Items over the last few days ... Winnie the Pooh's Friend Piglet Banned in British Municipal Office - "Offends Muslim Staff"
- The FREE PIGLET Campaign. MyCatholic.com
via Summa Mamas
I have tried this. It is an easy way for me to get a hold of articles I normally do not see on a day to day basis. I tend to scour secular news for information about the Church, which usually leads to rage and often times saddened hilarity. Its good to have ONE point to get news about Catholicism from CATHOLICS. The Toronto Star published a column full of bile and venom against the Church.
via Bettnet - Musings from Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.Father sues abortion pill (RU 486) provider over daughter's death
via No So Quiet Catholic Corner
A couple of cardinals: Pro-abort Catholic pols not a private issue70% of Italians Oppose Same-Sex 'Marriage'
via ++ relapsed catholicMERLOT
via Summa Mamas: For those of you homeschooling older kiddos....
I linked to this in a recent post ... Catholic Church no longer trusts the Bible
Keep in mind that the title of that article is patently false.
and some possible good news?Anglicans Seeking Union With Rome!
I believe it when I see it. I would be very pleased should this come about.
I am about convinced that the not so stated purpose of education in this country is to do one of two things:
2. Generate worker bees
I can tell this most obviously in political discussion. Basically most people are able to spit out talking points for the Democrat, Republican and in some cases the Libertarian or some other third party.
The idea, it seems, is that that one party has given us a coherent block of thinking that makes it safe for us to ignore what the ignoramuses on other sides of an issue are thinking. I find it even more interesting that these are the same folks who like to accuse Catholics of bowing their every whim to the thoughts of one man, the Pope. That, however, is not reality. There are FEW truths which Catholics must believe, at least in comparison the the number of "truths" spelled out by the average political party on issues most important to a country.
Catholics cannot deny things like:
The Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
There IS a hell
Abortion is ALWAYS wrong
My point is that those who criticize Catholic thought, and especially the idea of dogma, are quick to adopt zombie like zeal in following a party line point for point in whatever political party they are a part of. After all, people who think like they do cannot be all that bad and their word can be trusted without thought. Besides, they were taught that way. In school developing your political identity WAS important. It had very little to do with truth. In college I had a political science professor tell our class that "I don't care what you believe, but it is important to know WHY you believe it?" The idea is that you would choose your side and craft your worldview according to those principles. In adopting the talking points of a political identity a person is surrendering their thought to an ideology that covers far more of lifes questions than the ones answered by the Church.
Of course the problem with all of this is that there IS TRUTH. Its not about trusting your gut and then finding out why you are right about a myridad of, honestly, mostly insignificant issues. It is, in my experience about finding out how wrong you are. A wise man once told me that "if there is one thing that you can be certain of, it is that you are wrong about something". Almost every conversion to Catholicism I have read involved a person having to shed numerous CORE beliefs. You are torn between what you want to believe and the evidence that points to a sobering conclusion that it is necessary to become something you either used to hate or are deathly afraid to become. I am not Catholic because I like being right about a whole bunch of things. I am Catholic because I was humbled in the face of all of my errors.
But all of those errors, once corrected, pointed back to a few truths that have been preserved and carried down through the centuries. I surrender to those few things because I have found it reasonsable to do so. One of the biggest things I give up was being right about being a member of a particular political party. Like I have seen pointed out numerous times recently, "right now they are with us" but who knows what tomorrow holds.
Avian flu gitters? Wash your hands!
FAQ on Avian flu
via Catholic and Enjoying It!
I am not exactly prone to panic about things like this. I mean, the numbers they are talking about are 5-150 million people could die in a pandemic with a new avian flu. Sooner or later something like that is going to happen. With the 1918 breakout the numbers worldwide were in the 20 million range with 500,000 of them being in the United States. I would guess that at the time the US contained a greater portion of the worlds population, but for the sake of easy numbers lets say things are the same and NO factors other than simple proportion would affect US numbers up or down.
A similar breakout today using the numbers I have frequently seen cited would result in anywhere from 125,000 to 5.6 million dead in the United States. For comparison, 600,000 is about the usual yearly death toll from heart attacks in this country. There are good reasons to think that this possible pandemic would come in on the low side, furthermore the high number I have cited for the US is beyond because of things like better treatments in the US and the fact that the US population as a percentage of the world population could be lower (look at birth rates here and elsewhere in the world and you will see why I initially think this).
From the FAQ I posted above, the best thing we can really do about this is WASH OUR HANDS, literally. If you are prone to panic the one thing you really need to buy is lots of soap. SWEET!
