March 31, 2005

The Better Death

He can finally marry the woman he loves. He's killed his wife.

Michael "Spawn of Satan" Schiavo wouldn't even let her parents be with her when she died.

For the ever-memorable handmaiden of God, Terry, may she find a place of light, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, whence pain, sorrow and sighing have fled away. Perhaps she will find a place under the altar in heaven where she can cry out, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Cremation to hide the crimes committed against her will not prevent her from having a new and incorruptable body at the Resurrection. She may have been hastened to the First Death, but murderers will not avoid the Second.

Posted by david at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2005

Other Writing

While I've been working on a new Meandering, I wrote another Wikipedia article.

I discovered that the link for Gary Chapman was a redirect to the article about his ex-wife Amy Grant. As I found this rather insulting for Gary, I drafted a new bio for him.

Posted by david at 12:57 AM | Comments (3)

March 28, 2005

Peaceful Freedom and the Red Light on the Silk Road

According to KyrgyzInfo, a non-state information agency, there were either 67 or 76 requests for medical care during the protests in Bishkek which toppled the government.

As revolutions go, that's not a bad record.

There is still confusion as to whether the old bicameral parliament or the new unicameral body is the one with the powers to legislate. For now the executive branch of government seems fairly stable and that should see the country through this time of transition.

One neighbour not happy with developments in Kyrgyzstan is China. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, China has closed its border.

China has a large Uighur (or Uyghur) population in the adjoining and aptly named Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. "Autonomous" means "you can do what you want, as long as you want to do exactly as we have told you to do." In this area is also known as East Turkestan, Beijing has two overriding interests: to protect the borders of its empire and to prevent any of the ethnic groups it oppresses from getting a whiff of freedom.

Posted by david at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2005

Will Walk for Food

Abby could have been walking much sooner. It is clear to me now.

All the time we could have been using a version of the carrot and the stick. Yesterday I had a piece of banana and held it just out of her reach. Abby likes banana. A lot. She was standing in the middle of the room when I offered her some. Momentarily, her gluttony got the better of her fear as she stepped forward to get it.

So now all we have to do is lead her around the room with fruit.

Posted by david at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

Denied the Bread from Heaven

Terry Schiavo has truly received her last rites.

As is his custom when he is killing his wife, Michael "the Snake" Schiavo has denied Holy Communion to Terry over Easter. Is he so afraid that the accidents (the remaining form of the bread and wine) of the Holy, Good, and Life-sustaining Mysteries of Christ will preserve her mortality for one extra minute?

As for the head of those who surround me, let the evil of their lips cover them; let them be cast into the fire, into deep pits, that they rise not up again.

Let the slanderer be established in the earth; let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

Posted by david at 01:17 PM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2005

The Journey Begins

Today Abby took her first unaided steps. She has been cruising the furniture for months, but finally at 10 months and 14 days she set out on her own. Okay, it was only three steps, but it's a start.

It has only been an issue of confidence. She stands in the middle of the floor and dances. She will even walk with just the slightest touch on her hand or arm. It is the striking out on her own that she's been contemplating for so long.

Not that she has needed to walk to get around our tiny house. She can race on her knees from one end to the other in no time. She has also been climbing the stairs. Very rapidly. Closing the stair gate when going up stairs for even the quickest errand has become essential, or she will be following behind.

Still, it is a key development when a child becomes fully bipedal. They soon leave behind everything that made them a baby. They lose a significant part of that helplessness. It the first declaration of the independence they will grow into day by day until they finally leave home.

Posted by david at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)

Sphere of Imagination

The Russian sphere of influence has suffered another blow. With each of the pro-democracy revolutions in former Soviet republics, these countries turn to the West for emulation and support. It is happening again in Kyrgyzstan.

Some of my readers and fellow bloggers might think this is a bad thing. (At least they have in the past.) I don't think it is. It may create tensions between Moscow and Washington, but at the end of the day, Moscow needs Washington a whole lot more than Washington needs Moscow. United States ranks 1st by the volume of accumulated foreign direct investments into the Russian economy.

