Showing posts from 2003
College Bowl Season
As a UCLA alum, of course I'm rooting for my team in the little known Silicon Valley Bowl against Fresno State. I just hope it doesn't turn into a dismal night as the Bruins have shown little offensive punch and the defense can get worn down being out on the field so long.

Tonight, is the Holiday Bowl with WSU vs. Texas. It would sure be great if the Pac10 can smoke them Longhorns.

Other big games of interest to me are the Fiesta with KSU taking on OSU. I'll be rooting for KSU to poke the Big10 in the eye with a win there.

In the Sugar Bowl, I have to go with the underdog LSU to maul the Oklahoma Sooners. That team was thinking itself the team of the ages and well they deserved to get beat up against KSU and they deserve another one for their sin of pride and arrogance.

And finally, the tough one is the Rose Bowl. As a UCLA alum it is hard to root for USC. However, as an observer of sports and a reasonable objective one, USC should be able to defe…
Beagle may be lost
The news from the Beagle Mars project doesn't look good. A third attempt to contact the lander has failed and hope is fading. There will be some more attempts. Except:
There are 13 further scheduled transmissions before the probe goes into emergency auto-transmit mode. The next chance to detect it was set for 2 a.m. EST on Saturday.
But Mars is a formidable foe with a track record of wrecking pioneering space missions. Of the previous 11 probes dropped on to the planet's surface, only three have survived and it is estimated that around two in every three Russian and U.S. missions to Mars have been whole or partial failures.

Mission scientists say Beagle 2 might have been blown off course by dust clouds and storms which sweep the surface of Mars. Alternatively, its antennae might be pointing in the wrong direction for the rocket to pick up its signal.

The worst-case scenario is that it disintegrated on landing or burned up as it hurtled tow…
The war on terror
With the orange alert here in the USA and various terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv (the unfortunately all too common feature of Israeli life), Iraqi ambushes and attempts on the life of Pakistan's president Mushareef my ears are always alert to the latest news.

Here is some good news as the Turkish government was able to catch some of the Al Qaeda operating in Istanbul.

A Tale of Two Basketball Programs
I attended UCLA as an undergraduate during some lean times for the basketball program. I have to say it didn't get as bad as it did last year. I attended UC Irvine for graduate school and the team more or less did nothing. The biggest news would be upsetting UNLV but that was it. I think one year the team lost 20 games.

Well, this year's Bruins aren't expected to do much. Getting to the NCAA would exceed expectations. An NIT bid is possible and probably would be accepted by the team if offered. The high water mark so far was the win over Michigan State on the day the court was dedicated to Nell and John Wooden. The other was the good effort against Kentucky. Victories over Vermont, Riverside and LMU were not very impressive but they got the W which is something they didn't do much of last year. UCLA plays 18 Pac10 games and if they can finish 10-8 in conference, people will be hailing Howland as a genius.

The Anteaters got in s…
American Experience: The Chinese Story
Today was the grand opening of the Chinese-American Museum of Los Angeles. It was a long time in the making and it is great to see it finally happen.

I went to college in an era when ethnic studies was just beginning. My biochemistry major didn't allow for many general education classes. Alas, Asian studies was not on my list of classes I took.

I think there is a place for understanding one's cultural background. Like most people, it is a mix of good and bad and I have to blend it all with my life of being born in the USA yet visibly being an ethnic minority. It has only been in the last decade or so that I learned that Chinese were not well treated by America in the past. However, today, by-in-large, Chinese in America have made incredible progress and we find ourselves with a place in the American family and in positions of power and prestige.

There will continue to be a place for lobby groups with an ethnic flavor because groups t…
Sullivan's comment today
Lots of news and comment out there about the Hussein capture. Here is one that had some perspective. Excerpts:
It is not for us to understand fully what these people were put through. At a moment like this, when we can see fully and clearly the evil that existed for so long - evil that we in the past did our part to maintain - it is important simply to recall the dead and their loved ones. Think of every moment when some poor soul believed he was about to die, every moment spent in hellish prisons, every person tortured beyond imagining, every child dumped in a mass grave, every person of faith treated as an enemy of the state. To watch the perpetrator of this extraordinary evil brought low - into a rat-hole in the ground - is a privilege. It happens rarely. It is a moment when some kind of cosmic justice breaks through the clouds, and all the petty wrangling and mistakes and political jockeying fall away in the face of liberation from inescapable fear and…
News flash: Hussein Captured!
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 05:25:06 -0500
From: CNN Breaking News
Reply-to: newseditor@MAIL.CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News
-- U.S. forces capture a number of wanted Iraqis in Tikrit, possibly including former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, U.S. officials say. Identities still being confirmed.
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 07:15:06 -0500
From: CNN Breaking News
Reply-to: newseditor@MAIL.CNN.COM
Subject: CNN Breaking News
-- U.S. officials confirm former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein captured. ========

Read about it here.

