:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 ::

I'm Going To Have To Think On This One

...But ignorance of this magnitude requires a response.

UPDATE: I've written my response. It comes in two words shy of the word limit for a letter to the DI, and will hopefully appear in a slighlty edited form in a few days.

It both saddens and angers me that there are those whose blind, simple patriotism keeps them from seeing how vital protests like those at the RNC are. I am by no means obligated to support the President and his administration when he persists in foreign policies with which I disagree. We have invaded a nation that was no threat to us and had done nothing to provoke us; we continue to occupy it even though it has been “liberated.” This was a war with which I never agreed. I marched against it on the Quad the day the invasion was announced – I was told my picture even made it into the DI. To tell me that I should not exercise my right to protest, and that others shouldn’t exercise theirs, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding not only of the first amendment, but of the basic principles of democracy. The people, those who are truly in power, must have differing opinions. If we lack that, we may as well live in a totalitarian state. Those people whose positions differ with their governments can and should protest, not only so that they may be heard but that other viewpoints besides the official one can be heard by all. Dissent is necessary, and expressing it is the patriotic duty of those who disagree.

I am an Eagle Scout: my patriotism is not up for question. We who protest, we whose love of our country has caused us to be saddened by its stumbles, we are all patriots, no matter our background. Guilt trips will not stop us. We want our country to be better and to do better. We want our county to live up to its own standards. Do not begrudge us as we work peaceably towards these ends.

Junior in LAS

:: The Squire 1:49 AM :: email this post :: ::


Champaign County Clerk Employs Spotty Enforcement Of Registration Laws

Stopping by on Quad Day to say that a form that's been used for over a year is invalid wasn't a very cool move.

:: The Squire 1:38 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, August 30, 2004 ::
Doesn't This Defeat The Point?

Air Conditioned Jackets. What'll be invented next? I thought the point of a jacket was to keep one warm. Maybe I'm just suffering from functional fixedness, though.

:: The Squire 11:59 PM :: email this post :: ::


News On The Congressional Front

Conservative gay congressman outed by blog, resigns "effective immediately." A short list of pertinant links are over at Eschaton. As the electoral prognosticators hear about this story, the relative possibilities of a Dem pickup of the seat will become more clear.

:: The Squire 10:31 PM :: email this post :: ::


If Anyone Knows The Scientific Name For This, Tell Me

My gf has an irrational fear/dislike of men's urinals. She's utterly disgusted by them, even though she doesn't have to use them. However hard I press her, she can't give me an explaination for it, though. I don't see why urinals would be disgusting - urine is sterile, and the only time I touch the thing is to flush it. Even in flushing it, though, I use my elbow, so it's not unsanitary for me. I know that she, like many females aparently, also has an irrational fear of having her butt hit the seat of a public toilet, and this just might be an extension of that fear.

I also have no problems sitting on a dry toilet seat - one of the many functions of skin is the prevention of infection, and since it does its job quite well I have no fear of popping a squat on a public john when I need to. She, and apparently many women, feel the need to layer tons of toilet paper upon the seat before sitting on it, then flush it all down the crapper at once. Beyond sounding like a damn good way to clog a toilet (to the consternation/constipation of all involved) it also sounds like it'd involve an increase in physical contact with the seat, not to mention the introduction of manual contact that wasn't there before, all because the person has to touch the toilet seat to place and remove the toilet paper. Since women's toilet seats are permanently in the down position, the added and unnecessary manual contact seems like a wonderful new vector for infection, since your hands touch everything both before and after you visit the loo. All your butt touches is the insides of your underpants and other toilet seats. That's it. If all one does is plop one's butt down, leave their solid waste in the bowl, wipe, flush, and leave, then the only germs one is exposed to is one's own, just as at the person's own house. All you need do is wash with soap and warm water, just like mummy said, and you'll be set.

Here's an interesting thought experiment: how many trees are wastefully chopped down to supply the toilet paper for this useless practice? Remember - toilet paper is not recyclable, so all paper used for this is counted as pure loss.

:: The Squire 4:37 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, August 29, 2004 ::
Dems Crash GOP Party

Protestors marched past Madison Square Garden today. You can go to umpteen bazillion other blogs for better coverage than I could manage, so I won't go into detail, but I will pull your attention to a quote from the New York Times.

"I've been going to Republican conventions since 1972, and I've never seen a convention with as many protesters in the streets," said David Gergen, who has worked for several Republican presidents, and Bill Clinton. "The irony is that was a convention held here because of echoes of 9/11, but it opens with echoes of Chicago and the Vietnam war.

"The protests are anti-Bush, with heavy antiwar overtones, but this is Chicago without the fisticuffs, without the fight, without the bloodshed - so far," Mr. Gergen added. "To interpret this politically is hard, but my gut is that large, peaceful protests are not what the Republicans want. The protesters are stealing the story for the first day and drowning out the Republican message. If there's violence, that could all change."

I should hope you all had an education in modern history that covers Vietnam and the 1968 Democratic Nat'l Convention in Chicago- if not, email me and I can dust off my notes from high skool and give you the "Good Parts" version.

:: The Squire 10:54 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, August 28, 2004 ::
To Quote StrongBad, "False Advertising"

It appears that my local, friendly late-night location doesn't have hot food yet. As much as I appreciate the convenience of having late night located at my dorm, it's useless without warm food (like hamburgers, pizzas, meatball subs and the like) to replace a normal meal. Now I have to go, through the rain, to ISR or PAR just for food.

:: The Squire 10:22 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, August 27, 2004 ::
Helping Our Boys

Jim Capozzola, blogger at the Rittenhouse Review, had been coordinating an effort to effectively armor the vehicles used by a reserve unit from his state. Along the way, he's chronicling how bad the defense department (and, by extension, the administration as a whole) is when it comes to properly equipping our men and women in uniform. Apparently the Pentagon has no compunctions against sending in units without proper armor on vehicles, even though army regulations specifically say that no vehicle is to enter a theatre of operation without full armor plating. We need an administration that's not going to screw over those serving in the military like this.

:: The Squire 4:39 PM :: email this post :: ::


Really Friggin' Cool

Doctors have been able to grow cartilage on scaffolding to make ears and such for the past eight years or so. Now, apparently, they're able to do the same with bone, albeit a little more crudely.

Warnke and his group began by creating a virtual jaw on a computer, after making a three-dimensional scan of the patient's mouth.

The information was used to create a thin titanium micro-mesh cage. Several cow-derived pure bone mineral blocks the size of sugar lumps where then put inside the structure, along with a human growth factor that builds bone and a large squirt of blood extracted from the man's bone marrow, which contains stem cells.

The surgeons then implanted the mesh cage and its contents into the muscle below the patient's right shoulder blade. He was given no drugs, other than routine antibiotics to prevent infection from the surgery.

