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  • Agatha Christie: Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories

    Agatha Christie: Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
    My latest heroin...the little busybody old lady from St. Mary Mead who hides devastating powers of observaton behind her white hair and erstwhile knitting and an unshakeable commitment to logic. Where I all too often stumble about mired in sentimentality, Miss Marple's investigations remind me of the power and need to remain clear eyed. (*****)

  • Edited By Garth Battista: Bicycle Love: Stories of Passion, Joy, and Sweat

    Edited By Garth Battista: Bicycle Love: Stories of Passion, Joy, and Sweat
    Ok, a bike-geek book for sure. But if you get into pedaling around, if you daydream about your bike and scout the internet looking for upcoming bike events you can do....well, you will probably find at least part of this book speaking to you. (****)




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Christmas 2005

  • Happybrennan
    A number of folks have complained that even though I have a digital camera, I haven't been using it enough. Thus I tried to take some pictures of the Godkids from Christmas Morning, 2005.

August 04, 2006

Some Thoughts On Landis

Landis_riding_2While I still haven't made up my mind on what I think about the allegations that Floyd Landis used synthetic testosterone during his win of this year's Tour de France, it doesn't appear to be looking to good.  (Here, as well). Landis has hired a lawyer versed in doping cases too.

Testing on Landis' so called B sample from the day he rode back into the Tour should be completed by later today or tomorrow.  A negative B sample result leaves him in the clear, a positive one starts a legal process which will likely ban him for two years and strip him from his title. Oscar Pereiro, the Spaniard who came in second and who stands to benefit from Landis losing the win has said he doesn't want to win this way, calling it a "bureaucratic victory." 

According to Diana Nyad, the Marketplace program's "business of sports" correspondent, Pereiro has even said that if Landis' B sample comes back as positive, he still deserves to be credited with the win of the tour since he was the best rider.

I don't know what I think about the whole thing yet.  I am disappointed for sure, not because I am a big Landis' fan but because it appears that a singular and spectacular athletic and human achievement may have been other (and less) than it seemed.

Continue reading "Some Thoughts On Landis" »

August 03, 2006

Still Pedaling

Woanddtrail_1A couple of readers have written to ask me if I am still cycling or if I have let the weather conditions chase me indoors.  Since I already cycle in the mornings the heat hasn't really been a factor, although it is up.  When I pedaled out this morning at 5:45, it as already 82 and when I got back just over 96 minutes later after having gone 20.21 miles, it was 85.

This week's cycling adventure took place on Monday, an already crowded morning when I often feel like I am doing well if I tuck a 12 to 15 mile ride into all the other things I have to do.

This is my third season on this bike and I have put at least 2000 miles on it.  This is no big deal for its major elements, but I have found that some of the smaller parts are starting to wear out.   For example, for a while now I have noticed that my seat has been continually slipping down.  Nothing dramatic or sudden, just a gradual and noticeable slide.  When I was just starting out this season and thought I was doing well just to be on the bike at all I never really noticed much.  But now that I am trying to ride farther, faster, I have noticed that not only do I pedal more slowly but its harder when I don't  get a full extension on each downstroke

So Monday morning I ride out and the slide downward is worse that it has been.  I stop at mile 2.0 and raise the seat, only to have to do it again at mile 4.0.  Frustrated, I resolve to really crank the quick release lever on the seat clamp and make it stay in place!  I tighten the lever down so that it is going to take some real push on my part to get the thing closed and I start to push....when  a resounding CRACK splits the air.

Oh, oh, I thought, that didn't sound good.  And it wasn't it good.  The seat sank on my bike frame like a stone and no amount of attempting to tighten again would make it stay in place and, when I got back and got it off the bike, I found I had broken it.....actually broken the metal of the clamp (admittedly it looked very fatigued at the point where it broke), a 2 millimeter wide gap in the metal.

But I replaced it and the new clamp has worked terrifically.  This morning's ride went very well and I am looking forward to doing, I hope, 24 tomorrow morning.

One bit of bad news came in today.  A woman with whom I had some passing professional contact and who was also a cyclist was killed recently.  While biking near her home in Chino, California, a car drifted from its lane and hit her.  Even though she was on the shoulder and wearing a helmet, the collision still killed her.  The police have established that neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in the accident, but have not said if they will file any charges against the driver.

