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Category Archives: Life

General stuff that happens to me in the course of a week

Here are some pictures from the Evensong rehearsals and the Evensong itself. Big thanks to Rachel for taking pictures of the liturgy. All Evensong pictures can be found here.

Choir rehearsing in the dance room
Scot whipping the choir into shape at their second rehearsal.
Sopranos 1 Sopranos 2
The Sopranos (not the killing kind)
The Altos
The Tenors
The Basses
Scot Directing
Scot doing interpretive dance…. uh, I mean, directing.
Lit fire at evensong
Mesmerized by a bowl of fire.
Choir singing at evensong
The choir doing their thang.
Betsy, Nancy, and Jeff petitioning God for his services.
Scary Bill
Why I stopped taking pictures of Bill…

I want to thank everyone who came to Evensong. It was absolutely gorgeous with fantastic music and readings. And a big thank you to everyone who helped make it a success. We couldn’t have done it without your help and support. Below are mp3s of all the songs and readings. Enjoy!

Dum Complerentur by Tomas Luis
For the Gifts of God the Spirit
Psalm 146 by Gelineau
Psalm Prayer 1 (Darrell Burns)
Luadate Pueri by Mozart
Psalm Prayer 2 (Darrell Burns)
Spirit of Mercy, Truth and Love by Helvey
1 Corinthians 12 (Jeff Ushupun)
God of All Nations
Galatians 5 (Betsy Hoover)
Tell Out My Soul
Onnis On Inimene by Kreek
How Lovely Is Your Dwelling by Ferko
Alleluja, Chwalcie Pana Boga by Szamotuly
The Lord’s Prayer
Evening Prayer by Purcell
The Voice of God Goes Out
Magnificat by Dupre

Choir Singing

If you’re free tomorrow evening and would enjoy a relaxing evening filled with music by some of Cincinnati’s best singers, come join us at Bellarmine Chapel, Xavier University, at 8pm. Scot and I have been putting these together for four years now and each one is uniquely wonderful. So if you’re interested, come check it out. There’s no cover fee.


(I know about the typo. Scot decided it wasn’t worth fixin’.)

Naked SquirrelSorry that I haven’t updated for a while. According to John, if I keep this up I’ll never get on a CNN blog watch. He also recommended that I post a random picture of something naked to boost my ratings. So, here it is, a naked squirrel!

One of Disney’s cool new attractions allows you to make video postcards and email them to people. Surprisingly, it is one of the free, yes, free things at Disney. Here’s the one Rachel and I made.

Mission Space

Hurricane Katrina Damage

Tomorrow, I leave for Florida with Rachel to spend a vacation in Disney World. It feels very weird thinking that I am headed to the ‘happiest place on earth’ while knowing the devastation in New Orleans. The descriptions coming from inside the area are hellish at best. One man who is in charge of OC4 internet crisis control has become one of the most well known informants since he has been able to sustain an internet connection. Known as the Interdictor, the stories on his blog about the crime, the spread of corpses, and the rampant neglect by the National Guard are numbing, as if the articles on CNN and Reuters were not enough.

My friend, Molly, contacted me today and asked if I wanted to go help with the relief crews. I have to admit, I’ve thought about it more than once. While I continue to think about it, however, I am doing what those in the relief crews ask: donating money. If you feel so inclined, please help by making a donation to the Red Cross or other relief organization.

These donations are an incredible asset as our current administration continues to struggle with helping those in New Orleans. Normally, under these circumstances, I would leave all finger pointing behind. Bush, however, brought it upon himself in a speech that just makes my blood seethe. On ABC (via the BBC), Bush said:

I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we’re having to deal with it and will.

It’s one thing to stay quiet and another to lie in the face of so many deaths! But, I guess Bush has a track record of it.

In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country.

In 2004, National Geographic did an entire article on what would happen in a hurricane disaster in New Orleans. The detail is prophetically chilling.

Scientists around the world have been declaring New Orleans’ environmental damage a huge problem for years.

Even worse, the money set aside to prevent this problem back in 1995 was funneled out of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) beginning in 2003 in order to go towards the war in Iraq, the one we knowingly entered under false assumptions.

If that was not enough, Scott McClellan had the gall in a press conference today to state that those who have not received food, water, and medicine have ways to get it. Anyone watching CNN knows there are thousands of people stuck in New Orleans, told not to leave their houses so that they do not get mugged or raped, who are getting no help. He also refused to give answers to tough questions about white house budget cuts to SELA and other organizations.

Let us continue to keep those in New Orleans in our prayers and support them through our aid. When everyone has been taken care of, let us remember to return and focus on how this could have been better prevented so we do not repeat the mistakes of our predecessors.

Update (09/02/2005): Hunter wrote a moving article today called ‘Left Behind‘ about the situation in New Orleans. Apparently, the thousands told to go to the the Convention Center still have not received adequate aid with the young and elderly now dying of dehydration. Also, here is another 2004 article about why FEMA is unable to cope with this natural disaster due to cuts by the Bush administration.

Hawaii BeachWell, Matt Kelley is back in town, which means bars, putt-putt, and computers for me. I like to tell myself that he’s here to visit me, but I’m sure that his lovely girlfriend, Erin, has something to do with it. Speaking of girlfriends, I would like to send out a warm happy b-day to my lovely significant other, who just turned 23 last Saturday.

