Saturday, April 11, 2009
This was the question I got from my 9 year old at lunch today. He is currently rather fixated on open heart surgery, a subject he had brought up a few days earlier ( I don't know where or how he came upon the subject) and had asked this latest question after mulling over the process the last couple of days.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"When you get a new heart, does it change you from a right handed writer to a left handed writer."
"I think that process is found in the brain, not the heart", I explained.
"so when you get a brain transplant..." he went on.
"No, they don't do brain transplants, yet" I said, visions of Young Frankenstein" and "Abby Normal's" transplant spring to mind. "If they did, your mom would have had me on the donar list already," I added.
"What?" he said.
But it started me thinking on this Holy Saturday, of the new heart that is available to us.
The devotional readings for today begin with the Genesis story of creation. The Genesis reading ends on the seventh day when God rested from His labors. Approriate for Holy Saturday. The work is finished. But a new beginning is but hours away and it is offered to us sinners, who but a short while ago drove the nails and denied the Son of God.
A few days ago David Goldman over at First Things had a wonderful reflection on the Jewish Passover recitation from Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 10:25: “Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you and on the families that do not call your name; For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him and consumed him and have laid waste his habitation.” Jeremiah is hardly the only prophet to call divine wrath down upon the pagans. Obadiah writes, “For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah 1:16) For the Greeks, non-being is a paradox; for the Jews it is a curse, for nothing is more terrible than to be forever cut off from the Source of Being....
He goes on to explain,
All these derive from Exodus 17:4, in which God says, “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven,” and commands Moses, “Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua,” that is, make a special effort to remember to the erase the memory of Amelek.” That is yet another example of how characteristic Jewish humor derives from the Hebrew Scriptures. Later (I Samuel 15:3) God instructs King Saul through the prophet Samuel to exterminate the entire tribe. When Saul allows his army to loot the Amalekite cattle rather than to kill the tribe, he is excoriated by Samuel. Once a year, Jewish congregations read these passages from Exodus and I Samuel in tandem, and call aloud the divine injunction, “Do not forget!”
All of which, he says may sound a bit harsh to our tender modern ears and to Christians you may suppose that,
a New Covenant of love has superseded the allegedly vengeful world of the Old Testament. Did not Jesus say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”? (Matthew 5:45-46)
But while different we are strognly unite Goldman points out, because,
(e)ither way, Amalek must die. The Jews are instructed to kill off the tribe of Amalek, while every Christian must kill the Amalekite within him. Christianity wants each individual member of the tribe of Amalek to die to this world and be reborn into the nation of Israel, Amalek’s most hated enemy. Christian converts from the pagan nations still carry their Gentile nature within them. To say that a Christian must be converted every day is to say that the Christian must kill this inner Amalekite every day....
...“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” says Jesus (John 12:25). Self-sacrifice is the price of eternal life. Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and therefore himself, was the foundation of God’s Covenant with Abraham and his descendants. God’s love removes us from the altar; a ram substitutes for Isaac so that Abraham may live, and in Christian doctrine, Jesus of Nazareth sacrifices himself for all of mankind. To be a Jew is to continue the life of Abraham; to be a Christian is to die to this world and be reborn in the spirit into the life of Abraham. ...
The article goes on to remind us that excessive tolerance has terrible results, a lesson surely relevant for our modern world (you can read it here)but one off the point of this posting.
The point is that the God's self-sacrifice has made possible for all of us, a new beginning. From the wounded and sacred heart of God flows new life and a new heart for us all.
O Christ, look with favor on our aspiration and prayers, and make prosperous to us this coming holy night of Easter, that in it we may rise from the deadand pass over unto life. Amen -Old Gallican Collect
Friday, April 10, 2009
And so it has begun. From the Washington Post:
Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.
The lawsuits have resulted from states and communities that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those laws have created a clash between the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion, religious groups said, with faith losing. They point to what they say are ominous recent examples:
-- A Christian photographer was forced by the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission to pay $6,637 in attorney's costs after she refused to photograph a gay couple's commitment ceremony.
-- A psychologist in Georgia was fired after she declined for religious reasons to counsel a lesbian about her relationship.
-- Christian fertility doctors in California who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian patient were barred by the state Supreme Court from invoking their religious beliefs in refusing treatment.
-- A Christian student group was not recognized at a University of California law school because it denies membership to anyone practicing sex outside of traditional marriage. (more)
Go see the ad over at Self Evident Truths then go over to the NOM -National Organization for Marriage and get informed.
...This is the event by which the false gods are defeated (verse 1). These are the demonic forces brought to naught by the death of the First Born. Questioned about the marks of the wounds in His flesh, the Lord responds, “These wounds I received in the house of My friends” (verse 6).
