Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Just a few minutes ago Philosopher King Mr. Mojo Risin' and Minister of State Sir Hugs-A-Lot returned from the Vatican funeral of Pope John Paul II. While Sir Hugs-A-Lot just wanted to wrap his arms around me and giggle, here's what Mr. Mojo had to say about the trip...

"Funeral very nice. Good Eastern Rite Church included. Mojo and John Paul One-Two good friends. Vatican and Monkey Republic good friends. Vatican say Mojo and Republic sign of God Grace. John Paul One-Two took Mojo candy gift. Good relations, good relations. Mr. Mojo sad like when sun come up.

"In mourning?"

Yes *sad monkey face*"

During the service Sir Hugs-A-Lot wandered off and took this picture Posted by Hello

Seth sent along this interesting Howard Fineman piece on how the GOP became the party of big government. Of course that is the tendancy of the party in power. Unfortunately the Democrats seem to be doing a terrible job of playing minority party...

"The corollary is that every party in eclipse operates the same way, too: crying havoc about deficits, threatening to shove sticks into the spinning spokes of government, waving the flag of states rights and attacking the ethics of leaders on the other side. That’s what Newt Gingrich’s GOP did when Bill Clinton was in power – and that is what Democrats are doing now. It didn’t really work for the GOP in the ‘90s, and I’m not sure it is going to work for the Democrats now because, to oversimplify only slightly, the GOP may not be conservatives anymore, but Democrats have lost their identity altogether."

I would actually consider becoming a Democrat if they were to become the party of libertarian small government. Unfortunately big government, big spending liberals occupy this party and assure me that the only thing they represent is even bigger government, spending, and socialist wealth redistribution schemes. *sigh* Freakin' Government!

The AJC stumbled upon another papal candidate, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn. The upside on this low profile, Austrian Cardinal is that he has dealt with sexual abuse scandals. On the downside he is only 60 years old. Money quote...

"He owes a key promotion 10 years ago to a pedophile scandal involving his predecessor, and last year had to confront a child pornography scandal in a rural diocese.

Schoenborn, 60, is multilingual and has friends in the Vatican. He's a scholar, comfortable in the pulpit, and is respected by Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians. He refuses to comment publicly on his position as one of the favorites to succeed Pope John Paul II; friends say he would serve if chosen but not eagerly."

Seth stumbled upon this twisting of fact and data by ESPN Page 2's resident Playa' Hatah Aaron Schatz...

"Sometimes I feel like NASCAR and Football are only secondary sports in the South next to Big Ten bashing. The de-bunk on this one isn't too difficult: a lot of the Big Ten guys are fullbacks."

Check out this thoughtful John Derbyshire piece that throws a wet blanket on celebrating the life of John Paul II. It's interesting because Derb points out the biggest crisis (in my opinion) facing the Church, its decline in the West.

"Everywhere in the great Catholic bastions of southern Europe — Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal — the story is the same. In France, “eldest daughter of the Church,” the only argument is whether regular Mass attendance today is just above, or just below, ten percent. In Ireland — Ireland! — the numbers declined steadily from the 90 percent of 1973 to 60 percent in 1996, since when they have fallen off a cliff, to 48 percent in 2001 and heading south. A hundred years ago the U.S. Church imported priests from Ireland; now Ireland imports them from Nigeria."

Of course this is bound to happen. As societies become more modern and industrialized they abandon religion, or as Derb puts it...

"Both surely know in their hearts that the real culprit is the irresistible appeal of secular hedonism to healthy, busy, well-educated populations. We live, as never before in human history, in a garden of delights, with something new to distract and delight us every day. None of that is enough to turn the heads of those who are truly, constitutionally devout; but not many human beings are, nor ever have been, that committed to their faith. And so the flock wanders away to the rides, the prize booths, and the freak shows."

I find this piece quite interesting because it actually faces the problems still within the Church. The last week we have focused on the success of John Paul II over the last 26 years. However, we must also remember the decline of religious appeal in the West. Afterall, who wants to take time out of their schedule to be told they are a selfish evil sinnner.

Personally, I hope the Conclave takes this into consideration when choosing the next leader.

Full Text written over the course of the Pope's 26 year reign...

"Text of Pope's Last Will and Testament

The following is an English translation of the official Vatican Italian translation of the text of Pope John Paul II's last will and testament, which was originally written in Polish with successive additions. Dates have been written according to European convention, which makes "6.3.1979" represent March 3, 1979.

