Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Drunks Have Won

Although I'm gratified that a Michigan man will get 43 years behind bars for his drunken slaughter of half a family from Parkville, I think he should have gotten life.

But he didn't. Why? Because the drunks have won. There is nothing really wrong with drunk driving, according to society.

How can I say that, you ask? When you get a chance, do a Google News search on "drunk driving." See how many hits come up. Drunk driving has become No Big Deal. In fact, in Hollywood, it's seen now as some sort of rite of passage. You can't even get a SAG card without going to rehab, it seems.

Here's a partial list of those just in sports who have received DUIs:

  • Cedric Benson, (formerly) Chicago Bears
  • Dontrelle Willis, Detroit Tigers
  • Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
  • Carl Eller, formerly Minnesota Vikings
  • Warren Moon, former QB for several teams
  • Jevon Kearse, Tennessee Titans
  • Steve "The Big Dog" Duemig, Tampa sports talk show host (BTW, apparently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' forums banned discussions about a player they signed who has a history of DUI!)
  • Ken Stabler, formerly Oakland Raiders
  • J.D. Quinn, University of Montana
  • Lofa Tatupu, Seattle Seahawks
  • Dwayne Jarrett, Carolina Panthers
Oh, did I say that these have occurred only in the last six months?

And I haven't even mentioned Michael Phelps (all those who think in this Olympics run-up he'll be asked about his 2004 DUI, please take one step forward), Tony LaRussa, Sidney Ponson, Mike Tyson . . . you get the idea. (Hat tip: TotalDUI.com)

And I'm not sure I have the bandwidth to list the celebrities: Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Vivica Fox, Mischa Barton, et many al. Besides, you can find that out nightly on your Hollytrash TV shows.

And I even have to argue against myself by saying that George W. Bush's mishandling of his 1976 DUI conviction cost him votes in 2000.

All this is greeted more by "ho-hum" than by outrage. As MADD points out, drunk driving is 100% preventable (as is unplanned pregnancy, I point out). But everyone is convinced that "I'm Not A Drunk Driver; I've Only Had One Or Two."

"Don't Drink And Drive" is dead. Congratulations, DAMM (Drunks Against Madd Mothers). You won; the roads are all yours.

Drive safely, or try to.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Steven Hatfill and Me

The Justice Department has made a nearly $6 million settlement with Steven Hatfill, the former Fort Detrick researcher and longtime "person of interest" in the FBI's 7-year-old anthrax investigation. To which I say, about bloody time. I have some personal interest in thic story from my news reporting days.

It's not that Hatfill is as pure as the wind-driven snow; his background of work in Zimbabwe and South Africa is the stuff that conspiracy theories are made of, and as far as I know, he's not the nicest guy in the universe. Read more about the background of Hatfill and the investigation here (there's also a Part 2).

The point is that the FBI botched this investigation from day one. With five people having died from letters containing anthrax in late 2001, the Bureau was desperate for a suspect, but I guess it didn't learn enough from the Richard Jewell fiasco. Circumstantial evidence seemed to point to Hatfill, and then Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly proclaimed Hatfill a "person of interest," a phrase that few outside the J. Edgar Hoover Building had heard before. This allowed the Bureau to implicate Hatfill without naming him a suspect.

One scorching hot day in August 2002, I got word that the FBI was busy searching Hatfill's former apartment outside Fort Detrick. Being in radio, however, I came away with nothing; at least my TV counterparts had plenty of video of agents rooting through the dumpsters. After the agents left in their fleet of black Crown Vics, the property manager threatened to call the police if the media tried to enter the apartment. Why I went with them, I don't know; I wouldn't have had any sound of any consequence.

The FBI said nothing that day. My one cow-orker later told me there was a news conference coming that evening outside the apartments, but she was confused by the TV news stations doing standups for the 6 PM newscasts.

