Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TPIR: The Early Days

I got home late from work this morning because I finally found a good barber shop here (thanks, Leroy!). Over breakfast, I was watching The Price Is Right, a show I don't get to see much anymore, but I watched WAY too much of when I was a kid. Drew Carey seems to have settled into the host role.

I started thinking about when the show first started in the 1970s:

  • It was originally called "The NEW Price Is Right" for a number of years. I think the prior edition dates from before I was born.
  • It was originally half an hour long, and there was no Showcase Showdown.
  • The showcases were well under $10,000 in value.
  • Johnny Olsen was the announcer. It was he who made "A NEW CAR!" his signature line. Eventually, he appeared in many of the showcase skits.
  • Every other prize was a grandfather clock, or a fur coat from Zinman Furs of Camden, New Jersey.
  • The prices of the cars that were given away all began with 2 as the first digit . . . and there were only four digits.
  • Hardly anyone in the audience wore specially made T-shirts. (Is TPIR becoming the next Let's Make A Deal?)
  • Bob Barker didn't have gray hair . . . yet.
  • Bob Barker hadn't had any affairs with the lovely ladies on the set . . . yet.
  • There was a syndicated nighttime version with Dennis James as the host. I think more recently there was another attempt at a weeknight version (no, not Bob Barker's prime-time specials) with another host, but it didn't last long.
  • I could swear a mini-submarine was once one of the Showcase prizes, but whoever guessed the price didn't come close to it.
Take a look around YouTube for some great TPIR highlights. My favorite is the woman who just couldn't grasp the concept of the Ten Chances guessing game. Bob Barker's reaction afterward is priceless.

And help control the pet population . . . have your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Baby? Check. Bathwater? Check.

Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds

I have yet to find the actual study on which this article is based; if anyone finds it, please let me know.

I am soooo glad I'm not a teenager these days. When I was, no one was pressuring me to have sex (not that others weren't having it, nor that I didn't have opportunities), and I remained pure until my wedding night. The simple and unarguable fact is that abstinence works every time it's tried.

The proper question is not why abstinence is "ineffective," but why it's not being tried. I think the answer lies in this quote from the anti-abstinence faction:

"There's been a lot of work that has found that teenagers who take part in abstinence-only education have more negative views about condoms," she said. "They tend not to give accurate information about condoms and birth control."
Might the fact that condoms have up to a 14% failure rate have something to do with that "negative view"? Would you fly in a commercial airliner that had a 14% chance of crashing? But I think there's an easier answer.

Abstinence doesn't sell. Sex, and condoms, do. Follow the money. To me, there are many vested interests in kids having sex, not to mention the fact that the media rams it down their collective throats. And, way too sadly, often their own parents expect and encourage it. How much support do kids who make these pledges get from anyone, especially in the school system? (I would hope they'd get it from their churches, but maybe THAT doesn't even happen!)

One other thing: In this day and age of "childhood obesity," what if kids were taking pledges to become more physically active, but weren't doing so? Would we see a study or a headline saying, "Exercise Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds"? I doubt it.

UPDATE: Nice dissection of this study by William McGurn in the WSJ.

I Will Not Submit

Bill Kristol tells me what I already know:

The assault on Prop 8 supporters has been extraordinary in its mean-spiritedness and extremism--but the left knows what it's doing. The purpose has been to intimidate people with an opposing point of view from defending their position. To be against same-sex marriage, even against the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage, is to be a bigot. [...] Making that charge is at the heart of the agenda of the gay lobby. They don't want to debate same-sex marriage. They want to demonize its opponents.

I guess I can count it a privilege that I've already been demonized. That's okay; I can handle it, and it's not changing my stance one bit.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Really, We Used To Sing This At Mass - I

To be alive and feelin' free
And to have everyone in our family
To be alive -- in every way
Oh! How great it is to be alive.


(a Great Amen)

A-a-a-a-men, a-a-a-men, a-a-men

We come to join in your banquet of love

Let it open our hearts

And break down the fears

That keep us form loving each other

May this meal truly join us as one.

I hope I can find some more. Having my old Peoples Mass Book would help.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quote of the day

From my brother, although he may have gotten it from somewhere else:

2/3 of the earth is covered by water.
The rest is covered by Ed Reed.

Take that!

I don't condone the motive, but I do enthusiastically applaud the effect of what these kids are doing; they're showing how speed cameras are for revenue first and safety/law enforcement somewhere down near 67th. After all, when would the police or the county reach that conclusion on their own? Furthermore, how can the county legitimately claim it's even your car anymore?

Local teens claim pranks on county's speed cams

As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.

Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

"This game is very disturbing," the parent said. "Especially since unsuspecting parents will also be victimized through receipt of unwarranted photo speed tickets."

The parent said that "our civil rights are exploited," and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing this fad among students.

The prosecution rests.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Update - Blob's Park

I blogged back here that Blob's Park, the German dance hall between Baltimore and Washington, was closing. But it's still open! From a friend on Facebook:

Apparently there was a big family argument - some wanted to sell, others did not. Max, one of Miss Katherine's sons, somehow managed to buy the others out. He is in the process of renovating the place - updating the entire kitchen, the bathrooms, etc...nothing had been done in the hall for many, many years. So, the doors to Blob's either are opened now, or will be soon. In fact, my sister, Sue, is now one of the kitchen managers!
Good news indeed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Roethlisberger Rule

Here's the least-known rule in the NFL:

If the Pittsburgh Steelers do not put the ball across the plane of the goal line, it is a touchdown anyway.


Page 776 of the rules digest in the NFL fact book reads: "A player with the ball in his possession scores a touchdown when the ball is on, above or over the goal line." --AP

(I must admit Pittsburgh's final drive was impressive, and the Ravens' pass defense was inexplicably absent while it occurred. I give Pittsburgh credit. Still, it's frustrating to lead for 59 minutes of the game, only to lose in the 60th because of a blown call.)

At least lowly Cincinnati put the Deadskins out of their misery. Yay.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry Something-Or-Other

If I wanted to, I could raise a ruckus about the annual "war on Christmas" in the secular world, and there are plenty of people commenting about that.

But what happens when such a war extends to . . . the Christian churches? Read it and weep:

Politically correct Christmas carols censor 'king', 'son' and 'virgin'

I didn't excerpt anything because I'd probably have to just reproduce the whole article. (HT: Fr. Z.)

