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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

St. Cindy (not)

Cindy Sheehan joins the RFK JR push: Blame Bush for Weather!

George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego , so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana , Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.

Never mind that the National Guard has said they have plenty of troops for the operation...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kennedy: Family of Compassion

Robert Kennedy, Jr. shows a similar "love 'em and drown 'em" hutzpah, just like uncle Ted-hicup-ie.

As most of us watch the devestation in the Gulf, wondering at what we see, RFK-JR writes that he sees "payback" from an angry Mother Nature. Yes, the hurricane is the US "reaping the whirlwind" that we deserve.

Starts with:

As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, it’s worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2.

and ends with:

On March 13, Bush reversed his previous position, announcing he would not back a CO2 restriction using the language and rationale provided by Barbour. Echoing Barbour’s memo, Bush said he opposed mandatory CO2 caps, due to “the incomplete state of scientific knowledge” about global climate change.

Well, the science is clear. This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.

In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Little Bit on Combat Deaths

Between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country, a death rate of 1,286 per year which exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq.

In accidents they died, at a higher rate than they are being killed in Iraq. (Granted, there are still accidental, non-combat deaths in the military at the same time, so I'm not making the argument that it is SAFER to be fighting a war than just sitting around, only trying to provide perspective.)

On September 11, nearly 3500 innocent, non-combatants lost their lives, not to mention the number of people who died in terror-related attacks during the Clinton Administration. Our number of civilian dead in the war on terrorism remains HIGHER than our troop death toll.

And it IS a toll. Contrary to what the left would have you believe, there aren't Rich White Neo-Cons gathered in back rooms, breaking open the bubbly everytime a young american soldier dies.

But, the idea that the country that would be so angry at Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor (a mostly MILITARY objective) - so angry that it would drop two atomic bombs, at least partially in retribution for such an attack - is wobbly in the knees after losing less than 2,000 soldiers who are fighting to stop things like an attack on a decisively non-military objective (the WTC)...No wonder our enemies are emboldend.

If we were to re-fight WWII with the "resolve" we have today, we would be in deep, deep trouble.

Housing Update

No pics. Sorry. The camera I'm using for that is not great indoors, and that's where a lot of the work was being done. Plumbing (done), heating and AC (85% done), three showers and a whirlpool bath installed (done). The well was dug and completed yesterday. The roof is done, and the siding is started. They expect to finish that today, I believe. Electrical may start tomorrow, and they have an 8-man crew that comes in and knocks it out in one day.

Progress, progress, progress....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rooms with Views

One of the things we fell in love with with this property was the isolated feeling, even though we are in a decent sized addition. The back of the lot is tree lined, and slopes quickly down a hill toward an open farm field (which, will be visible somewhat when we thin some of the trees out). There is no neighbor directly in front of us, and no neighbor directly next to us on one side (and there won't ever be). In effect, we have one direct neighbor and a house diagonal from us across the street.

We tried to situate the house in a way that would maximize this feeling of a more country environment, but it is hard to "see" what the views will look like before the house is actually built, especially the views from the second story.

1. The view of the back yard through the double patio door. We will have a pub table and chairs there for most of our dining, overlooking the back yard, and hopefully someday, a clearer view of the expanse of the farm fields behind us (especially good for early morning coffe-and-a-sunrise). In the winter, when the trees don't have leaves, we'll get early morning sun there.

2. A view of the back yard from upstairs. We are planning to push the brush line back some, and thin a little, but leave enough to still feel close to a wooded area. Also, the construction refuse will be removed. :-)

3. We weren't LOOKING to live on a golf course. It just worked out that way. We tried to angle the house so that the open spaces of the golf fairway and the green were highlighted, not because we want to watch golf, really, but becuase it enhances the feel of openness. It will be nice in winter to look out over a snowy, wide expanse.

4. Finally, to give some sense as to the positioning of the golf green relative to the house, I took a picture from the far back corner. I saw a really bad golf shot yesterday that trickled across the street. I think instances of full-on golf ball and house collisions will be rare.

Framing Continued

Well, framing continued, despite some rain. The basic framing and roofing is done, and the windows and doors are installed. There is some work still to be finished in this phase, but the project is certainly taking shape. We are quite happy with the orientation and look of the property as you approach, even in this early stage.

Photo Descriptions:
1) This was the point they had reached in the second story framing when the rains and winds came mid-week last week. The front and one side were done, but they couldn't get the other two walls up yet.

2) Monday they finished the second story. This is the full view of the front of the house as of Tuesday.

3) The view of the house from across the street, not quite on the golf green.

4) Detail of the front entry way, with the door and sidelights installed.

5) The full view of the back of the house.

More photos to follow in the next post, showing the views of the outdoors from inside the house (which is hard to visualize until the windows are actually installed).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It is like having wings...

"It is like having wings." This is the way Pope Benedict XVI describes his faith, and the message of faith he wishes to convey to the youth gathered in Germany for World Youth Day. Here is an eloquent, yet simple, defense of the faith. Here is something to dwell on, whether youth or adult...

“ Holy Father, can you tell me what you would like to transmit to the youth of the world [during World Youth Day]? What is the main issue you would like to “bring about”?

