Friday, October 18, 2002

Ps. 10. My daughter was struck by how Psalm 10 seemed to apply to our situation here with the sniper. Here is the translation (NLT) she was using:
Psalm 10

O LORD, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide when I need you the most?
Proud and wicked people viciously oppress the poor.
Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.
For they brag about their evil desires;
they praise the greedy and curse the LORD.
These wicked people are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They pour scorn on all their enemies.
They say to themselves, "Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
We will be free of trouble forever!"
Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
They lurk in dark alleys,
murdering the innocent who pass by.
They are always searching
for some helpless victim.
Like lions they crouch silently,
waiting to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture their victims
and drag them away in nets.
The helpless are overwhelmed and collapse;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
The wicked say to themselves, "God isn't watching!
He will never notice!"
Arise, O LORD!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not forget the helpless!
Why do the wicked get away with cursing God?
How can they think, "God will never call us to account"?
But you do see the trouble and grief they cause.
You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
You are the defender of orphans.
Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!
Go after them until the last one is destroyed!
The LORD is king forever and ever!
Let those who worship other gods be swept from the land.
LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so people can no longer terrify them.

No Sniper News. No further attacks, which is good news, but no further leads, which is not. I drove to Occoquan yesterday to get gas on the way home -- it's just about 5 extra miles out of the way and gas prices are at least a dime a gallon cheaper. The gas stations are right off I-95, just about 20 miles north of the F'burg killings and 8 miles SE of the Manassas murder. So naturally, it was on my mind. I kept thinking is it worth it to save a buck and a half? I pulled into the Shell and surveyed the perimeter and thought where would be the best place to take a shot from? There's a KFC sitting on a hill overlooking the 2-3 gas stations in the area -- it has easy access to 95. No one there -- I'll take my chance and gas up.

I told an old friend of mine about it last night and he didn't laugh at all -- he said he does the same thing. His comments have weight -- his job is as a sniper for the Secret Service. We talked a little more -- he didn't say much -- he really can't.

Another lady said that the homecoming game for her son's High School has been moved to Charlottesville -- they're going to bus both teams down and have busses for the students as well. My nephew, a freshman had his homecoming game cancelled, but the dance will go on, under tight security. We're going to have a party for my daughter tomorrow, we're planning on taking a group of 5 and 6 year olds to a movie theater to see Jonah -- but are having second thoughts -- the primary theater we were going to go to is about 2 miles from the scene of the Manassas shooting.

I don't think anyone is overreacting -- I thought so when my co-workers lined up for cipro shots last year (my work uses the same post office as the Senate, so we received authorization from the government for the shots). If you think I am, please drop me a line or leave a comment.
Rosary. For those of us who look askance at the practice of praying the rosary, Peggy Noonan has a good article and an explanation of the announcement from the Vatican implementing a major change. I first heard about the announcement from Peter Sean Bradley -- but didn't understand the meaning.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Vegan? I got the latest copy of Scientific American in the mail yesterday. Flipping through it late last night I came across an article about a new order of insect, the Gladiator, or Mantophasmatodea. What caught my eye, however was this item from "An Order is Born," a sidebar:
Powerful mandibles are evidence of a carnivorous lifestyle. Most grasshoppers and walkingsticks are vegans.

Back when I was in school (admittedly closer in time to Carl Linnaeus) we distinguished carnivores and herbivores. So when did grasshoppers become vegans?

According to,
Q. Where did the word vegan come from?

A. A shortened version of "vegetarian," the word "vegan" was coined in the 1940s by a vegetarian society in England to distinguish members who chose to consume absolutely no products derived from animals.
Q. What is a vegan?

