Monday, December 30, 2002

From a Reader of my latest book:



Finished your How-To book of the Mass yesterday.



I'm a revert Catholic and have become very critical of my new-age feminist Catholic grade-school/CCD upbringing and my childhood parish - especially when visiting family and attending Mass over the Holiday.



Your book is what I needed to put the Mass back in perspective and appreciate what is there and not concentrate on the abuses. Thanks for the section on how to experience a great homily every time - it worked!



I'm attending an RCIA class and will pass your book along as a recommendation for reading for all.



You're a great writer - thanks again!




Thanks!

Saturday, December 28, 2002

A Saint's Name for Your Next Child-- St Quodvultdeus



From the Office of Readings for today from a sermon by St. Quodvultdeus:



The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.



But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.



How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

Friday, December 27, 2002

The weather...



One of my favorite subjects. None of the weather forecasters were correct in their predictions with regard to us. Even the local television stations were predicting a mere dusting a few hours before the snow actually fell. Contrast that with a week before when they were predicting a more substantial dumping and nothing--absolutely nothing fell. With all their computer simulations, satelite imagery--the weather people are still fairly dumb as a lot. Perhaps a better indicator that something was about to happen here was the racoon who appeared in broad daylight in our backyard midafternoon on Christmas Eve either headed for Christmas dinner somewhere or preparing for an oncoming storm that would dumb close to 9 inches of snow here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Christmas Day...and



we have a ton of snow...lots more than the weatherman predicted.



Mass was sparsely attended...the pastor remarked that the same was true last night at midnight.



Daily reflections on the reading continue to be posted here.



Here is a reflection on the past year.

Monday, December 23, 2002

An Interesting Column about War and its Lingering Effects



National Catholic Register
A Story for Christmas



Bruderhof Communities - Brother Robber by Helene Christaller
Country life in the city



Sunday morning we awoke to find an injured bunny lying in front of our picture window. I went out and offered it some water and carrots. We then trucked off to Mass. Upon our return several hours later, Amy announced "well this will offer some diversion to your football viewing this afternoon." Walking into the living room there was the poor rabbit being picked apart by a gigantic hawk.



I scurried the hawk away and then flung the rabbit carcass into some brush (out of direct sight). The hawk flew back to the spot of the crime about an hour later looking for the rabbit. I was amazed that he had such difficulty finding it. He kept pacing around where he had left it, looking quizzically around. Sort of "who moved my rabbit?"



After about thirty minutes of persistence he finally found it and started tearing away at it's flesh again. I went back to watching football.

Friday, December 20, 2002

Here is the story



Pope to approve Mother Teresa miracle
Mother Teresa Moves Another Step Toward Sainthood



Pope John Paul II has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa. Look for her to be Beatified sometime in the coming year.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Interesting Gallup Poll data



Covers both Protestant and Catholics. It is interesting to see the changes since 9/11 and for Catholics since the scandals have been in the news this year



Gallup Poll Analyses - Catholic Church Attendance Drops This Year in Midst of Scandal

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The "O" Antiphons Begin today



The "O" antiphons are known by most people from their inclusion in the song "O Come O Come Emmanuel." They are actually the antiphons said before the Magnificat at Evening Prayer from Dec. 17-23. Today's antiphon is:



O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.
The Image of Christ on a No Parking sign?



Alpine Observer > Image of Christ?



Violators will be towed...to Hell!
Another Christmas Story provided by the Bruderhof



Willibald's Trip to Heaven by Reimmichl

Friday, December 13, 2002

Looking for that special Christmas gift?



Try using Froogle: Search Results



Froogle is a google beta test, kind of neat!
Today's Photo of Cardinal Law and the Pope



From Yahoo! News - World Photos - AP
What next?



For those who have watched CBS news dating back to the Walter Cronkite days with his trademark "and that's the way it is", you may have picked up that Dan Rather has never quite figured out how to end his news cast. His latest attempt is a rather lame if not outright funny "what's next" after some late news story.



Anyway today's news of Cardinal Law's resignation elicited a "what's next" in my head spoken by Dan Rather. But it is not so much a surprised "what's next" but rather a serious "let's move ahead, planning our next step--what's next."