The next time the FBI came to town was in June 2003 when it acted on a tip that something to do with the anthrax case might be hidden in a pond deep within the city watershed north of Frederick. Out came the black vehicles again; I followed them up as far as I was allowed. Again, everyone was tight-lipped. So I voiced a few reports about the area where the Bureau was looking, and at least one of them wound up on ABC News Radio.

All the while, my news director and I kept saying that the FBI had to fish or cut bait with Hatfill, but still the Bureau remained silent, to its detriment. Meanwhile, Hatfill sued both the DOJ and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof; the latter suit was dismissed.

But at least Hatfill got his day in court and now has some compensation for what he's been through. The FBI, meanwhile, suffered yet another PR blunder and is probably no closer to solving the anthrax case than it was when it decided it had to make Steven Hatfill its scapegoat.

Sickiepoo

I've got myself a cold that I hope doesn't turn into a sinus infection. Not that there's a good time to have a cold, but I think the middle of summer has to be one of the worst times.

More Mucinex, please. X-P

*goes back to sleep*

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Golf With Your Friends?

Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate these two ain't:


(John Daly, the Butterbean of the PGA, with Kid Rock, the has-been of rock music, at the pro-am preceding the Buick Open, which will be sans Tiger and otherwise pretty lame. Oh, and Mr. Rock? That ain't dress code on any self-respecting course.)

I think I'd prefer these guys:

And Now For Some Count Five

"Psychotic Reaction" may be my favorite 60s song ever, although the Animals' "Sky Pilot" (even though it's anti-war) comes close. There's also a good Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover of this tune out there somewhere. And I guess Count Five has to be high on my list of one-hit wonders as well.

This video from American Bandstand isn't the best: as with most AB stuff, it's lip-synched, and note the horrid direction! But the sound quality is pretty good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh, Yes, I Remember It Well


From Mom2BJM:

  1. What date was your big day? September 23
  2. Where did you get married? St Joseph's Church, Hanover, PA
  3. Who proposed and how? Well, if it had solely been up to my emotions, I would have done so after dating LC only a few months, while we were out on Lake Tahoe at night. But I wanted my head and heart both to be in it, so I waited. Then it got to the point where I couldn't NOT ask her to marry me. I wanted to pop the question atop Sugarloaf Mountain one day when I had off, but that was her only day off out of nine at her job. She thought I sounded disappointed. Then a couple weeks later, I took her over to Codorus State Park, site of one of our earlier dates. I was nervous, but I summoned up the courage, got down on one knee, and asked. She said yes! I asked her three times to be sure. And giant rocks did not fall from the sky, nor did the earth swallow us whole. Having been sleepless much of the week, I went home and slept like a rock. She, however, stayed up all night. We bought the ring together the next week.
  4. How long were you engaged? 11 months
  5. What was your favorite part of your wedding day (and it can't be your wife)? When my uncle, who officiated the ceremony, looked at LC and said, "We're praying for you." Everyone laughed.
  6. What would you change if you could? Not much. Maybe I could have gotten a little more sleep, but I think 5 hours was pretty darn good considering. Maybe we could have talked to more people.
  7. Wedding colors? Ask LC. Funny thing is, not long after our first dates five years before, she dreamed that she'd be marrying a man dressed in a tux with an Ascot-style tie. At that time, I also dreamed that we'd be married. Wow.
  8. Remember anything special about your wedding ceremony? See #5, plus the prayer that we read together in front of the congregation, and LC's offering to the Blessed Mother while her former prom date sang a fine rendition of "Ave Maria." That was the only time I cried.
  9. Were you clean or messy when you cut your cake? Clean, until she smeared my face with icing.
  10. Where did you go on your honeymoon? First couple nights: Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA. The following week: Key Largo, FL. And as it ended: Mass with Pope John Paul II at Camden Yards.
Here's an earlier post about our Big Day. (We have other pics from our wedding, but they're all packed away now.)

This is a meme, so for those of you who are hitched, have at it!

The Californica "Gay Marriage" Fallout

^ not a typo.

