Friday, April 29, 2005

Thanks Peter

I left campus this morning at 3 a.m.

It was a deadline story I helped cover with another reporter. We both attended the election board's grievance hearing where 4 separate candidate grievances were heard. The gist of the decisions is that one candidate got disqualified from the associated student board of director presidential race. If that wasn't big enough, the official election results came in a couple hours later, and the disqualified candidate had won by a very large margin. You can imagine there is and will be a lot of ferment among students. I don't have time to get into the election code violations but I had intended to do my main reporting for Western Unraveled. However Peter, the reporter for The Western Front who was intended to cover it offered me a byline on the news piece if I would help him get it out that night. So I spent the rest of the night making calls, writing up quotes, and hammering out the news piece that will be in today's newspaper on campus. I'm thrilled to be on the front page at the last minute and it was good of Peter to let me help.

Yeah, a runoff between the two remaining candidates will happen next week, as was expected, Russo, the disqualified guy, will appeal the decision.

You can bet his supporters will be out in force, too... Stay tuned

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Meet the winner of the GRAND UNIVERSAL PROMO they don't confine themselves to one email address. This one is good! I did a quick google of "grand universal promo" and came up with other blogger's documentaries of having fun with these guys by replying and seeing how long they can string it along--not a recommended pastime, in case you were wondering but it's fun to read about.



3b Olympic Way, Sefton Business Park,
Aintree, Liverpool , L30 1RD

REF: GUPL/74-A0802742005

We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today, of winners of the GRAND UNIVERSAL PROMO held on 28th of February 2005.
Your email address was attached to ticket number 22-1356-4096-988; with serial number A)69-07 drew the lucky numbers 09-23-13-56-80-40, and consequently won in category A. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of GBP 1,400,000.00 POUNDS in cashcredited to file REF GUPL/74-A0802742005 This is from total prize money of GBP 7,000,000.00 POUNDS, shared among the Five (5) international winners in this category.

All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 100,000 companies/individuals from Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, America, Asia, Europe and North America as part of our International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually. CONGRATULATIONS!

Your fund is now deposited with a Security company insured in your name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has beenprocessed and your money remitted to your account. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participants of this program.
We hope with a part of you prize, you will participate in our end of year high stakes GBP 50. Million international lottery.

To begin your claim, please respond back to your claiming agent;
Dr Williams Adamson

He will brief you on steps to be taken for due processing and remittance of your prize money.Remember, you must contact him using his mailing address not later than two weeks after this date or funds will be returned as unclaimed.

NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference number in every one of your correspondences.

Ticket number 22-1356-4096-988
Serial number A069-07
Lucky numbers 09-23-13-56-80-40
File REF NO. GUPL/74-A0802742005
BATCH: 2005GUPL-01

Congratulations again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.

Mrs. Monica Lopez
N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the Winners will result to disqualification. Any winner below the age of 18years is automatically disqualified

NOTE: Do not reply this mail. You are to contact your
claims officer immediately.
What luck! I win, what was it? A ton of british money? Oh wait: "Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the Winners will result to disqualification." Oh bummer--scratch that idea then.

'i need your trust'

I never thought I'd only get scam mail instead of spam. Not more than 48 hours since the last one, here's another least this time from the Middle East.


My name is Mrs. Alimat Kareem, widow to late Mr.Ibrahim Kareem, fomer owner of IB GAS AND PETROLEUM,kuwait. I am from KUWAIT and i am 68 years old, suffering from long time cancer of the breast. From all indications my condition is really deteriorating and it's quite obvious that I won't live more than 2 months according to my doctors. This is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. i dont want your pity but i need your trust.

