Thursday, October 01, 2009

To Ban or Not to Ban

A friend and I recently discussed book banning. He’s fairly liberal so, unsurprisingly, we took opposing sides of this issue. He recently posted this link to someone’s blog post arguing against this WSJ op-ed that claims the whole book banning fear-mongering movement is based on fallacy and misinterpreting the term “censorship”.

I have to say this is one of the most misguided, wrongheaded blog posts I’ve ever read. To say that I disagree with the ideals behind it would be a massive understatement. I would go so far as to say that the writer of this blog is ignorant of a parent’s daily life with a young child. Here are a couple of her choicer quotes:

Intellectual freedom is not an American ideal however - it is a human one. It's
about having the right to read what is written, even if you can't afford it.

The statement is ambiguous, but I’m willing to bet the author means to say that governments worldwide (starting here, of course) should provide unfettered access to all books to all people. Does that sound like I’m blowing her statement out of proportion? Read on.

Librarians are trusted to purchase the books, and shelve them and make them
available because, frankly, when it comes to intellectual freedom parents are
not always right. Parents are biased and racist and discriminatory in a thousand
different ways.

Okay. Our primary responsibility as parents is to raise our children in the way that we deem best. As there is no definitive manual on childrearing, my wife and I have to do the best we can with what we have. What do we have? A smattering of books and (in the case of my wife) quite a few classes on child development and psychology. More important than those are our own experiences, beliefs, and morals, and it is primarily from these resources that we guide our children through the formative process in the hope of raising autonomous, productive members of society who have the groundwork for raising families of their own.

Part of that responsibility involves limiting the materials and topics to which our children are exposed. If we believe that any given subject would be harmful to their development then it is our duty to prevent their access to that subject before we can imprint upon them a moral framework from which to view the world. This holds true even if others find our beliefs “biased and racist and discriminatory in a thousand different ways.”

Anti-book-banners claim that banning books is effectively imposing our moral choices upon others by limiting their own choices or the choices of their children to various subjects. I agree with this point, and this is where the democratic process kicks in.

Public libraries and the libraries of public schools should meet the standards of the community in which they are located. If the community is more conservative, don’t stock, say, books involving S&M by A.N. Roquelaure. If it is more liberal, well, I’ll disagree like crazy, but stock the library in a way that better fits those beliefs. Either situation should include a democratic type of process in which the community as a whole gets involved. The community’s involvement is critical due to the difficulty in determining what falls into such vague categories as “pornography”, “hate speech”, and “obscene” (here is a good article on the history of the definition of “obscenity” and it outlines some of the difficulty in defining such terms). If some books get listed as “controversial”, then either put them in age-restricted sections or, yes, remove them from public access.

Even if you disregard the protection of children, there are other reasons for banning books. There is more than a little risk in allowing public access to such subjects as nuclear engineering and viral manipulation. In a similar vein, the movie and game industries have rating systems that allow parents at a glance to see whether a certain movie or game is likely to contain material that might be considered inappropriate for children. The public generally trusts these rating systems and recognizes their value.

My friend has claimed that the charge of anti-banners having an “everything goes” mentality is false. I’ve seen precious little to support this. Furthermore, I can’t see a compromise between the ability to ban and open access to everything. Finally, if I have to choose between providing a relatively safe environment for my children to develop, and possibly offending someone else who doesn’t mind letting their children read up on the finer points of bondage erotica, I’ll choose to offend all day long.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome to the U.S.S.A!

In a move that could be described as foolish at best or insidious at worst, ACORN has been approved as a Partner of the U.S. Census Bureau for the 2010 decennial population census.

Think this isn’t a problem? Consider some of the questions that can legally be asked on the 2010 questionnaire and, should you receive it, the new “long form”, and your legal obligation to answer said questions. Name, race, date of birth, number and age of children, marital status and history, job (type, history, location, commute time, hours worked, and pay), health insurance coverage, residence (rent/lease/mortgage payments, utility costs, value of property, and number of bedrooms), number of vehicles, government benefits received, disabilities, military service history, education, and household language spoken. Taken together, these questions provide a pretty good overall picture of you, your household, and, by inference, your political inclinations.

Much of this is already information you wouldn’t be comfortable delivering to a complete stranger. Now consider ACORN. ACORN has a well-established history of voter fraud (in fact, nearly all of the links in the last sentence can be found in this article on the topic). They are also known for hiring criminals to go door to door to collect information and register people.