Yes – I would like to show them how beautiful it is to be Christian, because the widespread idea which continues to exist is that Christianity is composed of laws and bans which one has to keep and, hence, is something toilsome and burdensome – that one is freer without such a burden. I want to make clear that it not a burden to be carried by a great love and realization, but it is like having wings. It is wonderful to be a Christian with this knowledge that it gives us a great breadth, a large community: As Christians we are never alone – in the sense that God is always with us, but also in the sense that we are always standing together in a large community, a community for The Way, that we have a project for the future - and in this way a Being which is worth believing in. This is the joy of being a Christian and is the beauty of believing.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


And thus, the framing begins.

First photo is of the view from the front of the house, with the master suite on the left, then the living room (which we are now discussing turning into the dining room instead) windows, and the edge of the front door.

Second, the view from the front door, down the entry hall, through to the kitchen window.

Third, the wall where our future home entertainment system will be projected, though there isn't actually a wall there yet. The garage door is seen through the currently invisible wall.

Four, the view from the wooded area, of the back of the house. Cami is standing in the door way for the sliding glass doors where the pub table and chairs will be. To the left (her right) is the family room, and then on the other side, the kitchen sink window again. What you can't see here is the really big, really nice window in the dining room (which may end up being the living room now, though it throws off my whole color scheme...).

Finally, the view from the far north corner of the property, of the back and side of the house.

Second story framing to start today? Maybe. The rain may be moving in, so we'll just have to wait and see...

Monday, August 08, 2005

St. Anthony

I found this interesting:

CAIRO, Egypt - The remains of an ancient church and monks' retreats that date back to the early years of monasticism have been discovered in a Coptic Christian monastery in the Red Sea area, officials said Saturday.

Workers from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities found the ruins while restoring the foundations of the Apostles Church at St. Anthony's Monastery. The remains are about 2 or 2 1/2 yards underground, said the head of the council, Zahi Hawass.

The monastery, which is in the desert west of the Red Sea, was founded by disciples of St. Anthony, a hermit who died in A.D. 356 and is regarded as the father of Christian monasticism. A colony of hermits settled around him and he led them in a community.

After having just talked about St. Anthony, this was a case of "good timing".

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Foundational Blessings

There is a Catholic custom of a three-stage blessing of a house being constructed. The first blessing is of the foundation, and since we are close to starting framing, it seemed natural to go ahead with that stage of the blessing.

The custom is to have religious medals incorporated into the foundation at intervals around the house, to symbolize and represent the desire of those building the house to have the favor of the prayers of the Saints on our behalf. Below, I've listed the six medals we placed into the foundation block of our home, and the reasoning behind each.

1 and 2: We placed medals of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary to the left and right of where our front door will be, the entrance of our home. It seemed appropriate to include Joseph and Mary at the front door of our home, the two entrusted with the care of Our Savior during his early life, and - it is easy to argue - the two who most uniquely experienced the Lord. Our prayer is that St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin pray for us, for a loving marriage, a blessed family, and devotion to Jesus in all that we do. Further, that our home be open to the moving of God, just as they opened their lives and home to the work of the Spirit.

3: St. Joan of Arc was placed at the right-front corner of the house, where I will pass every day on my way to work at the church which bears her name. Joan's dedication to God and her perseverance in battle are examples to learn from. We ask St. Joan to pray for us, and for our now-home parish, that we be graced with the ability to demonstrate similar dedication to duty, and perseverance even under persecution.

4. St. Francis and St. Anthony (combined medal) at the back corner of the foundation. St. Francis is often seen depicted as a saint who cared deeply for the animals of Creation. On his feast day, it is customary for church members to bring their pets to a special "blessing of the pets". Because of our love of our dogs (and parrot) we placed St. Francis near the back yard, asking for prayers on behalf of our pets, that they will remain healthy and continue to bring us joy, as our Creator intended. St. Anthony is considered the source of Christian Monasticism. While we have not entered into the life of a Monk, we have attempted to make our worldly possessions only tools of hospitality and convenience, not ends unto themselves. We ask St. Anthony to pray on our behalf, that such an attitude remain the desire of our hearts.

5. At the left front corner was placed a medal of St. Michael the Archangel, defending us in battle. We pray that God protects and defends our home from the minions of Satan, and that St. Michael and the angels that watch over us remain faithful to their created purpose as messengers of God.

6. Finally, a medal of the Divine Mercy was placed at the back left corner of the house. The Divine Mercy is a devotion to the Mercy of Christ, demonstrated by the act of God becoming man in order to fulfill, once and for all, the Divine Covenant. We pray that we live, daily, in the fullness of the endless and boundless Mercy offered to us through Christ's Passion: His life, suffering, death, and resurrection. The main text of the Divine Mercy devotion:

"Holy Father, I offer you, the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity, of your dearly Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us, and on the whole world."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Stop Quoting Shea!!!

I end up refering back to a Mark Shea blog or article too much...

But today's article at Catholic Exchange had a great point:

Religion, they say, should be simple, not complex. They say this because moderns imagine religious truth as an airy speculation, unconnected to "real life," which somebody got a bunch of people to buy into. That's why we think Christianity could be made simple if "The Church" wanted to make it so, but we never imagine DNA could be made simple if "The Scientists" wanted to make it so. We know that Science is constrained to describe what is actually there, not what scientists would like to be there. But we have somehow forgotten that Theology is under the same obligation.