May she rest in peace.  She had a sparkling, energetic and engaging intelligence and it was a pleasure to work with her the couple of times I had the occasion to do so.

Cycling is a great sport and I love doing it a lot, but every stop sign, every red light, every time I am on a street rather than a trail I am extremely aware of how vulnerable I am.

A Politician Who Cannot Be Pigeonholed

Paula_binettiOne of my frustrations these days is the virtual stranglehold the extremes of each of our political parties appears to have on their parties as a whole and, by extension, on the rest of us by effectively limiting our choices.  Try getting elected as a Democrat with pro-life views or as as Republican who believes more revenue from taxes might be needed to achieve one or another goal.

But other countries, including those with admittedly less stable political systems, don't have this problem and they seem to be able to generate political leaders who cannot be boxed in by labels.  One of these is Paula Binetti, a legislator in Italy who is both a member of a the center-left ruling coalition and the organization Opus Dei.  Godspy re-published this interview with her.

Things I found most appealing were her Catholicity (in all senses of the word) her pro-life commitment and her apparent backbone.  I also found her understanding of the ability to both stand on one's principles while listening to others attractive.

I believe there to be an undeniable political dimension to all our actions, in our professional and social lives and at the individual and family levels, although in some cases we are only dimly aware of it. Politics and political action must not be understood however as party affiliation. My political involvement was always expressed through participation in large healthcare projects and promotion of training, in hospitals and universities. ... In my youth, I always voted for the Christian Democrats, although I was never a party member ... The Christian Democracy was a cross-class party, with many different viewpoints that shared a profound faith in certain values that, so long as they were shared, acted as a glue that held together this great party, which fell apart when people no longer recognized this common matrix among themselves. Among the parties born from the Christian Democracy through an effort to elaborate a different political style and a more specific plan of action in social policy was the Margherita, which combines a Catholic heritage and dialogue with other outlooks, such as those whose nature is more environmentalist, more liberal, etc. In the Margherita, with a spirit of openness and reciprocal respect, there is a broad and dialoging convergence of people who are trying to carry out reform policies in harmony with the social doctrine of the Church.

Resonating With Me Today

I am of the other America, the unseen America, the undreamt of by the foreigners who hate my country without knowing a single thing about it. Ours is a land of volunteer fire departments, of baseball, of wizened spinsters who instead of sitting around whining about their goddamned osteoporosis write and self-publish books on the histories of their little towns, of the farmwives and grain merchants and parsons and drunkards who made their places live.

We are the America that suffers in wartime: we do the dying, the paying of taxes, we supply the million unfortunate sons (and now daughters) who are sent hither and yon in what amounts to a vast government uprooting of the populace. Militarism and empire are the enemies of small-town America, not only because some native sons come home in bodybags but also for the desolating fact that many never come home at all. They are scattered to the winds, sent out--by force or enticement of state--in the great American diaspora, never to return to the places that gave them nurture.

From Why I Am Not Ashamed Of America: My Country vs. the Empire. Hat tip to Godspy for the pointer.

August 01, 2006

UK Court Nixes Lesbian Marriage

Uk_lesbian_marriage_caseThe High Court of London has become the latest judicial body to decline to affirm same sex marriage.  In his decision, Sir Mark Potter wrote that to accord a same-sex relationship the title and status of marriage would be to fly in the face of the convention as well as to fail to recognise physical reality.

Imagine that, physical reality might impact a court's decision on this issue.  Wow, biology matters, after all.   I wish I could read a copy of the court's decision, but the UK apparently doesn't put these decisions online or, if it does, I haven't been able to find the right place to access them.  Anyway, Potter continued:

"It is apparent that the majority of people, or at least of governments, not only in England but Europe-wide, regard marriage as an age-old institution, valued and valuable, respectable and respected, as a means not only of encouraging monogamy but also the procreation of children and their development and nurture in a family unit in which both maternal and paternal influences are available in respect of their nurture and upbringing.

"The belief that this form of relationship is the one which best encourages stability in a well-regulated society is not a disreputable or outmoded notion based upon ideas of exclusivity, marginalisation, disapproval or discrimination against homosexuals or any other persons who by reason of their sexual orientation or for other reasons prefer to form a same-sex union."

