Sunday, March 30, 2008

Unfinished books...

Several weeks ago I posted my answers to a meme which listed six things about myself. One of my answers was with regard to unfinished books that I've read.

Well, while I was cleaning my apartment I decided to browse through my bookshelves to determine which books I am currently "in the middle of" - books I have started but have not quite finished reading through to the end.

Ummm..... turns out that the total is not 6 books, but..... 14! (yikes) And this does not include short story compilations, poetry compilations, and spiritual meditations/advice type books which are not meant to be read from cover-to-cover like a novel or biography.

The 14 books I am currently in varying degrees of unfinishedness?:

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I read his "Love in the Time of Cholera" about a decade ago. I was fascinated by that book; though it is not for everyone, and it has some disturbing portions. But his "100 Years" really was a disappointment. After reading a quarter of the way through it I just gave up. Maybe I'll try to trudge through it at some point in the future. I'd rather re-read Italo Calvino novels and short stories.

Don Quixote by Cervantes: A classic, yes. But it is waaaaaaaaay too long and rambling. I've tried three times to read it. I've gotten further with each attempt. One day I'll make it through to the end.

Don Juan by Lord Byron: I started this but only went through the first Canto. I knew it was going to start slow, but there are passages later on which are fascinating. I decided to save this for another time when I'm ready to embrace the wild romp.

Histories by Herodotus: I stumbled upon this book via the film "The English Patient". I'm about 80% through it, and when I'm in the mood I pick up where I left off. It's difficult to remember things in their historical context within the narrative when you take long breaks between readings, but parts of it are fascinating and even hilarious.

My Antonia by Willa Cather: I read through much of this book, then did something I NEVER do... I skipped to the end. I was less than thrilled with how the novel ended, so I ended up just scanning through the remaining pages inbetween and glossed through them. I guess I got a little impatient with Cather's narrative, despite some beautiful prose.

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson: A nonfiction telling of the search for a sunken German WWII sub off the Atlantic coast. Don't know why I stopped this one. It's very intriguing, with a host of colorful characters involved in the search.

The History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage: Another nonfiction book which looks at the history of the world through the discovery/invention of six important imbibes: beer, wine, distilled liquor, coffee, tea, and cola. I've read the first four sections, and will eventually finish off the tea & cola. The constant usage of the chronological references "B.C.E." and "C.E." are annoying, though.

The Eight by Katherine Neville: A modern novel recommended by one of my nephews. Supposed to be similar in style to Umberto Eco's tomes. Got about 10% through it. Ehh.

The Winner by David Baldacci: Another modern novel; a suspense/thriller about a rigged national lottery. I got pretty far with this one, but some of the plot points just didn't fly with me. There is just something about much of today's fiction that leaves me less than satisfied. Ray Bradbury, definitely! Early Robert Ludlum for some fun-filled suspense, sure (not the movies, though). But too much of today's excuse for literature is nothing more than unfulfilling (is that a word?) fast food.

American Jihad by Stephen Emerson: An important book (along with quite a few others written in recent years) that gives eye-opening information about the state of Jihad and Islamic radicalism not only around the world but also within the U.S. Emerson gets a bit bogged down with details, and the proliferation of names and organizations become a blur. I would still recommend this important book.

The Confessions of St. Augustine: I'm actually almost finished with this. I think I have two and a half more "books/sections" left. You can't really read this in one sitting, or through long stretches. It's too dense, spiritually. I'm afraid to even attempt his "City of God".

No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton: Lent to me by a friend. I'm not too much of a fan of his, but if you're going to read one book by him then this is the one! I found myself underlining passages left and right as I chewed through this. I had forgotten all about this book as I scanned through my shelves. I'll finish it after I'm done with "Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons" by Raymond Arroyo (a book I didn't include in this list because it's just short little one-sentence or two-paragraph spiritual lessons and insights - not an actual novel or non-fiction story. She's one smart, funny, and inspiring lady. And I'm almost finished with this book, too.).

Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by Pope John Paul II: This thick book (with the current updated additions and corrections) is dense both theologically and philosophically. Thank goodness I first read Christopher West's brief primer, "Theology of the Body for Beginners". This important book is meant to be read one section at a time (each never being longer than eight pages). I plan on taking my time through the rest of this year to read it.

... and, finally...

Those Terrible Middle Ages: Debunking the Myths by Regine Pernoud: I just started reading this book (translated from the original french, written in the 70s). A bit scholarly, a little dated, and a little narrow in focus from a French point of view. But an important book nonetheless.

That's it! Most of these I'll finish eventually. A few I may not even bother picking back up again. But the list is dwarfed by the hundreds that I have read over the years. It's also dwarfed by the many books sitting on my shelves still waiting for me to crack open and start.

*sigh* So many books, so little time.


With a squeaker last game, then Final four teams are set: North Carolina vs. Kansas, and UCLA vs. Memphis. As I had predicted, it's the first time that all four #1 seeds made it to the Final Four since the expansion to 64 teams in 1985.

I think it's going to be NC vs. Memphis for the Championship, with the Tar Heels winning it all. Should be a heck of a Final Four weekend next week.

So... about this Obamessiah guy...

So, Barack's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, thinks that America is “irrevocably bound to a tragic past”. Yet, Barrack’s campaign is about “change, hope, and 'yes we can'”. But how can that be so when Obama:

* Was an active member of the church for over 20 years with Wright as pastor
* Was married to his wife by Wright
* Had his children baptized by Wright
* Had his home blessed by Wright
* Gave tens-of-thousands in donations to the church
* Titled a book after one of Wright’s sermons
* Reflects on Wright's sermons in both books
* Had regularly listened to Wright ‘s sermons on tape while at grad school
* Had appointed Wright to his presidential campaign
* Claimed Wright as his spiritual mentor and advisor

Maybe it’s because he was “unaware” of all that vile rhetoric until early 2007?

Ummmm... I don't think so.

As time has passed, a whole slew of news reports, blog posts and analysis have pretty much made it absolutely clear what a charlatan Barack Hussein Obama real is (as well as being, what I've said from the beginning, an inexperienced empty suit).

For complete analysis of both Wright & Obama, I point you to this panoply of posts:

From Erick over at RedState.

From Juan Williams of Fox News (no conservative, he).

From Little Green Footballs on Trinity Church trying to change their website to cover their tracks.

Michelle Malkin's full analysis of "the speech" (you know... the non-apology apology from The Obamessiah).

Captain Ed (formerly of Captain's Quarters, and now over at Hot Air), on pointing out that Obama's failed (yes, failed) speech in Philadelphia was really intended for a very small and narrow audience.

Flopping Aces going through pertinent quotes from Obama in light of Wright's rants.

And Flopping Aces points out the obvious point that many people have missed from the speech. The key quotes from just a year apart:

“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation,”
–Barack H. Obama, March 14, 2008

“Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.”
–Barack H. Obama, March 18, 2007

James Taranto delves into the "black liberation theology" and the disturbing Wright quotes (with a link to ABC News... you know, that "right wing" news organization).

NOTE: This whole "black liberation theology" b.s. is nothing other than a twisting of Christian theology into Marxist militancy and a so-called justification for violence. Another form of "liberation theology" reared it's ugly head in South America from the 50s through the 80s within the Catholic Church. When Pope John Paul II visited Nicaragua in 1983 he publicly scolded Rev. Ernesto Cardenal, the minister of culture in Nicaragua’s then-new Sandinista government, because of his continued disobedience in continuing the "liberation theology" movement in the region.

Question: "What is Liberation Theology?"

Answer: Simply put, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. It started in South America in the turbulent 1950's when Marxism was making great gains among the poor because of its emphasis on the redistribution of wealth, allowing poor peasants to share in the wealth of the colonial elite and thus upgrade their economic status in life. As a theology, it has very strong Roman Catholic roots.