My late husband died early last year from heart attack, and during the period of our marriage we couldn't produce any child. My late husband was very wealthy and after his death,I inherited all his business and wealth.The doctor has advised me that I will not live for more than 2 months, so I have now decided to spread all my wealth, to contribute mainly to the development of charity in Africa, America, Asia and sorry if you are embarrased by my mail.i found your e-mail address in the web directory,and i have decided to contact you,but if for any reason you find this mail offensive,you can ignore it and please accept my appology.

before my late husband died he was a major oil tycoon, in kuwait and deposited the sum of 20 million dollars (Twenty million dollars) in a security company in europe some years ago,thats all i have left now,i need you to collect this funds and distribute it yourself to charity so that when i die my soul can rest in peace. the funds will be entirely in hands and management. i hope God gives you the wisdom to touch very many lives,that is my main concern.

20% of this money will be for your time and effort, while 80% goes to charity.

God bless you.
Mrs.Alimat Kareem.
Heart-rending isn't it?

I wonder how many more I'll get. I'll be sure to pass them on for y'all as they come in.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Interviews left and right

They never stop. There was last week's news piece I wrote, the one I'm trying to get assigned to me this week, and the interview with the Lynden Tribune. But the latest?

I had a suprise yesterday.

Some guy on the Horizon newspaper emailed me for an interview. In case anyone is wondering, Horizon is the Whatcom Community College newspaper, where I got my wings. The strangness of never having been interviewed is getting to me. I mean, this is my 6th quarter of work on a student newspaper and all I've done in the past is ask the questions. On the other hand, it's only about the process of transfering to Western. I mean really folks, they should do a profile on me!

What a cool story that would be!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Old as the hills


Yes, this just arrived at the Western blog email. Pretty impressive for a first piece of spam on an account. I suppose it is a sign of better things to come.

Yeah, ok, whatever

Your Inner European is Spanish!

Energetic and lively.

You bring the party with you!

Friday, April 22, 2005

The final step

A long line of activities are finished.

It hit me near the end of the interview when he said it would be three or four weeks till I would know for sure--It is now out of my hands...if it ever was in the first place. Yes, my interview for an internship at the Lynden Tribune was today and it went very well. There is one other applicant. He's way more qualified. He's done freelance work for several Washington newspaper and he was The Western Front editor last quarter. Cal (from the Tribune) said the other applicant hadn't committed to the Tribune, nor they to him. Also the Tribune is the kind of newspaper that values local writers. Cal said he gives a certain amount of preference to local applicants. Practically speaking, people who have been in Lynden for a long time have an edge anyway when it comes to doing the job.

I'm very encouraged.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Of carnivals

Meneltarma has made its debut appearance on the Carnival of the Vanities. For those who don't know (like, a lot of you) a blog carnival is a place where "amateur" (hehe) bloggers can post their best weekly work. There are plenty of different carnivals--all sorts. I will be sampling them in the future to see what kind of response they generate. Carnivals travel from host to host, whoever happens to be willing to compile the list of submissions, review all of them, and post brief introductions about all of them. At least SOME bloggers have too much time on their hands.

My "weekend at the lake" is listed under life and arts of this week's carnival over at Conservative Dialysis

Pausing for breath...

I've figured something out now about my schedule: Monday through Wednesday is the best time to not blow it. It's when most everything seems to be due. Today has been an interesting specimen all on its own. Things just pile up like they've never done before. I try to get as much of my writing for the newspaper deadlines done as I go through the interview process, but that principle doesn't help when I'm interviewing people a few hours before it's due. It's just the way the cookie crumbles, the ball bounces, the world turns, the lots are cast,... Actually none of those will do so scratch that.

This week and indeed, as I said, today has been ever so wild. The wonderful part about it, though, is that I haven't really been burned on anything yet. This morning was typical of a Wednesday. I got up a little bit later than was good for me, started work on my Mass Media History essay, finished that, moved on to the news piece, called a source to confirm something, took a phone call from my Uncle Steve who was kind enough to inform me that my right front tire was flat. I then did a phone interview. Called my editors and told them my story would be late because of my flat tire, called my history professor, told him my essay wouldn't be there in class (should I email it?). I drove over to Les Schwab, where a set of new front tires was applied to the two front wheels on my car. I went back home, had lunch, started work on my article again and "finished" it.

So I'm at Western now, having missed all my classes and I just learned second-hand that my story won't run. It's not as bad as all that though, and like I said, at least I wasn't burned on anything.