I found the whole tone of the decision interesting in that the Court took pains to avoid labeling marriage or civil unions better or worse than the other but making it clear that they are different.

 

"Parliament has not called partnerships between persons of the same-sex marriage, not because they are considered inferior to the institution of marriage, but because, as a matter of objective fact and common understanding, as well as under the present definition of marriage in English law ... they are indeed different."



Texas Town Says Too Many Churches

ChurchmontageStafford, Texas, (population almost 16,000 in the 2000 census) says 51 churches is just too many churches and that they proliferation of tax free congregation properties is hurting the town's tax base.

Stafford, population 19,227, is the largest city in Texas without a property tax, and it depends on sales taxes and business fees for revenue. Nonprofits have been attracted by its rapid growth and minimal deed restrictions. "It's thrown everything out of balance, plus providing zero revenue. Somebody's got to pay for police, fire and schools," City Councilman Cecil Willis said.

In 2003, around the time the 45th church settled in, city leaders began looking for a way to slow the pace of construction. Public meetings were held; "we had people of different religions attending, people in their religious garb, Buddhists in their orange gowns and whatever else, talking about this very openly," Scarcella said.

An ordinance eventually passed that required those who wanted to build a church — and other public gathering places, such as bowling alleys and community halls — to undergo a rigorous review process and obtain City Council approval.

Before the ordinance, "you could pretty much come in here and say, 'I want to open up a church,' and I'd say, 'OK,' " said Gene Bane, the city's director of building permits.

In his office is a large map of Stafford that is dotted with round yellow stickers, each dot denoting a church or religious facility. In some parts of town, the dots are so close together they nearly meld into a big yellow glob.

In one quarter-mile section near the city center, parishioners can choose among 17 churches. There are three small churches in the Quail Ridge Plaza shopping center, and three large brick churches on the street behind it. Down the road, the Evangelical Formosan Church is tucked behind a muffler shop.

"If you can't find religion in Stafford, Texas, you ain't looking hard enough," Bane said.

It does sound a bit like they need to tighten up the zoning or something.

July 31, 2006

ECUSA, R.I.P.

GraveyardSigh.  My formerChurch continues to spin out of control, throwing off not sparks but whimpers as it flies.  This from Florida where, I presume, the woman was quoted correctly.

Concerned about their fracturing denomination, about 150 Central Florida Episcopalians packed the sanctuary of St. Richard's Episcopal Church on Saturday.

"We take no position on Scripture or theology or morals," said Donna Bott, a leader of a group called Episcopal Voices of Central Florida, which sponsored the meeting. "We are just Episcopalians."

Yep. That's why I could no longer remain an Episcopalian.

Maybe The Courts Aren't The Way, After All

Ssm_14Proponents of same sex marriage are beginning to wake up to the reality that courts arround the country may not buy into their attempt to force mainstream America to endorse, affirm and sanction what they do in bed.

Most of the justices in the Washington decision last week, and those in a ruling by New York's highest court two weeks earlier that also rejected gays' claims to marriage, suggested that same-sex couples may be better served if they looked not to the courts but to the Legislature to resolve this issue for them.

Jordon Lorence, senior attorney with the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, which opposes gay marriage, said judges have signaled that these issues are better settled in the court of public opinion.

"Twenty states and counting have passed constitutional amendments," he said. "Increasingly there's a growing reluctance by courts to buy the legal arguments that proponents of gay marriage are putting forward.

"With this string of court defeats for gay marriage, the whole political, social context of this has shifted."

I am not sure it has shifted entirely yet. On my more optimistic days I hope it has. But if they haven't entirely, the courts do seem to have moved at least somewhat away from the notion that they have the authority to simply take social issues in an end-run around the ballot boxes and legislatures.

I particularly liked this quote.

"I'm convinced it's time to do what women did to gain the vote, what blacks did to secure civil rights," said Bill Dubay, a longtime gay-rights activist in Seattle. "We need to hit the streets and be noticed and not go away until we get what we want."

