Monday, December 31, 2001

Still cold here, but that is hardly a headline in the middle of the winter. Currently it is 15 degrees outside but an incredible toasty 72.9 inside. The vacation is down to the final two days, and I have not accomplished a whole lot, but then isn't that what vacation is supposed to be for...doing nothing. Snow continues to fall but it is not accumulating so we still have just a slight covering.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Amy, Joseph and I saw Kate and Leopold yesterday. It was a fairly good movie. Joseph slept through most of it but once he awoke he started talking rather loudly, necessitating a walk with Amy.

During the showing of Ali, which we saw a few days ago. He talked a lot more and Amy and I both took turns walking with him in the halls.
It was 9 degrees here this morning and bone chilling cold yesterday. What a difference a week makes.
If the Bucs end up winning the Super Bowl this year it will be the same way that the Ravens won it last year, ugly. Brad Johnson has to be one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, a reincarnation of Trent Dilfer if you will.

Saturday, December 29, 2001

I spent most of the day, yesterday asleep from a variation of cold medication and the cold itself. I'm still trying to gauge my condition today which seems to be much improved.
I watched The Greatest last night and it followed Ali scene for scene with very few minor variations. So I guess Ali is really just a remake.

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Don't waste yo' money! Saw the movie Ali last night and it was pretty bad. Basically a long drawn out music video, it was very low on dialogue and what there was you probably remember from Ali's endless media appearances over the year. The movie begins as though Casius Clay just appears on the scene, no mention that he had fought in the Olympics for the US and then moves along like a civil rights march.

Two items of note from the movie. The fight scenes were true to form. Basically Ali was beat to death but always remained standing, so he won! Secondly, Jon Voight's portrayal of Howard Cossell was so bad that it was almost good, after awhile.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001


Monday, December 24, 2001

We'll have a white Christmas! Started snowing yesterday afternoon and everything is now white!

Sunday, December 23, 2001

It actually was warm enough to play basketball outside yesterday. But alas if the weather forecast is correct, that is probably over with for the next three months. Rain changing to snow is the forecast for today and it only gets worst as the highs forecast for Christmas are barely 20 degrees.
There are still a few items that I need to pick up to finish my Christmas shopping. It'll be interesting to see if any of them have been marked down in today's sales.
It turns out that saying the Rosary is just as beneficial as all of those eastern methods of trying to get the always over active body relaxed. In other words saying the rosary on a regular basis is not only helpful to your spiritual life, it also is good for your health. You'll read about the study in the British papers here.

Friday, December 21, 2001

My latest book review of Cardinal Hume books hit the wire today, so it should appear it in your local Catholic paper sometime in the next two weeks.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

This story caught my attention from another site which had it under the heading, "Only in Kentucky" and rated it "Stupid." It is a tale of patriotism gone awry.
Rain won the day, although there was some sleet here also.

We have very clean carpets at home, but the front porch roof is dangling without its support thanks to the carpet cleaning guy backing into it. Thankfully there is no snow piled up on top of it! Hopefully it will be fixed today or tomorrow.

Last day of work for me this year! Although I'll have to spend a good part of my holiday writing a draft of the next book which is actually due to the publisher in 10 days.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

We put up our tree last night, which is so perfect that it looks fake. We rearranged the living/dining room a little to make it work (with the addition of the baby's space) and it look's nice and usable.
More rain or snow today? Everything points to yet another day of rain, although two radio stations this morning predicted an inch of snow today. We'll know who is right in a few hours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

I've been very negligent the past few days in posting. I'd like to say that I had been incredibly busy but that would be a stretch. But here is what has transpired.

Bought a Christmas tree yesterday for $25 (it was marked $45), from the same lot that we bought the tree from last year for $65. It was drizzling this year, last year there was ample snow on the ground. The tree is a great shape, nearly perfect. It'll go up soon, probably today.

Bought a cell phone the other day and yesterday in trying to determine certain gift needs used it in a store talking to Amy, thus doing what I have condemned others for doing rather routinely for the past six or seven years. Oh well, "consistency is the hobgobblin of small minds," (Emerson, I believe).

I was watching the Jacksonville-Cleveland
game when the near riot erupted over the officiating. Even though I'm a Jaguar fan and glad that they won--the call made after another play had been run--sucked as does NFL officiating in general. These guys went on strike, demanding higher pay and have been horrible ever since--sort of like most of the high priced players.

Piano recital last night, Katie did a fine job. Overall it seemed to move a lot quicker than last year's which took place during a rather substantial snowstorm.