Russia needs to realise that it is not a world power. During the waning years of the Cold War, the West had a hard time realising that the emperor (or the General Secretary) had no clothes. Even though the Russian Federation (meaning Russia and the 20 other "republics" which it controls, some willingly and others by force) covers ⅛ of the planet's land mass and is the 7th most populous country, its economy in 2000 was 16th in the world. This put it between the Netherlands and Argentina. Way behind South Korea and Mexico.

They may be angry that the Ukraine and Georgia have turned their backs, but honestly, what do the Russians have to offer? Why would Kyrgyzstan want to overthrow a Moscow-supported former Communist and still look to its former overlords as principal allies? It does not even have a border with Russia. Not even close. From Bishkek, located in the far north of the country, the closest major Russian city is 839 miles away.

The idea that there are Eastern and Western spheres of influence is fading fast. This does not mean that an imperial America is running the world. For example, the pro-American new president of the Ukraine is withdrawing troops from Iraq. These are not puppet regimes.

There are always going to be those who want avoid democracy, whether they are relics of Communism, military dictatorships, or neo-Islamists. But more and more of the world is realising that they can choose how and by whom they will be governed. Kyrgyzstan may be the key that unlocks democracy in the other Central Asia republics. All of them have had rigged elections and each is ruled by a strongman with a fondness for nepotism. Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan, Rahmonov in Tajikistan, Niyazov in Turkmenistan, and Karimov in Uzbekistan will all be longing over their shoulders.

Posted by david at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

The Beginning of Our Salvation

One thing I have learned by blogging is how much better other people are at expressing things - much better than me. For example, one of the Orthoblogosphere's Minor Clergy has an excellent meditation on today's feast.

Nonetheless, I am compelled to jot down a few of my thoughts on the Annunciation.

The Annunciation is the single most significant event in the history of the universe. Without it there is no Christmas, no Good Friday, no Pascha. The Annunciation is the Incarnation. Holy Nativity is simply the result of the natural nine-month process. As St Paul tells us, Good Friday is meaningless without Pascha. But you can't resurrect someone who wasn't dead, and you can't kill someone who wasn't alive, and no human is alive unless they were formed in the womb.

The Annunciation makes it all possible. As in the troparion for today, we sing:

Today is the beginning of our salvation
and the manifestation of the mystery which is from eternity.
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin,
and Gabriel announces grace.
So with him let us also cry to the Mother of God:
Rejoice, thou who art full of grace!
The Lord is with thee.

Protestants wonder why we venerate Mary above all the other saints. (Well, they often wonder why we venerate the saints at all, but that's for another time.) The Annunciation is the reason why. At the Annunciation she went from being just another teenage girl to being Theotokos, the Mother of God. By her act of faith, saying, "Let it be to me according to your word," she found within herself the infinite and eternal God the Son, giving him her genes, her chromosomes, her DNA.

These things cause us to venerate - to honour - Mary. She will always be His mother and He will follow His Fifth Commandment and always honour her. We follow His example. These marvelous things also cause us to well up with worship and adoration for the God-man Christ Jesus, the Father Who sent Him, and the Holy Spirit who overshadowed the Virgin.

I have written further about this at some length a couple of years ago in a Mental Meandering.

Every time we confess our faith, we profess the importance of the Annunciation by declare that we believe in

... the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost
of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man...

What a juxtaposition: begotten, not made with and was made man. The unmade was made in the Virgin's womb. Why? For our salvation. "And you shall call his name..." what? Yeshua. "...the Lord saves".

Posted by david at 01:10 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

School's Out

Thanks to the Western Calendar of movable feasts, my Easter holiday began at 3:10 pm today.

Now I have two weeks to sit back and relax. And mark Year 10 mock exams, Year 9 practice exams, write Year 10 reports, and whatever else is lurking in my bag.

Posted by david at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Science Conspires with History

As I have mentioned in past, the Turks are always keen to remove any hint of Armenian history from that part of Armenia within it's conquered territory. They have been doing the same with the Kurds in the southeastern part of Anatolia. I have been tipped off by RESEAUNATE.90 that they are taking this to a new level.