I liked it because, as a man who seeks to live faithfully as a Roman Catholic with a degree of same sex attraction, I welcome the self-identified gay and lesbian (and bi and transgendered and questioning and whomever else they want to drag along) into the streets. I welcome them for unexpurgated and uncensored camera time. I welcome them for hours before the microphones of the country. I want everyone in America to get a solid chance to listen to the arguments about why “open relationships” are really very loving and about how sodomy is a sacred act and about how the Gospels need to be understood in the light of Womynhood and about how Jesus and St. John the Evangelist were really lovers and on and on and on.

There is nothing like a exposure to reality to clear away the fuzzy headed pictures provide by Hollywood ala Will and Grace.

Hat tip to titusonenine for the pointer.

July 30, 2006

God In The Small Things

Tots_praise_waving2Nathan over at Elige Ergo Vitam has a couple of posts up which deserve attention.  The first I stumbled across was this poem, which he appears to have shared from his parish' Sunday bulletin and which I rather liked.

I can say nothing of God except that I saw the red flames of a cardinal against the snow this morning as I drank my tea.

I can say nothing of God except that the warm smell of potato soup and the sharp tang of cheddar cheese shimmied up my nose when a friend made lunch for me.

I can say nothing of God except that in the afternoon I washed my face in a cold mountain stream, and it stung my skin and left me feeling fresh and clean.

I can say nothing of God except that two nights ago a cricket sang a funny song in my closet amidst the socks and silence.

I can say nothing of God except that stones can speak, and deer fly in my dreams, that a strange child smiled at me in the supermarket, and that each blade of green grass wears a locket with God's face inside, and that on every hair of my cat's face is written "Alleluia!"

I can say nothing of God except that the rough texture of grainy bread on my tongue and the sweet, liquid acid of grape in my throat are bitter sweet of compassion and a taste of heaven.

I liked this because of a few things. First, the completely prosaic fact that, for some reason, cardinals greatly favor the trails where I ride my bike and its a very rare day that I don't see at least three or four in morning ride.  Second, because some of the most reassuring and loving ways I have encountered God has been in the small things in my life, His whispers as it were, this poem celebrates those sorts of things.

But because this has been a busier than usual Sunday I didn't get to post the poem until relatively late and found that Nate has has also posted the end of a string of posts titled Choosing Life. Included there is a response to Andrew Sullivan about living the Faith with same sex attraction as opposed to leaving the Faith because of same sex attraction.

Continue reading "God In The Small Things" »

July 29, 2006

Rethinking the Immigration Question

PhlaborOk, for the record, my sort of foundational bias is toward favoring some program to provide undocumented aliens some sort of avenue to citizenship. I am at least passingly familiar with Spanish, have traveled for some time in South America and count as acquaintances and friends former undocumented aliens who received amnesty the last time it was offered. 

But this time I find myself coming down on the other side of the undocumented alien question and, as uncomfortable as it makes me feel, I can't shake my concerns.

First, the sort of basic, foundational concern. Proponents of an amnesty or 'path to citizenship' program tend to make the analogy that we are all a nation of immigrants and that the current waves of undocumented aliens is merely the latest surge in what has been the lifeblood of this country's growth for the last 200+ years.  And that, for what it is worth, might be true. But there are also fundamental differences as well.

I don't have any parents, grandparents or great grandparents who came in at Ellis Island.  My folks on one side arrived in about 1830 through South Carolina and, on the other side, about 1820 through New Orleans.  But I have read accounts of the folks who did come in at Ellis and one of the thing that struck me in reading their stories is that they were willing to follow the law!

Getting in to the country wasn't a given at Ellis.  U.S. immigration law at the time contained several reasons someone could be turned away from the dock and not allowed to enter.  Immigrants got on the boats in Europe in hope of being able to make it here, but without any certainty of being able to do so.  What they had was a willingness to give it their best shot and a recognition that if they didn't square up to the law of the U.S., they wouldn't make it and would go home. They respected the laws of the U.S.

Proponents of amnesty or undocumented aliens frequently say things like 'we aren't criminals and we shouldn't be treated as criminals.' 