The document begins with a Latin phrase that reads, "I am completely in Your hands." It follows with a citation from the New Testament.

The testament of 6.3.1979

Totus Tuus ego sum

In the Name of the Holiest Trinity. Amen.

"Keep watch, because you do not know which day when the Lord will come" — These words remind me of the final call, which will come the moment that the Lord will choose. I desire to follow Him and desire that all that is part of my earthly life shall prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will come, but, like all else, this moment too I place into the hands of the Mother of My Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I place All those with whom my life and vocation are bound. Into these Hands I leave above all the Church, and also my Nation and all humanity. I thank everyone. To everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask prayers, so that the Mercy of God will loom greater than my weakness and unworthiness.

During spiritual exercises I reflected upon the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This study has led me to write the present testament.

I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. Regarding those items of daily use of which I made use, I ask that they be distributed as may appear opportune. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that Don Stanislaw oversees this and thank him for the collaboration and help so prolonged over the years and so comprehensive. All other thanks, instead, I leave in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.

Regarding the funeral, I repeat the same disposition given by the Holy Father Paul VI: Burial in the bare earth, not in a tomb, 13.3.92.

Apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio

John Paul pp.II

Rome 6.3.1979

Following my death I ask for Holy Masses and prayers


I express the deepest faith that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will accord me every necessary grace to face, according to His will, whatever task, trial and suffering that will be demanded of His servant, during the course of my life. I also have faith that never will it be permitted that, through my behavior: by words, actions or omissions, I betray my obligations in this holy seat of Peter.

24.II - 1.III.1980

Also during these spiritual exercises I have reflected upon the truth of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Crossing which is for each one of us the moment of death. In taking leave of this world -- to be born into the other, the future world, eloquent sign is for us the Resurrection of Christ.

I therefore read the copy of my testament of the last year, it also made during spiritual exercises — I compared it with the testament of my great Predecessor and Father Paul VI, with that sublime witness to the death of a Christian and of a pope — and I renewed in myself consciousness of the questions, to which refers the copy of 6.III.1979, prepared by me (in a rather provisional way).

Today I desire to add to it only this, that each one of us must keep in mind the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge — and contemporaneously Redeemer and Father. Then I too can take this into consideration continuously, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church — to the Mother of my hope.

The times in which we live are indescribably difficult and troubled. Difficult and tense has become the life of the Church as well, characteristic trial of these times — as much for the Faithful, as much as for the Pastors. In some Countries (as, e.g. in that one about which I was reading during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds itself in a period of persecution that is not inferior to those of the first centuries; on the contrary, the degree of cruelty and hatred is greater still. Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum. And beyond this — so many people disappear innocently, even in this Country, in which we live ...

I desire once more to entrust myself totally to the mercy of the Lord. He himself will decide when and how I must finish my earthly life and pastoral ministry. In life and in death Totus Tuus through the Immaculate. Accepting this death already, I hope that Christ will give me grace for my final passage, which is Easter. I hope too that it shall be made useful also for this important cause in which I am trying to serve: the salvation of men, the safeguarding of the human family and of all the nations and the peoples (among these I refer in particular to my earthly Country), useful for the persons who in a special way have entrusted to me for the questions of the Church, for the glory of God himself.

I do not desire to add anything to that which I wrote a year ago — only express this readiness and at the same time this faith, to which the present spiritual exercises prepared me.

John Paul II

Totus Tuus ego sum


In the course of the spiritual exercises this year I have read (several times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Notwithstanding that even now it is to be considered as provisional (not definitive), I leave it in its presently existing form. I change (for now) nothing, nor do I add anything, as regards the arrangements contained within it.

The attempt on my life of 13.V.1981 has in some way confirmed the exactness of the words written in the period of the spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II - 1.III).

All the more profoundly I feel myself totally in the Hands of God — and I remain continually at the disposition of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him and to His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus).

John Paul pp. II


In connection with the final phrase of my testament of 6.III.1979 ("About the place/the place, that is, of the funeral/may the College of Cardinals and Compatriots") — I clarify what I had in mind: the metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council of the Bishops of Poland — I ask in the meantime the College of Cardinals to satisfy to the extent possible the eventual questions of the aforementioned.

1.III.1985 (during spiritual exercises).

