Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Real Christmas

As it has been mentioned in the books of supplication and hadith, the 25 th of Dul Qa'dah (January 7 th of 2005) is the day of Da'wul Ardh (also known as Earth Day).

According to some hadith, this event actually is on the 29 th of Dhul Qa'dah (January 11th 2005) – however, keeping these dates in mind, we highlight the importance of this day, some of the events that had transpired in history and what actions we should perform on this blessed day that Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) has granted to us. What is the importance of this day?

It is said that the Sacred Ka'bah was sent down to Earth on this day and this is also when Allah (Glory and Greatness be to Him) spread out ALL the land on the Earth under the Ka'bah. According to the same narration, this is also the day when Prophet Adam (peace be with him) was sent to Earth after he and his wife, Hawwah ate from the tree in the ‘Earthly Paradise’. The Qur'an refers to the Ka'bah as being the first house of worship for mankind on this Earth in the following verse:

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Picture and Ayatul Kursi

I haven't put up a picture in ages. I don't have any terribly exciting photos, but I do have a picture of an unplanned purchase: I went with my mother to the mall so she could get a new purse and ended up getting one too. Hers is blue and mine is cool. :)

Ayat al-Kursi is verse 255 (I thought it included other verses surrounding it, too?) of the second chapter (Surah) of the Holy Quran, Surat al-Baqarah (The Chapter of the Cow).

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Allah! There is no God but He,
the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Eternal.
No slumber can seize Him, nor sleep.
All things in heaven and earth are His.
Who could intercede in His presence without His permission?
He knows what appears in front of and behind His creatures.
Nor can they encompass any knowledge of Him except what he wills.
His throne extends over the heavens and the earth,
and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them,
for He is the Highest and Most Exalted.

One who recites Ayatul Kursi every morning will be in the protection, safety of Allah until the night.

For those of our dear ones who have passed away, recitation of Ayatul Kursi and giving it as Hadiya to them, gives them light (noor) in the grave.

Frequent recitation makes ones own death easy.

When leaving home, if one recites it once, the Almighty has one group of Angels to come and protect you. If recited twice, 2 groups of Angels are assigned to do this. If recited 3 times Allah tells the Angels not to worry as the Almighty himself takes care of him.

The Holy Prophet has said: If one recites Ayatul Kursi before going to sleep, Allah will send an Angel to come and look after you and protect you till the morning. His home, family and also neighbours will remain in safety until morning.

When one is alone in the home, recitation of Ayatul Kursi and asking Allah to help will make you remain calm and you will not fear.

The Holy Prophet has said: When leaving home,if one recites Ayatul Kursi the Allah will send 70,000 Angels to do Istighfaar for him until he returns home, and upon his return Poverty will be removed from him.

One who recites it after every prayer, thier salaat will be accepted, they will remain in the safety of the Almighty and He will protect them.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

I thought of doing this, but don't know if I could handle a full day of nothing but LOTR



J.R.R. Tolkien was annoyed when his publishers refused to meld his fantasy epic, “Lord of the Rings,” into one huge book. Director Peter Jackson sympathizes. He thinks of his Oscarwinning adaptations of “Rings” as one huge movie — albeit one originally released with yearlong intermissions. The movies hit theaters in December 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively.

To honor the intent of Tolkien and Jackson — and with no new “Rings” movie to keep me occupied — I decided to settle into my sofa and watch all three “Lord of the Rings” movies in succession.

We’re talking the extended versions, here, including the new “Return of the King,” which was released Dec. 14, just hours before my Middle-earth marathon began. The movie’s release marked the first time geeks like me could spend a full day in Middle-earth.

You could watch Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” three times before the credits would roll for “Return of the King.” Put all three together, and you’ve got an 11-hour, 22-minute feature, which makes the 3-hour, 58-minute “Gone With the Wind” look like a throwaway lark in comparison.

Admittedly, I’m a fan of the “Rings” movies.

But 11 hours and 22 minutes? It’s enough to challenge even the hardiest of couch potatoes. Would the experience make me swear off the movies forever? Would it break my sanity? Would it make my feet grow big and hairy?

Should I stretch first?

Tuesday, 12:02 a.m.: I blearily weave into a local Media Play store to pick up my reserved copy of “Return of the King.”

I’m a latecomer.

According to a Media Play official, at least 10 copies were picked up and purchased in the 120 seconds before I arrived. About a half-dozen sweatshirted, 20-something guys are loitering in the store, gently caressing their blue “Return of the King” boxes. It might be my imagination, but one appears to be muttering “my precious” under his breath.

9:06 a.m.: I start “Fellowship of the Ring.”

9:30 a.m.: Less than 30 minutes into the first film, I realize I should’ve bought a bigger television for the marathon. Maybe I could’ve expensed it.

10:16 a.m.: I’ve been sitting for more than an hour. It’s hard work, and I need to keep up my strength. I grab a chocolate-chip cookie.

10:18 a.m.: Another cookie wouldn’t hurt.

10:25 a.m.: Saruman is hatching an army. Well, actually, he’s growing soldiers, plucking them out of the ground like huge, evil-looking carrots. The imagery makes me hungry, but two cookies is my limit.

11:34 a.m.: Poor ring-bearing Frodo. In the past hour, he’s been stabbed, skewered, held upside-down by a gigantic octopus and, just now, had to make a death-defying leap across the chasm of Ultimate Doom. C’mon, guys. At this rate, Frodo’s never going to make it through another nine hours.