Although the following isn't a carol usually sung in churches, this appears to be the direction in which this political correctness is headed (authorship lost to the Internet):

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my Significant Other in a consenting adult, monogamous relationship gave to me:

TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming,

ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note),

TEN melanin deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,

NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,

EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,

SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,

SIX enslaved Fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products,

FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration,

(NOTE after members of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)

FOUR hours of recorded whale songs

THREE deconstructionist poets

TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses

AND a Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.
As Glenn Beck puts it, have a RamaHanuKwanzMas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gone with the Wind

I've found that people on the West Coast are glad that they don't have to deal with hurricanes, never mind that we have days of warning about them. Earthquakes worry me because they give no warning at all.

So I figure this will give some folks out here a taste of what hurricane weather is like:

1030 PM PST THU DEC 11 2008



I was thinking of driving to Sacramento tomorrow night. Maybe I'd better not.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fr. Hulk

Thanks, Adoro, for turning me on to Fr. Hulk. If I were a priest, I think this is what I'd be like. His fairly new blog is worth perusing for some common sense.

I especially like his post, "Touchdown!" This is something that I used to be an unwitting part of, the holding hands at the Our Father and the "signaling of a touchdown" at the "For the kingdom . . ." He explains (his emphasis, my comment in red):

The priest's gestures (particularly the Orans position, with arms extended and palms upward) are not intended for you - at all. The priest opens and closes his hands in prayer to God invoking the Holy Spirit on those gathered. He isn't waving hello, so there is no need to wave back.
The only think I don't like about Fr. Hulk's blog is that he doesn't allow comments.

Oh, zoinks, I've done it now! Run! (Yeah, that Hulk.)

UPDATE: Thanks to some litigious readers, his blog is now known as Fr. Cranky.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Games for the Idle

A meme that I gacked from Adoro Te Devote.

It's simple: just bold anything you've ever done in this list. My comments need not be included.

1. Started your own blog (goes without saying)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (DisneyWorld)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (when I was 7)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping (not that I'm proud of it)
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (of the moon)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (in general)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (Caricature, actually. Does that count?)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Not quite. First level, I think.)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (I live to snorkel!)
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar (Eeeewwwwww.)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (but not all of them)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (From Humphreys Peak)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (I think I missed Obadiah)
86. Visited the White House (Been past it many times, but never in it)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Visit To Scheels

I doubt that any of my friends and family "back east" have heard of Scheels, a sporting goods store chain based mainly in the Midwest (they have five stores in Iowa). Their Sparks Marina store is their furthest venture west. It's within walking distance from our apartment, and it hasn't even been open two months.

I have seen shopping malls that are smaller than this Scheels. It has a full-size Ferris wheel in the middle of it! And two full levels of everything for just about every type of sport.

Each of the two main entrances has a large overhead aquarium, one fresh water, one saltwater.

The sportswear department even has RAVENS jerseys (Ray Lewis and Ed Reed)! It also carries more U. of Nevada stuff than the actual U of N bookstore.

There are at least three shoe departments: one for men, one for women, and one for hiking. Their supplies of camping gear, fishing equipment, and ski stuff are all quite large.

And there are plenty of games to play! We enjoyed the shooting gallery, not unlike the one in Rehoboth Beach we used to play when we were kids. LC shot the birds on top of the model building a few times.

Which reminds me: the most stunning thing about this Scheels is that it has GUNS. Lots of guns. Shotguns, rifles, handguns, pearl-handled six-shooters, you name it. I figure that must be why there are no Scheelses in Maryland!

And on top of all that, there's a fudge and Italian ice store as well. Lots of sugar-free fudge too!

Just seeing everything in Scheels takes a couple hours; it's easy to get lost. Scheels definitely meets the American criteria (voiced by Steve Czaban) of "We want it, we want it now, and we want a lot of it."

See some pics here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Take It Like A Man

I'm so done with the homosexualist activists who won't take the rejection of California's Prop 8 "like a man," as it were. Whiners. I mean, if I have to accept that Obama beat McCain, why can't they accept the fact that they were beaten in a fair fight (really, an UNfair fight when you consider how much opponents of 8 outspent the supporters) by those who just might not see the world the same way they do?

All this rage is buried in the fiction that denial of marriage to homosexuals is somehow a denial of civil rights. But the explanation is simple: Marriage between two people of the same sex simply does not exist, even if they go through all the motions (see also: "ordination" of "women priests"). It is no more real than a man wanting to marry a 12-year-old, a man marrying an animal, or a man marrying two women (yet). What they really want is government to force sanction of their immoral lifestyle upon those like me who disagree. Nothing like a little postmodern one-way tolerance.

Besides, let's say for a moment that the premise of same-sex marriage is real. I'm sure that disrupting churches, vandalizing churches and temples, and assaulting and harassing those who voted for Prop 8 will really draw nationwide support to their cause. That's not what Martin Luther King advocated in his civil rights campaign, and I think those from his era should denounce this immature homosexualist behavior, especially given how it's been directed at blacks who dared support Prop 8.

In line with my previous post, I'm not writing this out of rage. I do know homosexuals, and I hold nothing against them personally. But for me to sit back and say nothing means I have no problem with what's going on ("Qui tacet consentiret" - "He who is silent gives consent").

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I want to thank those of you who have commented on my recent political rants, especially Sharnina and Chenoa, both of whom I know and respect. It sometimes takes a while for me to admit I'm wrong, not unlike Fonzie.

If you want to know what I think of our president-elect, read those other posts; I'm not going to chew my cabbage twice, and my opinion hasn't changed. But I concede that my referring to him as "B. Hussein" (which, BTW, wasn't all that original) was childish, and I was wrong to do so. I certainly haven't liked the denigrating ways in which I've seen people refer to George W. Bush over the past eight years, but two wrongs don't make a right.

I may steer clear of politics on here for a while, especially if I can't write about it at least semi-dispassionately. I don't have the right to provoke others just because I get upset by being provoked, or worse, I go looking to be provoked. I'm a passionate guy (ya think?), and I just need to figure out where to channel it. And the last thing I want to do is chase away my friends of any political stripe just because I'm Upset.

Besides, how do I feel after all this "catharsis?" Not very good, I can assure you.

Posts like this, this, this, this, and this spoke volumes of truth to me, even if I didn't want to hear the truth. Read them if you can. So I also thank Dymphna, Marilena, Joe of St. Therese, and Drusilla (by way of Dawn Eden).

Like the old song says, don't give up on me . . . I'm still worth one more try. :-)

You Did Say "Change," Didn't You?

