Thursday, June 30, 2005

sailing, sailing, over the bouding main

A friend has more cancer. Another friend's father dies suddenly. Pain and grief are right here and now. Everyday happiness, too. One sucks, the other feels great.

ROME, JUNE 24, 2005 - In his commentary on
Matthew (10:37-42) (this Sunday's Gospel reading), Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household, speaks of how to live with and accept suffering and the cross.

In this life, pleasure and pain succeed one another with the same regularity with which a wave rises in the sea and is followed by a depression and a vacuum capable of sucking in whoever attempts to reach the shore...
... We can approach the cross the way the sail does the wind. If the wind catches the sail on the appropriate side, the sail fills up and the wind carries the boat over the waves. If, however, the sail tangled, the wind breaks the mast and everything capsizes. Well carried, the cross leads us forward; badly carried, it crushes us.

Read the whole thing here at zenit

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Deo gratias!

Sitting here having a nutritious lunch of Cracker Jack, Tastycake Cream-filled Chocolate Cupcakes and Diet Coke with Lim -- how I do miss Smitty's in the summer. Smitty's is the little lunch spot on the first floor of Smith Hall where I work. It has actual nutritious food, like yogurt with strawberries & blueberries (my favorite) and turkey on wheat. But they close up in summer and so on days like this, when I forget to bring anything in for lunch, and I'm the only one manning the Media Center, it's Vending Snacks in all their glory for me.

Yesterday the sponsor of SB80, which would have brought destructive embryonic stem cell research to Delaware, tabled the bill until January of 2006. Considering that many representatives had not even read the bill, by their own admission, and considering that the Speaker of the House had decided to bring it to a floor vote without the House having heard any public testimony whatsoever, this was the only reasonable course of action for a bill of this importance in establishing ethical biotechnology research in the State. But when did reason ever stop legislators from passing ill-considered laws on a subject about which ignorance abounds? Providentially, it did so in Delaware, yesterday. Thanks be to God, and to all who prayed and struggled to communicate complex information on the science of stem cells and on bioethics to their legislators. And thanks to all who stood up and made their voices heard by their presence in Dover.

It's only a reprieve, and even now there are three days left in which the bill's House sponsor could turn around, reverse her decision, and persuade the House to take a vote. But a reprieve can be as good as a pardon in some cases.
Those of us who do not want to see humankind go down the tragic path of using human embryos for research purposes will have, in Delaware another six months to educate the public, the media and the legislature on the facts of adult stem cells (ASC) research.

Speaking of education -- t
his month's Journal of Molecular Biology of the Cell contains the startling results of the three years spent doing research on (ASC) at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. Dr. Huard (see below) received one of the largest funding for ASC ever three years ago. They have made very good use of their time and money:

"Scientists have typically believed that adult or post-natal stem cells grow old and die much sooner than embryonic stem cells, but this study demonstrates that is not the case," said Dr. Huard, senior author of the study. "The entire world is closely following the advances in stem cell research, and everyone is interested in the potential of stem cells to treat everything from diabetes to Parkinson's disease. But there are also many ethical concerns surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells, concerns that you don't have with post-natal or adult stem cells. My belief is that this study should erase doubts scientists may have had about the potential effectiveness of post-natal stem cells."

Researchers from Children's and the University of Pittsburgh in Dr. Huard's laboratory were able to expand post-natal stem cells to a population level comparable to that reached by researchers using embryonic stem cells. Previous research has found that embryonic stem cells could undergo more than 200 population doublings before the cells began to die. A population doubling is a method of measuring the age of a population of cells.

Read the whole story at Science Daily.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Get on the bus, 2

SB80 was released to the general House in Dover by the Committee on Health and Human Development. The House will vote on it Tuesday.

The parade of witnesses in Dover who testified last Wednesday to the truth about the destruction of human embryos was inspiring. Bishop Saltarelli's presence outside of legislative hall, leading us in prayer in the hot sun, was likewise a sign that the still, small voice of Yahweh continues to be heard through His Son's faithful people.

The time of the gathering is near, and the quickening is upon us; so get thee to the confessional, the eucharistic table, and the sanctuary of holy ground. There you need not cross swords or take heads, but only rest and be comforted. In the end, there can be only One.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

And you?

The educated mind is not different in kind from the uneducated. Both receive the wherewithal to live, to love, to thrive, to give. The heart afflicts them both. Faith is offered equally. Power, too.

I remember when I scolded my friend Jessica because she worked in academia while I played Mod Squad with young female offenders in the juvenile correction system. The ivory tower isn't real life, I said. It's insular and privileged.

I've been too long in the tower now myself. While unemployment scourges the land, I've hugged my place of privilege to my chest as if it were my just desserts. But hot fudge sundaes are my just desserts, with whipped cream, heat, and a cherry on top. Served up with friendship that I thought would only grow more dear as time went by. A kinship of hearts and a bridging of minds in apposite delight. Balance, respect, a counter-culture blazing a trail through the ugly culture wars that plagued a fortuneless populace.

When did ideology become a substitute for love? Even the sound of it is ugly - Eye Dee Ol Ogee.
Cellar door it's not.

What on earth was Jesus thinking when he told us we should love our enemies? After all, he said, even the pagans love those who are good to them. And how does one come to have enemies, anyway? What is the anatomy of persecution and hatred? Did hatred hurt Christ, inside?