Thank you, Jeffrey Kuhner, for saying what I was thinking. The "gay marriage" movement has nothing to do with tolerance and everything to do with obtaining government sanction of an abhorrent lifestyle:

What they now seek is something different: The legitimization of their lifestyle. By pushing for gay marriage, they are demanding that society give its stamp of approval to homosexuality. The homosexual agenda therefore is not about "civil rights." Rather, it is about taking the sexual revolution to its logical, dystopian conclusion - the creation of a new social order based on moral relativism, hedonism and individual gratification.
See also: out-of-wedlock sex, shacking up, no-fault divorce, abortion, etc.

Babies as a Commodity

What hath the pro-death abortion rights reproductive choice movement wrought? Well, regardless of whether the upsurge of pregnant Gloucester, MA mid-teens was the result of a "pact," we now know that babies are no longer people: they're a commodity.

Don't get me wrong; I'm glad these babies are being brought to term and not being aborted. Still, they came about because of sick thinking on the part of these kids having kids. Considering that at least one of these babies was allegedly fathered by a 24-year-old homeless man (statutory rape, anyone?), it seems that there must be some mindset among teenage girls that babies are nice to have because they're cute and they give unconditional love. How about adopting a puppy or a kitten instead, hm? But that's okay; like with the puppy or kitten, the new mom can always shunt the responsibility onto (Grand)Mom and (Grand)Dad while she continues to party and otherwise act like a teenager in the style To Which She Is Entitled.

(Aside to Bigbro: Sometimes I wonder how you and BigSIL manage your four girls. But I'm glad you do.)

Although I don't believe they're the scapegoats as folks in Gloucester are making them out to be, movies like Bella and Juno may be good from the point of view that they don't advocate abortion, but I believe they unwittingly spread the message that Oopsies Are Okay. Heck, Jamie Lynn Spears had an oopsie, and isn't that great! While a pregnant girl need not bear the Scarlet Letter as in my mom's day, neither should society remove all stigma and peer pressure from out-of-wedlock sex and pregnancies as is the case in our postmodern society.

And it used to be that the boys (and 24-year-old homeless men) involved had no consequences for their actions in impregnating girls, as was the case back in my mom's day. That's wrong; without them, these pregnancies wouldn't have happened. But as Kay Himowitz points out, the males have become all but irrelevant now, being nothing more than walking turkey basters at best. These girls seek to be single moms and take on motherhood long before they are mature enough to do so because they think they're entitled to a baby. I know, that thought of babies being gifts from God as a result of marriage is sooooo outdated.

And that's what this overall disregard for life and morals has brought us to. Babies are a commodity to have (as a pet) or to abort, and nothing more. The solution to all this is simple, not easy, but not impossible either:

Don't. Have. Sex. Outside. Marriage.


I know, there I go being black and white again. But, like Calvin (as in Hobbes thereand) told his dad, "Sometimes, that's the way things are!"

Quote of the day

From Poland's health minister Ewa Kopacz, a Catholic who apparently assisted in obtaining an abortion for a 14-year-old girl, and whose excommunication is now being demanded by pro-life groups:

"I don't feel guilty. Yesterday I was at church, so I have no reason to feel guilty."

To this arrogance I reply in the words of former Baltimore Colts linebacker and Fellowship of Christian Athletes member Don Shinnick:

"If I were born in a garage, would that make me a car?"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's Just A Little Pot! (Pourri)

What's been happening lately? Well...

