/* News Ticker Head info ------------------------------------------------ */

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Ash Wednesday, 2004

T. S. Elliot's words, bits and pieces, highlights added, excerpted from his work titled simply Ash Wednesday:

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air

The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.


Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.


The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile


Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose


Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings


Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.


Find the entire (quite long) poem here:

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Educational Oddities are my Specialty, It seems


If I made this stuff up, you'd think I was "too far afield from reality"...

Yale is offering a course called Michael Jackson 101.

NEW HAVEN — Walking to a beat of sorts, a college girl leaving her Yale University seminar believes no one is in earshot when she hums to herself, muffled through a winter scarf:

"‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night.
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike.’"

The rhythm to "Thriller" is still intoxicating 20 years after one of the best-selling albums of all time was released.

But the song’s allure pales in comparison to that of its maker: Michael Jackson, who because of accusations and escapades always seems to be in the headlines.

Now the pop icon is center stage at Yale University. Jackson is the centerpiece of a seminar this semester, dubbed, "Sexuality and Popular Culture: AKA Michael Jackson 101."

See!!!! I told you!!!!

Some classes analyze English literature. Professor Seth Clark Silberman’s class dissects Jackson’s "Thriller" and "Beat It" videos.

The class looks at how Jackson addresses sexuality almost directly through his music and videos, and reveals conflicting images in his very pubic lifestyle.

Ok, you reply. This is one of those poorly attended, niche classes that Universities offer, right?

So many students showed up the first day of class, it was split into two sections to accommodate the overflow.

"We were expecting 14 to 15 people," Silberman said. "Forty-five people came."

That's right. Ivy League graduates in the past were destined to become the leaders of our country. Now I'm not so sure. Glad I didn't spend the big $$. At least Ball State University doesn't offer a course on Michael Jackson...at least, I don't think they do...

Yale junior Quinn Hamilton said, "Michael Jackson is part of the attraction" of the class, but that there’s more to it than that. "It’s about sexuality and popular culture."

The class will study other aspects of sexuality and popular culture, including how the old-time horror flicks addressed sexuality. Even that subject leads back to Jackson, who borrowed heavily from famous horror flicks in his musical videos.

While seducing the public with otherworldly behavior, Jackson somehow speaks to generations of society and their conflicts regarding sexuality and race, the instructor contends.

There's more...but I'm weary.

This concludes the Tuesday Tri-fecta of Educational Absurdity

We now return to regularly scheduled programming.

More School Silly


Not quite as serious as the story below...I mean, I don't remember leaving class to go to the bathroom 15 times a month in middle school...you went during passing periods and lunch, then perhaps occasionally you leave class...but, it DOES seem a bit odd that they set ANY "limit" on this as a blanket rule.

Some New Jersey middle school students can't go when they gotta go.
A controversial new pee policy at Lawrence Middle School in Lawrenceville, N.J., is limiting pupils to just 15 bathroom breaks a month.

"It's insane," said parent Lisa Everson, 40. "I just think the administration does not know how to handle children. It's unhealthy, and it's also embarrassing for children. We're furious about all of it."

Seventh-grader Eric Waldron, 13, is worried - he has just four bathroom breaks left for the rest of the month.

"It's stupid," he said. "They say they're doing good for the school, they say it'll teach responsibility and management, but you can't manage your bathroom time. You have to go when you have to go!"

Matthew Gregory, 12, has been drinking and eating less at lunch to avoid using up his passes.

Who Runs This Asylum?


A Lovington father is scheduled for four hours of school detention for keeping his high school age daughter home from school for one day due to extreme cold weather.

Yes, that's right...the FATHER got detention. Now when I first read this I was wondering just what universe you have to be in where the school can give a PARENT detention. But, I found out it wasn't nearly that bad, just worse...

You see, the principal (this one isn't your PAL) gave the daughter detention, and when the father protested that she shouldn't be punished due to a decision the father made, the smart-ass principal tells him, "Well, if you feel so strongly about it, maybe you'll serve the detention."

Now, I have to admire a father willing to take the heat for his kid. But, I also have to jump up and down, screaming at this guy: "YOU ARE THE CUSTOMER HERE!!!" If I had a daughter, and I decided she would stay home (for any reason whatsoever), and the school wanted to punish her for doing what I told her to do, my daughter would no longer be enrolled in that school. Period.

On the morning of Friday January 30, Hatton said he decided it was too cold for his children to go to school that day. But the Lovington High School Handbook does not list "parental concern for a child's safety" as one of six excused absences in their handbook.

So, you must now balance every parental decision against what the school handbook says, because now the school is in charge of raising your children? Ah, just who I want giving moral guidance to my children...a system where condoms are more appropriate than asprin, where "tolerance" isn't enough (you have to demonstrate "acceptance" as well, regardless of your moral beliefs), where you can use fowl language non-stop but you can't mention Jesus or God...a broken system where so many children are done a great disservice.

