Oh, what a relief, NOT!

Went to my ninth game of the baseball season. Dodgers lost on Saturday. I got baked in the sun and the Dodgers got burned by the home run ball. Key play of course was the 3-run homer in the 6th off Carrara.

Sunday, it was the same story when in the top of the 11th, Alvarez gave up the 2-run homer to Edmonds.

Dodger starters were not great but the bats kept them in the game only to see the bullpen give it up.

The current pen has Brazoban as closer which is reasonably good as more often than not, he is going to get it done with his hard fastball and occasional sliders. Seems like Schmoll with his weird side arm delivery has taken up the 8th inning set up role. Sanchez gets the 7th innings. Broxton is the other young gun as he took over the spot vacated by Erickson.

Alvarez has had so many injuries this year that I don't know if he has anything left. Bringing up a prospect to fill that spot might be just as good as having him continue to struggle. Carrara's control isn't as good as the last couple of years and his fastball doesn't seem to have the zing anymore. He might be done like Alvarez and may need to step aside so the Dodgers can take a chance on a prospect. I'm guessing Dessens may remain as he is the long reliever and mop-up guy.

LA Dining: Il Piccolino and Manhattan Pizzeria

My latest foodblogging is up over at LA.foodblogging.com.

Thumbs up to both locales:

Il Piccolino Trattoria
350 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 659-2220

Manhattan Pizzeria
133 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 546-2117

Haven't been foodblogging as much as I haven't been eating out as much. That is what happens when you talk to someone who has been talking to financial planners! I realize part of my "budget busting" is dining out!

LA Scene: Wicked Lottery

The hot show in Los Angeles is Wicked. It is playing at the Pantages on Hollywood near Vine.

The musical is sold out and tickets can only be obtained from brokers and by lottery.

2 1/2 hours before show time, the theatre collects names for a lottery. 2 hours before show time, they draw names out of the hopper. 13 lucky people can buy a pair of tickets for $50 cash only. The seats are front orchestra.

I made the attempt this evening along with about 200 people. The fact I'm writing about it right now means I didn't win the lottery. 8-(

One of my friends tried it last Friday and got tickets. It was her 2nd attempt. One of the winners tonight said he had tried 25 times previously!

Anyway, show ends its run July 31 so the opportunity for this bit of LA is running out.

Good luck!

Just 4 Games Behind!

Went to my eighth Dodger game of the season. Dodgers win 7-4 over the Reds.

Perez didn't look sharp. He gave up 8 hits over 7 innings allowing 3 runs. A lot of times the ball was well hit in some cases resulting in hits in other cases long outs. Huge was the Dodger outfield throwing out two base runners, one at second base and one at home.

Dodgers got some clutch hitting. Repko got an RBI single in the 2nd after Phillips and Werth drew walks. Kent got a solo homer in the 4th jumping on the first pitch he saw. The slumping Izturis singled in 2 runs in the 7th. Kent singled in 1 more run in the 7th. "Killer Tomato" Saenz got an insurance 2-run homer in the 8th.

Brazoban got his 19th save. Schmoll, Alvarez and Sanchez worked the 8th with only Schmoll giving up a solo homer to Griffey but he got 2 of the outs that inning.

The NL West is a mess but its our mess and the Dodgers who were given up for dead by many are still kicking!

Biblical Archaeology

Was just web surfing because I can't sleep tonight.

Came across some interesting items:

Tunnel found by carbon dating to probably be consistent with 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. Excerpt: By using radiocarbon testing to analyze the age of stalactite samples from the ceiling of the Siloam Tunnel and plant material recovered from its plaster floor, the biblical record and the tunnel's age have been confirmed, the researchers wrote in the journal Nature. The Siloam Tunnel is the one built by King Hezekiah.

This is also significant because it is the first time that a well-identified biblical structure has been subjected to extensive radiocarbon dating.

Even with all our modern-day technology and scientific knowledge, very little testing of biblical structures has been done to prove or disprove their age or authenticity. Why? The experts told AP such testing is difficult because it's often hard to identify such structures, they may be poorly preserved, or they may be restricted for various political or religious reasons.

A very old fragment of Leviticus found that is about 2000 years old. Excerpt: The parchment was from one of the caves in a canyon near the Dead Sea called Nachal Arugot where Jews hid from the Romans in the second century, report The Associated Press and The Jerusalem Post. This is the first such find since 1965 when the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls--some 1,000 ancient texts in all--was discovered and the first ever found from Leviticus.

