Sunday, June 27, 2010

Punish the Refs!

Okay, I see that my earlier post about punishing the floppers had one profoundly flawed assumption in it--namely that Refs are competent to make calls at all.  The missed calls in Germany/England and Mexico/Argentina were simply outrageous!  Will Fifa ever get its act together?  Don't respond, I already know the answer.

Here's the distressing video:

Lampard makes the goal--but it's disallowed!

Tevez is WAY offside--but goal is allowed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fun Little Song

I like trains and I like Dan Tyminski's voice.  There you have it!

Punish the Floppers!

"If you’re tired of seeing generally fit, strong players writhe on the field like a wounded duck after a phantom touch, only to have one of their wincing eyes peeking at the referee, then Bradley feels your, ah, pain.So says US Soccer coach Bill Bradley."
The solution, says Bradley, is to have reviews of the flops after the game and penalties assessed.  I couldn't agree more, but it won't happen.

Here's the full story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

National Cathedral on the Economic Rocks

A few years back Union Theological Seminary in New York City nearly went under.  Through the leadership of Joe Hough, it saved itself, but at a great cost.  For one thing, it had to rework its library operations at its Burke Theological Library completely.  "Union's Turnaround 1999-2008," Union News (Summer 2008--Special Issue): 6 (, describes that arrangement this way: "A cooperative library management agreement...transferred ownership of the Burke Collections to Columbia University.  Columbia assumed all costs of operating Burke Library, except for one half the acquisitions budget and the maintenance of the building--with the understanding that the collections in Burke Library remain in the building except when moves are necessary for preservation or to enlarge capacity for new acquisitions.  This agreement has removed more than a million dollars of operating costs from Union's annual operating budget."

A few years back the LCMS International Center ceased operation of its library and its wonderful, targeted collection was dispersed, for the most part, to Concordia Seminary, Concordia Historical Institute, and Concordia Theological Seminary.  

Now the National Cathedral is in trouble and how is it thinking of making ends meet?  Sell the books! 

"The cathedral's rare book library...can no longer be considered a 'core function' in the current economic climate,' said Kathleen Cox, the cathedral's chief operating officer. 'In tough times, you start having to pull away so you can make sure that worship continues,' she said. 'So once that happens, you have to make sure that you are doing the best by those assets.'"

You can find the complete article here:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More on Slowness

Check out this blog:

It has some great suggestions on slowing down.

A Big "Oops" for Italy

"Italian politician Umberto Bossi apologized for his much-criticized remarks that Italy would 'buy' a victory in a crucial World Cup group match against Slovakia.  The comments by Bossi, a Cabinet minister, drew a sharp rebuke from the national soccer federation and fellow politicians.  'I apologize to the national team,' Federal Reforms Minister Bossi told the ANSA news agency. He said his comments were meant as a 'joke' and that he hopes Italy wins the World Cup.


I wonder what the "Federal Reforms Minister" in Italy does?  Regardless, unfortunately for Bossi, Italy is now out of the World Cup.  That's right, the defending champions didn't make it out of the Group Stage.  I'm trying to drum up some pathos for them.  Well, that didn't work :)

Welcome to Slow Society

"Welcome to Slow Society," reads the intro to the blog.  It continues: "We live in a society obsessed with high speeds, quick decisions, and economic growth. Our common habitat has never been more threatened. Our common future has never been more uncertain. The need for slowness and reflection has never been greater."

Having run through perhaps the busiest three months of my life lately, I'm ready to sign up!  The problem is, I already missed International Slowness Day, which was June 21.  Oh well, then I'll just have to wait until next year. :)

Bad News for the Great Lakes

An Asian Carp has been found in Lake Calumet in Chicago--that's Lake Michigan's doorstep.  This could be very bad news for the Great Lakes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unsafe Soccer?

One of the great concerns about the World Cup being in South Africa was the safety of the fans.  Well, SA has provided, from most accounts, a wonderful atmosphere for the Cup.

However, you might want to think twice about attending the opening of the Philadelphia Union's new soccer stadium.  Follow this link for the unsettling story.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Second Place?!?

Foreign Policy magazine had a hard decision on its hands: Who is the worse dictator--North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe?   Kim Jong-Il won out--but it had to be a close race!

