Odds & Ends: November 2003 Archives

Giving thanks a day early


Probably nobody is going to be checking CL on Thanksgiving -- I doubt I will -- so I suggest we start the annual litany of thanks a day early. Here are some of mine:

-- Being back in the United States after being in the Middle East most of the year.

-- That we have a military capable of inflicting grievous damage against our enemies, and the enemies of true peace, without doing any substantial damage to the innocent.

-- Despite the constant encroachments of (sometimes) well-meaning politicians, we still live in an empire of freedom.

-- My family worships in a faithful church with faithful priests, and many faithful fellow parishioners.

-- We have a new baby who is fat and healthy.

-- Our house is small but cozy and warm, and I love coming home to it every day.

What are yours?

Update, 3:42 p.m.:
-- How could I forget? A wife who loves me despite my flaws, and my other two kids who pour joy into my life.

-- The people at work whom I supervise, who also tolerate me and our often-surreal working conditions.

-- That I don't have to travel today!

Two More Blogs


The Tower: Nathan Nelson has been posting on-target comments around town for a while, and his own site deserves a visit.

In Ecumenical Insanity, "Athanasius" notices the genetics researchers' latest manifestation of hubris: synthetic viruses. (His hardlinks aren't working, so look in the archives for Sunday, Nov. 16, 2003.)

Make that three. An M.I.C. brother posts a link to a cool rap video by Fr. Stan Fortuna.

"Leave no stone unturned"


The vision of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report was prescient: the Washington Metrorail system is going to turn into an ad-saturated, visually overwhelming mess. Remember the scene where Tom Cruise goes on the Metro while he's being pursued by government agents? And the ads in the station are calling people by name? That's only a little short of what they've got planned for our beloved Metro.

If you've never been to D.C., the Metro is the only thing in the city that works, as everyone agrees. It's clean: drinks and food are banned. It's also fairly safe, although there is the occasional pickpocket. The cars' interiors are quieter than churches -- everyone is reading, napping, or perhaps talking quietly (except for some obnoxious mobile phone users). A fun fact: the producers of the movie "No Way Out" filmed Kevin Costner in the Baltimore subway, even though he was supposedly traveling on the Metro. They thought viewers would never believe that a subway train could be that clean.

Compared to driving the nasty streets of this area, the Metro is a refuge for sanity, a place where other riders and I can get 90 minutes of reading done instead of navigating through the dismal, traffic-clogged streets twice a day.

The Metro management has nurtured this genteel culture since its creation three decades ago, but now they are going to throw it out the window with great force. They aren't just going to have some advertising. Oh, no. We must have huge banner ads in the stations...and televisions blaring ads on the cars! Not only that,

...Transit officials also plan to drape advertising from the sides of parking garages, hang commercial banners from banisters inside the busiest stations, hoist advertising signs on light poles in station parking lots and sell ad space on bus shelters. "We want to leave no stone unturned," said Leona Agouridis, Metro's assistant general manager for communications.

Why is all this happening? Money! God forbid any public space not be turned over to Mammon, just because the Metro system is losing some money! Distilled to its essence, Metro wants to

Drive everybody crazy. No longer will we be able to relax on our way home. We have to be little captive rats for the ad agencies.

Raise the prices. They just hiked fares this year, and now they're going to do it again.

Screw their best customers. Aside from the increase in fares, they stopped giving 10% bonuses when riders put $20 or more on their farecards -- in other words, the very people who ride Metro frequently. Also, they used to have reserved parking for a monthly fee, with the parking fee included. Now you have to pay the reservation fee, and the regular $3 a day fee on top of it.

When music companies saw that CD sales slumped, they announced price cuts increase sales. Metro saw ridership decline, so they jacked up the price of their service. Does that make even a little bit of sense?

Economics aside, destroying what little peace there is in our public areas is unconscionable. No wonder Americans find self-reflection so difficult: no matter where they go, somebody is trying to sell them something.

A number of people have begun complaining about spam that is showing up in the comments' section of various blogs -- including this one. In fact, all the various StBlogs.org bloggers have been in communication by email behind the scenes and have agreed to simply delete any blog spam that shows up.

Just so that everyone has fair warning, in dealing with this problem I have opted out of the aforementioned agreement. Instead, I intend to abide by the Vere Protocol (which is a variation of the Welborn Protocol). The Vere Protocol states that all unsolicited blog spam that shows up in comments to my entries will be fair game for my-writing. Those who spam have been forwarned.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Odds & Ends category from November 2003.

Odds & Ends: October 2003 is the previous archive.

Odds & Ends: December 2003 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.