The information on the census forms is supposed to be confidential, or at least unable to be linked to any specific household or person (which must be why your name is one of the first questions), but any census can be compromised and abused. The Electronic Privacy and Information Center has a good article on censuses as relates to privacy. Yet, given the history of ACORN, I don’t place much trust in their assurance of confidentiality. Another consideration is that the director of the U.S. Census Bureau is a political appointee of the current President of the United States. The largest consideration is Obama’s close ties with ACORN (oddly enough, ACORN has taken strong steps to disassociate itself from Obama). Given the evidence, I doubt any information handed to the Census Bureau, or to many other organizations, for that matter, is safe any more.

Anyone who has not read 1984 or Animal Farm should do so. George Orwell explored the transformation to a socialist/fascist state, and we, the former United States of America are well on our way.

**Side note: Links are getting harder and harder to find on the topics covered in this post. Initial searches bring up obviously partisan and less-than-reputable sites. You have to dig very deeply to find original news links on these topics nowadays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fears of the Obama Victory

Through ignorance, mistakes, and shenanigans, Obama won. We now have as our president one of the most liberal, leftist politicians ever to graduate from DNBC University ("Do Nothing but Campaign"). The one bright spot for me is that I feel justified in this very obvious illustration of how racism is not as prevalent as supposed by so many in our society.

Having said that, I fear this upcoming administration. As a practicing Catholic, as a parent, as a conservative, and as a taxpayer, I have some very real fears about what is to come. Here are a few concerns.

The economy played a major role in the election but, ironically enough, most citizens (and probably more than a few non-citizens) voted for the same party responsible for this current mess (click here for a detailed analysis). In a nutshell, the seeds were sown when Congress leaned on financial institutions to give loans to unqualified borrowers. Those chickens have now come home to roost and the financial eggheads claim the worst is yet to come. So now we’re getting the party that will push for more government regulation which, if history is any indicator, means the situation will only worsen.

The Fairness Doctrine will undoubtedly rear its ugly head again. The concept of equal time for opposing viewpoints sounds good, but the implementations have all been flawed. In the book Bias, Bernard Goldberg, a longtime television news insider and avowed liberal, makes the convincing case that not only is broadcast and print media overwhelmingly biased to the left, but most journalists don’t even realize how far left they lean when compared to the general American public. The same goes for most of those who are in a position of influence on such matters as FCC regulations. What this means is that the idea of what constitutes “fairness” and a “balanced” point of view will be skewed much farther to the left than is realistic, and talk radio will be targeted much more heavily than television or newspapers. Other than blogs, conservatives don’t have much in the way of news outlets. The Fairness Doctrine would limit even these.

We can expect more attacks on traditional Christian values. Examples include more pro-homosexual programs in our schools and, even more likely, a strong push to pass the Freedom of Choice Act. We can also expect more pushes to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches whose pastors speak out against homosexuality, abortion, sex outside of marriage, etcetera. And, in an effort to ensure our children are raised according to their values rather than conservative values, we can expect stronger restrictions on those who wish to home-school their children.

Finally (and this is a case of “Hope for the best but expect the worst”), we are already seeing leftist attacks on churches and businesses that have in any way supported California’s Proposition 8. I foresee even more attacks by liberals on conservatives for a variety of causes, some styling themselves as some sort of freedom fighters, and others simply for their own pleasure of causing harm to someone who disagrees with them.

This is a case where I hope my post is dead wrong. It would be my pleasure to have every fear listed here proven wrong, even paranoid, by upcoming history. But you know, I’m not banking on it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's All Right If You're Black

Pretty much everyone is aware of the recent events in Jena, Louisiana. By clicking on the title of this article, readers will see an article recounting yet another black-on-white attack in which several black assailants violently assulted a white person.

Now, don't bother talking about the racist, old-South attitudes prevalent in Jena and other pockets in the South. Being born and raised in Louisiana, I'm well aware of large amounts of racism on both sides of the main color divide.

A glaring double standard exists here and, from a racial perspective, this is a lose-lose situation (which is how I categorize any win-win situation for Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and their ilk).

Had the colors been reversed, there would have been a nationwide frenzy of protests, riots, speeches, etcetera from scores of people and organizations decrying the obviously racially motivated violence. Think back to the Rodney King debacle back in the 1990's.

Now that we have obvious cases of black-on-white violence, however, we still get these frenzies. The problem is, instead of castigating the perpetrators and denouncing racial discrimination, they're decrying the unfair treatment of the blacks involved by the police and the courts!