- back up to a Slithering Reptile. I am sure I will be an insect or something this afternoon. :)
Redemptive Suffering: "Offering it Up"
via Happy Catholic
The second link (Happy Catholic) is an excellent succinct overview of something I didn't understand very well as I entered the Church. I always wondered if there was some sort of action that we were supposed to do in order to offer up our sacrifices. I had the same problem initially with Eucharistic adoration. What exactly IS IT that I am supposed to do for one hour in front of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord? In both cases I have kind of felt my way along doing the best I can. Come to find out, that is really about all you can do in either situation and the rewards for it are incredible. Sometimes just trying to be obedient is best way to find out.
Vince struck Spain/Portugal as a tropical storm?
Vince struck southern Spain/Portugal as a tropical storm
The 2005 season continues its strange ways this morning when Vince made landfall in EUROPE still with tropical characteristics.
AT 5 AM EDT...0900Z...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION VINCE WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 37.2 NORTH... LONGITUDE 7.1 WEST OR ALONG THE
COAST OF SOUTHWESTERN SPAIN NEAR HUELVA. VINCE IS THE FIRST
TROPICAL CYCLONE ON RECORD TO MAKE LANDFALL IN SPAIN.
Civilization - and around Catholic blogs
"Civilization in the best sense merely means the full authority of the human spirit over all externals. Barbarism means the worship of those externals in their crude and unconquered state. Barbarism is the worship of nature." - G.K. Chesterton: "All Things Considered"
More to come on this later (I hope) The Lure of Saints: A Protestant Experience Of Catholic Tradition
via Happy Catholic
- given resurrgence in Protestant devotion to Mary, I cannot say I am surprised.Church Leaders Unite in Opposition to Assisted Dying BillScientists create GM mosquitoes to fight malaria and save thousands of lives
via Catholic and Enjoying It!
And FINALLY ... some early thoughts about the Narnia film from a Catholic scriptwriter who has seen it:Narnia: Deep MagicFinal Notes...
My blog has been acting up the past few weeks. It seems the RSS feed
always works even when everything else doesn't. Hopefully we won't have to resort to that in the future.
Ignorance about Catholic teachings
The gross ignorance about Catholicism and the inability or desire to modify said ignorances was one of the most shocking things I encountered in my years as a Protestant. Many Protestant churches I attended did not display outward ignorance but some did, and on a level that was mind boggling.
Let me give a few examples
Catholics worship statues (1162
), Mary (971
) and the saints.
Catholics believe that Christ is re-sacrificed at each mass. (1545
Catholics don't believe the bible. (105+
) -- by recent example, this ignorance is even further hampered when mainstream press issues articles like this
(via Catholic and Enjoying It!
) further cementing ignorance and bias in the minds of the masses.
In each of these cases the teachings of the Church demonstrate that they are frequently misunderstood and often grossly misrepresented. The problem is, simply repeating the same falsehoods over and over about the Church wasn't going to miraculously make the assertions true. One must demonstrate that Catholics believe these things. According to the teachings of the Church, Catholics simply don't believe them. The explanation of these teachings is often met with violent opposition as if being wrong on this ONE point will somehow verify that the Catholic Church is right about everything. That logic, of course, doesn't follow, so why the violent opposition?
Is it really that hard to take a man or a religion, especially one with clear official teachings, at its own word? I found the answer in some settings to be overwhelmingly NO.
Another perplexing phenomenon I witnessed was objection to the Catholic Church over and above Episcopalianism. I couldn't understand the hatred towards the Catholic position but not towards Protestants who held similar positions. Everyone I knew was fine with C.S. Lewis holding to a doctrinal purgatory, or to the Orthodox for a post-life cleansing state but the Catholic doctrine was somehow wrong where the others were not. The feeling was; "At worst those folks were just wrong on one or two points" or "its not the same as purgatory". Catholics, however, were out in left field on everything for holding to the SAME DOCTRINES and, worse, giving them unbiblical names, which brings me to my final point. I cannot tell you how many times I read that because the word "papas" (pope) did not exist prior to the 4th century that Catholics didn't believe in the primacy of the bishop of Rome until AT LEAST that time. The problem is that there is historical evidence of actions demonstrating such authority prior to then. The same is true with the word "transubstantiation". The word came into use in the 12th or 13th century, but the historical doctrine of the Church has been in line with it since Christ uttered the words "This is my body". A better way I have seen this clarified is to point out that just because the word "car" did not come into regular use until the 1930's doesn't mean that there were not cars prior to 1930.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - William Shakespeare
What I saw were many bad arguments against the Catholic Church. If anything, these arguments drove me TOWARDS Rome. Catholic apologists always seemed more credible in defense of these doctrines because the hatred clearly seemed lacking on their side of the fence (this is not always the case). These were simple objections with rational yet frequently more verbose refutations.