Sent out some Christmas cards and packages the other day. The packages went out at one of those "mailbox" places. What a ripoff! They charged $8 for a box, $4 for the material (read a few packing peanuts), and another $4 to place the items in the box--doing all of the above without ever mentioning that I was being charged for any of it. Of course none of it will get there on time, but that is a given.

Saturday, December 15, 2001

It rained a very cold rain here all day yesterday. For awhile in the morning we were without power. In the late afternoon the rain started to mix with a little snow. Now, today, a thick fog has set in.

Off to find a Christmas tree today and to mail some packages.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Amy and I both will be signing copies of our new books (which will be out by then) at the Religious Book Trade Expo in Chicago this upcoming May.
Ah, yes, it was speaking engagements...

Amy and I will be doing workshops (separate) and roundtables at the NCCE national conference in St. Louis this next June.

I will be speaking at a national conference for Catholic writers in Steubenville in September. My tentative title..."Jesus bent down and started to write"

I will be appearing on Johnnette Benkovic's radio program on January 9th and speaking at St. Anthony's Catholic Bookstore in Tampa, FL the same evening around 6:30.

I'm also trying to arrange something at the National Shrine of the Our Lady Queen of the Universe.
I just noticed that a third entry that I made yesterday was never posted. I have a very vague recollection of what it was that I posted and I know it involved several links. Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

According to this Washington Times piece, the American Taliban has told inteligence that terrorists plan a biological attack on the United States at the conclusion of Ramadan (this Sunday). He also claims that a third wave attack will destroy the United States.
I paid $.92 for gas this morning. I'll be satisfied when it is back down around $.69, it'll make up for all those time this summer when it was $1.98.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

When I was 16 or 17 and was climbing Meeting House Hill once with a friend, I was almost shot. Standing at the rocky top of that small mountain with my friend, we both heard the sound of gun shots and then I felt my hair part as something went whizzing by at incredible speed. A few minutes later, David Stephens and Bucky Dean showed up with their guns. They were out shooting at squirrels and in the process had almost killed a person, me.

Bucky Dean died a few years ago (an accident I think), he was only in his 40's. Today, I hear that his best friend David Stephens has died, ironically in a hunting accident. I worked with both as a young man and they were both good men. Sadly they are both no longer on this earth.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Here is an interesting fact that puts the bogus Heismann Trophy award that went to Eric Crouch the other night into perspective: "Florida backup quarterback Brock Berlin, who mostly played during fourth quarter garbage time this season, had more touchdown passes than Heisman winner Eric Crouch had all season, 9-7."

Sunday, December 09, 2001

If there were a playoff in NCAA college football, like there is in every other NCAA college sport, including football at the lower divisions we would be getting ready for the playoffs to begin. The top 16 teams would begin playing, 16 vs. 1, 15 vs. 2 and on down. There would be no controversy and all of the top teams would have an equal opportunity to proove who is the best team in the country by beating the other best teams from around the country. As it is we are stuck with a system where 1 or 2 losses throw you out of the picture.
Those in favor of the current system say that it makes every game count, as though every game still would not count to make the final cut in a system that had a playoff.
What they mean is, that every game from the first to the last counts as much. This is unfortunate. College football does not have a "preseason" and early games in the season are often "rough" with teams still gelling. Not all teams play in conference championships, where a team has to replay a team they have already beaten earlier and where seldom are the two best teams in the conference even playing each other for the title (last night's SEC championship game would be an example # 2 vs. # 20--while both Florida #6 and Georgia are ranked ahead of LSU neither of them could play in the championship because they both are in the same geographical region as TN). In a sense the whole BCS and college championship is meaningless as it exist now. It is simply a matter of the whim of pollsters and the luck of what type of season a particular conference has.
The other major problem with the current system is that you have games where everything is on the line for one team and nothing is on the line for the other. The past three weeks have been filled with these type of games and in almost every case the team that was an underdog won because quite frankly they played "loose." The only team to escape these upsets was Miami and it only escaped because both times they were on the verge of being upset their oponents suddenly choked, because suddenly they felt the pressure of being on the verge of doing something "big."
One can only hope that the Bowls will suffer from incredibly low turn out this year. Because they have become even more meaningless in the world of the BCS. By creating a pseudo "championship game" there no longer is any intrigue about the bowl games where a "national champion" might emerge from anyone of the many bowl games if enough teams are upset. It may happen that the only way to save the "bowls" is to make them the spots of "playoff games." Hopefully this will happen and happen soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

We did the walk to Bethlehem last night at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It was interesting and gave pause to reflect. Katie enjoyed the bazaar that they had constructed in the Church basement. Joseph was fascinated by all the outdoor time he was afforded.