So how is it that B. Hussein Obama has three notable ex-Clintonistas on his transition team (did I forget any)? Namely:

  • John Podesta, former senior Clinton advisor and White House chief of staff turned chief of the B. Hussein transition team
  • Rahm Emanuel, former senior Clinton advisor turned future White House chief of staff
  • Jamie Gorelick, former Clinton deputy attorney general turned possible AG candidate
How's that "change" working out? Did Hillary approve? And most importantly, can we start calling the president-elect "Clinton 44?"

UPDATE: And now here's Greg Craig, whose foremost accomplishment for the Clinton White House was sending Elian Gonzalez back to a miserable life Cuba at gunpoint.

Those were the days.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gregory, the Lovable Turkey!

Gregory has become fascinated with what's on my computer monitor. He loves watching me play Facebook's Bowling Buddies:

and otherwise he just likes to follow the cursor.

At Angie Goff's suggestion, I took a shot of him checking out her blog:

and lo, he was featured in this edition!

So why a turkey?

Because he very nearly made me late for work by waiting for my bedroom door to open, darting under our bed, and refusing to come out!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Just A Little Bragging, Soccer-Wise

All four of us older siblings played soccer at some time in our lives, mostly in elementary school (Shrine of the Little Flower) for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) leagues. I wish I still had an optical scanner so I could show you my CYO 8-10 team. Despite the name, Little Flower teams had a fearsome reputation in those leagues, and many local, collegiate, and even national soccer stars came from Little Flower. Alas, Little Flower is no more. I would go on to serve as manager of Loyola High's soccer team that upset a superior Gilman side in 1981 for the championship (thank you, Fr. (now Mr.) Tom Koliss, Pat Regan and Robby Watson, wherever you are!).

Of course, our parents attended our games and most of our practices, for which I thank them. Beyond them, we can credit our time in soccer to two men, and this is the real point of my post.

The first was a fellow named Vernon Reese. He started the CYO leagues in Baltimore in the early 1950s, and they grew to over 160 teams at one point. He was my optician, and until just a couple years ago, his son was my optometrist.

Gene Ringsdorf was the other man. An avid soccer player, he also was an effective organizer of leagues not only in Baltimore, but throughout the country as a member and eventual president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. If you or your kids played high school soccer, Gene Ringsdorf laid a lot of the groundwork for you. He also helped establish the North American Soccer League, the first attempt at a national soccer league in the U.S. He was also a representative to the international soccer organization FIFA. And well into his eighties, he was still helping as an administrator for amateur leagues in Baltimore. As a sidebar, he was ative in the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus, and had the honor of receiving the Eucharist from Pope John Paul the Great at Camden Yards in 1995.

Just over five years ago, Gene Ringsdorf died at age 91. He was my last living grandparent. God rest his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed.

Both Gene Ringsdorf and Vernon Reese are in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, NY, a short drive from some other HoF in Cooperstown that I've heard about.

As for me, I wouldn't mind being a soccer referee someday. I just need to get the offside rule down.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One piece of good news

Congrats to the righteous of Californica, who rose up and told activist homosexualists and judges to take a hike (again!) by supporting Proposition 8. Maybe there is hope for the Golden State after all.

Naturally, since said homosexualists can't win at the ballot box, they're going back to their allies in the courts. So much for the will of the people.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Not Surprising, But Still Sad

I called it some weeks ago.

Go crazy, Democrats.
Go crazy, pro-aborts.
Go crazy, Marxist income redistributors.
Go crazy, union thugs.
Go crazy, aging radical building bombers.

So B. Hussein Obama's style has won out over John McCain's confusing substance, and I do in all seriousness congratulate him on being the first (half-)African-American voted in as President. But, while I also have to give B. Hussein credit for running a smooth campaign, the ineptitude of McCain can't be overstated.

Here are ten observations:

  1. As much as I hate seeing it, whoever designed B. Hussein's "O" logo should be well compensated for it; it was a smashing success.
  2. B. Hussein and the Democrats succeeded more than I thought they would by painting George W. Bush as an albatross around McCain's neck. (If Bush could have run a third term, I would have voted for him. There, I've said it.)
  3. Therefore, McCain was very much on the defensive, running not just against B. Hussein, but against Bush. The twenty-some persent of Bush supporters didn't know what to think.
  4. The financial meltdown of September and October all but insured this election for B. Hussein. While banks were starting to go under in September, McCain insisted on talking about Senate earmarks, about which no one cared anymore.
  5. Said crisis took McCain's trump card, foreign policy, off the table. B. Hussein wasn't hurt at all by his refusal to back the Iraq surge, nor by his inexperience in foreign matters.
  6. It also blunted the effect of Joe the Plumber. All of a sudden, taking millions from the rich didn't seem like such a bad idea anymore.
  7. How inept was McCain? He worried too much about the mainstream media (which was unapologetically in the tank for B. Hussein from the beginning) saying he was running a negative campaign and just never took the gloves off. Nor did he have a coherent attack plan on B. Hussein, nor did he fight off his attacks very well.
  8. The only reason McCain got as many votes as he did from the conservative base was his naming of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Social conservatives like me were marginalized.
  9. McCain inexplicably muzzled Palin for most of the campaign, letting all those who criticized her lack of experience (while not harping on B. Hussein's similar dearth) and got their information on her via Saturday Night Live rule the day.
  10. By reneging on his pledge not to accept public funding (and McCain not making an issue of it), B. Hussein's war chest swelled to amounts that Lehman Brothers wouldn't mind having these days. "Hey, John, remember McCain-Feingold? How's that working out for ya?"
So now we will hear the usual fluff about "coming together." Phooey. Four years ago (or eight following the fractious Florida election), how many Democrats were saying they had to unite under Bush? Not very many. And I'll be damned if I'm going to roll over and play dead while B. Hussein tries to ram through the Freedom of Choice Act, which he promised would be first on his agenda.

The election of B. Hussein also reveals the current sorry state of the GOP with no Reagan, no Gingrich, no DeLay, no Bob Dole (and now no Libby Dole either!), and no Karl Rove. Meanwhile, the Dems are riding high with B. Hussein, Nancy Pelosi, and Dingy Harry. I hope conservatives can regroup with or without the GOP.

Anyway, it's a great day for Team Donkey. It's a hangover for Team Elephant. Pass me the Alka-Seltzer.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Before moving out here to Reno/Sparks, I knew nothing about Fr. John Corapi, SOLT (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity). I'd heard fellow Catholics talking about him, but since Maryland has no real Catholic radio to speak of, I'd never heard Fr. Corapi preach. Now, with Catholic radio on the air here, I can hear him regularly (I generally don't listen to online radio; out of sight, out of mind.)