Now they are trying to change scientific nomenclature to remove any reference to the ancient cultures of those areas. The red fox will no longer be known as Vulpes Vulpes Kurdistanica, but simply as Vulpes Vulpes. At least in Turkey by scientists who want to remain in Turkey. Capreolus Capreolus Armenus is the name of the roe deer, until now. In Turkey it will be known as the rather unimaginative Capreolus Caprelus Capreolus. A species of wild sheep named Ovis Armeniana becomes Ovis Orientalis Anatolicus. That's right, not the Armenian sheep, but the eastern Anatolian sheep.

The original names were given in bad faith, implying that Armenians and Kurds once lived in the places where these animals are found. At least that the official word from Turkish environment ministry, which believes conspiracy against the Turks runs deeper. "Unfortunately there are many other species in Turkey which were named this way with ill intentions. This ill intent is so obvious that even species only found in our country were given names against Turkey's unity."

According to the Turkish Daily News, "Environment and Forest Ministry Nature Preservation Department chief Professor Mustafa Kemal Yalınkılı admitted that scientific names could not be chosen by anyone, but claimed that certain games were being played over Turkey. He said these academics were using such names to argue that Armenians or Kurds used to live in these regions."

Turkey not only refuses to recognise that Armenians lived in Anatolia for thousands of years, it refuses to even recognise the adjacent rump of Armenia which devolved from the Soviet Union. As far as the Turks are concerned there are no such people as Armenians, past or present. If the Turks can't eradicate all of them through genocide, they can at least pretend that they have.

The Turks seem to have a bizarre lack of collective self-esteem. They think that they can bully their way into re-writing history and even the history of science so as to justify their deeds past and present.

Posted by david at 11:42 PM | Comments (2)

March 21, 2005

Losing a Grip on Power

It still isn't a big enough story to make the evening news here.

Today, approximately 1,000 protesters stormed the regional government building and police headquarters in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, and the police were forced to skedaddle.

Yesterday, about 10,000 people besieged and burned down the police station in Jalal-Abad. They blocked the local airport runway so the government could not fly in re-enforcements. The government is losing control of parts of the country.

It is enough that the focal point of their protests, president Askar Akayev has met their initial demand of reviewing the result of the parliamentary elections. If the protesters can get a re-run of the poll, they shouldn't haven't trouble accomplishing their other goal. They want the president out of office. He is due to step down in at the end of October and not run for re-election. If the protesters can resist the urge to throw their Molotov cocktails, it will be the first peaceful handover of power in Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

But it seems that Akayev wants to hold on to a measure of power. His son, daughter and sisters-in-law all ran in the parliamentary election.

Accordng to what seems to be a good source on news out of Central Asia, there seem to some stirring amongst the Russians to get involved. If Russian forces come in to keep the peace, the whole thing will probably get even worse.

Posted by david at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

Statesmen Before a Watching World

How have I missed this? I only just now discovered that I can watch C-SPAN live on the net.

I am currently watching the Congressional debate on Terry Schiavo.

She is starving, but still alive. Lord have mercy.

Posted by david at 03:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

The Evil That Men Do

I've not said much about Terry Schiavo, as every other blog has already said just about everything that can be said.

But I just have to say that I am gobsmacked by the sheer audacity of Michael Schiavo. He is committing murder in the full glare of the entire planet. The feeding tube has been removed in the last few hours and there are already 2,250 articles available through Google's new portal.

A world watches helpless while a serial domestic abuser silences his victim for the last time.

The only people that can share in the guilt of Michael Schiavo are his lawyer George Felos and the Judge George Greer. These two men make the slimiest, most vile of my former colleagues in the legal profession look like saints.

Felos is an example of how the holy waters of baptism can be spit upon. He was born Greek Orthodox. He is Orthodox no more. In an interview with Florida's St. Peterburg Times he declared, "I believe that Christ was God incarnate and was resurrected. But, by the same token, I believe that there were other incarnations of God as well. All the great religions in their essence express the same fundamental truths."

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

May God have mercy on his handmaiden Terry, preserve her life, or if His angels are ready to receive her, may he take her into his bosom and may she find a place of light, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, whence pain, sorrow and sighing have fled away.