Again — concerning the expression "College of Cardinals and the Compatriots": the "College of Cardinals" has no obligation to consult "the Compatriots" on this question; it can, in any case, do so, if for some reason it considers it right to do so.


The spiritual exercises of the Jubilee year 2000


(VATICAN'S NOTATION: "for the will")

1. When, on the day of Oct. 16, 1978, the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The task of the new pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium." I do not know if I am repeating the phrase exactly, but at least such was the sense of what I heard then. It was said by the Man who has passed into history as the Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was witness to the mission, to His total entrusting of himself. To His struggles; to His victory. "Victory, when it will come, will be a victory through Maria" — these, the words of his Predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond, the Primate of the Millennium was wont to repeat.

In this way I was to some degree prepared for the task which was placed before me on Oct. 16, 1978. As I write these words, the Jubilee Year of 2000 is already a reality, and under way. The night of Dec. 24, 1999, the symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee of the Basilica of St. Peter was opened, and successively that of St. John Lateran, then St. Mary Major's on New Year's Eve; and on Jan. 19, the Door of the Basilica of St. Paul "Outside the Walls." This latter event, given its ecumenical character, has remained particularly engraved in memory.

2. To the degree that the Jubilee Year 2000 goes forward, closing behind us day by day is the 20th century, while the 21st century opens. In accordance with the designs of Providence, it was granted to me to live during the difficult century that is passing, and now, in the year during which my age reaches 80 years ("octogesima adveniens"), it is necessary to ask if it is not the time to repeat the words of the Biblical Simeon, "Nunc dimittis."

On May 13, 1981, the day of the attempt upon the life of the Pope during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me from death in a miraculous way. He who is the sole Savior of life and of death, Himself prolonged this life, and in a certain way gave it to me anew. From this moment it belongs to Him all the more. I hope that He will help me to recognize the time until when I must continue this service, to which he called me on the day of Oct. 16, 1978. I ask (Him) to call me when He wants. "In life and in death we belong to the Lord ... we are of the Lord" (cf Romans 14, 8). I hope too that throughout the time given me to carry out the service of Peter in the Church, the Mercy of God will lend me the necessary strength for this service.

3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises I read my testament from 6-III-1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in this text. What then, and even during successive spiritual exercises, has been added constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked the '80s. From autumn of the year 1989 this situation changed. The last decade of the century was free of the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did not bring with it new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of the so-called "cold war" ended without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the world in the preceding period.

4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium "in medio Ecclesiae" I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican Council II, to which, together with the entire Church — and above all the entire episcopacy — I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a long time to come the new generations will draw upon the riches that this Council of the 20th century gave us. As a bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who are and who will be called in the future to realize it. For my part I thank the eternal Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course of all the years of my pontificate.

"In medio Ecclesiae" ... from the first years of my service as a bishop — precisely thanks to the Council — I was able to experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow I experienced the fraternal communion among priests — and the Council opened a new dimension to this experience.

5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to Himself the majority of them — as to those who are still on this side, may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere, wherever they are.

During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service "in medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolence and even more the fecund collaboration of so many cardinals, archbishops and bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons — brothers and sisters — and, lastly, so very, very many lay persons, within the Curia, in the vicariate of the diocese of Rome, as well as outside these milieux.

How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the bishops of the world whom I have met in "ad limina Apostolorum" visits! How can I not recall so many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so many representatives of non-Christian religions! And how many representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, and of the means of social communication!

6. As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the beginning, to my parents, to my brother, to the sister (I never knew because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, and then in the parish of Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of ... to all milieux ... to Krakow and to Rome ... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.

To all I want to say just one thing: "May God reward you."

"In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum."

A.D. 17.III.2000


Looks like man has nearly drilled through all of the Earth's outer crust.

"The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) seeks the elusive "Moho," a boundary formally known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity. It marks the division between Earth's brittle outer crust and the hotter, softer mantle.
The depth of the Moho varies. This latest effort, which drilled 4,644 feet (1,416 meters) below the ocean seafloor, appears to have been 1,000 feet off to the side of where it needed to be to pierce the Moho, according to one reading of seismic data used to map the crust's varying thickness."

Let's just hope they don't stumble upon some demons and wake them from their sleep-for-ever spell.