The goal with opponents seemed to be collecting as much as possible to deal with the one error of Catholicism. Sadly, not the greatest level of discernment seems to have been employed. It seemed more to me that anything that could be piled on to make your book about the evils of Catholicism 700 pages instead of 80 pages was worth getting in on. After all, a larger book meant a BIGGER and BETTER case, right? It didn't really. It greatly undermined the case AGAINST the Church. I knew that in order to give the Catholic Church a fair shake I was going to have to sift through a sea of arguments based solely on hatred for the Church vs. those based on the actual teachings themselves. My own objections were based somewhat on many of these superfluous and lacking arguments but I knew there were some solid and more intellectually stimulating objections out there. Those were the ones I intended to either find explained or find sufficiently damaging to prevent my continued conversion to Catholicism.
This "straw man" aspect demonstrated itself over and over and was most obvious in the Protestant understanding of indulgences at the church I initially attended out of college. [next post]
Little late night reading
Why is getting rid of your TV SO rAdiKal?
OK, I am getting tired of having to explain to folks why we got rid of our TV. The MAIN reason was for the health and well being of our children. Since we got rid of the TV, I have noticed the following behavior changes:
1. They play together more frequently and are able to stay occupied with creative activity longer.
2. They are calmer.
3. They are more interested in music, learning, EXERCISE.
I am sure my wife could expound on this more than I could but the fact is that the change has been welcome FOR ALL OF US. Also, with parenting, there is a significant temptation to give in to using the TV as a babysitter. THIS IS DANGEROUS ON SO MANY LEVELS. Some parents get to the point where pulling their TV away is so painful that they protect it like they do their own children. I know. I felt this way. However *I* want to raise my kids. I don't want the head honchos at PBS raising my kids.
The increase in attention span should be enough justification for such a wild and crazy move but it isn't. I mentioned this to a group of friends yesterday and it was like I sawed off an arm. Giving up TV shouldn't be such a radical thing. Its not like I am giving up food or water. I am exchanging TV time for more time with my family, more time to read, more time to blog and more time to engage my brain. I need that. Watching TV is like eating candy. If you do it too much your brain gets sick. If you rid candy from your diet entirely it is a very GOOD and healthy thing. If you rid TV from your diet entirely ... well ... you get the point.
Its not radical folks ... later I might even post some anti-TV rants to further justify this choice.
TTLB Ecosystem downgrade
I notice I have been downgraded to a Flippery Fish again. Oh well, my Slithering Reptile days were glorious. I stopped regularly posting for weeks on end and my blog got MORE popular. Maybe I should take that as a sign? Update: GOOD GRIEF ... In a matter of hours I was downgraded to a Slimy Mollusc. Must have been the TV rant.
Diversity, Science ... oh .. and nerds
Look up!!!! My wife made a fabu banner for me ... Diversity
We went to a Maronite mass this past weekend and I was so impressed with the theology dripping throughout the mass. I wish I had access to it like I do the indult TLM at St. Agnes. I would have to drive 50 minutes to a Maronite Church in Lafayette or wait a year. I also love the Tridentine mass for very similar reasons. Furthermore I feel the Novus Ordo can be done in such a way to carry across vital truths about the faith.
Anyway, I mentioned this because I was going to rant at some point about the legitimate diversity of the rites within the Church and the false "diversity" presented by many folks who are determined to make sure those masses are the ONLY ones eliminated from the Church. I decided against it in favor of just appreciating the mass I attended this past weekend. NO RANT FOR YOU!!!ScienceMars Global Surveyor: Mars For Press
I am sure scientists won't say "global warming" because it undermines use of the phrase for purposes on Earth, but its kind of hard to start pointing out that it is happening on Mars when you are trying to point out that men are to blame for it on Earth.Disclaimer: I am for responsible use of resources on this earth AND for development of technologies that minimize our impact on the earth. In fact, I think the "global warming" alarmists' basic goal is a good one. However, I am even more for responsible science on this earth. Truth is an important value to me. Propose a theory. CLEARLY label it as such and move forward with experimentation to show the premise is either true or false. More often than not I see statistics shoehorned into a premise labelled as "science". This is what science has become; a religion to some and thus a tool for those with an agenda. Statistics are NOT science. (page 11) The earth is getting warmer. I can buy that. The conclusion that we are to blame doesn't follow so easily. I just don't think we should be pushing "men are causing it" as a fact when we have evidence that it is happening on Mars without all of us nasty humans to muck it up.NYC Unveils Hurricane Evacuation Plan
- I am pumped by this. If there is ONE great thing that can come out of the tragedies of Katrina and Rita, it is making folks aware in other hurricane prone areas that a SOLID plan is necessary to save lives. New York City
can be expected to be hit by 1.6 major hurricanes every 100 years. The last was in 1938. I don't buy that they are "overdue", after all the chances are slim in any given year but sooner or later it IS going to happen. Lets hope that the plan they are developing gets better funding and that it works well when it is needed. Nerds
Fun Stuff (for any high bandwidth readers)Bill Gates Goes to College
- I am a nerd and this is funny nerd stuff. The Shining
- This is funny and utterly disturbing at the same time. It makes you wonder what kind of editing goes on in newsrooms ... Hmmmmm
These nominations by Bush ...
