; Lena is graduating in May from The University of Arizona® Liza is a junior. Here's what they played:
  • Brahms -- Variations on a theme by Haydn, Op. 56
  • Rachmaninov -- Suite #1, Op. 5 -- "Fantasy"
  • Chopin -- Rondo, Op. 73
  • Gershwin -- Fantasy on the themes from "Porgy and Bess"
It was an amazing concert.

Habemus Papam!

CNN reports German cardinal elected new pope. It's Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He will be called Benedict XVI. A wise choice, I think -- who wants to be John Paul III?

God bless our new pope!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Today is the 230th anniversary of Paul Revere's Ride. When I was in 6th grade I had the whole poem memorized. I still remember most of it.
Fellow St.Blog's member and longtime e-buddy Rae has made the bigtime -- check out the picture and quotes in this article: Catholics hope for progressive pope. Rae has coined the term "homestyle Catholics" -- those who accept the teachings of the Church in their entirety (as opposed to "cafeteria" Catholics). I really like Rae's term, it makes the point that the Church is a family and like any family meal, some parts you might like better than others but (if you grew up in a family like mine, at least!) you eat what's set before you.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Today is the 35th anniversary of the successful recovery of Apollo 13 after an accident in space. Slashdot has a discussion about it, and a link to a cool article from IEEE Spectrum on the Apollo 13 mission. If you are at all interested in spaceflight you should really read this article!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Work has kept me busy of late, but I wanted to share this from Mark Shea's blog (he's quoting someone else, actually):

It was touching to reflect that the big obelisk in the middle of the piazza was also present when St. Peter died, and for his funeral, which was in the same place.
I'd not thought of this before, but of course it's true, and it is... moving.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Here's one of those classic cases of "what were they thinking?" in a story. In this story about the fingertip-in-the-Wendy's-chili incident, the reporter wrote (as of this writing):

Wendy's maintains the finger did not enter the food in its ingredients. It has offered a $50,000 reward in the case and was keeping open a hot line for tips, spokesman Denny Lynch said.

I suspect they'll re-write that soon.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Arizona Daily Star's religion reporter, Stephanie Innes, is in Rome and has a weblog -- Rome Report. Check it out.

Friday, April 08, 2005

What the Heck is Going On Here?!?!?!

You might have thought Terri Schiavo's case was so unique that nothing like that could happen again. You'd be wrong. An elderly woman in Georgia is being starved to death DESPITE A LIVING WILL TO THE CONTRARY.

What is going on in our country?!

Addendum: An update here. The situation is still unclear though.
A story from Yahoo on conscience clauses for pharmacists. It's amusingly ironic that people who promote "choice" show no compunction at forcing people to violate their consciences.
Just in case you somehow forgot how stupid people can be -- Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills. I don't know who I'd be madder at, Best Buy or the police. How Stupid!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another dumb idea -- Congress may extend daylight-saving time. Of course, living in a state that does not observe DST one might claim that I shouldn't voice an opinion, but DST affects me all the time -- every time I have to make a flight out of state or call someone outside Arizona.

I think DST in general is a stupid idea, but adding two more months makes it dumber still -- it means being on DST 9 months out of the year! If 75% of the time we're on an altered schedule, why not just change your freakin' schedule?! Have work start at 7 instead of 8, or whatever. Why mess around with the clock? It's just dumb.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that even the Pope's funeral can be politicized -- China Won't Send Envoy to Pope's Funeral. The Chinese won't go because the Vatican has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. They're also in a snit because Italy is allowing Taiwan's president to land in Rome so as to attend the Pope's funeral. It's times like this that remind the world just how repressive the Chinese regime really is -- they try to cut off all contact with Taiwan entirely. Case in point -- it's alleged that they would consider diplomatic relations with the Vatican if the Holy See breaks them with Taiwan. Whatever happened to sitting down and talking?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

In case you hadn't noticed, the Vatican website has been updated to show that the See of Peter is vacant.

