Monday, August 31, 2009

Ghost Town

Sorry it's been so quiet around here - Steve, Bill, & I have been busy moving into a new house. We enlisted the help of 6 of our closest friends to move our stuff around while we watched. It had high points, like tossing footballs & frisbees & playing basketball in the park across from my new house, drinking beer & eating pizza at 11 am, and the excitement of a new living arrangement.

Despite the fun we had, there were a few logistical glitches involved. First of all, the house was in the process of being repainted, so we had to navigate through the sea of dropcloths and paint buckets in order to get the couches in the house - through the window, of course. The rest of the stuff had to be put in the basement until the painters were finished (which didn't happen until yesterday).

Anyway, we're mostly settled in now, but we still don't have the interwebs at the house yet, which means I'm forced to post frazzled & hurried posts in between making sure everything gets done at work. We'll have the 'net up and running soon at the house, but until then, Brian and Justin will have to hold down the fort. You keep it real!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thursday Should Be The New Friday

I like to travel a lot. I travel with Easter Rising (my band, for those of you that don't know) at least once every couple of months, and I truly enjoy the opportunities that I have to travel around the country and visit my copious amount of best friends. Over the past 2 Summers, it's not out of the ordinary to hear the phrase "Oh Lucas, glad you decided to work 40 hours this week!" on Friday mornings in my office. While others take a week or two off at a time to spend time on the beach or engage in similar endeavors, I've decided that spending my vacation days in one shot is pointless. They are much better served on long weekends driving ridiculous distances to hang out with people for a day before you have to drive back home and prepare for the upcoming work week.

Every week I decide to take a long weekend, the rest of the office knows. It normally starts with a subtle mention of my upcoming travels, and ends with my email signature proclaiming that "Thursday is the new Friday!". This inevitably incites workplace rioting in protest of the ridiculous amount of vacation time I take. You see, I'm very valuable - a "Go-To-Guy", if you will.

Brian sent me this link wondering if I was ghostwriting for Scientific American. The answer is no, I am not a ghostwriter, but even if I was I wouldn't tell any of you. We wouldn't want Lynne Peeples losing any credit for her authorship of the article. Regardless, Lynne writes what I've been thinking and pushing for at my job to happen. In these tough economic times, companies need to become more flexible in order to weather the storm more effectively. They need to manage their employees better and in addition to managing the bottom line, find creative ways to boost morale & productivity (I'm spewing what I read from every business blog or Microsoft commercial right back in your face).

Well, I don't expect that any company I work for will ever have a 4 day work week (unless I own it!). I don't think that's such a bad thing. While companies can save on their overhead expenses by shutting down for an extra day, I would think that overall cashflow and customer service would take quite a hit by closing on that extra day. I'm just speculating, because I'm not an economist, but it makes sense in my head. Regardless of how companies decide to structure their work weeks, I will always love it when Thursday becomes the new Friday. Maybe someday far in the future we can all inlude "Wednesday is the new Friday!" in our email signatures.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Starting New

I woke up this morning with a purpose. It was 7 am, and I had gotten more than my share of sleep the night before by virtue of a communal gathering of me, my couch, and the inside of my eyelids converging in blissful harmony at 8 pm.

Last night I backed up all of the files on my computer to my external hard drive, and this morning I strapped on my construction boots and cutoff jean shorts and got right to work. I completely reformatted my computer's hard drive and reinstalled Mac OSX. I did this because my computer had started to slow down to the point where it took a good 30 seconds to load programs. The most frustrating part, and the final motivator in all of this was the fact that even typing had become a chore on my computer. As I would type, the characters flowing from my keyboard would lag and fall behind - I wouldn't be able to see what I was typing for a couple seconds. Annoying to say the least.

Now that I've got everything installed and my computer working like a well-oiled machine (I poured olive oil in the fan port - it was dry as a bone in there!), I'm able to be productive and get things done with my computer - the way it was meant to be used. While thinking about how awesome it is to have a perfectly functioning computer, I thought about how reinstalling and reconfiguring everything on my computer applied to confession, and how they are so similar.

Nearly every action on a computer has an effect on the bigger picture. If you install a program and then delete it, the program will leave residual files on your computer. Over time, these files build up and can slow down your processor. This reminded me of the effect our every day decisions have on our relationships with God and others. It's amazing how sin can seem so harmless in the moment, but yet so damaging in the long term. We fall into the trap of thinking that as long as we're not hurting others directly, our actions don't affect anyone else but ourselves.

Much like a program that leaves files hidden in the background long after it's gone, sin has the power to slow our relationship with God and influence our ability to love. Sin turns us in on ourselves and makes us focus on our internal selfish desires, rather than the true task of Love as Catholics and Christians.