11:36 a.m.: Take your King Kongs, your Godzillas, your T-Rexes. For my money, the most wicked-looking movie monster ever has got to be that horned, flaming Balrog.

12:10 p.m.: Does anyone else think it strange that, with so many natural wonders and ancient ruins in Middle-earth, no one ever runs into a park ranger?

12:30 p.m.: “Fellowship” is done, and I’m feeling just dandy. This movie-marathon thing is a snap. Now that I’ve lost feeling in my butt, I can go for days.

12:45 p.m.: I start “The Two Towers” and chow down my lunch — a plate of pizza rolls.

12:55 p.m.: Gollum — everybody’s favorite pale, anorexic, computer-generated character — shows up and starts making trouble with Frodo and his best bud, Sam Gamgee. You know what they say: Two’s company . . .

2:43 p.m.: All this stationary viewing is hard work. I wish I could take a walk. Maybe I will. Over to the cookie jar.

3:04 p.m.: My kingdom for a nap. Better yet, Peter Jackson’s kingdom for a nap.

3:30 p.m.: My youngest child is home from school. I nod in her general direction and ask her to fetch me a cookie.

3:35 p.m.: In watching these movies straight through, I’m getting a sense of deja-vu. I see a girl huddled in the caves below Helm’s Deep that, just hours before, was a little Hobbit at Bilbo’s birthday part. Is she an exchange student?

3:42 p.m.: Talking treethings are holding a meeting. One of them says “We never say anything unless it is worth taking a long time to say.” I betcha Peter Jackson has that line hanging up on his bulletin board somewhere.

4:24 p.m.: “The Two Towers” ends in gloomy fashion — fitting my mood. My head is throbbing, my tailbone is sore and I think I’ve eaten too many cookies. To top it off, I’m concerned the tree in my front yard might decide to walk off. Or worse, eat one of the neighbors.

4:37 p.m.: I start “Return of the King.” Only four hours, 11 minutes to go.

4:41 p.m.: It’s sad and moving to watch Frodo progress from a happy little Hobbit to a ring junkie. The transformation strikes me harder now, it seems.

5:30 p.m.: I know Minas Morgul is supposed to be the second-most evil place in all of Middle-earth. But that emerald green glow makes it look like the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. I can almost hear the Orcs playing the slots inside.

5:39 p.m.: Hey, another battle! Imagine! Now, I have nothing against a little fabricated blood and death, but even I have my limits. In Middleearth, the leading cause of work absenteeism is beheading.

5:40 p.m.: The mountaintop beacons are lit. It’s probably the first time those beaconlighters have had anything to do in ages. Man, that’s a job I’d hate: Just sitting around, not doing anything, hour after hour . . .

6:11 p.m.: There’s that little girl again — only she’s in Minas Tirith! She’s no exchange student; she’s either an enemy spy or Peter Jackson’s granddaughter.

7:06 p.m.: That giant spider looks more realistic than some real spiders I’ve seen. Or is that just my 10 hours with these movies talking?

7:46 p.m.: Chaos breaks out among the enemy, and Orcs are beheading one another with abandon. One of them looks like Ron Artest.

7:51 p.m.: As much as I’ve liked these movies, I’ve always been disappointed that Sauron, embodiment of all evil, is really just a huge, bus-sized eyeball. It seems like Frodo could’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble — and me a lot of time — if he had just packed a BB gun.

8:11 p.m.: Oh, stop with the “No, Sam, I can’t recall the taste of water” shtick. Just climb to the top of Mount Doom already!

8:22 p.m.: Sam and Frodo take care of that pesky ring. Now they must endure another quest: meandering through the movie’s 16 endings.

8:49 p.m.: It’s really, truly “The End,” and thank goodness. I’m tired, cranky and headache-y, and I swear I’ll never eat another chocolatechip cookie again.

It (the marathon, not the cookie) was worth it. The films do carry more oomph when viewed together. The characters develop more fully, the story line progresses more coherently.

But I don’t plan on doing it again any time soon. At least not for another week or so.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Eric's Adventure - Especially for Carol!

More random silliness as I count down the minutes until Winter Break officially begins:
Eric's Adventure

Follow the link for an amazing adventure. :) Then if you want more, go to the Eric Conveys an Emotion Site on my sidebar.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Questionaire on a lot of my blog friends' blogs so I thought I'd join the fun:

WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR KITCHEN PLATES? white with light blue, and transparent, and white with green

2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Nothing, I finished Istikhara and a Trek book, haven't started another

3. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? at work it is a CSEA (union) pad with the union logo and here at home it is Wile e Coyote and the Road Runner

4. FAVOURITE BOARD GAME? This great early 80's game called Dark Tower!

5. FAVORITE MAGAZINE? At the newstand I might buy Discovery or Scientific American. I get Entertainment Magazine in the mail because I bought a DVD at this store one time and they automatically signed me up for a free subscription. But, I have to abashedly admit it is kind of a fun read.

6. FAVORITE SMELL? a good men's cologne, or freshly cut grass, or the smell after a clean rain.

7. LEAST FAVORITE SMELL? sour milk or something spoiled


9. FAVORITE COLOR? I like different colors for different things. I tend to like blues. I also like true reds. And I love ashgray t-shirts.