Mark Shea has some interesting observations on the "coincidences" surrounding the Pope's death and funeral. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Some good reading about Pope John Paul II and the conclave to come:
Thanks to Mark Shea for the links.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I find this fascinating -- check out President Bush's statement on the death of the Pope. He has ordered flags flown at half-mast until the Pope's burial. I think that is unprecedented, but then pretty much everything about John Paul II was unprecedented, wasn't it?

Pope John Paul II Has Died

I'll write more on this later, but as if there is anyone who hasn't heard, the Pope has died.

Friday, April 01, 2005

It appears the Pope's health is deteriorating rapidly. Some Italian news agencies are reporting that he has died, but CNN and AP (at least) have not been able to confirm. It's hard to know what to pray for at this point -- he has suffered so much, and served so long and so faithfully. The selfish part of me wants him to recover and remain with us for a long time, but another part of me just wants him to receive a rich reward for his labors.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Has Died

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

CNN's report --
Schiavo dies amid legal, ethical battle.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stolen from Eric Ewanco's blog:

Top Ten Excuses Given By the Guards At the Empty Tomb

10. "I thought he was the pizza delivery guy leaving. No wondered he smiled when I tried to give him a tip!"
9. "I was putting another denarius in the chariot meter!"
8. "With the earth shakin' and all the bright lights, we figgered we was abducted by aliens!"
7. "Since the tomb was already empty when the stone was rolled away, I'm afraid you're speaking to the wrong department. Let me give you a BR#245-A-Res form and direct you to Burial Services."
6. "As we've already stated several times before, according to the legal definition of "escape", we emphatically deny any wrongdoing in this matter!"
5. "We was HYPNO-TIZED! Centurion Bobicus is still clucking like a chicken!"
4. "You told us to secure the tomb as best as we know how (Mat. 27:65). We did! May I suggest an assessment of our current training program?
3. "All I know is, this better not mess up my early retirement package!
2. "Hey! What'd you expect? Did you tell us we were guarding the Son of God?--NOOOOOOOOO!"
And the number one excuse given by the guards at the empty tomb is:
1. "What's the big deal? He said He'd be back!"

Happy Birthday Jeanetta!

It's the lovely Jeanetta's birthday. Go visit her blog!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Schiavo Appeal To Be Filed

Good news, apparently the Federal district court has agreed to hear an appeal.

Let's pray that they actually hear something before it's too late.

[Correction: I had a too-optimistic headline for this post initially. It's not that the appeal has been granted, it's that it's at least allowed to be filed.]

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

I sang at the Easter Vigil last night. Since my voice has been rather iffy I gave up my solos for Good Friday and Easter Vigil, and just did my best in the choir. I'll try to post the music for those later.

Last night's celebration was a joyous one. We welcomed the 5 member of our RCIA into the Church, along with 12 children. The Vigil is the time when we as instructors/team members can really see the result of our efforts in a tangible way. It's a wonderful thing to watch.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The fight for Terri Schiavo continues. I spent a good chunk of time during the Good Friday service (and at Stations tonight) thinking about her and praying for her. How can you contemplate the suffering of Christ and not think of her suffering? How can you see Mrs. Schindler crying on national television, begging anyone who will listen to save her daughter, and not think of our Blessed Mother?

Cathy wrote in a comment yesterday:
I also learned about myself. I questioned who I was and how I reacted. Did I pray enough - no. Did I actively preach to my friends and family over the past two years - no - I instead shared only when asked. What was I afraid of? Did I financially support the Schindlers - yes; should it have been more - yes; could it have been more - absolutely. Even though I'm on the "right" side of this issue, my actions have been highly inadequate.