The implant was left in for seven weeks, when scans showed new bone formation. It was removed about eight weeks ago, along with some surrounding muscle and blood vessels, put in the man's mouth and connected to the blood vessels in his neck.

Scans showed new bone continued to form after the transplant.

Four weeks after the operation, the man ate a German sausage sandwich, his first real meal in nine years. He eats steak now, but complains to his doctor that because he has no teeth he has to cut it into such small pieces that by the time he gets to the end of the steak, it's cold.

He has reported no pain or any other difficulties associated with the transplant, Warnke said, adding that he hopes to be able to remove the mesh and implant teeth in the new jaw about a year from now.

:: The Squire 3:17 PM :: email this post :: ::


Story Time

While I was at camp this past summer we had a scouter from Mexico City work on our staff. Since he was there, we flew the Mexican flag in addition to the US flag. Putting up two flags isn't a problem, but taking down another country's flag can be since, as you might imagine, there is a special way to fold the Mexican flag just as there's a special way to fold the US flag. The staff learned how to fold the Mexican flag pretty quickly, and most troops figured out that there was a certain way to fold it when we demoed it on Sunday evening and would ask a staffman to teach them. One troop, though, didn't think of asking and then went ahead and folded it as a normal flag. While they did that, I visibly cringed and watched our Mexican scouter look on in shock that someone had done that to his country's flag. As an American Boy Scout, it is important to me that the US flag be given the proper respect, and I could easily empathize with our Mexican scouter as he looked on in horror as the Mexican flag was treated as just another piece of cloth. Needless to say, he and I retrieved the flag from the troop immediately after the flag ceremony and refolded the flag properly.

Don't worry, I'm getting to a point with this.

I was reminded of this incident when I read this post by Kerry over at her blog. It seems to me that one of the things many pro-Chief people lack is empathy. Yes, the Chief is a longstanding tradition at our fair university, and that's important to some, but what about those whose heritage the Chief touches on? If you were a Native American, coming from a liniage that has been shat upon and trivialized by white people for centuries, how would you feel? Honestly think on that for a bit the next time you're upset at something an anti-Chief person says.

:: The Squire 12:53 AM :: email this post :: ::


Good Reading

The DI's Friday Forum for today has a good take on the Chief. I want y'all to read the whole thing, as always, but take note of the beginning section.

What makes for a good mascot? Well, a good mascot should say something about the institution it represents. But a good mascot should also be fun and humorous, and include a subtle element of self-mockery. Mascots which take themselves too seriously seem to say that the institution takes itself too seriously. Taking oneself too seriously is very uncool.

So, is Chief Illiniwek a good mascot? Supporters of the Chief can say two things. First, they can say the Chief is comical and fun, and includes the necessary element of self-mockery. If this is the response, though, then critics of the Chief seem to have a valid point about racism. If the Chief is supposed to be humorous and funny, then the Chief seems to imply that American Indians are an appropriate object of ridicule. But if supporters of the Chief deny there is an element of humor or light-heartedness in the Chief, then the Chief fails to meet the criteria for a good mascot. While other universities would have mascots that are comical and fun, the University is stuck with a quasi-religious halftime ceremony in which Illini fans solemnly remember their "tradition" as a white boy, dressed as a Hollywood Indian, does his little dance.

This is very uncool and always will be. Supporters of the Chief should realize this.

:: The Squire 12:47 AM :: email this post :: ::


No Surprise

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, UIUC's accrediting agency, issued its report on the Chief controversy and its effects.

The team that conducted the visit reported no progress had been made toward resolving the issue, and it concluded the continued controversy over Chief Illiniwek "compromises the university's ability to meet its goals for educational effectiveness."
The "rate and amount of damage to the institution will continue to accelerate if the issue is not addressed decisively and soon," the team said.
In an addendum offering advice to the university, the team urged the board to "recognize the substantial adverse impact of this symbol upon the educational mission and success" of the UI and to retire the Chief....
...The North Central Association will schedule another visit for the 2006-07 academic year to determine the educational effect of the Chief symbol.
Its team said the faculty and campus leadership most capable of addressing the educational impact of the Chief have not publicly been consulted by the board.
The team said the use of Chief Illiniwek creates a situation where the UI might not be able to attract some new faculty recruits, and it appears likely to diminish the pool of candidates for its highest administrative offices.
The report noted the board has conducted an "enhanced dialogue" and accepted reports by former Cook County Circuit Judge Louis B. Garippo and by former Trustee Roger Plummer regarding the Chief issue.
It also said the Urbana campus has established a Native American House, added courses with American Indian content, and increased efforts to recruit minority students.
Herman and board Chairman Larry Eppley said the study will help the board in its efforts to come to a resolution of the matter.
"Our goal remains ... a solution that best serves the university rather than particular interest groups," Eppley said in a written statement.

Having been minorly involved in the whole controversy, I'll attest that it does nothing but hurt the university. However, as I've said many times before, the issue will not go away until the BoT retires the Chief once and for all; but since I don't feel like flogging that dead horse tonight, I'll just move on.

The report was also by no means complimentary to the Board of Trustees.

The three-person evaluation team created the report based on information collected during an April visit to the University, a follow-up to a 1999 visit. The follow-up visit was meant to look at the BOT's efforts to address the educational and governance issues surrounding the Chief.

The report noted that dialogue on the Chief controversy has increased since the commission's last report, but said that nothing had been done to solve the problem, creating a polarized environment.

According to the report, people on campus can be harassed because of their opinion on the Chief and potential applicants for University positions may be dissuaded by the controversy surrounding the mascot. These include the University's open positions for president and chancellor.

Because the BOT is the only group that can make any official decision on the Chief, the report focused its criticism toward it and said a lack of action on the issue shows that the BOT is not concerned about the issue's divisive and debilitating effects.

"In the absence of decisive action, the board is, in effect, saying that it prefers to face the consequences of eroding damage to the effectiveness, governance and reputation of the institution than the consequences of retiring the Chief," the report stated.

Board member Marjorie Sodermann said she disagrees with the report's accusation that the board is being passive and failing to provide leadership, but believes it does point out the major impact of the Chief issue and why it should be addressed.

I fail to see how the BoT has been anything but passive on the issue. They've been silent for years, say that they want "dialogue" when one of their own reports stated that no forseeable compromise can be met, and tabled a recent vote on the Chief twice, so that when they did vote it wasn't in Champaign and was during the summer break when students have jobs and couldn't make the meeting. Along the same lines is the next choice bit about "concensus decisions."

In a press release, BOT chair Larry Eppley said he took issue with parts of the report but agreed that the Chief is not an accreditation issue.

"The Board has been clear that any resolution of the Chief issue will be based upon consensus," Eppley said. "Our goal remains, as we have said before, a solution that best serves the University rather than particular interest groups, and Interim Chancellor Herman's approach should be an ingredient of our deliberations."

Attn Dipshit: Consensus isn't going to happen on this issue any time soon. Besides, the BoT already voted on the Chief over the summer, and that sure as hell wasn't a consensus move.