In other news...

I have an interview (like a job kind) this Friday for a summer internship at the Lynden Tribune. As far as I know, they still don't have any other applicants! I'm hoping and praying that I can get this one because, logistically, it seems like an awesome fit.

The Western Blog now has three active participants and I'm poised to get the URL published around campus. Thanks to Kat and Jerret for signing on!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Lake (incomplete and abridged)

It would be impossible to exhaustively expound on the subject of last weekend and it would be equally impossible to ignore it altogether as I have on this blog up to this point in the week. The unhappy medium is, of course, to give you a little taste without spending more time than is good for man writing it all out in one shot.

It was a cabin on a lake to which we, the youth of the Lynden OCRC, traversed for a night of doing nothing of anything in particular. A few guests and a bunch of food were enough to complete the setting on a human level. Then there are the other levels though.

This lake is small by most standards, but it hides many surprises. Looking out over its dark yet clear expanse and forested shores one might leave without a hint of all the concealed inlets and fen-like passages navigable only with the smallest of watercraft. The more obvious features are striking on their own merit. In one wing of the lake is a platform of logs floating on the surface, although anchored there by some old tree stumps still rooted to the bottom of the lakebed. In another wing stands a spectacle not easily forgotten. For anyone who sees the two ancient looking trees, stripped of all branches, pointing like twin gate posts toward the sky not more than 10 feet apart from each other, their thoughts usually run back in time to all the childhood stories about portals to other worlds! What's even better is the feeling you get as you row a boat through them and then imagine you are seeing a Narnian fawn upon the shore, a beaver calling from his home in the middle of the lake and perhaps, with a little peripheral vision, a tree can be seen to stretch its branches like arms before dozing off again.

The evening was made for countless memories. It had rained all week but stopped the night before the trip. When we went out in the rowboat at various times throughout the evening, the clear moonless sky and still air offered the perfect opportunity to row around in the darkness for hours, each person lost in their own imagination and only telling the stories fit for verbal renditions. There we were, looking up at the stars, noting this or that about our elementary knowledge of Astronomy, peering at the dark and the mysterious shoreline through the thin mist, and shining flashlights into the dark underworld over which we were smoothly gliding with each gentle oar stroke. So enthralling was the sense of surrealism, some of us couldn't be pulled off the lake until well after midnight.

A separate post could go on forever about the humor and insanity or downright freakiness of some moments. One such example was during our lake adventures. Myself and four girls (my sister Beka being one) were taking one of our first trips through the portal in the evening when Andrea's flashlight beam caught a disturbing image in its harsh glare. The nervous tension was evident in her voice when she called our attention to the object of her unease.

"Um, guys...there's a man out there," she said in a low tone.

My first glance wanted to confirm the apparition of a man lying on his back on one of the floating logs, head hanging back off the end, with an elbow arched somewhat over the top. Bearing in mind that my crew would not appreciate the spooky appearance of a real man of dubious origin and status in this world on a log in the misty, moonless darkness, I firmly told myself and the others that it was nothing more than an odd shape on the top of a log.

(hmm...that arm looked like it moved)

"The reflection of the flashlight on the water makes it look like that," I ventured confidently, and I really was convinced I was right. Funny thing, then, that I should feel so queasy each time I looked back at "it."

"That is actually really weird," I added after more reflection.

I'm not sure if anyone noticed Kristi with her hands pressed to her ears, her eyes closed, and her head pressed to someone's side. By this time I was rowing the boat back to port. Unsettled as we were, I didn't want to place unflinching faith in the nerves of the others on board. Me being the only guy, I think I felt a certain duty to turn the boat’s head towards "safety" or at least where the others would feel the safest...

Again the beam shined on the log and the truth suddenly became clear to me: it wasn't a log at all. The other end of the "log" was now included in the picture and it was quite easy now to see it for what it was: the prow of the other row boat sticking up a little out of the water. It most certainly was a man on the back end. About four of the other guys were there lying down in the boat, hoping to escape our detection long enough for them to prepare a surprise visit in the middle of the lake.