10. LEAST FAVORITE COLOR? Peach, or terra cotta on something that has no business being terra cotta.

11. HOW MANY RINGS BEFORE YOU ANSWER THE PHONE? I don't answer it unless I know who's calling, usually.

12. FUTURE CHILD'S NAME? I'm thinking 'Ali or Abdullah. For a girl I just don't know!

13. WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IN LIFE? To remember that it ends and then we are called to account.

14. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA ICE-CREAM? definitely chocolate.



17. STORMS - COOL OR SCARY? They always scared me if they were loud when I was growing up. They still make me nervous, but sometimes they're beautiful.

18. WHAT TYPE WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? 1981 Oldsmobile Omega.

19. IF YOU COULD MEET ONE PERSON DEAD OR ALIVE? Fatima (as) or Khadija (ra)

20. FAVORITE DRINK? diet soda, soy milk, milk, water

21. WHAT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? it is the day that I was born, of course. :) just playing (9/30/74)

22. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI? Usually not. I'm not a big fan of broccoli, especially if it is cooked. I can eat it raw but I never want broccoli.

23. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY JOB WHAT WOULD IT BE? I like teaching, but I'd give myself the ideal class and ideal school and ideal administration, etc. Or I'd get paid to teach online stuff or write online stuff that I would've done anyway.

24. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY COLOR HAIR? I can, I just pick a different scarf! I saw this cool bright purple die at Sally's with my mom the other day for streaks. That'd be fun, but I don't want really want to mess with my hair, I'd go for something more realistic.


26. FAVORITE MOVIE? Bourne Identity, Thunderheart, LOTR trilogy, Zoolander,....

27. DO YOU TYPE WITH YOUR FINGERS ON THE RIGHT KEYS? yes. If you don't you seriously need to take a typing class! :)

28. THE BEACH OR THE MOUNTAINS? Mountains!!!!!

29. WHAT'S UNDER YOUR BED? A dresser. A few empty shoe boxes. Maybe a cat.

31. WHAT IS YOUR SINGLE BIGGEST FEAR? Punishment in the afterlife or in the grave

I kind of grabbed it off someone's blog, but all the friends who had it on their blogs are just that - great friends.

33. FAVORITE CD. I don't know.
34. FAVORITE TV SHOWS? CSI, Mythbusters, History Detectives, miscellaneous TLC/Discovery stuff

35. KETCHUP OR MUSTARD? definitely mustard

36. HAMBURGERS OR HOT DOGS? either. If I'm cooking it, halal hot dogs because it is easier. If I'm at a cook out and I can choose, then a halal hamburger sounds good right now.

37. FAVORITE SOFT DRINK? diet dr. pepper

39. THE BEST PLACES YOU HAVE EVER BEEN? Prophet's (saw) Mosque, and the Haram Mosque, British Columbia, and right here in my house.


41. BURGER KING OR MCDONALD'S? Neither. If they were halal and not on boycott lists, McDonald's. If I'm with my mom or brother and they're going, then Burger King for the veggie burger.


Sunday, December 12, 2004


From Principles of Upbringing by ibrahim Amini:

The Prophet of Islam (saw) said:
 “A generous person is closer to Allah’s creations and the Heaven. He is away from the Hell. The miserly person is away from Allah, His creations ( the men) and the Heaven. But he is closer to the Hell Fire." (al-mahajjatul bayda,v 3, p. 248)

Parents can make use of the following guidelines for cultivating the habits of generosity and magnanimity in their children:

1. Encourage the child to give a part of the things he has to the parents and his other siblings. The child must be suitably praised for the generous act and thanked. .In the beginning the child may be reluctant to part with his possession, but, by and by, he will get into the habit of being generous. When the child is reluctant for this experiment, he should not be forced into giving. This might make the child stubborn.

2. Sometimes encourage the child to allow other children to play with his toys. The child should also be encouraged to share his sweets and chocolates with other children. When he does it, give him a pat on his back.

3. Sometimes encourage him to give a part of his pocket money to the poor and the needy. Or ask him to spend some money for any good cause. If this becomes a habit, it would have a salutary effect on the character of the child as he grows up.

4. Ask the child to invite his friends home for a meal and see that he entertains them with care.

5. The parents can give some money to the child everyday to be given as alms or for some good cause.

6. Discuss with the child the difficulties and hardships of poor people. If possible take him along with you to the hospital, the orphanage and the home for the poor and aged. In his presence help some needy persons.

This way the child can be initiated into the habit of generosity. We, however, cannot claim that this method will work on all the children. The parents should make their best efforts and the success can differ from child to child. Every individual has his own nature and the capacity to accept change. For the children their habits also come as a genetic factor inherited from generation to generation. But careful breeding can definitely have some good effect.

A lady writes in a letter thus:

“…. At a pleasant place we had an orchard. Different varieties of fruits used to grow there in abundance. My Mom and Granny used to send some fruits to the needy. They were particularly generous to such of those needy persons who were serving our family. They used to entrust this task to me. From the age of six or seven years I got into the habit of doing this work. In the village there were families of two blind persons. My heart used to feel much for them. Every day when I visited them, I used to catch their hands, bring them out for some fresh air and take them back to their homes. .I used to bring fresh water for them from the lake. These blind men used to bless me and pray for me. When I told my Mom and Dad about this, they were very pleased. My mom said, one who has become blind is really deserving of all help.