Friday, April 08, 2005


I'm not gonna start an anti-pope watch, however Pigpen has stumbled upon an interesting bit of prophecy involving a muslim invasion and a papal flight to France. Though if you are looking for prophecy, be sure to check out the New Prophecy: Overview and Update page regarding the passing of John Paul II. Also the Rose Prophecy page has some interesting stuff on a papal massacre. However, I think Pigpen put it best...

"This you say...doubtful"

From Seth...

"From all accounts, 40 is about as low as Bush's approval rating can go, barring a major scandal or something. That's the point when you run into the Republican Party faithful.

The person at the end has a point about alternatives, but it should be noted that coverage has been dismal over the Dems' alternative Social Security package.

Guess your war on truth is paying off.

However, in a lot of cases, it's the Dems' fault for not coming out with a solid "Here's our idea," response. A lot of times, we've been arguing "It's working," which, true or not, doesn't resonate with voters."

Personally, I doubt that Social security is driving these numbers. If I had to guess I would blame the drop on the mishandling of the Schiavo situation. Libertarians were pissed because the government intervened. Conservatives were pissed because they were teased with Bush (Jeb and W.) intervention. While in the meantime, the Democrats played this perfectly and stayed out of the way. On the other hand I would take the word of the professional polster...

"The president's poll standing has been in the mid-40s to low-50s for the past two years, said Matthew Dowd, who was a strategist and pollster for Bush in the 2004 presidential campaign.
"The president being at the lower end of his normal range has more to do with the price of gasoline and thus, economic confidence, than anything else," Dowd said."

Thursday, April 07, 2005


From Seth...

"Tondar and I were noting last night that Carolina pro basketball teams keep trying to be on the cutting edge of uniform colors, from joining the better-forgotten teal craze in the '90s, to the sea-green period, to today's "LOOK AT ME!" neon orange. C'mon, guys, even Michael Jordan couldn't make that color look good in the NBA.

Of course, as have gone the unis of the NBA team in Charlotte, so have the copycat WNBA Sting followed suit. As Obi Wan put it, "Who's more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?"

It doesn't end with basketball. When the NFL came to town, apparently so did turquoise.

As for hockey, rather than keep the minor-league-inspired Hartford duds, owner Peter Karmanos basically added a few black strips and a weird looking belt thingy to the Red Wings classic, the connection between which was all too evident in that Stanley Cup Final they had in 2002.

Karmanos, a Detroit native, isn't the only NHL owner and Wings-fan-on-the-side to change his team's outfits into approximations of the ol' Winged Wheel, perhaps so Brett Hull wouldn't feel out of place.

As for the confused state of North Carolina, my best guess is that they got lucky in making sky blue look good in college, and never realized that once you leave campus, you have to dress like a grownup.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


From Seth...

"Still don't have roster numbers or reports on the incoming freshman but here's some news from the Wolverines as we get toward the end of spring practice next week:

-With the heavy task of replacing Marlin Jackson and Markus Curry at cornerback, and no sure-fire recruits coming in at the position, speedy receiver and Brighton native Morgan Trent (#14) has switched over to the island. His 6'0/185 frame, quick moves, and intelligence should help him progress up the ranks quickly among Michigan corners, while as a receiver he'd still have been behind Avant, Breaston, Tabb, Arrington, Dutch, and newcomers Antonio Bass and Mario Manningham.

-As expected, 5th year senior and Stanford transfer Grant Mason and young star corner Leon Hall won the two starting cornerback positions. They were both part of a potent dime package last season and both also ran back kicks for touchdowns.

-With so many safeties (and cornerbacks who should be safeties) and precious few cover corners, DB coach Ron English, considered a whiz kid and a likely future head coach in college or the pros, started developing a dime alternative with lots of roving safeties. It'll be interesting to see if it accomplishes anything. The idea is based on really old-school football philosophies of swarming defenders and hard-hitting.

-Tim Jamison, who played at Defensive end and opened some eyes last year as a true freshman before getting injured, switched to outside linebacker.

-Lawrence Reid is gone. Nerve problem. That means Scott McClintock will see more time at Middle Linebacker and it's time for Junior Prescott Burgess to make good on his potential (and stop letting quarterbacks run all over him).

-Redshirt soph Shawn Crable was a force this spring and could possibly start at outside linebacker rather than back up Pierre Woods.

-Still no official word on Clayton Richard, but most people think he's going to transfer or give up football to see how far his 94-mph fastball can take him on the baseball diamond.

-With James Presley having academic difficulties, redshirt freshman Roger Allison has emerged as a true challenge to Brian Thompson at fullback.