Will DePo Make a Deal?

The Pods are leading the NL West with essentially a .500 record. The Dodgers, well below .500, are merely 5 1/2 games out as of this early Monday evening.

Upside: Bradley came back and seemed healthy; Valentin is rehab starting in Las Vegas and will return soon... of course, what to do with the consistent hitting Robles? The starting pitching is doing better.

Downside: Hoped for production from Werth (improving but still struggling), Drew (injured) and Choi (erratic) contributes to the poor run support for good starting pitching; relief pitching is a shambles.

Is this correlation of factors enough to justify making a deal?

Will DePo go for another reliever? Will he try to bring in another bat? And how much are you willing to give up to get these two pieces?

I'm wondering if the long ball theory is out of synch with these post-steroid times in the MLB?

Watching the Mets rob the Dodgers blind with stolen bases was humiliating. Maybe "small ball" really is back?

The Dodgers are built for the long ball hence the big hole an underperforming Werth and Choi and injured Drew have generated.

DePod clearly put relief pitching lower on his priority list when he built this team. I think will try to swing both a reliever and a big bat. But if he can only get one, I think he surprises us all by going for relief pitching.

UPDATE: Sarah Morris writing for Dodgers.com explains quite convincingly IMHO the need for relief pitching. Excerpt: Last year when Paul DePodesta traded Guillermo Mota, arguably the best setup man in the National League, he proved to me that he does not put much importance on the bullpen. During a two-year period, the Dodgers have lost Mota, Paul Quantrill and Paul Shuey, and the Dodgers have not replaced these experienced relievers. The bullpen is where the Dodgers are saving money. The Dodgers have relievers who are either inexperienced or over-the-hill.
What upsets me is the Dodgers aren't talking about getting another reliever. When the Dodgers say they want to improve, they want to obtain power hitters and maybe another starter. I can't say how many losses were caused by the ineffectiveness of the bullpen, but I'm guessing about 20. If half these losses were victories, the Dodgers would be leading their division. July 31, the trading deadline, is a week away, and I would like to see the Dodgers obtain an experienced reliever.

Hope Nomo Retires as a Dodger

Saw this item that said the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's have released Hideo Nomo.

I don't know if baseball is the same as football where you can sign somebody for a 1-day contract like Tim Brown and the Raiders.

Hideo Nomo was the first in a small wave of Japanese ballplayers to enter the Major Leagues. The article described some of his career highlights.

Hopefully, the Dodgers could bring him back for a special retirement ceremony either later this season or at the beginning of next season.

36 Years Ago Today

The Apollo 11 landings took place.

Only realized it because of the Google Moon link!

To read more about, check out their Google Moon FAQ which mentions: We usually don't announce future products in advance, but in this case, yes, we can confirm that on July 20th, 2069, in honor of the 100th anniversary of mankind's first manned lunar landing, Google will fully integrate Google Local search capabilities into Google Moon, which will allow our users to quickly find lunar business addresses, numbers and hours of operation, among other valuable forms of Moon-oriented local information.

We shall see if we really get that far in the space program by then!

SCOTUS Nominee Tonight 6pm PDT

Hewitt's sources are saying Clement or Jones.

If true, tells you 2 things:
(1) the political pressures to name another woman to O'Conner's spot was too much to ignore. Since there are some solid conservatives that fit the bill, why not go for what you want ideologically and also get the political points you want. Using this logic, the next nominee will probably be a conservative ethnic minority.
(2) Laura Bush's remarks a week ago was either a trial balloon by the WH or her way of moving the debate in the direction she wanted. I suspect the former.

UPDATE: My analysis earlier in the month. My bottom line was: Thus, I stick with my earlier prediction that Garza and Jones are the top options if they want a fight. With Gonzales and Roberts as definite possibilities if the Bush team opt out of a huge fight.

We shall see soon enough!

UPDATE: Its Roberts.

Random Ramblings for 7/17/2005: King Tut, Peking Duck and Dodgers

Busy weekend.

Saw the King Tut exhibit at LACMA. It was last in LA when I was a little kid and so I can't remember if I went or not. Anyway, I went on Saturday and I suppose in 30+ years, the memory of seeing the exhibit will be foggy!