IF IF IF
So IF Bush turns out to squander the best reason for voting FOR him over Democrat igmos like Kerry how many people are going to still keep buying the line from the Republicans that they are truly committed to the pro-life cause?
The promises ring hollower and hollower. There really is no point in feeding me a memo straight from the administration about all they HAVE done. I have seen it and I am not impressed. The rubber hits the road with these nominations and IF they turn out to maintain status quo, then NOTHING has been done. IF millions keep dying in abortion clinics in this nation, Republican pro-life voters will have continued to be duped into voting for Republicans on an issue that they have secretly already conceded can't be changed. Are Pro-lifers being USED by the Republicans? Think about it. As long as they can keep the public debate "open" and do nothing about it they will get votes on sheer emotion alone. MAYBE THATS ALL THEY CARE ABOUT.
IF things pan out as I fear, I will waste that vote for someone that has no chance of winning and sleep better knowing that the person I voted for really intended to change things in this country regarding life. Voting for people who are blatantly pro-death or voting for people who really have no incentive to solve the problem because it will erode their base just isn't the way to go about solving the abortion evil in this country.
Democrats aren't the lesser evil IF Republicans are not willing to DO what they SAY to their voters. I guess this is the age old problem we all have with politicians. Promises vs. Actions.
Maybe I will feel better tomorrow but there are my raw emotions on the matter ... Peace
My musings on effective Christian small groups
We had ineffective small groups in our RCIA class and in the Alpha course I did as a Protestant. The problem is that most small groups fail to take into consideration a few basic ground rules regarding the majority of us who are uncomfortable in the setting until they get familiar with people. Small groups also require an effective group leader. I must admit that most leaders I have encountered are woeful at the task. This is true both in my Protestant background and in my Catholic background. The only effective small group I have ever been in was one that met on a continual basis over a series of years. It took time for the dynamic to develop and the dynamic was largely developed by a group leader PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED (i.e. college degree) in dealing with people. He realized developing the relationships in the group was necessary before anything worthwhile would come of the group. Still, for me being an introvert, the comfort level took months to materialize. I am not saying that a small group cannot function well without professional help but it takes time for an effective dynamic to develop between people. In some cases it might happen rather quickly. In others, it could take an uncomfortable period of months.
I have also been present in effective small groups where I was the odd guy out but it was clear to me that everyone else was getting something out of it. The common thread here is familiarity with the people. Everyone knew everyone else and the conversation flowed immediately to the topics at hand because Johnny had an idea where Sue was coming from by having at least a basic understanding of her life experience.
Relationships are more like plants growing from seeds. Its not like buying full grown trees and dropping them into the ground. That is why random small groups are irrirtating to me. You're expecting fruit to come from seeds. Nine times out of ten I know I am going to get a group leader who has no idea how to draw people into the conversation, thus I can look forward to 30 minutes or an hour of watching 15 people stare awkwardly at their watches. The time would be far better spent getting to know each other so that the next time the group meets the awkardness is lessened. Growth of the group is necessary before the real fruit is realized.
Hurricane Rita - family update, Holly Beach
OK, I said I was going to avoid posting on hurricanes but I have to post a family update:
My in-laws got back to Beaumont and are leaving again. They said it is a ghost town and that many of the trees have been defoliated. They have no idea how long they will be gone from their homes. Prayers appreciated.
Also, review these two pictures to get an idea of how bad Hurricane Rita damage was at ground zero.
Holly Beach before
Holly Beach after
So don't let anyone tell you that Rita was a nothin' storm. Just because it wasn't Katrina doesn't mean it wasn't an incredibly bad storm.
I have decided to try and blog a little more. I am more sane when I do blog ... The recent hurricanes have really gotten me off track. Anyway, I am not going to vent on that any more ... best keeping my thoughts to myself on the matter.
More Catholic blogging. That is what I started this blog for anyway. Time to refocus this blog and refocus my life.
Thank you Jesus!!!