-With a lot of guys injured, Mark Bihl, who started a few games last year at the position until David Baas moved over, made a good case for himself to start at center.

-Jamar Adams, who saw some playing time behind Shazor last year as a true frosh, will most likely have the strong safety position all to himself come fall.

-Running back used to be wide open after Chris Perry left. Now, it looks crowded after Michael Hart and Max Martin emerged as the 1 and 2 backs as true freshman and new frosh Kevin Grady challenging both of them. So what happened to the old candidates? Pierre Rembert, who gave up his number to Hart in 2004, transferred to Illinois State. Jerome Jackson played a little bit at safety this spring but hasn't made a switch official yet.

-Lloyd Carr's decision to kick the porch puncher off the team seems to have been made easier, thank to what Carr called the "emergence from the crowd" of Alan Branch. You've got to wonder, however, what kind of crowd could have hidden the 6'6" 323-lb. sophomore in the first place.

-This is unrelated, but Tom Brady just got his old go-to receiver from Michigan back. David Terrell signed with the Patriots. Also in Tom Brady news, responding to Bledsoe's continuing raps about his footspeed, Brady agreed to a footrace against his former mentor. This oughtta be good, especially if they throw in a tortoise for good measure.

-Steve Breaston was at camp, but Carr was upset at him because he didn't see Stevie during some of the drills. He was put at ease, however, when several photo-engineering students informed the coach that this wasn't Breaston's fault so much as the natural limits of the human eye in registering objects moving at or near the speed of light."

Kevin Grady (who will wear #3 when he commences his career) amazed onlookers with his shows of athleticism. Carr said there was no question that Grady would see playing time this season, and could even supplant Hart for carries. Posted by Hello

From Seth...

Every spring, Carr invites any Michigan student to practice with the team in early spring drills and threatens scholarship players not to be out-done by any walk-ons. Well, the running backs were reportedly kicked into high gear when 5'8, 160-lb. Jason Eldridge (above) started showing them up.
 Posted by Hello

It seems everyday the media is focusing on a different Cardinal candidate to succeed John Paul II. The latest is Cardinal Hummes of Brazil. The AP offers a good biography as well as some of his strengths and weaknesses. However, I was a bit disturbed by this...

"In his first day as Sao Paulo's archbishop, Hummes lashed out at the globalized market economy for the "misery and poverty affecting millions around the world."

"Market economy has reinvented poverty in many countries," Hummes said. "We must find a new alternative - a third way - to guarantee economic growth without sacrificing the poor and causing unemployment."

After all the work that John Paul II did to fight communism, I think it would be counterproductive of the new Pope to be an opponent of market economies. The Times agrees and even calls him a radical. Be sure to read the Times piece as it suggests some of the other candidates including Cardinals Ratzinger, Tettamanzi, and Norberto Rivera Carrera. I was most impressed with the words of Ratzinger as he addressed the recent scandals and heretical teachings and practices within the Church...

“The soiled garments and face of Your church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray You time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on Your church.”

Tuesday, April 05, 2005



Richard John Neuhaus of the NYPost makes the case for John Paul The Great. To seriously consider the title I think we must first consider what made Popes Gregory and Leo so "great." In the case of Pope St. Gregory I we have a church father and the chief organizer of the medieval Church structure.

"He was a trained Roman lawyer and administrator, a monk, a missionary, a preacher, above all a physician of souls and a leader of men. His great claim to remembrance lies in the fact that he is the real father of the medieval papacy (Milman). With regard to things spiritual, he impressed upon men's minds to a degree unprecedented the fact that the See of Peter was the one supreme, decisive authority in the Catholic Church. During his pontificate, he established close relations between the Church of Rome and those of Spain, Gaul, Africa, and Illyricum, while his influence in Britain was such that he is justly called the Apostle of the English. In the Eastern Churches, too, the papal authority was exercised with a frequency unusual before his time, and we find no less an authority than the Patriarch of Alexandria submitting himself humbly to the pope's "commands".

Like Gregory, John Paul II was an innovator of the supremacy of the See of Peter. Being Pope for so long, he was able to institute changes that brought about strict adherence to the Vatican's wishes. Take for example the simple issue of kneeling during mass. Many modern churches such as St. Mary's Student Parish in Ann Arbor, or Allison's Transfiguration previously left kneeling as an option. In fact, Allison's church does not even have kneelers built into the pews. However, this has all changed and it is now a necessary sign of respect to kneel when in the presence of the Eucharist. This is a direct result of the Pope installing his own bishops and cardinals throughout the world for 26 years instead of the average 7.2.

