Haiku #217 - For Halloween


Written on 10:22 PM by Jack B.

On All Hallows’ Eve
Freaks come out of the woodwork
Scouring the town

Dressed for a party
Dressed for havoc and mischief
Dressed to trick and treat

Goblins and sprits
Are they real or just costumes
Who can really tell

Careful with candy
Get home before the full moon
Happy Halloween!

Haiku #216


Written on 4:08 PM by Jack B.

I let myself go
Not paying close attention
Hope it's not too late

Long Time No Blog...


Written on 3:17 PM by Jack B.

I haven’t blogged in a long, long time (it seems to me, at any rate). I’ve had some personal issues to deal with that occupied my attention. At work, I’m on a deadline with a particular project to get it down before November begins. At school, I’ve got two term papers to write (and a large annotated bibliography to hand it to my professor – again at the beginning of November.

One of my term papers is on St. Elizabeth of Schonau – the choice was entirely mine to make. I could have picked a more accessible medieval writer like Chaucer or Marie de France or somebody but I chose St. Elizabeth (well, she’s never been formally canonized but they still call her that anyway). My main problems deal with the paucity of secondary sources on her – despite the revival of interest in female medieval mysticism she just hasn’t been a major topic of scholarly study.

Then there is the health issues I’ve been dealing with. Now don’t get me wrong I feel fine (mostly) but it seems years and years of putting things off is coming back to bite me. First, I’ve finally decided to get my teeth fixed – they’ve been crooked for as long as I can remember and I probably should have gotten braces when I was a teenager like everybody else does but...I put it off. Now I have finally made the decision to get them straightened there is no turning back from what’s ahead – which included the extraction of 8 teeth (four of which are impacted wisdom teeth that will require oral surgery), then the wearing of braces for 2 ½ years, then a retainer at night for the rest of my life.....nice, huh? Not to mention the nearly $6,000 its going cost me ($2,000 of that as a down payment) since my insurance doesn’t cover orthodontics. I’m on a student budget as it is, this is going to wipe out what’s left of my savings account.

Then there was the news I got yesterday during what I assumed would be a regular yearly check-up. Turns out I have hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) and while I have been on the borderline for many years, now I have gone over it. So I have to take blood pressure pills (one a day), my gosh I feel like my mother now (her doctors keep prescribing her all kinds of pill – most of which she is dubious about needing). Hypertension is known as a “silent killer” because there are really no warning symptoms to let you know you have it other than getting your blood pressure (and blood) tested regularly. My doctor says I’m lucky because I’m young enough to halt it before I get a stroke, or heart attack or blood clot or something (trust me, the alternatives have been all I can think of since). It all depends, of course, on me changing my own behavior.

He sent me to a dietician – it seems if I want to lower my blood pressure, stop taking pills and save my life, I have to start eating healthier, cutting down on sugar and salt and carbs. Apparently eating junk food and Coca-Cola as your breakfast, lunch and dinner is NOT healthy (who knew?), in addition to the half-dozen cups of coffee/tea with at least 2 packets of sugar apiece I treat myself to at work. My lack of any exercise (I sit behind a computer all day at work, a desk all day in class, and then I just flop into bed) doesn’t help either. Of course the fact that I have gained 20 pounds in less than two years after an entire adult life of having my weight at a stable (and much, much slimmer) 143 lbs. should have been my first clue to change my habits. But that is easier said than done, isn’t it? It just takes discipline – something I’m not really experienced at. Let’s see how it goes.

Oh and did I mention I also seem to have dry eye? Looks like I’m going to have get some of those artificial tears.

I know it seems silly. Lots and lots of people are going through horrible, sad, heart-breaking times in their lives right now and I’m complaining about this (which in comparison doesn’t seem so bad). It just seems to me that all my sins are catching up to me. Sloth and Gluttony, they are more deadly than even Lust or Pride.

Yankees Collapse Again, Time For a Shake-Up


Written on 2:58 PM by Jack B.