Utterly surreal - or, this is in fact very real
**rough draft ... more links to be added later**
I am a Baton Rouge resident. I want to give my assesment of what is going on down in New Orleans by explaining what I have been through emotionally the past few days.
My wife and I made a decision on late Friday night that if the storm looked like it was heading for the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 or 5, then we would leave. On Saturday morning the storm was a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. I am a self professed storm nerd. I know enough to be dangerous but not enough to be worth listening to by folks who need information. I trust that the professionals know what they are doing. I have spent enough time mingling with them to realize they are good at what they do given the limitations we have in understanding the complexities of weather systems. Compared to even 10 years ago we have made huge strides. We have DOPPLER indicated tornadoes, giving lead time to persons in the path and the 3 and 5 day projections for hurricanes are getting better and better. Some of the computer models just this season have been pegging the paths of these storms with startling clarity. Still, with all we do know ... they still get it wrong. Hurricane Charley last season was a perfect example of this. People focused on where they thought it would go ashore. They foused on what they thought the intensity might be. At the very end it rapidly intensified and jogged right of track. With Katrina, however, they were on ... stunningly so. Because of my having followed previous storms I understood the reality of a Category 4 or 5 making landfall in the projection area.
One only needs read personal accounts of Hurricane Camille, The Labor Day Storm of 1935, Hurricane Andrew and especially the Great 1900 Storm to get an idea of what the worst case scenario could be like.
On Saturday I began to feel very uneasy, mostly because of all of the past information I had collected in my head about these storms. I knew something could go horribly wrong. I felt it deep inside that this one would be different. This would be the one to actually hit New Orleans. I began to find out the knot in my stomach was not something I was feeling alone. I got ahold of the following news report
about the worst case scenario of what could happen in New Orleans; A category 4 or 5 making landfall in such a way to completely fill the city with water in short time. The scenario was nightmarish. Death totals would be in the tens of thousands.
I was up all throughout the night because my young children were taking the opportunity away from home to not sleep through the night. I would comfort them and take a peek at the latest information about Katrina. The horror I felt as the scenario they were predicting was unfolding was sinking in. My in-laws noticed. My wife noticed. I sensed history in the making. It was watching a frieght train headed towards the helpless .... and knowing, if it went as they say, the results would be incomprehensible.
Rewind a couple of hurricane seasons. Hurricane Lili. People asked to evacuate the city. Many did. Many complained about having to do so saying they never would leave again. Fast forward to last season. Hurricane Ivan takes aim at the gulf coast. Many were asked to leave. The drive times to Baton Rouge from New Orleans were eight times greater than normal. Many more complained about having to make the trek and said they would never do so again. It has been decades since an event even close to what has occurred has taken place even near the New Orleans area. Betsy was in 1965. Camille was in 1969. Those were before our time. Even those in our time were hard to fear. Mitch was thousands of miles away and besides, that was not the United States. The pinball-like body counts were just numbers on page three. Thousands dead couldn't happen here. The benchmark of our generation in this country was Andrew and not even 30 died in that storm. Times have changed. Or have they?
Sunday brought the sobering reality that what we had out there was a storm of tremendous proportions. The National Weather Service in New Orelans released the following statement:
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
1011 AM CDT SUN AUG 28 2005
...DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED...
.HURRICANE KATRINA...A MOST POWERFUL HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969.
MOST OF THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS...PERHAPS LONGER. AT LEAST ONE HALF OF WELL CONSTRUCTED HOMES WILL HAVE ROOF AND WALL FAILURE. ALL GABLED ROOFS WILL FAIL...LEAVING THOSE HOMES SEVERELY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED.
THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.
HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. ALL WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.
AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BEKILLED.
AN INLAND HURRICANE WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR HURRICANE FORCE...OR FREQUENT GUSTS AT OR ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE...ARE CERTAIN WITHIN THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.
ONCE TROPICAL STORM AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ONSET...DO NOT VENTURE OUTSIDE
We were closer to the reality of the nightmare scenario and that knot started getting bigger. I was almost sick. Maximum sustained winds of 175 miles and hour and a minimum pressure of 902 mb. For reference, the benchmark storm of our generation was 922 mb and its winds were 160 and to make matters worse, Andrew was a small hurricane compared to this. Furthermore, Andrew was primarily a wind event crumbing homes in to hardly recognizable piles of rubble. Still, I remember the day I educated myself on Camille. The pictures of multi-story buildings that were brushed away like a carpenter blowing the sawdust off his creation seemed impossible ... but there they were. It could get worse and it had been worse in the past. The gulf coast was staring down the barrell of a loaded gun and it was certainly going to fire. I kept those images in mind knowing that our beloved New Orleans was the target. Still surge wouldn't likely flow in and out like with Camille. Maybe that would spare some of the devestation, but flood waters would still cause significant loss of life.