A. By definition, a vegan (most commonly pronounced VEE-gun) is a person who does not eat animal products, including meat, fish, seafood, eggs, and dairy. But veganism is more about what people choose than about what they avoid. For example, vegans demonstrate respect for all life — their own, the planet's, and the animals' — not only by eating plant-based foods, but also by choosing nonfood items (such as nonleather shoes) that are produced without animal byproducts. Many vegans also go out of their way to choose cosmetics and personal care items that do not contain animal byproducts and are not tested on animals.
Granted, grasshoppers do not wear leather birkenstocks, nevertheless, I don't think they give a flip about animal byproducts.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Kathy Ireland on abortion.
"Is it all right for the government to allow the murder of an innocent human being? The evidence I see tells me the unborn is a human being. From the moment of conception, a new life comes into being with a complete genetic blueprint. The sex is determined. The blood type is determined."
The whole article, including much of the discussion can be found here, as well as a similar discussion from Patricia Heaton.
Cumulative Power Ratings. There is a large handful of attempts to rank the teams in the NFL, as is done with college football. Here is my attempt to bring them together. I'm combining the ESPN, CNNSI, TSN, War Room, Sports Central, Sagarin (USA Today), CBS, and AP index or ratings into one cumulative list. I've also include a teams high and low from the different list. Sticking this on a spread sheet is very easy -- translating it into HTML tables is, well, interesting. We'll see if this works:

It didn't work -- I'm trying something else. That didn't work either. How about plain old ASCII:
11__Patriots______12.00 ____7___15

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

10-15-02. An admonition (“Swap stories and save gum wrappers. That’s what you’re here for. Glean what you can from the day; pass it along. Don’t worry that it’s too trivial or meaningless.”) and an observation (“There are times when the world seems absolutely mad, and that was one of them.”) in last weeks Bleat are the springboard for what follows.

I took the day off from work today to catch up on things left undone from my trip to North Carolina last week for work. The morning was very nice since my wife took the little ones, leaving me with my oldest to work on school together. We covered the Punic Wars, discussing the strategies of Hannibal and Scipio Africanus. Of course, we discussed Cato and the motto of one of my favorite blogs, which led us into her Latin studies. Before long, the kids were back and our time together was at an end -- she went on to geometry and I to other tasks.

First, I put our baby in the crib, then I took Sarah, age 6 and Joe, age 4, to WalMart to pick up a few things. I had made a CD of some of our favorite songs -- Joe loves Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" and Sarah's eyes lit up when the Kate Taylor cover of Satellite Sky (by Mark Heard) came on "My favorite song -- Joe, it's my favorite song!"
It can't be easy for my children
I'm hollow before my time
It looks like a desert here to me
Where is the promise of youth for my child?

Where are the faraway kingdoms of dreams?
We've been to the moon and there's trouble at home
They vanished in the mist with Saint Nicholas
They lie scattered to the ghettos and the war zones

Then we pull into the parking lot at WalMart and I tell the kids we're going to play a game and run in a zig-zag fashion up to the door. I get out of the car first and survey the perimeter -- no Astro Vans -- before letting the kids out and making the dash for the doorway.

Our shopping done, we play the same game going back to the car. We do the same game at Radio Shack.

Then, it's on to home to clean the gutters and hook up the coax to the antennae.

At home, I take all the kids onto the roof for the first time (all except Ems, that is, who is still asleep). My wife comes out and takes pictures ("In case you ever decide to divorce me -- this way, I'll get custody of the kids"). The kids are thrilled. We live in a ranch house with a pretty flat roof -- but for them, it's like being on top of the Space Needle or the Washington Monument. The only break in the frolic is the sound of the helicopters -- was this a Lawrence Kasdan film?

Pretty soon it was time for Sarah and Joe to go to choir -- which overlapped softball. I told my wife not to worry, there would be no softball today. Soon enough, I got that phone call. The message this time, however, was that there would be no softball until the sniper was caught.

Dickens was right -- it is the best of times and the worst of times.
I want to stand out in the middle of the street and listen to the stars
I want to hear their sweet voices
I want to feel a big bang rattle my bones
I want to laugh for my children
I want the spark to ignite
before they find out what it means to be born
into these times

Why, Why, Why, I say Why, Mama, Why?
Why can't I sleep in peace tonight underneath the satellite sky?

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Cover Watch. Newsweek goes with the more sensational aspect "Tarot Card Killer" Time looks at how to stop it: "The Science of Catching a Killer."