Confession allows us this wonderful opportunity to get rid of these "programs" (sin) that affect our ability to truly love others and God. Through the Grace offered in the sacrament, I'm looking forward to the opportunity today to "reinstall" my second operating system, and start looking for opportunities to truly love others.

Friday, August 21, 2009

He says

Thank you for the introduction Lucas. Beautifully worded. I am honored by your willingness to sacrifice monetary gain to include me in your blog.

Here we go ...

I enjoy commercials just as much as the next guy. Actually I usually watch commercials and don't change the channel the instant they come on, so I probably like commercials more than the next guy. But everytime I see this particular commerical,

I just sit and think to myself ... self "they have got to be kidding me".

In case you haven't seen the commercial, and still don't feel like watching it on YouTube the basic premise is that you as a woman have no need to have a period every month. If you don't want to, they say, you don't have to.

Several times in the commercial they ask, "Who says?" in reference to whom is "forcing" them to have 12 periods a year. Hold on ... thinking, thinking, thinking ... oh that's right God says. I'm pretty sure that God didn't just sit down one day in Paradise with his pair-a-dice (that was good) and say, I'm going roll these dice and whatever comes up that's the number of periods women will have.
-- On a side note, God would be quite the competitor in Yahtzee I'd imagine. --
I would like to think God had a pretty good reason for giving women the number of periods they have, say ... to give us a good chance of procreating. Maybe.

I will give them the fact that, yes, scientifically they can in fact reduce the number of periods you will have. But just in case you were wondering messing with God's plan doesn't always work out well for the best, as you will find out listening to the end of the video (heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, etc.).

So next time you are riding the sofa and get that urge to surf, stop and watch the commercials so you can become enlightened by 30-second bits of worldly matters. Really, "Who says" all commercials are bad ...

Yet ANOTHER New Contributor!

After much internal debate between Brian and myself, we have decided to expand our team of bloggers to a whopping 3! Although the economy is still in the dumps, and our profit margins here at ACNS are already low, Brian and I offered to cut our own salaries in order to bring Justin Egan in as a member of the team. This blog isn't about the money, it was never about the money. It's about real people talking about real things, for your reading pleasure.

Justin is a great guy with some fantastic insights. I'm giving both him and Brian free reign on whatever they would like to post about, be it sports, weather, news, community involvement...etc. Anyway, we're pleased as hell to have Justin with us, and I hope you give him a chance!

On another note, we'd love to hear some more feedback on what you read. We want to know what you're thinking about what we think. Comment away & tell your friends!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

'We are God's partners in matters of life and death'

The following is from Author Ben Smith posts on his blog about the conference call between the prez & prominent Jewish rabbis. The title of this post is a quote from President Obama, and it rings eerily hollow compared with the reality of the currently proposed healthcare reform bill.

A reader points out that President Obama's call with the rabbis today — as recorded in Rabbi Jack Moline's and other clerics' Twitter feeds — freights health care reform with a great deal of religious meaning, and veers into the blend of policy and faith that outraged liberals in the last administration.

"We are God's partners in matters of life and death," Obama said, according to Moline (paging Sarah Palin...), quoting from the Rosh Hashanah prayer that says that in the holiday period, it is decided "who shall live and who shall die."

The president ended the call by wishing the rabbis "shanah tovah," or happy new year — in reference to the High Holidays a month from now.

I don't know where or when we became God's partners in the decision making process of when to end someone's life. It must have just come to light since our country's "savior" was elected. I'm sure glad we have our government to let us know when these things happen - how would we know otherwise?

You can read the article in it's original context here

My Dad's Blog

My dad has recently started his own blog in order to backup & distribute his poetry. You can find it right here. It's a collection of all of the poetry he's composed over the past several years.

It's so easy to get caught up in our individual day-to-day responsibilities and desires. While I constantly fight the battle of trusting God for what I need and the desire to control everything, his poetry grants me the opportunity to give myself a reality check, which I can always use!

Anyway, check it out and leave him a comment or two letting him know what you think. I'm inspired and privelidged to have such a wise & talented father.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Willkommen zu Vergessenheit

Let me direct your collective attention to a blog, just started by a friend of mine. "Willkommen zu Vergessenheit", or, in the lesser-educated layman's terms, "Welcome to Oblivion" (Google Translate assisted).

Chris is a fantastic writer and a better friend. Hope you enjoy what he has to say, and I hope he links back to my blog, because you can now find him under "My Favorite Sites" on the right hand side of what you're reading right now (Unless I've posted other things after this, which would make the link list still on the right hand side, just a little North of this post).