It is nice to know that an "objective" third party has found that the whole controversy is in itself a problem - something that I figured out last spring.

:: The Squire 12:20 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 ::
The Wayward Sheep Looks Back At The Fold Once Again

LeonPeon has finally responded to my earlier post (though not, apparently, to my interim post from when she was incommunicando). As her response is short, I'll just post it first and respond after.

Hey Squire,

Yup, I'm still here, I just haven't had a chance to check my e-mail or blog in a while. Sorry, I left you hanging. So, I have a question...You said at the end of your blog that one needs to wash away one's sins. (or something like that) Ok, so what can YOU do to cleanse your sins? Just think of the best thing you could ever do. Whatever you thought of is not enough. In Isaiah 64:6, it says, "but we are like an unclean thing. And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." So, nothing that we humans can do is enough to cleanse our sins. Yes, you are right. One can cleanse our sins, but the only One who can do that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. So, do you believe that baptism saves? I hope to hear from you soon.

1 love, 1 God, 1 way



I said that "one baptism is good for the rest of your life. It washes away not only all one's previous sins, but also the original sin committed by Adam and Eve." Baptism is in itself a necessary step in one's journey of salvation, because it is one's first affirmation of belief in God as well as an acknowledgement that we, humans, are sinful and we need God's help and His power to remove our sins and their spiritual repricussions. The temporal repricussions of sin, namely evil, still remain, though. To reiterate a point you seem to be ignoring, it is still possible to backslide after one has been baptized. If one realizes that he or she has gone astray, they can still reconcile themselves with God, either through participation with Christ's sacrifice in the Eucharist for lesser sins or through Reconciliation and Pennance for more dire sins.

Again I point out the disparities between bible translations, as my NAB Isaiah 64:6 reads "There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; For you have hidden your face from us and delivered us up to our guilt." This really doesn't do too much to further your arguement. You apparently want Isaiah 64:4-5, which reads in the NAB "Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean men, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; We have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind." What the author of the text (most likely not Isaiah himself but one of his later disciples) illustrates here, to the Christian reader, are the effects of unrepented sins upon the relationship between God and men. When one sins one chooses something other than God - it is this choice that separates the sinner from God. Without removing this barrier between one's self and God, one cannot achieve salvation. Admittedly, the writer of this section of Isaiah predated Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, and so did not know of the means I mentioned above for the removal of sins. Purgatory exists for those who do not carry the stain of mortal sin on them to, in a more direct manner, avail themselves of God's grace and forgiveness to remove their last remaining sins and become perfect beings, thus completing the journey of salvation that began in life at (or occasionally before) Baptism.

I hope this makes things more clear for you.

Yours in Christ,

:: The Squire 1:14 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 ::

Two passenger planes crash in Russia, one apparently exploding before crashing.

:: The Squire 11:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


And CREEP Still Maintains It Has No Connections To The Swift Boat Liars

Even though the Miserable Failure's campaign lawyer is advising Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

A lawyer for President Bush's re-election campaign disclosed Tuesday that he has been providing legal advice for a veterans group that is challenging Democratic Sen. John Kerry's account of his Vietnam War service.

Benjamin Ginsberg's acknowledgment marks the second time in days that an individual associated with the Bush-Cheney campaign has been connected to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which Kerry accuses of being a front for the Republican incumbent's re-election effort.

The Bush campaign and the veterans' group say there is no coordination...

Kerry's presidential campaign last week filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing the Bush campaign and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth of illegally coordinating the group's ads.

The ads allege Kerry has lied about his decorated Vietnam War service; the group's accounts in a television ad have been disputed by Navy records and veterans who served on Kerry's boat.

"It's another piece of the mounting evidence of the ties between the Bush campaign and this group," Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said of Ginsberg's admission. "The longer President Bush waits to specifically condemn this smear, the more it looks like his campaign is behind it."

On Saturday, retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier resigned as a member of the Bush campaign's veterans' steering committee after it was learned that he appeared in the Swift Boat veterans' commercial...

Ginsberg also represented the Bush campaign in 2000 and became a prominent figure during the Florida recount.

He also served as counsel to the RNC in its unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the nation's campaign finance law, which banned the national party committees from collecting corporate, union and unlimited donations known as soft money and imposed stricter rules on coordination involving parties, candidates and interest groups.

With someone that involved in Dubya's re-election attempt, one can't help but suspect he's not the only major thing that the Liars and CREEP have in common.

:: The Squire 10:18 PM :: email this post :: ::


This Is Your Brain After Working Quad Day. Any Questions?

Tip to anyone who is thinking about working Quad Day in the future: Wear Sunscreen. My arms and face are now turning a deep red. Then again, it might be that I only took four short breaks between 9am and 3pm. I was at the Fencing Illini/The Point Fencing Club booth and we had over 200 people take flyers. Hopefully about a fifth or so of those who hadn't fenced before will be interested enough to sign up for the beginner class. We need more UIUC students so that it's not just the club president and I fencing. We also had a good deal of people who already fence take flyers as well, which means I'll be finding more bouting partners rather quickly.

:: The Squire 5:09 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, August 22, 2004 ::
People Are Stupid

Today, for the second year in a row, I was an I-Guide. For those not at UIUC, this means that I helped everyone else move into the dorms. This morning went alright for me as I was hauling people's stuff around on a wooden cart. This afternoon, though, I got to hold a sign and direct traffic. This is not the cushy job that it sounds like. While moving carts one always has something to do. For directing traffic, I had to stand out in the sun while my brain rotted, then have to kick my brain into gear to answer questions. Some were intelligent, while some were mind-bogglingly dumb.

First off, everyone in Weston Hall should've moved in on Friday, so that hall is not part of the traffic pattern. Those who decided to move in today were lucky I didn't send them over to Fourth and Peabody out of spite.

Secondly, if there's a barracade on the road, this does not mean you're supposed to drive around it. First street is closed between Stadium and Gregory for very good reasons.

Third, don't try to drive over to the bookstore on move-in day if you don't know where it is. Yes, it's on Wright street, but no, you can't get directly there from the corner of First and Gregory unless you walk.

Lastly, read the damn "Movin' In" packet. It has this newfangled thing called a map that you can look at and it gives you directions on how to get to your son or daughter's dorm. There shouldn't be people looking for Taft at the intersection of First and Gregory. The traffic pattern's set up so that they go straight down Fourth to get to their dorm.

I think I'm done venting now. I might add more to this later.

:: The Squire 4:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, August 21, 2004 ::
Wow, We Were Noticed

The News-Gazette notes that some students "Opt To Move In Early," complete with sketchy advice about move in day.

:: The Squire 12:31 PM :: email this post :: ::


UIUC Looks Into Renovating Memorial Stadium

U of I is comissioning a series of studies and proposals looking at improving Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately, they're thinking about paying for the proposed projects by installing club seating and suites.

