Friday, February 24, 2006

"Shabbat shalom"

I enjoy the Sabbath more and more the longer I am a member of the Church, and over the years I think I've learned how to observe the day in the proper spirit. In today's edition of Meridian Magazine, I found this piece, which is well worth reading, especially on a Saturday evening just before bedtime.

"Montani semper liberi"

While browsing around my favorite Internet haunts, I found this in Peggy Noonan's archives. It's her account of a visit last summer to West Virginia, a state I myself was able to see a few times in person during the five years we lived in Ohio. Like Peggy, I have always felt a certain affection for the place, and for generally the same reasons she gives.

The state motto, by the way, is appropriated here as the title for this post. It means "Mountaineers are always free."

Enjoy the article, and try to visit West Virginia someday if you can.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Someone to finally blame?! :)

I thought I would share this, and figure this is a pretty safe place to do so, ie, won't cause any rash outbreaks of political upheaval. ;) I thought it was REALLY funny!

I was driving down to my brother's home in Alabama. We were nearing my brother's house, going thru the local town. We were at a stoplight, and I noticed a bumpersticker in the back window of the car (why not the bumper?) - At first glance, this is what I got out of it -


HA HA HA!!!! The "blame me" was in huge white letters, and "kerry" was put below it in slightly smaller script. Upon looking closer at it, it read something like "Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry" - but the only thing you could see as you quickly glanced was the


I laughed and laughed and laughed!!!! SOMEone really didn't think about the strategic way to campaign. SO funny to me! :)


Sunday, February 19, 2006

New White House Press Secretary: Jon Stewart

After the Cheney feeding frenzy, I'd like to see the White House hire The Daily Show's John Stewart (or someone like him) to give press briefings. No more pandering. Put'em in their place.

Being a member of a White House press corps is one of journalism's top jobs. Here are only some of the most inane questions actually asked by the White House press corps after the accident (see the full transcript here):
Q But let's just be clear here. The Vice President of the United States accidentally shoots a man and he feels that it's appropriate for a ranch owner who witnessed this to tell the local Corpus Christi newspaper, and not the White House press corps at large, or notify the public in a national way?

Q Right, that's a distinction without a difference, really. I mean, we have Blackberries --

Q What time on Sunday morning did you learn that Vice President Dick Cheney was the shooter? Do you have any -- was it 6:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m.? Can you give me at least just some sort of sense of how early --

Q You've got to clarify this timeline . . . it just doesn't make any sense. When did the President know that the Vice President was the shooter? What time? The Vice President did not call the President to tell him he was the shooter?

Q Wait, wait, hold on. Human beings are not normally this inefficient. I mean, was the Vice President immediately clear that he had accidentally shot his friend, or not? Or did that information become available later? You make it seem like there's all this information that had to develop.

Q Is it proper for the Vice President to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation --

Q Scott, when you consider the chronology you're trying to go through here, and all of the various wrinkles of how long it took for the primary information that the Vice President was the person who shot this fellow to get through to the President, himself, is there any notion here of reviewing your own communications apparatus? I mean, this is sort of reminiscent of the levee story, frankly, you know?

Q Scott, under Texas law, is this kind of accidental shooting a possible criminal offense?

Q Scott, would this be much more serious if the man had died? Would that change the --

Q Do you think that it's such -- if the Deputy Chief of Staff told him sometime in the eight p.m. hour, told the President that it was Cheney that had pulled the trigger, who made the decision not to inform us and, specifically, not to inform you until, like, 6:00 a.m. the next morning?

Q Was there any consideration, to your knowledge, that the information should be delayed in order to avoid it becoming red meat on the Sunday talk shows on Sunday?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Analogies and metaphors

On the blogging front, I have felt a bit uninspired of late. From now on, whenever I go through a long, sterile period such as this one, I think I will just plan on making a lengthy visit to Julie at Happy Catholic. I don't know where she finds some of this stuff, but Bloggerdom is immeasurably better off because she does.

Today she offers us this, which she picked up from another source. (Where that source acquired them remains unknown.) It is a series of analogies and metaphors drawn from actual papers written by college students. Some of them might be particularly useful in parodies of Mickey Spillane novels. I have informed Julie that thanks to her, I incurred a serious risk of being thrown out of the public library, where I nearly exploded with laughter over some of these as I checked out her site this morning. It was not unlike what happened to me one day in Italy, when I stopped at a Feltrinelli bookstore in Florence and began browsing around, as I am wont to do. I picked up a "Calvin & Hobbes" book, translated into Italian, and started reading it. Within moments, I dissolved into helpless laughter, and I'm sure I drew some stares, but I was too hysterical at the moment to care. Suffice it to say that the strip translates very well into Italian.

Apropos of which, to put it in a way that might be worthy of some of these efforts: I am irresistibly drawn to bookstores and libraries, just as a fly on a hot, muggy summer day might be drawn to a smelly, overflowing garbage can, or a dog dropping left on someone's lawn and either neglected or unnoticed by anyone.

Among these offerings, by the way, my favorite is the one that refers to the East River, but the most creative one may be the line that refers to "my brother-in-law Phil." I won't say more about them here, so as not to spoil the fun when you find them yourselves.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why life is difficult

I once read a story about a Mercury astronaut's response when asked what part of his spaceflight had been the most difficult. "The part between liftoff and splashdown," replied the astronaut.

Sometimes I feel that way about my own life, which, as my grandmother once remarked, has consisted pretty much of one crisis after another ever since I was in high school; and I constantly wonder why it has to be so relentlessly difficult. Today I came across this column in Jewish World Review, which provides some possible answers. Although I have some minor theological differences with the opinions and views of this rabbi, the basic thrust of his argument rings true with me, and is consistent with what my own church teaches.

A friend once reminded me of the passage in scripture which tells us that the Lord chastens those whom He loves. I responded by saying that in that case, I really would not object if He would just love me a little less for, say, the next 25 years or so. But I don't suppose that is in the program, so I'll continue to soldier on and do the best I can with my circumstances.