{    Cnytr   }

{Thursday, March 20, 2003  }

Where are the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountains
Like wind in the meadows;
The days have gone down in the West
Behind the hills, into shadow...

It has begun.

I am deeply saddened by this war, however necessary it is -- and it is necessary. It would only provoke the wolf to be a sheep, and despite the sadness, this is the greater good, this is necessary. Not only, though, am I saddened at the loss of life this will inevitably incur, but also the way the American people are viewing this war, even now that it has begun. Instead of seeing the work and sacrifice that our government and our *soldiers* are putting in, the greatest sacrifice of all, there are still protests and walk-outs going on in this area. How dare they! It is a disgrace and an outrage. The media focuses only on these rallyes and marches as well. If there's anything I've learned from taking journalism classes, it's how much I hate the media in general. [g] Now knowing their policies and the way they operate and how they should operate, how they profess to operate, and why they do what they do (constantly cowering in fear of libel suits), I hold them in contempt. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get away from the media. If there is any sense of justice in them, then on Sunday they will report the pro-America ralley in a nearby city, where I and my mother are going to stand up for our troops, our president, our nation.

I am so unspeakably proud of all my friends who are in the military, who are considering the military, and the people I know who have at one time served in the military. I hope that my plans for the Army will go through and that I will have the honor of serving my country and make myself and my parents and friends proud.

God bless America, my home sweet home.
posted by Lauren, 9:50 AM | link | 0 comments

{Wednesday, March 12, 2003  }

Q: How's the cow?
A: She walks, she talks, she's full of chalk, the lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the nth degree.

Gosh I have no idea what I've done since last Tuesday. It's been crazy, I've been tearing my hair out just trying to Get Stuff Done. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but lately I've been averaging about 4 hours of sleep per night. [G]

One thing I do remember about last Tuesday is an incident at the dinner-table. I'm afraid I was so dead tired from running that day that I wasn't much of a conversationalist, but, then, somehow the topic of Monty Python was brought up. It seems Fr. Brian is a fan of Holy Grail. [EG] We proceeded to entertain the table for 20 minutes by trading quotes back and forth. It was hysterical! I've never seen Fr. Brian thus. It was great. [G]

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, so I went to St. Francis and recieved Ashes. I don't remember if I've mentioned this... I think I'm going to start going back to St. Francis regularly now. I really miss my childhood parish -- it's so beautiful, I have memories there, I know people there, etc etc etc. I love all the priests at St. Thomas, and St. Thomas *is* closer, but the church is a bit more modern, and the music group is just... bad. [g] I don't like the music they pick (I swear, if I hear "Let Us Build the City of God" again, or ... that other one...), not only because some of them are just plain music, but also the theology is flawed, and I can't sing lyrics of flawed theology. :P Also, there are two guitarists, and one of them is always out of tune with the other, and something about one guitar sounds really tinny and gross. While these, of course, are minor complaints -- no matter what the choir sounds like, no matter what the church looks like, it's still the Body of Christ -- I just... miss... St. Francis. A lot. I mean, wouldn't you? Look at its homepage.

Then Thursday... busy day... the Bush speech caused a stir and scared us half to death. Mom was speculating that either they had caught Bin Ladin, or that he was going to announce the commencement of the war or something, but neither happened. I'm rather disappointed that the former didn't happen, but very happy that the second did not.

Monday ... did Latin (we're translating a difficult passage from St. Augustine), and Fr. Paul came over. I've known Fr. Paul since he was just Paul. I met him on my 13th birthday at an annual youth retreat that his school/seminary was holding. I actually had gotten separated from my group, and I was sort of panicking. I walked up to some random seminarian and asked if he had seen my youth group leader. He hadn't, but Mr. Laird was able to find *me* by then, which is good. We must have talked about other stuff too, because somehow we exchanged email addresses. And like the stupid tactless kid I was, I ask "can I come to your ordination?" :P Yes, let me just invite myself... thankfully, he said yes and stuck to it. He even emailed me, and continued to email me, and we got along swimmingly. He's really a trip! I've met some good friends through him, and it's through him that I found University of Dallas at all. He was my spiritual director (when he wasn't assigned to the largest parish in the dioscese...), my confirmation sponsor, he is my mentor and my good friend. I went to his deaconate ordination, his priestly ordination, and his first mass. At his priestly ordination, I got teary. At his first mass, I cried harder than I can ever remember. [G] It was sort of silly to be crying THAT hard at such a happy occasion... but... I did. Haha. [g] Unfortunately, now, Fr. Paul and I don't talk too much. He's *so* busy, and senior year is killer for me. But I'm extremely glad he was able to come down Monday, even if the visit was short. He said mass in our chapel, heard my confession, and was able to give me some MUCH MUCH needed advice. I feel much more at peace.