"Racial discrimination" is not limited to white-against-black words and actions. Black-against-white words and actions are not justifiable retribution, nor are they anything but racial discrimination. Finally, most people and organizations who position themselves as forces against racial discrimination will give half their teeth to avoid the general public from even hearing, much less believing, these concepts.

Small wonder most of them are hand-in-hand with the Democratic Party.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Forcing Non-Christianity

I keep reading all the articles about how public places are being forced to take down Christmas decorations. It seem like all this is going the way of racial discrimination. We can't discriminate against minorities, but they can discriminate against us. For the sake of simplicity, I'm limiting the following statement to the holiday season. And now, we can't "force" our Christian beliefs on others (in the form of Christmas decorations) but they can force their non-beliefs on us (in the form of us having to remove Christmas decorations). It's sickening to me.

Monday, November 06, 2006

VOTE, People, VOTE!

The midterm elections are tomorrow, and I sincerely hope conservatives find their way to the polls. Many people are treating this as some sort of referendum or commentary on President Bush and the war on terror. This is a big mistake, as there are many other issues to consider.

How about taxes? When citizens have more money left over from the government, we are much more likely to spend it. When we spend our money, retailers are much more likely to add jobs due to the increased sales. Increased retail sales increase, in turn, sales at wholesalers, manufacturers, and transporters which, in turn, lead to increased job offerings at all of these types of companies. Democrats have a well-deserved reputation for increasing taxes. As a result, Democrats will halt the tremendous economic growth we’ve seen recently.

Want more double standards? Don’t vote conservative. Democrats pull as many if not more shenanigans than do Republicans, then scream about what Republicans do and demand investigations and resignations all the way up the chain of command. The mainstream media then acts as the Democratic lapdog, willingly shilling about Republicans while turning a blind eye to the other side of the aisle.

How about judges abusing their powers of office? Most of the activist judges we find have been appointed by Democrats or Democratic sympathizers. They create laws where there were none before, instead of interpreting existing laws which is the legal limit of their powers. Under Democratic rule, our legal and legislative systems will become blurred and eventually disappear.

How about killing innocent children? Democrats are the pro-abortion party in lockstep with NOW, NARAL, etc. and want to continue depriving soon-to-be-born American citizens of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Do you like the concept of marriage? Don’t vote Democrat. They are the party of anti-traditional values. Homosexual marriage is the first step, the step they are currently endorsing. Later comes polygamy, then it’s a toss-up to see what comes next, bestiality or pedophilia. Eventually, the concept of marriage, the basic unit of civilization, will be eradicated and replaced under a Liberal concept of what civilization should be like.

Happy with America? Democrats aren’t. They complain about our domestic security. They ridicule our military and our police forces. They complain about the evils of capitalism and push for socialism and communism under the code name “reform”. They publicly praise our enemies and deride our own country.

And of course, let’s not forget the war on terror and the many other forms of national security. Democrats have opposed the war on terror in virtually every form. They tighten the chain and budgets of our intelligence industries, they tighten the budgets and powers of our military, they oppose border security, they push for giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, and they even oppose the concept of ensuring only legal U.S. citizens vote.

In a nutshell, Democrats are bad for our country. They are bad for our way of life, they are bad for our security, they are bad for our economy, they are bad for virtually any kind of traditional values, and they are not the party that should be in power. They should, in fact, simply move to other countries that are already fit the description of what they feel is proper and leave the true Americans alone, rather than stay here and continuously work to bring down our great country. But I doubt this will ever happen.

If you are a conservative, and if you agree with any part of what I’ve written here, I ask you – no, I beg you – go to the polls and vote for a conservative. You might not agree with the way the war has been conducted and you might not like the war in Iraq, but there are too many other issues at stake to peg the election down to one or two issues.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Stay Home, Republicans (Please)"

I’ve heard enough recent news reports to get the general prediction for the upcoming election. According to Democrats, United States voters are fed up with the war in Iraq, the war against terrorism, Mark Foley, President Bush, Republicans in general, and losing our right to privacy via domestic surveillance. They and the talking heads make strong assertions that the Republican/conservative base is disillusioned and will probably sit this election out, thus ensuring the already inevitable conquest of Congress by the Democratic Party.