The only prayer I can think of for Michael, George, and George are the words of Holy Spirit sung through the Prophet and King David in Psalm 28 (or Psalm 27 in the LXX), "Give to them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavors; give them according to the work of their hands; render to them what they deserve."

Okay, I could also pray Psalm 109 (108 LXX). According to the Orthodox Study Bible, it is seen liturgically as a reference to Judas. But what more obvious example of betrayal have we seen than Michael Schiavo. He broke his marriage vows by beating her to oblivion (having already taken much more than 30 pieces of silver), committing open and flagrant adultery, and now killing her, using up his blood money to make sure that it happens. Yep, I think 109 is a good fit here.

Feel free to use my ideas.

Posted by david at 10:44 PM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2005

Another Revolution

It could be the domino effect of democracy. Most recently the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine saw the toppling of a dictator and the installation the Opposition leader after a re-run of fraudulent elections. Just over a year ago, it was the Rose Revolution in Georgia.

Now we may be looking at the "Lemon Revolution" or "Tulip Revolution" in Kyrgyzstan. Askar Akayev has been the only president of Kyrgyzstan since the former Soviet republic achieved independence from Moscow in 1990. He has promised to step down and not stand in the presidential election scheduled for October 30th this year. However, the Opposition charges that the parliamentary elections held on February 27th have packed the unicameralised Jorgorku Kenesh with Akayev's relatives.

In the usual ex-Soviet stongman style, Akayev has repeatedly told the Opposition that any attempt to imitate the Ukraine will result in a civil war. But democracy is a powerful, and often addictive, thing. With people who just can't get enough of it, they will often resort to anything to get it or keep it. They have even been known to die for it.

Sometimes even the most hardened autocrats, mugged while passing down the dark alleyway of history, have been know to hand over what they have and count themselves lucky to have escaped with their lives.

Posted by david at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Birthday Haul

I'm glad my wife is much better with presents than I am. I generally do a terrible job of getting anything for her or anyone else.

I actually received my first presents on the 14th because Aidie couldn't wait any longer and I was then able to make use of them on my birthday. Before he went to bed, he came in with a package and said, "Here's your t-shirt and tie!" He calls all shirts t-shirts. It was a nice blue dress shirt and a very nice tie. I always need ties. I get tired of using the same ones over and over - I have about 30 or so, but there are a limited number that go with the shirts I currently wear.

Yesterday I got a book and four icons. Two of them are large, 8x10s of the Last Supper and of St Antony the Great. Two are little and are reversable, both with Christ on one side and St Christopher on the other. They came free with the othe icons. The icons are from Greece and from the same eBay seller from whom we have purchase icons in the past.

Now we just have to find a place for them.

Posted by david at 08:57 PM | Comments (1)

I Can Write Properly

Well, Huw did it and so did Philippa, so I took the English quiz to check my grammar and vocabulary.

My Result:
100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 100% Expert!

Posted by david at 08:29 PM | Comments (1)

March 15, 2005

40 No More

Older? Yes.
Wiser? No.

Goodbye 40. Hello 41.

Posted by david at 12:49 AM | Comments (6)

March 14, 2005

To Be Expected

Well, you wouldn't expect the Democrats to replace Sarbanes with anything better. The first contender to throw his hat into the ring is Frizzell Gray. Frizzell is a former Maryland congressman who most recently ran the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in charge of its $27 million annual budget and 2200 adult branches and 1700 youth and college chapters.

This is a truly amazing accomplishment, since there haven't been colored people in the US for as long as I can remember. By the time I was any age, they had been replaced by the black people (still a perfectly good term on this side of the Pond), who in turn gave way to the African-Americans.

But Friz (as I like to call him - its better than his childhood nickname "Pee Wee") supports genocide. And not just any genocide. He supports the genocide of colored people. That's what Dr Ben Joseph realised during the flap over Catholic University's refusal last year to grant a campus charter to the NAACP last year:

"Thirty-six percent of all abortions are performed on black women while they represent only fourteen percent of the child bearing population. So, one need not be a rocket scientist to deduce that in time, the black race in the USA will become extinct. Yet, the NAACP, led by their President, Kweisi Mfume has decided to perpetuate this genocide of their own people. Mfume even says that Catholic University is intolerant when all the while it appears that it is Mfume who is intolerant -- and of his own race."

