Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006, Hello 2007.

Congratulations all, we all now have official '007 status. Giving us liscense to make it a killer year. I am looking forward to another year and very grateful for the past year. I won't say 2006 has been all hugs and puppy dogs, in actuality it was probably one of the toughest and most challenging years of my short life. I can't remember any other year being so emotionally draining, so mentally challenging, and so filled with surprises. Yet at the same time, it was a year growth, discovery, learning, moving past big-make that ginormous obstacles, mistakes and lessons learned, and most of all seeing the distance between the boy I was (and sometimes still can be) and the man I have grown into and continue to become and realizing that perhaps the things most scoffed at in youth can also be the things of great importance and respect as I get older. I began playing ice hockey and have rediscovered my love of phyiscal sport, after to many years without it, my body is responding well, though more slowly than I like at times to healing from various injuries. 2007 looks to be a year of hope and promise and perhaps big changes, Lord willing. Yup, I can feel's coming in the air tonight. '007...shaken, not stirred.

Oh, and by the good of an engineer as I may be...can anyone read Russian? I have a Christmas present that has mainly Russian instruction. Though it does have pictures....which is how I usually put things together anyway.

God Bless You All, be safe tonight....I'll talk to y'all next year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to all and to all a blessed night!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. (I'm not tagging 6 folks, I'm only going to tag is Christmas time, so my gift to the world will be having 3 folks not tell us stuff).
1. I am in the College Football Hall of Fame, though I never played college football.
2. When I was very young, I wanted to be a fire truck when I grew up...that's right a fire TRUCK, you did not read that wrong.
3. I am distantly related to former Red Sox left fielder and Baseball Hall of Fame member, Carl Yastremski..
4. In high school two of my nicknames were "Special" and "Golden Boy".
5. I set my alarm clock to 1 minute later than I want to get up..6:31 AM, etc. Unfortunately, I usually am up before it goes off, so the extra minute sleep is wasted.
6. There are two degrees of separation between me and Garth Brooks and there is one degree of separation between me and Willie Nelson.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Be patient with me dear readers. I'm stuck with a dial up connection for a few days, so blogging will be slow.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with materialism, consumerism, or captialism. It's about the Light of the World being born in the City of David.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mary's Last Words

I was reading Cardinal O'Malley's blog today and came across something I had not thought of or pondered before. He mentioned Mary's last words in the Gospel. I think all Christians can take them to heart and realize the profound meaning behind them:

“Quodcumque dixerit facite”
or translated
“Do whatever He tells you.”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

John Paul the Great's Letter To Women

Tonight I was browsing the Vatican website. Particualry, I perused the Papal Archives and found John Paul the Great's Letter to Women. I read through it and could not help but be amazed at a man's insight into women. Quite amazing. I was struck by one part near the end which just hit me as great knowledge and great writing, even in the english translation it reads to me like poetry, which is not surprising seeing as John Paul the Great did enjoy writing poetry. The excerpt reads as follows

Necessary emphasis should be placed on the "genius of women", not only by
considering great and famous women of the past or present, but also those
ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at
the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to
others each day women fulfil their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men,
women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They
see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see
others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help
them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of
humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that
beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the
very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.

The whole letter can be found here:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hopes and dreams. We all have them. Some large, some not so large. Some we will achieve and others we won't. Does not achieving some of our dreams makes us a failure? No, not at all. I once dreamt of being a professional baseball player. I spent hours upon hours perfecting and honing the skills I would need to make that happen. Then one day I realized, I was never talented enough to compete with those who went pro. Sure I hit them and could hold my own, but I was missing that something they had and I had to give up the dream. Didn't make me a failure, because I tried and for whatever reason it didn't work out.

Big dreams, I have them. Wife, kids, house, nice plot of land to ride my horse on (don't have a horse, though I'd like one), a job that places food on the table and pays the bills. Will I have all of that, it would be nice, but they all may not be in the cards.

Small dreams, pass the P.E., enjoy my job, live a life where I leave a legacy to my family in the way the live their lives. On my tombstone, I'd be happy with "He Lived".

However, what we're "supposed" to do often get's in the way. I moved here 4.5 years ago to do something bold, something unexpected, and something I have enjoyed since. I don't regret my decision one bit, it's been a grand adventure. However, when does adventure end and the "supposed" to do stuff start creeping back in? I don't know the answer to that, but I am having my suspicions which is kind of scary if you think about it. You see I'm a dreamer, and dreamers, well, we dream. And sometimes, those things we think are holding us somewhere, well, they're not holding us at all. We're holding us by being afraid of chasing the dream. We're not failures if we don't achieve them, we are chicken shit if we don't even try to chase them. Let the chase being, cause there ain't nothing holding me back. Second star on the right, and straight on till morning.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Medical Lesson

So recently I've noticed that I must intake more fluids to ward off dehydration than I had to when I was younger. I find myself battling the symptoms for 2 to 3 days after playing hockey. Granted I skate and play hockey quite a bit, so I am battling dehydration most of the time. Which is why, I have cut back on alcholol conspumption to the very rare occasion.
Now I know all about the needs to hydrate properly. You see I've been through hell weeks in the August suns of two-a-days in football when the mercury topped 90 and humidity was at 90%, and I wrestled for a long time. Both scenarios taught the importance of proper hydration.
Back then water and Gatorade where the main staples and they still are. However, there is a ton research out there and a lot of other choices in the form of energy drinks, which though tasty, are pretty much liquid sugar and speed.
So what am I to do with all these choices. Do I grab water, gatorade, powerade, juice, milk, chocolate milk, energy drink, a certain mix of them all?
Well, lucky for me I just read something interesting. Chocolate milk when injested after a workout actually helps the body. So there is an option. Water is always good as are sports drinks like powerade and gatorade. Energy drinks, though giving a sugar boost, don't help the body recover or replenish fluids.
This leads to the Seven Rules of Hydration:
Seven Rules of Hydration

1. The rate of passage of water from your stomach into your small intestine depends on how much fluid is actually in your stomach. If there is lots of water there, fluid flow from stomach to intestine is like a springtime flood; if there is little water, the movement resembles a lightly dripping tap. Therefore, to increase stomach-intestinal flow (and overall absorption of water) you need to deposit a fair amount of liquid in your stomach just before you begin your exercise. In fact, 10-12 ounces of fluid is a good start. This will feel uncomfortable at first, so practise funneling this amount of beverage into your "tank" several times before an actual competition.

2. To sustain a rapid movement of fluid into your small intestine during your exertions, take three to four sips of beverage every 10 minutes if possible, or five to six swallows every 15 minutes.

3. If you are going to be exercising for less than 60 minutes, do not worry about including
carbohydrate in your drink; plain water is fine. For more prolonged efforts, however, you will want the carbohydrate.

4. Years of research have suggested that the correct concentration of carbohydrate in your drink is about 5 to 7%. Most commercial sports drinks fall within this range, and you can make your own 6% drink by mixing five tablespoons of table sugar with each litre of water that you use. A bit of sodium boosts absorption; one-third teaspoon of salt per litre of water is about right. Although 5 to 7% carbohydrate solutions seem to work best for most individuals, there is evidence that some endurance athletes can fare better with higher concentrations. In research carried out at Liverpool John Moores University, for example, cyclists who ingested a 15% maltodextrin solution improved their endurance by 30 per cent compared to individuals who used a 5% glucose drink. The 15% drink also drained from the stomach as quickly as the 5% one, though many other studies have linked such concentrated drinks with a slowdown in water movement.

5. A 6% "simple sugar" drink will empty from your stomach at about the same rate as a fancy 6% "glucose polymer" beverage, so don't fall for the idea that the latter can boost water absorption or enhance your performance more than the former, and don't pay more for the glucose-polymer concoction.

6. Contrary to what you've heard, cold drinks aren't absorbed into your body more quickly than warm ones. However, cold drinks are often more palatable than warm ones during exercise, so if coldness helps you to drink large quantities of fluid while you exert yourself, then keep your drinks cool.

7. Swilling drinks during exercise does NOT increase your risk of digestive-system problems. In actuality, most gut disorders that arise during exercise are caused by dehydration, not from taking in fluid. Dehydration induces nausea and discomfort by reducing blood flow to the digestive system, so by all means keep drinking!

