Quitters never win & winners never quit, but he who never wins AND never quits is Harold Camping

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I cannot begin to image how thick someone’s skull must be to keep battering it endlessly against the brick wall of futility. After all the bemused media hype, frenzied efforts to get the word out to the masses, and a big ole pile of cash squandered (his and his followers’) on promoting his recent prediction that the rapture would take place last Saturday, with the end of the world following this coming October, Protestant radio answer man, Harold Camping, has . . . wait for it . . .   “revised his apocalyptic prophecy Monday, saying he was off by five months because the Earth actually will be obliterated on Oct. 21.”

Even if the earth is obliterated this October, at least there is a consolation prize of sorts, and that is that Mr. Camping’s credibility was obliterated first. That happened [again] last Saturday.

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Israeli President Netanyahu urges U.S. return to 1845 borders

May 23, 2011 by  
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This is clever. However, given Dear Leader’s chronic diplomatic cluelessness, it’s quite possible he wouldn’t realize that this is satire. In any case, I will go on record here and declare that I do not support any effort to retrench America’s southern border back to where it was in 1845.

Aboard Air Force Aleph (Reuters) – Speaking to reporters accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his long flight to the United States tonight, Netanyahu spoke of the injustice and hardship Mexicans have endured since American forces annexed Texas in 1845. “Tens of thousands of ordinary Mexicans were driven out of their homes – the only homes they had known for centuries – and forced to live in poverty and squalor south of the border imposed by American aggression,” Netanyahu said. “The Israeli and Mexican people agree on this: This festering wound will never heal until America takes bold steps to return to the internationally accepted lines of 1845. Clearly the settlement activity that’s taken place in occupied Mexico since then is illegal. When I meet the President tomorrow I will tell him to halt all building activity in Texas immediately. Two lands for two peoples, yes, but not on land taken by force from Mexico,” the Prime Minister said.

Asked if his hard-line stance could hurt the U.S.-Israel relationship, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to America’s security and the unshakeable friendship shared by the two countries, then added, “But who was it who said, part of friendship is being able to tell your friend the truth.”

The ball is now in Obama’s court. (source)

 

Terrifying video from inside yesterday’s killer tornado in Joplin

May 23, 2011 by  
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Watch this harrowing video taken by one of a group of people, most likely strangers to each other, as this appears to have been filmed inside a convenience store or a fast-food restaurant. They were taking shelter from the approaching tornado which leveled a huge swath of Joplin, Missouri.

Huddled in the still-daytime darkness, waiting for the twister to either pass them by or plow into them, you can hear their fears go from bad to worse to extreme. There’s virtually no light, but you don’t need to see them to understand what they went through. Children crying, men calling out directions and encouragement, and at least one woman shouting “Heavenly Father!” and “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” as the terrified group wait to see if they will live or die. One man calls out in the darkness, “I love everyone.”

Preliminary news reports say that at least 89 people were killed in Joplin when the tornado struck at about 6:00 p.m. Watching this video made me wonder what I would say or do if I were in that terrible situation, with a violent death possibly moments away. What do you think you would do?

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Question: What’s the least useful college major if you need to rebuild civilization after the apocalypse?

May 18, 2011 by  
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It’s not English literature. It’s not economics. It’s not classics. It’s not philosophy. It’s not accounting. It’s not history. It’s not pre-law. It’s not linguistics. It’s not sociology. It’s not special education, political science, communication, or Portuguese. And it sure as heck isn’t engineering, chemistry, or physics. So, what is the least useful college major if you needed to rebuild civilization after the apocalypse? Click the image to find out. . .

If you’ve heard “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” you might enjoy this

May 16, 2011 by  
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If you haven’t, you really should watch the video of the original song first, and then, once you’re hep to what it’s all about, watch this reworked version by comedy genius Tim Hawkins. And when you’re finished with it, you will probably want to watch every other humor video he’s ever made. He’s that good. And lucky for you, there are tons of his videos on YouTube :)

Take an aerial tour of tsunami-stricken Japan via Google Maps

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I just noticed that the Google Maps‘ satellite imagery of Japan has been updated and now shows things post-tsunami. The devastation is astonishing. If you want to see just how extensive it is, you don’t need to get aboard a government aircraft to survey the damage. In Google Maps, just type in “Miyagi Prefecture Japan” and then zoom in.

Vast areas of previously inhabited areas — houses, business, and various buildings of all sizes — have literally been razed down to their foundations, leaving huge expanses of what once were bustling neighborhoods, even whole municipalities, are now . . . empty . . . except for the desultory heaps of wreckage and rubble strewn everywhere. All that trash and debris just lying around un-removed would be unthinkable for Japan, a country where cleanliness and order are highly prized and diligently fostered by Japanese. Perhaps these satellite images were added before clean-up efforts began. Or, it’s quite possible that the radioactive contamination emanating from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuke plant makes clean up impossible in those areas.

This what’s left of the Nakahama Post Office:

How come we don’t hear anything anymore (not even in the prayers of the faithful at Mass) about praying for the people who are still suffering in Japan? Let’s not forget what happened there. It could happen here. At least in Japan there are steep hills and mountains up which people can run to escape the waves. There’s no such thing in those low-lying areas of the US, such as Florida. Imagine what would happen if a similar earthquake-generated tsunami were to come barreling into either coast of Florida. It would be curtains. Lights out. Game over.