In addition, to his leadership role within the Church, JPII innovated the Church's role in international politics. After the formation of Italy, the Vatican was stripped of all temperal power during the reign of Mussolini. It was not until JPII did we see the Pope's new moral authority as the ambassador of Christ towards the world. To accomplish this, the Pope traveled the globe meeting with world leaders, and masses with people until he became the most seen person in history. As he brought the Church into the third millennium he was also able to take full advantage of technology. In fact, just look at how large and thorough the Vatican website is. From computers to airplanes, he found new ways of bringing the Word to a world that is more connected than ever.

As for Pope St. Leo I he was a great man at a great time in history. His reign upon the throne of ST. Peter was a time of crisis as dissent and foreign hoards threatened the West. In fact, it was Leo The Great that bravely went to meet Attila the Hun and dissuaded him from further invading Italy...

"In his far-reaching pastoral care of the Universal Church, in the West and in the East, the pope never neglected the domestic interests of the Church at Rome. When Northern Italy had been devastated by Attila, Leo by a personal encounter with the King of the Huns prevented him from marching upon Rome. At the emperor's wish, Leo, accompanied by the Consul Avienus and the Prefect Trigetius, went in 452 to Upper Italy, and met Attila at Mincio in the vicinity of Mantua, obtaining from him the promise that he would withdraw from Italy and negotiate peace with the emperor. The pope also succeeded in obtaining another great favour for the inhabitants of Rome. When in 455 the city was captured by the Vandals under Genseric, although for a fortnight the town had been plundered, Leo's intercession obtained a promise that the city should not be injured and that the lives of the inhabitants should be spared. These incidents show the high moral authority enjoyed by the pope, manifested even in temporal affairs."

This is very similar to JPII's work to undermine the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block. He did not raise an army to challenge communism in battle. Instead, he bravely traveled to Poland as a national hero and persuaded the people to realize their own humanity. John Paul II was able to bring people together and ignited the fire of truth and liberty that eventually set them free. In addition, it was by inches that he was saved from a martyr's death at the hands of the agents of this Evil Empire.

It is this courage and strength to stand up for righteousness inside and outside of the Church, that made John Paul II so great. Not only did he advocate change, but he was able to achieve success while still being loved by billions of people. In my opinion that certainly qualifies him as great.

Seth has an answer...

"Boom boom.


Boom boom.

Bonderman is unhittable this year.

Boom boom.

Dmitri Young is off to his old tricks

Boom boom.

Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and Pudge are returning All-Stars.

Boom boom.

We just picked up a solid young starting pitcher from the Mets.

Boom boom.

This could be the turnaround. When you look at the AL Central, the only teams that should be competiting, based on demographics, are the White Sox and the Tigers. Take away winning from the Twins, and they go right back to the small market basement. The franchise has been so good over the years and has a town that's big enough to support a much more expensive team that we've had recently. Ilitch was waiting for the big contracts to run out on the Buddy Bell Tigers before rebuilding.

Considering the mess our farm system was in after Randy Smith, it's amazing we got anything at all out of it. Dave Dombrowski is building with equal parts home-grown talent, crafty trades, and, in the last two years, through free agency. I think right now we're one marquee pitcher away from a real contender.

Home Grown:
-2B Omar Infante
-SP Mike Maroth
-SP Nate Robertson
-P Nate Cornejo
-3B Brandon Inge
-RP Fernando Rodney
-RP Jamie Walker
-CF Craig Monroe
-OF Bobby Higginson

-DH Dmitri Young (for Juan Encarnacion, 2002)
-SP Jeremy Bonderman (for Jeff Weaver, 2003)
-RP Franklyn German (for Jeff Weaver, 2003)
-1B Carlos Pena (for Jeff Weaver, 2003)
-SS Carlos Guillen (for Ramon Santiago, 2004)
-RP Kyle Farnsworth (for Roberto Novoa, 2005)
-P Matt Ginter (for Steve Colyer, 2005)

Free Agents:
-C Vance Wilson (2005)
-RF Magglio Ordonez (2005)
-CL Troy Percival (2005)
-C Ivan Rodriguez (2004)
-LF Rondell White (2004)
-SU Ugueth Urbina (2004)
-SP Jason Johnson (2004)
-SP Wilfredo Ledezma (Rule 5 - 2003)

Salary-wise, with all of those stars on the team, you'd think we'd be pretty high on the list of ball clubs. But not so. We're 21st out of 30 and not even at $50 million. And 8.8 million of that goes to bench-warmer Bobby Higginson in the last year of his contract. Take him away and we're 26 - four teams away from the lowest team salary in the game.