My parents always used to encourage me for doing good deeds. I used to save from my pocket money and give to the needy. Slowly I got habituated of doing this. I am now a member of a social help organisation that is taking care of fourteen needy families.

My children too have taken good effect from my attitude. One day a child said,’ Give me some money every morning.’ I asked him, ‘ Why?’ he said, ‘ I shall save this money’ I give him the money regularly and remind him not to waste it. After some days he came to me with his treasure-trove. He had forty-eight coins in that. He said, ‘ Momif you permit me, I shall give the money to a blind person. He lives on the way to our school.’ I was very pleased with the child and I kissed and hugged him.”


Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Sharing a few things I've encountered in the past few days:

I am as My servant thinks I am.
I am with him when he makes mention of Me.
If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention
of him to Myself;
and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make
mention of him in an assemble better than it.
And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw
near to him a fathom's length.
And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

- a Hadith Qudsi (from Allah swt)

Right of the Tongue:
What Corrupts The Tongue
Researches in ethics say that there is a cause of corruption for everything. The tongue is not an exception to this. Many things will corrupt it. At this point i will mention one of them
The Noble Prophet (sawa) said:

"You cannot attain full faith unless you quit verbal arguments even if you are right."
He also said:
"whoever knows he is right but quits arguing shall be given a residence in a high heavenly place.
Whoever knows that he is wrong and quits arguing shall be given a residence in a low heavenly place"
(From the book A divine perspective on Rights, Imam a-Sajjad, commented by
Ghodratullah Mashayekhi, pg72)

Also check out Ninhajaba's blog (link on my sidebar) - there have been great things going on there lately, masha'allah.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I would like to call your attention to a link down in my fun links section that is particular good, imho.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is essentially a fictional journal / blog of a 7th grader. It is hilarious and makes lots of good points.

For example, if you read next week's entries, you can get a classic example of a bad teacher. His English teacher reminds me of my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Moody. She is just about the only teacher in my whole K-12 career that made me mad. Every year she read Little House on the Prairie Books to her classes. Instead of reading to us, she usually just complained to us about how bad we were so that she never had time to read us. Excuse me, we're third graders - that's your classroom management problem and telling us about it does nothing to solve it. Then, one day a parent came to talk to her during class. So she left the class area into the hallway. I can't say she left the classroom, because we were an open concept school and we didn't have classrooms. All third grade classes were in one large open area divided only by cubby shelves. Same for every other grade except Kindergarten, which actually had two separate rooms. But kindergarten had some overlapping space - namely the centers (fun!) and the pit - a literal pit in the ground where we met for story time, etc. The library also had a pit. How I loved the pit - it was just cool! In kindergarten, the pit was associated with the filly milly box, a box that if we were good we got to reach into and pull out a prize to take home - like pink plastic butterfly magnets or spider rings!
I guess people think the open concept is weird, but having grown up in it we never found a problem with it and liked it. We were not distracted by the other classes but we did know when they had specials like art or music and when their lunch and recess times were and if they got in really big trouble. But other than that, we were too busy in our classes to know what they were doing. It did kind of unite us - we thought of ourselves as a grade as a whole instead of a bunch of separate classes exclusively. I'm a person who likes to see the big picture - so I liked knowing what was going on in the other classes yet it never distracted me. At the same time, that is why I like living in Colorado - you look outside and you can actually SEE WHERE YOU ARE and where you are going - not like those annoying places out east where you'd need to burn down a forest to get a lay of the land. I feel claustrophobic driving on those highways out there where there is nothing to look at but the road and even then you can't see but 400 yards of road in front of you because it turns every few seconds.

Back to Ms. Moody and the parent. While she left, we had nothing to do. So, we talked. We were not way out of hand, we were not throwing things, we were not out of our seats. Well, when she came back she threw a hissy fit and went on a tirade about how awful we were for talking while she was talking to the parent. Then she did the dumbest thing imaginable. She asked third graders to tattle on each other and tell her who were the main culprits. Well, duh, we were all talking. But, no, she let people raise their hands, she picked some of them to call on, and then that kid got to tell one someone and say they were talking. And once your name was given up by someone, you were not allowed to give any names to her because that would be retaliation. Obviously, my name was given or I probably wouldn't remember this at the age of 30. There were kids who had been talking more loudly or whatever who did not get called. Those of us who were given up had to stay after school, where she went on about how bad we were and how we would lose centers and recess for a week and how we needed to write letters to our parents about what we did. Then she looked right at me, singled me out, and said how she knew my mother and knew how disappointed my mother would be. I was probably in tears by this point. When I met my mom later, I told her what happened and she thought exactly what I thought, that it was ridiculous. I didn't get angry until later because up to that point in my life teachers could do no wrong. I had always practically worshipped my teachers and been a really good student. I stayed that way, but she became an exception to the rule in my book. The statement she said to me about my mother was totally false. She didn't really know my mother and I knew my mother would not think it was that big of a deal and be disappointed in me, and she wasn't.

So go read Diary of a Wimpy Kid starting here Day 86
to read about a Ms. Moody - like teacher, then if you like it you may find yourself going back to read from the first day of the journal.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

If NCLB were applied to football...

Football Season - "No Child Left Behind"

The Federal government has announced that all high school football teams
must meet "No Child Left Behind" legislation beginning next season. The
following summation outlines the plan:

1. No team will be declared a winner, as that will leave 50% of other
participants behind.

2. All high schools will be divided into districts with eight teams per
district. Every team must finish in at least third place to be proficient.