The LACMA people wisely have a huge tent area for the waiting lines to protect people from the broiling sun. We had 6pm entry tickets which in the end let us in at about 7pm. We worked our way through the exhibit in about 90 minutes.

The exhibit begins with a short film. You then are let into the pathway to the artifacts. I heard the sound of "crickets" which I thought was part of the exhibit but then realized it was all the people turning on their audioguides!

The famed funerary mask of King Tut in the promotional materials seems larger than life. But in reality, I wonder if that image is taken from the coffinette? That item is very detailed and amazing but is only about a foot long and held internal organs!

One thing we talked about while looking at the exhibit was what was the time relationship between King Tut and Moses?

The exhibit says King Tut lived around 1300 BC. We knew that Jerusalem fell in 586 BC. Samaria fell earlier at 722 BC. Our memories were foggy as to when Moses is believed to have led the Jews out of Egypt. We figured it would be 500 to 1000 years earlier.

Could Moses and the Exodus have been around the time of King Tut?

Oddly, the Pharoah prior to King Tut, Akhenaten (~ 1350 BC), decided to push for a from of monotheism by advocating the supremacy of the sun god.

Now, why would a Pharoah go against generations of polytheism?

One chronology I found via a Google search put Moses and Exodus around 1450 BC.

One wonders if perhaps, the Exodus of the monotheistic Jewish peoples from their midst had left in their minds the concept or reality of monotheism? Perhaps, the Exodus was before Akhenaten thus influencing Akhenaten's push for monotheism?

In any case, after Akhenaten's death, polytheism was restored by King Tut.

Another interesting aspect of King Tut was the speculation about his death at age 19. CT scans of the mummified remains suggest he may have fractured his leg which may have led to a fatal infection. They wondered: was it an accident? Where did he fall? Was he injured in a battle? How was he wounded? Or did foul play led to his death?

Afterward, went to have dinner at Lu-Din-Gee Cafe where they claim to have "the best Peking Duck in town." We, of course, had some. It is a rare item to have as it is expensive. It was quite good!

On Sunday, I saw the Dodgers for the seventh time this season. Alas, it is not looking good as they lost 4-1 to the dreaded Giants.

The question on post-game Dodgertalk was: do you try to make a trade to make a run at the division title because the NL West is so weak? Or do you re-rack 'em up for the 2006 campaign?

Valentin and Bradley may come off the DL in 1 to 2 weeks which gives you back two of the pieces in the original puzzle DePodesta pulled together.

Starting pitching was good again today as Weaver went seven innings only giving up one run. Sanchez was a little shaky in the eighth giving up 2 hits. The defense turned a DP to get him out of the jam. Brazoban was going good getting two outs but then he gave up a double, then hit the next batter and then gave up the game winning three-run homer.

With Gagne out, the bullpen is in the hands of younger guys like Sanchez and Brazobahn and aging ones like Carrara. Wunch, the situational lefty, is out for the season with ankle surgery. So again, pieces of the original puzzle are missing.

While at the Dodger game, I happen to sit next to the owner of Jeff's Gourmet who provided the Kosher hot dogs for Sunday's Dodger game. It was Jewish Community Day at the Stadium!

I'll be sure to swing by his store to check out his Kosher sausages!

Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory
8930 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035

LA Scene: Culver City Music Festival

There are Free Thursday night concerts at the Culver City City Hall Courtyard.

I went to this event with Alasdair Fraser.

Below is Alasdair Fraser. He is probably the most famous Scottish fiddler around right now. The tunes he plays range from the soulfully slow to fast and frantic where people start clapping, tapping their feet and dancing. His playing can be heard in the soundtracks of films like, "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Titanic." Click on the picture to see a short Quick Time video of his playing.

Here are the fans enjoying the show. Click the photo to see a larger version.

Culver City is making a comeback. I'm told in the last decade or so the town has been renovating and trying to create a nice little community much like Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank.

LA Scene: Sound of Music Sing-A-Long at the Hollywood Bowl

After many years, I finally went to this this event.

In the pre-movie warm-up show, they had us practice a bit with the props. Raise this card when we sing, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"

The show producers managed to find the actors who played the Von Trapp children.

Additionally, 4 of the Von Trapp grandchildren sang some songs too.

Click here for the QT movie of the opening of the film and the sold-out crowd of 18,000 go bananas.