My point is, there's room to grow. They can compete with this team now, and by competing, can draw back the fans. This town can support a $100 million team if it's winning and you know Ilitch is down.

In some ways, we're similar to Baltimore, in that we're a sad-sack team that suddenly got respectability by becoming free agent buyers. But their free agents, except Tejada, are a bit older and less useful. Their home-grown talent stinks. And whereas we only have to worry about Minnesota and perhaps a few hot streaks out of Cleveland and Chicago, they have the Yankees and Red Sox in their division. But most of all, the trade gems make the difference. They have no Jeremy Bonderman, Carlos Guillen or Dmitri Young.

My prediction, especially with the addition of another starting pitcher, is for 2nd in the Central this season and our first season over .500 since Alan Trammell was a shortstop."

Seth took Monday off from work to go see the Mets and Reds play on opening day. Here's what Seth thought of the NYPost's coverage...

"That's pretty much how the game felt. There was that 3-run homer by Dunn in the 1st and then Pedro's pitching was shut-down.

Looper was throwing up easy ones. It almost looked like he wasn't trying or something. He did stink.

What they didn't mention about the game was how the Mets time after time didn't capitalize on their hits. Three times they had a man on 2nd with no outs and they didn't get a single run out of any of those chances. That's bad management.

So is sending out Looper when he was having a tough spring hoping he would rebound. The Mets' recent Japanese import, a guy named Koo who wound up like Hideo Nomo and pitched like Whitey Ford, was killing the top of the Reds' order in the 8th inning. But they pulled him to get a pinch-hit, first-strike-swinging groundout. Had Randolph kept the hot Koo in there for another inning, it might have been a different story.

As for the Reds, they got all but one of their points on homers. 8 hits, 7 runs; talk about capitalizing on your chances. They got two men on base in the 3rd and boom, Adam Dunn drives in 3 with a mammoth shot. They got a man on with 2 outs and boom, a long double that drove him him. Then in the 9th they got a man on then hit back-to-back homers.

Also, no mention of Ken Griffey Jr.? He made a great defensive play, took a walk, got a hit in the 9th, and was rallying his team the whole time. All this disappointment that he used to be a Hall of Fame-type player will always overshadow him. But I think the injury period is over and what we're left with is pretty much his father. Which is not a bad thing to have.

They also didn't bring up the one outstanding feature of the day:


From the whole city showing up to the parade, to everybody being especially nice to even Mets fans, to the perfect weather, to the 2nd season of a well-built ballpark, to the kissing camera thing they've been doing on Cincy opening days since the invention of the video camera (they zoom in on couples who have to kiss, which makes me think I ought to go there for a first date sometime), to the regiment of hometown
soldiers returning from Iraq who were given free tickets and participated in the opening was a perfect day of baseball. The game was great, the city great, the weather great....there is no better way to kick off the baseball season. That's what I would have written about; not poor Mets.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Rock City...

If the gnomes don't frighten the kids, the beatings will Posted by Hello

I'm always a big fan of internet rumours so take it for what it's worth. However, the possibility of an "Out Of The Blue" (OOTB) attack on Taiwan by China is becoming quite the possibility. It's actually a little trick taken from the Soviets...

"This tactic was developed by Russia during the Cold War, but never used. They prepared for it by holding large scale training exercises twice a year, near the border with West Germany. The Russian troops were all ready to practice, or go to war. An OOTB attack could be ordered by having the troops to cross the border and attack NATO forces, who would have insufficient warning to deal with the sudden offensive."

This would have been the text of the Pope's message for the Second Sunday of Easter, which is also now known as Devine Mercy Sunday...

"Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. The joyful Easter Alleluia resounds also today. Today's Gospel page of St. John underlines that the Risen One, on the night of that day, appeared to the Apostles and "showed them his hands and his side" (John 20:20), that is, the signs of the painful Passion printed indelibly on his body also after his Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which eight days later he made the incredulous Thomas touch, reveal the mercy of God "for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3:16).