  • Packing continues. Will it never end? Took us all afternoon to realize we'd already packed my tape deck. We now have to look at what we absolutely need to live on for the next 3-6 months.
  • No one seems to want to buy our bedroom set, entertainment center, or desk chair. And now we've got a La-Z-Boy to add to the mix. We did sell our bikes and one of our bowling balls, however.
  • I played Captain Caulk over the weekend, with mixed results. Did OK with the clear caulk downstairs on the kitchen counter, but around the bathroom sinks . . . not so much. In fact, we'll have to repaint portions near the sink because of my brilliant idea of putting down adhesive caulk instead. It didn't hold, and when I pulled it up, paint came with it. Phooey.
  • We've decided not to take either car out west. It's not worth the $1000 or so to get either the Cygmobile (with nearly 200K miles on it) or the Cubmobile (which routinely drinks more oil than fuel) out there.
  • I'm now working the early mornings again (5 AM to 10 AM). Upside: I feel like I have more of the day available to me, even when I come home and sack out for a while. Downside: I'm more tired more often. I'll make the drive to and from Ocean City on Saturday. (Main downside to working 12 noon to 8 PM: Work, sleep, work, sleep, and nought else.)
  • Now working with me is the husband of my theater friend Chenoa (the one who played Helena to my Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream). LC and I have given them one of our window air conditioners and my glider rocker and ottoman. In return, we've gotten loaves of bread from MOM (My Organic Market). Well, Jack once traded a cow for some magic beans; how'd that work out?
  • We had a nice Father's Day get-together, including Mass at which my father lectored. The songs were actually rather reasonable for a change, except for an instrumental version of The Yoo-Hoo Song ("On Eagles' Wings") at communion. Since it was the night before, I told Dad we were giving him the best Father's Day gift of all: leaving him alone.
  • And here's an opinion thrown in at no extra charge: With huge portions of Iowa and elsewhere in the Midwest under water, PBS' MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour wastes valuable air time with an extended report on New Orleans landfills. Is it any wonder why I'll never be a "member" of any PBS station?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well Said

Some recent posts from elsewhere I really like:

  • Recycling paper is a good thing, right? Iain Murray gives some good reasons why it isn't.
  • DebCapsFan is going to be a little busy for a while. :-)
  • AquinaSavio at Per Te, Sancta Maria challenges us men to purity as did his namesake, St. Dominic Savio ("Let me die rather than commit a single sin against chastity" --wow. Just wow). This is a must-read for those of us who struggle with lust.
  • Paramedicgirl wants to know how you spent your Sunday. (I'll never forget how befuddled a college writing instructor of mine was that there was some idea of "forced rest" on Sunday. And he said this while teaching at a (supposedly) Catholic college.)
  • I so wish this was about to happen here: Father Z passes along that the Holy See plans to promote the Traditional Latin Mass throughout the UK.
Enjoy! I may do this from time to time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Prayers Please

For my dear friend and John McEnroe lookalike Sean, who is in University Hospital's shock trauma unit in Baltimore. He survived a nasty automobile accident on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Friday morning, but needed at least six hours of surgery.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Holy [censored]!

Today, we drove the scenic route from Frederick to a party at my cousin's house south of Fredericksburg, VA, taking Routes 15 and 17 past Leesburg, Haymarket, and Warrenton. Because of the heat and humidity, LC suggested we take her car and not the Cygmobile, which now needs tires and a new AC compressor.

It was definitely a scenic route as we passed numerous country clubs, horse farms, and planned developments. We saw some of the damage from the severe storms that swept through the area a few days ago, such as downed trees and limbs draped over power lines. We also passed the Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealeton, which has nothing to do with Monty Python, but which hosts airshows just about every Sunday through the summer. Then, on the edge of Fredericksburg, we saw the massive regional headquarters of GEICO. I checked the tires later to see whether we'd run over a gecko. As we neared the party, I noticed storm clouds trying to form on the horizon.

Then we arrived on this hot and humid afternoon at my cousin's house in Massaponax for the graduation party of his lovely daughter Angela. It was the first time we'd ventured down to their place. Both my cousin and his wife were nursing leg injuries, and I figured between them and me with my elbow, we had approximately one healthy body. We enjoyed being with then and other relatives, including my mom and dad who had just spent a few days at Massanutten courtesy of friends of theirs.

I'll just say I had too much to eat, and leave it at that.

We took the more direct way home up I-95, but before doing so, we took advantage of gasoline that was ten cents a gallon cheaper than north of the Potomac, or north of the Occaquan for that matter. I noticed that the Rappahannock River had returned to its normal state after being virtually dry last fall.