It is funny, my hydration strategy isn't all that different than it was when I wrestled back in the day and was getting thrwon by Nate Carr and John Smith (they're Olympic medalists and both kicked my ass in high school...they had already won Olympics medals when I got thrown around by them). But it does differ quite a bit too. It's not a before, after, during practice thing anymore, it's a 24/7/365 thing now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cuckholds in Austin

Ah the wonderful things I am reminded of when watching JAG. I just finished watching three episodes from season 1, and I must admit that I do find the character of Lt. JG. Meg Austin to be much better than than the early seasons of Mac. Anyway, I was reminded about what the hook'em horns hand sign means in Europe. How I had let this slip my mind is beyond me? It means that one is a cuckhold.

"Cuckold" is derived from the Old French for the Cuckoo bird, "Cocu" with the pejorative suffix -ald. The earliest written use of the Middle English derivation, “cokewold” occurs in 1250. The females of certain varieties of Cuckoo lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, freeing themselves from the need to nurture the eggs to hatching. In middle age Europe, the law, custom, and the church all defined married women as a category of property held by her husband. Although Christian marriage vows strictly enjoined sexual exclusivity in a marriage for both partners, custom and doctrine rarely enforced it on the husband. A married woman who was unfaithful to her vows made a “cuckoo” of the husband who unknowingly provided her, and potentially her illegitimate offspring, with shelter and protection as a tricked bird does to the cuckoo’s eggs.
A nuance of the word often overlooked in contemporary usage is that it refers to a man who, like the bird warming the cuckoo’s eggs, is unaware of his victimization. A man who knows and acquiesced, in his wife’s taking of another lover is called a “wittol,” itself a derivation from the Middle English for “willing (as in knowing) cuckold.” In recent years the word “cuckold,” and its 1589 verb form “cuckolding” have been used to describe various forms of “open” or non-monogamous marriage arrangements that include an element of sado-masochism. “Wittol,” which more exactly describes the males in these situations, has become increasingly rare, although it appears in American and English literature as recently as 1950s.

A currently popular slang extension of the definition of cuckold expands it from married men to any male in a dating or domestic relationship with a woman in which he remains exclusive and she does not. This is the result of the jocular extension of the word "married" to describe paired-up couples in general rather than just those who have official legal sanction. This new usage may also reflect the paucity of established words that describe the variety of alternative sexual and romantic arrangements that have proliferated in recent years.

Cuckolds are sometimes written of as "wearing the horns of a cuckold" or just "wearing the horns". This refers to a tradition claiming that in villages of unknown European location, the community would gather to collectively humiliate a man whose wife gives birth to a child recognizably not his own. According to this legend, a parade is held in which the hapless husband is forced to wear antlers on his head as a symbol of his wife’s infidelity. Whether this actually happened or not is irrelevant to the phrase, which survived.

Ca. 1815 French satire on cuckoldry, which shows both men and women wearing horns
The French equivalent of "wearing horns" is "porter des cornes" and is used by Molière to describe someone whose husband has been unfaithful. Moliere's L'École des Femmes (1662) is the story of a man who mocks cuckolds and becomes one at the end. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c.1372-77), the Miller's Tale is a story that humorously examines the life of a cuckold. (It is a personal favorite of mine in that collection of short stories).

In Russia, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Brazil and Spanish-speaking countries, "horns" are a metaphor for suffering the infidelity of a partner, not limited to husbands in modern usage. However, the use of the term dates from the Roman empire, since legionaries returning from the war were given horns as a triumph or prize. So, the use of the term is a mockery of the husband, victorious in the battlefield, but defeated in his own bed. The gesture of the horned hand can be used to insult the cuckold; the Italian translation, cornuto literally means horned (This sometimes causes confusion in Italians who are learning English and encounter the word horny). The Spanish word for a consenting cuckold, cabrón, has such an offensive nuance that it is a taboo word rarely used with its original meaning, "he-goat". However, according to the tone and the relation to the addressed, it can be even laudatory.

So keep throwing up horns oh you folks in Austin and I'll keep this in mind and laughing my ass off at you bunch of cuckholds.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006


also...please join me in my protest against commercials that use the sound of an alarm clock at higher than normal volume to try to get my attention to go out shopping early tomorrow. I have a long weekend ahead of me, I DO NOT want to hear the sound of an alarm clock until Monday morning. It's uncouth to subject me to such things. Those companies using them are making my list and NOT getting my money.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Call the men with the straight jackets, I think I've gone off the deep end. I have been lead to a decision that will shock those who know me best. I've gone an done the unthinkable action that will change my life immediately in the near future. I have no regrets, I know something better will come of this, I just hope you will all understand and help me get through the difficult times that lie ahead. I will be moody, emotional, and saddened, but extrememly joyful. I must move on to the next stage of my life. It's been great, it's been fun, and I will miss what I am leaving behind with a strong desire to return to it. Maybe someday I will, but now I must say goodbye.

Yes it's very true. I am moving on. I have decided to give up my Aggie baseball season tickets this spring. This will allow me to focus on more important things that need my attention. You see, there are more important things than baseball. Come now men with the straght jackets, I await you.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lot's of football today and there are still games being played. I could talk about the drama, I could talk about the BCS, I could talk about a lot of things in big games. However, it is something from a not so big game that I want to write about tonight. Notre Dame, national pwerhouse, played Army today. As expected the Fighting Irish prevailed as they tuned up for the game next week against USC.

The game itself is an afterthought tonight as I witnessed a great moment after the game. At the game's conclusions the Army football team went over to their student section (the game was at Notre Dame) and assembled for the singing of the West Point alma mater as they do after every game win or lose. Following the Army team over to that corned or the stadium was the entire Notre Dame football team. In a sign of great respect the Notre Dame team stood at attention behind the West Point team as the West Point alma mater was played. Notre Dame stadium was quiet as this happened. After the West Point band had finished the Irish went over to their student section for the Notre Dame fight song and the alma mater. The Black Knights of Army, followed them, repaying the sign of respect the Irish had shown.

It is in these moments that all the glitz and glamour are lost. It is in these moments that the big time bussiness that is Division I college football is forgotten. It is in these moments that the game becomes just that, a game. Young men who just moments earlier where competing in one of the most physicial sports their schools offer were showing their mutual respect for each other. As I understand it, Notre Dame did the same last year against Navy and Coach Weiss wishes to continue this tradition as long as he is coaching there. You see, the military academies are true teams of student athletes, none of them are on scholarship for athletics. All of them must go through the required training for their service academy and also balance football (or whatever sport they play) in addition to their studies.

What I saw tonight, were young men playing a game they love on both sides of the field. However, with Army it is special. I could not help but think that come May the seniors on the West Point squad will be joining the officer corps of the US Army as 2nd. Lts. Some of these kids will probably be sent to combat zones and some of those may not comeback alive. So for on a cool, crisp autumn night they played a game against the might Irish of Notre Dame and were soundly thumped yet were shown ultimate respect by their opponent and the Irish fans.

On a personal note, many of you may not know that West Point was one of a small list of schools that had mentioned giving me a shot to play football for them while I was doing the whole collge search thing back in high school (also on the list were Brown, Springfield, RPI, WPI, Cornell, and Richmond). I never played ball after high school and graduated with a B.S. in 2000. I somtimes in the years in between have wondered "what if I had gone to the Point?" I don't regret things, given the changes in the world, had I gone there I might not be writing this now, but I also know many of my peers have paid the ultimate price and I doubt they had regrets either. I respect the men and women from the Poin, all out services academies, and all who are in the military. Tonight, on a national stage, on live tv across the country and around the world, I was bursting with joy to see that respect, shared by others, shown to a special group of athletes. If only it were done more often at every venue the men and women of our service academies partake in sport.

Tonight on a crisp, fall night in South Bend, Indiana. The game took a back seat to something more important, and that my friends was a moment that was truly the best of the evening in all of college football.