I have to agree. Lord, forgive me for my sins of omission. Have mercy on our nation that has brought us to this point, and deliver us from the Culture of Death.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

After Mass I went to grab some dinner, then came back and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for a while. The main focus of my prayer was Terri Schiavo. I begged the Lord, I pleaded. I cried. Finally after a while I came to a grim conclusion... the Lord who "spared not His only Son" isn't going to spare Terri. There, I said it. It's grim. I think it's true. So now I have to ask myself, Why? What good can come of this? How can God allow this? How can he allow her to suffer so? How can he break the Schindlers' hearts so, who have already suffered so much? So many people, most of whom have never met Terri or her parents, have worked so hard to try to save her life, to be frustrated by an evil, adulterous husband and an evil judge. Why?

And yet... there is good that can come of this horrible tragedy.
  • I firmly believe that after all the suffering she has endured, Terri is going to Heaven.
  • I firmly believe that Terri will spend her Heaven praying for others in such circumstances -- a patron saint for those in danger of euthanasia.
  • Her case has stirred up the consciences of so many that, I pray, change will come.
I hope and pray that it is so.
On a personal note... while I don't usually ask for prayers, please pray for me. I'm supposed to be singing a lot tomorrow and Saturday, and I've had really bad allergies and have lost my high notes. Please pray that if it be His will, I recover enough to be able to serve the Lord in this way.

Barb Nicolosi writes eloquently about the rhetoric of the culture of death.

We are not supposed to WANT to live this way! It's a world wracked by sin. But we trudge on, "making up with our sufferings what is lacking in the suffering of Christ." We suffer and we offer, and we believe that nothing offered to God with a pure heart is a waste.

Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link.
Music for Mass
SSPP Combined Choirs
Holy Thursday

Gathering Song: Lift High the Cross(CRUCIFER)
Penitential Rite: spoken
Gloria: Ss. Peter and Paul Gloria (Schiavone)
Responsorial Psalm: Our Blessing Cup (Joncas)
Gospel Acclamation: Lenten Gospel Acclamation (Walker)
Washing of the Feet: Love One Another (Dufford)
Preparation of the Gifts: Jesus, You Are Bread For Us (Walker)
Holy,Holy: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Memorial Acclamation: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Great Amen: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Our Father: (Traditional Chant)
Lamb of God: Mass of Creation (Haugen)
Communion: The Supper of the Lord (Rosania)
Procession of the Eucharist: Pange Lingua/Tantum Ergo (Traditional)
In other news... WooHoo! The Wildcats beat OK State in a nailbiter of a game, 79-78, to advance to the Elite 8! Wow. I only caught the last 5 minutes and it was pretty hairy. Eeep!
Peggy Noonan writes eloquently on In Love With Death: The bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people. She's spot on:

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then
everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe
that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the
gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads
toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.
Thanks to the lovely Jeanetta for the link.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Disturbing evidence that Michael Schiavo is indeed a scum -- one of Terri's former nurses is now speaking out. She says that Michael injected Terri with insulin in hopes of inducing a coma, and that he deliberately withheld rehabilitation from her.

This man must not win.
I've been doing a lot of thinking, obviously, about Terri Schiavo, and trying to understand what is going on. I don't mean with Terri, or the actual situation (although of course I've thought about that a lot); I mean with public reaction and the reaction by so many in our country.

First, the most obvious thing is that Terri's plight has garnered a huge amount of interest and attention. People everywhere are talking about it. Most amazing has been the incredible response by the executive and legislative branches at the Federal and state level. So many legislators seem to recognize that there's something fundamentally wrong here; others are just going along perhaps. Most heartening has been the pro-life community recognizing what an incredible challenge this is. Unlike 1973 when so many were caught sleeping by Roe v. Wade, there's been an outpouring of concern and action, much of it galvanized by the Internet. The Terri's Fight website has been able to bypass the media's constant misrepresentation of the case as being a "right to die" case and take the facts straight to the people. The same Internet has been used by pro-lifers to organize into groups like Blogs For Terri.