In the distance, we saw lightning which we thought at first was too far off to affect us. But as we approached Quantico, the lightning increased in intensity and was soon accompanied by torrential rains. The showers let up slightly, and then started again.

And then, as we reached Woodbridge, BOOOM! Neither of us can remember being that close to a bolt of lightning in our lives. It struck either the trees just off the roadway, or perhaps the shoulder itself. But we saw it, heard it, felt it, were blinded momentarily by it, and scared out of our shorts by it, and we responded, "Holy [expletive]!" Oh well, back to confession, I guess.

By the time we got to Springfield (isn't that a song?), most of the roughest stuff had passed. We just had intermittent rains and much more distant lightning until we got back to Frederick, where the sky had cleared. But we won't soon forget coming thisclose to being fried.

RIP, Jim McKay

Jim McKay is dead at age 87.

I have a soft spot for James K. McManus not only because he was a classy announcer for ABC, but also because he graduated from both my high school and my college (see also: Tom Clancy).

Of course, most people know him for the intro to ABC's Wide World of Sports.

But he rose to a tragic occasion in 1972, telling the world what happened to the Israeli Olympic team members after a commando raid on their Palestinian captors. As he wrote for ESPN in 2002:

A wire service reported that night that all the hostages had been saved. But German TV was wrong. Saying the words, "They're all gone" was the hardest thing I had to do in television. I always wondered if I had done it sensibly enough, so I replied to Dorothy Berger (David [an Israeli team member]'s mother) and she wrote me another time since then. I remembered on that night in Munich what my father had said to me once: "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized until they're all gone." It was the quickest way I could summarize what happened.

Read the whole thing; it's quite insightful.

And here's another piece of McKay work I liked: his call of the final sprint to the checkered flag of the 1982 Indianapolis 500 between Gordon Johncock and Rick Mears, the closest finish in the race's history at the time.



God rest his soul.

Much obliged!

A tip of the hat to one Tim O'Connor, music director at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton, FL, who sent me a fresh version recording of a concert I attended back when I was there! This concert was the parishes of Sarasota and Bradenton celebrating the arrival of the new millennium with choirs, handbells, organ, piano, and small orchestra (no guitars).

I enjoyed the music! It ranged from Mozart to John Rutter to Suzanne Toolan to settings of traditional hymns like "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" and "I Sing The Mighty Power Of God." And it wasn't during a Mass, so I can't gripe about that. :-)

Plus, it shows to go me that not all music directors are mere minions of GIA-OCP. Thanks again, Tim!

And a further hat tip to cow-orker and singer John Koprowski for inviting me to come in the first place.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Up, Up, and Awry

I've been following with interest the ongoing collapse of the airline industry. There are way too many articles to cite: a Google News search on "airlines" will yield quite a few.

It's sad to see airlines dying a slow death thanks to oil prices, and I don't think the methods they've taken to compensate--slashing jobs, cutting routes, jacking up fares, and slapping on various fees--are going to help much. What's worse, I believe they know it. After all, which of those stopgaps will bring any of the airlines more customers? And even Southwest, the only airline which routinely turns a profit, will feel the pinch sooner or later when its hedged purchase of lower-cost gasoline runs out.

But maybe the collapse of the airline industry may not be such a bad thing. Perhaps it will lead to a completely new way of looking at routes, especially the final death knell of the "hub and spoke" concept that Southwest and JetBlue have blown into oblivion. Perhaps it will also lead to new aeronautic innovations, better ways to harness the power of the winds aloft.

On the other hand, I fear that what will happen is, like when I was a kid, traveling by air will be something only business people do. After all, the nationwide train infrastructure is nowhere near up to the task of absorbing those who can't fly, and (oh yeah) most trains use a heck of a lot of fuel too.