Cyril of Alexandria wrote in the fifth century: “when the Only Begotten Word of God ascended into the heavens in the flesh to which He was united, there was something new to be seen in the heavens. The multitude of holy angels was astounded, seeing the King of glory and the Lord of hosts being made in a form like ourselves. . . . Then the angels asked this, ‘What are these wounds in Your hands?’ And He said to them, ‘These wounds I received in the house of My friends.’” These are the wounds that He will show to His disciples after His resurrection. He bears these wounds in his glorified flesh forever, as He stands before the Father, “as though slain,” being the one Mediator between God and Man (Revelation 5:6). ...
...At last is answered that question first put by the Magi, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?" (2:2:2)
He is on the cross, the just Man dying for the sins of the world.
Thus, the dream of Pilate's wife, which had revealed Jesus to be a just Man, completes the earlier dream of the Magi. The testimony from the East is matched by the testimony from the West, both cases representing those regarding whom Jesus commanded His Church, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (28:19).(more)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
In recent years I have been struck by the contrat between Peter and Judas. both betrayed Jesus but both reacted differently. While Peter turned back toward God and forgivness, Judas turned back on himself.
It is a reminder that no matter how far we think we are from God, we are no further than we choose to be. Wiyh broen and contrite spirit we can always turn back to God. And our God, not wishing that anyone should perish, is always willing to take us back.
Here is part 2. Once again, for those who don't like details, turn back now..
I awoke the morning of "the procedure that must not be named" to the sound of small animals (and a few larger ones) in obvious pain and discomfort. The noises actually woke me several times in the night. But no animals were harmed in the preparation for this procedure. It was actually just my stomach complaining loudly that it was beyond empty and was about to consume other parts of my body in protest.
I splurged on supper and had 2 cups of broth and Gatorade. I put some mild seasonings in it since I was allowed to and tried not to scowl at the boys and my wife too much as they ate various meals around me. Normally innocuous exclamations, such as "this is really good" began to appear downright mean. My wife opened a new jar of preserves and insisted (and quite innocently-or so she said) that I see "how good it smells." Whether it was my dirty look or the tear in the corner of my eye which made her realize her mistake, I may never know. I was so hungry for salt I sipped a teaspoon of Soy Sauce around bedtime.
Nothing but nothing after midnight not even water. I checked in at the hospital and filled out enough forms that I may have bought a house. The lady who checked me in was, self admittedly a bit stressed. I told her that it was OK and I was early and not in a hurry. She thanked me for my patience and wanted the secret to my good attitude. Little did she know that I was so hungry that she was actually in danger. You know those cartoons where the cat makes friends with the bird and then hallucinates that the bird is actually a roast or something? Thankfully the check-in went quickly. It was 10:30 a.m.
I went upstairs only half listening to the directions. I was, after all, here a mere month earlier. I stayed overnight in a "cubbie" in the day surgery area where I was headed and another night close by. This was like old home week.
To my credit, I believe I only made one wrong turn and DID ask directions.
When I went through the door that said "Authorized Personnel Only", (with my wife protesting) and was met by a woman with a look on her face that said I was in the wrong place. When I explained why I was there, she looked at the board and then went to the desk and picked up the phone. All I could think about was having gone through all that "prep" and going without food for so long, I was not leaving peacefully. I handed my paperwork to another woman, who was obviously not as tired as the first, and she told the woman on the phone that I was in room 3. The woman on the phone stammered some words through the phone and hung up rather embarrassed and said to me, "Did I scare the hm, hm out of you." I replied that there was none left.
Hooked up to an IV I waited about an hour before it was my turn. Apparently it was "Colonoscopy Day" in day surgery and there were at least two gentlemen ahead of me.
I signed some more forms, one of which informed me that instead of anesthesia I would be under "medium" sedation. I was a bit concerned. I wanted to be out. I asked the doctor for clarification. I won't feel anything, right? "Right," he replied. That's what I wanted to hear.
I was wheeled into the endoscopy room and introduced to a woman in surgical garb. I remarked that this was a hell of a way to meet someone for the first time. She laughed. She told me to roll on my left side. all I could think was "where is the sedation." After a few adjustments the nurse that wheeled me in said they were going to give me some stuff to help me relax and sleep. And that was that. I seem to recall making the remark that things were a bit uncomfortable at one point but have no recollection of pain or discomfort. The rest of the story comes more from my wife's perspective as she was the more sober.
The gentleman in the "cubbie" next to mine (curtains for doors, paper thin walls) had a different doctor than mine. My wife thinks that the other doctor used more gas than mine (they pump air into you to get a better look at your insides). She made this observation because "Mr Moreno" let loose with an award winning and quite prolonged passage of air which apparently was quite impressive.
My wife says that when I did the same, (in more modest tones) it was followed by the words, "uh oh, I messed up." When I complained to the nurse I was told that a certain amount of lubrication was used and I was off the hook. All of this I'm getting "secondhand."