I also thought back to the 1900 storm where an island of over 30,000 residents was innundated by surge covering nearly the entire island. Buildings collapsed with entire families inside. The horrors of the screams in the night must have haunted the survivors until their deaths many decades later. We knew surge kills, but we also knew how to get out of the way. That is the modern day advantage. Over 6000 people died on Galveston island that night with some estimates in the 8000 range and over 10,000 including the coastal areas on the shore of Texas across from the island. With all of this in mind, some things were not adding up about New Orlenas. It is always estimated that some people stay. They cannot leave or they choose not to leave. New Orleans is a large city. This storm was going to have a large surge. I have heard it takes 72 hours to evacutate the city. We had less time than that. Some people, even if everyone wanted to leave would be there. The scenario seemed more and more like Galveston than like Andrew or even Camille. There would be people behind and when the numbers started coming out that it could be as high as 200,000 people I felt even sicker ... The thought was torturing me -- It is now almost certain that people would die with this storm.
As the storm passed through I watched feverishly on the Internet for the latest information. Between checking with family and watching my hard drive fail making work impossble, I was checking the news. I was left with news reports comforting me with the idea that New Orleans was spared the worst. The major networks were hardly covering it. Still, the feeling wasn't gone. This was history and deep down I knew it. What I was seeing was like every other hurricane in recent memory. The images from the Superdome looked tame. Reporters were alive. They were well. Pictures were coming out of ground zero and other than wind damage, everything looked great. Lots of waving stop signs and bending trees. A couple of days would pass .. a small death total would materialize and this storm would pass into history just like all the others in our generation. Most hurricanes these days take our things. Still, I watched message boards for information, soon finding that the reports on the message boards were every bit as accurate as the news sites, and usually a few hours ahead. All of the sudden someone posted a picture of the bay bridge in Mobile with water raking at its bottom. This revealed a shocking piece of information. The storm surge with this hurricane was going to be unreal. Hundreds of miles away from the center we were seeing a surge of easily 15 feet. Also accounts of what happened to Jim Cantore of TWC left people making guesstimates of the storm surge in the Mississippi area. They were incredible and fortunately wrong .. but not by much. Rumors that the casinos had moved and that the storm surge was higher than Camille added fuel to the worry. It took the press almost 24 hours to start verifying the second hand reports but it soon became a reality. If the press was botching the job in the Mississippi area, what does that mean about New Orleans. Reports from the local officials in Mississippi that numerous folks decided to ride this one out made it even worse. It was becoming sadly apparent that this was worse than Camille and there were MORE people in the way. Despite the fact that the storm itself had weakened to a category 3, it maintained the category 5 storm surge.
We could only wait to see what had happened ...
Very little information was leaking out of New Orleans at first that led me to believe the situation was not as bad as they had described in predictions prior to the storm. The only alarming thing was that there were floating bodies, but that could be explained by the numerous above ground graves in the area. Surely we are beyond the era of large death tolls in the United States. I have to hold on to that.
I drove my family home just when they started showing the rescues and shots from the air. It looked pretty bad. Driving home brought home in a very real way the human toll of the mass exodus from New Orleans. It seemed everyone was from New Orleans on Tuesday. I saw a woman sobbing in a Burger King, being consoled by someone it seems she didn't even know. She had lost everything. She wasn't alone. Most people around her had as well. Not even I could see that until the last leg of our drive home. Listening to the people calling in on the radio and asking about areas I knew from the air shots were bad was like listening to a broken record. Caller after caller was hoping to hear someone say that things were fine. Every response was the same ... "I'm sorry ma'am, that area has been completely destroyed" ... A few glimmers of hope were offered to those who found out they only had a few feet of water in their homes. Call after call after call. It never ended. The national media could not see it at this point. People from New Orleans are all around us. They have nothing but their lives and the clothing on their backs. Priceless yes, but it doesn't soothe the pain they all feel. Paychecks will not be coming for most. Baton Rouge is now home to 500,000 homeless. Every five minutes the light noise is crashed by a helicopter headed down to pull survivors from their homes. One after another, after another, after another ... Everyday we meet someone new from New Orleans. I have yet to meet someone who hasn't had their lives impacted by someone who has missing relatives. The stories on the news are real. Men have lost their wives. Wives are looking for husbands that stayed behind to protect property that likely ended up crushing them under pounding waves and wind. This is reality in Louisiana. People are dying in New Orleans and every helicopter flight reminds us. Every five minutes the hope that one more person might make it streams overhead.
