Happy Halloween! Here's a goosebumpy Op-Ed article by Neil Gaiman from the New York Times, just for the occasion.
From Ben - 31.10.06
The conflict in Darfur, Sudan, has been going on for three years. 2.5 million displaced and 200,000 dead people later, when is the United Nations going to wake up? Answer: never. It's not going to do anything, because it's against the very nature of the institution. This is the institution that "looked into" the "acts of a genocidal nature" in Rwanda twelve years ago. And did...nothing. This is the institution that half heartedly tried to help in Kosovo, and succeeded only in making the world's largest slum (relatively speaking). So, since it's pretty obvious that the UN will continue to do nothing until directly asked by the government ( kind of like Hitler asking them for help because all these Jews were being killed...) shouldn't someone, somewhere, be doing something? It seems that way. The US is sending pounds upon pounds of food, but is in an awkward position because the Sudanese government is giving the Washington information on al-Qaida. So it's tricky business for the folks down at Foggy Bottom; if I were running the world, my foreign policy might be a little more along the lines of...you're no longer in power here, but if you give us the information we want, you get to live. I wouldn't last long as a diplomat ( or is that doormat?) but at least something would get done. I just pray these suffering people don't continue to be killed and forgotten. The German people said "Ich wußte nicht" ( I didn't know) after World War II. What's today's excuse?
From Catherine_Creagan - 30.10.06
Well, the Notre Dame/Navy game stopped being exciting pretty quickly...but then, Brady probably improved his chances for a heisman at the same time. This was aired during the game; best commercial I've seen in a LONG time. I love our military.
From Catherine_Creagan - 28.10.06
This caught my attention while browsing likeawhatsit. I rarely talk about the issue of embryonic stem cell research because it is so fundamentally sick and disgusting that one would think it wouldn't pose much of a problem. But it does...and makes me think of this passage from Baruch: "(God) brought down upon us evils so great that there had not been done anywhere under heaven what has been done to Jerusalem...that one after another of us should eat the flesh of his son or of his daughter. He has made us...a reproach and a horror among all the nations round about to which the Lord has scattered us. We are brought low, not raised up..." Extinguishing the life of a tiny child so that your biological needs can be fulfilled; embryonic stem cell research is not much different from eating children. You just have to wonder why the cures brought about by adult stem cells are ignored in the general media frenzy over what might happen with embryonic stem cells is highlighted again and again. Then again, it's not that unbelievable. If you admit that embryos are children and cannot be tampered with, then the argument for abortion quickly evaporates into nothingness. Isn't it funny that women supposedly have a right to decide what to do with their body; their reproductive system cannot be regulated in any way by the government; but the general public allows its respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems to be regulated day in and day out? Smoking is not allowed in practically every building in the US. In New York, restaurants are not allowed to serve foods with trans fats in them; and printing nutritional information on food products theoretically serves the same purpose that posting ultasounds of babies on the walls of abortion clinics does...just letting you know what you're getting. Nurses in public schools are not allowed to give aspirin to children with headaches...if those same children want contraceptives, than all bets are off as the nurse doles them out. We can let the government regulate all this...but the reproductive system? Perish the thought. Because no matter what progressive teachers and radicals tried to tell you in the 60's, apparently sex isn't just like every other bodily urge. Every other bodily urge we attempt to control.
From Catherine_Creagan - 27.10.06
A picture's worth a thousand words. See the only country shrouded in darkness? That would be North Korea. The only little blip of light is Pyongyang...the period after "N" isn't another city. The difference between two countries, so alike in background and culture, right next to each other...it's astonishing.
From Catherine_Creagan - 24.10.06
So the computer was giving me problems...now it's not. Time for random information. The Irish won...little closer than the blood pressure could have wished, but a win's a win. God Bless Samardzija's sticky fingers. The Patriots have emergerd victorious...over the Bills, so that's no big deal. But still. Here is your extremely strange video for the day. I didn't know that sharks could do that. But did YOU know that sharks only eat seven people a year? As opposed to the 200 people per annum who are slain by falling coconuts? And 300 a year that choke on ballpoint pens? And now for a moment of conversational whiplash: were you aware that we didn't lose a single battle in Vietnam? That we were in fact winning up the time of our abrupt departure? I gues I hadn't thought of it like that. Makes you want to clutch your head, close your eyes, and pretend the world makes sense...