3. No tournaments will be held as this would result in one champion. (The BCS experimented with this concept in NCAA D-1 football.)

4. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the
championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on
probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held
accountable. (In a recent experiment, the University of Nebraska football
program modeled this theory.)

5. All teams must score at least 21 points, but no defense can allow more
than 7 points.

6. All participants will be expected to have the same football skills at
the same time and in the same conditions; no exceptions for interest in
football, desire in athletics, genetic abilities or disabilities... ALL

7. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without
instruction, because the coaches will be busy using all their instructional
time with the athletes that aren't interested in football, having limited
athletic ability, and whose parents don't like football.

8. Games will be played year-around, but statistics and records will only
be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.

9. This will create a NEW AGE of sports where every school is expected
to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal
goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child will be left behind.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Third of Three

Last post for Sunday.

My friend's daughter:


Yesterday I had IMP training in Denver. It was a small group but good training as always. I have AP Statistics training next Saturday in Denver as well. Maybe I won't carpool to that one so that I could try to go to the meat store to get some halal meat - it has been quite a while since I've had meat. But we'll see. If it is still the month of Ramadan Saturday, that will put me up to 8 days I'll need to make up. Maybe this year I'll actually do it right after Eid. Well, I always say that but don't often do it. I am disappointed with myself over how I did on Laylatul Qadr amaals. I just conked out. I've also had trouble focusing this year. Astaghfirullah.

from the book "A Divine Perspective On Rights"  Imam Sajjad Ali Ibn al-Hussein(as)

On your tongue (strange looking word):

And the right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for obscenity, accustom it to good, direct it to politeness, do not use it except in situations of needs and benefits of the religion and this world, and refrain from any meddling in which there is little to be gained; and there is no security from its harm that accompanies its small benefits. It is the witness to and the evidence of the existence of the intellect. The demonstration of a intelligent person's intellect is through his reputation of good speech. And there is no power but in God the High, the Great.

 "A man is hidden behind his tongue"

The tongue will unveil the curtain and display our real character.

Friday, October 29, 2004

More on the Venetucci Legacy

Well here's a family that was into marrying late. I doubt I'll be driving past the Venetucci farm on my way to work every day in a few years. I hope the Catholic church that they dedicated their land to makes it a nice place. I wonder if they are waiting until Bambi passes away? Apparently none of the other sons had children or at least not boys to carry on the family name?

Venetucci family ties still bind


When the bronze statue of Nick Venetucci is dedicated Saturday morning amid speeches and song, missing will be Mary Ann Feiring — the last Venetucci.

The ceremony Saturday will honor five decades of generosity by Venetucci, who became legendary for giving pumpkins to area children who visited his Security farm. He died Sept. 7 at age 93 of a massive stroke.

His death leaves only Feiring, 81, the youngest child and sole survivor of Nicolo and Marguarite Venetucci, a pioneering Italian immigrant farming couple who both died in 1961.

Besides Nick, Feiring had a sister, Nina, and four other brothers, Rocco, Mike, Joe and Tony. All are dead.

Feiring wants to attend the ceremony and represent the family. But she said her health is too frail to travel from her home in San Marcos, Calif.

“I’ll be thinking about the ceremony,” Feiring said. “Definitely.”

Truth is, even if she could travel, Feiring isn’t sure her presence would be appropriate after years of strained relationships within her family.

The cause of the rift?

In 1957, at age 34, she ran off with her boyfriend, got married and moved to Texas.

She said her family couldn’t accept her husband, Duane Feiring, because he was a non-Italian, non-Catholic, divorced man.

Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

“They never would have approved ” Feiring said. “They had a feeling that I deserted them. But I wanted my own little girls so bad I could scream.”

She said it was expected within the family that she’d stay and work on the farm alongside her brothers, cooking, cleaning and taking care of them and her parents.

Feiring wanted more. She said she realized that, at her age, her chances of getting married and having a family were dwindling.

Then, like a fairy tale, Duane Feiring entered her life.

The memory is vivid in her mind.

In fact, decades seem to melt away, and she is instantly back in the 10-room farmhouse along U.S. 85-87 where the family moved in 1936 after farming for years in Papeton, an enclave of Italian coal miners. The area now is the Venetian Village neighborhood near Fillmore Street and Nevada Avenue.

Feiring recalled that her Singer sewing machine had broken as she patched a pair of her brother’s overalls.

So she went to town to the Singer Co. store, on Tejon Street at Colorado Avenue, on a Saturday evening to buy a belt for the machine.

“Duane came out of the back room and asked: ‘Have you seen our new sewing machine and vacuum sweeper?’” she said. “He was quite a salesman.”

Feiring wasn’t interested, though, and left with her new belt.

“On Monday, I’m doing the family wash . . . and he showed up with that new sewing machine and vacuum sweeper,” she said. “Duane said it gave him an excuse to come back and see me.”

A year later, in June 1957, Singer promoted him to district manager. But the district was in Texas.

“It was either I join him or forget I ever knew him,” she said.

So she married him and went with him to Texas.

Eventually, they bought a restaurant in Seattle in 1974 and retired to California in 1982. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Before she married and moved to Texas, Mary Ann introduced Nick to her friend, Bambi Marcantonio, who was teaching at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

After a 27-year courtship, Nick and Bambi were married in 1984.

