Thursday, March 30, 2006

How to lose a mind in 10 days

It seems that I have developed a chronically busted upper lip. Every time the thing starts to heal, I smile, laugh, talk, or cross my eyes and the stupid thing opens up again. Oh well. It's giving me a gangster look...big fat lip.... I can see the headline: Jenny "Lips" O'Potterson (Fr. O'Kielty's version of me last name) Steals Hope Diamond to return to rightful king of France, Louis XX! Whatever.

I don't like this week. It displeases me. I'm trying to make a forest, but I don't know how to paint trees and it keeps raining and being windy and my flats keep going away because people buy them from under me. Argh. So frustrating.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Okay, so I said fourteen hours. More like, uh...more than fourteen.

West Point was really beautiful.

Yale was not.

The Naval Academy was really beautiful.

The Coast Guard Academy would be nicer if the wind chill weren't 10 degrees.

More later. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Beware the Ides of March

You're good now. If something was going to happen on the Ides of March, it would have happened Wednesday, 'cause that's when they were.

I love break. I love the feeling of not having an exam to study for. I'm free! Only one class stands between me, freedom, and a fourteen hour road trip with my family.

That's not strictly true, actually. Actually, I'm recording a CD tomorrow afternoon, along with all the talented people in the choir. They just keep me in to ensure that I stay humble, because they're all real good and I stink.

More on this later. Maybe. Probably not, as the van is not internet-equipped.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


As the manager of our hospital's softball team, I was responsible for returning equipment to the proper owners atthe end of the season.

When I walked into the surgery department carrying a bat that belonged to one of the surgeons, I passed severalpatients and their families in a waiting area.

I heard one man say to his wife, "Look, honey, here comes your anesthesiologist."

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Just shows you my naiivete...I did not know until about fifteen seconds ago that there was a song with the same title as my blog. Oh well. The lyrics don't seem to be obscene or overtly offensive, so I'll just move along and suggest that you now buy the album.

Go listen to Verdi or Vivaldi or Beethoven instead. Ooh, ooh.. Or Gabrieli or Telemann. Mah fave'rit!

Proud to be an American

Yesterday afternoon, I was privileged to witness as yet another of my friends pledged his committment to the Armed Forces of the United States. Even though it was just four of us and Captain Martin in the upstairs of the gym, it was still very powerful. Don't let me get started...just suffice to say I was very proud.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
(Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

St. John of God

Born at Montemor o Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550. The wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in charge of the chief shepherd of the place, to whom he gradually endeared himself through his punctuality and fidelity to duty, as well as his earnest piety. When he had reached manhood, to escape his master's well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter's hand in marriage, John took service for a time in the army of Charles V, and on the renewal of the proposal he enlisted in a regiment on its way to Austria to do battle with the Turks. Succeeding years found him first at his birthplace, saddened by the news of his mother's premature death, which had followed close upon his mysterious disappearance; then a shepherd at Seville on the way to Africa, to ransom with his liberty. Christians held captive by the Moors. He accompanied to Africa a Portuguese family just expelled from the country, to whom charity impelled him to offer his services. On the advice of his confessor he soon returned to Gilbratar, where, brief as had been the time since the invention of the printing-press, he inaugurated the Apostolate of the printed page, by making the circuit of the towns and villages about Gilbratar, selling religious books and pictures, with practically no margin of profit, in order to place them within the reach of all.

It was during this period of his life that he is said to have been granted the vision of the Infant Jesus, Who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also bidding him to go to Granada. There he was so deeply impressed by the preaching of Blessed John of Avila that he distributed his worldly goods and went through the streets of the city, beating his breast and calling on God for mercy. For some time his sanity was doubted by the people and he was dealt with as a madman, until the zealous preacher obliged him to desist from his lamentations and take some other method of atoning for his past life. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the nature of his vocation was revealed to him by the Blessed Virgin. Returning to Granada, he gave himself up to the service of the sick and poor, renting a house in which to care for them and after furnishing it with what was necessary, he searched the city for those afflicted with all manner of disease, bearing on his shoulders any who were unable to walk.

For some time he was alone in his charitable work soliciting by night the needful supplies, and by day attending scrupulously to the needs of his patients and the rare of the hospital; but he soon received the co-operatlon of charitable priests and physicians. Many beautiful stories are related of the heavenly guests who visited him during the early days of herculean tasks, which were lightened at tirnes by St. Raphael in person. To put a stop to the saint's habit of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Don Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy, had made for him a habit, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and he imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God. The saint's first two companions, Antonio Martin and Pedro Velasco, once bitter enemies who had scandalised all Granada with their quarrels and dissipations, were converted through his prayers and formed the nucleus of a fourishing congregation. The former advanced so far on the way of perfection that the saint on his death-bed commended him to his followers as his successor in the government of the order. The latter, Peter the Sinner, as he called himself, became a model of humility and charity.

Among the many miracles which are related of the saint the most famous is the one commemorated in the Office of his feast, his rescue of all the inmates during a fire in the Grand Hospital at Granada, he himself passing through the flames unscathed. His boundless charity extended to widows and orphans, those out of employment, poor students, and fallen women. After thirteen years of severe mortification, unceasing prayer, and devotion to his patients, he died amid the lamentations of all the inhabitants of Granada. His last illness had resulted from an heroic but futile effort to save a young man from drowning. The magistrates and nobility of the city crowded about his death-bed to express their gratitude for his services to the poor, and he was buried with the pomp usually reserved for princes. He was beatified by Urban VIII, 21 September, 1638, and canonized by Alexander VIII, 16 October, 1690. Pope Leo XIII made St. John of God patron of hospitals and the dying.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Slightly Retarded

Upon leaving the Bethesda area last Saturday/Sunday (read: 12:30am), our driver felt it incumbent upon him to purchase some liquid caffeine before starting the journey back to campus. He did so. Among his change was a 1941 wheat penny. I am something of a coin collector, so he naturally brought it back to me in a tizzy, eager to share the treasure.