Hood emphasized the UI is in the early stages of thinking about the stadium renovation and what it might want to do. Whatever improvements the UI ultimately decides to do, Memorial Stadium won’t end up looking like Soldier Field.
“The integrity of the stadium is critical,” Hood said. “It’s just a beautiful stadium. It’s a historical stadium, and we want to preserve it. We don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize the historical nature of it or the look of it.”

:: The Squire 12:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


A Sad Day

The longest undefended national border in the world becomes, well, more defended.

As part of a dramatic boost in surveillance of the Canadian border, federal officials Friday dedicated the first of five planned bases for regular flights to look for drug runners and others crossing illegally by air or land.

The Bellingham Air Marine Branch is to have a staff of nearly 70, two helicopters, an airplane and a high-speed boat by year's end. Similar bases have policed the Mexican border for three decades, but the new facility is the first on the Canadian border.

The five new bases, which will dot the border from Washington state to upstate New York, are a response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as well as smuggling of illegal aliens and drugs, including British Columbia's potent strains of marijuana. Similar bases have policed the Mexican border for three decades.

:: The Squire 10:41 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, August 20, 2004 ::
I Have Arrived

I arrived in Champaign at 2pm today and have been scooting around town with my girlfriend as we help each other settle in. Posting's going to be sketchy the next couple days, as things besides the blog will be on my mind.

:: The Squire 11:09 PM :: email this post :: ::


Spam Subject Line


To an MCB student, ag supplies are useless. SPAM.

:: The Squire 12:33 AM :: email this post :: ::


This Speaks For Itself

Zwichenzug has discovered that a google search for "contageous diseases" comes up with UIUC's own McKinley Health Center as the number one hit.

:: The Squire 12:22 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, August 19, 2004 ::
Don't Forget The Water

Brad Delong's fourteen-year-old recounts to us a story of why his Dad shouldn't be put in charge of cooking food.

:: The Squire 2:48 PM :: email this post :: ::


In Case LeonPeon Is Still Reading

...Which I seriously doubt, because I haven't heard back from her in almost a week, I have this clarification to make.

The fundamentalist view of salvation, the view apparently held by LeonPeon, is that salvation is a one-time dealie where all one has to do is say "I believe in Jesus Christ" and, presto-chango, one is saved. This leaves the question of further sins committed by a "saved" person. My understanding is that all salvation does, in the fundamentalist usage, is throw a cloak over one's sins so that they're not seen on Judgement Day. Any additional sins that are committed just get tossed under the Cloak of Christ's Blood.

The Catholic (and, arguably, Biblical) view of salvation is that of a journey that starts at Baptism (with the Baptismal vows to believe in the Trinity and reject Satan and his works) and continues past death into Purgatory. It is only with God's help that one can stay the path of salvation and overcome one's sins. It is also understood that it is possible to do things so heinous as to keep one's self from salvation without drastic corrective measures. One's journey is complete when one has removed all sin from one's self and enters into blissful union with God (a.k.a. Heaven).

I hope this will clarify things.

:: The Squire 2:36 PM :: email this post :: ::


The Iraqi Soccer Team's All Over The Blogosphere

It appears that they don't like being subjects of one of Dubya's political ads.

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes."

The Bush campaign was contacted about the Iraqi soccer player's statements, but has yet to respond.

To a man, members of the Iraqi Olympic delegation say they are glad that former Olympic committee head Uday Hussein, who was responsible for the serial torture of Iraqi athletes and was killed four months after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003, is no longer in power.

But they also find it offensive that Bush is using their team for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions in Iraq. "My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

:: The Squire 1:52 PM :: email this post :: ::


That's Just Not Healthy

I mean, they're already too big, but that level'd just be gross.

An Argentine comedian is defying medical advice in her bid to have the biggest breasts in the world.

Doctors say Sabrina Sabrok is risking her health if she has her 14th breast enhancement operation.

Sabrok, who works on Mexican TV, is already a size 42 triple G but wants to go on to be a 42 triple X, reports Las Ultimas Noticias.

Unless otherwise naturally endowed, a D cup is as big as you need to go, ladies. Besides, natural is always better than artificial, no matter what the brain-dead jocks/frat boys say.

:: The Squire 1:32 PM :: email this post :: ::


Crap, Dude, They're On To Us

Reuters reports that teenage girls who date older guys are more likely do to tons of bad stuff.

A study published on Thursday finds that teenage girls who associate with older boys are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs.

The survey of 1,000 teens found that friends do influence behavior, or at least reflect behavior, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University said.

"We found a tight connection between teen sexual behavior and dating and teen risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs," said CASA chairman Joseph Califano, a former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare.

The survey, which CASA conducts every year, found that the more time a teen spends with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and the more sexually active friends a teen has, the more likely the child will smoke, drink or use illegal drugs.

And girls who date boys two or more years older are much more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

I'm not sure how this impacts reality, though, as it's been my experience that teenage girls are naturally attracted to older guys. Having once been a dateless high skool underclassman, I was made quite painfully aware of this. I wonder what their study says about women who date younger guys, or does it happen so seldom that they weren't able to draw any meaningful conclusions from it?

:: The Squire 12:52 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 ::
Even Bears Know Better

I don't drink and I know that Busch is a really crappy beer. Apparently, this bear agrees.

When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby — dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.

The bear apparently got into campers' coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. And not just any cans.

"He drank the Rainier and wouldn't drink the Busch beer," said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

Fish and Wildlife enforcement Sgt. Bill Heinck said the bear did try one can of Busch, but ignored the rest.

"He didn't like that (Busch) and consumed, as near as we can tell, about 36 cans of Rainier."

A wildlife agent tried to chase the bear from the campground but the animal just climbed a tree to sleep it off for another four hours.

This madness is again brought to you via Dave Barry's research department.

:: The Squire 10:38 PM :: email this post :: ::


Ooooh ::wimper::

I read this and knew exactly which 5% they were talking about.

A Calgary man could go to jail for lighting his co-worker's crotch on fire in a drunken prank that caused burns and scarring to 5% of the man's body. Michael William Cleare, 29, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm yesterday.

This little bit of masculine pain is brought to you via Dave Barry's research department.

:: The Squire 10:28 PM :: email this post :: ::


Late, As Usual

El Reg reports that Microsoft is delaying the distribution of the 80MB single-computer distribution of XP SP2 for XP Pro users, like myself. It seems that since over 210 applications "behave differently" with SP2 they're giving the large corporations time to figure out how to deal with the problem. XP Home users will be subjected to the half-tested version of the upgrade today, though.

:: The Squire 10:00 AM :: email this post :: ::


The Good With The Bad

El Reg reports that XP SP2 has known conflicts with over 200 applications, many of which extend above and beyond those associated with the Windows Firewall.