On the other hand, Lovington High School Principal Kevin Van Meter said the Hatton's 16 year old daughter's absence was unexcused, and punished her with five days detention. He based the punishment on a provision in the Lovington High School Handbook which states, “The student will be considered truant for all unexcused absences. The student will make up all time for unexcused absences unless the administrator deems the absence to be unavoidable.”

Mr. Hatton, draw a line in the sand. You made a choice for the child you are legally bound to care for. That choice did not endager the child, did not endanger any other person, did not harm the child physically, morally, or mentally, and that choice did not warrant the punishment this school system has administered. It is ridiculous. The school stands In Loco Parentis ONLY WHEN YOU GIVE THEM THAT PERMISSION. It isn't the default. We aren't in a Nanny State just yet.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

On a lighter note...


"Luke Tresoglavic, 22, was snorkelling near Newcastle, north of Sydney, when he was bitten by a two-feet-long Wobbegong shark.

When the shark refused to let go, Mr Tresoglavic swam 300 meters (1,000 feet) to shore, walked to his car and drove to the local surf club. "


Why I Don't Watch the TV to Get The News


The first story here, under the title "News Summary" includes the following revelations:
"Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections. They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are 'conservative positions.' "
"They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories. "
"[The press] does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending."

Newspapers and Television broadcasts wonder why they are losing readers/viewer? First, because they are almost exclusively negative. They are looking for (or manufacturing) controversy and anger, because that is what they say sells newspapers or causes people to tune in. Second, their bias is such that a large portion (if not a statistical majority) of Americans find themselves offended or turned off by the reporting.

I wouldn't keep alternative opinions off the air, but I do like to have either a balanced report, or full disclosure of the bias coming in. A news editor's job should be to push the reporter/anchor on to weed out the inherent bias the individual brings to the story. You get the feeling watching the TV news that the editor's job is to do the opposite.

At least I have to hand it to the ABCNews column...they were honest...

Monday, February 09, 2004

Travel, And Such

The states I've visited in Red

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

This is a good way to remind me to add a few more to the list before the year is out...

Friday, February 06, 2004

Cheap, Cheap

"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is so easy to settle for the CHEAP version of the things that should define who we are. A similar paragraph could be written about CHEAP love, CHEAP friendships, CHEAP entertainment, CHEAP art, CHEAP intimacy, CHEAP careers.

If it is worth having, it is worth working for. If it is worth having, it isn't easy. If it is worth having, it isn't 100% feel good.

We know better, yet we continue in our ignorance.

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
- C.S. Lewis

Far too easily pleased. Understated, don't you think? We want the quick burger, the drug to heal us, the dating service to match us up with a mate, th quickie/no-fault divorce when it all goes to hell. We settle for mediocre music and writing and theology and conversations. We don't call others on to sacrifice because we really aren't too keen on the idea of sacrifice ourselves. We don't hold each other to high standards because we don't want to live up to them ourselves.

The result? Where there is a society that doesn't cling to things of real value, there is a steady decline. Where there is a society that doesn't value virtue and acknowledge an ultimate Truth, there is a society that despises life, chooses "rights" without the corresponding "responsibilities", and detests youthful innocence.

"It is no accident that with the growing acceptance and toleration of mediocrity in sports, politics, and society, we also suffer through increased corruption."
- Unattributed

Then we wander around, wondering why we feel lost, alone, hopeless...helpless.

God help us.

STOP Eating People!

A well thought essay regarding the German canibal can be found at the link below. Some selected text follows.


Ruling that Meiwes had no "base motives" in killing and then devouring about 20 kilograms of Brandes by the time of his arrest (with more select cuts stashed in his freezer), Judge Volker Muetze justified his lenient verdict because the consent of the eaten had been fully given.

Describing the killer and his victim as "two psychologically sick people who found each other," Muetze ruled that "the famous lust for murder was not there. Meiwes found the killing very unpleasant."

Aw, did the poor little cannibal have a bad time?

Going by some of his recent statements and actions, I would say it's debatable that Meiwes either regrets or repents his actions. "Don't worry, I won't eat you," he joked with reporters at a pretrial media scrum.

"I had my big kick and I don't need to do it again," Meiwes told the court at the close of his trial.

Yet when he was arrested nine months after killing Brandes, it was because police were notified the supposedly satiated Meiwes had posted yet another message on the Internet seeking someone to kill and eat. With good behaviour, Meiwes could conceivably be out of jail and firing up his computer to plan more diabolical menus in just four short years.

Meiwes is already sorting through offers from publishers seeking the rights to his grisly story. His defence lawyer says "Meiwes hasn't started writing yet, but he wants to do it. He needs a ghost writer. The offers are stacked up on my desk."

While it hasn't aroused a fraction of the outcry attending Janet Jackson's exposed breast in the Super Bowl halftime show last Sunday, in some circles at least, outrage has been voiced about the judge's expression of compassion for cannibals.