Who will the Pope name as the next Archbishop of Boston? Will the other auxiliaries soon follow suite? Will the Vatican move in and try to clean up shop in the U.S. realizing that this crisis is doing terrible damage to the faith of those on the periphery of the church?



Who knows "what's next."

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe



Here is a Trappist monastery dedicated to the site: Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

What does it say?



When the United States wants to make sure that other countries do not have weapons of mass destruction and in the process we threaten to use them?



U.S. strategy includes ‘all options’

Saturday, December 7, 2002

Spirit Daily - Daily spiritual news from around the world Reports that the Pope unexpectedly was not in attendance for the beginning of the annual Advent retreat.

Friday, December 6, 2002

Some Advice for Bishops from St. Augustine



From the Office of Readings:



So the shepherds of Christ’s flock must never indulge in self-love; if they do they will be tending the sheep not as Christ’s but as their own. And of all vices this is the one that the shepherds must guard against most earnestly: seeking their own purposes instead of Christ’s, furthering their own desires by means of those persons for whom Christ shed his blood.



The love of Christ ought to reach such a spiritual pitch in his shepherds that it overcomes the natural fear of death which makes us shrink from the thought of dying even though we desire to live with Christ. However distressful death may be, the strength of love ought to master the distress. I mean the love we have for Christ who, although he is our life, consented to suffer death for our sake.

Thursday, December 5, 2002

Something to Read and Reflect on:



The Carpenter's Christmas by Peter K. Rosegger



Each week the Bruderhof Community will be posting an Advent story.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

From the Office of Readingsfor today:



From the declaration of faith of St. John Damascene:



O Lord, you led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey your commands.



By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among the children of your holy and spotless Church.



You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son and our God, and you let me drink from the chalice of his life-giving blood, poured out to save the whole world.

Monday, December 2, 2002

From the Office of Readings



From a pastoral letter by St. Charles Borromeo:



This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery. In his infinite love for us, though we were sinners, he sent his only Son to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of his grace, and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Snow last night!



A modest dumping of snow last night. Most of it is gone already. But the cold air remains.
Things to do in Milwaukee while waiting for a meeting...



A visit to Gesu Church on the campus of Marquette will probably not be as dramatic as mine was this past week. After climbing the wooden steps to the top I came face to face with a dead priest lying in an open coffin. Next to the coffin was a collage of sorts saying goodbye to Father Joe, evidently the priest who was lying in the coffin. No one else was around at the time. There was no kneeler by the coffin, but I did pause to say a prayer for the deceased father.



There is a great Catholic bookstore on W. Greenfield called Catholic Book and Gift that is well worth a visit.



I could spend an entire day just gazing at the art that adorns the Basilica of St. Josaphat's.



A great place for lunch is Joey Buona's on Water St. I ordered a sandwich for a very modest price and it was delivered with a large bowl of soup and homemade chips. Very tasty and what a deal! Great service there too!

"michael dubruiel"

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Somewhat of a shocker



From theBoston Herald:



A Bosnian priest allegedly removed for sexual misconduct has been banned from taking part in a prayer vigil today at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception after Archdiocese of Washington officials learned of his suspension.



The Diocese of Mostar-Duvno in Bosnia alerted officials on the eve of the event that the Rev. Jozo Zovko is under censure, a shrine spokesman said.




I hadn't heard anything about this. Given the popularity of Medjugordje it seems it would have made a bigger headline over here, at least in the Catholic Press.

Friday, November 15, 2002

On the eve of number 44 I'm home with a sinus infection watching it snow outside.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

The DRUDGE REPORT 2002®has a photo of Michael Jackson



that as he says is "so tragic it defies description."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

A great piece on Warren Zevon from Rolling Stone:



"I don't remember stardom with any longing," Zevon says. "It was a brief opportunity to be rude: 'Fire that opening act. I don't like the way he looked at me.' My success was a fluke. I was a folk singer who accidentally had one big hit."