Per standard operating procedure, the Democrats are covering up their lack of an original message with the typical reactionary blurbs: The country needs a new direction; The American voters want change; We need a fresh start; add your own similar, vapid claim here.

Their lack of a stated plan doesn’t concern me. That merely bores me. What concerns me is the unstated goals that are real nonetheless. Should the Democrats gain control of both Houses of Congress and, eventually, the Presidency, they will implement many changes to which I would strenuously object.

Many if not all of Bush’s tax cuts will be repealed. More pro-abortion policies will be implemented. More judicial seats will be filled with activists. More social engineering legislation will be passed. Our troops, if allowed to remain at all, will be given peacekeeping duties only in Afghanistan and Iraq and may even be forced to relinquish their weapons. Domestic and foreign intelligence operations will be severely scaled back. The United States will take a subservient role to the United Nations. Border security will be weakened. Voting restrictions will be lowered. The Fairness Doctrine will be implemented. Terrorism will be treated as a criminal offense again, and pursuit and prosecution of terrorists will drag to a halt.

Most of this is a pipe dream unlikely to be realized due to the tendency of the dominant party to fragment into bickering factions. I can only hope this is the case should the Democrats actually win. A greater hope is that the mainstream media is merely passing off the Democratic dreams as predictions with a factual basis, and that conservatives will sweep this election cycle.

Regardless of how accurate any of these stated hopes or dreams may prove to be, conservatives must show up and vote even if it means holding your nose while pulling the levers. Our options are very limited. If we vote, we stand a very real chance of facing disappointments in those we elect. If we don’t vote, our disappointment is assured and our country, this country in which we have invested our hopes and lives, will face assault from without and within by the very people entrusted to protect it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Typical Democratic Hypocrisy

The recent scandal surrounding Mark Foley, itself smacking of hypocrisy, has brought to light more of the double standards that we’ve come to know and love from our Democratic opportunistic blowhards. Cover-ups, faux outrage, and calls for Republicans to resign have covered the front pages of the major news outlets for the past several days.

For anyone out of the loop, former U.S. Congressman Mark Foley’s improper text-messaging with teenage boys was exposed. Shortly after, Foley resigned. Democrats began screaming that House Speaker Dennis Hastert should also resign due to allegations that he knew about Foley’s follies.

Now let’s look at Gerry Studds. Here’s a man . . . er . . . person, who had sex with underage pages. Not text messages. He had physical, actual, homosexual sex with underage teenage boys. He didn’t resign. He didn’t even apologize. He had the support of fellow Democrats (Conyers, Frank, Lantos, Miller, Obey, Rahall, Waxman, Hoyer and Schumer voted against even censuring Studds). He didn’t even get voted out of Congress, going on for another four or five terms.

There have also been shrill screams about how Republicans have covered up for Foley’s behavior and let him stay on even while knowing his predilections. Consider that these text messages were three years old. Not only were they archived instead of being deleted, but they were kept under wraps until shortly before an election. Given the well-known liberal bias in the media, it’s safe to say that even if Republicans were somehow involved in the cover up, Democrats and/or Democratic sympathizers are just as guilty. Were the Democrats truly worried about the welfare of underage pages, this news would have broken long ago, not just at a politically opportune time for the Democrats.

Ironically, this news was broken shortly after the deadline for changing the names on the Florida ballot. Joe Negron, the Republican replacing Foley as a candidate in the upcoming election, is required by law to run under Foley’s name on the ballot. Who would want to pull that particular lever?

Foley is definitely a person with problems. No one is going to argue that he did despicable things (except for maybe NAMBLA) but, once confronted, he confessed and resigned. Democrats such as Studds and Clinton confess only after the evidence was overwhelming and, even then, refuse to perform the same penance they demand of Republicans. I can only hope that Americans keep this in mind during the upcoming elections.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Professional Courtesy

By clicking on the title of this post, viewers will discover an unpleasant recent event. Read the opening paragraph for the gist of the story.
Congress is patting itself on the back for passing the Port Security Act last Saturday. But the day before, a House-Senate conference committee stripped out a provision that would have barred serious felons from working in sensitive dock security jobs. Port security isn't just about checking the contents of cargo containers, it also means checking the background of the 400,000 workers on our docks.

Anyone even nominally concerned with the security of the United States should have exercised a bit more caution while wielding the legislative scissors. This selective snip means we will continue to trust those already guilty of serious crimes to ensure A) that nothing illegal enters or leaves our ports, and B) that the rest of the people working on the docks are trustworthy individuals. This is sort of like allowing a drug addict to manage a pharmacy.