Yet this alarmingly lenient ruling only reflects the drift that has been underway for years in the international chambers of the judiciary.

Increasingly unmoored from clear Judeo-Christian and common law principles about what's right and wrong, our courts have become so caught up in secondary considerations about consent and the need to not judge too harshly the lifestyle choices of even the pathologically ill, that they're losing sight of the most obvious and simplest of principles, such as "Eating people is wrong."

Thursday, February 05, 2004

This isn't a dating game.


Win a dream date with the perfect Presidential candidate for you!

No, not really. This is an AOL-supported endeavor which takes you through a series of questions regarding social-political issues and scores your compatability with the various presidential candidates. My results aren't surprising, other than 1) I don't agree with President Bush 100%, so that compatability seems high unless it is in reference to the possible candidates, and 2) that Kucinich even registers as someone I have ANYTHING in common with...

Bush 100%
Edwards 45%
Clark, Dean, Kerry 43%
Sharpton 34%
Kucinich 26%

BTW, I've received some feedback that some folks don't think this is very accurate when they take it, so I'm not vouching for the accuracy of the test...call and yell at AOL, not me!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

New Look

I was bored with the old blog's look, so I redecorated.

On a budget.

Without much knowledge of HTML, so pretty much everything is as the original designer left it. Glad they give you a couple to choose from...

Monday, February 02, 2004


Spent a lot of time this weekend staring at my note book.

Below you'll find what I have to show for it.

You're Going Anyway

I know I'll lose you this year
Before the Series is played
Before the leaves fall from the trees
Before the turkey is made
Count down started long ago
Now the time is drawing near
I know you'll be gone forr good
Before the first freeze this year

Rain settles the dust
Keeps it from blowing away
Wish that same rain would settle you
Would convince you to stay
You've rejected every offer
Any price that I would pay
You swear that you're not leaving
But you're going anyway

Another post card from Cleveland
That's the third one this year
Some words smudged by a rain drop
Or, baby, was that a tear?
You still haven't found yourself
Oh and I know you've tried
Every post card says you'll be home soon
It's not the first time you've lied

Rain settles the dust
Keeps it from blowing away
Wish that same rain would settle you
Would convince you to stay
You've rejected every offer
Any price that I would pay
You swear that you're not leaving
But you're going anyway

I hear you're back in town, now
With a broken heart
And a little baby boy
I hear that you were happy
'til his daddy
Went and found another toy

Prefer to see you as a stranger
It's better that we pretend
Nothing ever happened, no beginning
So there can't be an end
If you see me please don't smile
Or even look me in the eye
Avaid me at all costs
No Hello's to there'll be no Good-Byes

Rain settles the dust
Keeps it from blowing away
Wish that same rain would have settled you
Convinced you to stay
You rejected every offer
Any price that I could pay
You swore you were'nt leaving
But you went anyway

Every Time It Rains

It's been a rainy year, this year, they say
But I can't say I mind
The echo of the rain drops, the thunder
The only peace I find

I thank God for the old copper wires
In this West Texas town
Because every time a cloud bursts
It shuts that damn phone down
No one can call to ask how
I'm dealing with the pain
Because the phone stops ringing
Every time it rains

their paths are paved with good intentions
They can't see how much it hurts
I moved out here to get away from the calls
So I'm praying for those cloud bursts

I thank God for the old copper wires
In this West Texas town
Because every time a cloud bursts
It shuts that damn phone down
No one can call to ask how
I'm dealing with the pain
Because the phone stops ringing
Every time it rains

Clouds growing black, to the west, this evening
No I can't say I mind
Can't wait to feel the raindrops, see the lightening
Who knew a storm could be so kind?

I thank God for the old copper wires
In this West Texas town
Because every time a cloud bursts
It shuts that damn phone down
No one can call to ask how
I'm dealing with the pain
Because the phone stops ringing
Every time it rains

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Path of Most Resistance

No question the world's been unfair to you
So You've decided you can never win
(But) Some of the Blame falls at your feet, too
Like some kind of penance for your sin
Everytime something good starts to happen here
I find you doing something crazy, dear

You've determined you were born to suffer
On high alert for the harshness of this existence
So in tune with the dishonesty of others
You end up on the path of most resistance

I admire your truth and your honesty
But sometimes it sure feels like you are hiding
You'd rather be dead than seen on M-TV
(Don't forget) It's also MY time you are biding
Everytime something good starts to happen here
I find you doing something crazy, dear

You've determined you were born to suffer
On high alert for the harshness of this existence
So in tune with the dishonesty of others
You end up on the path of most resistance

Life doesn't have to be one long act of contrition
Somewhere there's a balance to be found
Between chaos and the rhythm of endless repetition
Loosen the chains by which you are bound
Everytime something good starts to happen here
I find you doing something crazy, dear

You've determined you were born to suffer
On high alert for the harshness of this existence
So in tune with the dishonesty of others
You end up on the path of most resistance