Just some musings on a Saturday night. I walked 1.67 miles on the treadmill today, with my sister. I saw Batman Begins last night - the best Batman ever. I am following my doctor's orders, she said get out and exercise. But she also said no email, and maybe this is not healthy either?

Should I write fiction? writing is what I do. It's what keeps me alive. I am a writer, have been my whole life. Language is what prayer is preceded by.

Gabriel tells me Zeke is smiling now, dazzling smiles that light up his face when he sees his grandma Pat and granddad Dick. He was so warm and soft when I held him. I want to hold him again. I want to see him smile.

Today I bought some flowers


Come, sign, I say, and let me trace
One small pink flower laced in yellow
Poking its head out a great green wash
Of nutrient leaves.


The mother robed in yellow looks
Pale against the window, holding
The Son in robes of red reaching up
To touch His mother's face.

Pale, pale His gaze upon her cheeks
The only pink of both quiescent visages.
The blooms of delicate pink and yellow
On my desk, watched over by the calendar
Of Love.


delete delete delete...

At the advice of my lawyer, I have complied with an order to delete all posts that referred to my troubles at the University of Delaware.

The straw that broke the camel's back was this, from a previous note:

We just received word that Bishop Saltarelli will be coming to Dover tomorrow to pray the rosary and the litany of St. Thomas More outside of Legislative Hall with all those gathered to oppose the destructive embryo bill.

My link to this blog from my sig file on my account lead someone to this paragraph about our good and brave Bishop. This unnamed person followed the link, found the offending paragraph, and informed authorities at UD about its existence and the fact that it could be gotten to by clicking a link on a URL on a sig file from a account.

In addition to removing all non-work-related URLs from my sig file, the UD administration informs me that it is not appropriate for me to write about the personalities, religious or political views of UD persons in this blog. So at the advice of my lawyer, I will refrain from doing so. I wish to keep my job, and avoid a legal battle. Blogs, you may have read in the news, have an uncertain status as to the protections of the First Amendment. I have neither the time, the money, nor the inclination to be among those who help establish First Amendment rights for bloggers.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

"somebody, tell a joke"

That's a line from Moonstruck. The grandfather says it when everyone is sitting around at the breakfast table in the last scene and the tension is so thick you can cut it. Later on, the scene dissolves into laughter, love and champagne Italian style, with sugar cubes.

I'm in need of laughter. Too much seriousness in my life lately.

I can't think of any jokes, so here's what I've been reading and viewing.

Currently reading Bloodcircle, another P.N. Elrod vampire noir detective novel. Love this series, but I am coming to and end of the ones I haven't read. While in Alabama I read Keeper of the King, which she wrote with Nigel Bennett, and I cannot recommend it at all. It's also about a vampire, and I've never read Bennett before, but it's more of a vampire James Bond type story and I really just did not enjoy it at all.

After this I start Elizabeth Letts' novel Quality of Care. At a book signing at Borders, the author warned me not to read it before my grandbaby was born, because she read her own proofs before her baby was born and it scared her and kept her up at nights worrying. Childbirth figures into the plot, I gather, and I am now sufficiently over my worry about safe delivery of little Zeke to be able to read about childbirth gone wrong.

Then on to Brenda Clough's book Suburban Gods, which includes How Like a God and Doors of Death and Life. I read an author interview on a Christian SF list I'm on and that intrigued me to buy this book when I found it in Elizabethtown, PA on a recent visit.

On television I watched The Inside last night, a new show about an FBI profiler team of some sort with a woman member whose past includes being kidnapped when she was 10 and held for months by some scary perp who inflicted horrors that now help her profile similar perps. I had high hopes for the show because I like Tim Minear, the producer, and Jane Espenson, who had a writing credit on last night's episode, and Adam Baldwin who is a regular. All three have done work with Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. But I have been spoiled by Law and Order, which is all about the crimes and not much about the crime-catchers. Last night's episode was a cross between Silence of the Lambs and X-Files, but the girl FBI agent was too vulnerable and the S and M sex theme was too creepy. Even Adam Baldwin was subdued. Very disappointed, though I suppose I will watch at least once more. If the next episode is all about sex, and in a titillating way (which Law and Order SVU never is), I'll pass.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

SB80 passed the Delaware senate, 14-7

SB80 passed the Delaware senate, 14-7 and so this state of mine is that much closer to
embracing destructive embryonic stem cell research. Now the bill goes to the House to be discussed in committee next Wednesday, June 22. Its proponents are hoping to have it out of committee and on to the full House for a vote before the legislature breaks for summer on June 30.

Please continue to pray that Delaware may not join the states that allow deliberate destruction of human embryos for research purposes. It's a Sisyphian (sic) battle to counter the seemingly reasonable argument, "but they are going to be destroyed anyway, why not use them to benefit humankind?" Sigh.

A picture is worth 1000 words. See what we say about SB80!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SB80 voted on in Delaware senate today

Please keep in prayer today the Delaware senate as it votes on SB80, the Delaware Regenerative Medicine Act, which would allow the destruction of excess IVF human embryos for research purposes and the cloning of human embryos for destruction and research. Never before in human history have civilized nations allowed the destruction of human life in order to use the resultant body parts for research.