Zevon's recent sales are modest but solid: Life'll Kill Ya has sold 80,000 copies in North America, My Ride's Here about 50,000. But he has what Browne calls "the success that matters: this very loyal following of people who truly get him. There's no greater success than being loved and admired for what you really do."





If there is anything I've learned in life is that truly great artists are people who are not loved by the masses but as Jackson Browne says above by "very loyal following of people who truly get him."



Another interesting tidbit in the piece is that WZ seems to be flirting with Catholicism in his last days...



Or about what he might find on the other side. "No" -- that is Zevon's firm answer when asked if he has given any thought to his impending afterlife. "I'm too busy. I might change my mind in a week. Sometimes I go to Mass with my ex-girlfriend. Maybe I'll go to Mass with my ex on Saturday night and decide I want the priest to give me instruction, fast and furious.



Mass on Saturday night is a very Catholic thing...(of the last thirty plus years anyways).

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Why do the heathen rage?



U of Kentucky fans celebrate vic..uhm defeat...



Monday, November 11, 2002

The Catholic Shopper has my new book featured as a bestseller!



Catholic Books, Catholic Gifts, Jesus Sports Statues, Rosaries
Why warm days in November are not a good thing



From the Journal Gazette: | 11/11/2002 | Twisters slam into Van Wert, leaving 2 dead





Two people were killed Sunday when tornadoes tore through Van Wert County flattening buildings, toppling trees and plunging the agricultural community into chaos.

Two others were killed to the northeast when twisters flipped a mobile home in Putnam County.



"Unfortunately, we did lose life," Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency Director Rick McCoy said Sunday night. "We're thankful to God we didn't lose more."



One of the people killed was ejected from a car when the storm hit, said Jack Snyder, spokesman for the Van Wert County Emergency Management Agency.





Van Wert, Ohio is about 30 miles from Fort Wayne.

A Couple of Jokes from my friend Hank Morgan:





The Buffalo Theory



No one can explain this as well as Cliff Clavin did on the TV show Cheers. One day at Cheers, Cliff was explaining the Buffalo Theory

to his buddy, Norm, and here's how it went....



"The buffalo herd can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. Thus the general speed and health of the herd keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members."



"In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells, and excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cell first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.



That's why you're always smarter after a few beers."




The Three Kick Rule



A big city California lawyer went duck hunting in rural Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on

the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.



The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going in to retrieve it."



The old farmer replied. "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."



The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take

everything you own."



The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we do things in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the "Texas Three Kick Rule."



The lawyer asked, "What is the Texas Three Kick Rule?"



The Farmer replied. "Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up."



The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city feller. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick nearly ripped the man's nose off his face. The barrister was flat on his belly when the farmer's third kick to a kidney nearly caused him to give up.



The lawyer summoned every bit of his will and managed to get to his feet and said, "Okay, you old coot now it's my turn."



The old farmer smiled and said, "Naw, I give up. You can have the duck."

Thursday, November 7, 2002

A New Blog



Envoy Magazine has launced a new blog with some great contributors. Check it out!
"Brother of Jesus" bone-box a fraud?



From theIsraelinsider



Both Altman and noted paleographer Ada Yardeni have concluded that the second part of the inscription was added later. "There are two hands; two different scripts; two different social strata, two different levels of execution, two different levels of literacy, and two different carvers," Altman says.



Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century, while Paul Flesher at the University of Wyoming, an expert on Hebraicized Aramaic dialects, dates it anywhere between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

This is just plain stupid



They wanted to search the woman, so she showed them that she had nothing to hide. Now they want to throw the book at her? The people who tie up the justice system with this type of nonsense should all be thrown in jail themselves!

ABCNEWS.com : Woman Accused of Stripping at Airport



A Frenchwoman accused of undressing during an airport security screening could face up to three years in prison if convicted under a law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A Modern Tale of Sportsmanship



From the James Walker at The Herald-Dispatch:

The story, which is destined to become legendary in Southern Ohio circles, starts in Waverly.



Northwest football coach Dave Frantz and Tigers’ coach Derek DeWitt shared a conversation the week leading up to the game.



