Showing posts from February, 2005

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist: Around the world: Traveling Tips

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist: Around the world

Via Jaq, I ran across this post about travelling on the cheap. It contains several links to travel oriented sites, and the post is interesting in general.

Pope Makes Surprise Appearance at Window

Yahoo! News - Pope Makes Surprise Appearance at Window

There are many diverse opinions regarding Pope John Paul II. I am in the camp of his most ardent admirers. Especially during this time of his extreme physical suffering, he is still leading by example. For me, his actions are and always have been an inspiration. I'm praying for him.

Bettis coming back

Bettis coming back

Here we go Steelers, here we go!!

I, along with many other Pittsburgh fans, anticipated, or at least hoped for this news. Now, let's see the Steelers get Bettis to his first superbowl in his hometown of Detroit.

The news does not look good for Burress returning to Pittsburgh. To me, that is disappointing. I've always liked him, although he takes heat from the fans and the media. Hopefully we can pick up another deep threat in free agency or the draft. Randle-El played excellent as a replacement for Burress last season, but from what I've read, he just doesn't have the deep threat potential of Burress.

My most miserable week ever....

Preface: Prior to last Thursday, I had finally managed to get off my lazy butt and had partially climbed out of an exercise and dietary rut that I have been immersed in since around Thanksgiving 2004. I had lifted weights, jogged and bicycled for almost a week straight as I was preparing to run in a 5K the first Saturday in March. Then:

Thursday, February 17
This was Dominic's 5th birthday. He was just getting over the flu/cold combination that has been hammering Kansas City. For myself, it was just beginning. My muscles were really sore because of the weightlifting I had been doing and I thought that this was the primary cause of my discomfort early in the day. However, as the day wore on, I could tell something else was clearly bothering me. My chest began to feel like it was weighted down with sandbags and I was coughing up material that could crawl out of the sink. By the time I got home, I was in no mood for cake and ice cream. I tried to lay down for a few minutes, and I began…

MLB All-Star-Game

Pittsburgh Pirates News

I had previously posted that the 2005 MLB All-Steroid (Star)-Game was to be hosted in Pittsburgh's PNC Park. I stand corrected---it is next year's (2006) game that will be in Pittsburgh.

All Jacked Up!!

A few months ago, Sharon and I were dejected when a local radio station featuring our favorite morning show went dark. It was replaced with something that was calling itself The Jack. We kept listening to see if the d.j.s that we liked would come back. They didn't. However, we began to like the station because of the great music it was playing, even though it didn't have any d.j.s (sometimes that's not a bad thing!).

Now, Jack FM is on its feet in Kansas City. While I dislike the name of the station and I think its advertising jingles about itself are sophmoric, I've come to the conclusion that:

Jack FM rocks the f*ck out!!!! I'm losing touch with world events because I now listen to Jack FM more than NPR on my way to work every morning.

I noticed today on the Internet that Jack FM in Kansas City is only a local affiliate of a broader initiative. I say, keep up the great music!!

Potty Humor

I was just doing my regular end of workday mad scramble across the Internet when I ran across something that made me laugh out loud and prompted me to log back into Blogger so that I could post it. What could be so funny, inspiring and important: Potty jokes!

Instead of saying "I've got to drop the kids off at the pool", from now on I'm going to say, "I'm taking the Browns to the Superbowl." Oh, just typing it out makes me laugh.

This also reminded me of a mischievous oldie but goody website,, which my workplace deems as "tasteless" according to the browser block message that I receive. I suppose it's true, but sometime "tasteless" humor is the most flavorful.

Information Overload

I've been spending some time lately reading about concentration research. I'm trying to find some concrete steps I can take to increase my awareness and consciousness. Too often, I feel like I am not comprehending what I am reading or that I quickly forget what I've experienced through my senses. Part of this is my difficulty in determining what is relevant to take in, and what should be quickly passed over. I have an almost compulsive desire to read every single word on every single page of every single document that I come across. No wonder that I think of myself as scatter-brained. I'm hoping to learn some techniques to improve my concentration and memory. I know that there are no quick fixes for these type of improvements. It's like trying to get my body in good shape. In fact, it is an extension of getting my body in shape. For me, blogs are somewhat of a double-edged sword: while they are a source of interesting information and they help me to organize my tho…

Bloggers: Friend or foe to "real" news

Yahoo! News - Bloggers, the new US media watchdogs:
Yahoo! News - Bloggers, the new US media watchdogs

This article argues that blogging played a substantial role in the downfall of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan, the protagonists of two recent news scandals. I don't dispute that blogging played a role in the uproar leading to both resignations. However, is mass-blogging a legitimate "watchdog" of the media, as it is phrased in the article? While I champion the realm of blogging as one of the finest manifestations of free speech, I think we need to be careful when attributing it with too much credit. Having an "influence" and being a "watchdog" connote two very different things. Being overwhelming does not make a particular viewpoint right. It reflects passion, organization and potentially a majority, but not necessarily the moral or true viewpoint. As a maybe not-so-abstract example, let's say that a major news network decides to run a story t…

Blogger's new comment screen

Leaving a comment moments ago, I noticed the new comment screen on blogger (at least for the comment system of which my blog is set up.) Very cool!! It used to be that I could only see the comment that I was typing as I was leaving a comment. Now, I can see the whole string of comments in the left-hand pane and the comment that I am writing in the right-hand pane. Furthermore, I can see the profile photo of the blogger that left a comment, if available. Nice feature (even if it does force me to stare at my own ugly mug!)