There are several reasons why this might have come about. Organized crime is omnipresent in the ports of our nation and facilitates the transfer of all types of contraband material. It is very likely that some members of Congress are on the mob’s good sides via massive campaign contributions. It is equally likely that some congressmen are on the mob’s bad side and are controlled by either dirt or death threats. Whatever the method of influence, organized crime has plenty of it and is well experienced in using it. If they said the provision had to go, then go it did.

Another reason: Unions, concerned that they would lose several of their outstanding members, fought to remove the provision. However, I’ve already discussed organized crime so it’s a bit redundant to cover labor unions as well.

The final and most obvious reason why the provision was killed? Why, several members of Congress would themselves be barred from the docks. A little professional courtesy was in order to avoid any embarrassing incidents.

On the plus side, the Port Security Act still forbids the employment of any who have been convicted of treason, espionage and terror-related offenses. Do we really want to wait until someone already arguably prone to such failings actually commits such a crime? This fails to make my sleep any easier.

Now, consider the furor over Bush’s past attempt to allow a Dubai-based company to handle port security. This idea was rapidly given a thumbs-down by the American public and (after conducting some quick surveys) our political representatives. If I were from Dubai, I would be extremely insulted to know that, simply because I was from an Arab country where the major religion is Islam and a quarter of the population is of Iranian origin, I had been passed over for a big job in favor of local thugs. Of course, this may be the lesser of two evils. After all, better the devil you know than the one you don’t.

The elimination of this provision was no mistake. It is the mark of those looking out for their own self-interests rather than the good of the nation as a whole. I’m reminded of two sayings, and please forgive me for not referencing the sources. They are:

1) Those we elect to political office should be dragged kicking and screaming to their new positions.
2) Elected officials, like diapers, should be changed often and for the same reason.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Buenos Dias, Eh?

The term “New World Order” sets conservatives on edge and fills liberals with ecstasy. Some claim that the European Union is one step along the path towards a single, unified world government, despite the constant inter-member bickering. Now, if President Bush and several industry leaders have their way, NAFTA will be supplanted by a new North American Union comprised of the United States, Mexico, and Canada, complete with its own “Amero” currency.

This concept is not championed by a few, obscure businessmen. Take this quote from the linked article:
The U.S. executives involved in the NACC ["North American Competitiveness Council"] include: United Parcel Service Inc. Chairman Michael Eskew; Frederick Smith, chairman of FedEx Corp.; Lou Schorsh, chief executive of Mittal Steel USA; Joseph Gilmour, president of New York Life Insurance Co.; William Clay Ford, chairman of Ford Motor Co.; Rick Wagoner, chairman of General Motors Corp.; Raymond Gilmartin, CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.; David O'Reilly, chief executive of Chevron Corp.; Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of General Electric Co.; Lee Scott, president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Robert Stevens, chairman of Lockheed Martin Corp.; Michael Haverty, chairman of Kansas City Southern; Douglas Conant, president of Campbell's Soup Co. and James Kilt, vice-chairman of Gillette Inc.

One of the reasons industry leaders like this idea is the abundance of cheap labor. The obvious downside to this idea is that many blue-collar jobs would be given to formerly-foreign workers who are willing to work for lower wages.

Should this plan be implemented, the middle class as we know it would be decimated. Redistribution of wealth would take place in abundance as family after family would file for bankruptcy. More so than ever, wealth in the (former) United States would be concentrated among the top echelons of corporations, and political power would belong squarely in the camp of the Liberals, since the middle class backbone of conservatives would be broken.

What further scares me is the potential loss of some of our civil rights, the loss of our political representation, and the imposition of taxes and laws against which I am firmly opposed, such as being forced to underwrite abortion availability and homosexual lifestyle “education” of schoolchildren through new taxes while being prevented from speaking out against such topics by restrictions on “hate speech”.

Does this sound scary? Do I sound paranoid for even mentioning this? Even I think so, even as I sit here reading the article and writing this post. However, I can’t help but wonder how accurate this is.

I encourage everyone to read the linked article and form your own opinion. Research more if you can. Input is definitely welcome.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Rewards of Pacifism

Long time no blog, so I guess an update is in order. We are pretty much in the same position as before, which is juggling childcare with work and all other household duties. Time and energy are pretty scarce nowadays. Our oldest child has just been registered at a local pre-school (starts in August) and is currently taking swimming lessons. Our youngest has turned into Sir Drool-a-Lot and is deep into the put-everything-into-my-mouth phase. On the work front, the company I work for has won the bid to recable the New Orleans Superdome -- no small feat when you consider we have less than 20 full-time employees. I have a feeling things will remain quite busy for a while.