Now, that is what I call wonderful news and a good step forward for the future and freedom of the Iraqi people.
Frum: Gore endorses Dean to revive Gore chances in 2008
An interesting take from NRO's Frum can be seen here. Excerpt:
It’s already easy to predict the Democratic party’s after-action reports on 2004: “We got pushed way too far to the extremes, especially on national security issues, by a candidate who lacked national experience and was foisted on us by a bunch of white college kids who didn’t know anything and didn’t care anything about the economic problems of our voting base.”

Sometime after November 2004, a candidate who hails from the border South, served in Vietnam, appeals to black voters, accumulated a long record on national security issues, held the country’s second-highest office, was associated with the longest economic expansion in the country’s history, and proved himself a popular vote-getter in three national elections will begin to look good to his fellow-Democrats, never mind the Florida recount.

So Gore needs to speed his party toward the cataclysm – and if he…
Big Media Likes Bad News From Iraq?
Did you know there were anti-terrorism rallies in Iraq? If it were not for the blogosphere, the story would not be told. Instapundit wonders why big print media is not covering the story?

Instapundit rounds it up here and here.
Language: culture and reality
One of the nice things about having friends who are in the performing arts is that I get to be exposed to events I would ordinarily not hear about.

The other day I had the chance to see Brian Friel's "Translations" at the Crossley Terrace Theatre.

In the world of drama, there are only a finite number of story devices and each movie, play, novel or whatever have some variant on familiar concepts. Indeed, Translations has a love triangle where two of the characters are hopelessly star crossed, tensions within a family, in this case, a father and his two sons, and the struggle of the old versus the new.

In this play, these threads were woven in the small fictional Irish town of Ballybeg at the beginning of England's take over of Ireland. The event that sets the play in motion was the arrival of the British military whose job was to rename everything in English for maps. Thus, language became the fault line for the story arc of the thre…
Fly paper strategy working?
Instapundit cites Citizen Smash - Indepundit who cites MSNBC/Newsweek about how Al-Qaeda is shifting resources to Iraq.

Osama bin Laden’s men officially broke some bad news to emissaries from Mullah Mohammed Omar, the elusive leader of Afghanistan’s ousted fundamentalist regime. Their message: Al Qaeda would be diverting a large number of fighters from the anti-U.S. insurgency in Afghanistan to Iraq. Al Qaeda also planned to reduce by half its $3 million monthly contribution to Afghan jihadi outfits.

All this was on the orders of bin Laden himself, the sources said. Why? Because the terror chieftain and his top lieutenants see a great opportunity for killing Americans and their allies in Iraq and neighboring countries such as Turkey, according to Taliban sources who complain that their own movement will suffer.
Indepundit goes on to comment:
Iraq is a far better place for the Coalition to fight al Qaeda than Afghanistan. We have tremendous military s…
Picture of the day
Baghdad at night...

February 1, 2003
April 11, 2003
October 1, 2003

Images from
Hat tip to David Frum
Pay any price, bear any burden: Hosea 3:1-5
Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes." (2) So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a half of barley. (3) Then I said to her, "You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you." (4) For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. (5) Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

Its been a little while since I've written on this semi-regular thread of taking a tour of an obscure but amazing book from the Hebrew Scriptures. If you are curio…
Townhall Meetup
Is the internet really going to change the way politics is done? A lot of political commentary takes place on the internet and in blogs bypassing the traditional print media. All serious campaigns have web pages to post events, provide talking points and, of course, get donations.

Tonight, I'll be going to a meetup for those of us in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. It will be interesting to meet other readers. I'll blog back later.

UPDATE: Just got back from the meetup. There were four of us at the Louise restaurant on Los Feliz and Hillhurst. Imagine: a writer, an artist, an engineer and a medical researcher meeting for dinner because we all happen to visit

We shared stories about how we came to hold conservative political views, our opinions on the death penalty, the war in Iraq and our hopes that the Arnold will be able to turn California around. We didn't agree on everything but we agreed on a lot of things in par…
Public Service Announcement: Beware of Flu
With all the wonders of modern medicine, it is easy to think of flu epidemics as something from our less medically sophisticated past. For instance in 1918, 20 million people died worldwide from the flu. Though we have not had a pandemic on that order since then, flu typically kills 30,000 Americans annually.