It was late. I was tired. So was everyone else in the car. I am sadistic. (Everyone else in the car wasn't, but that's beside the point.)

I took the penny, looked at it for a moment, and then suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, my gosh! Joseph, do you realize what this is? There are only a few like it in the entire world...this is a defective penny. Lincoln's head is actually printed on the back of the coin, instead of the front. They've reversed the sides!"

Sure enough, his eyes grew wide and he eagerly leaned forward to get a better look at the rare fine. It was beautiful.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Obscure Saint of the Day

St. Baldred...

a Celtic Bishop of Strathclyde, b. about 643; d. at Aldhame, Haddingtonshire, about 607. He is said to have been the immediate successor of the great St. Kentigern, or Mungo, the fo9under of the See of Glasgow, Scotland. Like St. Kentigern, he was of Irish ancestry, but is reckoned as a British saint, inasmuch as Strathclyde was part of Britain. The chronology of the period when he flourished is somewhat obscure, but the best authorities on Scottish history agree that St. Baldred was born towards the middle of the sixth century. Previous to his consecration, St. Baldred had ;laboured for many years in Strathclyde, and had founded numerous houses for monks as also for holy virgins in addition to the churches of Aldhame, Tyinguham and Preston Kirk. Owing to the disturbed state of the kingdom, he was forced after a short rule to retire from the spiritual government of the Strathclyde Britons as also happened to his predecessor.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sidebar shmidebar.

Incidentally, I'm compiling a list of interesting Yiddish word which, on occasion, our New Testament professor will teach us. I like.

Made a couple additions to the sidebar, folks. Also (just in case you haven't noticed), the "fab six" (which was originally like the fab four, or maybe three) of Fiddleback Fever have officially disbanded and gone their seperate cyberways. However, Fiddleback remains on blogger as an archive, and you can still visit to read the old stuff. I do. It's really fun.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Excerpts from "The Modern Cat's Guide to Pets"

1. Introduction: Why Do We Need Humans?

So you've decided to get yourself a human being. In doing so, you've joined the millions of other cats who have acquired these strange and often frustrating creatures.There will be any number of times, during the course of your association with humans, when you will wonder why you have bothered to grace them with your presence. What's so great about humans anyway? Why not just hang around with other cats? Our greatest philosophers have struggled with this question for centuries, but the answer is actually rather simple:THEY HAVE OPPOSABLE THUMBS. Which makes them the perfect tools for such tasks as opening doors, getting the lids off of cat food cans, changing television stations, and other activities that we, despite our other obvious advantages, find difficult to do ourselves. True, chimps, orangutans, and lemurs also have opposable thumbs, but they are nowhere as easy to train.

2. How and When to Get Your Human's Attention

Humans often erroneously assume that there are other, more important activities than taking care of your immediate needs, such as conducting business, spending time with their families, or even sleeping. Though this is dreadfully inconvenient, you can make this work to your advantage by pestering your human at the moment it is the busiest. It is usually so flustered that it will do whatever you want it to do, just to get you out of its hair. Not coincidentally, human teenagers follow this same practice. Here are some tried and true methods of getting your human to do what you want:

Sitting on paper: An oldie but a goodie. If a human has paper in front of it, chances are good it assumes the paper is more important than you. It will often offer you a snack to lure you away. Establish your supremacy over this woodpulp product at every opportunity. This practice also works well with computer keyboards, remote controls, car keys, and small children.

Waking your human at odd hours: A cat's "golden time" is between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. If you paw at your human's sleeping face during this time, you have a better than ever chance that it will get up and, in an incoherent haze, do exactly what you want. You may actually have to scratch deep sleepers to get their attention; remember to vary the scratch site to keep the human from getting suspicious.

3. Punishing Your Human Being

Sometimes, despite your best training efforts, your human will stubbornly resist bending to your whim. In these extreme circumstances, you may have to punish your human.Obvious punishments, such as scratching furniture or eating household plants, are likely to backfire; the unsophisticated humans are likely to misinterpret the activities and then try to discipline YOU. Instead, we offer these subtle but nonetheless effective alternatives:

* Use the cat box during an important formal dinner.

* Stare impassively at your human while it is attempting aromantic interlude.

* Stand over an important piece of electronic equipment andfeign a hairball attack.

* After your human has watched a particularly disturbing horror film, stand by the hall closet and then slowly backaway, hissing and yowling.

* While your human is sleeping, lie on its face.

4. Rewarding Your Human: Should Your Gift Still Be Alive?

The cat world is divided over the etiquette of presenting humans with the thoughtful gift of a recently disembowelled animal. Some believe that humans prefer these gifts already dead, while others maintain that humans enjoy a slowly expiring cricket or rodent just as much as we do, given their jumpy and playful movements in picking the creatures up after they've been presented. After much consideration of the human psyche, we recommend the following: cold-blooded animals (large insects, frogs, lizards, garden snakes, and the occasional earthworm) should be presented dead, while warm-blooded animals (birds, rodents, your neighbour's Pomeranian) are better still living. When you see the expression on your human's face,you'll know it's worth it.

5. How Long Should You Keep Your Human?

You are obligated to your human for only one of your lives. The other eight are up to you. We recommend mixing and matching, though in the end, most humans (at least the ones that are worth living with) are pretty much the same. But what do you expect? They're humans, after all. Opposable thumbs will take you only so far.

(thanks (x-:) to Ambrose)