In Congress, Friz (or Kweisi, as you may have noticed he styles himself now) was a consistent opponent of the unborn. He was a consistent supporter of everything else on the Democratic agenda. The sad thing is that Maryland consistently sends Democrats to Capitol Hill.

So what are the Orthodox in Maryland (yes, I know you are reading this) going to do? Someone needs to start printing "Stop Friz!" bumperstickers. For those who don't know he made up his new name in the 70's, how about "Kweisi Makes Me Queasy"?

Posted by david at 10:28 PM | Comments (1)

March 13, 2005

Heritage is History

Many of the great historic sites of England are under the care of English Heritage. In fact, English Heritage is so steeped in history, its website will not work with the Firefox browser. But I digress...

Over 400 properties, from Stonehenge to Whitby Abbey to Lindisfarne Priory, from Tintagel Castle to Dover Castle to Kenilworth Castle are protected and managed by this quango. Now the Cuture Secretary Tessa Jowell is threatening to dismantle English Heritage. It seems EH has been involved in a number for rows with the Government. And that's how this Government operates. Rock their boat and they will sink your ship. (When the House of Lords last week dared to fulfil its role as a revising chamber and amended terrorism legislation, there were renewed calls for its complete abolition.) One of EH's unpardonable sins was trying to stop John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, from demolishing thousands of Victorian homes in northern England.

According to Government plans to be published next week, the EH properties would be given to the National Trust. The properties would no longer belong to the British people. Despite it's misleading name, the NT is a private charity and receives no Government funding whatsoever. It is already the largest landowner in Britain with 612,000 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. (Scottish properties are under the control of Historic Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Executive.)

It makes sense that this Government wants rid of history. They have dismantled all the historic institutions. Tessa Jowell has criticised heritage organisations as being "too middle class". She believes they put too much emphasis on stately homes. The sad thing is that most of the hovels of the peasants in the Middle Ages just aren't here to preserve. That is, no doubt, the fault of the rich.

Posted by david at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

A Family Affair

Because our Eucharistic community only meets once a month, we don't have services today. We won't be visiting anywhere today, if for no other reason than it is Forgiveness Sunday.

It's not that the extended service would be difficult for the sprogs. They do have enough difficultly getting through the entire Liturgy, even with liberal use of the kitchen as a holding area. But it's the sort of occasion that belongs to a parish.

The year we were received in the Church, we happened to visit the Shrewsbury parish on Forgiveness Sunday. I don't think I realised at the time that's what it was. I remember how uncomfortable I felt as everyone asked everyone else's forgiveness for offences committed in the previous year. You can't really participate with people who you see maybe once a quarter, and with whom you have no common community committment, nor they with you. Sure you can go through the motions, but what's the point of that? As I recall, we slipped out not long after the forgiving bit all began.

That is not say I remove myself from the process altogether, or that I (or we all) shouldn't seek forgiveness beyond the bounds of our local ties and those with whom we regularly share the same chalice.

And though reading a blog is certainly nothing like the fellowship of entering into the heavenlies together in the Divine Liturgy, and most of you I have never even seen in the flesh, if I have offended any of you in the past year, I ask your forgiveness.

Posted by david at 12:27 AM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2005

Good News

The US Senate will only have one Orthodox member after 2006. Paul Sarbanes, the senior senator from Maryland, has announced that he will not seek re-election. Thousands of unborn children should be grateful.

I have written about Senator Sarbanes on more than one occasion.

Now if we could only have truly Orthodox Christians running for the Senate. Anyone fancy being a candidate?

Posted by david at 10:16 PM | Comments (2)

March 07, 2005

Kids Ask the Darndest Things

You never expect to hear this as an honest question. One of my Year 7 history students actually came up to me in the lesson and asked, "Is the Pope Catholic?"