On to the business that dragged me out of my non-blogging stupor. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, is finally discovering that pacifism is not a good option when dealing with terrorism. Thankfully, they were able to discover this before the 17 arrested suspects implemented their plans for an Oklahoma City-style bombing, or possibly bombings. To quote a liberal Canadian associate of mine with whom I had a lengthy, heated debate some time back, I told you so.

This should serve as a warning to all pacifists. Terrorists are not logical. They are not merciful. The values held so closely by pacifists are completely alien to this group of people who are willing to torture and kill innocents in order to make a statement.

Wake up, people! The foreign and domestic policies you try to foist off on the rest of us will only result in our suffering and death. Pursuing pacifist behavior will only turn us into martyrs, and not necessarily for a good cause. I respect religious martyrdom and even political martyrdom up to a point. This goes beyond that, however, and can almost be classified as "civilization martyrdom".

The United States has already learned some hard lessons from treating terrorists lightly (Thank you, President Clinton). I beg our neighbors and all other nations: Learn from our mistakes! Treating terrorists with mercy only delays their attacks upon your own people because, short of unconditionally accepting their beliefs as your own, you too will fall into their crosshairs.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thy Kingdom Come?

John Henry Newman has this to say about Mark 13:33-37:

. . . We who are looking out for Christ's coming, we are bid to look out, we are bit to pray for it; and yet it is to be a time of judgment. It is to be the deliverance of all saints from sin and sorrow for ever; yet they, every one of them, must undergo an awful trial. How then can any look forward to it with joy, not knowing (for no one knows) the certainty of his own salvation? . . . how can we pray that Christ would come, that the day of judgment would hasten, . . . when by so coming he would be shortening the time of our present life, and cut off those precious years given us for conversion, amendment, repentance, and sanctification?

He answers the question by stating the following:
When we pray that he would come, we pray also that we may be ready; that all things may converge and meet in him; that he may draw us while he draws near us, and makes us the holier the closer he comes.

Exercise and a Bonus Mystery

I'm still working out, which itself counts as progress with me. However, there seems to be a mystery at hand.

1) I'm sleeping horribly because I can't seem to get comfortable at night. As a result, I don't really feel human any more.

2) Much of the initial pain has subsided into a deep-seated stiffness throughout my back, legs, and arms. I'm still mobile, but I move with slow, jerky motions.

3) I spend a lot of time moaning and groaning over my general discomfort.

4) My tennis shoes are now so pungent they have developed a life of their own, and the fumes envelope me where ever I go.

Hmm . . . not quite human, stiff/jerky movements, moans and groans, and smells bad . . . I think I have it . . .

I'm a member of the living dead!

Dammit, I knew I had legitimate objections to working out. Readers, SAVE YOURSELVES! DON'T GET TRAPPED! IT'S TOO LATE FOR ME!

Actually, I think I'm finally getting some pecs. Maybe I'll stick with it a bit longer . . .

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Christ and Suffering

There is a common secular objection to God existing and/or being Good due to the large amount of suffering that exists on earth. Ladislas Boros (1917 - ) has this take on Mark 6: 1-6 and it provides a succinct reply to the objection.
The God-Man is our Redeemer. But as our Redeemer his task was not to take our suffering away, however much he may have wished to do so, but to share in our suffering himself, to sanctify it, and to make it a means of redempion for each of us. . . What is human must persist with all its darkness But into this darkness there comes the call of redemption, a call to live out our wretched existence in a new way, on the basis of new principles and promises. This is redemption. Anything else would be magic. But let no one deceive himself: to endure this was a heart-breaking act even for one who was God and man. What an immense tension he had to endure! On the one hand, his mercy urged him irresistibly to give his help, while at the same time his hands were bound by the very nature of his divine task. His soul was martyred thoughout his life.

This certainly gives a person more appreciation for the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and a greater understanding of the extent of it. To me, personally, it increases my wish that I could truly die to self and take the Lord's will as my sole reason for existence. Would that I could put away my pride and selfishness!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Exercise Update

First, let me start off by saying . . .