From Catherine_Creagan - 22.10.06
Just recently finished Mark Bowden's excellent latest work Guests of the Ayatollah. It is funny to think there was a time when Americans were surprised and even startled to hear their country referred to as the Great Satan. I don't know what part I liked better; the Marines harassing the guards to the point where the line between captor and captive got a little blurry or when CIA Station Chief Tom Ahern was given a rope and told to beat his guard. See, they had tortured him earlier, and apparently, as a sign that Islam was pure and righteous, he was given the opportunity to do the same to his guard. His response? "We don't do stuff like that" And it couldn't be more perfect. It was very clear in the book that so many of the Iranian students who took over the embassy had no idea what America really was and what she stood for. For example: during one interrogation (or let's be honest...one tirade against the United States) the interrogator complained about America's unjust bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In response to that, the prisoner shrugged and said that they started it and we ended it. The interrogator was flummoxed and first wanted to know where this Pearl Harbor was and then was downright flabbergasted that the Japanese had bombed Hawaii. I'm afraid that this kind of selective ignorance is still extremely prevelant. But no need for you to be ignorant! Go read this book.
From Catherine_Creagan - 19.10.06
I'm sure most of you have already heard about this, but just in case... What's up with politicians of late? Not only are they corrupt and power hungry, now they're stupid and childish too. Just what we needed to see before election day. In the Virginia race between George Allen and Jim Webb, it's degenerated into accusations about racist pranks. "You stuffed a deer head into an African American's mailbox!" "Did not! I mean, so did you!" "Did not! YOU did!" And so on and so forth, blah blah blah blah. Come on people, aren't we supposed to be talking about, oh, I don't know, the war? The economy? The crazy people with nukes who want to kill us? Isn't that the usual meat for debate? There are weird things going on all over the country. In New Jersey, Robert Menendez is embroiled in a huge scandal involving too much money and bribes and threats; from the tape they've got of Menendez's thug ordering a psychiatrist to hire Menendez's patron "or else" it would seem that they've got a minor mafia going on back there. And then of course there's the Mark Foley thing, and the Republican leadership spinning like weather cocks, trying to free themselves from blame. Sheesh. This will be a very strange November.
From Catherine_Creagan - 18.10.06
On trusted advice, I went and check this out. Basically, it's for people who like to make lists, and show their lists to other people who also like to make lists. But it's so much fun! You can compare you libraries with other folks' libraries, compare "author clouds" "tag clouds" and more; you can form a group or join one, talk about your books or get recommendations based on your library. I'm an addict.
From Catherine_Creagan - 16.10.06
The Patriots didn't play today. Yes, their biggest fan this side of the Mississippi forgot they had a bye this weekend. Want to know what's even weirder? The Irish didn't play this weekend either. The powers that be have conspired to make the weekend BORING. Oh well. I had to go to CCD this morning and sat through a class about mental figleaves. It would seem that the most important figure in the Garden of Eden story besides God was the figleaves with which Adam and Eve chose to garb themselves. It symbolizes, I suppose, how they were no longer protected, how they were ashamed...and this relates to our present state in the form of mental figleaves. If you're lost at this point, "mental figleaves" is just a overly creative way to say "vices". There. This class also went into how certain words are inherently mysterious....such as love, soul, God, Trinity, I and you. Here I have to disagree. "I" is the word most commonly understood by each and every human being. My 18 month old niece has grasped the meaning of the word "I" completely; she knows just what she means when she lunges for the apples. "I want one" All the philosophical word wangling makes heads spin and in my opinion accomplishes very little else. I know who and what I am. I am a creature composed of body and soul; while myself is not contained in any one part of my body, I am incomplete after death, when my body is not available anymore. I guess I just don't see what is the point of even more introspection; having an entire class wandering about musing on themselves and their state of being doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
From Catherine_Creagan - 15.10.06
Because yesterday was the 13th and a Friday, I was going to do a cool little piece on Franco; my reasoning was that all irrational people would be hiding in their closets and I would be speaking solely to intelligent beings. But the moment has passed. Until the next Friday the 13th. In the meantime, I am watching Gettysburg as promised and realizing that I never followed this movie like I thought I did when I was little. What was I doing? (Chamberlain's mustache is not listing yet...that I do remember) Here for your musing are some poll results I found interesting. Most intriguing was the result about choosing a candidate based on religion alone. I wonder why 83% said yes to a Catholic, since most Catholic politicians aren't, well, Catholic. I suppose there are more nominal Catholics in the country than I thought.