Couldn't quite capture the experience... people us their cell phone lights and hold them up swaying to the music kind of like how people used to flip their lighters on or use candles when singing famous songs of old bands.

LA Scene: The Other Ring Story at the Hollywood Bowl

I finally saw a little bit of that other famed RING story... Wagner's the Ring (Der Ring des Nibelungen)!

I went to the Hollywood bowl to see this show, Act III of Gotterdammerung!

I wonder if there are any other RING stories? Does every culture have some kind of ring of power mythology?

John Mauceri gave a prologue before the show -- the Ring epic is 15 hours over 4 nights. He also gave a synopsis of the show (Act III of the last part) we were about to see.

Of Wagner, I only know the renown, "What's Opera, Doc?" with Bugs Bunny! Yeah, I'm so cultured!!

And of course, I know the "Ride of the Valkyries" from "Apocalypse Now" and "Kill the Wabbit" in "What's Opera, Doc?"

Anyway, Mauceri, in his droll style gave us novices the rundown on the whole cycle and the show ahead. He has a gift!

Between the mood of the music, expression on the singers and the descriptions Mauceri had given all helped a lot though I think they should consider some kind of subtitles for their video screens like the way they do in the LA Opera.

An indoor staged show would look quite different than a show at the Bowl. Mauceri and company must be given praise for utilizing the unique setting they have. Without sets or costumes, the Bowl crew used dramatic lighting of the Bowl to set mood and create a sense of place.

The Bowl shell would be bathed in blue (see above photos) for scenes with the Rhine Maidens. The shell was tinted orange when Sigfried described passing through fire to find Brunhilde. When Sigfried was killed and his body moved to the Gibichung's hall, 4 powerful spot lights shot up to the sky to mimic the pillars of the great hall.

Brunhilde ordered up a funeral pire and fire rose from jets on stage and smoke started to billow from the the bowl. And when the river rose to destroy everything, the spot lights change positions like they fell over and on top of the bowl, more fire bolted up to show the collapse of Valhalla!

All in all an interesting evening and wonderful introduction to Wagner for me the newbie to opera.

UPDATE: Mark Swed of the LA Times gave a positive review of the event.


You have to admire the sheer audacity of John Mauceri's programming the third act of Wagner's "Gotterdammerung" (The Twilight of the Gods) in such a setting. The conductor was loaned the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the occasion, in place of his own Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Leading Wagnerian singers were engaged. And Christine Brewer, the young soprano who made a vivid impression as Isolde in the Philharmonic's "Tristan Project" last season, confirmed Sunday that she is well on her way to becoming the Brunnhilde of choice. But what a concept - some poached salmon, a good Riesling, brownies and then the end of the world!

LA Dining: Pistachio Grill

My latest dining report is up.

Check out:

Pistachio Grill
8560 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310-854-1020 (tele)
310-854-1080 (fax)

Cross street Stanley between La Cienega and Robertson.

UPDATE: Dine and dish #3 is up over at Sarah's The Delicious Life. My post on Pistachio Grill is one of the items in the collection of food posts from all over.

SCOTUS openings

This isn't one those "blawgs" (legal blogs) but that doesn't mean I can't do my own speculating!

Fox News says Rehnquist will probably retire.

Certainly, with his health issues and the rampant rumors floating around, it is probably likely. As they say, if there is smoke there is probably fire.

Bush 43 will have two nominations to make. Will he go for two jurists with solid center-right credentials?

Given how Bush stuck it out with his Appeals Court nominees, I would think so. Also since that "Gang of 14" deal might fray apart, the fight over the SCOTUS nominees will bring up the whole filibuster thing again. Certainly, from the noises coming out of the Democrat camp, a filibuster is likely. In which case, Bush might as well swing for the fences if the battle is going to be that contested anyway.

I would think the only way a filibuster is avoided is if some of the Democrat members of the "Gang of 14" were to quietly float the names of people they wouldn't filibuster.

Hugh Hewitt on his radio show seems to like Garza and Luttig.

CNN has a tab for potential nominees.

Garza's description on CNN.com:

Many court watchers believe Bush is likely to nominate a Hispanic as the next Supreme Court justice. If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is not nominated, then Garza could be the pick. Garza is a solid conservative known to strongly oppose Roe v. Wade. Born in 1947 and a former U.S. Marine captain, he was appointed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the president's father in 1991. He also was a finalist for the Supreme Court seat that went to Clarence Thomas.