By the way, if you all are wondering how close I was to going to the Point. My decision came down to Boston U and RPI, but the career test I took earlier in my college search for possible ways to go at the Point and in the Army, well the top 2 were Special Forces-Combat Engineer and Intelligence Analyst and for giggles I recently retook that test and added my educational info...same two topped the list. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Famous for popular songs like "Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffett, responded to the suggestion that he might be the world's greatest party person. "I was! I had a great time! Then people start dying, you know. And having nervous breakdowns. And then you go, 'Wait a minute here'" (Rolling Stone, 1996). His comments, of course, are familiar: death, disease and tragedy bring us all up short. But the timing is interesting. Suddenly, at this late date, we say to ourselves: "People are dying and having nervous breakdowns." "People" here seems to mean people I know, those close to me. People I went to school with or who were in my wedding or with whom I worked or played basketball. Death, disease and tragedy only really get to us when they hit close. Ultimately even these have a tough time competing with the impact of "my" death, "my" illness, "my" personal tragedy. These really get to us. They tell us as they told Buffett, "Wait a minute here." The lesson is obvious and old but here in mid-November is as good time as any to pause. After a summer that brought some relaxation, we're back rushing about, up to our ears in deadlines. Am I shortchanging these people around me who are or will be dying, getting sick, having breakdowns? Can I put aside my work, my worries, my ambitions enough to be with husband or wife, children, friends? "Be Here Now" was the title a sixties guru gave to his book celebrating an insight he derived from Buddhism. However we come to it, we need to "be here now."
-- Don Talafous OSB

To often I find myself wondering about things in the future. When will the Sox open the season and where (April, in Arlington), what can I anticpate to happen in the office tomorrow regarding my projects and how will I handle these situations (I actually do this almost every night and it is helpful), if I make this decision what will other think of me, what are the consequences of my actions, who are the Patriots playing this week...why is the defensive scheme not working, why do the Bruins suck, what time is the RPI hockey game scheduled for internet broadcast. So many thoughts, so many examples in my life of not being here now.

How can we refocus ourselves to shed off all these distractions and be here now? It is different for everyone and I can only speak for myself. I find prayer to be one of the simplest ways to acheive this goal. Whether it is praying the rosary and reflecting on it's mysteries of Christ's life, praying before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration of our Lord, or going to Mass on a regular basis and just reading Scripture and contemplating about what it is teaching and praying to the Holy Spirit for wisdom to incoporate more perfectly into my daily life. As a Catholic, I feel so blessed to be able to go Mass daily should I feel drawn to do so, being able to enter in heaven on earth is truly the center of the Catholic faith and to be able to that daily is simply awesome. One of the other great things about the Catholic faith is that(save for local feast days and priestly ordination anniversaries) I can know fully what readings from Scripture will be read and preached about and I know with confidence that even the leas educated, the illiterate, will here the whole of the Bible read in the Church over a three year cycle if they go everyday. I can't express the sadness I feel knowing that the same can not always be found in the church's of my nonCatholic brothers and sisters. Some of them my attend one church their entire life and never hear the whole of Scripture read (in that statement I do not include the books removed by the early "reformers" that are included in the "Catholic Bible"). Alas, though, I am off track.

Another way to be here now comes no further than looking at everyone I encounter. We are all made in God's image and because Christ is God we are all created in the image of Christ. In everyone we encounter, we must remember that in them we encounter a bit of Christ regardless of race, sex, or creed. Think about that. I know I struggle with remembering that and must constantly remind myself of such. Love thy neighbor as thyself, but we must remember that the answer to the question "Who is our neighbor?" is simply "Everyone."

So what do we do then? We go forth and we serve one another. If someone is an unbeliever, we serve them. If someone if gay, we serve them. If someone if a murderer, we serve them, if someone if a rapist, we serve them. We may not be able to serve them all the same way, but we serve them none the less. Not to convert them, not to do anything else other than serve the image of Christ within them. No one on this planet can convert anyone, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. As St. Francis of Assisi is quoted to have said "Let us preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." So let us be here now, and leave the rest to God's hands and His plans.

Father, in your goodness grant me the intellect to comprehend you, the perception to discern you, and the reason to appreciate you. In your kindness endow me with the diligence to look for you, the wisdom to discover you, and the spirit to apprehend you. In your graciousness bestow on me a heart to contemplate you, ears to hear you, eyes to see you, and a tongue to speak of you. In your mercy confer on me a conversation pleasing to you, the patience to wait for you, and the perseverance to long for you. Grant me a perfect end - your holy presence. Amen.
Saint Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia and St. Francis of Assisi pray for us.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God"

Friday, November 10, 2006

For What It's Worth

You know Bunky, the world has gone upside down when Rutgers is undefeated in football and just knocked off the number 3 team in the country.

So, is an undefeated football team from a so called "weaker" conference less deserving of a shot at the MNC than a one loss team from "strong" conference.

Five turnovers and only lose by 7. Don't tell me the Colts aren't worried about seeing New England again, even if it is in the dome.

Foulke you? We hardly knew ya. Enjoy working at Burger King Keith.

Dale Jr. has worked his way up to third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. With 2 races to go he needs to make a move and be within 20 or 30 going to Miami.

Memo to RCR, now is not the time to be trying to get some extra hp out of your engines.

Note to RCR 2: retiring the colors or waiting for the son to come over and run them? The 29 will look funny in yellow.

I caught an old Star Trek episode the other night because I could not sleep, funny how much we've passed by even a 1960s version of the future in about 50 years.

The Dem's have Congress, the Republicans still have the White House. Stalemate and good government at it's best. Nothing can get done which means no one get's screwed.

Except the middle class of course.

Bunky, a certain hockey player had another goal last Monday and great looks at a few other shots. Should he send his game tapes to Mt. St. Charles or Catholic Memorial yet, or just BC High?

RPI Men's Hockey, 18th in the Nation. Haven't seen that in a long time.

So did you hear the one about the Halloween Mass in a certain Orange County Church, one of the ministers of communion was in costume as.....the Devil. Bishop Mahoney retires when?

Dr. Gates, we know where you'll work. Gig'em Gates!

Naked Gun 2 1/2, a classic movie I haven't seen in a long time. I don't speak French, but I do kiss that way.

Senator Chafee, Godspeed my friend. Run for governor in 2010.

He ain't Kinky and he's not our Governor!

"This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."- St. Justin Martyr, 2nd Century

St. Francis de Sales pray for us.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Circle "g" Is Back

November 1: The Solemnity of All Saints
November 2: The Solemnity of All Souls

Which means...dust off the Litany of the Saints! Probably the most beautiful hymn in all of Christendom. I actually have saved on my computer an 18 minute version of the Litany of the Saints. However, I will share another, shorter arrangement from Youtube of this wonderful Litany. Enjoy! And may all the Saints pray for the Church here on earth, that we may one day set aside our differences and once again be the physical oneness that we are called to be. May God's grace grant the soul's of the departed eternal rest.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Multitasking For What It's Worth

I'm multitasking this edtion of For What It's Worth. I have the radio tuned to the Texas A&M v. Baylor football game, the TV is on and muted with the Techtards v. t-sips game.

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, the 2006 World Champions of baseball.

No Excuses by Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weiss is a good read.

November 1....I'll be a Sam's Club for's all about the circle g.

We're still winless this fall hockey season, but we're only losing by 1 or 2 goals. Last week was the first OT shootout in league history. We lost 5-4, losing the shootout 1-0.

I've got all my paperwork in order for the PE exam in April. Fun stuff I tell you!

I need a better hydration system for hockey, I spend the next two days after a game or after a Friday skate around being very dehydrated.

Starbucks Hot Caramel Apple Cider is a guilty pleasure and a low cal alternative to their hot chocolate.

I am also enjoying Season 1 of JAG on DVD.

Double B's new live album is fantastic. Her voice on JT's "Fire and Rain" is sweetness.

Don't look now the Patriots are 5-1 and the Ag's are already Bowl Eligible at 7-1 going into tonight's game.

USC lost today. Notre Dame won. And Boise St. got a boost in the BCS. Interesting that a 1 loss team may be voted to the National Championship game, or even more, an undefeated team from a weak conference may sneak in over a 1 lost team from a better conference.

Rutgers....where did they come from?

That's all I got for now. Ciao!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Today the Catholic Church canonized 4 new saints to serve as examples of Christian life to the faithful. Pope Benedict XVI delivered the following remarks today:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Four new saints are proposed today for the veneration of the universal Church: Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rosa Venerini and Théodore Guérin. Their names will forever be remembered.

In contrast, we think immediately of the 'rich young man' in the Gospel we just heard. This young man has remained anonymous. If he had responded positively to the invitation of Jesus, he would have become His disciple and the evangelists would have recorded his name.

This fact immediately allows us to see the theme of tehe Liturgy of the Word this Sunday. If man places his security in the riches of this world, he will not achieve the full sense of life and true joy; if instead, trusting in the word of God, he renounces himself and his worldly goods for the Kingdom of Heaven, he will apparently lose much but in fact gain everything.

A saint is that man or woman who, responding with joy and gnerosity to the call of Christ, leaves everything to follow Him. Like Peter and the other Apostles, like St. Therese of Jesus (Therese of Liseux) whom we remember today, and numberless other friends of God, the new saints went through this exigent but satisfying evangelical itinerary, and received back - along with the trials and persecutions of their earthly life - 'a hundredfold', as well as eternal life.