Friday, December 07, 2001

The Cross at Ground Zero by Fr. Benedict Groeschel is now available atOur Sunday Visitor It arrived in the warehouse on Tuesday. The whole process from concept to warehouse took about six weeks.
I watched the College Football Awards last night on ESPN which continuously highlighted how great Rex Grossman was throughout the show, but he took no awards. Instead someone who is a running back at the quarterback position did.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

You can also buy my book online at now.
I am featured in this article that appeared in The Tidings some months ago. The Tidings is the Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I had forgotten that I had done the phone interview for the piece and only found it one day while doing a search to see if anyone was writing anything about my book online.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Hooray for Amazon! They have gone the next step for an online bookstore, by allowing you to visually pick up the book, see the cover and back covers up close, and then to view the inside of the book!

This leads me to suggest a few Christmas gifts...

In a time of anxiety, a return to prayer can soothe the troubled soul. For all of the anxious people on your list I suggest (Mention Your Request Here) The Church's Most Powerful me. By clicking on the title you can check out both the cover and the novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague.

For the male who has everything and you'd like to gives something thoughtful, I suggest Latin Sayings for Spiritual Growth..again check out the inside of the book. This is a nice hard cover book and it is relatively inexpensive on Amazon!

For that special woman, I suggest an excellent hardcover gift book of spiritual meditations for women, Grace-Filled Moments. Unfortunately there is no view of the inside of this book which is truly beautiful, hopefully they will update this soon!

For your children, I suggest a beautiful book on the lives of the saints, Loyola Kids Book of Saints by my wife Amy. Unfortunately there is no inside pictures of this book either, but the cover will give you some idea of the art that is inside.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Monday Night Football stinks! Starts way too late, has way too many comercials, sideline reporters either can't speak English or wear too much eyeshadow, one of the three announcers knows nothing about football and in general the whole premise is that you are watching because you are not a football fan. Last night the game wasn't over until 12:30, way too late for anyone who has a job. The lowly Jaguars blew a 14 point lead and ended up losing by 7
I've posted the book cover to my new book that will be released in March on my web page. Go to my web page and click on the my books link to see it.
Of course it is that time of the year to contemplate card and gift giving. To see what the President is sending for his Christmas card this year click here. For a list of "different" gifts, check out Dave Barry's column in the Miami Herald here.

Monday, December 03, 2001

We went to Mass on Sunday at Mother of God Church in Covington. Not only is this a beautiful church, but the liturgy was also very well done. The music was classical, the readings were expertly delivered and everything moved at a nice pace. There wasn't the usual never ending ad libbing and the focus was clearly all on God. Perhaps the beautiful environment is responsible, but more likely it is the people that make up the parish who were the friendliest I have ever encountered anywhere.
The big hype today is the revealing of IT. You can see a detailed picture of IT here.
I've returned from my journeys to Cincinnati and watching the puny Bucs master the even punier Bengals in an overtime win. It was a whirlwind weekend. I drove to Indianapolis to pick up my friend Brian Butterly who was flying in from Florida on Saturday. Then we drove to Covington, KY to meet up with Tony Fragapane (from NY) who had just finished a privat retreat at St. Meinrad in southern IN. After checking into the hotel we headed over to Willie's Sports Bar to watch the TN-FL game.

We had to endure several baseketball games first, that CBS seemed to deem as more important than the start of the TN-FL game. We were surrounded by other Florida fans and most of us stared in disbelief at the way the game went in the first quarter, wondering where Florida's defense was. Yet in the second quarter Florida seemed in control, scoring 20 unanswered points and all seemed headed in the direction that everyone expected.

But, that was not to be the case. Although a close game, (and Spurrier hardly ever wins close games), ultimately for whatever reason Florida's defensive play was even more absent from the second half of the game. We had plenty of entertainment at the Sports Bar though. One very drunk Gator tipped Brian's large beer over, and then late in the game after Florida missed a two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game, came over and encouraged us that Spurrier should go for it on fourth down. He was crestfallen when we explained to him that they had just missed the extra point. Oh well, as they say, "same ole gators."

Sunday, we ventured to the new Paul Brown Stadium. We had good seats but it was rather cold in the First Quarter of the game until the sun started to shine on us. After that point it was actually very comfortable. This stadium which was okay, has a rather unfinished quality about it. It is very basic and seems as though they didn't have enough money to add anything to it. As far as a place to watch a game, it was fine.

The Bucs won, but after watching Florida and TN moving the ball up and down the field the day before, this game was incredibly boring. Brad Johnson is a horrible quarterback and I can't see the Bucs doing anything with him at the helm. But of course, what do I know?

After the game Tony headed back to New York, while I drove Brian back to Indianapolis to catch his plane. Then back home around 8:30 to the happy Vols and little Joseph.

Saturday, December 01, 2001