It’s been a pretty awesome week with lots of good food and good friends. Friday was the beginning of Rach’s celebration with dinner at TGIFs and a little Silverton Café afterwards. For the record, I believe Silverton is the coolest bar in Cincinnati. Not only do they do non-credit carded tabs, they have ski-ball bowling, mini-shuffle board, an old-school ice cream machine that uses a suction pump, kwazy karaoke, and a juke box you have to hit to make it work. Best yet, during the week, they lock the front door at 11pm. This way, only the regulars who know where the side entrance is are allowed in.

Saturday held more good birthday food at Cancun and was followed by amazing desserts at Prima Vista, an amazing restaurant that sits upon a hill overlooking all of Cincinnati. The rest of the week has led Matt, Erin, and me to other great Cinci places including Nothing But Noodles, PRC, Western Hills Putt-Putt, and a second trip to Silverton.

Good luck to all those starting classes, whether you’re taking ‘em or teaching ‘em!

Well, I gotta lot of cool new gadgets to post about, but before I do, here is a little something for you from John Lavelle. He sent this to me in an email entitled ‘WTF……seriously, WTF.’ All I’ll give you are the title and the links.

Naked Woman Jumps Onto Car to Stop Thief: I’d watch the video and then read the article.

On March 20th, 2003, I was in El Mozote, El Salvador, when the bombing of Iraq began by the United States and the United Kingdom. That evening, my group saw the first visuals of the war on a small television in our hacienda. I believe it was Mary O’Malley who made the comment, “It’s like a video game.” As green explosions dotted the screen through infrared lenses, it did seem like many of the video games I played growing up. Followed by red and blue dots marking military progressions, it was hard to believe, much less understand, what was really happening.

I find it quite often difficult to remember the people fighting in Iraq. More often than not, I feel like the war has become a bipartisan issue for candidates to use to get themselves elected or fuel for pundits to increase their ratings.

Last week, I found this posted on dKos and it really had an impact upon me.

Mr. Northern:

I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package One.

While I was in Iraq,a very good friend of mine, Christopher Cutchall,was killed in an unarmoredHMMWV outside of Baghdad. He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID.Once he had declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended. He left two sons and awonderful wife. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers in Iraq was Roger Turner. We gave him a hard time because he always wore all of his protective equipment, including three pairs of glasses or goggles. He did this because he wanted to make sure that he returned home to his family. He rode a bicycle to work every day to make sure that he was able to save enough money on his Army salary to send his son to college. At Camp Anaconda, where the squadron briefly stayed, a rocket landed inside a tent, sending a piece of debris or fragment into him and killed him. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers was Henry Bacon. He was one of the finest men I ever met. He was in perfect shape for a man over forty, working hard at night. He told me that he did that because he didn’t have much money to buy nice things for his wife, who he loved so much, so he had to be in good shape for her. He was like a father to many young men in his section of maintenance mechanics. They fixed our vehicles with almost no support and fabricated parts and made repairs that kept our squadron rolling on the longest, fastest armor advance ever made under fire. He was so very proud of his son-in-law that married the beautiful daughter so well raised by Henry. His son-in-law was a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division, who died last year. Henry stopped to rescue a vehicle belonging to another unit on what was to be his last day in Iraq. He could have kept rolling – he was headed to Kuwait after a year’s tour. But he stopped. He could have sent others to do the work, but he was on the ground, leading by example, when he was killed. On Monday night, August 16, you took it upon yourself to go out in the country, where a peaceful group was exercising their constitutional rights, and harming no one, and you ran down the memorial cross erected for Henry and for his son-in-law by Arlington West.

Mr. Northern – I know little about Cindy Sheehan except that she is a grieving mother, a gentle soul, and wants to bring harm to no one. I know little about you except that you found your way to Crawford on Monday night in August with chains and a pipe attached to your truck for the sole purpose of dishonoring a memorial erected for my friends and lost Soldiers and hundreds of others that served this nation when they were called. I find it disheartening that good men like these have died so that people like you can threaten a mother who lost a child with your actions. I hope that you are ashamed of yourself.

Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)

I feel that it is incredibly important for us to continually reevaluate our reasons for entering this war, as well as our strategy for stabilizing Iraq and exiting it. During these examinations, I find it very important for myself to listen to the stories of the soldiers in Iraq. For more information on the reasons we began this conflict, CNN is airing ‘Dead Wrong: Inside an Intelligence Meltdown’ this evening (Sunday) at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. It presents the chain of events that led to the intelligence the presidential commission described as “dead wrong.”

If you are interested in getting to know the people in Iraq, I recommend reading the military blogs, known as the milblogs. Many of the stories and pictures are incredibly moving. I would begin with this articled in Wired detailing both this new phenomenon as well as the major players. Good resources for finding milblogs include Web of Support by Christopher Missick and the Iraq Files.

Sorry that I haven’t updated anything recently. Between trips to Duff’s, yummy Chinese dinners, and that work thang, I’ve been unable to fill your computer screen with ridiculous things. But, now that I’m back from running through life, I believe this to be fit:

Storm Close-UpI just choose not too.

Continuing the ongoing saga of my page header, I have now added back paw prints to the puppy walking across the screen. Thanks for all the great comments and feedback. Let me know if you have any other ideas.

Also, on an interesting note, the picture in the header is from my expeditions in El Salvador. I took it at the basin of a volcano where my Nica group spent the afternoon. During our meal, it began to get a tad rainy. When we were finished, however, rays of light began to break through the clouds and illuminate the lake. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Finally, I put up a new cool somewhat daily video called Ddautta. If certain Japanese fluent friends could translate it for me, I would be very appreciative. Peace.