Monday, December 24, 2007

To those of you who read this fledgling blog...



Friday, December 21, 2007

Mars Attack!

A newly discovered hunk of space rock has a 1-in-75 chance of slamming into the Red Planet on Jan. 30, scientists said Thursday.

"These odds are extremely unusual. We frequently work with really long odds when we track ... threatening asteroids," said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This should be interesting to watch... from afar, of course.

Good News...

... Dad comes home from the hospital tomorrow morning. He's recovering well, and is able to stomach real food now. Needless to say, he's happy to get outta there. He'll be staying with one of my brothers for the short-term as he'll need to take it easy at first. He'll also have a physical therapist and nurses visiting three times a week (lucky guy) until he's strong enough to be on his own again. He'll also have to visit his cardiologist to go over, monitor and check out the old ticker. But, overall, he's in much better spirits. As one of his granddaughters said to him today while visiting him at the hospital, "You look like grandpop again!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kasparov Pulls Out... and Putin is Man of the Year???

Garry Kasparov has pulled out of his fledgling run for president of Russia. [hat-tip to First Things]:
Former world chess champ and thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side Gary Kasparov has called it quits: He will not continue his bid for the Russian presidency as the “Other Russia” candidate.
Kasparov has been a none-too-subtle critic of what he considers a thugocracy in the original Russia. But it seems that opposition to opposition has made a viable candidacy untenable, to the point where Kasparov couldn’t even rent meeting space.

Meanwhile, Time Magazine selects Putin as the "Man of the Year"???

Odd... very odd.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ridin’ that emotional roller coaster...

So... Dad's back on the up-swing again. I'm sure this is wreaking havoc on him, physically, emotionally and psychologically. I know it's certainly doing a number on me and my siblings.

Here's the upshot: He wasn't able to keep food down, and they had to put the NG tube back in. It's still unclear whether or not he also went into another congestive heart failure during this episode. The doctors ran a bunch of tests and found........ nothing - no blockages, no additional adhesions, nothing. They believe that they moved him too quickly onto solid foods, and his stomach wasn't ready to handle it so soon after the surgery.

As of this morning, they removed the NG tube and he's to start on pure liquids only (water first, then apple juice/grape juice, clear broth, etc.). If that goes well, then they move him up the proverbial food chain to apple sauce and similar soft foods - all with the intention of gradually working him up to solid food.

I talked with him today, and he's tired but in good spirits. He's glad the tube is out. Depending on how he's able to handle the slow upgrade of various forms of nourishment, the doctors hope to have him leaving the hospital before Christmas (maybe even before next weekend). But that's putting the proverbial cart before the horse. As you can see, this whole thing is very proverbial.

Thanks again for the continued prayers and well wishes.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More prayers needed...

Just got off the phone with my sister-in-law a few hours ago. Dad took a turn for the worst last night into this morning.

I simply ask for continued prayers during this difficult time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dad update...

Thanks to those of you who have offered prayers and sent well wishes regarding my Dad. After a rough ten days he has made significant improvements. He had to go into emergency surgery to relieve an intestinal obstruction. They were about to remove a part of his intestines, but once they opened him up they realized that it was only abdominal adhesions that formed over the years from previous surgery scars.

He was in ICU for quite awhile as he not only had to recover from the surgery, but he also had congestive heart failure due to excessive fluid buildup in the lungs. It was touch-&-go there for awhile, but things slowly improved. He was eventually taken off the respirator and the intubation. A few days ago he was moved out of ICU, and is now in telemetry. And just this morning they were finally able to remove the NG tube, and he was able to eat real food (such as it is: Jello, soup, etc...) for the first time. With the last of the tubes out it makes it much easier for him to talk, so I'm hoping to be able to talk with him over the phone tomorrow morning.

So, thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers. It has been greatly appreciated.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Veep Spot Speculation...

Katheryn Jean Lopez over at NRO starts her recent column with this intriguing sentence:
I don’t know who the Republican nominee for president of the United States will turn out to be in a few months, but whoever he is, his vice-presidential pick should be Bill Bennett.

