Showing posts from December, 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…