But the two coaches weren’t discussing strategy, instead they were talking about a mentally-handicapped Northwest player by the name of Jake Porter.



Porter, a senior, has a disorder called "Chromosomal Fragile-X," which is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation.



Porter still shows up on time for practice every day and dresses in full gear during games, but he has yet to take an official snap in a football game.



Frantz wanted that streak to end last Friday.



"I told them (Waverly) ahead of time that he can’t take a hit or anything," Frantz said. "If the game’s not at stake on the last play, I wanted him to come in and take a knee."



Yet a week after their conversation, with Waverly leading 42-0 with five seconds remaining, coach DeWitt offered Frantz one better.



"During the timeout, he met me in the middle of the field and said ‘We’ll let him score,’" Frantz explained. "(Initially) I said ‘Nah.’ Then we talked about it with the referees, and they said ‘Hey coach, we understand."



What soon followed will forever go down in Southern Ohio football lore.



At Waverly’s 49-yard line, Porter entered the game at tailback, had his play, "84-iso," called in the huddle, and when the ball was snapped all 21 players parted ways.



Porter was somewhat surprised when he slowly walked through the huge hole. He initially turned back around to the original line of scrimmage, but everyone on the field -- including defensive players from Waverly -- pointed and guided Porter toward the Tigers’ end zone.



"When we practiced it, he was supposed to down it, so I think he was a little confused at first," Northwest tailback Zach Smith said. "But once he figured it out, he took off."



The 49-yard trek to glory took about 10-12 seconds in all, and was culminated by players from both sidelines cheering and running step-for-step with Porter to the end zone.



Tears flowed from the bleachers well into the night, and the life of one young man was changed forever.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Did the Oklahoma City Bombing have Middle Eastern ties afterall?



FromThis is London:



But what increasingly drew her attention was another Iraqi living in Oklahoma City, a restaurant worker called Hussain Hashem Al Hussaini, whose photograph was almost a perfect match to the official sketch of "John Doe 2".



Al Hussaini has a tattoo on his upper left arm, indicating he was once a member of Saddam's elite Republican Guard.



Since then, Davis has gathered hundreds of court records and the sworn testimony of two dozen witnesses. Several claimed to have seen a man fitting Al Hussaini's description drinking with McVeigh in a motel bar four days before the bombing.



Others positively identified former Iraqi soldiers in the company of McVeigh and Nichols. Two swore that they had seen Al Hussaini only a block from the Murrah building in the hours before the bombing. With the case against McVeigh and Nichols seemingly watertight, the FBI has until now consistently refused to reopen it. McVeigh went to his death in the execution chamber two years ago, insisting he alone was responsible.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Oldest Witness to Jesus?



The discovery of the ossiary of St. James may not be the oldest testament to the existence of Jesus but rather something that is mentioned in the Gospels themselves---The "Titulus Crucis," literrally the "cross sign or title." The placard that Pilate ordered nailed over Jesus on the cross. It exists as a relic in a church and recent studies seem to point to it's authenticity.

Monday, October 21, 2002

St. Augustine on Prayer



From the Office of Readings



Let us always desire the happy life from the Lord God and always pray for it. But for this very reason we turn our mind to the task of prayer at appointed hours, since that desire grows lukewarm, so to speak, from our involvement in other concerns and occupations. We remind ourselves through the words of prayer to focus our attention on the object of our desire; otherwise, the desire that began to grow lukewarm may grow chill altogether and may be totally extinguished unless it is repeatedly stirred into flame.



Therefore, when the Apostle says: Let your petitions become known before God, this should not be taken in the sense that they are in fact becoming known to God who certainly knew them even before they were made, but that they are becoming known to us before God through submission and not before men through boasting.
A beautiful column on praying the rosary by Peggy Noonan



Here is a sampling:



The third joyful mystery is the birth of Christ in a manger. It's not hard to imagine this. It's hard to control one's imaginings. I imagine the trek to the manger, the disheartened young husband, the sound of the eating area of the inn as they trudge on, hungry and alone. And then a car alarm goes off. And suddenly I'm wondering: Did she have a hard labor? Did God want her to know from the beginning that her joy would be ever accompanied by pain? Did she weep him into the world? Maybe it was an easy birth. God knew she was barely more than a child, with a young husband and no help, just the two of them in the cold in a hut on a hill.