Wow. Fr. Corapi doesn't mince any words. He has a thundering voice that commands respect, and he's been through a lot, having dealt with addictions before his conversion and ordination.

I've already heard a couple times his talk on admonishing sinners. He cited specifically Ezekiel 33: 7-9:

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked man that he shall surely die, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he (the wicked man) shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked man, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.
This, however, has been replaced by the Postmodern Testament, which says in the Letter to the Politically Correct 3:4,
You shall show tolerance for what anyone does, for tolerance is the highest virtue. You don't want to be known as a hypocrite, do you? If you declare anything as wrong or sinful, you are being judgmental and you shall be labeled a bigot, a prig, a homophobe, a Puritannical prude . . .
To which G.K. Chesterton says, "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."

Like Ezekiel, Fr. Corapi is charging me with warning the wicked of their sinful ways not in order to show moral superiority, but to keep them from the above-mentioned fate. As Ezekiel continues in verse 11:
As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man's conversion, that he may live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, O house of Israel?
That says to me my own sins and sinfulness are what condemn me, not God Himself.

As an example of this admonition, some time ago I mentioned St. Dominic Savio. In that post I quoted the following, adding emphasis here:
Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.
I know I don't care that much . . . yet. And my heart has to be in the right place, or I will come off as self-righteous.

God, grant me the grace to admonish the sinner for their -- and Your -- sake, not mine. Amen!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Basil and Gregory

On the heels of the tragic news we received last night, we paid a visit to the new Nevada Humane Society pet adoption center in Reno. We walked out with our new orange tabby kittens, Basil (right) and Gregory! Because it was All Saints' Day, we decided upon the names from the rolls of saints. It turns out that Basil and Gregory were contemporaries.

They're both playful and rambunctious. We're keeping them in the bathroom for now, but they love to escape and hide!

It'll be nice to have cats again. They make a house (or an apartment) a home.

More pics here.

You've Got To Be Kidding!

It's bad enough to have put down all three of our cats over the last 18 months.

Now comes the devastating news that the kitten we were going to acquire from LC's best friend's daughter somehow fractured one of her vertebrae and had to be euthanized also. She was a climber and may have fell off the headboard of the bed or something. We had named her Genevieve after I had confused the patron saint of cats (St. Gertrude; St. Genevieve is the patroness of Paris).

Sure, we can easily adopt a cat out here, but this really hurts.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Surprise, surprise

You Are 96% Republican

You are a card carrying Republican, and a pretty far right one at that!

There's no chance anyone would ever mistake you for a Democrat.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Punishing the Wealthy

Who will benefit if B. Hussein Obama, who is going to give tax cuts to millions who pay no taxes, allows the Bush tax cuts to expire, raising the top marginal income tax rates to the highest levels in the western world?

No one but government.

Here's an excellent argument as to why this is not only stupid, but immoral, from Kate Wicker.

Would someone explain to me how making the rich poorer is going to make the poor richer? (And that doesn't even take into account the Keynesian fallacy that taxpayers won't do anything different with their assets to make them less taxable when rates go up.) I don't know about you, but I don't remember the last time a poor person created a job for someone else.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Asking for Miracles

From Fr. Z:

Saints are presented to us by Holy Mother Church for “the two I’s”: imitation and intercession.
As all Christians are called to imitate Christ, we also must experience self-emptying and the Cross, abandonment to providence and self-donation. We must be willing to lose everything.
We are not alone: the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant are closely knit, interwoven in charity. We on earth mustintercede for each other and believe and ask for the intercession of the saints.
God makes use of the weak to demonstrate His might and love.
If we do not believe in miracles, we do not ask for them. If we do not ask for them, they will not be granted.
Our life of faith is noticed by non-believers and they are not unaffected.
What a difference a bishop can make.
How often do you invoke the help of the saints and holy angels?
God’s ways are not our ways.
No one is too small to be an occasion of grace for others.
Wow. Amen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why I Hate Car Shopping

It's bad enough that I've had to plow through gobs of Craigslist ads for vehicles and take time to test drive them, only to find most of them have been poorly cared for, or have been in wrecks.

Then, I check out the fly-by-night dealerships who sell all their cars "as is" and manage to score a markup anyway. Check out, for example, the obnoxious site of High Sierra Auto Sales (warning: music and a stoopid cursor geegaw) which bills itself as a "CARFAX Certified Dealer!" Um, Carfax doesn't certify dealers. Also, when I noticed their cars carried none of the federally-required Buyer's Guide forms indicating whether there was a warranty or the car was being sold as is, I ran fast and ran far.

Then there are these scoundrels, Lithia Chrysler Jeep of Reno, who sent their sales manager running out the front door of the dealership to try to stop me from leaving after I made it clear I wasn't buying anything that day! He even banged on my window and yelled at me as I was leaving! How pathetic. I e-mailed Lithia coroprate offices to let them know how unprofessional this schlub was.

I've never really liked auto dealers much, especially after our experience buying LC's Prizm at Blowhanka Saturn in fashionable Marlow Heights, MD four years ago. Today didn't help matters any.


This Is Only A Test

Check out Dan O'Day's posting of Terry Moss' production that could be called, "Test of the Emergency Broadcast System: The Musical." And note how the FCC responded to it!

BTW, for those not in radio: A "donut" is a space in a commercial where an announcer can read overtop background music or silence before the commercial concludes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Born "Gay?" Maybe not.

Keep telling yourself that homosexuals are born that way, especially after you read this post from a Jewish man who has recovered from the homosexual lifestyle. He echoes my long-held view that homosexuality is a subconscious choice made as a coping mechanism. BTW, that sound you hear is activists screaming while putting their hands over their ears, for they cannot abide to hear that someone has gone non-homosexual:

I grew up in what psychologists call a "triadic family" -- it is so common in the backgrounds of men who struggle with homosexuality that it has a name. A distant or belittling father, an emotionally smothering or needy mother, and in the center a boy with nobody to guide him on the path to manhood. A boy for whom manhood has become dangerous, threatening, distant. A boy who grows up feeling different from other boys and men, yet yearns to connect with them, with his own masculinity.

When I was five or six years old, my cousin brought her boyfriend -- a strapping muscleman -- to a family party. I threw myself at him, climbing into his lap and onto his shoulders. He threw me in the air, wrestled me, and played with me as my father never did. I couldn't get enough. The adults were vaguely embarrassed at the intensity with which I pursued him; eventually they pulled me away to go to bed.