But, actually, they are.  I mean one key difference between the waves of immigrants who came before and the waves of undocumented aliens arriving now is the ones arriving now, fundamentally, do not respect the U.S. enough to respect its laws and to come within the process that the U.S. has set up for immigration.  Now, people will say, rightly, that this process is far too slow and exhausting and frustrating and all of that - and I admit all that may be true.  I am not going to claim the U.S. immigration process is great or streamlined or efficient.  But it is the lawful, legal, process.  And if someone is going to come to this country and claim to love it enough to want to live here and take on the responsibilities of living here, it doesn't seem outrageous to me that we insist that the very first step of becoming a good American citizen is to respect the laws of the country of which you would like to become a part.

Continue reading "Rethinking the Immigration Question" »

July 28, 2006

Episcopal Parish Gives Up...

St_paulsIn a move which I expect may be repeated over and over again in coming months and years an Episcopal parish, founded over 100 years ago, closes its doors.

In the end it was just unable to overcome the successive waves of controversy and dissension as the Episcopal Church overall has chased after almost every spirit but the Holy Spirit.

It barely survived a court battle beginning in 1979 when a majority of members broke from the Episcopal Church over its liberal policies. Renaming it St. Paul's Anglican Church, the dissidents occupied the church until courts returned the building to the diocese in 1983.

Though the loyal remnant got their church back, they never fully recovered, said the Rev. John Crean Jr., St. Paul's pastor for the last nine years. "Ever since then it's been on the weak side," says Crean, who retired last fall. It just didn't have the will to live."

Hat tip to titusonenine for the pointer.

I Can't Wait For The Stamp!

Hillary_museum_of_sexNo, this is not President Jimmy Carter's head grafted onto the body of an Amazon. This is, supposedly, a representation of former first lady and current New York Senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  And I don't believe a Republican was even responsible.

It is destined, I kid you not, for placement in the Museuem of Sex.

 So, Sed Contrarians, I invite you to stand back and gaze upon this wonder in......well, I don''t know, in something. Sheesh.

Drug Experts Suggest Landis Innocent

Experts familiar with doping and drug testing say that the drug test which Floyd Landis, this year's Tour de France winner, failed is notoriously faulty and that there can be natural reasons for a positive test that have nothing to do with taking performance enhancing drugs.

At one point in the three-week race, it seemed as though Landis was petering out. But "an injection of testosterone is not some sort of miracle, immediate boost like an amphetamine or stimulant," Collins says. "Athletes who use testosterone use it over a fairly long course and the benefit accumulates over a period of time."

Testosterone would not account for his comeback, Collins stresses.

"A single shot of testosterone would provide little or no benefit."

John Eliot, PhD, a professor of human performance at Rice Univers in Houstonand the author of "Overachievement," agrees with Collins.

"The likelihood [that he used illegal substances] seems small to me," he tells WebMD. "Landis is a pretty straightforward guy and personality-wise he does not want to take the easy route," he says.

And I love the comment at the end.

Carlos R. Hamilton Jr., MD, professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, and a member of the health, medical, and research committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency, is also reserving his judgment

"The fact that it is strictly a testosterone level does not mean it came from outside of the body, it could have been produced internally," he says. "It's a perfectly normal occurring hormone."

He says that there is a large variation in what they consider normal on this test and no one knows exactly how Landis scored. "Were his results within normal limits or just out of sight?" he asks.

The bottom line is that the information was released too prematurely, he says. "Wait until we get the final answers. If he cheated, it will be recognized; if he did not, this does him a great disservice."

Yah, no doubt.

Protesters Get It Wrong - Again

In what has become an example of occasional street theater, a handful of protestors marched outside the St. Xavier College Church, on the campus of St. Louis University, where Courage held the opening mass of its 2006 Conference.  As usual, the protesters managed to clearly demonstrate how little the knew about, much less understood, the group.

"Gay? Fine by me," one sign said. "Love needs no cure," read another.

Protesters said Courage portrays homosexuality as a disorder that can be cured or changed through "reparative therapy."

"It's a false message that every scientific, medical and psychological study ever done contradicts," said Sam Cinnet, president of Dignity USA, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics.

"Homosexuality is not a choice," he said. "My homosexuality is just as much a gift from God as anyone's heterosexuality."

Cinnet said the Courage message can hurt relationships with God.