It became apparent to me that this was going to be a catastrophe. They were talking about there being a hundred people on the tops of houses in the Ninth Ward where it seemed the worst. I began to think the death toll across the coast could exceed that of Camille. With a hundred or so on the roof, you knew some didn't make it. When the numbers of people being rescued started to reach the thousands I knew deep in my heart my worst fears early on had been confirmed and the mayor of New Orleans added his own thoughts to the mix by saying that the death toll would probably be in the thousands. In my grossy uneducated opinion this storm will claim thousands of lives. I would not be shocked given what we have seen that the death toll could reach or exceed that of 9/11. The mix is deadly. Complacency by some, ignorance or -- most difficult to bear -- the sheer inablity to leave areas where death is near certain. I read a post suggesting that folks should have walked. Many people cannot. Its just that simple. They were doomed and I am sure many of them knew it.
I have seen one too many posts out on this wide Internet of ours claiming this situation is being blown out of proportion to make Bush look bad, or Blanco, or Nagin ... this is reality folks. Those are real people, from real families. Sadly, it can get worse. If a fire breaks out in New Orleans, they cannot stop it. As people get continually desperate because they have no food and water, the crime situation will get even more out of control. Anarchy reigns this night in New Orleans. It IS hell on earth.
I'll leave my thoughts with this ... The counts are not coming out of New Orleans. The number missing is staggering and even with poor communication we know some people will never communicate. The dead are everywhere. Things are so dire they can only push them aside. I think America is going to be shocked when the actual numbers start coming in. The stories will keep coming and they will get harder and harder to listen to. I have to listen to them because they are my neighbors. They need my sympathy even if that is all I can give.
I will finish this post with a link to a site containing shots of the Mississippi coast from the air
(click on the boxes). Please take 30 minutes to scour through it and then spend a few hours in prayer thankful for your own life and in awe of what you now know has happened on the coast. Finally, pray for those who are trapped and for rescuers who must find them.
Ivan creates 91 foot wave, Mobile vacation Aug 6,7
Ivan creates 91 foot wave offshore
Speaking of Ivan ... we went vacationing in that area this past weekend. Sat
Drove out of town around 7:45 am and managed to see the baloons launching for the local Baloon race
Got to St. Tammany Parish
Got to the grasshopper monster rest stop in Mississippi
Drove through the Interstate tunnel in Mobile (kids loved it)
Got to Eastern Shore Centre
(irritating music alert) across the bay from Mobile
Got to Perdido Key ... the devestation from Ivan and Dennis is still quite evident.
Went to Big Lagoon state park
Went to the beach at Perdido Key across from the visitors center
Headed back to Mobile
Drove back through the Interstate tunnel in Mobil
Reached our hotel in Mobile. We were on the 13th floor and had quite and impressive view of the west side of Mobile.
Ate fancy pants overpriced dinner at hotel.
Celebrated wifes birthday in the room with the kids. Sun
Checked out of room
Went to Mobile zoo
Drove through downtown Mobile. Saw the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Most of the churches in Mobile were quite spectacular. Their garden district reminds me very much of the garden district in New Orleans.
Went to Bellingrath Gardens
Went to Dauphin Island. At at a place called Barnacle Bill's
drove home, stopped at Canes in Gulfport area
Stopped by our new house on the way into town. They are pouring our foundation. Our house plan is reversed from the model homes and the plans you see online. Will have to get used to that.
Its a mistake we all have made ... please ... I beg you .. only make it once and ensure that others only make it once.
Every so often you will receive an email that says some politician, government or famous person did this or that. Today I got a couple of videos. I watched one and dismissed the other. The first video suggested that a missile hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and not a passenger aircraft. It then proceeds to ask you to open your mind, change your way of thinking ... blah blah blah ...
Fortunately I remembered a great article by Popular Mechanics
that specifically debunked most of the common 9/11 conspiracy theories. THEY ARE CONSPIRACY THEORIES
This one also failed the Snopes test
. I find Snopes
to be one of the most useful sites on the Internet. If you get a forwarded email telling you anything that looks too good to be true or reeks of conspiracy theory, pull out some key words and search Snopes.com. If you find an article about it with the words False
, please make haste and embarrass your friends and family by exposing their nonsense to all on the forwarded list. It is the only way people learn and it forces them to think twice before forwarding nonsense.
Note to readers, friends and family. If anything you send me fails the Snopes test, I will treat future emails with a high level of suspicion. I will also make it a point to have as many of your friends and family making fun of you over the gaffe as possible. You have been warned. Registered Member:
First Apostolic Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ Unreformed, Roman Assembly - Mid City Campus
OK, I am officially on break until December ... too much at work. House selling. House purchase. Birthdays etc ... I will post occasionally during the time.
