27 May 2010

NYTimes.com: Who Wants to Elect a Millionaire?

OPINION   | May 27, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist:  Who Wants to Elect a Millionaire?
Contempt for political insiders and lust for the self-financed candidate have created a win-win for the wealthy. Just look at Connecticut. 

25 May 2010

it'll be a cold day in new jersey
before new york gets a super bowl. . .

new york awarded 2014 super bowl

to be played at the meadowlands in new jersey. . .

wouldn't it be cool to see the giants and the jets in the same game?

picture: michael falco for nytimes 

24 May 2010

'nuf said

Gene and Me, 1990.

What’s in a name?

Gene. Short form of Eugene, English variant of the Greek name Eugenios, meaning well or proudly born.

A dignified name, fits my brother nicely. Just don’t call him Eugene. His name is Gene. He is immensely proud of that name.

There was a time in his life that he just didn’t like it, and insisted his parents call him. . .Chip. He thought the name Gene was. . . too feminine? Unusual?

It was a phase, thankfully. His name is Gene, and proud is he of that name.

Callahan. His great-grandfather’s name. As Irish a name as the day is long. Strangely enough, as a given name, it means contention or strife. I just learned that bit last Friday. It’s ironic, because my parents and Gene often did not see eye-to-eye, which was a source of contention. . .but they have always respected each other. Gene bears the name Callahan with gusto. He gave it to his firstborn son. If he hadn’t, I would have.

Gene recently became quite fascinated with all things Irish—music, dance, history, and—you’ll forgive me father—Gene loves Irish whisky. . .but that’s a story for another time. Gene has always been proud of his heritage, and lately was becoming more so.

I’d like to paraphrase from a letter Gene wrote to his children in March, to illustrate this particular point of his pride. He wanted them to knowwho they are and from where they come:

Munster, the southwestern province of Ireland, was ruled by a people called Eóghanachta for almost 16 centuries. The Eóghanachta take their name from Eóghan Mór, who died about 192 A.D., and is the earliest-known ancestor of the MacCarthys. Of the Eóghanachta, the MacCarthys were Kings of Lower Munster or Desmond from 1118 to 1596.

Gene’s point? We are descended of Irish Noble Blood.

The English form of the name Eóghanachta is. . .Eugenian.

According to the best known of ancient Irish legal texts, these are qualifications of a just ruler: That he does not violate his people by falsehood, force, or superior strength; let him be a just, sound mediator between weak and strong. Let him be a man of full righteousness on every side, let him be a man who inquires after knowledge, let him be an abode of patience.

. . .that sounds a bit like Gene.

I'd like to say a few words to his family, his people:

Ryan. You are the strong, quiet one, with a dry wit inherited from your dad. You are headstrong, but not stubborn. You have an artistic streak which I envy. You have been thrust into the role of man-of-the-family at much too early an age, but you’re bearing up quite well.

Connor, two years younger. Your humor manifests itself a little more as mischief. You’re the sensitive one. You wear your heart on your sleeve at times, whether it comes forth as anger, or compassion, or wit. You are as likely to show emotion openly as you are to crawl under a rock. . .either of which is ok. You too have been forced to grow up too quickly due to circumstance, but you’ve come a long way lately.

Meagan, two years younger again. Gene’s little princess turned tall beauty. Your personality and wit remind me of my own sister sometimes. You danced your way into our hearts from the very beginning. . .appropriate, since you are now studying dance. You are maturing magnificently.

Allison, the surprise bundle of joy. Five years after Meagan. You were so shy and quiet in the beginning. . .but not any more. You’re a charmer. Your humor is a perfect mix from your dad, and from your brothers and sister. You’ve grown very nicely yourself. Keep your brothers in line.

Lori, thank you so much for bringing four such beautiful people into this world and raising them so well with Gene. . .and Sabrina, thank you (and Lori) for being such a joy and comfort to Gene for all his days.

Gene is insanely proud of all of you, and he loves you dearly. It sounds cliché, but he is watching over you.

Gene was a tough person, not so much that he wouldn’t ask for help if he needed it. He would do anything for his family. Nothing is beneath him. When times were tough, Gene was not too self-important to work the odd job or two to make ends meet, all in the name of his family. While he and Sabrina were away in Florida, his heart ached for you, his children, and it was that heartache which brought him back to Oregon, to be nearer to all of you.

Our hearts ache with yours that he wasn’t here longer.