"This stuff damages people," Cinnet said. "It's spiritual violence (that suggests) either God screwed up or you screwed up."

Ok, for the record, yet again, Courage is not an "orientation change" group, does not provide therapy for orientation change and does not require its members to enter into such therapy.  There are members of Courage who decide to take that path and Courage members support them because they are brothers and sisters and should not be disowned  because they have taken a path different from the vast majority of other members, but Courage doesn't force anyone to do anything.

Continue reading "Protesters Get It Wrong - Again" »

July 27, 2006

Landis Fails Preliminary Drug Test

Landis_riding_1Floyd Landis, the winner of this year's Tour de France, has failed an intial drug test his team, Phonak, has confirmed.

"The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI about an unusual level of Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France," said the team in a statement. "The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result.

"The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear.

"If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample, the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations."

The World Anti-Doping Agency has lowered the limit for the maximum T/E level from 6:1 to 4:1. Some athletes have naturally high levels, and can prove this through a series of tests.

I will not say anything until the results of the full tests are in.  The test results come from the 17th stage of the race, the stage that Landis came back from being down to 11th place to being 3rd and positioned to win the overall tour.

                    

Alice Von Hildebrand On The Rewards And Pitfalls of Friendship

CloseuphildebrandDr. Alice Von Hildebrand has penned a great reflection on the rewards and pitfalls of friendship, one of the sadly little regarded pillars of life these days.

It is said in Proverbs that the good man falls seven times a day (24:16). Human life is a series of falls. But the crucial question is: When we have fallen, what do we do? To fall is not as bad as refusing to get up when fallen. And to get up is to ask for forgiveness and change defeat into a victory. Noble friendships and happy marriages (they do exist, in spite of the defeatist attitude prevalent today) are characterized by the fact that one is always willing to acknowledge one’s fault, one’s weakness, and to ask for forgiveness. The holier a person is, the more contrite he will be about the slightest faults. This has been admirably sketched in Dante’s Divine Comedy, when he writes: “Come t’è picciol fallo amaro morso” (how little fault to have such bitter force). Which one of us is so hard-hearted as to refuse to forgive someone who is sincerely repentant? In some way, he becomes particularly dear to us.

This leads to the third canon of Christian friendship: the unconditional readiness to forgive. To be unforgiving is to condemn oneself; for God cannot be merciful toward us if we are not merciful toward our neighbors. The words of the Pater Noster should be the object of the Catholic’s daily meditation: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Once I realize the immensity of my debt toward God, it should become easy to forgive others.

If someone very dear to me offends or wounds me, the pain felt should be mostly because the loved one has stained his beloved soul and offended God; the harm done to oneself should be immediately forgiven, and this very forgiveness will take away the sting of the pain. On the other hand, if a person dear to us wounds another, our grief should be doubled: first because he has hurt his soul and offended God, but also because we should feel the pain inflicted on the other, even if this person is in no way close to us. We should ardently pray that the one dear to us immediately asks for forgiveness, and use a loving fraternal correction to persuade him to do so. The fact is that the holier a friend or spouse is, the more he will be ready to say “Thank you,” to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive.

Read the whole thing here.  Hat tip to And Also With You.

Landis, Patriotism and The Kingdom of God

LandisparisHugo Schwyzer has a couple of posts (here and here) up about Floyd Landis' Anabaptist roots (he was reared a Mennonite) and whether and how much of it he might retain.  Hugo has an interest in the topic because although I don't believe is a cyclist, he too was reared a Mennonite and maintains some connections to the denomination's beliefs.

Hugo, in part, hangs some of his thinking on Landis and Anabaptism on the fact that Floyd did not put his hand over his heart  when they played the national anthem as he stood on the final podium in Paris wearing the yellow jersey as the Tour de France winner.  Lance Armstrong, he noted, always did so and Hugo chalked Landis' actions, in part, up to his remaining Anabaptist ties.

Maybe. It also might have been that Landis' knew that these photos would be broadcast around the world including, at some point, to the members of his family who remain Mennonites and he didn't want to insult them or seem to publicly repudiate what they believe.  But, for whatever reason, Landis didn't do it and Hugo has drawn attention to the worldly and religious implications in Landis' lowered hand.