I will resume full time posting in December unless my load lightens before then.
A Little Known Fact About the Catholic Church
River cruise a challenge to the Vatican
River cruise a challenge to the Vatican
This quiet eastern Ontario town is poised to become the frontline of a movement to usher women to the forefront of the Roman Catholic church.
Well ... not really .... This issue has been settled for 2000 years. Its only a battle in the minds of those intent on it being a battle. There is no room for "dialogue" with the truth. It IS. Period.
"... I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." - -Pope John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, May 22, 1994
How much clearer can it get?
Bishop killed during robbery attempt
Christian Adoption Agency Rejects Catholic Couples, Saying Faiths Are in Conflict
Christian Adoption Agency Rejects Catholic Couples, Saying Faiths Are in Conflict
You know, other than the clear problem of receiving public funding, this is not unexpected. Besides, I don't think any of us seem to have a problem with the fact they by the same statement of faith they are denying children to muslims, pagans, atheists etc.
Most homeschool parents in the South have come up against similar statements of faith. Of course, they tend to receive no funding from the state.
What the headline should read is
"Some Protestants Believe Catholics are not Christian"
"Some Protestants believe Sola Scriptura is a required tenet of the Christian faith"
When seen in that light, this news has been old for centuries. When you look at it in terms of the fact that Christ said His followers would be persecuted, then it is even older news. Why the press seems interested in this division now is beyond me?
What makes good electronic music
My wife ran an errand tonight and was subjected to one of the finest examples of electronic music that exists to this day; the 2002 release In Between by
There are a myriad of reasons why that CD is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of leaving in my CD player for months on end.
Part of what makes it work, for the programmer in me, is the fact that they use the synthesizer for what it is GOOD at; making noises other instruments struggle with. Not only that, you can tell someone spent a long time making excellent sounds and integrating them appropriately, without complicating the mix. Furthermore, they employ them in a manner that is thoroughly musical. I like to think of "In Between" as a jazz album using newer instruments and different techniques.
Drum machines can perform tasks that drummers cannot. That is what they are best used for.
Samplers can perform tasks that previous recording and performance techniques just couldn't. That is what they are best used for.
Synthesizers make unique sounds and provide unique opportunities for performance and in-studio excellence that other instruments just can't do. That is what they are best used for.
Long gone is the time when synthesizers were pretending to be brass sections or drum machines were pretending to be real drummers. Now they are being used as the instruments they CAN be. The TB-303 took on a life of its own long after its release because potential was seen for use beyond its original intent. Initially it was intended to be a bass accompaniment for a lounge musician. Crank out a cheesy, farty bassline, sing Margaritaville and be on your way at 2 am. It didn't meet its market all that well. Its potential was only realized in the late 90's acid craze where used TB-303's were people were taking out second mortgages (not quite) to get their hands on one. It took a different style and a different time for people to use it as an instrument in and of itself that was unique and entirely different from its intent, which was immitation.
This is where "In Between" shines and it is why it is my current favorite album and has been in that spot for nearly 3 years.
Last night, by chance, I happened upon the website of Per-Andre Hoffmann
. The pictures on it are incredible. There is even a picture of Lake Malawi, which is a place I would like to visit one day. My interest in Malawi stems from the African Cichlids that can be found in the lake. I find it just incredible that many species of cichlid exist only one place in the world.
Also, last night my son was told a story that involved a volcano and my wife voluteered to look for volcano pictures on the Internet. A second picture that I stumbled upon is a shot of a volcano and an aurora over Iceland.
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I am reading the following today
Catholic group not going away
- Too bad this article didn't mention much of their beliefs which are grossly opposed to Catholic teaching. Also, given that I have read the average age of VOTF members is in the mid-60's, it really is just a matter of time. They will go away. Never fear, there will always be another movement trying to advance the gates of hell against the Church. They will always fail. White fixated on Catholicism
- White Stripes ... I know little about them and I didn't like much of what I heard on LAUNCH but somebody is excited about being Catholic. I can't say I blame him ... his fans should get on board too. Boycott Tan?
via Amy Welborn
- Well, I was interested in reading this book after I saw her on the Journey Home ... now I am not so sure. Church of England votes to back women bishops
- This is no shocker ... It must be noted that one of the bishops threatened to "become Catholic" if this went through.Same old mythsAn Islamic Opus Dei?
- Haven't read this but I will do so later ...
Emily is with us in the Atlantic ... slightly more southerly path predicted. If it follows a similar path to Dennis after that, well, I might be visiting some other part of the country.