Gene loves all of us—this won’t change. He will be here with us as long as we continue to keep him in our hearts, to think of him and talk to him. You might have noticed that I have been speaking of Gene mainly in the present tense, because I believe he is still here with us, part of us, perhaps not in body, but certainly in spirit.

I am honored to call Gene my brother, my friend. I hope I can live up to his pride in me. He envies his sister’s accomplishments, even if he never said as much to her. He is immeasurably proud of his parents, of what they stand for and what they gave to him. His parents are proud of him as a son, we are all proud of what he gave as a father. I know in my heart that you, his children, are proud of him.

So what’s in a name?

Gene summed it up in his person. Pride. . .not boastful or conceited, but Valiant. Magnanimous. Gregarious. Full of love for his family and friends in abundance.

All that, in his name.

As Gene would say at this point, 'nuf said. . .

Before I go, I would like to share with you a simple prayer, which Gene spoke in this very room at our father’s funeral fifteen years ago. It is likely the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. It bears repeating today for Gene.

Please close your eyes, listen carefully, and you’ll understand.

by some
that when a bell
rings, a soul, waiting
to get into heaven, gets
its wings to take it there.
the next time you hear a bell
close your eyes, think of Gene,
pray with all your heart and soul
that this time, Gene gets his wings
to take him to paradise and to those who
are waiting
for him.


Gene Callahan McCarthy 
Proud Father, Proud Son, Proud Brother
21 August 1955 - 18 May 2010
Too short a time indeed.
We love you. We will miss you.
We weep because you are gone in body,
We rejoice because you are here in our hearts.
Save a seat at God's banquet for us.
Hoist a glass of the Water of Life with Dad,
And save a drop for me for when I join you.

18 May 2010

must be the clouds in my eyes

daniel is travelling tonight on a plane 
i can see the red tail lights heading for spain, oh and 
i can see daniel waving goodbye 
god it looks like daniel, 
must be the clouds in my eyes 

they say spain is pretty though i've never been 
well daniel says it's the best place that he's ever seen, oh and
he should know, he's been there enough 
lord i miss daniel, oh i miss him so much 

daniel my brother you are older than me.
do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal?
your eyes have died,
but you see more than i.
daniel you're a star in the face of the sky 

daniel is travelling tonight on a plane 
i can see the red tail lights heading for spain, oh and 
i can see daniel waving goodbye 
god it looks like daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes 
oh god it looks like daniel, 
must be the clouds in my eyes

12 May 2010

and bad mistakes
i've made a few
i've had my share of sand kicked in my face
but i've come through. . .

I've paid my dues time after time
I've done my sentence but committed no crime
And bad mistakes I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions, we are the champions
No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions of the world

I've taken my bows and my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it

I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions, we are the champions
No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions, of the world

10 May 2010

Update: Sarah Palin and Discovery

Discovery Communications is feeling the pressure. On Wednesday, we hand-delivered the signatures of more than 234,000 CREDO Action members to Discovery Communications. And since Monday, more than 4,500 CREDO Action members have jammed Discovery's phone lines with calls opposing their decision to run Sarah Palin's show.

Together with our friends at Defenders of Wildlife — who have also sent hundreds of thousands of signatures and thousands of calls — we have forced Discovery to listen. The company released this statement in light of our pressure:

"The program will be character driven and centered around Sarah Palin and the pioneering people who make up our 49th state. There will be no politics, policy or advocacy associated with this program. It is not a nature documentary, a travelogue nor will it endorse any natural resource or wildlife management policies."

They don't get it. Sarah Palin is a politician — and there is no way to separate her political life from her TV show. Any platform that allows Sarah Palin to promote a green message sacrifices the integrity of the Discovery brand. It also helps Palin prepare for a 2012 presidential run and adds $2 million to her personal fortune.

We must keep the pressure on. Here are two ways you can help:
1.     Get us to 5,000 calls. If you haven't made a call yet, please do so at your next available moment between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday. Click here for a number to call and a sample script.
2.     Get us to 250,000 signatures. Spread the word to your friends, family, and coworkers. Click here for our easy tell-a-friend tools.

Thank you for your help in our campaign to keep Sarah Palin off Discovery!