Liberation Theology was bolstered in 1968 at the Second Latin American Bishops Conference which met in Medellin, Colombia. The idea was to study the Bible and to fight for social justice in Christian (Catholic) communities. Since the only governmental model for the redistribution of the wealth in a South American country was a Marxist model (gained in the turbulent 1950's), the redistribution of wealth to raise the economic standards of the poor in South America took on a definite Marxist flavor. Since those who had money were very reluctant to part with it in any wealth redistribution model, the use of a populist (read poor) revolt was encouraged by those who worked most closely with the poor. As a result, the Liberation Theology model was mired in Marxist dogma and revolutionary causes.

As a result of its Marxist leanings, by the 1980's the Catholic hierarchy, from Pope John Paul on down, had criticized liberation theology as practiced by the bishops and priests of South America. As a result, they have been accused of supporting violent revolutions and outright Marxist class struggle by the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This perversion usually is the result of a humanist view of man being codified into Church Doctrine by zealous priests and bishops and explains why the Catholic top hierarchy now want to separate themselves from a Marxist doctrine and revolution.

However, Liberation Theology has moved from the poor peasants in South America to the poor blacks in America. We now have Black Liberation Theology being preached in the black community. It is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in South American Liberation Theology and has no more claim for a scriptural basis than the South American model has. False doctrine is still false, no matter how it is dressed up or what fancy name is attached to it. In the same way that revolutionary fervor was stirred up in South America, Liberation Theology is now trying to stir up revolutionary fervor among Blacks in America. If the church in America recognizes the falseness of Black Liberation Theology as the Catholic Church did in the South American model, Black Liberation Theology will suffer the same fate that the South America Liberation Theology did, namely it will be seen to be the false doctrine of a humanist viewpoint dressed up in theological terms.

American Thinker's analysis on whether The Obamessiah may just be Jimmy Carter version 2.0.

Charles Krauthammer's article on "The Brilliant Fraud".

Flopping Aces, yet again, on the links among Obama, Rezko, Wright, Farrahkan and the Weather Underground (this is very telling).

John at PowerLine on Obama's throwing his grandmother under the bus by labeling her as "a typical white person".

American Thinker continues to investigate the "property deal" between Obama and Rezko (with intriguing satellite pictures).

And Hugh Hewitt has been broadcasting excerpts of Barack's audiobook, "Dreams of My Grandfather". The book was published in 1995, but the audiobook was recorded - in Barack's own voice - in 2005 (after he was elected U.S. Senator, and around the time he was planning to run for the presidency). More from Hewitt here.

Even more info regarding the Passport Snooping investigation (and an Obama link?).

Rolling Stone magazine did an expose on The Obamessiah last year (very interesting). Just One Minute delves deeper.

And The Autonomist points to the NewsMax story about Barack being in attendance during one of Wright's pulpit preaching moments.

Then, of course, we have the so-called "pro-life" Democrat Senator Bob Casey Jr. endorsing The Obamessiah. Remember that it was The Obamessiah who lead the opposition in the Senate to deny basic health care to infants who happen to survive a failed abortion (a bill which Hillary, Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy all supported).

And, finally, we have two pictures that point out the blatant hypocrisy and political expediency of The Obamessiah. Remember, it was not too long ago during the early portions of the campaign that Barack would refuse to place his hand over his heart and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America:

Yet, when The Obamessiah wanted to give his speech to not-quite apologize and not-really distance himself from his racist, bigoted and un-Christian pastor & spiritual advisor, Jeremigh Wright.... well, he just couldn't seem to find quite enough flags for his patriotic backdrop (thanks to Creative Minority Report):

Of course, The Hildabeast has her own issues with the Bosnian sniper incident that never was.

The fun of it all is seeing both Hillary MacBeth and The Obamessiah duke it out all the way to the Democratic National Convention in late August - neither getting enough delegates to win the nomination outright, with Barrack in the delegate lead, but with Hillary most likely having the popular vote lead, and Florida (of all states) and Michagan voters being (as liberals love to say) "disenfranchised" - thus leaving both of them politically bloodied and battered, with no one to blame but themselves.

Someone, please pass the buttered popcorn. This is fun. More entertaining than most of what Hollywood tries to pass for theater entertainment.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Feelin' The Squeeze...

Going through a little financial belt tightening now as my employer has just instituted an across-the-board 10% cut in salaries in order to keep things going through a rough stretch.