For the article, follow this link:

I just finished reading Martin Meredith's Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe's Future.  I'm now deeply into Meredith's The Fate of Africa for the second time.  Depressing.  Time to get out my vuvuzela

No Class

Happily, the French have been sent packing from the World Cup.  Sadly, they've done so with what has become a characteristic lack of class.  They got into the tournament by cheating (a handball by Thierry Henry against Ireland) in the first place, so there's no big surprise there.  However, the disrespect they showed to the host nation (South Africa) and its team (Bafana Bafana) is simply shameful.  Good riddance!,250450

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is the U.S. Finally Getting Interested?

A nice take on the controversy surrounding the waved off goal in the U.S.'s match last Friday.  Perhaps Americans are finally getting fired up about soccer.

Thank you, Koman Coulibaly
by Paul Kennedy, June 19th, 2010 12:55AM

[MY VIEW] There is a positive to Koman Coulibaly's blown call that cost the USA a win over Slovenia. He accomplished what no one else could in more than 100 years. He made Americans care passionately about soccer.

Talk shows throughout the day and evening led with the Coulibaly's call that negated Maurice Edu's call --  ahead of second round of the U.S. Open golf tournament, reaction to Game 7 of the NBA finals, and baseball.

It didn't matter that just about everyone knew nothing about soccer or the World Cup or Coulibaly -- where's Mali? -- they all had an opinion on the game and soccer and FIFA.

Much of the anger was directed at FIFA, which now has a big problem on its hands because it is perceived as a joke in the one country where it needs for soccer to take hold.

It would have been one thing if Coulibaly's call had cost the USA a 1-0 win, but the call cost the USA a historic comeback victory over Slovenia.

Only a couple of days earlier, these same talk show hosts and fans -- the neophytes -- were ready to give up on the World Cup, which could never possibly live up the hype of the ESPN promotional machine tournament.

The World Cup was oversold and underdelivered with a string of low-scoring and frankly boring games

The second-half comeback from 2-0 down drew all these neophyte fans into the U.S. team, the World Cup and soccer.

They were hooked, and they felt robbed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Couldn't happen to a nicer team...

The French World Cup team is completely falling apart.  What a shame!  Given that they had no business being in the tournament in the first place, I simply can't drum up any sympathy.  Instant Karma anyone?,249880

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Honing Your Vuvuzela Skills

Here's some advice on how to become the best vuvuzela player on your block.


Vuvuleza: There's no excuse for making a din when you've been taught by the experts

Rob Sharp gets a lesson from one of Britain's professional vuvuzela teachers
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Rob Sharp with  the must-have accessory for this year's World Cup
Rob Sharp with the must-have accessory for this year's World Cup

I tooted in my bedroom. I parped out of my window at evening dog-walkers. I regaled flatmates with toe-tapping accompaniments to Louis Armstrong that segued into staccato bars of B-flat. Who knew that an instrument which produces a wet, flatulent sound could be so enchanting.
Fifteen hours after taking delivery of my metre-long yellow plastic vuvuzela, I had still only been able to create a noise akin to someone propelling saliva down a pipe. So I enlisted the help of one of Britain's few professional vuvuzela teachers, Steven Haynes, to take me through my paces. After an hour-long lesson I hoped to be the best vuvuzela player in the office.
Vuvuzelas are the must-have accessory for this year's World Cup. They are cheap (£2 from Sainsbury's) and sonorous, and they boast a certain amount of cultural heritage. Some say they were adapted from the horn of a kudu, a South African antelope, traditionally used to call South African villagers to a meeting. The more likely explanation is that a South African football fan customised a bicycle horn in the 1960s, and it took off from there. There are no holes, no slides or buttons. Even an idiot – one whose sole musical qualification is the ownership of a "piano tie" – could use one.
"It's designed to produce a B-flat pitch which is the same as the rest note – the note that you produce if you don't do anything on a trumpet or trombone," says Haynes, tutoring me in his garage-cum-practice studio.
"British fans are just going to take these to see a team play and make as much noise as possible. It's like a call to arms, creates an atmosphere."
So how do you play one? First, the warm-up. It's all about the breathing, apparently. When you're tense, your stomach muscles tighten and force breathing up in to the chest region, meaning you can't inhale and exhale to your full capacity. So relax.
Next step is to shape your mouth as you would for pronouncing an "M". The perfect embouchure is created by holding your facial muscles between a pout and a smile. Vibrate the central section of your mouth, so you're not expending energy on anything that doesn't make a sound. Don't inflate your cheeks – you aren't Dizzy Gillespie. Bingo, you're ready to perform. Let's make this sucker sing.
Outside, faced with my discordant blasts, small children run for cover. Women with infants cross the street. The British still require some "conditioning" to this latest addition to our orchestral repertoire.
What to do with your instrument when the World Cup is over? They seem likely to become the scourge of English football grounds. Also suitable as beer-funnelling device.