Jesus therefore can guarantee a happy existence and eternal life, but through a road different from that imagined by the rich young man - not through one good deed or some legal contribution, but by choosing the Kingdom of God as the 'precious pearl' for which it is worth selling all that one possesses (cfr Mt 13, 45-46).

The rich young man did not get to take this step. Even if he earned a look full of love from Jesus (cfr Mk 10,21), his heart could not detach itself from the wealth he possessed. And that was a teaching for the disciples: "How difficult it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Mk 10,23).

Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and heart. Jesus does not say wealth is bad but that it keeps us far from God if
it is not, so to speak, 'invested' into the Kingdom of the heavens, especially to come to the aid of the poor.

To understand this is fruit of that wisdom that the first Reading speaks of. Wisdom, it says, is more precious than silver and gold, than even of beauty, health and light itself, because "the splendor it emanates never sets" (Wis 7,10).

Obviously, this wisdom cannot be reduced to a mere intellectual dimension. It is much more. It is the 'wisdom of the heart," as Psalm 89 calls it. It is a gift that comes from on high (cfr Jc 3,17), from God, and it is obtained by praying (cfr Wis 7,7).

That wisdom in fact has not remained far from man's reach; it has made itself acessible to his heart (cfr Dt 30,14), taking form in the First Alliance between God and Israel through Moses. The wisdom of God is contained in the Ten Commandments.

Thus, Jesus says in the Gospel that "to enter into life" , it is necessary to follow the commandments (cfr Mk 10,19). It is necessary but not enough. In fact, as St. Paul says, salvation does not come from the Law, but from grace. And St. John reca that the Law came down through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ (cfr Jn 1,17).

To arrive at salvation, therefore, it is necessary to open oneself in faith to the grace of Christ, who places a demanding condition on those who turn to Him: "Come follow me!" (Mk 10,21).

The saints had the courage and humility to say Yes - they renounced everything to be His friends. That was done by the four new Saints we venerate today. In them we find realized the experience of Peter: "See, we have left everything and we have followed You" (Mk 10,28). Their only reasure is in heaven - God.

In Spanish, he said the following:

The Gospel which we heard helps us to understand the figure of San Rafael Guizar y Valencia, Bishop of Veracruz in the beloved nation of Mexico, as an example of those who left everything to 'follow Christ.'

This saint was faithful to the divine Word, "alive and effective," which penetrates the deepest profundity of the spirit (cf Hb 4,12). Imitating Christ who was poor, he gave up his goods, and never accepted gifts form the powerful, or if he did, he gave them away immediately.

For that he received "a hundredfold" and could thereby help the poor, even in the midst of 'persecutions' without end (cf Mk 10.30). His charity, lived to a heroic degree, earned him the title "Bishop of the Poor." In his priestly and later episcopal ministry, he was a tireless preacher of popular missions, the most appropriate method at that time to evangelize peoples, using his Catechism of the Christian doctrine.

Since the formation of priests was one of his priorities, he reconstructed the seminary that was called 'the apple of his eyes,' and for that, he often said: "A bishop may lack miter, staff and even a cathedral, but he can never lack a seminary, because the future of his diocese depends on that."

With this profound sense of priestly fatherhood, he faced new persecutions and displacements, while guaranteeing that his seminarians would continue to be educated.

May the example of St. Rafael Guizar y Valencia be a call to our brother bishops and priests to consider fundamental in their pastoral programs - in addition to the spirit of poverty and evangelization - the drive for religious and priestly vocations and the formation of priests and religious according to the heart of Christ.

He resumed in Italian:

St. Filippo Smaldone, a son of southern Italy, was able to transmute into his life the best virtues of the region. A priest with a great heart, nourished by constant prayer and Eucharistic adoration, he was above all a witness and servant of charity, which he manifested eminently in his service to the poor, especially to the deaf-mute to whom he dedicated himself wholly.

The work he begun continues, thanks to the Congregation of the SAlesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts founded by him, and which is now found in various parts of Italy and throughout the world.

In the deaf-mute, St. Filippo Smaldone saw a reflection of the image of Jesus, and he used to say that just as one prostrated himself before the Blessed Sacrament, so should one kneel before a deaf-mute.

We gather from his example the invitation to always consider indissoluble the love for the Eucharist and for our neighbor. In fact, the true capacity to love our brothers only comes through our encounter with the Lord in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

St. Rosa Venerini is another example of the faithful disciple of Christ, ready to abandon everything to fulfill the will of Christ. She loved to say: "I find myself so bound to the divine will that nothing matters; I just want to live according to His will, and to serve Him the way He wants, nothing more." (Biografia Andreucci, p 515).

From this abandonment to God came the far-seeing activities that she carried out courageously fot the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time. St. Rosa did not content herself with providing young women with an adequate education. but she worked to assure them a complete education with a firm basis in the doctines of the Church.

Her apostolic style continues to characterize today the Congregation of the Maestre Pie Venerini which she founded. How current and important today is the service which she rendered for our society in the field of education, especially for young women!

He said the following in English:

"Go, sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor… then come, follow me." These words have inspired countless Christians throughout the history of the Church to follow Christ in a life of radical poverty, trusting in Divine Providence.

Among these generous disciples of Christ was a young Frenchwoman, who responded unreservedly to the call of the divine Teacher. Mother Theodore Guérin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence in 1823, and she devoted herself to the work of teaching in schools.

Then, in 1839, she was asked by her Superiors to travel to the United States, to become the head of a new community in Indiana. After their long journey over land and sea, the group of six sisters arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. There they found a simple log-cabin chapel in the heart of the forest. They knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament and gave thanks, asking God’s guidance upon the new foundation.

With great trust in Divine Providence, Mother Theodore overcame many challenges and persevered in the work that the Lord had called her to do. By the time of her death in 1856, the Sisters were running schools and orphanages throughout the State of Indiana.

In her own words, "How much good has been accomplished by the Sisters of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods! How much more good they will be able to do if they remain faithful to their holy vocation!"

In French, he said:

Mother Théodore Guérin is a beautiful spiritual figure and a model of Christian life. She was always available for the missions the Church asked of her. She found the strength and the daring to serve these missions in the Eucharist, in prayer, and an infinite confidence in divine Providence.

Her interior strength impelled her to a special attention for the poor, especially the children.

He concluded in Italian:

Dear brothers and sisters, let us give thanks to the Lord for the gift of holiness, which today blazes with singular beauty in the Church. Jesus invites us, as He did the saints, to follow him in order to have eternal life as our legacy. Their testimonial example is illuminating and inspiring especially to the young, because they allowed themselves to be conquered by Christ, by His look full of love.

Mary, Queen of the Saints, pray for us that among the Christian people there will be more men adn women like St. Rafael Guizar y Valencia, St. Filippo Smaldone, St, Rosa Venerini and St. Theodore Guerin, ready to abandon everything for the Kingdom of God, willing to adopt for themselves the logic of giving and of service as a way to save the world. Amen!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Never pull a groin and get kicked in the balls in the same night.

So endeth the lesson.

Maybe I'll catch it, maybe I'll miss it, but I need to find that last bus to Everly Lane.

Friday, October 06, 2006

MacDonald battles back from cancer to lead RPI
By Ken Schott
Special to

TROY, N.Y. -- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute senior forward Kirk MacDonald surveyed the media members who had come out to see him work out with some teammates on the Houston Field House ice surface late in the afternoon of Aug. 28.

Kirk MacDonald starred on the ice for RPI.He had to think there were more important stories to cover in the Capital District of New York state than his 15-minute workout with junior forwards Tyler Eaves and Jake Morissette, and freshman forward Paul Kerins led by assistant coach Shawn Kurulak. After all, the horse racing season at Saratoga dominates the media coverage during the six weeks the track is open, and it was the final week of the season.

Then again, MacDonald also realized one significant thing -- being able to talk to the media beat being where he was one year ago. "It's a big jump from where I was last year to today," the 22-year-old MacDonald said. "[Assistant] coach [Jim] Montgomery asked me about the surgery I had, and I looked at my watch and it was one year ago today. It's kind of a coincidence. It's been a long haul, that's for sure."

Last year at this time, MacDonald was lying in a hospital bed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Just a few months earlier, the Victoria, B.C., native stunned college hockey fans when he announced that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He began experiencing pain in his back in January of the 2004-05 season. He thought treatment would solve the problem.

MacDonald continued to play through the pain. He scored RPI's most important goal of the season during the team's annual Big Red Freakout game Feb. 12, which was televised nationally. With 8.3 seconds left in regulation, MacDonald fired a shot from the right-wing circle past Brown goalie Adam D'Alba, giving the Engineers a 3-2 victory and sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

However, the pain persisted. By the time RPI played Brown in the first round of the ECACHL tournament in March, MacDonald could barely bend to tie his skates.