This year's flu season appears to have arrived early and the stain appears to be more dangerous than usual as reported here and here.

For a complete FAQ, check out the CDC web site.

If you haven't got your flu vaccine shot yet, please do if at all possible.
The voice of Stardate
As an astronomy fan, I occasionally will catch the Stardate radio broadcasts originating from the MacDonald observatory. As far as I can remember, the wondeful voice of the show is Sandy Wood. I've always wondered what she looked like. Well, now, we can all know by, of course, checking out the Stardate web page.

In case you are too lazy to do that, here it is:

image from
Bush trip to Iraq
Like most Americans, I was surprised to hear of the Thanksgiving visit to the troops. They sure know how to keep things quiet. And like most Americans, I was moved by what was shared in that 2 hour visit. And I want to say, I am grateful for our military men and women who are serving us and the world where ever they are.

Andrew Sullivan is all over the story. He has an email from a military person who was there, the carping of Dana Milbank of WaPo, a looney letter to the editor from an SF woman, an email about Bush and Rice as the "normal looking couple" and Sullivan's own take on the visit.

If you are a military person reading this blog or a family member of a military person, let me join with most Americans in saying: Thank you for your service and sacrifice.
What I'm listening to
As usual, I'm behind the curve on pop culture. I recently got introduced to Coldplay's big hit Clocks.

For me, the first thing I notice is the music and if it is catchy and haunting. Then I'll hunt down lyrics which I've pasted below. Clocks has both.

I asked some friends, what does it mean?

We eventually concluded it was a love song or rather a love lost song. I suppose when you hear any song on the radio, if you say it has to do with love you would probably be right 85% of the time? What do you think? Higher or lower?

Onto the lyrics:
Lights go out and I can't be saved
Tides that I tried to swim against
You've put me down upon my knees
Oh I beg, I beg and plead (singing)
Come out of things unsaid, shoot an apple of my head (and a)
Trouble that can't be named, tigers waiting to be tamed (singing)
You are, you are

Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks (gonna)
Come back and take you home, I could not stop, t…
What is at stake for the Turkish
Recent events in Turkey are very disturbing. Postrel comments linking to Sullivan who linked to the original item in the Guardian. Read the whole thing. Excerpts:
After the bombs

Maureen Freely grew up in Istanbul. After Friday's terrorist attacks she caught the first plane back - and found the city bloodied but defiant

Tuesday November 25, 2003
The Guardian

When the bomb exploded outside the synagogue in the old Istanbul neighbourhood of Galata 10 days ago, my brother Brendan was in his flat around the corner. When the bomb went off outside the British consulate five days later, he was on his way to his favourite chicken shop outside the fish market opposite the consulate entrance. If he had left a quarter of an hour earlier, he would no longer be with us.
All the bombs that went off in Istanbul last week were in busy neighbourhoods that hundreds of thousands of people pass through daily. Most of them might be Turkish Muslim…
Not a pleasant thought
Instapundit relates this rather disturbing possibility. But I guess we have to take the Israelis as our example: you go on with your life anyway.
Let the hype begin...
MSNBC/Newsweek has this story about the soon to arrive, "The Return of the King." I'm really looking forward to it. Will it live up to the hype? Matrix stumbled to the finish line. The second trilogy of Star Wars has been only B+.
Bush speech in London
Postrel has an extended excerpt of the speech. See WH release for the full text. Here is an excerpt:
The movement of history will not come about quickly. Because of our own democratic development -- the fact that it was gradual and, at times, turbulent -- we must be patient with others. And the Middle East countries have some distance to travel.

Arab scholars speak of a freedom deficit that has separated whole nations from the progress of our time. The essentials of social and material progress -- limited government, equal justice under law, religious and economic liberty, political participation, free press, and respect for the rights of women -- have been scarce across the region. Yet that has begun to change. In an arc of reform from Morocco to Jordan to Qatar, we are seeing elections and new protections for women and the stirring of political pluralism. Many governments are realizing that theocracy and dictatorship do not lead to national greatness; they end…
Just surfing and rambling...

Instapundit essay...
Great post over at Insta-Pundit about the uniqueness of America and how the experience of the Civil War is a part of that.