When the child was born, did he cry aloud with a great wail, and did the cry enter the universe? Did it become a sound wave of significant density? Is it still out there, radiating out into the stars, and did the Voyager II bump into it? If, as an astronaut, you traveled through that sound wave in the year 2063, would it jostle your space capsule and disturb your small universe? Would you hear something? What?



Did someone unrecorded by history see a light in the hut on the hill and come to help Mary and Joseph that night? Maybe there was an old woman with moles and wens and a sharp bent nose, a woman almost comically ugly, like a witch in a child's Halloween book. Maybe she lived in isolation, never left her small hovel, but she felt called to assist, tugged by some wonder that pierced her estrangement. She helped with the birth, and hers was the first face he saw. Her outer appearance was an expression of the inner wounds he came to heal. As if she were the physical representation of the state of man's soul. Maybe it was she who wrapped him in rags; maybe she bent down, breathed him in, her face bathed in the warm mist of a brutal birth on a frosty night. Maybe when she returned home she was beautiful. But no one knew, and it all went unrecorded, because she never left the house again. And never knew she had been made lovely.




Sunday, October 20, 2002

Detroit Priests (four of them) defend Pro-choice candidate for Michigan Governor's race pro-choice position



This shows the confusion that reigns among the clergy in this country when it comes to morality.



From the Detroit Free Press:



The context in which Jennifer Granholm is required to operate is an exceptionally complex one. As governor, she would be required to uphold the laws of the state and of the country. The decision to balance conflicting claims in a widely diverse society is not a simple one. "Man's dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice," Vatican II declares. "Such a choice is personally motivated and prompted from within. It does not result from blind internal impulse nor from mere external pressure." When caught in conflicting values one must choose the course of action that will maximize the positive values and minimize the disvalues.




Talk about twisting the meaning of a phrase!



Wednesday, October 16, 2002

The Vatican releases APOSTOLIC LETTER ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE



The whole document is at the Vatican website:



A proposed addition to the traditional pattern



19. Of the many mysteries of Christ's life, only a few are indicated by the Rosary in the form that has become generally established with the seal of the Church's approval. The selection was determined by the origin of the prayer, which was based on the number 150, the number of the Psalms in the Psalter.



I believe, however, that to bring out fully the Christological depth of the Rosary it would be suitable to make an addition to the traditional pattern which, while left to the freedom of individuals and communities, could broaden it to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. In the course of those mysteries we contemplate important aspects of the person of Christ as the definitive revelation of God. Declared the beloved Son of the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan, Christ is the one who announces the coming of the Kingdom, bears witness to it in his works and proclaims its demands. It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:5).



Consequently, for the Rosary to become more fully a “compendium of the Gospel”, it is fitting to add, following reflection on the Incarnation and the hidden life of Christ (the joyful mysteries) and before focusing on the sufferings of his Passion (the sorrowful mysteries) and the triumph of his Resurrection (the glorious mysteries), a meditation on certain particularly significant moments in his public ministry (the mysteries of light). This addition of these new mysteries, without prejudice to any essential aspect of the prayer's traditional format, is meant to give it fresh life and to enkindle renewed interest in the Rosary's place within Christian spirituality as a true doorway to the depths of the Heart of Christ, ocean of joy and of light, of suffering and of glory.



Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Today is the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila



Some of her writings are available online at St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Monday, October 14, 2002

First Prediction for Snow this year--this Friday



From weather.com
From the Blessed George Preca's online page



Spirituality



Another Marian devotion that our Founder treasured was the Holy Rosary. In order to encourage everyone to recite the rosary, he used to say: “Our Lady waits for our Rosary even up till midnight!”. For him, the Rosary was not only a vocal prayer, but also a prayer of a meditative and contemplative nature. This can be seen clearly in his writing called The Mysteries of Light. A rapid glance at these mysteries will clearly show us that they do differ a lot form the ones we are used to. The first mystery is when Our Lord was baptized at the Jordan; the second consists in meditating the events of Christ’s miracles; the third, when Jesus Christ taught the Beatitudes; The fourth about Our Lord’s transfiguration; and the fifth is about the Last Supper.
Here are the "new" meditations for the Rosary



They actually are the work of Blessed George Preca who first published them in the 1950's calling them Mysteries of "light."