LiAnna Davis, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Armaments 2: 9-21

  • LAUNCELOT: We have the Holy Hand Grenade.
  • ARTHUR: Yes, of course! The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch! 'Tis one of the sacred relics Brother Maynard carries with him! Brother Maynard! Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade!
  • [monks processing and singing: Pie Iesu Domine, Dona Eis Requiem]
  • How does it, uh... how does it work?
  • KNIGHT: I know not, my liege.
  • ARTHUR: Consult the Book of Armaments!
  • MAYNARD: Armaments, Chapter Two, Verses Nine to Twenty-One.
  • BROTHER: "And Saint Atila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, 'Oh, Lord, bless this thy hand grenade that with it thou mayest blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.' And the Lord did grin, and people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large --"
  • MAYNARD: Skip a bit, Brother.
  • BROTHER: "And the Lord spake, saying, 'First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shalt be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch toward thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.'"
  • MAYNARD: Amen.
  • ALL: Amen.
  • ARTHUR: Right! One... two... five!
  • KNIGHT: Three, sir!
  • ARTHUR: Three!
  • KNIGHT: Throw it, my lord! Throw it!
  • ARTHUR: Oh!. . .

and now for something completely different. . .

in honor of monty python and the 35th anniversary of
Monty Python and the Holy Grail's release in the US
. . .

i fart in your general direction.

it's only a flesh wound

come back! i'll bite your shins!

do i get the leninist discount?

09 May 2010

most beautiful word in any language


to all of the mothers in my life. . .my mother, and my wife. may i make you proud, and make you happy. . .both of you.

happy mother's day, to both of you.

08 May 2010

pneu. mo. nia, part deux

didn't get to see gene today. heard from my mother that he was semiconscious today, responsive to commands and to her voice. good signs. 

connor went to visit him today--i didn't expect connor to go until tomorrow (VERY long story). i will go to see him tomorrow, and pray for a complete recovery...speedy if possible, but if not, i'll be happy for the recovery when it comes.

gene, you came back from florida because of your kids. 

now you need to come back with a vengeance. . .for your kids.

07 May 2010

3 words: pneu. mo. nia.

it's a classic pain the in neck, chest, bowels, and the rest of you. thank god i don't have it--my brother does. 

he's in hospital--ICU, for crying out loud--and will probably be there for days. was feverish (106!), dehydrated, and loopy from the lack of oxygen. now, we just wait for the recovery. . .

say a prayer, please.

04 May 2010

cheers, dad, part deux,
and happy birthday

this is a retread of an old post. it's worth sharing again.

dad, at a party, christmas eve, mid 1983 or 1984

in most of the old candid party or social pictures of my dad, he is holding a drink in his hand. he wasn't a heavy drinker at all--it's just that he always seemed to carry that one glass of scotch with him all night at whatever party he was attending.
fr. vince (left) and my dad, at a christmas party, about 1980

he would nurse that one drink all night, and never need a refill.

that's what i call social drinking.

i'll drink to that, and i'll hoist a glass of scotch to your memory.

i love you, dad.

03 May 2010

excuse me, officer, but i could've sworn i set the parking brake, part trois

This brand-spanking-new Airbus 340-600, the largest passenger airplane ever built, sits just outside its hangar in Toulouse, France, without a single hour of airtime.
Enter the Arab flight crew of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) to conduct pre-delivery tests on the ground, such as engine run-ups prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. The ADAT crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area.
Then they took all four engines to takeoff power with a virtually empty aircraft. They had not read the run-up manuals, so they had no clue just how light an A340-600 is without passengers and luggage.         
All 4 engines were at full power--the takeoff warning horn was blaring in the cockpit.
The aircraft computers thought they were trying to take off, but the aircraft's flaps and wings had not been configured properly.
In order to silence the alarm, one of the ADAT crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor. This fools the aircraft computer into thinking the plane is in the air.
The computers released all the brakes and set the aircraft rocketing forward. (The ADAT crew had no idea that this is a safety feature so that pilots can't land with the brakes on--they hadn't read the manual.)
Not one member of the seven-man crew had the presence of mind to throttle back the engines from their maximum power setting, so the brand-new $200 million aircraft crashed into a blast barrier.
The extent of injuries to the crew is unknown due to the news blackout in the major media in France and elsewhere. Coverage of the story was deemed "insulting to Arabs." Most coverage was whitewashed--some reports had the aircraft jumping over its wheel chocks or blaming the accident on some mechanical failure.

The photos are starting to leak out.
A French Airbus A340-600:  $200 million dollars
Untrained Flight Crew Salary:  $300,000 per year
Unread Operating Manual:  $300
Aircraft meets immovable object:  PRICELESS!!!