Bruin fan defends USC sort of...
As a UCLA fan, it pains me to know the odds makers are giving us 22 points. It would be a terrific end to a dismal season to derail USC's National Title hopes. However, it would seem the BCS computers are doing a fine job all by themselves. Ohio State jumped to #2 in the BCS poll but USC is #2 in the "human" polls. Look, as a Bruin, I want to see USC lose but ON THE FIELD not because some computer programers say so. In the article, there is a side-bar with speculation on how Oklahoma could lose one of their next two games and still wind up in the BCS championship game.

McLachlan's Music...
Recently downloaded on my iPOD is Sarah McLachlan's "Fallen". I'm new to her music. The instrumentals are outstanding and her vocal quality terrific. The…
A monday news round-up...
This blogspot was pro-recall so to see this day actually happen is just amazing... woo hoo!

AARP backs GOP Medicare legislation. Wonder how the Democrat opposition will respond? They have been trying to portray the Republicans as wanting to throw grandmum over the cliff when it comes to Medicare and Social Security issues. Will they be backpedeling furiously knowing that the senior vote is one of the most power voting blocks in the USA?

Louisiana governor's race pretty much flew under the radar. In the end, the GOP candidate, an Indian-American came up just short. Jandel, at 32, will have other chances or perhaps he will return to a quiet life out of the public eye. Either way, this blogger wishes him and his family all the best.

More Stacey Pressman of ESPN
Who would have thought I'd find such fascinating sports related non-sports material on Having been intrigued by the Stacey Pressman essay on Metrosexuality, I found out she has been writing for about lots of stuff.
To see her archive go here.

Anyway, looking over the titles of her articles, I checked out this one. Excerpts:
I can't tell you how many times I've heard it:

Girls would be shocked to find out what guys really want.

"Stacey, you're young, attractive, you've got a great job, you've got so much going for you and you're a girl who knows and loves sports."

Now here's the clincher:

"I can't believe you, of all people, don't have a boyfriend!"

This observation is enough to send any 20-something single female into a quarterlife crisis. But before I seek out Dr. Phil, or Gloria Steinem-ize the fact that I don't need a man to validate my existence, I want to vent my frus…
Post-WWII Skirmishing
Saw this item over at Sullivan's Daily Dish where he quotes from this item over at CounterRevolutionary.

They both make the point that post toppling of Nazi Germany, there were still some local people who still backed the Nazi party. Clearly the situation in Iraq is a bit more dicey because the die hard Baathists have so many stashes of ammo and other weapons of war laying around and then there are those foreign fighters sneaking in who see their chance for glory.

We shall see what the latest meeting with Bremer at the WH will yield and what the thinking is within the Central Command about how to bring the situation under control.

Pulling out would be a disaster for the Iraqis as the Baathists will just restore totalitarian rule and would embolden terrorists figuring the US doesn't have the stomach to stand and fight.
Hosea 2:16-23
Thought I'd go back to the Hosea thread I started awhile back! Take a look at the following passage and see what you think?!

(16) "It will come about in that day," declares the LORD,
"That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
(17) "For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
(18) "In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground.
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.
(19) "I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
(20) And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.

(21) "It will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the LORD.
"I will …
Who is gonna run against Boxer?
Boxer keeps surviving elections because California is a heavily Democrat state and it will be hard to dislodge her. Who will take her on?

So far, I have heard of Toni Casey who has a nice biography but almost zero name recognition. There was some buzz that Dennis Prager might run but in listening to his radio show he sounded like he didn't want to do it and if he were going to run, you would think he would have announced by now and started fund raising like mad.

On the Hugh Hewitt show, Hugh often has David Drier on as a guest. Today, he asked Drier about running. Drier said he is thinking about it but from his comments, it sounds like he doesn't want to give up his powerful post in the House.

If the GOP can't field a viable candidate, I suppose I'll just vote for the libertarian candidate as a protest vote.

UPDATE: A little web surfing yielded, this page of candidates. Hmmm... don't recognize a name on that list. Drat.
The buzz about Metrosexuality at ESPN
I confess I'm often behind the curve on the latest cultural trends. I can still remember a few years back somebody asked me if I liked "Hoottie and the Blowfish?" I said, "What?"

So that gives you some idea of how (not) current I can be about aspects of pop culture.

On Friday morning, as I was driving to work, I heard Mike and Mike on ESPN radio talking about Metrosexuality and I was saying, "What?"

Eventually, I caught on to what they were talking about and they referred listeners to the web page where articles could be found to clue in the clueless like me.