They are:



1. Jesus' Baptism.



2. Jesus reveals himself at the Wedding feast of Cana.



3. Jesus' announcement of the Kingdom of God.



4. The Transfiguration.



5. The Last Supper.

Pope changing the rosary?



I doubt this is the case. My guess is that the Pope is going to suggest other meditations, not change anything. But we'll see...



From Reuters:



According to Vatican sources, the Pope Wednesday will issue a document proposing that Catholics meditate on five more events in Christ's life in the new rosary, adding a further layer of spirituality to the age-old prayer.



A wildly popular site these days...



FireRonZook.com
A terrible football weekend...



From the OrlandoSentinel.com and Mike Bianchi:



The day Steve Spurrier resigned at Florida, he called me from his waterfront home on Crescent Beach and said, "It's time to let somebody else captain this big ol' battleship that is Gator football."



Little did he know the Gators would begin playing like Gilligan was at the wheel.



Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale . . .



What in the name of Gerry Faust has Ron Zook done to Spurrier's program? In eight weeks, the Mona Lisa has been transformed into Dogs Playing Poker. Rex Grossman has turned into Gross Rexman. The revved-up Swamp is a dried-up ditch. And the Florida Gators might as well be Fort Valley State.



There is no excuse for what is going on in Gainesville, no explanation. It's unbelievable and unacceptable. It's an absolute embarrassment what this program has become in half a season. Zook must be held accountable. Athletic Director Jeremy Foley must be held accountable.



Hoops season starts soon, and Foley always said he wanted to turn Florida into a basketball school. Well, he may have done it with two key hires: Billy Donovan . . . and Ron Zook.



It's not good when guys such as me use your name and your school for a punch line, but that's what's beginning to happen with Zook and UF. It's become so ugly in the aftermath of Saturday's 36-7 home loss to LSU that the Web site FireRonZook.com actually shut down from too many hits. The poor Web master must sound like Captain Kirk demanding more power: "Scottie, I need warp speed in three minutes, or we're all dead!"



And speaking of warp speed, that's how fast UF has gone from one of the nation's top five programs to "others receiving votes." That's how fast Grossman has gone from being the best quarterback in the country to being a collegiate Jon Kitna. That's how fast Florida has gone from a program that aspired to playing for a national title to one that now aspires to a winning record and is checking the holiday forecast for Shreveport.



The Gators have done the impossible: They somehow have managed to make Florida State fans feel good about having two losses.



It took Spurrier 12 years to build it, and it's come crumbling down in two months. Spurrier coached 129 games at UF before losing to an unranked team. Zook did it in Game 6. It took Spurrier 10 years to lose two home games in a season. Zook has managed to do it in five weeks by a combined score of 77-23.



The Gators have seven points in the past six quarters. They've been outscored 86-29 in the third quarter this season. So much for halftime adjustments.



And if Tennessee could execute a quarterback-center exchange and Kentucky had managed to score one more special teams touchdown, the Gators might be winless in the Southeastern Conference.



During UF games, the TV camera often pans to Zook, who stands on the sideline, jotting reminders to himself on a little notepad. You wonder what notations he made Saturday night:



1. See whether Ed Zaunbrecher really is in the press box, or is he calling plays from the Purple Porpoise?



2. Tell Jeremy Foley how young he looks for a 50-year-old man.



3. Buy sword and fall on it.



If this ineptitude continues, Zook will go down as the worst personnel move since Shemp replaced Curly in The Three Stooges. When Foley hired Zook, UF fans were willing to believe there was a method to the madness, but so far, all they've seen is the madness -- and the badness.



The scary thing is, it could get worse before it gets better. There are no gimmes left on UF's schedule (not even Vandy), and the Gators are looking at five losses, maybe six. And next year, because of departing talent, it might be even uglier.