When I passed through the gay world years later as a young man, I saw the same thing -- men desperately trying to connect with other men. Over time, that yearning had become sexualized. In baths and gay bars, some gays dressed up as caricatures of the most macho of men. The gay community was full of men like me: boys still desperately seeking to crack the code of real manliness.

But consuming another man's masculinity can only temporarily substitute for an honest male self-image. So the search, for most gay men, becomes a series of compulsive, yet fruitless encounters.

I also like this:

In our generation those who struggle with homosexuality have the option of wrapping themselves in the gay liberation narrative. The mantle of chic victimhood quiets a lot of the inner distress -- for a while. The haunting sense of otherness folds in on itself to become a virtue. It feels wonderful to finally renounce that sense of being less than a normal man by declaring you are something else entirely.

But it's a false identity. As I saw up close, brave statements do not end the compulsive search for masculinity. There is no resolution, no revelation of true self.

The pornographic mentality of the gay subculture focuses unrelentingly on physique and external appearances, further postponing the confrontation with true inner self.

And finally (emphasis added):

People ask, "How did you change your sexual orientation?" But the language of the question betrays incorrect notions about homosexuality.

I didn't have to "change" anything. The definition of teshuva is returning to one's true self, one's soul. The sexual attraction I felt to other men was not my true nature; it was an attempt driven by my yetzer hara, my baser self, to satisfy unmet needs, a symptom of missed developmental opportunities and distorted perceptions.

The healing path for men struggling with these attractions focuses on the underlying causes. We build trusting relationships that satisfy our healthy need for male bonding in a non-sexual way. We reclaim our rejected masculinity -- renounced by us in fear and anger -- and re-enter the community of men. Through these actions, we reshape our perceptions, seeing ourselves as the authentic men our souls have always been.

Bless this man for his courage; read the whole thing.

HT: The indispensable LifeSiteNews.com.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Withering Heights

What was it like for the movers who had to haul our stuff up to our 3rd-floor apartment? This video may give you an idea. Start at about 3:10 in, and forgive the needless colorization:

(Our movers were a little more reliable than them.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Sky Is Falling!

At least that's what the reaction has been of Deadskins fans to DC Channel 9's decision to show the entire Ravens-Dolphins game on Sunday at 1 PM before going to the Deadskins-Brownies game at 4:15. Chances are that the latter game won't even be affected!

You'd think Jack Kent Cooke had come back from the dead to move the team to Irwindale. Now maybe some of these "fans" will get a taste of what we Ravens fans in Frederick County have had to put up with for years. "The foot's on the other hand now, huh?"

What a sorry bunch of whiners.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Goodbye, Maryland; Hello, Nevada

Monday, 10/6 through Wednesday, 10/8

Pack. Pack. And pack some more. We only thought we'd packed everything we had, given how much we had put into storage, but our offices and kitchen told us differently. The Salvation Army took the entertainment center, but not the sofa since the cushions were becoming threadbare. That was quickly rectified with a Freecycle post; it was gone the same evening.

Unfortunately, we just didn't have time to Freecycle everything. We tried to consume as much food and other items as we could, but we soon realized we'd have to part with a lot of those as well. All the existing cat supplies (litter boxes, carriers, etc.) had to go.

Thanks to my former boss David at Vocelli's for all the cheese boxes; they were perfect, and we had just about enough! Before getting some legitimate boxes from the moving company, I had also snagged some from my prior pizza delivery job and from the liquor store next door to that.

We got a lot of exercise going up and down the steps.

Thursday, 10/9

I got a brief repose from packing as I joined my father for one final round of golf at Frederick Golf Club. Whereas last time I played well and he could have stood some improvement, I stunk up the joint and he had one of his best rounds ever, including a birdie. I can't count how many balls I lost out of bounds from the tee. But we had fun. I'll miss playing golf with him on a semi-regular basis.

Then the packing continued well into the night. (Thanks, love, for picking up the slack while I was having fun.)

Friday, 10/10

Moving day. Enter the huge Allied Van Lines (you think we'd go with Mayflower?) tractor-trailer, backing gingerly into our court. The two guys had everything packed in about four hours, and then set off for Sparks, NV by way of Los Angeles and Sacramento. The only place we could sit out of the way was on our deck; we bequeathed the deck furniture, most of our outdoor equipment, and some other things that were impractical to take along, to our buyers. I made three landfill runs that day. (Note to self: Next time, make sure the movers take ALL the long, thin items like my walking cane (purely decorative, for now) and LC's doorstop so we don't have to try to fit them on the plane!)

Finally, late in the afternoon, we packed our remaining stuff into the rental Chevy HHR that we had obtained a couple days before and headed for La Quinta at BWI Airport. Dinner that night was at the Chevy's at Arundel Mills; it was quite satisfying.

Saturday, 10/11

We awoke to find that someone had backed into the HHR overnight! We got the last available parking spot on the La Quinta lot, and I noticed that someone had parked behind it in a nonexistent space. I figure that had something to do with how the accident occurred. So we had to shell out our deductible and get another vehicle from Enterprise, who actually handled the situation quite well.

I met some old friends for breakfast in Laurel while LC worked on a nursing course. That afternoon, we were both wiped, so we slept for a while. We dined at the Olive Grove restaurant just off the Beltway in Linthicum.

Sunday, 10/12

After an early Mass, I sacked out some more before we headed over to a different hotel, the Ramada Inn, for our going-away party. We wanted to let our family and friends know how much we were going to miss them. Over 80 people attended, and others said they would have shown if they didn't have conflicts. One of our friends brought all seven of his kids from southern Pennsylvania! My, are we blessed.

Monday, 10/13

By this time, I wasn't just tired from the rigors of moving; I was just plain not feeling well. I had a lot of pain on the right side of my head, and some itchy portions on my chest and neck. So we both took it easy through the daytime. That evening, LC's aunt and uncle took us to Sullivan's in Laurel for dinner. The meals were good and the company great, but the service was quite poor.

Tuesday, 10/14

Closing day. But first, it was cleaning day.

We had Elizabeth's Helper, an Emmitsburg-based cleaning company, do one final cleanup of our house before the settlement. I recommend using cleaning folk for such big jobs; believe me, neither of us could have done so. We left them all our remaining cleaning chemicals and buckets.