None of the girls were sorry to spoil their fun; but as long as our fun wasn't spoiled by a midnight dip in the lake, I was fine and even a little thrilled by the spooky effect they had inadvertently administered.

And now I'm reminding myself of my own statement regarding the impossibility of finishing the complete and unabridged version of the weekend's saga in one post. Thus I'm led to conclude that I have written more than enough for one night.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

'more than private concern'

If you will just tolorate another post on Terri Schiavo, I will point you to an impressive Slate article I just came across by Harriet McBryde Johnson. I would rather be moving on to other topics, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that just because Terri has passed on so tragically, doesn't mean I have to let the issue drop. I've already been guilty of letting many things pass that could have been shared.

It's literally been about two years since I read anything on Slate. I must have had an early bad experience. There was one terrific line I read in this article that took my fancy. If you read the full piece you will discover the interesting fact that the author is facing the possibility of a feeding tube in the near future. At least keep that in mind when you read this paragraph:
I hope against hope that I will never be one of those people in the shadows, that I will always, one way or another, be able to make my wishes known. I hope that I will not outlive my usefulness or my capacity (at least occasionally) to amuse the people around me. But if it happens otherwise, I hope whoever is appointed to speak for me will be subject to legal constraints. Even if my guardian thinks I'd be better off dead—even if I think so myself—I hope to live and die in a world that recognizes that killing, even of people with the most severe disabilities, is a matter of more than private concern.
(emphasis mine)

Powerful to say the least. Again, if you read the whole piece, she provides an even better context.


This morning is just one example of what I feared would become the pattern for this quarter. Every one of my days has a first-class time of 1 p.m. This means that anything important (and somewhat important, plus anything in-between) has to be done in the morning. The real problem is being less productive than I could. With no classes in the morning, it is incredibly tempting to let my mornings bear the reprisal of my late-night workings. Getting up before 8 is becoming almost ridiculously hard.

So perhaps the real question is, what am I doing on here, telling you something like this while I have class in one and a half hours and several assignments to complete before then? I don't have the answer, anymore than I have the answer to my sleep schedule problem. Getting to bed early doesn't always seem to help and ordinary study is what suffers the most if I can't do it in the morning.

As to my presence here online at this time of day, let's just say I felt the need to step back, even if it is just for 5 minutes to test my ordinary coherency and get down an update. There's a lot more that I would write about this past weekend if I had the time--something much more entertaining to you all I'm sure.

Until then the next next-to-pointless post, have a good day.

Friday, April 08, 2005


I'm just testing the ins and outs of different photo hosting options. It's fun to see the different formats that are used.

This is my brother Nathan who is, at this moment, in Germany.

Image hosted by

Thursday, April 07, 2005

One more down

Our church youth choir finished production of our second hymn collection over spring break last month.

(click for a picture of us)

It's good to have it done. It was a long drawn-out group effort so you can be sure it's a lot of fun to look at and listen to after all the blood, sweat, and tears.

Spirit of the OK Corral

The minuteman project is well underway. The mixed reactions are predictable. I don't know how it will turn out. I DO know that it is inspiring and those who don't find it so should read more (real) American history.

Interestingly enough, the town of Tombstone is full of responsible sidearms again. Sounds like they have a cool mayor! He's quoted in this Reuters piece:
"The Minuteman fall within that long American tradition that includes freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, and I don't have a problem with that." -Tombstone Mayor Andrew Dejournett
This Reuters photo is great. I'm glad a foreign news agency has some eye for inspiring American patriots.

Minuteman Project volunteer Tim Donnely looks south towards Mexico in the early morning light from the bed of his pickup truck at the post he manned overnight at the US/Mexico border west of Douglas, Arizona April 5, 2005. Minuteman volunteers are manning observation posts around the clock for the month of April along the border in the eastern part of Arizona to bring attention to the number of illegal immigrants coming north from Mexico. (Fred Greaves/Reuters)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Apologies and update

My apologies to the folks who's browsers were having trouble on my site. I didn't run into this problem until today so I didn't know what people were talking about. It was an image near the bottom of my side-bar that was causing the problem. The image has since been removed since it was trivial in, it was a GREAT sacrifice that I felt compelled to make for the sake of my reader's sanity.