This mystery of love is at the heart of today's liturgy, Sunday "in Albis," dedicated to the worship of Divine Mercy.

2. To humanity, which at times seems to be lost and dominated by the power of evil, egoism and fear, the risen Lord offers as a gift his love that forgives, reconciles and reopens the spirit to hope. It is love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much need the world has to understand and accept Divine Mercy!

Lord, who with [your] Death and Resurrection reveal the love of the Father, we believe in you and with confidence repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

3. The liturgical solemnity of the Annunciation, which we celebrate tomorrow, leads us to contemplate with Mary's eyes the enormous mystery of this merciful love that arises from Christ's heart. With her help, we can understand the true meaning of paschal joy, which is based on this certainty: The One whom the Virgin carried in her womb, who suffered and died for us, has truly risen. Alleluia!"

From Seth...

"It WAS a Secret Service agent, by the description. That's EXACTLY how I would characterize the Treasury Department guys we met with last year when the President stayed in the hotel next to my office. "Official looking lapel pin" gave it away.

Who does this president think he is? Refusing access to people because they didn't vote for him? Get me a Constitution; because I really feel he should face censure for this!"

I was under the impression that impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors was the only punishment a President could legally face under the Constitution. But on the other hand, why should Democrats start respecting the Constitution now when they have political points to score.

But seriously, this is an interesting enforcement of executive power. Sure people have the right to dissent. However, at what point does dissent become douchebaggery...

"In Denver, Young, a 25-year-old information-technology worker, acknowledges that he and his friends had initially intended to protest Bush's appearance. All wore "Stop the Lies" T-shirts under their outer clothing. They had planned to expose their shirts while shouting the slogan."

Now I wouldn't down a bottle of Cisco and demand access to Hillary Clinton. But what makes these assholes think their similar behavior is worthy of consideration or protection under the 1st Amendment? Personally, I would consider this another case of case of idiots ruining it for everybody else. Even if you don't like the President and didn't vote for him, he is still deserving of the respect afforded to the office itself.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


It's amazing how in God things tend to coincide to deliver a greater point. Take for example the Pope passing on the Second Sunday of Easter, which is known as "Devine Mercy Sunday, a day that was set aside on the Church calendar by John Paul II himself...

Mexico mourns on Devine Mercy Sunday Posted by Hello

Well today, ole Tondar went with Miss Allison to "See Rock City." I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical beforehand considering that the "See Rock City" signs dot all highways leading toward Chattanooga, Tennessee. However, Rock City wasn't as gay as I thought it would be. They had free parking which is always a plus for those of us who are Dutch. On the downside, the $13 a piece admission fee was a bit steep, and I won't even mention the rockin' photo package they wanted to sell us "fer only tween'ee fi' dollah." Overall, it was a pretty good time. My favorite was the many caves full of delightful gnomes and story book figurines all illuminated in what the kids these days call "black lights." Also, for all you clown hairs out there, another highlight was a father beating the shit outta his redheaded son as they made their way through the narrow passages in the rock. Normally one wouldn't pay much mind to a naughty kid catching a back hand. However, this kid got some good WHACKS and then proceeded to meander and continue investigating all of Rock City's gnome and natural wonders, the whole time ceaselessly wailing at the top of his lungs, "WWWWAAAAA, YOU WALK IN FRONT, AAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!"

Needless to say Tondar and Allison were ironically delighted.

Not surprisingly, but the NYTimes dropped the ball when it came to Pope John Paul II's obituary. Note the line in their first publication recarding "need some quote from supporter." Also be sure to check out the screen dump of it here.

But really, what can you expect from the NYTimes? Not only was the Pope against a "woman's right" to murder her own child, he also enforced a "rigid adherence" to the Church's teachings. Imagine that, the man responsible for leading a religous sect of 1 billion people not being open to herecies and counter-teachings in this day and age of the individual. Sure the NYTimes must challenge authority and ask questions. But one would think they could at least not let their biases shadow a simple obituary for at least one day. What a reflection on them that they are actually making more news than they are reporting when it comes to talking positively about the Holy Father.

No surprises, but it appears the Pope spent his final moments celebrating mass and in the company of his closest friends. Personally, I can't think of a better way to go.

Check out this Newsday piece that gives a good rundown of what the Conclave may look for in the new Pope.