Second, it's made abundantly clear the depth and breadth of the Culture of Death in our country. When an opinion poll shows something like 55% of Americans think it's okay to starve Terri to death, that's a problem. When the media consistently misrepresents the situation and repeats lies and half-truths about Terri, her husband and her parents, that's a problem. And of course when unelected judges consistently ignore facts and rule in ways that defy both common sense and reason, that's a problem.

If Terri is saved it will be a miracle; but it will almost assuredly be a miracle of the spirit emboldening those with power, strength, or ingenuity to find ways to circumvent the death-dealers (mostly in black robes) who seem intent on her death.

This is an inspiring story -- Former POW Jessica Lynch honors fallen comrade. It's two years today since Lori Piestewa died -- may she rest in peace. She served her country well.

Jessica Lynch put the money from her book deal into a foundation to help Piestewa's children. I really admire that.
As I feared... Appeals panel refuses to order Schiavo feeding. God have mercy on their souls.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Please continue to pray for Terri Schiavo. It's looking more and more like despite an amazing effort by the executive and legislative branches (unprecedented and, really, inspiring), the judicial branch is determined to kill her.

I've had an intuition for several days now that she will die on Good Friday, or Holy Saturday. I pray that I am wrong.
Update on Diocese of Tucson Chapter 11. The Star reports that some of the claimants are objecting to the Diocese's claim that the parishes are separate entities. This classifies as "the other shoe dropping." Appropriately enough the next hearing is on Good Friday.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Thanks Be To God!

CNN is reporting that the House has just passed Terri's bill. President Bush has promised to sign it immediately.

After all the ups and downs (and believe me, I know it's not over) I find it very, very inspiring that so many lawmakers worked so hard to make this happen. If this were Europe she'd be dead already.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!

We had our RCIA retreat today, and then later I went to a dinner of the local Opus Dei cooperators and supernumerary to celebrate the feast day. I encourage you to check out St. Josemaria's excellent homily on St. Joseph, In Joseph's Workshop. Here's a sample:

Work is part and parcel of man's life on earth. It involves effort, weariness, exhaustion: signs of the suffering and struggle which accompany human existence and which point to the reality of sin and the need for redemption. But in itself work is not a penalty or a curse or a punishment: those who speak of it that way have not understood sacred Scripture properly.

It is time for us Christians to shout from the rooftops that work is a gift from God and that it makes no sense to classify men differently, according to their occupation, as if some jobs were nobler than others. Work, all work, bears witness to the dignity of man, to his dominion over creation. It is an opportunity to develop one's personality. It is a bond of union with others, the way to support one's family, a means of aiding in the improvement of the society in which we live and in the progress of all humanity. (47)
Here's the text of an email I just sent my congressman. I don't have high hopes that he will listen, but at least he will know people are watching.

To the Honorable Raul M. Grijalva:

I'm writing in regards to Terri Schiavo and the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act. I urge you to support this act and protect the life of Terri Schiavo and others like her.

Terri Schiavo's situation has been horribly misrepresented in the press and by her husband. She is not terminally ill, yet is being cared for in a hospice. She is healthy but needs to be fed via a tube -- a situation that happens to many people at times in their lives, e.g. stroke victims and others. She is brain damaged, yes, but she is aware of her surroundings and can feel pain. Her husband said on Tuesday (3/15) night's "Nightline" that "she has no cortex" -- untrue.

Most appalling of all about this issue is that the person who should care most for her, her husband, has a clear conflict of interest -- he is in an adulterous relationship and stands to gain financially by her death. He is hardly an objective guardian of Terri's best interests.

As a lifelong Democrat, I've always believed that if the Democratic Party stood for anything, it stood for protecting the weak against the strong, being a voice for those who have no voice. Terri Schiavo is a prime example of the weak in our society being oppressed by the strong.

People being starved to death by court order because their lives are deemed "not worth living" is behavior I associate with the Nazi Third Reich, not with the United States of America. If we can't stand up for the rights of someone like Terri, how can we hope to protect our elderly, the poor, the disenfranchised?

Please suppor this bill, and please help to save an innocent woman's life.


Gordon Zaft