That night I went to sleep and woke up early the next day to finish my Aquinas homework. I did finish it, about an hour or so before I needed it, so I figured I would take a nap in my chair until it was time for class, keeping an eye on the time. I did, and I had two dreams -- one, that I was talking on the phone and I happened to look to my left at the outlet where a bunch of things were plugged in and saw a bunch of the plugs were on fire, two, that I was in AP English class and DrMcMenomy was upset with us for not having read enough of War and Peace.

Unfortunately, both of these semi-conscious nightmares came true in their own way. Sort of. The plugs didn't actually catch on fire, but halfway through AP English class, I smelled something burning. I dashed downstairs to the source of the smell to discover my beautiful little teakettle on the stove with nothing in it. Apparently, mom wanted to make herself some tea and she put the kettle on the boil and forgot about it and all the water boiled out. :P She does this all the time with toast, things in the oven, etc, but it never got as bad as it did yesterday. The smell was awful, and my teakettle was warped and discolored! Sigh.

And then in AP English, it was tortorous because we weren't participating enough in class (I tried, I really did!) and DrMcMenomy was getting very frustrated with us, and we could all feel it. And after class he left rather more abruptly than usual. I'm so ashamed! I have got to come up with something insightful to say about this book! :( :( :(

So that was Tuesday. I'm still feelin' ugly, but oh well. I spent a lot of time last night reading the journal of a girl who joined the army and who was writing about Basic Training. It sounded torturous, but... I wanna do it. [G]

Speaking of the Army, there's going to be an ASVAB test here (rather than at the MEPS which is an hour drive from here) on Tuesday. I think I'll do it, although I should contact MAJ S first and ask about it. If I screw up badly for some reason and don't get a high enough score for the MOS I'd like, if that will affect ROTC, I don't want to do it. Otherwise, heckyeah!

So this morning I got up early, had logic, and now I have to go finish prepping for Latin.
posted by Lauren, 11:22 AM | link

{Tuesday, March 04, 2003  }

Wow. I... am.... so.... tired. [G] I started my exercise routine yesterday -- or today, rather, at 2am with pushups and situps. And today I went running/jogging. One thing I really hate about exercising is the monotony of it all. One can't exactly read or think deeply when exercising, and my brain tends to get exceedingly bored, and boredom is something I abhor exceedingly. I carry three books in my purse in case lest I should be bored anywhere. This sort of boredom is easily overcome when doing stretches and the like in one's room, as one can easily turn on the radio. Not only does it provide distraction and, if necessary, fodder for intellectual analysis (even if there's really nothing to analyze -- I'm refering to pop music), it has a good workout beat, I think. However, I can't exactly tote my stereo around with me when I run, so I avoid running. But I was recently given a copy of C.S. Lewis reading his The Four Loves, and I need an excuse to listen to it. So I was sufficiently moved to dig around for a walkman and listen to it while I jogged. Ahhh, it was wonderful, I was concentrating so much on Lewis (I adore C.S. Lewis) I didn't notice how freakin' tired I felt... until I got home and sat down and felt absolutely sick to my stomach. [g] Ah well -- no pain no gain! I plan to run Tuesday and Thursday consistantly. And when I run out of Lewis, there's always the "Lord of the Rings" book on tape I gave to dad last father's day. And when I run out of that, well, I suppose I could find the unabridged Les Miserables or War and Peace or something. As long as my mind is occupied and concentrating, I don't care what's going on (pain/fatigue-wise) with my body.

So this is the most tired I've been in a long long time, but I have some Augustine to translate for tomorrow (Ash Wednesday). And I am sooooo tired, I'm going to go do it so I can go to bed early (ha!).