Little wonder then that companies like IBM are holding off from deploying SP2 despite the considerable security improvements it offers. Consumers might well be inclined to follow suit. Those who push ahead with XP SP2 are advised to buckle in for what promises to be a bumpy ride.

:: The Squire 12:17 AM :: email this post :: ::



I haven't heard from LeonPeon in a few days. I hope nothing bad's happened to my new blog-pal.

:: The Squire 12:03 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 ::
Hiding Things On Me

Even though it's not linked to on the Illinois Division's website, the 2004-2005 events schedule is posted.

:: The Squire 9:47 PM :: email this post :: ::


Because It's Not Link Linked To Elsewhere

The 2004-2005 events schedule for the Illinois Division of the USFA is up and running, but they're still hiding it.

:: The Squire 9:40 PM :: email this post :: ::


New Slogan For Senior Camp Staff

"We the Unwilling, led by the Unknowing, are doing the Impossible, for the Ungrateful. We have done So Much, with So Little, we are now qualified to do Anything with Nothing!"

:: The Squire 8:55 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Still Can't Believe Someone Expects This Wacko To Win

Via Josh Marshall of talkingpointsmemo.com, we hear that Alan Keyes is still saying that the September 11 attacks were a sign to stop abortions. Last I checked, single-issue candidates tended not to do well on the state or national level.

:: The Squire 8:44 PM :: email this post :: ::


Olympic Gold For US Women's Fencing!

The US took bronze and gold in the Women's Sabre competition, the first medals ever for US women's fencing and the first gold medal in fencing for the US in a hundred years.

:: The Squire 7:54 PM :: email this post :: ::



I was able to get my blog to play well with the navbar. Having the thing up there is still going to take some getting used to, though. I noticed that Atrios doesn't have a nav bar on his blog, but if you're an A-list blogger I should hope they'd ask you before pulling crap like that.

:: The Squire 5:37 PM :: email this post :: ::


For Future Reference

When awarding "brownie points" or "cookies" for knowing trivia, I have certain criteria.

For music, I generally want Artist, but will occasionally want Song or Album as well.

For Movies and TV, the name of the movie/show, the characters involved, and the context of the scene are required.

Thank you and play nice.

:: The Squire 2:56 AM :: email this post :: ::


STDs And The "Yuck" Factor

Kieran at Crooked Timber has a post up on high school social/sexual networks and how they impact STD (STI?) transmission.

:: The Squire 1:32 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, August 16, 2004 ::
"But We Were Trying To Be Like The Ancient Greek Athletes, Officer!"

Yahoo News, via AP, reports that two boys were caught playing basketball naked.

...No, no, no, dude, you're supposed to dribble the basketball...

:: The Squire 11:39 PM :: email this post :: ::


Punctuate, Damnit!

Blogger has a knowlegebase article inspired by Eats, Shoots & Leaves on how punctuation is a blogger's friend. The article, "Eats, Blogs & Leaves" has a few good rants itself.

Be kind to your reader. Capitalization and punctuation are the easiest ways to indicate exactly what you're trying to say. It's time for a little tough love, people: Anyone who types in all lowercase needs to be taken out back and beaten. You are not e.e. cummings; you are not being "artistic." You're just too lazy to hit the shift key. If you can't be bothered with the extra keystroke, I can't be bothered to read your site. Don't turn off readers before they even get to your words. (A refusal to capitalize is just one grammar horror that can be spotted at first glance. I can also spot an overuse of the ellipsis at 50 paces. There are two reasons to use an ellipsis (and neither one is because you don't want to write a transition): Use an ellipsis to indicate words omitted from a direct quote or to trail off intriguingly. If neither of these are your intention, try a period. Dot. Full stop. Terminal punctuation can be your friend.)

:: The Squire 11:23 PM :: email this post :: ::



Blogger put up a "Nav Bar" on the top of my blog. Problem is, I have a modified version of a really old template that apparently doesn't play well with it, so I have to try to fix it myself before complaining to The Powers That Be.

UPDATE: Not only does the posted fix not work, but now one of my link colors is broken. I am not happy.

:: The Squire 10:32 PM :: email this post :: ::


Damn Bush And His Bad Fiscal Policy

Now this crap influences me directly - currency exchange rates are running 1.84023 USD to the Pound, making buying things from England prohibitively expensive even before the overseas shipping kicks in. I hate the weak dollar.


:: The Squire 9:07 PM :: email this post :: ::


The Powers That Be Don't Agree With These Findings

But El Reg reports that an Australian study has found that viewing pornography might actually be good for you.

An [sic] government-funded study into porn consumption Down Under has concluded that a little of what you fancy might do you good - and may even make users "more relaxed about their sexuality" and lead to healthier marriages, news.com.au reports.

The survey - nicely entitled "Understanding Pornography in Australia" and carried out by a team led by Dr Alan McKee - quizzed 1000 porn users and concluded that "pornography is actually good for you in many ways", as McKee put it.

:: The Squire 6:50 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Sunday, August 15, 2004 ::
So Everybody Knows

Dr. Richard Herman is the interim Chancellor of the university now that Nancy Cantor has moved on. Here's his bio for those who care.

:: The Squire 8:17 PM :: email this post :: ::


Ambiguous Headline

On the AIM News scroller, I just read "Hurricane Cleanup After Charley Kills 16" and first thought, "Why would hurricane cleanups kill people?"

:: The Squire 6:34 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Am Sitting Here

And while I am sitting here, I am intentionally not watching the women's beach volleyball on the TV.

:: The Squire 6:32 PM :: email this post :: ::


Football Badgers

Yes, Weebl has come up with yet another take on his original Badger flash.

:: The Squire 3:55 PM :: email this post :: ::



Seeing as I've been away from a broadband connection for three months, I've been catching up on the backlog of my favorite net cartoons. I personally like "Do's and Don't's" from Neurotically Yours, the end of a small story arc that started when Germaine had a minor heart problem and had to be admitted to the hospital.

"But my nipples aren't pierced...what the hell?!? When'd THAT happen?!?"

:: The Squire 3:37 PM :: email this post :: ::


How Can ANYONE Not See It?

Just read:

Rowling further teased her fans over whether Harry's pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger would be boyfriend and girlfriend by the end of the series.

"I'm not going to say. I can't say. I think I've given quite a lot of clues by now on this subject," she said. "You are going to have to read between the lines on that one."

OF COURSE they're going to end up boyfriend and girlfriend. Geez. The list of foreshadowings is longer than I am tall.

:: The Squire 2:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Saturday, August 14, 2004 ::
One Does Not Thump The Book Of G'Quan

I recieved a reply from LeonPeon last night. Because I didn't feel like unpacking my bible from my college stuff (as well as other assorted literature) I waited until tonight to address it.