"By the end of the season, I couldn't even sleep at night the pain was so bad," said MacDonald, who led the team in scoring that year with 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points, all career highs. "Honestly, I don't know how I played the last weekend against Brown."

On April 12, six days after announcing his diagnosis, MacDonald had surgery at Albany Medical Center Hospital to remove the infected testicle. MacDonald underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, the first of which made him very sick, but the last three were a little better. However, he was warned that there would probably be a mass left over in his abdomen.

The chemotherapy didn't get rid of that. So on Aug. 2, MacDonald underwent nine hours of surgery in Vancouver to remove the mass.

Complications followed that surgery. He got an infection in his incision. A month after the surgery, his incision ripped open, forcing another surgery to repair it. He then had a bowel obstruction in his small intestine, and had surgery Sept. 24 to repair that.

All told, MacDonald had four surgeries. He didn't leave the hospital until Oct. 6.

"My body didn't exactly respond to the surgery," MacDonald said.

MacDonald, who weighed 210 pounds prior to surgery, lost 73 pounds.

"Pretty much what could have gone wrong from the surgery went wrong. Before I went in for that surgery, the doctor said, 'Look, it's going to be a real tough surgery. These things could go wrong. If the surgery is successful, and everything comes out as hoped, you should be back playing hockey by Christmas time.' That was the plan.

"One day, something's going wrong. I can't eat, I'm throwing up, I get an infection, I get a fever. You name it, it happened."

A month after leaving the hospital, MacDonald returned to RPI the same weekend the school was honoring former Engineers great Joe Juneau. At first, MacDonald was reluctant to go.

"I was a little nervous," MacDonald said. "My parents kind of pushed me to go. They said, 'You have to get out of here.' I thought maybe I wasn't ready to go back. It's definitely the best thing I ever did. If I stayed at home, I would have stuck myself on the sofa all day and never got better. I would have been further behind than I am now. That really got me going."

Before RPI's Nov. 11 game against Quinnipiac, Juneau was scheduled to drop the ceremonial first puck. Juneau asked MacDonald to join him. The fans at Houston Field House gave MacDonald a rousing ovation.

MacDonald's teammates did their part to help those afflicted with cancer. After every home game, a couple of players had their heads shaved. The hair went to help make wigs for cancer patients. Donations raised $10,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

MacDonald, who has 76 career points on 35 goals and 41 assists, worked out on his own during the second half of the season. He admits it was frustrating not being able to practice with the team, and he was all smiles during his first skills and development workout with teammates in August.

"He's such a big part of this team and program," Morissette said. "He brings so much. It's real exciting to see him out there again."

MacDonald will be playing under a new coaching staff, led by head coach Seth Appert. The former Denver University assistant coach replaced Dan Fridgen in April. Although Appert has been on the job for only five months, he knows the kind of player he has in MacDonald.

"Regardless of whether we're just joining the staff, or have been with him the whole time through, it's a special story," Appert said. "It should be told, and you can understand why it's being told. To not only overcome what he's had to overcome, but to do it with the amount of dignity and class that he has, and to come back raring and excited to go shows a lot about his character and his makeup."

Now MacDonald is counting down the days until the season opener on Oct. 14, when the Engineers host Boston University (RPI plays an exhibition game the week before against York University, a Canadian college). It will be an emotional night for the fans and players, but especially for the cancer-free MacDonald.

"I'm really excited to get back here, and be back and just get it going," he said. "It's been a long ways to get back to this point."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

And in other news, my oldest (not as in age, but in years known) Michelle is engaged. Congratultions to her and the groom to be!

For those wondering, I've known her as long as I can remember, we're only about 5 months apart (I'm the younger).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Where oh where has this week gone. Here it is Sunday again, phew, how time flies when one is having more fun that one should be having. I've got to say, there have been some highlites to the week. I have finished and am now proofreading my PE exam application. I hope to get all my references lined up this week, all my transcrpt requests out to RPI and A&M, and to have accounting get my application fee check settled. Additionally, I hope to convince my boss to allow me to purchase new exam study aides as some of the books we have a few editions older and filled with the notations of various previous employees. I like my own notes in my own chicken scratch and shorthand, well because I understand what I mean. Pray this all goes well this week, once it's all in then the real fun begins...studying for the exam in April.

Sunday night I traveled to Spring to go see a friend of mine and her band play at this place off of I-45. Not a large crowd and they started late, well on time for them, just late according to the time their drummer had passed on to me, only by an hour. After that show, I was talking with my friend and she mentioned that on the road the guys in the band are sometimes asked to sign boobs and she is never asked to sign body parts. Don't mention such things in front of me, because I'll call you on them as I called her. Hence I woke up Monday on 4 hours of sleep with her autograph on my upper, right pectoral region. Saw the same friend down the road in Brenham on Thursday night at the Washington County Fair where she was opening for Jack Ingram. I ended up working "merch" for her show because she hadn't lined anyone up. After her set and before Jack came on she came out and mingled with the crowd and signed CD's and hat's and posed for pictures. I manned the table solo for the first few songs of Jack's set and then packed up as instructed. Then took up the invitation to go hang with my friend and her band backstage. So I did that and we watched Jack's show from the wings sitting on coolers of complimentary beer (ok it was light, piss beer, but it was free, so I lowered my standards and you beer tastes good, even if it's shit beer). Then saw my friend and her band off to Mexico where they were driving to for a show Friday or possibly Saturday. Good times though. Pray she get's a break soon, she's right on the cusp and if she get's a break....look out world!

I spent Monday interviewing possible interns with some of my coworkers. It's an added responsibility to take on, but one that works well for me. I continue to realize what a unique position I am in being the youngest engineer in the office. I am reminded of it by my coworkers regularly. I can relate to the students but can also see where their strengths and weaknesses may be based on course work. Things have changed a bit since some of them were in school. We reached our decisions and hopefully the new interns will be on board in early October.

Friday morning I had to arrange a least minute meeting with an outside agency that impacts some two projects I have in the pipeline. Meeting went well and having kept one ace in the hole for almost a year really paid off for me. I can't talk specifics here, contractual stuff, but we're saving some money that we can try to use elsewhere to really make this little item something special.

And today, I went to Kyle Field and saw the Ags beat the hell outta La.-Tech 45-15. The 6 pm kickoff was delayed for 2 hours because of lightning. I waited it out under the third deck of the zone watching the storm roll through from the north and northwest. I am glad I grabbed my heavy duty, construction rain coat. It allowed the bat guano that was washed down on me to not end up on my head and neck.

I also got to play hockey twice this week. Good times! No goals, but a few assists, which I take more joy in than scoring anyway.

So, yeah. It's been a really good week. Filled with fun and good times both at work and outside work. A complete week I must say, not to mention some stuff I've gotten involved in at Church.
It's been busy, it's been fun, it's been quite frankly a great week, one of the best I've had in a long time. Just so filled with joy and contentment, it's hard to explain, but then I don't know the mind of God, so to Him goes all the thanks. Time to shower and go to bed....with the dawn will start a new week with new events and new challeges and I want to meet them well rested and ready to take them on. Good night all! And I'm not spell checking this...sorry. I'm an engineer, not and english major.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It is all over the news, so there is no reason to restate the reactions to Pope Benedict XVI's amongst vocal Muslims around the world in response to one quote. I find it very, very sad that passions have been inflamed via a selective reading of the address made in Germany. Specificly the quote in question is this:

According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".
The violent reaction goes right to the heart of what Pope Benedict XVI is trying to get at, that violence is the antithesis of faith in God from whom comes faith and the ability to reason and preach His word in a manner those who do not know may understand it. If you would like to read the entire address click here.
Now I read and here a lot of people in their anger at this reaction lash out as the Islamic protestors, wanting reprisals. As Christians, we do have ability to defend ourselves from harm, but to return this evil with evil is not defensible, and so far I do not see or read of reprisals, just words of it. As Christians we must remember that we have taken up our cross with Christ and will suffer in this lifetime. And our response must be that of Christ while He suffered.
"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Despite the anger, despite the outrage we may feel, we still must forgive those who would wish
to harm us.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My apologies dear readers for a lack of updates, I currently have many demands on my time and have not been able to break away for some thoughts to share with you, but oh the thoughts that I would like to share with you....perhaps as things settle down I will have time to give them their due here. In the meantime, fret not, I can pull these little gems up from time to time:

Inevitably for a Christian at all reflective about her or his own life there comes the realization that through some pain, some suffering, some agony of my life I know what it means to share the cross of Christ. It might be through something the Lord did not go through like cancer or the loss of family members in an accident. Or it might be through something very much like His suffering: being misunderstood, persecuted, falsely accused, harassed by someone or some group. Psalms which complain of enemies out to destroy the psalmist become painfully comprehensible, no longer references to some remote and unimaginable situation. The first kind of suffering, from disease or catastrophe, leaves us pretty innocent. The other type, more like Christ's, might, on closer analysis, be more like the crucified thief's crucifixion. As he says to the other one crucified with Jesus, "We actually deserve some punishment; this man has done nothing" (Luke 23:41). If we have earned the enmity and opposition of others there might easily be some flaw in us that precipitated it, that, at least partially, accounts for it. The fact that our cross might be somewhat self-induced only adds to the anguish and pain. Villains and good guys are not cleanly distinguished. Identifying with the cross might mean, among many other things, simply accepting more of the ambiguity and messiness of human life. The villain and the hero both live within us.
-- Don Talafous OSB

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The fat man has left the building, David Wells shipped to San Diego...Red Sox Nation..raise the flags on the 2006 season......