A Very Madrid Wedding

May 11, 2011 by  
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My son Max was married to his lovely wife Anna last December. Nancy and I and the rest of us are overjoyed to welcome Anna into the family! With her and Max’s permission, I’d like to share with you some highlights of the blessed celebration. This slide show tells the tale.

A few factoids: The beautiful Catholic church where they were married is in Syracuse, NY; the groomsmen are three of my sons and my two sons-in-law; and Max, a petty officer 2nd-class in the U.S. Navy. He has a demanding job, so please keep him and Anna in your prayers, especially that God will grant them many children and many happy years together.

Now, be sure to turn your speakers on, turn up the volume, and enjoy the show!

(Pictures and slideshow by Brandon Lata, Fellici Studio: fellicistudio.com)

This stinks

May 11, 2011 by  
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What’s with all the oh-so-easily-freaked-out adults these days? It seems like hardly a week passes by without some new story hitting the news about how yet another clueless public school Barney Fife administrator, teacher, or bus driver freaks out over a minor or even completely innocuous infraction committed by a student and proceeds to suspend the hapless child from school or metes out some other ludicrously out of proportion punishment as a reprisal.

What’s going on? I thought grownups with common sense were running the show in our public schools.

For example, last week, two middle school boys in Ohio passed gas on the bus while on the way to school. A bunch of kids laughed. No big whoop, right? Wrong. The bus drive decided to make a stink about the prank and summarily suspended the boys from riding the bus to school because they were guilty of making “an obscene gesture.” He claims he had warned them before not to break wind again. They did. So, they got thrown off the bus.

Classy.

There are many other examples of such daffy adult overreactions. Consider, for example, Alexa,

. . .a 12 year old student in New York. She wrote with a green marker on her desk, “I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)” Because of a zero tolerance policy, she was cuffed and marched out of the classroom in front of her peers. She was taken to the police station across the street.

Or how about a Bonnie Eagle high school senior who, blew a kiss to his family and pointed to friends during the commencement ceremony as he walked up to receive his diploma. Punchline: The goofy principle was so outraged that, in retaliation, the graduating senior’s diploma was denied him.

There are plenty of examples of this kind of inane overreaction by school principles and suchlike adults who can’t seem to respond to situations with basic common sense. The old proverb comes to mind: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat every problem as if it were a nail.”

All of which causes me to ask in exasperation: When will these Adults In Charge put down their hammers, take a deep breath, think things through, and just grow up?

P.S. Since I predict that some might be tempted to remind me of Columbine and the need for strict rules of behavior in schools, let me duly note that, yes, I remember the Columbine tragedy and the many other heinous acts of violence committed at schools across the country.  They are not relevant to the category of juvenile misbehavior that these administrators I’m talking about have been wildly overreacting to. The way I see it, the notion that they are “simply trying to protect the kids” doesn’t apply to the kinds of zero-tolerance zero-thought overreactions I’m talking about in this blog post.

My new favorite song

May 10, 2011 by  
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I’ve always liked Paul Carrack’s vocal stylings and songwriting. Chances are, you’ve enjoyed them too for years, given that he’s enjoyed some solo commercial success as well as played with successful bands such as Ace, Mike + the Mechanics, and Roxy Music. Anyway, here’s a tasty 2007 recording of a song he wrote for the Eagles called “I Don’t Want to Hear Any More,” featuring The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit on bass and backing vocals, as well as (if you strain your ears you can kind of hear him), Don Henley. Though the earlier Eagles’ version is good, I must say that I much prefer Carrack’s version.

Caution! Listen to this tune at your own risk. You may find it will stick in your head for the next week. That’s what happened to me, but I’m not complaining ;)

Study: How to tell if someone is lying

May 10, 2011 by  
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According to this article on a recent UCLA psychological study, the indications of deception include:

• When questioned, deceptive people generally want to say as little as possible. Geiselman initially thought they would tell an elaborate story, but the vast majority give only the bare-bones. Studies with college students, as well as prisoners, show this. Geiselman’s investigative interviewing techniques are designed to get people to talk.

• Although deceptive people do not say much, they tend to spontaneously give a justification for what little they are saying, without being prompted.

• They tend to repeat questions before answering them, perhaps to give themselves time to concoct an answer.

• They often monitor the listener’s reaction to what they are saying. “They try to read you to see if you are buying their story,” Geiselman said.

• They often initially slow down their speech because they have to create their story and monitor your reaction, and when they have it straight “will spew it out faster,” Geiselman said. Truthful people are not bothered if they speak slowly, but deceptive people often think slowing their speech down may look suspicious. “Truthful people will not dramatically alter their speech rate within a single sentence,” he said.

• They tend to use sentence fragments more frequently than truthful people; often, they will start an answer, back up and not complete the sentence.

• They are more likely to press their lips when asked a sensitive question and are more likely to play with their hair or engage in other “grooming” behaviors. Gesturing toward one’s self with the hands tends to be a sign of deception; gesturing outwardly is not.

• Truthful people, if challenged about details, will often deny that they are lying and explain even more, while deceptive people generally will not provide more specifics.

• When asked a difficult question, truthful people will often look away because the question requires concentration, while dishonest people will look away only briefly, if at all, unless it is a question that should require intense concentration.

While we’re at it, for good measure, check out what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about lying and mental reservation.

 

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