Posted by david at 10:20 PM | Comments (3)

March 06, 2005

Remember

Eight score and eight years ago today, 189 Texans were killed in battle. It took 1800 Mexicans to do it. That's almost 10 to 1. An estimated 600 Mexicans were killed. That's a kill ratio of over 3 to 1.

Fourteen days later it took 1,000 Mexicans to force the surrender of 300 Texans in the open field of battle. These and 42 other prisoners of war were massacred a week later at Goliad. That's lots of Mexicans with guns and Texans with none. Even being taken out and shot at point-blank range, 28 managed to escape.

Less than a month after Goliad, with the odds a little closer to even, it took 18 minutes for 910 Texans to kill 630 Mexicans, wound 208, and take 730 prisoners, none of whom were, as far as I know, shot by firing squad or otherwise summarily excuted.

Posted by david at 11:10 PM | Comments (2)

March 05, 2005

Saturday of the Dead Cow

We made the regular Saturday visit to the city centre today. Aidan wanted to have lunch at "Marks Expensives" but I saw the specials board outside a pub and thought it looked cheap. It wasn't one of those pubs that cooks from scratch. Mrs H thought we would be better off as M&S with sandwiches, but relented without much of a fuss. After all was said and done, it ended up costing more, but you can't get steak and ale pie with a pint of GL cider at Marks. If I translated the cost of this pub lunch into dollars, you would be horrified, but that's the cost of living in this country.

For me, the focal point of the Saturday excursion is the purchase of Percy Pigs at Mark. They are actually probably made of pork, albeit the hooves. They are principally composed of a raspberry flavoured gelatenous goo pressed into porcine cephalic shapes.

Which brings me to the real point. Even though Percy Pigs do not taste like meat, they are not a fasting food, since they have been made from some sort of animal by-product. However, after tomorrow, I don't have to feel guilty about eating all sorts of faux-meat veggie products made from fungal sludge. Fake bacon, fake sausage, fake mince (hamburger meat), fake diced chicken, and the list goes on.

At the Orthodox coffeehouse where I used to volunteer, they used non-dairy whipped cream for Lent. Looked like whipped cream, tasted like whipped cream, but it wasn't really whipped cream. Often it seems that Lent is about the discipline of label-reading more than meat and dairy-abstaining.

Now I'm going to go have some more dead cow for dinner.

Posted by david at 05:34 PM | Comments (2)

Doesn't He Just Feel Silly Now

After all the hoohah surrounding former Home Secretary David Bunkett and his attempt to establish his parental rights over the then-unborn child being carried by his ex-lover - a palava which cost him his job as the third most powerful man in Government - DNA testing has shown that the child is not his.

The obsessive Mr Blunkett just couldn't see what everyone else could see - that his lover's sexual proclivities meant almost anyone could have been the father, even her husband. He is still seeking access to her 2-year-old son, claiming that the child must be his. Because they fuzz out the child's face in the papers, I can't see any resemblance. But then again, neither can he.

Posted by david at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

From Inuvik to Tom T. Hall

I was listening to CBC Radio One - Inuvik in the wee hours, when I learned that Joe Carter had passed away. Not the baseball player, but the cousin of June Carter Cash. Anyhow, since I used to drive by the Carter Family Fold on the way to visit friends in Mendota, Virginia, I surfed over the to Bristol News and learned that amongst the pallbearers at tomorrow's funeral would be Tom T. Hall.

And that's how I found the world's most out-of-date website. I Googled for Tom's website and sure enough there is an "authorized" Tom T. Hall site, though it is quite to point out: "PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH TOM T. HALL AND DO NOT ACCEPT CORRESPONDENCE OF ANY KIND ON HIS BEHALF". Why they then have a page full of letters written by fans, I dont know.

Now I don't know if Tom's been doing anything lately, other than serving as a pallbearer at the occasional funeral, because the Appearances page lets me know where he performed in 1997 and even 1996. And lest I get my hopes up too much, it clarifies "that Mr. Hall will not be going on the road in 1998, opting instead to stay home and write more great music!"

