Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wasting Valuable Time

I've found a lot of ways to waste valuable time with my computer.
(Check the archives...they include links to many of them.)
The latest is an ingenious innovation by the good folks at Google.

The Google Image Labeler makes the drudgery of labeling pictures into a game you can play with others.

I can just imagine the meeting in Silicon Valley when someone at Google said, "We have all these images...how will we ever label them all?" And, a co-worker said, "let's put people to work on it...for free." Their conclusion: "Let's make a game."

With a few clicks you can find yourself in competition with a virtual stranger as you race to label pictures of animals, landscapes and snapshots of famous and infamous people.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Well, check it out.

I'll warn you. It's surprisingly addictive.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A (Belated) Saintly Salute

Today is the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

Or, so I thought, for my entire life as a Cafeteria Catholic. Turns out, the Church switched things up almost 40 years ago. Elizabeth's feast day is now Nov. 17th.


So, why does an ordinary, run-of-the-mill Cafeteria Catholic care about what day the anniversary of the death of a 24-year-old nun in 13th century Hungary?

Well, Elizabeth is the middle name my parents gave me years ago on this day. They picked it because I was born on the Feast of St. Elizabeth. And, through my Catholic upbringing, bearing the name of the saint with whom I shared a special day was quite an honor. When it came to sharing patron saint stories in Catholic school, I always felt like I had a winner. Turning a basket of bread into roses is powerful stuff!

Over the years, I've baked a basket of bread or two. And, in that act, I've always felt a bit of a connection to "my saint". In fact, I've set aside this birthday to bake dozens of dinner rolls for our Thanksgiving feast. That's what got me thinking about St. Elizabeth. I did a bit of quick research and was disappointed to discover the "reform" of the Roman Calendar in 1969 meant Elizabeth's feast day moved back two days.

Yep. I missed the memo.

So, which saint IS being honored this day? Actually, there are several. But, have to say, there isn't a good middle name in the bunch.

Wonder how Mom and Dad would've felt about Medana? Or, Mechtildis? Or, Ermenberga?

Elizabeth has such a nice ring to it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I really don't forward those emails that people say they don't usually forward but send to you anyway. (The cynical side of me suspects these massively forwarded emails are fertile ground for spammers.) Of course, that subjects me to all kinds of bad luck, I know. But, I figure it's worth the risk.

One such email landed in my box the other day from someone I care about and pray for. So, instead of forwarding it to five or more of my friends (who wouldn't really want it anyway), I thought I'd post it here. Tell me, there are at least five of you who pass through this place. Right?

The Subject:
The Message:
God determines who walks into your life...it's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

I need this back. If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you. When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.
The Prayer:
Father, God bless my friend in whatever it is that You know they may need this day! And may their life be full of your peace, prosperity, and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with you.

The Big Finish:
Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to You. Within hours you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

P.S. Five is good, but more is better.
I'm all over it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Coming to America

After months of being away from the Cafeteria, something called me back today. Over breakfast this morning I heard the news that Pope Benedict XVI is planning a trip to the U.S. next Spring.

"High time," was my first thought.

"What will he see when he gets here?" was my second.

His agenda looks pretty heady for a five or six-day trip: meet the President of the United States at the White House on your 81st birthday; celebrate mass at one baseball stadium and attend a game at another; stop by the United Nations for a chat; celebrate your third papal anniversary with mass at St. Patrick's; and pay your respects at Ground Zero. Along the way they'll be visits with Bishops and educational leaders.

No doubt the pontiff will receive a warm welcome from the faithful from New York and Washington and others who make the pilgrimage for such a rare and important visit.

Will he see those of his flock who have suffered abuse from the 5,000 or more of the priests who have been exposed and have cost the Church nearly $3 billion to make restitution for those charges? Will he see those Catholics among us who are deeply divided on many issues including stem cell research, assisted reproductive technology, birth control and homosexuality?

Will his visit inspire those who wrestle with their faith as well as those who stand fervently in it? That, would be one powerful trip.

We shall see.