Apparently every time I got up to go to the bathroom, I told the nurse that my wife said I had a cute backside. The nurse replied that while that may be the case I didn't have to show the entire hospital. However, my gown had no ties and they had to tape it shut.
I spent the rest of the day in a pleasant haze. I made supper though my wife refused to let me use the stove. We settled on Tuna Salad. Normally we add a hard boiled egg to our Tuna Salad. It took 3 tries with the egg. One I dropped and one I soft boiled.
The haze finally lifted today. But I'm tired and going to bed.
Overturning these protections will have the effect of forcing all healthcare workers to participate in or refer for abortions if asked to do so.The comment period ends tomorrow, April 9.
Make your voice heard while you can.
Eutychus, thank you for forwarding that question to Red, who has put forth her own eloquent and thoughtful response. There are now two responses to her post, including one from me.
I hope all who enjoy "The Guy in the Window" will join in that discussion.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Lawmakers seek to ban trans fats at Texas restaurants
Texas lawmakers seeking to tackle obesity have a new target: trans fat.
Restaurants in the Lone Star State wouldn't be allowed to serve foods with trans fat under a proposal
Now as a born and raised Texan I just want to ask the question on everyone's mind here in the Lone Star State: What the HELL are they talkin' about??? This is what eatin too much tofu and beansprouts will do to you- brain damage! One too many trips to New York city, I'm tellin you. They can have my Chicken Fried Steak when they pry the fork from my cold dead fingers....
In other news there is still debate (for some unknown reason) about a Voter ID Bill:
Under current law, to vote a regular ballot, voters are only required to present a voter registration certificate to a poll worker.
SB 362 would require all voters present a valid form of photo identification to the polls. If a person does not have a state ID or driver's license or other form of photo identification, they could be bring in two other forms of approved identification instead (utility bill, cable bill, etc).
That "etc." includes a voter registration card, paycheck or other government document that shows the persons address, official mail, state issued ID card, temp driving permit, hunting or fishing license or a library card.
If you don't happen to have a photo ID you can show your electric bill and a hunting license to vote, you can show your library card and your paycheck and vote, but there are yahoos who think that is too much to ask that you identify yourself to vote but by golly they're gonna try and take away my cheese enchiladas because I can't control my or my kid's weight.
The end is near folks. And it will be here sooner rather than later for the first person who lays a hand on my BBQ joint.
More Pope bashing, this time courtesy of the Administration. Of course it has once again shown the true colors and sorry state of journalism in that very few have bothered to quote the Pope accurately regarding the condom statements or examine the possibility that he is right and he is.
Here is the link to the previous story on the matter.
CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama has named to the federal government’s faith-based initiative a gay-rights activist who, last month, described Pope Benedict XVI and certain Catholic bishops as “discredited leaders” because of their opposition to same-sex marriage.
Harry Knox, who is a newly appointed member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is the director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual activist group.
In addition to his remarks about the Pope, Knox also criticized the Catholic Knights of Columbus as being “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression” because of the Knights’ support of Proposition 8. The latter was a ballot initiative that amended California’s state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, and passed in November 2008.
Knox told CNSNews.com that he “absolutely” stands by his criticism of the pope. "The Pope needs to start telling the truth about condom use," Knox said on Monday, Apr. 6. "We are eager to help him do that. Until he is willing to do that and able, he's doing a great deal more harm than good -- not just in Africa but around the world. It is endangering people's lives.”
On Mar. 19, Knox told the San Francisco-based gay newspaper The Bay Area Reporter, “The Knights of Columbus do a great deal of good in the name of Jesus Christ, but in this particular case [Proposition 8], they were foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression.” The newspaper further reported: “Knox noted that the Knights of Columbus ‘followed discredited leaders,’ including bishops and Pope Benedict XVI. ‘A pope who literally today said condoms don't help in control of AIDS.’” (more)
Monday, April 6, 2009
A while back I wrote that I had a series of "itisis's" (i.e. appendicitis and two weeks later diverticulitis) As a result of the latter I do not have to wait till I'm 50 to get everyone's favorite "procedure", the colonoscopy. Dave Barry wrote an hilarious story about his experience some time ago. You can find it here. To start you off, here is an excerpt:
...I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ``HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!''
Now no one really explained the details to me but I looked it up and Dave pretty much has it right as near as I can tell.
My doctor's office called me in a prescription that I was to pick up. I knew what it was:
..a prescription for a product called ''MoviPrep,'' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America's enemies.
Except mine had a different name but still with a huge box with those big blue letters on the side that are not covered up by the HEB grocery plastic bag they force it into at the pharmacy. This means you must walk through the store with a bag that announces "BOWEL PREP KIT" for all the world to know. The fun has just begun. The pharmacy (stupid kid) could not find the prescription at first (namely because it was so dang big they had to keep it in another building) and asked me if I knew what the prescription was. With a line of people behind me I lied through my teeth and said "no."