Zook desperately needed to have a good first season -- at least a decent season -- to prove to UF fans, UF critics and, most important, UF recruits that he isn't in over his head. There seems to be this misconception that because Zook is a hard worker and a tireless recruiter that he automatically will lure better talent than Spurrier. That's inane. Spurrier didn't have to recruit the top players; they often recruited him. Do you think Grossman would have come knocking at Zook's office door, as he did Spurrier's three years ago when he was looking for a place to play quarterback?



Foley, who has hired and fired many employees over the past few years, has a philosophy when dealing with coaching changes. He often says, "What should be done eventually must be done immediately." In other words, if it becomes obvious things aren't going in the right direction, it's best to fire the coach now rather than wait.



Even though it's apparent things are going in the absolute wrong direction at the moment, it would be unfair to ask Foley to fire Zook after seven games. It's not unfair to ask this: Why did Foley hire Zook in the first place?



There were no glowing credentials, no real reason to believe Zook was ready for one of the top coaching jobs in football. I said it then, and I'll say it now: Foley should have at least put in a phone call to proven coaches such as Jon Gruden or Oregon's Mike Bellotti before making such a crucial hire.



Foley made the miscalculation that so many ADs at big-time universities make: They believe the program can carry the coach. They think money, resources and facilities are the keys to success.



They assume any hard-working Joe put in the position of coach at a program such as UF can be successful.



There was another established SEC powerhouse a few years ago that thought it could replace a legend with some young, hard-working guy who never had been a head coach but had the reputation for being a dogged recruiter. That school was Georgia, and the coach's name was Ray Goff.



Let us not forget that Florida football did not make Steve Spurrier; Steve Spurrier made Florida football. And then Foley handed the wheel of the ol' battleship to Ron Zook.



Unfortunately, it has taken but seven games for Captain Zook to reach this perilous point.


Friday, October 11, 2002

Another Gas Station shooting...



FromMSNBC:



Police on Friday were investigating a fatal shooting at a gas station near Fredericksburg, Va. — a crime that bears similarities to several others attributed to the sniper terrorizing the Washington, D.C., area. Traffic on nearby freeways slowed to a crawl as authorities questioned occupants of white vans and trucks resembling a vehicle that witnesses said was seen leaving the shooting scene.
Homeopathic birth control?



Is it unnatural to use natural means?



Scientist discovers lemon could halt the spread of AIDS
Interesting site



Here they take the October 7th Bush speech to task:Institute for Public Accuracy
Montana Republican quits Senate race



Why, at this point, you ask?



From the billingsgazette.com:



State Sen. Mike Taylor, Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, will withdraw from the race this afternoon, saying a Montana Democratic Party television ad has destroyed his campaign.



Taylor said at a press conference in Helena that the ad, which he said insinuated that he was a gay hairdresser, had pushed his poll numbers through the floor.




I wonder what big name Republican in Montana he will be replaced with on the ballot?

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Is Sponge Bob Square Pants gay?



From the Raiders News:



He lives in a pineapple under the sea, in a town called Bikini Bottom. His best friend is an exuberant pink starfish named Patrick. His name is SpongeBob SquarePants, the absorbent yellow star of the most highly rated kids show on TV.



SpongeBob, which first appeared in July 1999 and currently runs several times daily on Inc.'s Nickelodeon cable TV channel, is also the biggest childrens' phenomenon to capture the imagination of gay men since the purple Teletubby named Tinky Winky started carrying a purse.

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Leave it to the Japanese...



From the NY Times Japanese Masters Get Closer to the Toilet Nirvana



...engineers from a rival company, Inax, counterattacked in April with a toilet that glows in the dark and whirs up its lid after an infrared sensor detects a human being. When in use, the toilet plays any of six soundtracks, including chirping birds, rushing water, tinkling wind chimes, or the strumming of a traditional Japanese harp.

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Dreaded Words



Posted on the Drive-Theater marquee are the dreaded words that I will face each day just before arriving at work--Closed for the Season. Temperature this morning is 37 degrees.