Feiring is uncomfortable talking about family issues. Despite the rift, she stayed in close touch with her parents, sister and brothers. She said they even reconciled as the years passed.

“I saw them when I came back and talked to them on the phone,” she said. “I saw Tony at the retirement home before he died, and there were no hard feelings. I was still his little sister.”

She last saw Nick in 1997 when she came for a long visit. She said her memories of the family are happy.

“I have fond remembrances,” she said. “We had lots of family gatherings. I think of those good old days. I live with those memories.”

Feiring takes pride in the way the Venetucci family is honored across the city with an elementary school and a boulevard, and now with a statue of Nick.

There is comfort knowing the farmhouse where she cooked over a wood and coal stove, its walls lined with family photos, still remains — hardly changed from when she packed her bags and left to follow her heart.

Even the sewing machine — which led her to the love of her life — still sits where she left it 47 years ago, kind of like a statue of its own, honoring the struggles of a farm family.

Which brings her back to Saturday’s ceremony and her pride at the honors being bestowed on Nick.

“I’d be there if I could,” she said, her voice trailing off. “I sure hope you have a nice day for it.”


The bronze statue of pumpkin farmer Nick Venetucci will be unveiled and dedicated at 11 a.m. Saturday on the north lawn of the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St.

The public is invited.

There will be a flag presentation, singing, and speeches by Vice Mayor Richard Skorman, Widefield School District 3 Superintendent Mark Hatchell and Bambi Venetucci.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Coronado on MTV

My high school is featured on a show on MTV airing right now. It is about a senior prank to close school two years ago. If you're interested it airs at the following times (all times Eastern): Tue 10/12 4:00 PM Wed 10/13 4:00 PM Thu 10/14 4:00 PM Fri 10/15 12:30 AM Fri 10/15 1:00 AM Fri 10/15 1:30 AM Fri 10/15 4:00 PM Sat 10/16 3:00 AM Sat 10/16 3:30 AM Sat 10/16 4:00 AM Sat 10/16 4:30 AM Sat 10/16 5:00 AM Sat 10/16 5:30 AM Sat 10/16 7:00 AM Sat 10/16 7:30 AM Sat 10/16 8:00 AM Sun 10/17 7:00 AM Sun 10/17 7:30 AM Sun 10/17 8:00 AM Sun 10/17 8:30 AM Mon 10/18 4:00 PM Tue 10/19 4:00 PM


Oct 12, 1:56 PM EDT

Reeve Championed Spinal Cord Research

AP Medical Writer

Christopher Reeve often said he wanted to be known for something other than playing Superman. But it was real life - not another movie role - that gave the actor the chance to star in his biggest drama: as a spinal cord injury victim championing research in hope that people like him would someday be able to walk again.

"He put a human face on the dreams," said Daniel Perry, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research. "He used his star power as a celebrity for a great good that transcends anything that most of us will ever achieve."

Reeve died Sunday after developing a serious bloodstream infection from a bedsore, a common problem for paralyzed people. He went into cardiac arrest Saturday at his home in Pound Ridge, N.Y., then fell into a coma, dying the next day at a hospital.

As an actor and a man, Reeve embodied strength and athleticism and performed his own movie stunts, including his 1978 starring role as Superman. It made him famous but he longed to, as he often put it, "escape the cape" and take on other characters.

Other movies and plays gave him that chance, but nothing compared to the horseback riding accident in 1995 that left him with a broken neck. His passionate efforts for science, often as he wheezed from a respirator in his wheelchair, are his greatest legacy, admirers said. Reeve never walked again but his dream of doing so is now a plausible one for thousands of others who are paralyzed.

"The biggest hope is in biological research to allow the spinal cord to heal itself and even regenerate. That's just over the horizon but closer than ever before. Most people feel within the next 10 to 15 years, somewhere within our lifetimes," said Dr. Jack Ziegler, president of the American Spinal Injury Association.

Some even thought it would come in time for Reeve.

"I thought it was going to happen," said Dr. Doug Kerr, a Johns Hopkins University neurologist who works with stem cells - controversial research that Reeve advocated.

"It was Star Wars science fiction, this concept of rewiring the nervous system," but Reeve "thrust this field forward by leaps and bounds," Kerr said.

Reeve endured years of therapy to allow him to breathe for longer periods without a respirator while seeking a cure that would allow him to walk again. He sparked hope even in many skeptics in 2000, when he was able to move an index finger. He thrust himself harder into workouts to strengthen his legs and arms, and electrical stimulation of his muscles allowed him to sporadically regain sensation in some other parts of his body.

As Reeve transformed his body, he also morphed into an advocate, first for better benefits for people with long-term disabilities, and then for science to help the 250,000 Americans who suffer paralysis. The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation has given $40 million to spinal cord research since he merged it with the American Paralysis Foundation in 1999.

Some of that has been for embryonic stem cell research, a promising but contentious field of medicine that the Bush administration has severely restricted because it involves destroying embryos. Scientists think these early, all-purpose cells can be coaxed to form nerves and specialized tissues to repair a host of woes.

Reeve and fellow actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, have helped make stem cells a major campaign issue between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Kerry even mentioned Reeve during the second presidential debate on Friday and praised him Monday in remarks before a speech in Santa Fe, N.M.