From Catherine_Creagan - 14.10.06
I forgot to tell the world what I thought about this movie, silly me. I LOVED it. At first I wasn't that thrilled with idea because let's face it...World War I? Gaaaah. But this film was so good; it showed that yes, trench warfare was incredibly hideous, and the destruction and death was made all the more horrific by its apparent pointlessness; but what was also shown was that heroic virtue and courage are timeless and can be applied to any situation. It was also really interesting...instead of focusing on trench warfare and the unbelievable death toll, it revealed the fascinating world of fighter pilots. Considering that the airplane had only recently been invented, I find it remarkable that it had so quickly become so indespensible. Looked cold...open air cockpits, yikes. Anyway. It was all very intriguing. And on top of that, it was just a ripping good story, great characters, sufficient humor, and all true. Besides, I love good war movies. In honor of my departed (gone to another state, for those of our uninformed readers) brother, I shall watch Gettysburg over the weekend. So. Go watch Flyboys if you can and revel in your inner patriotism, courage, and nobility. If you have trouble finding it (Flyboys...I'm assuming you're all well stocked in the virtues department) watch Band of Brother instead. And if you can't get ahold of that, watch Gettysburg over the weekend in spirit with me. Fortunately, the hatred of all things in military uniform has disappeared since the Vietnam era, so the populace of today greets our returning troops with enthusiasm and gratitude, thank God. Flyboys clearly illustrates that even if the cause does not meet with your criteria for support, many soldiers enlist out of love of their country...and nearly all posess a degree of courage and nobility that deserves even more widespread adulation.
From Catherine_Creagan - 12.10.06
I'm in an egregiously rotten mood. Well yes, you may say. The world is populated with crazy Communists and Muslims who are armed with nukes and want nothing so badly as our immediate and painful death. (Yeah, remember that whole Mutually Assured Destruction thing? I don't think it's going to work with these guys...) On top of that, politicians are as corrupt as they've ever been, as of now we are being ruled by nine tyrants nobody voted for (yes, that would be SCOTUS) and the media is saturated with immorality that everyone's supposed to lie down and accept. Alas, no. I am not unduly troubled by the above, though I should be. The particular thorn in my flesh is a housing project going on right outside my own house. I have tried to look at it in a positive light; after all, doesn't everybody need a place to live? Haven't I witnessed my married siblings search for houses and wished them luck? I do try to envision these new houses as future homes instead of aesthetically unsound structures. I try to imagine happy little families creating traditions and memories in a happy little home. But it's hard. All I can concentrate on right now is the fact that they've cut down a lot of trees, creating a large and highly unattractive brown spot; large machines and power tools drown out the normal quiet and/or pastoral birdsong; and the house that will go up ( one of four; the others are hard on its heels) will succesfully block a gorgeous view of the Cascades and surrounding foothills. And some of the others will just make the view out my window a whole lot less utopian. There. I shouldn't be so whiny, but misery is hard to foist upon me, and, well, these few houses have done it. Remarkable.
From Catherine_Creagan - 11.10.06
Terry Gilliams new movie Tideland should be out in limited US theaters soon, and it looks beautiful and very weird, as it might be expected. See the trailer at the official site or on YouTube. It's sad how he struggles so much to get anything he makes released, when it's all so wonderful.
From Ben - 9.10.06
Yeah, so the Patriots won. I conceal my elation under miles of confidence in them. I have to address something else, though; so how about I say how much the Mark Foley affair bothers me? Not like we didn't know that Republicans are corrupt...they just happen to be less corrupt than Democrats. And they occasionally do something I like. But anyway; I find it aggravating that the media holds onto the emails for three years, and then release them right before the election. What could possibly cause them to do that? Also, why doesn't ABC go more in depth with how the IM's were a joke and a set up? And how, creepy and perverted as they were, they weren't illegal, because that idiot page was eighteen? Obviously other people have gone way more in depth with this than I have. Most I use this page as an outlet for my frustration at the lack of common sense in the world. And since I begin to feel that this post lacks some substance, here's something you can take away from it: What is a Freudian slip? When you say one thing and mean your mother.