And let's move on to something really important..a 4th ring in 6 years:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

It has been a most fun day, long, yet quite fun for a miriad of reasons. I am currently a book that hits very close to home in some respects, giving a better perspective on my ancestors and what they went through when coming to this country around the turn of the century. No, no ancestor's mentioned by name, it's just a tale of history in New England in the late 1800's. I will give a review later when I finish it. Perhaps this week.

Anyway, I came across to quotes that nicely compliment each other.

The first being from Chesterton: "Do not look at the faces in the illustrated papers. Look at the faces in the street." - ILN, 11/16/07

The second, which I won't get quite right, nor can I at the monent find it in the book I am reading to state exactly who said it went something as follows: "it is not enough to study the humanities, but rather is more to the point of utmost importance to study humanity."

Just something to think about.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On the octave after the Assumption falls the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. Before the reform of the general Latin Calendar the feast was celebrated on May 31. It was moved to more closely follow the Feast of the Assumption.

Now I know a lot of non-Catholic Christians aren't really all that wild of the attention given Mary by Catholics. I admit in some areas it possible that some cultural backgrounds give her to much and border or even reside in heresy, such as reports I have gotten from some to have seen Mary on a cross. Such vile things are heresy and must be condemned as such. That aside, Mary did humbly and perfectly submit to the Lord's will to be the vessel from which Jesus would come into the world. I could go into great detail and give some explanations and Biblical background for Mary's importance in God's plan, but I have a better idea. I reccomend this book for you to read:

From the back cover:

"Offers a theolgically balanced and biblically grounded presentation of traditional and contemporary thought on Marian doctrine and spirituality."

Remember nothing better can be said about a woman than to say that she was a good mother. She who with her fiat allowed God to become man, whom she nursed, clothed, and raised. A woman who was chosen from all women in time and space to be the mother of the Jesus, the simple handmaiden of the Lord.

"Be it done unto me according to thy word."

Does it get any better than that, that it be done unto us according to God's word? No, it doesn't. May we lower ourselves, like Mary, to be handmaidens, so that God may increase.

And as she said at Cana "Listen to Him, do as He tells you."

Give it a read. You'll learn a lot.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Feast of the Assumption

Probably a bit too much in the spirit of Vatican II, but it's the only clip of the hymn I could find.

If we believe that at the judgement our bodies, long since turned to dust, will be resurrected and glorified and reunited with our souls, what is so difficult that Christ would not allow His mother to suffer the decay of the body after death and allow her to be assumed into heaven before the rest of us? After all, He must honor His mother perfectly.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ok, Ok...I've been back from my vacation for a week and haven't posted a thing, deal with it...I've been busy getting back into the swing of things with work and hockey and potentially softball in a few weeks. That's right, the outside possibility of my return to the City of College Station Softball league looms large, fear me pitchers...the hitting machine is getting tuned for the chance of being cranked up again soon. I've been reading a lot trying to finish my summer reading by the end of the looks like I will fall one book shy of my goal, though I may just buy it on CD and listen to it during my travels around town. Another thing that had my full attention this week was the airing of "Band of Brothers" on the History Channel. Yes, I own the DVD but I don't pass it up when it's on either.

So it was a nice vacation, got my old buddy married off without a problem. Spent the night before the wedding in the honeymoon suite watching the Red Sox and Devil Rays game, drinking some cold one's, Coke's. Fun was had by all. If only I knew where they went on their honeymoon. It was kept a secret from everyone. Only the groom knew.

I'm all caught up in work, I had to do some work while on vacation in order to ensure a project getting out to bid. It's a small job, less than $200K, but it is of vital importance to the folks who want it built so if it's at the top of the list for them, it's at the top of the list for me to make sure we can get it bid and awarded before the funding goes the way of the dodo.

Now that I'm caught up there, I can return some of my attention to getting all my paperwork for the P.E. exam completed by the middle of September. My deadline is December, but I want it in so I can start studying for this SOB. For those that don't know, the P.E. exam is the engineering equivalent to the bar exam for lawyers (though I've looked at some state bar exam study guides, and I could probably pass them in my sleep with a little studying).

Well, I am going to make me a drink and head off to read and sleep. I leave you with a picture from my vacation:

Fenway Park, My Home Away From's just right being there.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I am currently on vacation on the east coast, enjoying free beer, much baseball (Fenway and McCoy Stadium), lot's of heat and humidity, an upcoming wedding (not not fear ladies), and catching up with friends. I will have reflections next week when I return to Texas, sometime after Monday (I have a hockey game that night). In the meantime, another reflection from the Order of Saint Benedict:

The vices and problems that beset Christianity at any time were modeled for us in the New Testament. The disciples of Jesus showed us the ambition and jealousy that always threaten the witness Christians give to the world. Today it might seem to us that sex is the big threat to Christians' credibility as we read of sexual scandals involving clergy. Without underestimating the devastation wrought by these, it is worth noting that sexual scandal probably has more appeal for the media than other scandals. Power plays and the trajectory of ambition are more difficult to pinpoint and present to the public. Probably no vice has so strongly affected the followers of Christ as the desire for power, "to lord it over others" as Jesus called it (Matthew 20:20-28). It's amazing to note that we who claim to follow the lowly Jesus who triumphed by the cross are so apt to take up the instruments of domination. Historically, how many tragedies and scandals would have been avoided if church leaders had been immune to the lust for power? From popes to pastors, it has hurt the church and embittered Christians. Authority, Jesus teaches, is given for the service of its subjects, not for the satisfaction of those who have power. Service as used in Scripture is not the antiseptic word we see in the Yellow Pages where it refers to everything from windshield replacement to child care. Service for the follower of Christ entails suffering and death. We might easily embrace service as an ideal, but we should be prepared for a broken heart and demands we never envisioned. Service involves sharing the death of Jesus. Discipleship for Christians includes learning to serve with and in Christ who modeled service for all of us.

-- Don Talafous OSB

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Rites

I have a good number of Protestant friends who have "issues" with the "Roman Catholic Church", yet there is no "Roman Catholic Church". What they really mean in the Latin Rite, which is the main liturgical rite in Western Civilization. It is from this Rite that the Reformation sprang from. Reformers pointing out the wrongs in the Latin Rite ligturgy and it's Supreme Patriach, the Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. But what about the other Rites in the Catholic Church. I never hear anyone in Protestant circles have anything to say about their disagreements with these Rites. It's all Rome, Rome, Rome, when they really mean, it's all Latin Rite. They can't help themselves, they don't know any better if they declare "Roman Catholics bad"...they mean "Latin Rite Catholics bad." But never a peep about Morarabic Catholics, Bragan Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Chaldean Catholics, Czech Catholics, Russian Catholics, Melkite Catholics, and many more.

So where does leave us? Well it leaves me wanting to educate folks about the various rites. That way if you have issues with the Catholic Church you can begin pointing them out across the board in all the Rites. Really, all this Latin Rite bashing is quite would think after 500 years, the great writers of Protestantism would have found some other problems other than just the problems they have with the Latin Rite. So I give to a list of the Rites of the Catholic Church (not including some of the dead rites, like the Gaellic). I'll break them out too!

Western Rites

  • Latin (Roman) - The overwhelming majority of Latin Catholics and of Catholics in general. Patriarch of this and the other Western Rites is the Bishop of Rome. The current Roman Rite is that of the 1969 Missale Romanum, published in a third edition in 2001 and a fourth expected within the next few years.