Continue reading "Landis, Patriotism and The Kingdom of God" »

July 26, 2006

Come! Visit Hungary! Have An Affair

HungarytourWow.  And some Americans thought 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' was a pretty racy tourism slogan.  Well, the Hungarians have that beat.  A recent cartoon short supposedly aimed at young tourists, pitches Hungary as a place men can come to cheat on their wives.

The most tragic thing about the cartoon was that the woman is shown with hearts around her eyes (after the rowboat humping) while the guy is shown carefully hiding his wedding band.  The message would appear to be "yes, come to Hungary and take advantage of our young women!"

The funniest thing about the cartoon was undoubtedly the pulsating breasts.

Hat tip to Stacy for the link.

July 22, 2006

Landis To Take The Yellow Jersey

Landis_riding Well, he has done it.  Barring a bizarre accident, or other circumstance tommorrow, Floyd Landis, another American, will win this year's yellow jersey of the Tour de France.

American Floyd Landis cemented his unprecedented come-from-behind return to the yellow jersey this afternoon, setting the stage for overall victory in the 2006 Tour de France tomorrow. The team Phonak leader put all his general classification rivals behind him, finishing the 57km stage19 time trial from Le Cruesot to Montceau-les-Mines in 1:08'56", third place on the day, 2'40" behind stage winner Serguei Gonchar. T-Mobile duo Gonchar and Andreas Kloden were one-two on the stage as Gonchar flattened the undulating course in 1:07'45," and Kloden finished 41" further down.


The top five on the general classification were rearranged: Landis pushed yellow jersey Oscar Pereiro, out of the top spot, and Andreas Kloden rode into third. Pereiro was not going out without a fight however, riding beyond himself to hold onto second place on the overall, thirty seconds ahead of Andreas Kloden. The man who started the day in second, Spain's Carlos Sastre, was outgunned by the men immediately behind him on GC, falling to fourth on the overall at 3'13" ahead of fifth place Australian Cadel Evans.

Continue reading "Landis To Take The Yellow Jersey" »

Non Scale Victories

French_sorrel At long last I have managed to be at the Eastern Market when my favorite farmer has had some of her French Sorrel left.  Dan and I have already had some for lunch and more of the uniqely lemony greens will go into a soup tomorrow....hmmmmm, yummy.

Had a few non-scale victories on the quest for fitness this week.  At the market two of my familiar vendors asked if I had been losing some weight and at about 20 lbs gone that was nice to hear.  My clothes keep fitting differently too.

But the victories I appreciate most this week came from bikers and biking.  First, I checked my progress against the Potomac Pedalers rider classification system and found that where I had been thinking of myself as a 'C' rider, I am actually a pretty solidly "CC" rider, which was a bit of a boost. And its funny how accurate that chart is....for example, I had started imagining what it would be like to try to stay part of a pace line and who I could find who might be patient enough (and maybe brave enough) to let me draft off them in  "CC" pace line.....and lo and behold it is at the CC level where riders "maybe" start using things like pace lines.

Also on my two best riding days this week the fit guys on the light bikes still whoooshed by me, but unlike doing so in silence as they generally have done, on these days they greeted me with a good morning and a couple with encouraging comments like "looking strong" and "keep it up."  This last in particular after I passed another cyclist going uphill, a feat which gave me a lot of satisfaction and which they must have witnessed as they too approached to pass both of us.....

Anyway, feeling pretty good today :).

August 2006

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Moon Phases


  • CURRENT MOON
    moon info

David Meets JPII

  • David_and_jpii_three
    In November 1996, through a series of truly unexpected events, I met John Paul II, at a audience in Vatican City. I have not generally told many people about this meeting; in part becuse I have been embarassed by how much I have been blessed and because I have regretted not having matured even more from the experience of grace the meeting represented. But now John Paul's days with us in the flesh may be numbered and I can feel more patience with and compassion for the man I was then. I have also come to recognize that letting more people know about this meeting is part of of accepting its importance in my life.

My Family In Christ

  • Admiretree
    Mike and Dian are among the key people in my life. They are among my best friends and their first born, Brinnaria, is my first Godchild. These are photos we took while on vacation together on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in May, 2003.