Ok so bye. [G]
posted by Lauren, 10:52 PM | link | 0 comments

{Sunday, March 02, 2003  }

Her eyes, they shone like diamonds; yeh'd think she was queen of the land
With her hair hug over her shoulder, tied up with a black velvet band

Oooohhh, what a lovely day so far -- it's been all meditative and nice. Even after less sleep than I expected. [G] I got ready and out the door on time for mass at St. Francis -- I think I'm going to start going back there regularly. I see my old friends from GAA there more, and it's much more familiar and homey than St. Thomas.

Usually I don't listen to much music on Sunday mornings so I won't get songs stuck in my head and be thinking about them during mass (a very, very annoying thing, to be sure), but this morning I didn't think it could hurt to put on a little Irish music. I was thinking about Ireland recently, as I was showing Jon some pictures from our trip back in '97 or '98 because they're SO beautiful. I don't think I've ever been to a place more beautiful than Ireland -- no, not even Italy. There's just something about Ireland that's absolutely captivating, and I can't put my finger on it. I've wanted to go back ever since I left it when I was 11 or 12, and I remember it with misty eyes. I've spent my summers since then pining for it, with the distant promise of going back this summer. Unfortunately, recently those plans were cancelled, much to my greatest chagrin, and I don't know when I'll ever return. I have a few pictures --

The cliffs of Moher -- beats the white cliffs of Dover any day
A cute little street in the southwestern county of Limerick or Kerry
The way the ivy grows over the stone walls looks like patchwork
Me sitting on a beach with the cliffs (?) in the background
This is a sight I'll never forget -- the Stack Mountains, outside of Tralee (as in, the Rose of) in Co. Kerry, on the way to Co. Limerick
Our family's last name is Brannon
Bantry house with beautiful Bantry Bay behind it.

Ireland is also something I am definitely passionate about -- the music, the history, the politics even. And so in looking at those pictures and longing once again for that fair land, I recalled that March is the month of St. Patrick, and this morning as I got myself ready for church, I put on some of my favorite traditional Irish tunes (and one Scottish -- "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" -- but don't tell anyone [G]) and... ahhh... it brought back memories. Made me very reflective and meditative, and driving over the mountain to Staunton made me think of the mountains in Ireland.

Lent starts on Wednesday with Ash Wednesday, and I'm thinking what I ought to do for Lent. I've sort of given up giving up things, and instead I discipline or read or something. I think I'll start an exercise program which I hope to make habit (ora et labora, St. Benedict said), be consistant in the Divine Office (there's the ora [g]), and read something, some meditational work or something. Maybe I'll pick up the Confessions and read them all the way through, or maybe I'll read Mere Christianity again. Also, I think on Fridays I'll keep away from the computer as much as possible. And try to be more rigorous in my discipline of doing schoolwork, avoiding sweets, etc. I need to go to confession sometime this week. Anyway.

I really miss Mr. McClellan lately. I shall close my blog entry with the processional from his funeral, "Lord of All Hopefullness", sung to the tune of "Be Thou My Vision" -- a traditional Irish melody.

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy
Whose trust ever childlike, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled
at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labors, and give us we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome,
Your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord,
at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment,
Whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

+ Peter Douglass McClellan +
posted by Lauren, 5:25 PM | link

{Saturday, March 01, 2003  }

I always seem to be one paper behind, ugh. I was reminded today that I have not yet written my AP English paper. :P Ugh. Well. I thought I could get the creative juices flowing by writing in my blog, heeheehee.

I was feeling very anti-social, but my parents dragged me downstairs by my hair. So I had to be social, and so I was. Sort of. Reluctantly. :P And then I dived right back into my hole as soon as 9:15 rolled around so I could give John Esposito a call around 9:30. It's been so long since I've talked to him, or so it seems. Usually, I talk to him every Friday or Saturday, but for the past few weeks he and his entire family have been rather ill and energy-deprived (stomach flu! uuuugh!!!), and he was not up to a phonecall, which is not as much of a snub as it might sound to one who doesn't know JohnE. See, with John, there is absolutely no such thing as smalltalk, and when we talk, it's usually about really deep stuff which touches on other deep stuff and many deep observations are made and many renowned philosophers discussed, etc etc etc. This usually goes on until midnight at the absolute earliest, or 6am at the latest (as it has before). Unfortunately, his phone died relatively early in the conversation (as we were discussing the possible intrinsic sacredness of vowels), and a return phonecall from either would have been impossible for various reasons.