If it is part of my body, it hurts. It's that simple. I've only had one leg workout so far and now have a difficult time walking. And where do I work? On the second floor of a building with no nearby elevators. I just looove those stairs. On the other hand, the pain in my chest and shoulders have just about subsided to the point where I can blow my nose. Julie and my coworkers are grateful.

While I was at the gym for the leg workout, one of the trainers came up and, in a nutshell, told me I shouldn't do dumbbell lunges because that was more of an advanced workout, something I should do once I've built up more core strength. While I understand the logic behind his advice, there' s something about being compared to Pee Wee Herman that just makes me feel, well, less manly. Besides, it was a bit insulting to my religion. I'm a lifelong Catholic! Did someone really tell me I don't have that genuflection thing down?

He gave me the same advice later when he caught me flopping around on the decline bench (technically, I was doing situps) and recommended I use a "resist-o-ball", which is just a big, underinflated rubber ball that you can use for a variety of exercises. However, the ball kept rolling away, often taking me with it, much to the amusement of my fan club.

The fan club is encouraging. They follow me from machine to machine and watch my struggle to join the Mr. America Wannabes group. And, I'm still convinced they are laughing with me when I happen to, say, fall off of the rowing machine. I just wish they wouldn't exchange so much money when these things occur.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Aching-for . . . I Mean, Body-for-Life

Julie heard about the Body-for-Life program from my sister and is extremely enthused about it, so we have both decided to join it. We are pretty much jumping into it full-force – six small meals a day, virtually no food not on the “approved” food list, and hitting the gym 6 days a week.

Now, to say I’m not a fan of physical labor, much less exercise, is an understatement. Some of my favorite sayings include “No pain, no pain,” “Of course I’m in shape – Round’s a shape, isn’t it?” and “Perfect health is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.” I’ve always viewed exercise as something performed by masochists with too much free time.

This philosophy is evident in my life. I had to work long and hard for it, but I finally have a decent potbelly. I have virtually no muscular or cardiovascular endurance. Slugs come to me for walking lessons. I’m so out of shape I get chest pains if I reach for the remote control too quickly. It’s pretty bad.

Despite all this, tonight was my first of 84 nights of pure horror – working out at a gym. It was upper-body night. 51 dumbbell flies, 55 side raises, 62 wide-grip pulldowns, 60 dumbbell extensions, and 64 hammer curls. I won’t give specific numbers for the extremely low weights that I used, but let me just say that helium balloons are way heavier than they appear.

I got to meet some nice people, however. Lots of the other guys kept walking by and laughing, with me I’m sure. And some of the ladies asked me if I needed help getting those heavy weights over my head, all with big grins. I’m sure they were just turned on by my manly potbelly.

So here I am, back at home, thinking about the many tasks that I need to do but, ahem, weighing those tasks against my inability to raise my hands above my chest. I’m also thinking about the next couple of workouts. Tomorrow night I have a cardio workout. It’s only supposed to last about 20 minutes, which should just about give me time to get on and fall off the treadmill a couple of times. The following night is the lower body workout, when I will magically replace my legs with a couple of worn out rubber bands.

Further updates are forthcoming. Provided, of course, that I can get my hands up to the keyboard.

Forty Days

I'm reading “Meditations on the Sunday Gospels”, which is a collection of sermons by various prominent personalities in the Catholic Church, and one in particular struck a chord with me.

Here’s an excerpt from the sermon for the first Sunday of Lent.
Let us be ashamed from now on to spare time for pleasures and gluttony, while our Savior is engaged in prayer and lengthy fasting. With Uriah, that upright soldier, let us say: The ark of God dwells in a tent, and my lord Joab is in camp fighting against the enemy, and shall we apply ourselves to pleasure?

This was written by Alonso de Orozco (1500-1591), and the brief biography states in part, “As an ascetic and great mystic, he suffered crisis and spiritual aridity from 1522 to 1551.”

Spiritual aridity. What a beautifully descriptive term for something that I see more and more often. To be honest, now, I don’t know the full Church’s definition of the term so I could be misapplying it, but it does seem to fit the state in which we have no interest in God, religion, mass, communion, reconciliation, scriptures, etcetera. Even if we keep on praying, keep on saying the words and going through the motions, we get nothing out of it. We’re not even necessarily interested in pursuing earthly pleasures. We just . . . exist in a sort of gray haze.