From a personal perspective, I didn't fly at all except to and from England when I was a kid, and a short round-trip to Paris while in England. It was more than 20 years later when LC and I first flew out to Reno, and came back through Denver on The Flight From Hell that tried to land through a thunderstorm. Never saw rain fall UP before! Once we were married, we enjoyed watching planes land near our house, either from the house itself or from the viewing area right near Runway 33L at BWI. Scattered through the blog are other adventures that I've labeled "flying" (how cryptic!).

I've flown quite a bit since then, generally at least once a year. I enjoyed using fairly cheap fares to get to places like Cleveland, Chicago, and even LA/Orange County for various purposes. Now? I'm not even sure how we'll get out to Reno. We'd take Southwest, except they don't carry animals.

Proud To Be A Piggy

From the Department of Shaming Kids Into Environmental Wacko-ism:

Planet Slayer Greenhouse Calculator

It says I should have offed myself by age 5. So when are the folks who made that site going to relieve the planet of THEIR carbon footprint, hmmm? I'll take "never" minus the points.

HT: The Cafeteria Is Closed

Monday, June 02, 2008

Boo Freakin' Hoo

Did you know Marty Haugen is not Catholic? Me neither, until now. And you'll never know it from his page on GIA's site.

In fact, he's part of the United Church of Christ, which is about one step above Unitarian Universalism in its self-centeredness, leftism, and MTV-generation mentality.

Did you know that Haugen is so upset that so many Catholics (like me) assailed the choices of music (if you can call some of it that) for the Papal Mass at Nationals Park in April, arranged by one Tom Stehle? Courtesy of The Cafeteria is Closed, here's what Haugen had to say:

For twenty plus years I have been told, mainly anonymously through the internet, how I have been personally responsible for destroying Roman Catholic worship. I have never responded [why, because it MIGHT be true to some degree?]; however, I wish to offer a few comments now.

First of all, although I am not Roman Catholic [okay, so when can I, a Catholic, start writing music for UCC services? But that's also the fault of the GIA-OCP cabal who put Haugen in charge of such things as editor], I have a deep love and respect for and faith in the worship tradition of the Roman Catholic Church [Well, isn't that special?]. My own hesitancy about joining the Church is not about its eucharistic theology, but rather around the unwillingness of the Church to commission, ordain and welcome all humans as Jesus did–male and female, married and unmarried, saints and sinners [have a nice wait, and knowing this, it shocks me to think that GIA-OCP put you in charge of liturgical ANYthing. And how, as Fr. Joe points out, did the Church decide that GIA-OCP were the final arbiters of liturgical music, anyway?]. I believe that the Church, God’s people and all of creation have suffered from this omission [speak for yourself, buster] .

I do not think of my own music as central or important to Roman Catholic worship [So what? GIA and OCP sure do], present or future. I began writing as a parish musician; I still keep the vision that to be “catholic” is to learn and love and embrace the best of the past tradition and to welcome the “best” of what is new, as Gods [sic] speaks through all cultures and expressions (see “Lumen Gentia” [sic]) [Um, yeeeahhhh. Run that by the German Shepherd and see what sort of response you get]. I leave it to communities and to the Holy Spirit that will (more than us, thank God) guide the future choices that will last [And that will outlast the aforementioned GIA-OCP].

I had nothing to do with the choice of “Mass of Creation” for a Papal Mass [Ashamed of it, huh?]. Having said that, I believe that attacks upon Tom Stehle in his efforts to engage a congregation with what he hoped would be familiar and meaningful to them (using parts of the liturgy with currently approved texts) [By whom?] were [Spot on and necessary] unfair, un-Christian and beneath those of us who truly care about how God speaks through our Sacraments [You don't even BELIEVE in the same Sacraments we do, so put a sock in your keyboard!].

In short, Marty: Boo. Freakin'. Hoo. There are few, if any, songs of yours or David Haas' that I'll even sing in Mass anymore.

Oh, do you think I was hostile toward Marty Haugen? You ain't read nothin' yet. Even so, I don't wish Haugen, Haas, or their ilk any ill will. Rather, I look forward to the day when both GIA and OCP are closed for business, and their claptrap has nowhere to be sung . . . except maybe at a UCC service.