Luttig's description on CNN.com:

A longtime favorite in the neo-conservative movement, Luttig is considered one of the strongest voices on the conservative 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Before his 1991 nomination, Luttig headed the National Advisory Committee for Lawyers, and served in the Reagan and the first Bush administrations. Luttig has ties to three of the justices. He clerked for Antonin Scalia when Scalia was an appellate judge, and he advised Clarence Thomas and David Souter during their confirmation hearings. Years later, those justices recused themselves from a highly controversial case with personal ties. Luttig's father, John, was murdered in 1994 during a botched carjacking outside his Texas home. The then-17-year-old killer Napoleon Beazley was executed in May 2002, after the remaining justices refused to intervene. The case divided the court and raised anew concerns over executing people under 18 years at the time of their crimes. Luttig is also known for his close ties to many leading conservatives and his desire for privacy. His only recent off-the-bench remarks came at the eulogy for Barbara Olson, the wife of former Solicitor General Theodore Olson who was killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Another rare public appearance was a 1995 eulogy for his mentor and former boss, Chief Justice Warren Burger. Luttig was born in 1954.

Hewitt has mentioned that if Bush does opt to fill a spot with a woman, Jones is probably at the top of the list.

Jones description on CNN.com:

If there is political pressure to appoint another woman to fill O'Connor's seat, Jones is a possible candidate. She is considered a staunch conservative, especially on death penalty appeals. Born in 1949, she was 36 years old when President Reagan nominated her to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1985. She also was a finalist in 1990 and 1991 for Supreme Court seats that eventually went to David Souter and Clarence Thomas, respectively. She has spoken out against what she calls a rapid decline in legal ethics. "The integrity of law, its religious roots, its transcendent quality are disappearing," she said in a February 28, 2003, speech at Harvard University.

After reading the bios on CNN.com, I'd say Garza and Jones are solid choices as they have gone through some vettting as candidates for previous SCOTUS vacancies. Also, the symbolic appeals of their backgrounds are hard to deny.

UPDATE: Here is another quick summary of the resumes of potential nominees from Real Clear Politics.

Alito looks like another possibility as he has been confirmed before and the resume looks good.

Brown would be an interesting choice in terms of racial and gender politics but given how tough her Appeals Court nomination was I'm not sure the Bushies want that.

Estrada looks like a non-starter as he didn't even get confirmed and is so young at 44.

Gonzales might be the easier pick between Gonzales and Garza if Bush wants to go with the "Hispanic" card.

McConnell with a law professor background in addition to Appeals Court experience is an option. One wonders what kind of paper trail he has?

Roberts is on the DC Appeals Court which is historically kind of the farm club for SCOTUS. He previous easy confirmations might make him an attractive choice if the Bush team decides they don't want a fight over nominations.

Wilkinson is older but with solid and lengthy Appeals Court experience would be on the list but I'm guessing won't get tapped unless some other nominee flames out and Bush has to trot out someone confirmable rather quickly.

Thus, I stick with my earlier prediction that Garza and Jones are the top options if they want a fight. With Gonzales and Roberts as definite possibilities if the Bush team opt out of a huge fight.

LA Dining: going to Tia Juana for Mexican food

My latest LA.foodblogging post is up.

This time I have 3 photos and a brief description of Tia Juana.

Tia Juana
11785 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064-1211
(310) 473-9293

7/7: London hit by terrorists

The news was dreadful.

The refrain, it could have been worse is of rather small comfort.

There is this chilling line in this WP item:

Shoebridge said a second attack was likely "because there's no reason for them not to, they've broken their cover,"

"They will now try to exploit whatever freedom they have left" to kill again, because it is likely they will eventually be caught, Shoebridge added.

As of now, it is believed that the bombs were detonated by timers as cell phone coverage in the Underground is too spotty to be reliable unlike the train bombings in Madrid which were above ground.

It is still possible that they were suicide bombers. Investigations of the bomb sites will determine that in short order but a report in NYT says timers were found. HT to Drudge for the links to NYT and WP items.

In solidarity with the people of London and the United Kingdom ...

[Flag of the United Kingdom]

Dodgers still hanging on

Can't believe it. They are only 4 1/2 games out in the NL West with tonight's 9-5 win over the Rockies.

