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.