The whole column says what I've been thinking for quite some time. I'd actually prefer if he was on the top of the Republican ticket, but I'll taken him in the #2 slot if the eventual nominee is Thompson or Hunter.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sorry, Mitt, but I'm not impressed...

So, Romney felt the need to talk about his faith. Jimmy Akin ain't impressed. Neither are most other people (except for the typical Romney shills).

I'm not impressed either. Aside from the issues that Jimmy points out, my additional concerns include the fact that Romney (to me) comes off as a Slick Willy redux with a non-conservative track record as governor of a liberal northeastern state.

Sorry, Mitt.

I'm not thrilled with ANY of the presidential candidates from EITHER party.

But, for the time being, I'm sticking with either Duncan Hunter or Fred Thompson as the most favorable to me of a sorry lot.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dad update...

I've been in constant contact with my siblings back east. Dad's surgery went much better than expected. Turns out that the blockage was due to... (gee, flashback to 1996)... abdominal adhesions. The surgeons were able to fix the problem WITHOUT having to remove any intestines. He came out of surgery and recovery okay, and is currently in ICU. He was intubated and was on a breathing machine for a couple days, and has subsequently been taken off of those devices.

He's not out of the woods yet. He has fluid in the lungs (though it has gotten better since before the surgery), and the doctors want to make sure this doesn't turn into pneumonia.

Thank you all for the prayers and well-wishes. They have not gone unheard by God, and they have been much appreciated by me and my family!


GKC on EWTN...

Hat-tip to the ACS... (who hat-tips to Mark Shea) that a tele-play production of G.K. Chesterton's play "The Surprise" will air on EWTN on Thursday, Dec 20, at 5:00 AM (ET). The official premiere will be on Friday, Dec 21 at 10:00 PM (ET) [7:00 PM (PT)].

Another airing will be on Christmas Eve @ 1:00 PM (ET) [10:00 AM (PT)].


More on Kasparov, Putin and the Russian elections...

From yesterday:
The former world chess champion is awaiting his opponent's next move.

Garry Kasparov, released from jail after serving a five-day sentence for leading a protest against Vladimir Putin, acknowledged Friday he holds the weaker position in his confrontation with the Russian president.

But Kasparov predicted the upcoming election season, which begins with Sunday's parliamentary vote, will force the secretive Putin to reveal his strategy in the nail-biting political game gripping the country as Putin's time in the Kremlin runs out.

As the campaign for the March 2 presidential vote gathers pace, Kasparov said, the Kremlin's beleaguered, fractious opponents can regroup for a new push aimed at "dismantling Putin's regime."

He hopes their ranks will be strengthened following Sunday's vote, which will also push dissenting voices further to the margins.

More news today:
Russians voted Sunday in a parliamentary election where the only question was whether President Vladimir Putin's party would win a strong majority of seats or a crushing share.

The election follows months of increasingly acidic rhetoric aimed against the West and efforts, by law and by truncheon, to stifle opponents.

A huge win for Putin's United Russia party could pave the way for him to stay at the country's helm once his presidential term expires in the spring. The party casts the election as essentially a referendum on Putin's nearly eight years in office.... Putin is constitutionally prohibited from running for a third consecutive term as president in March. But he clearly wants to keep his hand on Russia's levers of power, and has raised the prospect of becoming prime minister; many supporters have suggested his becoming a "national leader," though what duties and powers that would entail are unclear.

It continues:
Opposition parties, meanwhile, claim authorities have confiscated campaign materials and that the managers of halls have refused to rent them out for opposition meetings. Police have violently broken up opposition rallies — most recently in Moscow and St. Petersburg last weekend — and national television gives the parties hardly any coverage.

In contrast, Putin's speeches to supporters have been broadcast in full and repeated throughout evening newscasts.

"The fact is, they're not just rigging the vote. They're raping the democratic system," said chess champion and opposition leader Garry Kasparov on Sunday.

Kasparov, who was jailed for five days after the Moscow protest, spoiled his ballot by writing on it "Other Russia," the name of his opposition umbrella group.

Sunday's vote "meets none of the criteria of a free, fair and democratic election. In effect, it is not even an election," Andrei Illarionov, a former adviser to Putin, wrote in a commentary for the Cato Institute think tank.