  • Missal of 1962 (Tridentine Mass) - Some institutes within the Latin Rite, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, have the faculty to celebrate the sacramental rites according to the forms in use prior to the Second Vatican Council. This faculty can also be obtained by individual priests from their bishop or from the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei.

  • Anglican Use - Since the 1980s the Holy See has granted some former Anglican and Episcopal clergy converting with their parishes the faculty of celebrating the sacramental rites according to Anglican forms, doctrinally corrected.

  • Mozarabic - The Rite of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) known from at least the 6th century, but probably with roots to the original evangelization. Beginning in the 11th century it was generally replaced by the Roman Rite, although it has remained the Rite of the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and six parishes which sought permission to adhere to it. Its celebration today is generally semi-private.

  • Ambrosian - The Rite of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy, thought to be of early origin and probably consolidated, but not originated, by St. Ambrose. Pope Paul VI was from this Rite. It continues to be celebrated in Milan, though not by all parishes.

  • Bragan - Rite of the Archdiocese of Braga, the Primatial See of Portugal, it derives from the 12th century or earlier. It continues to be of occasional use.

  • Dominican - Rite of the Order of Friars Preacher (OP), founded by St. Dominic in 1215.

  • Carmelite - Rite of the Order of Carmel, whose modern foundation was by St. Berthold c.1154.

  • Carthusian - Rite of the Carthusian Order founded by St. Bruno in 1084.

Eastern Rites

  • Maronite - Never separated from Rome. Maronite Patriarch of Antioch. The liturgical language is Aramaic. The 3 million Maronites are found in Lebanon (origin), Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Australia.

  • Syriac - Syriac Catholics who returned to Rome in 1781 from the monophysite heresy. Syriac Patriarch of Antioch. The 110,000 Syriac Catholics are found in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Canada and the US.

  • Malankarese - Catholics from the South of India evangelized by St. Thomas, uses the West Syriac liturgy. Reunited with Rome in 1930. Liturgical languages today are West Syriac and Malayalam. The 350,000 Malankarese Catholics are found in India and North America.

  • Chaldean - Babylonian Catholics returned to Rome in 1692 from the Nestorian heresy. Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Arabic. The 310,000 Chaldean Catholics are found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and the US.

  • Syro-Malabarese - Catholics from Southern India using the East Syriac liturgy. Returned to Rome in the 16th century from the Nestorian heresy. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Malayalam. Over 3 million Syro-Malabarese Catholics can be found in the state of Kerela, in SW India.

  • ARMENIAN- Considered either its own Rite or an older version of the Byzantine. Its exact form is not used by any other Byzantine Rite. It is composed of Catholics from the first people to convert as a nation, the Armenians (N.E. of Turkey), and who returned to Rome at the time of the Crusades. Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians. The liturgical language is classical Armenian. The 350,000 Armenian Catholics are found in Armenia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Ukraine, France, Romania, United States and Argentina. Most Armenians are Orthodox, not in union with Rome.

  • Albanian - Albanian Christians, numbering only 1400 today, who resumed communion with Rome in 1628. Liturgical language is Albanian. Most Albanian Christians are Albanian Orthodox.

  • Belarussian/Byelorussian - Unknown number of Belarussians who returned to Rome in the 17th century. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The faithful can be found in Belarus, as well as Europe, the Americas and Australia.

  • Bulgarian - Bulgarians who returned to Rome in 1861. Liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The 20,000 faithful can be found in Bulgaria. Most Bulgarian Christians are Bulgarian Orthodox.

  • Czech - Czech Catholics of Byzantine Rite organized into a jurisdiction in 1996.

  • Krizevci - Croatian Catholics of Byzantine Rite who resumed communion with Rome in 1611. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. The 50,000 faithful can be found in Croatia and the Americas. Most Croatians are Latin (Rite) Catholics.

  • Greek - Greek Christians who returned to Rome in 1829. The liturgical language is Greek. Only 2500 faithful in Greece, Asia Minor (Turkey) and Europe. Greek Christians are almost all Orthodox, whose Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.

  • Hungarian - Descendants of Ruthenians who returned to Rome in 1646. The liturgical languages are Greek, Hungarian and English. The 300,000 faithful are found in Hungary, Europe and the Americas.

  • Italo-Albanian - Never separated from Rome, these 60,000 Byzantine Rite Catholics are found in Italy, Sicily and the Americas. The liturgical languages are Greek and Italo-Albanian.

  • Melkite - Catholics from among those separated from Rome in Syria and Egypt who resumed Communion with Rome at the time of the Crusades. However, definitive union only came in the 18th century. Melkite Greek Patriarch of Damascus. Liturgical languages are Greek, Arabic, English, Portuguese and Spanish. The over 1 million Melkite Catholics can be found in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Australia.

  • Romanian - Romanians who returned to Rome in 1697. The liturgical language is Romanian. There are over 1 million Romanian Catholics in Romania, Europe and the Americas. Most Romanian Christians are Romanian Orthodox.

  • Russian - Russians who returned to communion with Rome in 1905. The liturgical language is Old Slavonic. An unknown number of the faithful in Russia, China, the Americas and Australia. Most Russian Christians are Russian Orthodox, whose Patriarch is the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow.

  • Ruthenian - Catholics from among those separated from Rome in Russia, Hungary and Croatia who reunited with Rome in 1596 (Brest-Litovsk) and 1646 (Uzhorod).

  • Slovak - Byzantine Rite Catholics of Slovakian origin numbering 225,000 and found in Slovakia and Canada.

  • Ukrainian - Catholics from among those separated from Rome by the Greek Schism and reunited about 1595. Patriarch or Metropolitan of Lviv. Liturgical languages are Old Slavonic and the vernacular. The 5.5 million Ukrainian Catholics can be found in Ukraine, Poland, England, Germany, France, Canada, US, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. During the Soviet era Ukrainian Catholics were violently forced to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Their hierarchy, which continued to exist outside the homeland, has since been re-established in Ukraine.

  • Coptic - Egyptian Catholics who returned to communion with Rome in 1741. The Patriarch of Alexandria leads the 200,000 faithful of this ritual Church spread throughout Egypt and the Near East. The liturgical languages are Coptic (Egyptian) and Arabic. Most Copts are not Catholics. This Rite that of those who are Catholics.

  • Ethiopian/Abyssinian - Ethiopian Coptic Christians who returned to Rome in 1846. The liturgical language is Geez. The 200,000 faithful are found in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Jerusalem.

So I ask my Protestant friends who have "issues" with the "Roman Catholic Church", are the litugical issues only with the Latin Rite, or with them all? Many liturgies, one church, visibile and united in Christ from all corners of the earth from the East to the West. Oh and if you are wondering, they all agree theologically.

Ut Unum Sint

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Many a high school or college student believes that there is one work, one position, one job, that they can do, one area in which they must major. She or he must be an accountant, a doctor or a biochemist. Looking back at their lives at forty-five, say, they will realize that this wasn't true but they can't be persuaded of that at eighteen. They have more gifts than they realize; each of us has a variety of talents and capabilities which could be realized. The only problem is that we have only one life in which to realize them. (Unless, of course, part of the endless fascination of heaven will be developing all the potential we have for which seventy, eighty years was not enough.) Ideally most of us could use several lifetimes to fulfill our various capacities. Looking back they will see how many careers they could have pursued. The doctor could also have been an English professor. The musician could also have been happy as the manager of a hotel. The social scientists tell us that in actuality many people change careers several times in the course of a lifetime. All our gifts and capacities might suggest to us that even if we do stay with one career for most of our life we could indulge the other interests in our leisure time. Why can't the beautician take up the banjo on the side? Or the coach do something with that ability to draw? Knowing ourselves and our interests should suggest a great number of ways in which we can stave off that boredom so many claim to experience.
-- Don Talafous OSB

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

To speak or not to speak. To express all our feelings or to hold back. To let it all hang out or to maintain some reserve. As so often, we do well to mistrust a too simple decision in favor of one or the other. "For everything there is a season. ... A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3, passim). Possibly only a life anchored in prayer and closeness to God will enable us to make the right decision at a particular moment. In words that reflect so well the over-simplified prescriptions of contemporary culture someone has written: We've been taught "that if people would just say how they felt, a lot of problems could be solved. I come from a family where no one ever hesitates to vent whatever petty grievances she might have, and it's like living in a war zone." Clearly, the writer feels that some things might have been left unsaid. Though it will not solve all the complexities that surround speech and silence, the words of the Epistle of James are worth reflection. He says the tongue is "a restless evil" and that no one can tame it. "We use it to say 'Praised be the Lord and Father'; then use it to curse men, though they are made in the likeness of God. Blessing and curse come out of the same mouth" (3:8-10). To speak or not to speak?