"He was an inspiration to all of us and gave hope to millions of Americans who are counting on lifesaving cures that science and research can provide," Kerry said. "In part because of his work, millions will one day walk again."

At Hopkins, research a few years ago demonstrated that stem cells could allow paralyzed mice and rats to do just that.

"This is one of the most difficult tasks you can ask a stem cell to do - to rewire, to extend axons and to form new connections at great distances to restore function," said Kerr. "We're clearly getting there."

Reeve "appropriately brought a sense of urgency to this issue," said Perry head of the research coalition, which favors stem cell science. "On Capitol Hill he was such a highly regarded figure and was so focused on the message."

A research center on paralytic spinal cord injuries, the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, was established in Reeve's name at the University of California, Irvine.

"He was such an immense personality, such a force in the field," said Dr. Oswald Stewart, the center's director. "He created an enthusiasm for what we do in the lab."

Reeve also reached out to people beyond those with spinal cord injuries.

"He was able to inspire hope in patients with diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease ... tragic and life-threatening conditions that face tens of millions of Americans," Perry said.

© 2004 The Associated Press.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

15 Sha'ban

Wednesday night and Thursday day this years marks 15 Sha'ban on the Islamic calendar. This is the anniversary of the birth of the Imam of our age (as), as well as one of the nights when decrees may be made by Allah swt and when the doors of forgiveness are very open. The Ahlulbayt (as) are known for spending the entire night awake during such nights in prayer and supplication.

Mabrook everyone!

Dua'a for 15th NIGHT of SHA`BAN

Shaikh Toosi and Shaikh Kaf`ami said that recite the following during this night.

In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.

O` my Allah the seekers have presented before You their requests in this night and the ambitious has resolved to reach Your guidance and the seekers are hoping Your grace and bounties.

And in this night you bestow Your hidden bounties, the provisions, gifts and presents upon those of Your creatures whom You please and You deny the same to the one for whom no divine decree has been ordained.

And here I am your worthless bondsman in want but hopeful for getting grace and bounties. O` my Master if You have kindly bestowed in this night on any one from Your creation any benefits, please bestow Your blessings on Mohammad and his pure and purified progeny, the best of the learned, and be kind to bestow on me Your wealth and bounties.  O` the Lord of the Prophets and pure progeny and His perfect greetings and salutations on them. Verily Allah is praise worthy and glorious.

O` Allah I invoke you as taught by You .  You therefore grant me my requests as You did promise.  You surely do not go against Your promise.

O` Allah! Send Your Blessings on Mohammad and his Progeny, Ameen.



Liahi Ta`arraza Laka fi Hazal Lailil Muta`arrezona wa qasadakal Qasedoona wa Ammala Faziaka wa Ma`roofakat Taleboona wa Laka fi Hazal Laile nafehatun wa Jawaa`ezun wa Ataya wa Mawahibo Tamunno Beha Alaa Man Tashaa o Min Ibadeka wa Tamna`oha Man Lam Tasbiq Lahul Inayato Minka waha Anaza Ubaidoksl Faqeero Ilaikal Mo`ammilo fazlaka wa Ma`roofaka Fa In Kunta Ya Maulaya Tafazzalta Fi Hazehil Lailate Ala Ahadin Min Khalqeka waudta Alaihe be aa`edatin Min atteka Fa Salle Alaa Mohammadin wa aale Mohammadit tayyebeenat Tahereenal Khaiyyereenal fazeleena wajud Alayya Be Tanleka wa Ma`roofeka ya Rabbal Aalameena wa Aalehit tahereena wa Sallama tasleeman Innallaha Hameedun Majeedun; Allahumma Inni ad`ooka Kama amarta Fastajib Li Kama wa`adta Innaka La tukhleful Mee`ad.

Allahoomma Salle Alaa Mohammadin wa Aale Mohammad, Ameen



Monday, September 27, 2004


This is one of my favorite childhood poems - we had to memorize it in 5th grade. We studied the parts of speech of the words to understand what the poem was saying. Reminds me a little bit of a very not-for-childhood book - Clockwork Orange. That is a great but disturbing book. It is awesome to read because when you start it you don't understand it as it is almost another language but before long you pick it all up and know what is being said. Made-up language fascinates me - like Sindarin and Quenya and Vulcan and Klingon..... cool stuff!

So do you see in your mind when you see the slithy toves?


Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal blade in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh, Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Stevens Kin Says He Has No Terrorist Ties

See how ridiculous this all is? I know countless people who've been turned away, it is crazy. In a way, it is good when it happens to people like this because it helps people to see just how ridiculous it is.

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Singer Cat Stevens, taken off a London-to-Washington flight because his name showed up on a government "no-fly" list, has no ties to suspected terrorists, his brother said Wednesday.

Stevens, who converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam more than a quarter-century ago, recently made the watch list after U.S. authorities received information from multiple sources indicating he may have associations with potential terrorists, a government official said.

United Airlines Flight 919 was diverted to Bangor, Maine, on Tuesday afternoon after U.S. officials who checked the passenger list learned that the singer was aboard. Federal agents met the plane and interviewed Islam.

Islam's brother and business manager, David Gordon, said in a telephone interview that he could guarantee that Islam does not associate with possible terrorists.

"It's not true," Gordon said. "His only work, his only mind-set, is humanitarian causes. He just wants to be an ambassador for peace."