...I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. ...
My particular brand of "prep" came with flavor packs. I could choose between pineapple, lemon/lime, cherry or orange. I chose lemon/lime. Mixed it up and placed it in the fridge. The first step was two take two sticks of dynamite that were disguised to look like pills. I was to then wait for that first explosion, otherwise known as a bowel movement which would occur (like the cable guy) sometime today. Luckily, and I use the word loosely, (sorry unintentional bad pun) I did not have to wait 6 hours for things to start hoppin. At the 9 o'clock -H hour, the war began.
After dynamiting the dam, it was time to open the floodgates on what was left. I was to begin drinking the "solution" in 8 ounce increments every 10 minutes. Dave Barry said the stuff he drank:
...tastes -- and here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon....
I am happy to report that this is no longer the case as they have improved the taste of urinal cleanser since he wrote that. Actually, the taste was more akin to purified paper with just a hint of lemon. The more I drank, the less I tasted the lemon.
Mr Barry describes the next 3 hours thus:
The instructions ..., clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ''a loose watery bowel movement may result.'' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
(this stuff) is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the... experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, ... your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
During my experience the letters on the box began to transform. I first read HalfLifetely instead of HalfLytely and thought that was because half of you had passed in the form of water. Then the Flyte part of the name came to mind as you made your umpteenth flight to the bathroom. It was not a shuttle experience. The shuttle does not have the same power and after a while it feels like you were passing a Brillo pad. This stuff is nothing but food poisoning in a bottle.
After the first 30 minutes I began to get very cold. I think this was due to the fact that all of that fertilizer inside of me had been working like a compost heap and giving off heat. As it left the room so did my heat source.
After about three hours, the tide has turned. Halflytely has done its job-I hope. I see my doctor occasionally when I take my youngest to cubscouts camping. Like Dave I am a bit nervous:
...Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of spurtage. I was thinking, ''What if I spurt on Andy?'' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
For now, its more broth. Tomorrow is part 2
Sunday, April 5, 2009
China and Russia can pretty much put the brakes on any U.N. Security Council action anyway which is pretty much what happened. Good thing too, as we know what sharp teeth those UN resolutions have...
It wasn’t a bow, exactly. But Mr. Clinton came close. He inclined his head and shoulders forward, he pressed his hands together. It lasted no longer than a snapshot, but the image on the South Lawn was indelible: an obsequent President, and the Emperor of Japan.
Canadians still bow to England’s Queen; so do Australians. Americans shake hands. If not to stand eye-to-eye with royalty, what else were 1776 and all that about? …
Guests invited to a white-tie state dinner at the White House (a Clinton Administration first) were instructed to address the Emperor as “Your Majesty,” not “Your Highness” or, worse, “King.” And in what one Administration aide called “some emperor thing,” an Army general was cautioned that he should not address the Emperor Akihito at all as he escorted him to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
But the “thou need not bow” commandment from the State Department’s protocol office maintained a constancy of more than 200 years. Administration officials scurried to insist that the eager-to-please President had not really done the unthinkable. (more)
I got the idea from a Roe V Wade sight and the Heritage Foundation. I nosed around with the "how to" of starting a blog with the intention of learning a bit and then one day publishing. Then one day I hit the wrong button and, voila, I was on line.
Now, a little over a year later there are some 200 or so folks who stop by on a given week. A few stop and read and fewer still leave a comment.
I have toyed around with various gadgets and keep the ones I like and delete the others. One gadget which has come and gone on numerous occasions is the "followers" gadget. I have removed it before as I get this weird feeling when no names appear, like being picked last for the kick-ball team.
I have a sort of kindred spirit feeling for many of the bloggers on the Blogroll as well as many readers, though many I don't know except via the blogosphere. So I put the gadget back on out of curiosity to see if anyone would admit to "following."
To my surprise, one brave soul has confessed to stopping in periodically and in honor of this trailblazing individual the gadget will remain. I can't very well yank the welcome mat now. So welcome to my new follower. Though I think I'm going to change it from "follower" to "reader" lest I get a complex and decide to run for president or something..
SEOUL, April 5 (UPI) -- North Korea failed to put a rocket into orbit Sunday, contrary to its earlier claim of a successful launch, U.S. and South Korean officials said.
The North Korean payload fell into the Pacific Ocean, along with the second-stage rocket, the Yonhap news agency quoted an anonymous South Korean government official as saying.
The U.S. Northern Command Web site described the launched rocket as "not a threat" to its territory.
The last two stages of the rocket fell into the Pacific Ocean along with the payload and the first stage fell into the East Sea, the Northern Command site claimed.
"No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan," the Web site said. (more)