Thanks to all for continuing to stop by (except my friendly neighborhood spammers)--I like company. In the interest of full disclosure, my average number of visitors has gone up from about 18 to 32 per day in the last month. Thanks for listening!

P.S. I offer yet another apology if you feel you have been ignored in the comments. I know I have had some substantial comments and I feel rotten when I don't get the chance to respond right away.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Cranking it up

Resignation call number two:

Sound Politics reports that another King County councilmember has joined Reagan Dunn in calling on Dean Logan to step down. Here's the letter Steve Hammond sent to Mr. Logan:

I regret to inform you that last week’s revelations concerning the discovery of first 87 and now possibly 93 uncounted absentee ballots has, on top of the failure to yet provide a full accounting of unverified ballots processed through Accuvote machines, eroded my confidence in your ability to successfully perform the duties of your office. Furthermore, I believe that the series of ballot handling errors, combined with the highly questionable decision to permit post election “curing” of ballot signatures, has erodedconfidence among the public in your ability to effectively manage King County elections.

I believe it would best serve King County’s citizens if you would consider stepping down as Director of Records and Elections in time for us to find a successor this summer.

Steve Hammond
Metropolitan King County Council, District 9
Attn: Ron Sims...
Can you read wall writing?

Logan's feet to the fire

I haven’t posted here regarding the election issues in a while. Here’s a juicy tidbit:

The last couple weeks have produced resurgence of interest in the election problems of last year. Most people know by now about the newest batch of mystery ballots (93) reported by King County over the weekend. While many may have thought this issue was going to finally die out, you can be sure that it won't. And now King County officials are plain fed-up with the controversy. King County councilmember Reagan Dunn has written a letter to Dean Logan, King County director of elections, asking for his resignation. I think this is huge because it will force a lot of attention. The letter is scathing and although not the mentality of all the council members, you can be sure there's a lot of angst across the board if one is willing to make such a request.

I am asking that you resign your post and give over the operation of your department to someone who will be better able to manage it, who will be more forthright in admitting mistakes, and who will have the trust and confidence of the people.

Under your management and supervision, the King County Elections Department made repeated and inexcusable mistakes during the past several months. Washington State citizens have observed a repeated pattern of mistakes by your department, resulting in a serious erosion of public faith in the system. The failure of your department in administering the most recent election is clear from the many errors in registering voters, inaccuracies in counting and recounting ballots, failure to ensure that only legal ballots were counted and inability to reconcile voters with ballots cast. Every time you report to the Council and the public, the numbers of errors reported have increased.
Read the full letter here as linked by the incomparable Sound Politics.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope for 'economic justice'?

Amid the rush of speculation regarding a papal successor, some are claiming the Brazilian cardinal Claudio Hummes, described as "radical" by many, is the frontrunner.

Radical? Most news agencies are a little ambiguous in defining how a potential pope can be radical. The British Times Online calls him "conservative on matters of church doctrine, but he is unmistakably radical on social issues." What? Huh? Social issues? Isn't there a better way of putting that?

His Brazilian diocese is ravaged by social problems and widespread poverty, and he is regarded as a member of a group of cardinals who choose to emphasis social justice. Their primary interest is applying the gospel to questions of “economic justice.”
Somehow I don't see him coming to the conclusion that capitalism is biblical. The Bible doesn't endorse any type of national economics and nothing would surprise me less if he claims apostolic imperative to preach socialism.

A sad thought: I hope we don't have to deal with a pope hostile to capitalism upon the very death of one who fought communism. I hope I'm not stepping on catholic toes when, while not a catholic myself, I dare to endorse the German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The AP has a few other details which don't stop my suspicions:
Three Latin American prelates — Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras and Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — also have developed reputations as strong advocates for greater poverty-fighting programs and activism to counter the popularity of the evangelical churches.
I don't have a problem with charity. In fact, that's where it ought to be implimented. The church ought to be more active in this regard. But this kind of language coming from Latin American cardinals makes me no less uneasy.