This is the line up they fielded tonight.

And here is the line up they had on day one of the regular season.

The overlap between these two line-ups?

H.-S. Choi at first base and J. Phillips at catcher.

UPDATE: The big debate on post-game Dodger talk is what should DePodesta do as the trade deadline nears? San Diego doesn't appear strong enough to run away with the NL West. Even with all the injuries to the Dodger line up, they maybe one trade away from getting enough to catch and perhaps pass the Pods to get back to the NLDS. The question is how many prospects would DePo give up to get that extra bat? How many games behind is too far and you start planning for 2006?

The current line up has many minor league prospects. The fact that they are doing so well shows us all how strong the Dodger farm system is. These guys are in a sense auditioning for possible trades. On the other hand, could this be proof that the Colorado Rockies are just that bad?

In the post-game show, they ran down the injury list... Drew, at best, may return in mid-September, Bradley is swinging the bat but not consistently without pain so he is probably at best a couple of weeks away, Valentin is running around on his braced knee and hopes to be back by August, Izturis should come off the 15-day DL late next week, Kent is resting his hamstring and will probably get a couple more days off.

In the meantime, you got to give credit to this young team for going out there day-in-day-out giving it there all.

How do we know about the past?

The other day I was listening to an audio presentation by a Christian who is also an archeologist. Very interesting. What he said was rather obvious but somehow hearing someone say it was still novel. I guess as a scientist type, I'm always assuming science has a lot of answers about things.

He was making the point about how do we know ANYTHING about the past?

Of course, you can find stuff about it. That is what archeologists do. But we know about the past by what people write about it, for instance, the Bible.

He then went on to say, for some reason a few centuries ago, the assumption was the Bible must be wrong unless there is evidence to say it is right.

He asked, does this really make sense?

He proposed a thought experiment: take a look at your house and imagine it is 2000-3000 years later. How much of your house is left? Factor in rain, wind, fires, earthquakes, floods, etc. Will someone be able to figure out much about your life from what's left?

Why should written information about the past be totally discounted in favor of artifacts from the past which are hard to come by for the difficulties highlighted by the thought experiment.

People make the assumption that the Bible must be wrong unless there is evidence to say it is right.

One could just as easily assume that the written record is reasonable accurate unless evidence says its wrong.

And indeed, to what extent is the Bible confirmed by archeological findings?

He cited a variety of findings that show the Bible is consistent with what is being found by archeologists.

So if someone is doubtful about the historicity of the Bible, walk them through this to get at their underlaying assumption about how do we know about the past and maybe they will think it over and give the Bible a fair shake. One can hope anyway!

Nicene Creed, a little July 4th theology blogging

I did some theology blogging over at my other site.

In case you aren't familiar with the Nicene Creed, here it is below:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The blog post briefly discusses the limitations of language in theological conversations and specific aspects of the Creed.

Who are nations of the G-8?

The G-8 Summit is occuring in Scotland this year.

Who are the countries in the G-8?

In the upper right hand corner of the summit web page, there are 9 flags: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, European Union.

Leading up to the G-8 Summit has been the Live 8 musical concerts around the world to raise awareness of needs in Africa.

Bob Geldorf, one of the organizers said:
"This is not Live Aid 2. These concerts are the start point for The Long Walk To Justice, the one way we can all make our voices heard in unison. This is without doubt a moment in history where ordinary people can grasp the chance to achieve something truly monumental and demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 an end to poverty. The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history. They will only have the will to do so if tens of thousands of people show them that enough is enough. By doubling aid, fully cancelling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa, the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children."

Here in the USA, there has been a web based and grassroots effort to raise awareness called The ONE Campaign.

Click here to read what the ONE Campaign is about.
What is the goal of The ONE Campaign? The ONE Campaign seeks to give Americans a voice, to ring church bells and cell phones, on campuses and in coffee shops, for an historic pact to fight the global AIDS emergency and end extreme poverty. We believe that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food, would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.

UPDATE: Are dollars enough? Here is an item from Max Boot that ran in the LA Times Op-Ed section (HT: RCP with some additional perspective on the Africa issue.