First off, I would like to ease your mind by letting you know that I am not trying a "conversion thing." I just like to converse about the difference between your religion and my faith. I admit that I was not properly trained in the Catholic religion, but I still know all little something about it. I agree with you that Catholics are, in fact, Christians. That always bothered me also when people would imply that if you are Catholic, you are not Christian. I know many Catholics who are Christian. I believe you statement about not being sure about your eternal condition, (going to Heaven or Hell when you die) is risky because it seems like you are leaving it up to good works and chance. We can be assured of our place in Heaven. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory." John 5: 24 says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." John 10: 28 says, "and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand." There are 3 good verses that promise us salvation and eternal life. There are many more all throughout the Bible. I have a copy of the (forgive my spelling here) Catechism, I am currently looking for it. In response to purgatory, we don' t need to pay the price for our sins in purgatory, because Christ already did that on the cross. Hebrews 1: 3 says, "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;" Also 1 John 2:2 says, " and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." Let me clarify in case you don't know what propitiation means ( I didn't until about 2 months ago) Propitiation means satisfying. So that means that Christ is sufficient for the atonement of our sins. In closing, I would like to pose a question to you. What are your thoughts on baptism? I enjoy these discussions, but please don't think I'm trying to cram my beliefs down your throat.

1 love, 1 God, 1 way

A Slave of Christ



Ewww, that must be painful. Someone get this woman's bible a cold pack - maybe that'll keep the swelling down in the morning. The Good News really shouldn't be abused like that...

Anyhow, on a more serious note, you're throwing bible verses at me without using them in an arguement to prove anything. And arguement you need - not one of your verses directly proves your points that a)salvation is an immediate change rather than a long process and b)Purgatory does not exist and isn't necessary.

Also, I really don't like to get bible verses involved in discussions with fundamentalists, for one really good reason: fundies tend to forget that the original versions of the Old and New Testaments weren't written in English. While this may seem a simple matter of translation, the problem is that fundamentalists tend to get hung up on precise wordings of their own translation and forget that other people reading other translations of the same bible read different things. Looking at my mother's comparative bible, it looks like you're using the New American Standard translation, which is a strict word-for-word translation that, without an extensive knowledge of ancient Greek and English grammar, can become quite convoluted. I, myself, use and prefer the Revised New American tranlation, which is a slightly less strict word-for-word translation that more closely follows common English grammar and is a bit easier to read. To drive my point home, I include the RNAB translations of the same passages.

Ephesians 1:13-14 "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory."

When read this way, it appears more that being sealed with the Holy Spirit (which, for Catholics, occurs both in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation) is the first step towards "redeption as God's posession," or salvation in the Catholic sense. As I am not a schollar in ancient Greek, I cannot say this for certain, though.

The NASB and RNAB translations of John 5:24 and 10:28 are nearly identical, so I won't type it out. However, since you tossed these into consideration, I would point out that by the first verse alone one could construe that Christ's ressurection was not necessary for the gift of eternal life. You and I both know that this is not true, but it illustrates the danger of singling out one or two verses to make major theological decisions upon. The second verse, taken alone, suggests that once one is given eternal life, it will never be taken away. It does not address when it is granted or attained.

Hebrews 1:3 "who is the refulgence of his [God's] glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,"

This is part of the opening of the epistle that describes the nature of the relationship between the Father and Son, and is intended as an investigation into the nature of Christ. The point of the letter itself is to instruct on the nature of Christ, not salvation. Yes, Christ's death did purify the world of its sins, just as his resurrection opens to us the path of eternal life. However, if we cling to our sins even after this redemption, and continue to sin further, does this not sully the surface which His sacrifice for us has cleaned? Catholicism, through the Eucharist, allows us to participate in this redemptive purification repeatedly, for those who choose it. This reflects the continual and unlimited aspect of Christ's sacrifice, as well as the fact that we, as sinners living in a sinful world, continually need to be redeemed.

The NASB and RNAB translations of 1 John 2:2 are nearly similar (with RNAB using "expiation" for "propitation") so I will not copy it here. However, I find it interesting that you chose this verse, noting those which preceed it. 1 John 1:7-10 says
If we say, "We are without sin," we decieve ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknoledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say "We have not sinned," we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This section, to me, suggests that sins are only forgiven when we admit to them as sins. If we do not acknowledge them, the we chose our sins over God and so push Him out. Without God's help, our sins cannot be removed. Purgatory, in this light, is the place after death where all remaining sins, however small and minor, can be removed with God's help. If we do not admit to these sins, God's word, Christ, is not in us, and without Christ in us we cannot hope to enter into communion with God in heaven.

I still fail to see how not knowing about my state of salvation is risky. As long as I keep trying to (and do better at) walking in the light and living as Christ did, which just happens to be the point of Christian religion, and atone for my sins when I go astray, I should be all right. Since all I have to do for salvation is what I'm supposed to be doing anyway, I don't see this as risky at all.

Alrighty, the party line on Baptism. To quote the Nicean Creed: "We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." This means that one baptism is good for the rest of your life. It washes away not only all one's previous sins, but also the original sin committed by Adam and Eve. Baptism, preferably, is done by immersion. However, such isn't usually an option and poured water (or some other liquid in extreme cases) is usually employed for the sacrament. The symbol necessary for the sacrament is a moving liquid, in keeping with the theme of cleansing. Catholics also only recognize tripartite baptisms, namely those in which the formula "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." is used. Other forms of baptism without this formula, or without a moving liquid, are considered invalid. When being done by immersion, the naming of one of the three Persons is accompanied by the complete immersion of the person being baptised. In ancient times, this immersion would last up to the point of suffocation. This was to symbolize the person's death to sin and rebirth in Christ, taking advantage of both the life-sustaining and deadly aspects of water. Those who are already properly baptized do not need to be rebaptized when they join the Catholic faith, but instead only make a profession of faith.

That's a lot of stuff on baptism there, and I'm not currently in the mood to organize it better. Maybe I will later. As far as I know, that's all by the book Catholic, and I don't have any arguements with it.

For those regulars who haven't quit reading by now, brownie points will go out as usual to the first to identify the source of the title of this post.

:: The Squire 9:13 PM :: email this post :: ::


New Shoes!

I've finally cast off my crappy rockport walking shoes for a pair of nice, sedate black leather New Balance walking shoes. Maybe these'll last longer than two months before starting to look bad.

:: The Squire 6:00 PM :: email this post :: ::


And They Expect Him To Win?!?

Via Archpundit comes this nice little piece on how out of touch Alan Keyes, Republican candidate for the Illinois senate seat, actually is.

Republican Alan Keyes said Friday that he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice when senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate, asked about past comments he had made on the election process, said the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

... Obama, headed to Cleveland for a fresh round of fund raising, issued a statement saying he supports popular election of U.S. senators.

"I certainly trust the people of Illinois to choose who they want to represent them in the U.S. Senate," he said. "That is the very basis of our democracy."

'Nuff Said. Everyone with Republican friends needs to make sure they hear every stupid thing that comes out of this man's mouth. Obama may be left of center, but Keyes is flying around with the black helicopter people.