Prayers would be much appreciated.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


There is NOTHING sweeter for a Wildcat alum than seeing Villanova win to get into the Sweet 16... annnnnd to see Georgetown LOSE!


Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness - the first round round-up...

Villanova overcomes an 18 point first-half deficit to knock off Clemson (WOOT!), ending the first round with flair. All four lower seeds (#12s & #13s) that played in Tampa today pulled off the upsets.

Re: my first round match-ups? I’m 22-10 with a pristine South bracket and losing only 2 of my Sweet 16 teams (neither of my losers do I have going beyond Round 2 anyway).

The Wildcats start off Sunday’s round of games against fellow underdog Siena. The winner gets to go to the Sweet 16, potentially against #1 seed Kansas. Gotta love it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I was going to post (in detail) about the latest Obamessiah mess. But I'll save that for later. On to more important things.... like... MARCH MADNESS TIME!!!

Okay... tip-off of the first game starts in under 30 minutes. Normally, I go through all the picks meticulously - schedule details, team makeup, injuries, strengths & weaknesses, etc. - but this year I just went (as best as I could) with just a brief glimpse at the match-ups. So... without further ado... here are my picks for the first round:

North Carolina
Notre Dame
Washington State
St. Joe’s

Kent State

Mississippi State
Michigan State

West Virginia


My SWEET 16 are:

North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
Louisville vs. Tennessee

Kansas vs. Villanova
Wisconsin vs. Georgetown

Memphis vs. Pittsburgh
Stanford vs. Texas

UCLA vs. Drake
Georgia vs. Duke


My FINAL FOUR will be:

North Carolina vs. Kansas
UCLA vs. winner of Memphis/Pittsburgh

If Memphis wins, this’ll be the first time that all four #1 seeds get to the Final Four.

So... what are YOUR picks???

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I give you "The Obamessiah's" Spiritual Mentor...

(HT to Redstate)

Excerpt from Redstate's post:
Barack Obama's book "Audacity of Hope" was titled after a sermon from his mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Wright's congregation, is more about black empowerment than the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The media is trying desperately to avoid this story...

I love the part where he talks about Jesus being a black man put down by rich white people a/k/a the Romans who were Italians who were Europeans ergo "White People." Then of course there is his reference to "the US of KKK A." Nice.

Watch the video of Jeremiah Wright here.

UPDATE: Now PowerLine has a post which links to an ABC News story regarding Mr. Wright:
ABC News reports that Barack Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America." Wright thinks God should damn America for "treating our citizens as less than human" and "for [acting] like she is God and she is supreme." Wright also told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism. Among the "terrorism" Wright thinks the U.S. has supported is "terrorism against the Palestinians," by which he must mean Israel's efforts to defend itself.

Wright has been Obama's pastor for 20 years. He married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope. Obama says he was not at the church on the day Wright blamed America for 9/11. "It sounds like he was trying to be provocative," is the best Obama can offer on this one.

More generally, according to ABC, Obama has said, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." This suggests that Obama considers Wright's statements about America (that it treats its citizens as less than human and brought 9/11 on itself) defensible.

ABC News story link here.

Fox News story link here.

'Tis about friggin' time the MSM (mainstream media) finally started examining this aspect of The Obamessiah's life. Now, if they'd only focus also on the Tony Rezko trial as well.

RWN's Pet Peeves...

John Hawkins over at RWN posted his Top 10 Pet Peeves. And I must say that his list pretty much conforms to my own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Obamessiah Obomination...

(Hat-tip to Redstate for this one)

This is for all those potential voters (especially all of you Pro-Lifers) for the upcoming Pennsylvania primary next month. The following "mock ad" tells the abominable truth about Barack Hussein Obama's position with respect to abortion. When The Obamessiah is further to the left than Kennedy, Clinton and Boxer, you know that there is something seriously wrong.


UPDATE: YouTube has removed the video. In essence, it pointed out in no uncertain terms that The Obamessiah lead the opposition to the Senate bill that would allow basic health care to infants who survived a failed abortion procedure against them. Senators Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton (and John McCain) all voted in favor of the bill to supply the basic health care to the baby.