So once again the NY Yankees get fabulously destroyed in the playoffs by a team that was considered the underdog – in this case the Detroit Tigers who just a few years ago lost more than 100 games. After a good opening Game 1 it seemed this series would be easy, after the Yankees had collected one of the greatest hitting line-ups in baseball history, right? Think again, The Tigers pitching just silenced the Yankees bats (even, to add insult to injury, by former Yankee and Yankee fan target, Kenny Rogers). At the same time the Yankee starting pitching couldn’t give away runs fast enough.

Geography Meme


Written on 11:58 PM by Jack B.

Tagged by Carmel (of course!)

1. A Place You've Visited and Your Favorite Thing there.
Hershey, Pennsylvania - I loved the the chocolate factory (duh!)

2. A Country You'd Like to Visit and Why
Italy, centuries of history just waiting to be discovered there (by me)

3. A Place From History You'd Like to Visit and Why
If we're talking the future I'd love to see NYC 200 years from now, in the past it would have to be Rome when Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, in present day I'd love to see the Scottish Highlands.

4. A Place You Know A Lot About
New York, New York. The city so nice, they named it twice. :)

5. A Place You'd Like to Learn More About
Greenland (which ain't all that green)

6. A Fictional Place You'd Like to Visit
L. Frank Baum's Oz (book version, not movie), I'd love to live in the Emerald City with Dorothy, Ozma, the Wizard, the Scarecrow and the Patchwork Girl.

Tagging whoever wants to do this, consider it coming from me.

Ironic considering I'm studying Literature for my Master's right now....


Written on 11:47 PM by Jack B.

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Via Jamie

Not the City I Would Have Guessed....


Written on 11:47 PM by Jack B.

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

Haiku #215


Written on 2:54 PM by Jack B.

Others used as tools
To expend pain, destruction
The face of evil

The Major League Playoffs Start Today


Written on 2:05 PM by Jack B.

The baseball playoffs start today. Even though the Yankees basically waltzed into the post-season playing mediocre ball, they are facing a Detroit Tiger team that is inexperienced and blew a double digit lead and the Central Division title at the end of the season despite being in first place for almost the entire year. Still, Jim Leyland is a great manager and the Tigers have good young pitching. On the other side we have Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter (‘nuff said). Here’s hoping PayRod finally comes through with the season on the line. I’m crossing my finger on this one. Here’s also hoping the A’s get rid of the Twins. I know I don’t want the Yanks to face the Twin pitching in a 7 game series.

As for the Mets, with Pedro Martinez gone, its going to be a bit harder. Glavine’s going to have to step up. I have no doubts about the Met line-up versus the Dodgers. Any team from the National League West doesn’t exactly inspire fear in a New York fan. The Padres and the Cardinals should make an interesting series. Initially the Cards should be the odd-on favorite but they stumbled into the playoffs, letting Houston back into the race, while the Padres pretty much controlled their own destiny in winning the West.


I don’t understand this kind of evil...


Written on 11:50 PM by Jack B.

Simply horrifying. If even Amish children aren't safe, then no one is (as if we have to be reminded of that fact).

I think Rod Dreher put it best: "It's an old, old question, and there is no good answer for it, but it haunts me on a day like today: Why does God allow this to happen? Those little girls, in an Amish schoolhouse. All those children, seeing their classmates slaughtered like animals. Why? I know there's no answer for this. But that doesn't make the question go away."

You think you can get used to it when these sort of things happen. But I never do...and thank God for that because it lets me know I'm still capable of feeling.

Updated: Five Young Girls Dead
Sweet Jesus.

Celebrating Yom Kippur


Written on 8:50 PM by Jack B.

Since sundown has passed here in NYC, the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur has passed. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and is the one I take the most seriously (not that I come from a religious background or anything - but I at least make an effort). On this day, one prays and fasts for 24 hours, and asks forgiveness not only to God but to everyone we have harmed in the past year. The idea is that this is the day set apart in which God looks in the "Book of Life" and judges each person based on their deeds. In a sense it is a day of renewal as you clean the slate of sins from the past year and look forward to the next one. What a wonderful idea, huh?