...Archpundit also has some more extended commentary on this.

If He Was From Illinois, Keyes Would Understand the Problem

..Now does anyone in this state think the four tops should be choosing our Senators as well as screwing up the state (no disrespect meant to Cross guys)? Think about it---Philip, Daniels, Madigan and Jones deciding on a Senator?

Even more relevant to the election we are in the middle of---Peter Fiztgerald would never have been chosen (well without CMB he wouldn't have been elected either) and so we'd have no Patric Fitzgerald.

...The reason for the 17 Amendment was to disempower corrupt state goverment from sending people to the Senate who were not responsive to citizens' needs. While the level of corruption is far different no matter how much we complain about the current Lege, the problem would still exist.

:: The Squire 5:41 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Friday, August 13, 2004 ::
People With Too Much Money

Ananova reports that a new New York restraunt will cater to cats.

The Meow Mix Café opens next week on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, reports the New York Post.

But the cafe, a promotion by the Meow Mix cat food company, will only be open for a week.

But company boss Richard Thompson it could re-open permanently and sprout franchises around the country if it's popular.

The café features tables where cats can try out six varieties of Meow Mix - and where their owners can snack on people food.

:: The Squire 9:50 PM :: email this post :: ::


More Fencing Fun

NBC has a great informational site on fencing up. If you have dial-up it may take a bit to load, but it's decently informative.

:: The Squire 9:11 PM :: email this post :: ::



I checked in the Tribune's Olympic suppliment and as far as I can tell, all three disciplines of Fencing will not be televised. Not that I blame them for foil - A-level foil is one of the hardest sports to watch. Sabre, though, I don't quite understand. All levels of Sabre consist of people yelling, running at each other, and slashing. Last I checked, that was still good TV. Oh, well.

:: The Squire 8:57 PM :: email this post :: ::


Belated Notice

Microsoft has released Windows XP Service Pack 2 (or XP SP2). It's a honking huge download, but it addresses many security issues and will likely be required in order to connect to the university LAN this year. I know I'm going to download it when I get to campus. You should too by running Windows Update on your XP machine.

:: The Squire 12:03 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Thursday, August 12, 2004 ::
In Case You Were Wondering

Yes, the cable modem was installed today. After six years of waiting, my folks now have broadband and I won't tie up the phone lines anymore whenever I go online.

:: The Squire 11:18 PM :: email this post :: ::


That's About It, Really...

Via Brad Delong, the Onion has morphed the "Anybody But Bush" philosophy into a campaign platform that Kerry-Edwards can use.

"This country has embraced a new and dangerously ineffective disregard for the world," Kerry said. "In order to win the global war against terror, we must promote democracy, freedom, and opportunity around the world. My national-defense policy will be guided by one imperative: Don't be George Bush. As will my plans to create a strong economy, protect civil rights, develop a better healthcare system, and improve homeland security."

..."I promise you, here and now, that I will enact my one-point plan on the day I enter the Oval Office," Kerry said. "For the last three and a half years, we've had George W. Bush, and today I have this to say: We can do better!"

:: The Squire 10:50 PM :: email this post :: ::


How Stupid Can You Be?

Having sex while driving is always a bad idea.

Police believe a US teenager who crashed a car into a telegraph pole was having sex with his girlfriend at the time.

The man and the woman, both 18, ended up in hospital after the accident in Vineland, New Jersey, reports the Daily Journal.

The driver was naked from the waist down while the girl's pants were on the passenger seat, according to a police report.

A witness told police he saw a female passenger climb on top of the driver and move as if the couple were having sex just before the car veered off the road and hit the pole.

:: The Squire 2:34 AM :: email this post :: ::



No comment, just ouch.

:: The Squire 1:52 AM :: email this post :: ::


Posted Warning

Every Thursday afternoon and Friday morning I'd have the following statement written on my dry-erase board in the Eco-Con area at camp.

While it may be my problem, and I may have to deal with it, your complete and total lack of foresight is not my fault.

I came up with it first period as I dealt with all the people who didn't quite seem to realise that I was serious when I said that all paperwork was due in at 5pm on Thursday. I originally thought of putting in "stupidity" for "lack of foresight," but then I thought better of it.

:: The Squire 12:59 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 ::
Blogging Back And Forth

It appears that LeonPeon is trying very hard to do the conversion thing, though it looks like she never really had any good instruction in Catholicism in the first place. Rather than place her response and then my own on the site, I've decided to do a line-by-line commentary, not only because it'll make more sense but also 'cos her emails are line-wrapped really weirdly.

This is LeonPeon. I got your e-mail. I decided to leave the Catholic church because it was too much tradition and not enough Bible.

All Tradition (with a capital "T," an important distinction) in our Church stems either from the Bible itself or the documented practices of the Apostles and their followers, i.e. those who actually knew Christ himself. If that isn't an authentic source, I don't know what is. Besides, after Vatican II there were many changes to the way things were done in the church, stripping away many of the (small "t") traditions that had cropped up in the past 1500 years. Also worth noting is that there are three readings from the bible in every Sunday Mass, plus two during the weekday Masses. Catholics are also encouraged to join bible study groups. I don't understand where you get the idea that Catholicism is lacking in scriptural involvement.

Plus, the whole Pope thing never made any sense to me. We should never bow down to any man. We should only bow down to Christ.

I don't remember ever bowing down to the Pope. On that subject, John Paul II, the current pontiff, is a very learned man. He is a leading religious scholar, reads and writes over 90 languages and can speak 14 fluently. Conservative as he is, he deserves some respect. I will admit that medieval Popes were, shall we say, less than desirable for the position (as was, sadly, most of the church at the time). I am glad to say that things have turned around considerably post-Rennaissance, though.

In regards to your email about liking the fact that you don't know if you will go to Heaven when you die, I can only tell you that is a risky way of thinking.

Risky? I don't understand how you mean that.

If you should fall into sin, you will not be damned to hell, unless you don't ask for forgiveness and repent. What do you mean by, "if I can be redeemed."? If you believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, then you already are redeemed. You don't have to wait until you die to find out whether or not you are going to Heaven. God promises salvation to anyone who hears the word and believes on the name of Jesus Christ. Now, that doesn't just mean believing, it also means living your life in such a way that no one would ever question whether you are a Christian. Everyone sins everyday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to Hell. I have sinned today, but I asked for forgiveness and I know that God washed away my sins, just as he did yours if you are His child, by giving Jesus, His Son, as a living Sacrifice. Jesus' blood washed away all the sins that were, are, and will be committed. There is no reason for Purgatory. You said that in Purgatory, souls remove all that is sinful in themselves. Souls cannot do that. Only God can remove all the impurities in souls and if you are a Christian, Christ's blood has already removed all the sin from your soul.