UPDATE #2: It's back up at YouTube.


David Mamet is no longer "brain dead"...

(HT to both The Anchoress and to Gerald at Closed Cafeteria)

Famed playwright David Mamet has written an article in the Village Voice in which he has come to the realization that he is now no longer a "brain dead liberal".

Read the entire article here.

Prayers needed for Fr. Corapi...

(HT to Mark Shea)

Apparently, Fr. Corapi (best known for his powerful lectures and sermons broadcast on EWTN) has been ill for some months now and is requesting prayers.

Saint Michael the Archangel, watch over him, protect him and petition Our Father for his healing, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen



Okay... I’m a college hoops playoffs nut case (I admit it proudly). It’s in my blood (I’m a Villanova grad). And the ’Cats are trying to claw their way into the NCAA tournament. The first big test was today in the first round of the Big East Tourney where they burst the bubble for Syracuse by pouncing on the Orangemen 82-63.

Next game?... the hated Hoyas of Georgetown (BOO...HISSSSS). They played each other during the regular season. The game was tied when Villanova was called for the lamest of ticky-tack fouls with only 1/10th of a second left on the clock. The Hoyas escaped a defensive battle with a cheap win from the foul line. ALL of the announcers and game commentators were holding their noses and verbalizing their dismay at the bad officiating. It left a bad taste in the Wildcats’ mouths, that’s for sure.

Tomorrow is REVENGE TIME!!!

/queue the marching band/

V... for Villanova...
V... for Victory...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Obama, Rezko & Hillary, OH MY!!!

Well, I guess the final nail is in the coffin. There never was going to be an Obama-Hillary ticket because she would NEVER play second fiddle to anybody after being second string to her husband all her life. But now that a Clinton aide has compared Barack to Ken Starr, well... you can be sure that there will never be a Hillary-Obama ticket either.

But, on to much more interesting news regarding The Obamessiah and this Rezko guy who's currently on trial in Illinois. Per this American Thinker post:
"U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve jailed Rezko...saying he had disobeyed her order to keep her posted on his financial status. Among other things, he failed to tell her about a $3.5 million loan from London-based Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi -- a loan that was later forgiven in exchange for shares in a prime slice of Chicago real estate. Rezko gave $700,000 of the money to his wife and used the rest to pay legal bills and funnel cash to various supporters."

American Thinker goes on to quote from The Times of London:
"A company related to Mr. Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr. Obama's bagman Antoin ‘Tony' Rezko on May, 23 2005. Mr. Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

"Three weeks later, Mr. Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15. Mr. Obama says he never used Mrs. Rezko's still-empty lot, which could only be accessed through his property. But he admits he paid his gardener to mow the lawn."

The American Thinker post goes on:
Rezko's relationship with Barack Obama goes back to at least 1990, when Obama's law firm did work relating to a Rezko housing development. Rezko was a key early-money fund raiser in Obama's state Senate campaigns and his failed run at the US Congress. In June 2005, when the mansion was purchased, Rezko was widely known to be under federal investigation. Rezko also is a key fundraiser for Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The sudden emergence of Auchi into this story indicates Rezko's deals may include a money trail leading back to dead Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Auchi's Saddam links trace back to a failed 1959 assassination attempt on the life of then-Iraqi-prime-minister Abdul Karim Qasim.

Auchi's General Mediterranean Holdings company was also the largest private shareholder in Banque Nationale de Paris which later merged with Paribas to become BNP Paribas. At Saddam's insistence, billions of dollars of Oil for Food transactions passed through BNP from its 1995 inception until 2001.

Much more details can be read in AT's full post here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Reagan and Abortion...

NRO had a story in January about Reagan and a key piece of legislation he signed while governor of California concerning abortion. It points to this ill-advised decision, and how it's unintended results lead to Reagan (already pro-life at that point) became an even more staunchly anti-abortion proponent from that moment forward.

A Very Unique Rosary...

Major hat-tip to the American Papist for this post.

He came across a website that sells a very unique and powerfully designed rosary.