In the meantime, I saw my NP and found that most of my pain was from a cut behind my ear that had gotten infected somehow. And the itchy parts were poison sumac that someone so generously gave me the week before. I got horse pills for the infection and a steroid-based cream for the itch. Guess I can kiss my baseball career goodbye.

I mailed out our EZ-Passes. For some reason, the Maryland MVA can sell EZ-Passes, but it won't take them back. Eeesh. Meanwhile, LC got our boarding passes for the next day while using her new notebook computer at a Barnes and Noble (the Starbucks wireless net was down).

We had a few hours to kill before settlement, so we had lunch and played pool at Hard Times Cafe. I took a quick 2-0 lead in games of nine-ball, but LC stomped me by winning five of the next six. She was like a pair of nylons; she was on a run!

Then over to our agent's office in downtown Frederick for the settlement. The buyer and her agent were late in arriving because they couldn't find the office, and downtown Frederick at PM rush is not the easiest to negotiate if you don't know what streets are one way in which direction. We blitzed through our documents, then she muddled through hers with some good questions; she and her husband are first-time homebuyers. Then we gave her the keys and told her what to expect about trash pickup, snow removal, the HOA, etc.

We bade farewell to Frederick, and celebrated with one last dinner in one of our favorite places: Rocky Run.

Wednesday, 10/15

The day we go west. Thank goodness that Southwest doesn't have nickel-and-dime charges for extra pieces of luggage. But if we still had even one cat, we couldn't have flown her on Southwest. My CPAP is a bear to take through security; I found out it isn't enough just to have it in its own case, but it has to be removed too! Ick.

As it turned out, my mom and dad were also flying out on Southwest that morning; they were heading to Chicago to see my niece star in a school play. Our flight was leaving from the end of Terminal B. I walked twice from the end of Terminal B to the end of Terminal A to try to find my parents, but no luck. Then I found them the third time I trapsed there. At least I got my exercise in! But why couldn't they have been on one of the Chicago flights leaving from a gate right near us? My mom said she hates multi-stop flights; oh, well. We said our goodbyes to them.

I'll miss you, Mom and Dad. Save for my three months in Florida in 1999-2000, I've never been more than an hour from my folks.

We were not as fortunate as my folks with nonstop flights, but then again, since my FIL gave us his comp tickets, we certainly weren't going to argue!

So long, People's Republic of Maryland.

Flight 1 from BWI to Louisville (SDF) was quite smooth and uneventful; we had room to spread out.

Flight 2 from SDF to Las Vegas (LAS) was much more full and considerably more rowdy, especially with the tipsy, high-roller card players right behind us who were playing either bridge or spades VERY LOUDLY. My leg muscles didn't have much of anywhere to go; I wonder how they managed the four-hour flight. Fortunately, my MP3 player kept me company.

When we landed in LAS, all we'd had to eat for the day was breakfast and a series of small snacks, which I augmented with an Auntie Anne pretzel back at BWI. So we each snarfed a small Uno pizza. I've had better; that one must have been sitting out a while.

To my surprise, Flight 3 from LAS to Reno-Tahoe (RNO) was full as well. The nice lady from Carson City who sat with us explained that many on the flight were Reno-area commuters who, like her, might have an office in Vegas to which they have to report from time to time. We got a nice view of the sunset over the Sierras and Lake Tahoe.

We were fortunate to find a nice cabbie who took us straight to my ILs' house; we tipped him well. Then their friend Iris met us to let us in. BTW, my ILs had flown that day to San Francisco for an operation on cancer in my FIL's liver the next day.

Dinner that night was around the corner in a nice neighborhood Tex-Mex joint called the Buenos Grill. Like Chipotle, only better.

Thursday, 10/16

We started the day with Mass at the St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno, doing so especially to pray for my FIL. Actually, because the cathedral is undergoing renovations, Mass took place in the chapel under the parish offices. There, we met Fr. Masseo Gonzales, whom we had known while he was still a Franciscan brother living at the friary in Ellicott City, MD. He gave us a priestly blessing after Mass. Wow. We're blessed to know him, and will keep him in our prayers; he has a lot of responsibilities.

After breakfast at the Peppermill (no, we didn't gamble, just ate! And took advantage of my ILs' platinum parking pass), we decided to look at our apartment in Sparks to the east, located near the Sparks Marina. Yes, there's really a marina in Sparks! We found out that we could actually take possession of the apartment as soon as we had the money to pay for the initial rent. Finding a local Bank of America where we had established an account before we left Maryland, we got a cashier's check. Then we brought it back to the Marina Village office, and the apartment is now ours! At least through April 30, that is.

It's a third-floor apartment, so I'm not looking forward to hauling up groceries! But it will give us a workout whether we want one or not. Speaking of which, there's a workout room, plus bike and walking paths around the marina and elsewhere in Sparks. And, if we really like the area, there are homes nearby for sale! (We didn't want to buy a home sight unseen, but we shall buy one soon enough.)

After I took a nap, I contacted a neighbor of the above-mentioned Iris about a car she had for sale; we'll need to get cars out here. She was offering a 2-door 2004 Chrysler Sebring that had only 14K miles on it for only $6000, which certainly sounded like a steal. But the first thing we noticed out of whack was the tires; they were feathered and badly worn. We opted to pass, and a Carfax check bore us out; the car had major engine problems at one point.

Good news: my FIL came through his surgery fine. Please keep him in your prayers.

So, our Nevada adventure has begun! Stay tuned as the story unfolds . . . because I didn't fold it properly when packing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Top Ten New Career Choices In Nevada

Some help for my impending job search, courtesy of my dear friend Vince from his home office in Reisterstown:

10. Blackjack dealer

9. Professional snowboarder

8. Spokesman for the Bunny Ranch

7. Dead guy in CSI: morgue scene

6. Guy with no pants on Reno 911!

5. Flying Predator drones to hunt terrorists

4. Flying Predator drones to give traffic reports

3. Driving clown car in Cirque du Soleil

2. Feeding tigers for Siegfried and Roy

1. Enforcer for "Don" Papa John's pizza deliveries

Thanks, I think!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Not Even Going To Be Close

It's over. Goodnight and see you in 2012.

Was John McCain the BEST we could find on the GOP side, or are we that much at an ebb right now? Actually, the best on the GOP side . . . is his running mate. But she couldn't save the most putrid campaign this side of Bob Dole.

Steve Czaban mirrors my thoughts on the subject quite nicely, and note in his piece how the GOP punditry is conceding to Owe Bama as well.

Since I've already voted by absentee ballot, I figure I'll find something else to occupy my time come election night.