-- Don Talafous OSB

Friday, July 14, 2006

A good read over at the Canterbury Tales:

Justification Not By Faith Alone

Read, throw it around, slap it upside head, agree, with it what you will, I just supply the link for your reading pleasure.

Why nothing more substantial...well I just got done playing hockey...I'm tired.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Sunday, June 25, 2006

I felt like posting something here this evening before getting to bed early due to my late night exploits in San Antonio last night that resulted in me getting back home to Aggieland at the wonderful hour of 3 AM this morning, firing off an e-mail to my friend who was heading back to Austin to let her know I got home safe and sound, she was a bit worried about the long drive at that late hour on the highways and back roads I take to get home. A lot of money was raised last night at the Rolling Oaks Sports Bar & Grille for the San Antonio Children's Shelter which helps abandoned and abused children. I wasn't feeling well, but I went anyway to help the kids. I'm glad I did, it was an experience. Bonnie Bishop and her new band debuted for the first time after some orginal members and not so orginal members have parted with the band over the last few months. I got there early, so early I was there for rehearsal and got a free show and got to hear some new stuff...some of which didn't make the set list. The Coach was also there drinking his Miller Lites. I had two tipsy and quite older women end up joining me at my table....thank God I sat farther back from the stage or Bonnie would have had a field day, it was bad. I'll be seeing them soon...July Austin to quasi celebrate the beginning of the week leading up to the 22nd...a great day in world history. Hopefully my new beer drinking bud will be not the Coach, but another member of the entourage who I met and clicked with immediately, seriously one cool mofo.

So what else...oh for those in Aggieland...turn your radio dial to KACD, 96.9 FM, on the air, finally. And for now until the FCC straightens some stuff out...all Gregorian all the time!

I've got a hockey tournament this coming weekend. 4 games in 3 days. I need to stock up on gatorade and other provisions. Should be fun though. The action kicks off at 6:50 PM Friday at the Wolf. See ya there...go Gold's!

Ray Wylie's new album comes out Tuesday, looking forward to "Snake Farm"...just sounds nasty, Snake farm, pretty much is.

Well of to bed, I'm in a great mood today despite the late hours, the early wake up and what not. Hockey game tomorrow night...8PM at the Wolf.

p.s. I'm tired and not proof reading this...tough noogies Bunky. Snootchy-bootchies!

Monday, June 19, 2006

In my mind I've gone to Carolina

More Hockey News Than You Can Break A Stick At

Congratulations to the Carolina Hurricanes, winners of the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 34 lbs of silver are theirs and they each get to spend a day with the cup and do whatever they want with it, they can drink beer from it, they can bathe their kids in it, they can take it fishing, etc. Fun times. Congratulations to Glen Wesley (Assistant Captain and former Bruin) on his first Cup in his 18 year career and to Head Coach Peter Laviolette, former Providence Bruin and former Calder Cup winning head coach of the Providence Bruins! The Canes won the series 4 games 3 with a 3-1 win tonight over their opponent the Edmonton Oilers, the 8th seed from the Western Conference.
In other news I had hockey practice this evening, a nice hour of constant motion working on flow drills...into the zone, out of the zone, into the zone, shoot, always working our triangle/figure 8's. I enjoyed it, seriously, it was great. After practice the hockey director grabbed me a few other guys and invited us to join the tournament teams they are putting together for the fourth of July weekend. Now remember, I've only been in pads for 6 months and only play/practice once or sometimes twice a week. I'm guessing a lot of folks left town, but heck...I got asked to play. Naturally, I am going to play. So thank God for the chance to step up and play in what should a tournament that is mostly over my experience level, though I can hold my own. May he keep us safe and injury free. Given that I could have been in a softball tournament this Friday and turned down the chance (and you know how much I love to play ball), I'm excited to have a tournament to play in. So if you're in College Station the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the 4th of July weekend, let me know and I'll get you a schedule and times when I get them. I think I will go Austin this Wednesday night and celebrate.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Home Town News

Cherished Memories of a Saintly Man

Written by HOWELL, JOHN
Tue, Jun 06 06
By JOHN HOWELL, The Warwick Beacon

Everyone had a story about Msgr. John F. Cox, but that’s what one would expect for the pastor emeritus of St. Peter’s Church.

On Sunday the church was packed as the congregation, four retired bishops and friends celebrated the 70th anniversary of his ordination.

Msgr. Cox served as pastor of the church from 1969 to 1986, staying on after retirement as a resident until 1997. Now 95 years old, he is living in the home of his late sister in Providence with assistance.

Yet, despite all his years he maintains a keen memory, which exhibited itself on more than one occasion as people gathered around him at a reception following the Mass that included a congratulatory blessing from Pope Benedict XVI delivered by retired Bishop of Providence Louis Gelineau. Bishop Gelineau called Msgr. Cox, who he has known for 34 years, “an inspiration” and that the Pope’s blessing is an acknowledgement of the “whole universal church.”

In a wheelchair and wearing his red vestments, Msgr. Cox said, “I am honored to have you with me today.” He waved and the entire church stood to applaud the man they admire.
Later in the church basement a line quickly formed. Some brought gifts, but many just wanted to share what he had meant to their lives.

“It was a miserable night,” Msgr. Cox recalled as he spoke briefly with Karen Shields. It was 27 years ago that Msgr. Cox wed Michael and Karen, said Karen’s mother, Dorothy McGuinn, and indeed the weather was terrible that night. She remembers it well.

For June Langevin, the mother of Congressman Jim Langevin who was also there to congratulate Msgr. Cox, the man holds a special place in her heart. He baptized her and her brother John, as well as all three of her children.

Peggy Dolan is still in awe how Msgr. Cox knew the names of all the parishioners, not to mention the students at St. Peter’s School. But there is so much more to the man than a sharp memory, as June Spencer knows. A former teacher at the church school, Spencer sought for the words to describe Msgr. Cox. She used “good” and “best” and then summed it up saying, “When you left him you felt you had been in the presence of Jesus.”

Sister Mary Angelus Gabrielle, former principal of the school, who has lived at the church convent for 40 years, called Msgr. Cox “the best of the best.” She called him compassionate and considerate adding, “When you are in his presence you think you’re the only person on Earth.”
“He’s touched so many, we’re better for it,” she said.

As people waited to greet him, Bishop Tobin arrived. The movement of the line paused as the two priests talked, Bishop Tobin on bended knee so as to better see Msgr. Cox. The bishop asked for Msgr. Cox’s blessing and he stretched out his hand to touch the bishop’s forehead. The two prayed in the commotion of the reception.

“They love him,” Dolan said, “because he’s a person … you can hear the love for him.”

Then she remembered how she and Mary Whalen started up a conversation with a priest while waiting for a flight out of LaGuardia Airport in New York.

“You must know Coxy,” Dolan remembers the priest saying.
Of course they knew Msgr. Cox.
“They are living among a saint,” the priest told them.

I for one agree with that sentiment. When I think of a great example of a parish priest, Msgr. Cox is the first one that comes to mind. Then again, I'm biased, as a child I always loved him and his celebration of the liturgy. I was just wondering about what he might be up to after all these years just the other day. Well, he's still living the life, a role model for us all. It was also nice to see a lot of familar names in that article, I will be able to visit the old church in August when I head home for a wedding. I look forward to then.

and for what it's worth...I am never washing my left cheek again! Just goes to show, you have to live life so it won't pass you by and not always play the responsible role all the time. So my little trip on a whim to Austin on Sunday night to see Steve Wariner at Stubb's BBQ was worth the 2 AM bedime and 6:30AM wake up to the alarm. I'll have to travel to Austin again soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I must say, things have gotten interesting. I don't have a fancy title for this entry, but just some news. The news out of the Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth is that Father Marshall has become the second priest from that Diocese to swim the Tiber in the last three months. Father Moore being the first back in April. I find it ironic that on my last visit to cowtown and Dallas, I was fortunate to meet both these men of God, actually shared hot dogs and beer with them at the opening day game for the Red Sox at the Ballpark at Arlington. Father Moore had announced his move just days before I met him and here we are just about two months later and Father Marshall announces his move to the Catholic Church. I just find it very interesting (I keep using that word) that I got to meet both these men at a ballgame. Coincidence, maybe. The work of the Holy Ghost...maybe. A little of both..perhaps. Interesting, most definitely.