Violence Continues in Iraq

Yahoo! News - Truck Bombing, Shootings Kill 23 Iraqis

This is no surprise. However, the article also discusses the growing certainty that Iraq is soon to be ruled by a Shiite theocracy, infused with minimal proponents for secular government. Shiite dominated and neighboring Iran must be happy with the way that politics are unfolding in Iraq as they stare over their shoulder at a potential U.S. invasion.

I've wondered for a long time, indeed, since before the U.S. invasion, about the problem with a "democratic" Iraq. Is Democracy the best system in a place with intense religious sectorial passions? In short, I think that representative democracy is the best answer anywhere, but huge pitfalls exist when the system is being born. Overall, my point is that the U.S. could have been better off with a contained Saddam Hussein than an elected Iraqi theocracy. Of course, this analysis is purely from a U.S. interest perspective, and leaves out the moral question of leaving a …

Electronic device consolidation

Specifically, regarding integrating a wireless phone with an MP3 player/recorder.

Regarding Time's Charles Krauthammer's Essay...

Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s essay in the February 14, 2005 issue of Time magazine:

Krauthammer criticizes “Europe” and “Arab States” for questioning the legitimacy of the Iraqi election. He asserts that the large turnout by voters in Iraq gives the election legitimacy and that the resulting Iraqi government should be recognized by other states. However, isn’t it more important, and unlikely, for the people of Iraq to legitimately recognize their own government? Who cares if France, Syria and Germany recognize an Iraqi administration that nearly half of Iraqi’s see as illegitimate? Krauthammer is correct when he writes that Sunni Muslims were not barred from the polls, and indeed were encouraged to vote. The fact is that a lot of them didn’t vote and a great number of them will continue to see any elected government as an illegitimate regime. The important task is to find a way to allow the Sunni minority in Iraq, who are causing the majority of the problems, to live peaceful…

Buffalo News - Politicians better with less baggage

Buffalo News - Politicians better with less baggage

This article from the Buffalo News, which Jaq links to for a different reason, reminds me of the controversy over the question of whether Catholic priests should be allowed to marry and start a family.

I have long been of the opinion that single priests are better able to serve their congregation. This is especially true in the Catholic faith, where confession is one of the 7 sacrements. I would be less inclined to confess my sins to a priest if I knew that priest would go home and likely spill the beans to his wife. After all, what husband doesn't keep workplace gossip from his wife. I understand the shortage of priests, and I am acutely aware of the alleged linkage between the prohibition of priestly marriage and the hideous sexual abuse by priests. However, I don't think the solution to these real problems is allowing priests to marry. Becoming a priest is a difficult choice that requires a huge sacrifice. For lack o…

I seem to recall something like this taking place in California


Herein, I blast myself...

I don't know what the use is of carrying a planner and making plans if I never actually perform even half the tasks I write down. It only serves to make me more angry with myself for skipping the gym or wasting time. I have been a lazy, pathetic piece of excrement lately.

There! I'm glad I got that out of my system.


Sharon and I have deduced from belly size that we are having twins. She is glad that I'm carrying one of them for her.

Needless to say, I need to begin reconstructing the architecture of my midsection.

Are you ready for some baseball?

My usual Steeler-crazed, mid-winter, over-ten-losing-seasons-in-a-row driven apathy toward the Pirates is starting to erode, as it inevitably does each year after the Superbowl. This year, this is mainly a function of my disinterest in the NBA, the lack of an NHL season, and the fact that the Hawkeyes basketball team just dismissed their best player (with good reason.) In any case, excitement about the 2005 baseball season is beginning to germinate within me. Sure, the Pirates have a young, inexperienced team. But, they've also got good prospects, good arms (Oliver Perez and Kip Wells) and the returning rookie of the year (Jason Bay). Since they will unlikely be able to keep any of these fine players for more than the next few years, they better make a run for it now. The team played solidly through most of last year, and then they unloaded Benson. They still have a good rotation, and have added some decent prospects in the offseason, notwithstanding the inexplicable signing of ge…

Super Bowl Reflections

I read a lot over the past week about "the media" attacking Jacksonville, the site of the Superbowl. Evidently, it was the smallest city ever to host a Superbowl. Personally, I don't see the relevance of the size of the city. I'm still an advocate of rotating the Superbowl around the entire league, and letting the teams play in cold weather every once in awhile. However, I'm not holding my breath on that coming to fruition. One thought stuck in my mind as I read the attacks on Jacksonville, and the rebuttals--look out next year!! The site of next year's Superbowl: Detroit!I wasn't surprised that tonight's game was a fairly good one. The Patriots usually play in close games, outside of the shalacking they gave to the Steelers (which really was still a game in the 4th quarter.) I don't know if I've ever seen worse clock management in a big game than the Philadephia Eagles displayed midway through the 4th quarter. Play after play, they would catc…