You might even find me sharing his posts in my Google Reader. If you don't have Google Reader, get it. Because it's awesome.

Monday, August 17, 2009

American Capitalism Gone With a Whimper

This article originally appeared in the April 27th edition of the Russian state newspaper, Pravda.

Things always seem to come full-circle, don't they?

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather than the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a Burger King burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blinds the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more than Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more than happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more than ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American Congress (parliament). Again, Congress has put up little more than a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motors) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less than two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left. The proud American will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Steroids in Baseball

I am the self-proclaimed biggest baseball fan in the world, but that's a lie. That title goes to my brother Max, who has a ritual for listening to Reds games on the radio that includes ingesting large quantities of oatmeal while sitting on a stool by the kitchen counter and sharing his unequivocal baseball knowledge with anyone in within earshot. That said, I'm still a pretty big baseball fan. Rookies.

1994 was a dark day for baseball due to the failing labor negotiations between the owners and the players union. The owners wanted a salary cap to protect their revenues from being eaten alive by steadily rising salaries brought about by the advent of free agency for players in 1975. Before that time, teams held players for as long as they wanted and paid them whatever they felt was "fair" at the time. Once free agency hit, salaries escalated due to the free market system - larger market teams could pay more for better players, and the small-market teams were frightened about the possibility of the inability to field a competitive team, decreasing their ticket and concession sales, leading to a decrease in their revenues and profits.

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the strike in baseball, and coincidentally, Bronson Arroyo is on the front page of USA Today for his candor and honesty regarding the use of performance enhancing supplements, some of which are not approved by Major League Baseball. Given the drama over the past few years regarding high-profile stars testing positive for steroids and hormonal supplements, and their refusal to offer sincere apologies for their actions, I think it's time for MLB & the mass media to wake up and realize that they're to blame for the current state of the steroid "scandal" that engulfs any discussion regarding baseball.

All of this leads to the owners of the teams looking the other way at their players taking illegal substances in order to pad their own bank accounts, the players looking for their fair piece of the pie, and the media glorifying otherwise normal people for their ability to play a game. We're all suckers for playing their game. You can call me a sucker, but tonight you'll find me listening to the Reds game in my kitchen, bowl of oatmeal in hand - for the love of the game itself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


What's the over/under on how many days it takes for Brian to post something funny? I'm gonna go with 6 1/2 days...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Moving! (This time for realsies)

My close friends and family can attest to the fact that I am a flip-flopper. I get these wonderful ideas in my head and then tell everybody I know about my plans, only to come back a few weeks later confusing those who don't know the way I operate. For example, I was all set to go to Arizona for recording school earlier this year. I had such perfect plans, but they were quickly annihilated by my more-high-maintenance-than-a-teenage-girl car and the various physical ailments & injuries that kicked in to thankfully save me from making what would most likely be a terrible investment in my financial & emotional health and future.

Bill and I are moving, except this time it's different. We have agreed to move to a vacant house owned by my dad's side of the family, most recently occupied by my uncle, who has moved into an assisted-living home. While the actual living space in this new home is not much more than my current apartment, it will be nice to have a house with that extra space & some outside room for Steve to run & explore without the fear of him getting shot by the drug dealers down the street or hit with a broom by the Greek lady a couple doors down.

While we haven't finalized the date when we'll be out of our current apartment, I can safely say it will be in the next month or so that Bill, Steve & I will be shackin' up in our new digs. If you would like to volunteer to move all of my stuff while I "supervise & delegate", I will pay you with compliments for a solid 5 minutes. Additionally, for all you out of town readers, I'll up that to 7 minutes. Where else can you go to feel so good about yourself?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Blog Contributor!

Get ready for a little variety in your lives, because "A Cat Named Steve" has added another blogger to our team (me) to help out with the glut of posting requests we get here on a daily basis. Our new blogger, Brian Ezell, will be posting his thoughts on issues, events, & general discussion within the Church, as well as anything else that might interest him. I'm honored to have him...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm staying up past my bedtime...

The definition of irony can be consolidated into this very moment as I sit at my computer, wide eyed and eager.

It rained all day long. All I wanted was to take a nap on my couch with about 5 pillows and a giant comforter. I would leave the window slightly open to let the blasts of thunder permeate the room and conjoin with my emotions to create an air of violent relaxation. Days like these I wish I was still a landscaper.

Today is the Feast of St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests. I'm going to attempt to get some sleep, but all you priests out there who read this, I hope you've had a blessed day. Before I close my eyes for the night, I will say a prayer for you & your ministry of leadership & service and everyone who comes in contact with you. Thanks for answering the call to your vocation!

You keep it real, all you priests...