I had this dream. I don't know how I got there -- I suppose I got shuffled around in an ROTC training exercise -- but somehow I winded up with the Army airborn rangers. I realized my mistake in seeing the patch on their uniform, and I turned to the commanding officer and I said something to the effect of, "hey! I can't do this! I'm a girl!" (and girls are not, in reality, permitted to be in the rangers). And he gave me an answer something like the SMG gave to the reporter who claimed to be a non-combatant in "We Were Soldiers", basically "there's no such thing as a non-combatant"; i.e. togh beans, you're going to jump. And so then the plane turned sideways and dumped us all out, and I with them. So then we were in the middle of a forest, fighting a battle, except it was nothing like a real battle would have been, because it was extremely disorganized and ... not ... very... violent. Even though I did shoot somebody. I think. It was mostly like a big game of paintball, and was extremely fun. [G]

So today is St. Davy's day! This means I must quote Shakespeare on the matter:

Fluellen: Your grandfather of famous memory, an't please your majesty, and your great-uncle Edward the Plack Prince of Wales, as I have read in the chronicles, fought a most prave pattle here in France.

Henry V: They did, Fluellen.

Fluellen: Your majesty says very true: if your majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your majesty know, to this hour is an honourable badge of the service; and I do believe your majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy's day.

Henry V: I wear it for a memorable honour; For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman.

Fluellen: All the water in Wye cannot wash your majesty's Welsh plood out of your pody, I can tell you that: God pless it and preserve it, as long as it pleases his grace, and his majesty too!

Henry V: Thanks, good my countryman.

Fluellen: By Jeshu, I am your majesty's countryman, I care not who know it; I will confess it to all the 'orld: I need not to be ashamed of your majesty, praised be God, so long as your majesty is an honest man.

Henry V: God keep me so!

~Shakespeare's Henry V 4.7.93-116

For the scene where Fluellen makes Pistol eat his leek (I love that scene [g]), click here.

Today I'm going to readreadreadreadread and possibly do some Greek and write that stupid @*(#&@(*#@ APE paper. *growls* Want to read my Logic paper? I'll post it here cos I'm full of myself. Hahahaa. It kind of sucks, but ah well. It was only supposed to be a wimpy 300 word essay.

February 26, 2003
Teleological Ethics

Teleological ethics or consequentionalism centers around the idea of the ends as a justification of the means. The end for which the agent acts is the greatest good, depending on its consequences. There are three ways one could judge the end as right: it could so be judged if the end benefits others, disregarding oneself (ethical altruism), it could be judged as right if the end benefits all (including self – utilitarianism), or it could be judged as right if the end is desirable to the agent himself. This last form of consequentionalism, a sort of ethical egoism, suggests a certain amount of hedonism and bears a resemblance to individual relativism.

There are a few problems with consequentionalist thinking. First and most obviously, if the end is the greater good, then the means to that end can be downplayed or disregarded entirely. If the end is to be accomplished by any means necessary, the most immoral of actions may be deemed "right" or even "good" depending on the outcome: abortion, fornication, theft especially, etc may all be justified. This treatment of the means also semi-absolves the agent from any responsibility under the guise of "acting for the greater good", especially if the utilitarian view is adopted. Justice itself may be dispensed with if the benefits outweigh the losses; this goes completely against common moral intuition, and leads one to ask, "what, then, is 'good' and how do we know it?" The utilitarian view cannot answer this question without circular reasoning. This becomes especially problematic when two perceived teloi conflict – such as warring nations. Each believes their side to be acting for the proper end, but who, according to teleological ethics, is actually in the right cannot be definitively determined. Ethical systems without acknowledged objective moral standards ultimately fall on their faces in determination of actual good.

Oh hey, check out the ISLAS Student Newspaper. Alice, Abe, and I all wrote military articles for it, and it was recently published. And there's a HYSTERICAL short story Abe wrote, "Three Men and a Game."

Yeah. I think that's all I had to say for today.
posted by Lauren, 3:23 PM | link