Enjoy, Democrats. Go crazy.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

And Double Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh

*utter frustration*

For the second week in a row, the Ravens outplayed their opponent and lost.

Remember the ABC's:

A - Always

B - Be

C - Closing.

Always Be Closing.

If this team can't find a way to go for the jugular, it'll be known as The Team That Showed So Much Promise.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Economic Quotes of the Day

We are now in the midst of a normal cyclical market correction, with the economy having created 9 million jobs since the 2003 tax cuts.
--Investor's Business Daily editorial, 10/3/2008 (emphasis added)

I have correctly predicted 41 of the last 3 recessions.
--My friend Sean, today

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Klaatu Barada Nikto

Remember the early 50s sci-fi classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still? Klaatu and his robot Gort managed to stop all power on the earth and threatened to destroy it because humanity was posing a danger to other planets. Only the above phrase kept Gort from carrying out that task.

The movie was an anti-nuclear screed, but now there are those like China and Iran who want to make this a reality. It's called an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

The premise is stunningly simple. You and I are dependent on all sorts of electronics and electricity to run our lives, including in the running of the computer that you're using. But what if a missile detonated an EMP high above the United States and set it off in the precise fashion? Life as we know it would grind to a halt.

No communications systems would work. What few vehicles that could operate would not be able to get gasoline from anywhere. There would be no such thing as emergency services. Hospitals would be out of business. Banks and financial services would all but vanish . . . and your money with it. Airplanes would all have to make emergency landings on dead reckoning, or crash. Bicycle-jackings, anyone? Know how to ride a horse? Got any good Amish friends? (thanks to LC for that last one)

The topic isn't new; it's been explored in various works of fiction, and in one of the few things I commend him for, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has been sounding the alarm about EMP attacks for some time. But the reason EMP has come to the fore again is that a new draft report from the State Department (!) says the U.S. must go further in space-based missile defense systems because

A simple Scud missile, with a nuclear warhead, could be fired from an inconspicuous freighter in international waters off our coast and detonated high above the U.S. It would wreak near-total devastation on America's technological, electrical and transportation infrastructure. With the explosion masked as a terrorist attack, Iran could plausibly deny any responsibility.

Iran has practiced launching and detonating Scuds in midflight, launched from ships in the Caspian Sea. Iran has also tested high-altitude explosions of its Shahab-3 ballistic missile, a test consistent with an EMP attack. Iran only needs a nuke.

I wonder whether the late Robert Wise and those who made The Day The Earth Stood Still ever envisioned this scenario. I wonder too if those whou would grant Iran unfettered nuclear access really think Mahmoud AhMADinejad and his mullahocracy have no interest in seeing this attack come to pass.

Finally, I wonder whether one day we'll be wringing our hands in despair as we sit in front of our silent TV sets and computer screens, and don't even hear static on our radios, because we did nothing to prevent this from happening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

That hurts

The Ravens were thisclose to knocking off the Squealers at their home on Monday night, but dumb penalties, a costly fumble, and poor kick returning did them in (Yamon Figurs, check the waiver wire). I'd prefer to get blown out like we did last year than to lose 23-20 in OT.

At least Joe Flacco played well in his first road start. But a loss is a loss. And to the hated Squealers, no less.


(Okay, so I have Squealer Derangement Syndrome. Sue me.)

Hating Sarah

If for no other reason, I love love love Sarah Palin for the derangement syndrome that the Left has unleashed upon her. Anything that cheeses off the Left so much has to be good.

This column by Joan Swirsky is one of the best articles I've read about how insane this is getting. The whole thing is worth a read, but her opening paragraph is a winner:

Why are the retro-feminists in the left-wing media, the National Organization of Women, and the abortion lobby, among other hysterics, militating so violently against Sarah Palin? It's because they value abortion-on-demand over every other subject on earth.
That's it, in a nutshell. Bring it on, gals.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Tragedy Near Andrews AFB

A Maryland State Police MEDEVAC helicopter crashed near Andrews AFB early this morning in bad weather after retrieving victims from a traffic accident. Four of the five passengers on board were killed.

Working in traffic, I hear callouts for MEDEVAC response all the time, so this affects me. I'm actually surprised that the copter was allowed to be airborne, given the bad weather.

May God rest the souls of those who perished, and give comfort to their families.

What I'll Miss About Maryland

  • My family and friends in the area, first and foremost.
  • The National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes, and chaplain Fr. Jack Lombardi.
  • St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Libertytown, and Msgr. John Dietzenbach.
  • The greenery.
  • The farmland of Frederick and Washington Counties.
  • Frederick, a charming small city with growing pains, but also a lot to offer.
  • Glen Burnie, an unassuming, blue-collar Baltimore suburb.
  • Other delightful small towns such as Thurmont, Emmitsburg, Mt. Airy, Smithsburg, Hagerstown, and Brunswick.
  • The Ravens and M&T Bank Stadium.
  • The fairly good condition of the roads (try PA or DC if you don't believe me).
  • The historical sites, from Ft. McHenry to Antietam Battlefield to Harpers Ferry.
  • The celebrations like Frederick's Fourth, the Great Frederick Fair, In the Street, Colorfest, Kris Kringle, the Renaissance Festival, Twilight Tattoo, etc.
  • Baltimore and Annapolis' harbors.
  • Berger cookies.
  • Utz potato chips.
  • Crab cakes.
  • Cream of crab soup.
  • Thrasher's fries.
  • The ability to go for a weekend trip to NYC, PA, or elsewhere.
  • Ocean City.
  • The B&A/BWI bike trails.
  • The aircraft viewing area off Dorsey Rd. near BWI.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I Won't Miss About Maryland

  • The traffic.
  • Red light and speed revenue generators cameras.
  • The overly stressed drivers who muck up traffic all the more.
  • The NIMBYism against fixing traffic.
  • NIMBYism in general.
  • The anti-business climate.
  • The weak Frederick County job market.
  • The one-party rule.
  • The political and cultural leftism.
  • High taxes.
  • Martin Owe Malley.
  • Lennie Thompson.
  • Jennifer Dougherty.
  • Roscoe "Did I say 'only three terms?'" Bartlett.
  • Blaine Young.
  • All these stoopid Squealer fans here in Frederick County. What does it say about Pittsburgh that so many of you chose to leave it? We're not exactly leading a parade to NV.
  • Key 103.
  • In fact, radio in this area as a whole (including no REAL Catholic station to speak of; the Mt. St. Mary's student station broadcasting to the deer of Catoctin Mountain Park overnights doesn't count).
  • Our inability to get TV reception without cable or satellite.
  • The People's Republic of Montgomery County.
  • Murders in Baltimore.
  • Serving on Baltimore juries all. the. time.
  • Shootings near my Baltimore apartment.
  • The Calvert and Centre Street Democratic Club, a.k.a. the Baltimore Sun.
  • The Orioles, at least not as long as Fish Lips owns them.
  • The lack of a minor league hockey team on any level.
  • My alma mater, Loyola College, which has become CINO (Catholic In Name Only). If I had it to do all over again, I would not have gone there.