Follow this link to the original.

What's wrong with the vuvuzela?

We are having a running battle in my World Cup insane household over whether the vuvuzela is a good or a bad thing.  I'm all for it!  In fact, I can't get enough of that wonderful bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

So check out

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Statue of Jesus is Struck by Lightning and Burns

Huge statue of Jesus catches fire and burns.  You can find the whole story here.  However, anyone who has driven to Cincinnati down I-75 has likely seen the statue of Jesus at Solid Rock Church.  On June 14, 2010, it was struck by lightening and perished.  Some want to rebuild it.  We'll see...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Philosopher's World Cup

I'm shamelessly stealing this from Greg Alms's "Incarnatus Est" blog.  It is totally hilarious!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Big News from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

This special announcement below arrived this evening from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society Keystone e-News.  The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is already a "must visit" attraction.  These additions will make it one of the most significant sites on the East Coast.  



Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that $5 million in state capital funds have been released to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and the Department of General Services for new exhibits and the design of a roundhouse at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

"The improvements planned for this facility are critical to the preservation and the interpretation of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's world-class collection of more than 100 historic locomotives and railroad cars," says Museum director Charles Fox.

The Governor's Office of the Budget has designated $500,000 for the design of a 16,000-square-foot roundhouse in the outdoor yard, to be located at the Museum's existing turntable. A significant number of the Museum's collection of historic locomotives and rolling stock, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are the last of their kind in the world, currently reside outdoors and are deteriorating from exposure to the elements.

The addition of a roundhouse at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania will provide permanent, climate-controlled storage for these historic artifacts. Bid proposals have been released by the Department of General Services for the architectural design of the roundhouse. The Governor's Office of the Budget anticipates releasing an additional $6.1 million for the actual construction of the roundhouse in the next fiscal year.

The Governor's Office of the Budget also has released $4.5 million for the design, fabrication and installation of new permanent exhibits to be located throughout the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. The Hilferty Design firm of Athens, Ohio has been selected to work with Museum and Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission staff on the exhibit design. Planning is already underway.

"The new exhibits will allow us to examine Pennsylvania's railroading history from its earliest beginnings to the present day in a thorough and comprehensive manner. The exhibits will explore the social, economic and technological history of Pennsylvania railroading, using the Museum's outstanding collection of artifacts and  rolling

"Both of these projects represent major steps forward for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania," Fox points out, "allowing us to raise the standards of our already world-class institution even higher. Once they are in place, and in conjunction with the completion of a new geothermal HVAC system in the Museum, the entire interpretive experience we offer to visitors will have been reshaped and improved, and we will have become much more effective caretakers of this unequalled collection of American railroading artifacts."

Friday, June 04, 2010

First female bishop for Finnish Lutheran church

First female bishop for Finnish Lutheran church

Stephen Brown

Geneva/Helsinki (ENI). The Rev. Irja Askola has become the first woman to be elected as a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a step described as a "milestone" by the general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation.

"It is an important sign that a woman has been elected to the office of bishop in yet another LWF member church," said the Rev. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Geneva-based Lutheran federation, after the 3 June vote.

Askola received 591 votes to 567 for her rival Matti Poutiainen, the Finnish church council communications centre said.

The Helsinki Times reported that one of the differences between the two candidates concerned marriage, with Askola being willing to bless same-sex couples, whereas Poutiainen holds that marriage is solely between a man and a woman.

The church said 57-year-old Askola will take office on 1 September, following the retirement of Eero Huovinen, Helsinki's bishop since 1991. Her ordination as a bishop has been set for 12 September.

The Lutheran church has about 4.5 million members, accounting for more than 80 percent of Finland's population.

Askola is currently a special assistant in theological affairs to Bishop Mikko Heikka of Espoo. She graduated with a master's in theology in 1975, and was ordained in 1988. From 1991 to 1999, Askola worked in Geneva for the Conference of European Churches.

The Rev. Viorel Ionita, acting general secretary of CEC, said, "The contribution of CEC for promoting the witness of women in church and society after the political changes in Central and Eastern Europe is unthinkable without the contribution of our former colleague from Finland."

The LWF noted that women have been ordained in the Finnish Lutheran church since 1986. While some have been previously nominated as bishops, including Askola, none had made it to the final ballot.

Askola's election came in a second round of voting, following a first round in May. A second round was necessary because neither Askola nor Poutiainen received more than 50 percent of votes in the first round, when five candidates stood for the post.

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