From Catherine_Creagan - 8.10.06
Alright. I know I usually wait for the weekend to cease before I do the whole stats thing, but I'm bored, and frankly devoid of any other topic of conversation. The Irish destroyed Stanford. But it's not like anyone was expecting anything different. All I can say is I sure hope Brady Quinn gets the Heismann (is that how you spell it? Good lord, I'm unreliable) trophy because I just remembered that he's a senior. And I really doubt he's going to pull a Matt Leinhart and stay another year. (What would it be this time? Yoga?) So. Let's all pray that Ohio State turns into a complete catastrophe (the football team, not the state itself) and enters a deathspiral of losses. I'm afraid there's no other way. Hasta la vista until next time, when I shall indubitably record what happened to New England tomorrow. Crumbs, I don't even know who they're playing.
From Catherine_Creagan - 7.10.06
Okay. So we established that Terrell Owens is not someone we'd like our offspring to imitate, right? He appeared in an indecent commercial, was a jerk (trying to refrain from fruity language here) to his teammates, was and remains the most infantile player in the League if you judge by maturity alone, and recently nearly killed himself. (Oh, it was an accident? nice one...) Yet he supposes that he's as well qualified as anyone to write children's literature. Sure his books are going to be about traditional values...I guess. Sharing, and the like. But if little kids are the astute and impressionable creatures I've been told they are, this might not work out too great. If you read a book to a child the way you're SUPPOSED to, complete with author and title, the child will remember the name. Unless he hates the book. But anyway; I distinctly recall my very young nephew hearing "Make Way for Ducklings" and bellowing appropriately: "ROBERT MCCLOUSKY! (By the bye, I don't know how to spell that name either.) So I think it follows that if children know the name, know the book, and you own a TV and they hear about the further expoits of T.O....well. You catch my drift.
From Catherine_Creagan - 6.10.06
The appalling murders that took place in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, PA, a few days ago gave me cause to think how much different the true Christian response to tragedy is in comparison to the Islamic response we see all to liberally. Here is a tiny town that has been emotionally devasted, five young girls shot to death, and five more still suffering from their wounds; and yet there is no anger. Just grief and acceptance. In recent times, we have become so used to hearing of Muslims taking offence at this, at that, and the other, and reacting with destruction and death, I think stories like this give hope that humans are, after all, human. These Amish have no e-mail, no telephones; they come to share their condolences with the afflicted families by taking the time to travel to their respective homes. They don't demand tighter gun restrictions, more funding for security, or even show disgust at the killer himself. Instead, they invited the killer's family to the funeral, reached out and offered them sympathy as well; because the killer too had died. And they didn't see it as the death of one who deserved to die, but the death of a human being; in other words, a tragedy. How striking the difference is between these genuine Christians and the current Muslim violence in Gaza, Iraq, and throughout the world. To the Muslims who run riot across the evening news every night, the death of a family member, friend, or just another Muslim who lived within shouting distance is cause for as many throats to be cut as humanly possible. But for as much violence and suffering as we have to live with in this world, at least in these simple Americans we can see authentic Christians: compassionate, loving, humble, and human.
From Catherine_Creagan - 5.10.06
If we're going to be despicable, can we at least be consistent? This is just (besides disgusting) weird. First the line is supposed to be "abortion is just another medical procedure" and we're not to think any more about it. But apparently it occured to them that Planned Parenthood's new t-shirts emblazoned with the statement "I had an abortion" were pretty pointless on top of being crass. Someone must have told them that if it just another medical procedure why wear a t-shirt about it? I mean to say, who's going wear a t-shirt that declares "I had open heart surgery" or "My appendix was removed". So they've abandoned taht tactic and it's become something to boast of. Unbelievable.
From Catherine_Creagan - 3.10.06
So pretty much a fabulous weekend for me. Friday: women's soccer. UP smashed the Washington Huskies into oblivion. Saturday: Notre Dame destroyed Purdue Sunday: New England trounced Cincinnatti. The Irish were just amazing...how about that faked fiel goal attempt? can't get enough of it. New England just played solid football; they're pretty darn good about rebounding after a defeat. As for the soccer, I just happened to be at that game...I don't typically follow it too closely.
From Catherine_Creagan - 2.10.06