I apologize for the unclear language. Your understanding on sin is correct, as far as I can tell, though need some clarification. With God's help, all sin can be erased, but only if you (or I) let Him help. If anyone were to try on their own, they would fail, as removing sin is something only He can do. As for salvation, no one is absolutely guranteed salvation. Christ's death on the cross did redeem humanity, but it his ressurection that is more important, in that it opens to us the possibility of everlasting life. Jesus loves you whether you like it or not, but you have to love and respect yourself, others, and Him in order to let that love work in you and change you to be ever more like Him. This is a process that is not instantaneous, as anyone who has truely "grown in Christ" can attest. Continual discernment and guidance is required to proceed upon this path. Also, because sin is an integral part of the world as we know it, this is a process that cannot be totally completed here (though one can get a good start). In this understanding, Purgatory is the place where this process continues after death, in an environment where no external sin exists. Again, it is through Christ's resurrection and the promise of everlasting life, as well as with God's constant help, that this salvation is possible.

Side note: all Catholics are Christian. We kinda started the whole gig and get a bit miffed when people imply that we're not Christian. All other Christian faiths are some distortion of a phase of Catholicism (or Orthodoxy, but that a whole other barrel of worms...).

Yes, you will still sin, but God promises that if you ask for forgiveness, your sins are as far from you as the East is from the West.

Umm, nope. If I ask for forgiveness and truely repent, my sins not only separate from me, the cease to have ever existed.

In closing, (which by the way, I'm only hitting the surface) I will agree with you that switching faiths is not a light decision, however, I know that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

Unless either of us have degrees in theology, philosophy, or divinity shoved someplace, (and I know I don't) any of our discussions will only scratch the surface.

1 love, 1 God, 1 way

A Slave of Christ

I do look forward to your response to this post, LeonPeon.

Yours in Christ,

:: The Squire 11:47 PM :: email this post :: ::


News On This Year's Roommate

My roommate had called while I was at camp (and miles away from a line to the outside world) so I didn't get to talk to him until last night, when I found out that my roommate is a FRESHMAN. That's right, a FRESHMAN. Last year I might've dealt well with a frosh, but this year? At least a) my gf will have a single in another dorm and b) the frosh is a math major as opposed to, say, business. It still sucks that I've got a freshman for a roommate, though. I'm gonna have to talk to my RD about this when I get to skool.

:: The Squire 3:30 PM :: email this post :: ::


:: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 ::
Good News!

My folks are getting a cable modem installed on Thursday. No longer will I be subjected to slow websurfing speeds when away from my dorm room.

:: The Squire 3:27 PM :: email this post :: ::


Beyond Stupidity

On the way home from my grandmother's today we sat for five minutes as someone in an Oldsmobile SUV, who had gotten in the automatic lanes without having any change, tried tossing dollar bills into the basket. I have no further comment on this.

:: The Squire 3:07 PM :: email this post :: ::


A Position Worth Having

Mark Green at The Nation (and this is belated, I know) outlines the tenets of "Progressive Patriotism."

:: The Squire 10:49 AM :: email this post :: ::


:: Monday, August 09, 2004 ::
News From The TARDIS

The Daleks in the new series will have legs.

Also, current reports also suggest that there's a company trying to build Dalek-like robots. Scary.

:: The Squire 9:07 PM :: email this post :: ::



Apparently an El Nino episode may be on its way.

In a monthly report devoted to monitoring El Nino which was issued late Thursday, the Center said sea surface temperatures have risen in the central Pacific Ocean and may "indicate the possible early stages of a warm episode."

The Center predicted on its web site that "El Nino conditions are expected to develop during the next three months."

:: The Squire 8:53 PM :: email this post :: ::


Stating The Obvious

I'm back from camp now, so I should be posting a little more frequently. Like last year, things'll pick up after I get back to skool in a couple weeks.

Anyhow, explorers in Croatia have found a cave with what is believed to be the world's longest subterranean vertical drop.

:: The Squire 8:45 PM :: email this post :: ::


I Got A Letter

So I'm slogging through the email backlog for the blog (mostly spam) when I came across a letter - the first ever generated by someone visiting the blog:

I have a blog and through my blog I can across yours. I was wondering if people can comment on your blogs or not. I had a couple questions for you and I couldn't figure out how to comment. The couple questions were in regards to your belief of Catholiscism. (sp?) I used to be Catholic, but now I am Baptist. I was wondering this...if you were to die today, would you go to Heaven? If yes, how do you know? Just wondering. By the way, my blog is LeonPeon, if you want to know.

To which I replied:


I can honestly say that I do not know where I will go upon my death, and that I like it this way. Even though I am Baptized, am in full communion with my church, and am confirmed, my soul is and always will be in jeopardy of falling into sin. If I were to fall completely into sin I would be damned to hell. However, if I can be redeemed I will go into Purgatory, which is a theologically intense subject to handle, and from there into Heaven. If you want, I can dig up some good links for
you on the subject, but for now I'll refer you to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for an in-depth discussion of it. The quickie version goes like this: Heaven is the ultimate abode of all good souls, where they spend the rest of existance with God. Such souls have to be perfect in nature as any sin will cause them immense pain while in the presence of such a perfect and good being. Purgatory is the temporary place where souls who are destined for Heaven remove (or purge) all that is sinful from themselves. Purgatory is a temporary place - because all souls in Purgatory are headed to Heaven, Purgatory will cease to exist as soon as the last soul leaves it shortly after the end of the world.

I'm not quite up on what the Baptists believe (as I'm more familiar with the denominations most closely related to the Mother Church) but I have problems with the idea/logic of the predestination system, which I will be more than happy to into later if you so desire. I would like to ask, though, what made you leave the Catholic church? Switching one's religion is not a lightly made decision.


I now await her response.

:: The Squire 6:22 PM :: email this post :: ::


Pet Peeve XLIII


Mushheads are scouts who don't have a clue and, while often portly, can come in the stick-thin variety as well. The younger ones are often marked by their "greasy sausage fingers" and complete lack of fine motor control, but as mushhead-dom can extend to any age (mushhead leaders being commonplace) this is not a sure-fire sign. Mushheads are always marked by an inability to do the paperwork required for certain merit badges without getting a boot to the butt from either an adult leader or a staffman. Common mushhead-approved merit badges are Swimming, Leatherwork, and Mammal Study. Occasionally (i.e. every week) some leaders or parents decide that their first- or second-year mushhead scout is capable of taking my merit badge, Environmental Science, because it's an Eagle-required badge. Because the leader's manual lists Envi-Sci as a 13 yr old reccommended badge I do not provide the boot-to-the-butt service, and so most of the mushheads get partials. 90% of the partials I gave out this past summer were to mushheads.

Mushheads also have their own dialect of the English language named Mushheadski, which is most amusingly spoken by non-mushheads.

:: The Squire 5:38 PM :: email this post :: ::


Something I Didn't Need To Hear From My Ex-Girlfriend

"I'm so drunk and so horny right now."

:: The Squire 5:33 PM :: email this post :: ::


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