I’ve told God several times that I’d much rather go through hell on earth if that’s how I have to get to heaven (take note, I was careful to specify if that’s how I “have to” get to heaven – I’m not a glutton for punishment), so if I must live through a life where spiritual gratification always eludes me, I’ll just hope I handle it in a manner pleasing to God. However, the saying “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” applies well here. I have to be careful about asking for breaks from this, because I can’t be certain who would answer my plea for (apparent) ease of spirit.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ho Hum

I can't think of anything to blog about. I don't know how all of you do it. Coming up with interesting things that keep readers entertained. I just can't think of anything worth mentioning. My days consist of waking up in the morning, taking care of the kids throughout the day and night, and going to bed at night. I'm reminded of the scene early on in Cujo where you hear the cereal commercial in the background, "Nope. Nothing wrong here." In my head I hear, "Nope. Nothing interesting here." I don't view my days as boring, but I just can't imagine that anyone would be interested in hearing about them.

Friday, January 20, 2006

My Turn!

Hello, happy new year, and greetings to all of you. Like Julie, I was really surprised to see how long it has been since we posted anything. Baby, job, car -- it seems like time just flies out the window nowadays.

Gabriel's arrival has been a polar opposite of Jude's in several ways. First, he's relatively quiet (although he may now be developing reflux). Jude came out making noise and hasn't stopped yet. We were living away from family and had no one we trusted to come into our home and help us with Jude. We now have two doting grandmothers duking it out to help. Julie was laid up for three weeks or so after delivering Jude and suffered complications that haven't dissipated yet. This time, Julie pushed four times and the nurses had to use a net to keep Gabriel from hitting the wall. Amazing, and so much better.

Work is busy busy busy, but it's mostly a good type of busy. The majority of client with whom I deal are extremely happy with my services (I'm a network consultant) and several have requested that I be the only representative from our company to work on their equipment. Even better, we have gotten several new clients on referrals from happy clients for whom I am responsible. My co-workers are trashy and tactless, so I fit right in. Things could be much worse. God has blessed us much more than we deserve. Of course, when is that not the case?

But of course, none of this is what drew me out of my online shell. I found a very thought-provoking article by Peggy Noonan who, I admit, is a columnist who often arouses my ire. Here is an excellent quote from the article:
Eleven years ago the Democrats lost control of Congress. Then they lost the presidency. But just as important, maybe more enduringly important, they lost their monopoly on the means of information in America. They lost control of the pipeline. Or rather there are now many pipelines, and many ways to use the information they carry. The other day, Dana Milbank, an important reporter for the Washington Post, the most important newspaper in the capital, wrote a piece deriding Judge Alito. Once such a piece would have been important. Men in the White House would have fretted over its implications. But within hours of filing, Mr. Milbank found his thinking analyzed and dismissed on the Internet; National Review Online called him a "policy bimbo."

Could Democratic senators today torture Clarence Thomas with tales of Coke cans and porn films? Not likely. Could Ted Kennedy have gotten away with his "Robert Bork's America" speech unanswered? No.
What I find refreshing about this is the fact that, not only are the circumstances changing, but the circumstances are being discussed/admitted to in the first place. Is mainstream media predominantly liberal? Yes, and the need to even ask, much less answer, the question qualifies for a big DUH award. But there are several on the political left who even now dismiss such claims, or even claim that the mainstream media is more conservative. Ah, well.

2006. Get ready for political windbags on both sides to start releasing their hot gas in preparation for the '06 senatorial election as well as the '08 presidential election. Given the increasingly hot tempers that politics have been producing over the last two decades (did I really say that?), this news will make some people's days and ruin others.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Has it really been over a month since we've last posted here? Sheesh!

Let's see. . . not much new is going on. So far, Gabriel is a very easy and predictable baby. He's precious and Jude really likes him. He told me earlier today that I need to have another Gabriel in my tummy. He was also kind enough to inform me that my tummy is getting smaller. God, I love this little boy!

Jay and I are doing well. Work is good for Jay. He still likes the job and the people there. I'm getting back into the playgroup after staying away for a little while. Jude's been missing them, but I didn't want to get the baby around all those kids just yet.

Gabriel is almost two months old. I'm about to post some pictures on their blog. The pictures are a month old, but they're still some good ones. Our camera is flaking out, so I'm not sure how often I'll get to posting pictures there.

It's very strange having a new child. This new child after having Jude. There was nothing easy about Jude. I'm surprised we didn't go against Church teachings and prevent ourselves from having another child. That's how difficult Jude was.