Separated at Birth

TV government grant huckster Matthew Lesko (top), and DC Council member Jim Graham.

(At least they get their glasses from the same opticians, anyway.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Song For Joe Biden

Who doesn't want to impose his Catholicism on others (um, Joe buddy, politics is nothing BUT trying to impose one's ideas and ideals on others!), hence why he supports abortion.

In response, I give the Senator Steve Taylor's song, "It's A Personal Thing," and hope that Biden doesn't plagiarize it. Taylor took the tough road of being a Christian satirist in a realm where satire is rarely understood.

To wit:

The Press Conference

It's a personal thing, and I find it odd
You would question my believing in a personal God
I'm devout, I'm sincere, ask my mother if you doubt it
I'm religious, but I'd rather not get radical about it

The old-time believers had timidity and grace
But this new generation doesn't know its place
You're entitled to believe, but the latest Gallup Poll
Says you mustn't interfere--that's the government's role

'Cause when you throw your hat in the bullring
Before you know know know it's a personal thing
And when he comes to the day of reckoning
He's gonna tell 'em, "uh, uh, uh, it's a personal thing"

The Nomination Speech

It's a personal thing, and I boldly state
That my views on morality will have to wait
'Til my personal life's out of the public eye
And the limitations statue can protect my alibi

I'm devout, I'm sincere, and I'm proud to say
That it's had exactly no effect on who I am today
I believe for the benefit of all mankind
In the total separation of church and mind

'Cause when you throw your hat in the bullring
Before you know know know it's a personal thing
And when he comes to the day of reckoning
He's gonna tell 'em, "uh, uh, uh, it's a personal thing"

The Victory Night

It's a personal thing, and I plainly speak
(From the same code of ethics that I held last week)
As I promised if elected this election day
With the help of God almighty, I'll do it my way

'Cause when you throw your hat in the bullring
Before you know know know it's a personal thing
And when he comes to the day of reckoning
He's gonna say, "Back off, buddy, it's a personal thing"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Visit To Shanksville, PA

This past Saturday, while on my way back from a conference north of Pittsburgh, I decided to stop at the (still-temporary) memorial at the Flight 93 crash site outside Shanksville, PA.

If my Rand McNally road atlas hadn't had the location marked, I'd have had a hard time finding it. As far as I could tell, there were no signs on the PA Turnpike at the Somerset interchange to indicate the way to the site.

I traversed a couple back roads northward to Rt. 30 (Old Lincoln Highway) and headed east. There was a sign pointing to the Flight 93 site off that road.

To reach the site, I had to drive up atop a somewhat steep hill. Then off to the left, I saw the makeshift memorial. The actual crash site is almost a mile south toward the tree line in the distance.

The plane reportedly plowed into the ground upside down between the flag on that distant fence and those trees. The area is considered a grave for the 40 passengers and crew who perished, but not without a struggle.

The memorial site consists of a chain-link fence with various items attached to it, a group of benches bearing the names of the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93, and various monuments left by others.

Here's some of what's on the fence:

This Shanksville VFD coat caught my eye. What an overwhelming event for them to respond to on 9/11/01, having seen and heard what was going on in New York.

At the bottom of the fence I spotted this volleyball, left by the team from Walkersville High near us:

Here are some of the other memorials around the site:

And here are the benches.

Sue from the Park Service told us more about Flight 93.

Some interesting tidbits from what she had to say:

  • Flight 93 left Newark International late for San Francisco at 8:42 AM. Had it been a few minutes longer, the flight wouldn't have left at all because of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center at 8:46. It was supposed to be coordinated with the other aircraft.
  • The hijacking of the Boeing 757 took place somewhere near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. By that time, the passengers had heard about the second plane attack on the WTC, and were about to learn of the Pentagon attack as well.
  • The passengers gathered in the back of the plane and decided to attempt a takeover once they were over a sparsely populated area.
  • Todd Beamer was heard to say "Let's roll" (a line he used with his kids) because he had called an operator in Chicago on an Airfone. This operator asked Beamer not to hang up. Of course, Beamer was far from the only hero: read more here.
  • The passengers struggled to get into the cockpit where the terrorists had taken over the plane. As they did so, the terrorists pitched the plane up to 40 degrees in either direction to throw them off balance. Read the flight voice recorder transcript here.
  • The terrorists had the order to crash the plane if they couldn't reach their objective, which Osama bin Laden determined would be the Capitol because Congress was in joint session that day. He decided that the White House was too difficult to spot from the air.
  • North of Shanksville, the employees of this scrap metal company, which is being relocated because of the permanent memorial, heard and saw the plane coming in toward them, reportedly even upside down (although is that physically possible?), at close to 600 mph. They said it was so low, they felt they had to duck.

  • The impact of the crash meant there were few remaining pieces of debris; the 757 all but buried itself following a fireball explosion that seared the nearby trees (they're still that way today).
Read about the design for the permanent memorial here; it hasn't started yet because of legal land squabbles between the private plot on which the temporary memorial sits, and the crash site which the families of the Flight 93 heroes now own. Some of my fellow righties contend that the original design describes an Islamic crescent, but I find that about as ridiculous a conspiracy theory as all the others that come up when you Google "Flight 93 crash."

That being said, I don't think the proposed memorial, with a walkway, groves of trees, and a monument wall, is heroic enough. Why not a statue of some of the passengers starting out from the back of the plane to rush the cockpit? These are HEROES, and while they indeed gave their lives on this ground and it must be hallowed, they deserve more than a simple gravesite. It was not mere tragedy; it was a triumph.

Just before sunset, I traveled a couple miles south to the town itself.

As of 9/11/01, it was no longer a town where Nothing Ever Happened. Reminders of that day abound.

Most houses and businesses have flags flying in the yards.

The Shanksville VFD forgets not its own.

All in all, it was a sobering experience for me to visit the site.

I then drove through more of the hilly central Pennsylvania countryside where "bitter people cling to their religion and guns" and headed home.