Showing posts from November, 2003
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 …