The United States, in particular, is castigated for its stingy development budget — only 0.16% of GNI. This obscures the fact that, in absolute terms, the U.S. government spends far more on foreign aid ($19 billion last year) than any other nation. And that's only a small part of our total contribution. Thanks in part to our lower tax rates, Americans give far more to charity than do Europeans. If you include private-sector donations, the Hudson Institute finds, U.S. foreign aid totals $81 billion, or 0.68% of GNI — close to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. And that's not counting the billions the U.S. spends to subsidize global security or the billions more it sends abroad as investment capital.
In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans' income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.

Economists who have studied aid projects have found numerous reasons for the failures. In many instances, money was siphoned off by corrupt officials. Even when funds did reach the intended beneficiaries, the money often distorted local markets for goods and labor, creating inflation that drove local businesses out of business.
Africans continue to be tormented not by the G-8, as anti-poverty campaigners imply, but by their own politicos, including Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who is abetting genocide in Darfur, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is turning his once-prosperous country into a famine-plagued basket case. Unless it's linked to specific "good governance" benchmarks (as with the new U.S. Millennium Challenge Account), more aid risks subsidizing dysfunctional regimes.

Any real solution to Africa's problems must focus on the root causes of poverty — mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8's jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.

Live blogging Deep Impact

10:37 PM (PDT) NASA TV over the internet says that the third and final thruster adjustments are underway. 14 minutes to impact.

10:40 PM (PDT) NASA TV shows the control room where engineers dressed in red or blue shirts are at work. I think I heard them say that the flyby engineers are in blue and the impactor engineers are in red.

10:41 PM (PDT) Drat, my internet link to NASA TV has broken down! 8-(

10:42 PM (PDT) NASA TV link is back but audio only! Image is a bunch of wavy lines!

10:44 PM (PDT) Audio link is now erractic. I wonder how many people in the whole world are now clicking to NASA TV! 7 minutes to impact.

10:48 PM (PDT) Audio link has broken down. Trying to re-connect!

10:50 PM (PDT) Audio and video (sporatic) is back! Impact in one minute!

10:52 PM (PDT) Imaging (according to CNN) from the flyby satellite may take about 30 minutes to come in that would indicate impact was successful.

10:57 PM (PDT) Raw images from the impactor are being shown in NASA TV. Images are starting to degrade indicating the cameras are probably being sandblasted by the outer parts of the comet.

10:59 PM (PDT) Cheer goes up in the control room as they got confirmation of impact!!! CNN is showing an image of a dust cloud rising from the comet!!!!

11:04 PM (PDT) CNN is showing some images of the comet. NASA TV image is the impact cloud getting larger and larger!

11:22 PM (PDT) Browsing through CNN.com and FOXnews.com to see if I can find any good photos. The best so far is this one from MSNBC.com.

If I was really tech savvy I would have screen capture software to get some of the images off the NASA TV internet feed. There were some amazing images!

Image source: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/050703/

July: Big month for NASA

A little after midnight (EDT), Deep Impact will strike Comet Tempel 1.

This satellite mission will examine comet composition because the impact will eject materials from the comet. The satellite is composed of two parts: the flyby satellite which has various imaging devices and the impactor which will hit the comet. It is 816 pounds and about the size of a coffee table. Hitting the comet at 23,000 mph will produce a crater on the comet and blast materials into space which the flyby unit will measure.

Below is a data figure. The left image is a visual of the comet and the right image is spectrometer readings that gives data on the chemical composition of the comet.

Image source: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/figures/PIA02100_fig1.jpg

On the manned spaceflight side, Discovery is scheduled for liftoff on July 13.

Crew for STS-114. Front row: (right to left) Eileen M. Collins, Wendy B. Lawrence and James M. Kelly. Back row: (left to right) Stephen K. Robinson, Andrew S. W. Thomas, Charles J. Camarda and Soichi Noguchi. Image source: http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-114/lores/sts114-s-002.jpg

Can you figure out who the commander of the mission is?

On the front row, on the right is Commander Eileen Collins.

LA Scene: Downtown Central Library

I actually went quite some time ago but never got around to posting photos. Click here for one photo and brief description of the Richard Riordan Los Angeles Downtown Central Library.

LA Dining: The Ivy

Brief review is up about the famed Ivy!

The Ivy
113 N Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048-3101
(310) 274-8303

Reservations are required as it is a "hot spot" in LA!

Heading into the October international break

LA Galaxy have dropped two in a row and in both cases their defense was the culprit. As a result, they go into the MLS playoffs in fifth pla...