Pasquarelli: Marino a true Pittsburgh Guy - NFL - Pasquarelli: Pittsburgh Guy

Damn, why couldn't the Steelers have drafted Marino??!! The 80s would have been a fun decade for Steelers fans if they had. Instead, it is a gap between great Steeler runs in the 70s and 90s, where we had such quarterbacks as Cliff Stout, Mark Malone and Bubby Brister. Marino would have fit the Steelers perfectly. He is a gritty warrior, and more in tune with his blue collar hometown than he is with preppy Miami. Of course, he is a Dolphin, and always will be. But, Steelers fans can't help wondering what if??!! It was fun watching Marino on CBS while the Steelers were playing well this year. Danny still has an obvious affinity for his hometown.

Congratulations, Dan. Instead of being a Steeler, you drove Steelers fans nuts for over a decade.

Viewing a nebula


Earlier tonight, Sharon, Dominic and I visited William Jewel's observatory to view a nebula within the Orion constellation. None of us know much about astronomy. I think a nebula has roughly something to do with the birth of stars, stardust, etc.

It was something different to do on a Friday evening. The sky was clear, so many starts were visible to the naked eye. I thought seeing the stars through the telescope was rather anticlimactic, but looking through a big telescope in an observatory was cool. After looking through the telescope, we were able to walk around outside on a deck where we had a nice view of the Kansas City metropolitan area on a clear night.

On our way out of the building, as a bonus, we found some displays, including a 4 foot long bull snake, an iguana and the skeleton of a horse. The iguana and the snake were moving around in their cages quite actively. It was fun to watch them.

The Nattering Nabob makes an insightful observation about a Bush assertion

A damn insightful observation from The Nattering Nabob. Nattering Nabob is not a Bush fan, and I take everything posted on this blog with a healthy grain of salt, but I am usually impressed with the writing. I did not watch the SOTU address, and I am unaware of the comment she refers to or its context. But, she is 100% correct, the statement in and of itself would be illegal if given as advice from a financial advisor to an investor. Personally, I think that most social security "investors" would manage to lose money by investing their money in the stock market. Of course, the real reason for Bush advocating this policy is to enrich Wall Street by flooding it with dollars that would otherwise be sent to the safety of the U.S. Treasury.

The Nattering Nabob

U.S. Citizens Denied Access to a Speech By Their Presdient

Via Jaq, via Oliver Willis....

This story makes my skin crawl. Not only are the citizens denied tickets, but nobody in charge seems to know anything about a "list". Yeah, right. The Bushies have been controlling access to their man for years, because he can't take criticism. Sad. The one bright spot of this story is that what once would have been reported in only the local news now can travel around the world to millions of people, thanks to dedicated bloggers. Bloggers of the world unite!!

Notes from our Mexican vacation

I've been thinking about the best way to write about our fantastic vacation to Mexico this week past. I've decided to try somewhat of a chronological log of our activities, along with some commentary, and lump it into this one blog entry. Thus, I will be updating this entry over time, since I am certain not to finish describing our weeklong vacation in one sitting. Also, this entry will become long. It's main purpose is to chronicle what we did on vacation, and what we (primiarly I) thought about it. If it becomes boring at times, forgive me, and please move on to more exciting frontiers of Blogistan.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
I have to admit that, on this day, I was more excited about the AFC Championship game between the Steelers and Patriots, scheduled to kickoff at 5:30, than I was about vacation. I attended mass alone, where I was scheduled to read. When I arrived back home, Sharon, Lynae and Dominic were all packed and ready to go. I had to put the car top carrier on t…

A list of things in my wallet....

I am often accused of having a George Costanza type wallet, where the seams come ripping apart as I try to stuff it into my back pocket. I thought this would be a fun blog entry, and also a good way to thin out my wallet. I've been on a "clean-sweep" rampage lately, trying to thin out the extra "things" in my life in an effort to be more simplified. My wallet contents, on 2/3/05 (things in bold I am throwing away):

My Bank of America debit cardMy Missouri Driver LicenseMy entertainment book membership card, valid through Nov. 1 2005My Lumenos Health Care Insurance card for 2005My Blockbuster Rewards cardAn entertainment book membership card, valid through Nov. 1 2004My Sears cardMy Community Blood Center card (I'm O+)My State of Iowa Hunter Education Certificate (issued on 10/25/84!)A United Wat Caring Club member card, valid through 12/31/04My Mid-Continent Public Library cardA picture of Dominic from the day of Todd Smith's weddingMy social security c…

Dust in the Wind

There are few events that reveal our insignificance as much as returning to a corporate job after a week of vacation. It is somewhat disconcerting to find that the company can, indeed, survive for an entire week without you. I'm aware that this is not true for all jobs--some people are indeed indispensable to their workplaces. However, these people are few and far between.

To me, this realization is empowering rather than discouraging. Knowing that I am but a grain of sand on the beach of the universe leads me to concentrate on the most important and stable areas of my life: family, health and faith, for example.