Archive for April, 2005

Owen and Mzee

That picture you see of the tortoise and hippo is no hoax.
Owen and Mzee are a for real pair of pals who met after the tsunami on an animal reserve. Owen was rescued and brought to the reserve where he (?) met Mzee. Observers thought they would ignore each other after a week or so, but they remain close. An ebook is now available that tells their storySnopes has a good summary of the details if the video feed doesn’t work.

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South Park Self Portrait

You can make yours here.

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Another mother, this time in the Chicago area, has allegedly slain her children. Other than the obvious, nothing new here; the husband comes home from trying to earn a living, and finds his two children in pools of blood and their mother looking like she’s either the perp or the survivor of a ketchup factory explosion. The children were stabbed 200 times each.
Impromptu memorials to the children have immediately been erected by shocked neighbors. The father is a minister, so the number of friends and neighbors who hold her in high regard is probably quite large. Obviously, this is mental illness. I would ask if someone close to her tried to memorialize her how that would play, but the criteria seem to be that she’d have to kill herslf first. THEN she’d have a better chance to get a memorial.
Mine Ener’s case has embarked society on a slippery slope. It seems that the formula is like this: The worse the crime, the worse the mental illness must have been. The worst the mental illness, the less responsible she should be for the murder. The worse it all adds up, the "better" the case for a memorial. Am I missing something? 
Meanwhile, the millions and millions of good foot soldiers who somehow manage to avoid infanticide (or, at the very least, seek help when the dog tells them that the baby is Beelzebub) are rewarded by aching feet, sleep deprivation, and crows feet. They are the ones who deserve a memorial.

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Nice Hat Tip

Right as Usual has included Red Guy in a Blue State in her list of great undiscovered blogs. Among her kind words for me and 4 other blogs:

I just think a list like that would give some publicity to blogs that don’t get much attention yet, but deserve a larger audience. If you want to post the above on your blog, great – the more this Undiscovered Favorites list circulates, the better.

While I do this for therapeutic reasons alone, I must say that I am very humbled when I find myself added to someone’s blogroll, or, even better, quoted or complimented. I do very little to publicize this site; I seldom comment elsewhere, or do many of the other free publicity things recommended by Typepad (email, guest blog (although I am sure I get traffic from the Pro Life blogroll and Blogs for Terri)). Yet as of tomorrow I will have had 5000 hits since February 10. While this is a fraction of some other blogs the same age, it does mean that there are people out there that think enough of my point of view to check it out every so often.

So, if you are reading this, thanks for visiting.

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Incredibly Sexist Joke

To lighten the mood just a little…

* Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

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Mine Ener must have been quite a lady. First, for so many wanting to erect a memorial to her after her murder of her baby Raya and subsequent suicide, most likely due to postpartum psychosis. Second, for those same people not letting the issue go after the University took the memorial down in the face of public outcry.

From Friday’s campus newspaper, the Villanovan:

A community discussion entitled "Dr. Mine Ener: A Difficult Conversation; A Teachable Moment" took place Monday in the Connelly Cinema. Six panelists spoke, in addition to Rev. Edmund Dobbin, O.S.A., president of the University, and other faculty members. The goal was to reflect upon Dr. Mine Ener’s contribution to Villanova in light of the horrible tragedy surrounding her death as well as that of her baby, Raya Ener.

Panelists vocalized various opinions about how to deal with the repercussions of such a devastating loss, but also examined the University’s decision to remove the plaque in the library that commemorated Ener’s contributions. At the core of the discussion were the ethical and moral dilemmas over whether her illness was addressed appropriately in the wake of her death and the death of her baby. Furthermore, participants asked whether the decision to remove the plaque was justified and whether members of the community were appropriately informed.

Later on in the article was a quote from Barbara Wall, assistant to University President Father Dobbin and former teacher of Yours Truly in a Philosophy of Women course:

"No one who disagreed ever came to any of us with concerns," she said. "People went outside [to the media] to ‘stick it to Villanova.’" She contends that the committee was treated disrespectfully and that the media attention was used as a bullying tactic.

Wall noted that an Augustinian University should be about "needing to minister with love and compassion…with healing not condemnation."

I took exception to Wall’s remarks. I have emailed her before, and the only reply I ever got was a boilerplate auto reply on another issue once. So I emailed her again, and told her this:

If no one came to you specifically, it is because you trained them not to. I have emailed you in the past and the best I got was a general boilerplate reply when Robert Drinan spoke before the last presidential election. I thought the matter important enough to drive three hours to hear him speak. If your schedule does not permit a personal response to all, that is more than understandable, but I find it ironic that you want to have it both ways; we won’t get a response, but we should have registered our thoughts with you anyway.

I wrote a letter to the Villanovan objecting to how this memorial was being handled by the University. I was one of the many alumni, I am sure, who were far from wanting Professor Ener to be burned in effigy yet felt that a monument (which seemed to whitewash the whole affair) was too much. I only get the web version of the paper here in New York, so I don’t know if my words made it to print, let alone the desk of anyone like yourself. However, your quote disturbs me. Should I send a registered letter or singing telegram to Father Dobbin’s office?

Does praying for reconciliation and God’s redemptive mercy for Mine and Raya mean that I should be happy with a memorial? I think not, and to polarize the issue in the terms you have used strikes me more as sour grapes. I am not against Augustinian principles simply because I disagree. The symposium held in her memory was a far better idea.

The one thing that bothers me about this is that as wonderful a person as Professor Ener must have been, had she lived a full life with 20-30 more years as part of the family the odds of her getting a memorial would be remote. The wildcard is the tragic end. WHY, Barbara, why must people have it that we memorialize her simply to make the statement that her life transcended that sad event?

Her reply was personal this time, and she clarified that she was speaking of a certain student group, and not people in general. Fair enough.

What is vexing about this, however, is that some people on campus absolutely cannot let this go. Anyone who disagrees with the memorial are portrayed as being determined to damn Ener. Some points to consider:

  • The plaque honoring Ener said nothing about her tragic end or murdered child. As a matter of fact, those people who claim that the anti-memorial crowd are somehow being disrespectful of Raya’s memory have it backwards. The history department’s own 2004 newsletter paying Ener tribute and asking for memorial donations completely neglected to mention poor Raya even once.

  • Plenty was done to honor Ener besides that plaque, and none of it was met with any protest: According to Wall, " The university had a number of events over the last year and a half: one was a campus wide memorial, another a call for donations by Dr. Ener’s History Department colleagues and the last a symposium on charity coordinated by faculty from different departments. What I said was that there was no resistance to these events from anyone on or off campus. "

  • The history department at Villanova is still hopping mad about not getting their way about this. They still to this day have makeshift memorials on their office doors, and they no doubt had a large hand in the recent campus forum on the subject. They will not be happy until they have imposed their version of a suitable means of remembering Ener on the rest of us.

As I said to Barbara Wall, just because we don’t feel a memorial is appropriate does not mean we want her considered a metaphor for evil.


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For You Looney Tunes Fans

I found the online Acme Catalog which apparently has every Acme product seen on the cartoons. I will be busy surfing this the rest of the day.


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