And to top it off:

"John Paul II was the pope of the end of the postwar era," said Orazio Petrosillo, who covered the pope for Rome's Il Messaggero newspaper. "The new pope must address our modern world."

Crossposted at Head West, Turn Right

Uninformed musings on hair

Despite the seemingly comical title, I'm going to disappoint you again with a serious post.

A friend of mine asked the question/made the comment: "The other day I opened my Bible for personal devotions at 1 Corinthians 11. Verses 2-16 really confused me. In these verses it seems to imply that women should wear hats and if they are to pray without their head covered they dishonor their head, Christ."

I've been pretty much in the dark on this one myself for a long time. But as I thought about it, I decided to draft a hypothesis just to get my thoughts down. The more I wrote and thought, the more it seemed consistant with other apostolic teachings. I'm not claiming I've hit on the truth--that's just not something I would do without giving it serious study and seeking counsel.


For what it's worth, here's the guts of what I wrote. Please comment if you think I am wrong.

Questions I have:

What are head coverings meant to signify?
What are head coverings?
Have the significance of them changed over time?
Would it matter if it did (or does that detract from what Paul says in Corinthians)?

Here are my thoughts after reading through the passage again and doing a (limited) word study:

It seems like the case could easily be made that a "hat" or what-have-you is not the main issue, nor should we be too much distracted by this so that we lose sight of Paul’s true point. I think Paul is emphasizing the need for each of us to accept our proper roles especially when we come before God in prayer (before His very throne as it were). Man has no covering, which testifies before God that he accepts the leadership role God gives to him. By a woman's covered head, she signifies her contented submission to God's beautiful will and pattern for her life.

So do I think a literal covering is needed? Yes and no. Let me explain if I can.

Paul talks about the hair on one's head as a covering. Why should this not be the covering he is talking about to signify this submission? In our day, the hair isn't the only thing that signifies submission or a “gender role.” I think ultimately, this speaks to the idea at the root of the more broad issue of cross-dressing which is simply rebellion against God-given roles!

Some girls may ask, "so am I rebelling if I cut my hair too short?" I don't know because, I don't know the intent of your heart. I do know this: there ARE many shorter hairstyles that do not look in any way rebellious against natural femininity. It would probably end up being a matter of conscience for most—although not that we have license to rationalize carelessness. We ought to exercise care in our appearances. A little self-consciousness isn’t a bad thing in this case.

How about an example: What if a Christian woman is trying to look as imposing as possible to help her in a business related job? Good question. I don’t have the answer.

Yeah, I don’t know if you see any of that in the text. If anyone is considering replying, please do me one favor: read everything I said so I don’t get taken out of context.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Looking back

I didn't choose to post anything right away regarding the recent passing of Terri Schiavo. To be honest, I don't know that I could add anything to the din of people saying "it's time for healing" or "she will become a poster child" or "goodness, what have we come to"...What more am I supposed to say that would be less politically correct?

For myself, I've come to appreciate Congressman Delay's recent comments regarding the actions of the judges involved. What most people don't understand is just what he meant when he said they "thumbed their noses at Congress." Some probably miss the point and think he would consider any dicision to support judge Greer from the federal courts a thumbing of the nose. Not so.

The point, is that they didn't bother to look into the facts of the case as determined by Greer's early rulings, thereby making their involvement useless.

Perhaps you remember my note about Coulter's scathing attack on Greer. Let me just point to a Ridder article from the March 25. (hat tip to Nick from The Minefield blog)

A telling statement regarding a supposed showdown between local police charged with Terri's "protection" (what a joke), and state officials who tried to gain custody:
"We told them that unless they had the judge with them when they came, they were not going to get in," said a source with the local police.

Yes, hail to the judge, our supreme ruler.

Sorry, I don't have anything more profound than that to say tonight.