Apparently, this discussion thread got some fuel when Stacey Pressman decided to enter the fray by lamenting the whole phenomena. Excerpt:It's been an abysmal summer of endless channel-surfing: "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" followed by "Boy Meets Boy" and "Will & Grace" re-runs. Click. Click. Revisits to las…
Wisdom of the common folks
Saw this item while reading the LA Times during lunch. The Zagat's of Zagat guide fame defend their approach about using ordinary folks to rate restaurants. Excerpts: Ever since we started asking diners to rate and review restaurants 24 years ago -- in the process creating a series of bestselling guidebooks based on consumer opinion -- one group has remained a tad uneasy about our success: professional food critics.
Aside from the fact that "democracy run amok" sounds like a line written by Gray Davis, we think something else is at work. Whenever a commentator starts to talk about standards, you know whose standards he's trying to protect - his own. Which is exactly why we started canvassing diners nearly a quarter of a century ago, to find a consensus of customer opinion about a given restaurant as a reality check to the Oz-like authority of the professionals.

We love food critics - they are some of the liveliest, wittiest and…
Why Presidents Grow Old Before Our Eyes
Cori Dauber makes an important point over at Volokh conspiracy about the different roles the President must take up. Here is an excerpt:Untenable Rhetorical Situation: This president, I think, is in a rhetorical box that there may not be a way out of. This is the second time this week the Times has brought up the idea of the president attending military funerals. (Sunday, of course, Maureen Dowd was on him for not attending for any.) But he can't. For the president, he has to retain a relationship with the soldiers as Commander-in-Chief, where military losses are tragic tears in the national fabric. Funerals are places where soldiers shed their impersonal role as "soldier" are return to their individual role as "family member." The Commander-in-Chief can't personally participate in that.
The way to win the war and to stop the killing of Americans is to prove we are willing to accept the deaths of Americans.…

Online Art Gallery

Online Art Gallery

I've had a small number of conversations with Lynn Aldrich and found her passion for her craft inspiring and her honesty about art's place in society and the life of faith thoughtful. When she mentioned that an exhibit of her work would be coming up soon, I broached the idea of developing a web based discussion about it and was delighted when she agreed to the idea.

The process of art involves people dropping in for a look and then taking away their own interpretations and impressions without meeting the artist face-to-face. Part of that often will take the shape of a "party game" of telling stories about the art. A picture or object is seen and then speculation takes place. This is part of the enjoyment and understanding of art. This stimulates creative discussions and often if two or more individuals are participating they can come up with completely different ideas. Of course, this takes merely a few minutes and nothing is written down and …
Gender Genie
The "Big Three" have been blogging about the Gender Genie program that analyzes writing and determines whether the writer is male or female. See what Andrew, Glenn, and Virginia have to say.

So I tried it on my blog entries. My Monday, October 27, 2003 entry, "Weekend round-up" came up with this score:
Words: 372
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)
Female Score: 561
Male Score: 825

Okay, somewhat male! But under 500 words so I tried another entry. I feed in my Friday, October 24, 2003 entry about "Catcher In the Rye" and this came back:
Words: 434
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)
Female Score: 1038
Male Score: 589

Oh my, my feminine side was showing! But again, not over 500 words.

I looked for a longer post and found my Friday, October 17, 2003 essay on Hosea 2:14-15. I didn't include the Bible text itself and this is the result:
Words: 555
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of…
GO Bruins!
Not much was expected of the UCLA Bruin football team this year. And they still have time to live down to the lowered expectations. There are four games left in the season.

This weekend, all eyes are on Washington State and USC as they are the top two Pac10 teams in the eyes of the BCS. Technically, UCLA is tied for the Pac10 lead but because the victories were so anemic, the pollsters think UCLA is lucky. As an honest sports viewer, I can't dispute that. The key is how the Bruins do in their final four games. Stanford is a road game and thus always dangerous. Oregon, WSU and USC follow and each have the offense to make the Bruins look bad. Npw, if the Bruins go 4-0 I'll be really amazed. A 2-2 finish would be very respectable.

Hoping for the best.

clap - clap - clap - clap - clap - clap -clap - clap - U - C - L - A - fight, fight, fight!!!!
Christian Apologists on the Web
It is good to see some Christians are taking their perspectives onto the internet. So often, people of faith are slow to adopt new technology.

Anyway, those hostile to faith have their own site and they have their right to do that. I can imagine there are many others. But it is good to see, these two sites, here and here taking up the cause of Christianity. Check 'em and look up your questions and see if they address it.
Economy on the upswing?
Saw this item that says the economy might be moving again. I would guess such growth rates aren't sustainable but to have them in the + side is good news. Wonder how do the Federal deficit projections look with these new GDP figures?