Now you may be wondering why I would be up in the middle of the night surfing and writing about Tom T. Hall. All I can say is that I suppose it has something to do with driving across the great expanse of the US on summer vacations, with my father doing endless a cappella renditions of the 1969 hit, "Homecoming".

Posted by david at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

My Red States

Inspired by Philippa, I decided to create a map of the US states I've visited. It's possible I visited Georgia and maybe South Carolina when I was either 1 or 3-years-old, but I'm not sure.

<

create your own personalized map of the USA

As you can see, I have tended to stay away from the corners - though one day I would like to visit the northern ones on either shore. I have no particular desire to visit Florida.

I would have done a world map like S.F. Danckaert, but really not that well travelled. I've only been to Canada, Mexico, the UK, the Philippines, Greece, and Turkey.

UPDATE: I just received an email from my mother to reliably inform me that I visited Georgia on the way back from North Carolina and visited Idaho on the way from Yellowstone National Park to visit friends in Montana.

Posted by david at 10:28 PM | Comments (5)

March 03, 2005

New UK Orthoblogger

With a hat tip to Huw, I have found a new Orthodox blogger, Fr Gregory Hallam, whose Antioch Abouna began on St David's Day and has been duly installed on the blogroll in the column to your right.

Fr Gregory is parish priest of St Aidan's, Manchester.

Posted by david at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

For Your Reading List

While we are on the subject of saints, have you bought Fr Pat Reardon's book, Christ in His Saints yet? It is entirely about Biblical saints, both Old and New Testament. It is entirely readable, with a couple of pages about each, grouped in larger sections.

If you have not bought this book yet, or in cases of destitution and poverty at least borrowed it off somebody how has, well, as Ricky Ricardo would have said to Lucy, "You got some 'splainin' to do."

Posted by david at 01:16 AM | Comments (1)

A Mother's Day

Today is the feast of St Non (sometimes called St Nonna), the mother of St David. When Aidan David was in utero, we visited St Non's Chapel - both the ruin and the newer building nearby. I don't post photos very often, but I thought I would make an exception, for those who might be interested in seeing this place of pilgrimage.



We took water from the healing well there and used it in Aidie's baptism.

Posted by david at 01:07 AM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2005

Many Years, Memory Eternal, and Don't Mess With Texas

Today is my parents' 43rd wedding anniversary.

It is the 260th anniversary of the repose of my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Johann Phillipus Gansshorn.

It is also the 168th anniversary of Texas' independence from Mexico.

Posted by david at 01:10 AM | Comments (1)

Government by Fraud

In increase voter numbers, the Government has introduced postal voting. Unlike absentee balloting, anyone can now vote by post. And I do mean anyone.

This postal voting has been "tested" in some local council elections. Labour supporters forged 1,200 votes in a single council ward in Birmingham last summer. That was 80% of the Labour votes cast. Is it no wonder that the Labour Government has refused to implement safeguards in the system that the Electoral Commission (a dangerously independent body) wants.

This is not an isolated case. Former Labour councillor Muhammed Hussain is headed to jail after admitting rigging a Blackburn local election with postal votes in 2002. He pleaded guilty yesterday in Preston Crown Court and was told to expect a custodial sentence.

The Government says it is too late to fix the problems. We are too close to the General Election. Not that the Government has announced the date of the election. The Government gets to pick whatver date it wants within five years of the last election. That means anytime up to June 7, 2006. But everyone knows Tony has decided the election will be on May 7, 2005.

Not only that, but in this case underway in Birmingham, the Government tried to get it adjourned until after the General Election to avoid embarrassment. The three Labour councillors involved were supposed to be represented by Labour party solicitors, but when the judge refused a request for a continuance, the Party withdrew funding.

Tony would rather get elected now on a fraudulent ballot than wait a few months and get elected on a fair one. That is the sort of Government we are dealing with in this country. They have abolished the ancient institutions, eroded trial by jury, destroyed the countryside, and will stop at nothing to keep themselves in power.

Posted by david at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

My Name Day!

Today is the feast of the patron of Wales, St David.

I'm glad we didn't have leeks for dinner.

Posted by david at 08:23 PM | Comments (5)