Gordon, who said he spoke by phone to Islam on Wednesday, said his brother was in good humor. "He's fine. It's an unfortunate incident, but on the other hand, people are worried and they want to feel secure when they're flying," Gordon said.

Airlines have access to watch lists and are supposed to screen passengers to make sure those deemed direct threats to aviation do not board planes. The official said it was unclear why United Airlines personnel allowed Islam to get on the flight in London.

A call to the airline was not immediately returned.

Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy said Islam was "denied admission to the United States on national security grounds" and was expected to be sent back to London on Wednesday.

A second government official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said U.S. authorities think donations from Islam may have ended up helping to fund blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and Hamas, a Palestinian militant group considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

In July 2000, Islam was deported hours after arriving in Jerusalem. A local paper reported then that the government claimed he had delivered tens of thousands of dollars to Hamas during a visit in 1988. Islam denied ever knowingly supporting Islamic terrorists.

Islam has made a number of trips to the United States in recent years, including one in May for a charity event and to promote a DVD of his 1976 MajiKat tour. He donated half the royalties from his most recent boxed set to the Sept. 11 Fund to help victims of the attacks.

Islam, who was born Stephen Georgiou, took Cat Stevens as a stage name and had a string of hits in the 1960s and '70s, including "Wild World" and "Morning Has Broken." Last year he released two songs, including a re-recording of his '70s hit "Peace Train," to express his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

He abandoned his music career in the late 1970s and changed his name after being persuaded by orthodox Muslim teachers that his lifestyle was forbidden by Islamic law. He later became a teacher and an advocate for his religion, founding a Muslim school in London in 1983.

Islam founded Islamia Primary school in London in 1983. In 1998, it became the first Muslim school in Britain to receive government support, on the same basis as Christian and other sectarian schools.

Islam drew some negative attention in the late 1980s when he supported the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence against Salman Rushdie, author of "The Satanic Verses."

Gordon denied that he had called for Rushdie's death. "They completely misunderstood what he said," he said.

Recently, Islam has criticized terrorist acts, including the Sept. 11 attacks and the school seizure in Beslan, Russia, earlier this month that left more than 300 dead, nearly half of them children.

In a statement on his Web site, he wrote, "Crimes against innocent bystanders taken hostage in any circumstance have no foundation whatsoever in the life of Islam and the model example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him."


On the Net:

Yusuf Islam:

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Purchase this AP story for reprint.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Dua al-Hazeen

This dua recited after night prayer is one that always affects me emotionally; that makes it one of my very favorites!

Du’a after Salatul Witr

This du’a is called Dua al-Hazeen, the sorrowful du’a. It should be recited softly and sorrowfully.

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

اَللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ

اُنَاجِيْكَ يَا مَوْجُوْدًا فِي كُلِّ مَكَانٍ

لَعَلَّكَ تَسْمَعُ نِدَائِي

فَقَدْ عَظُمَ جُرْمِي وَ قَلَّ حَيَائِي

مَوْلاَيَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ

اَيُّ اْلاَهْوَالِ اَتَذَكَّرُ وَ اَيُّهَا اَنْسى

وَ لَوْ لَمْ يَكُنْ اِلاَّ الْمَوْتُ لَكَفى

كَيْفَ وَ مَا بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ اَعْظَمُ وَ اَدْهى

In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, the Merciful

O Allah bless Muhammad and his family

I whisper unto You

O one who is present in every place

so that You may hear my call

for surely my sin is excessive

and my shame is less

My Master, O my Master

which of the terrifying states shall I remember

and which of them shall I forget

for if there was nothing except death

it would be enough

then what about after death

greater and much worse?

مَوْلاَيَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ حَتَّى مَتى وَ اِلى مَتى

اَقُوْلُ لَكَ الْعُتْبى مَرَّةً بَعْدَ اُخْرى

ثُمَّ لاَ تَجِدُ عِنْدِي صِدْقًا وَ لاَ وَفَاءً

فَيَا غَوْثَاهُ ثُمَّ وَا غَوْثَاهُ بِكَ يَا اَللّهُ

مِنْ هَوىً قَدْ غَلَبَنِي

وَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ قَدِ اسْتَكْلَبَ عَلَيَّ

وَ مِنْ دُنْياً قَدْ تَزَيَّنَتْ لِي

وَ مِنْ نَفْسٍ اَمَّارَةٍ بِالسُّوْءِ اِلاَّ مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي

مَوْلاَيَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ

اِنْ كُنْتَ رَحِمْتَ مِثْلِي فَارْحَمْنِي

My master O my Master

up to when and till when

will I say, I am to blame,

again and again,

but then You do not find any truth or loyalty in me?

I call for help

and I call for help, O Allah

from desires which have overpowered me

and from the enemy which has pounced on me

and from the world which attracts me

and from the soul that leads towards evil

except that on which my Lord has mercy (12:53)

My master O my master

if You have had mercy on the likes of me

then have mercy on me

وَ اِنْ كُنْتَ قَبِلْتَ مِثْلِي فَاقْبَلْنِي

يَا قَابِلَ السَّحَرَةِ اقْبَلْنِي

يَا مَنْ لَمْ اَزَلْ اَتَعَرَّفُ مِنْهُ الْحُسْنى

يَا مَنْ يُغَذِّيْنِي بِالنِّعَمِ صَبَاحًا وَ مَسَاءً

اِرْحَمْنِي يَوْمَ آتِيْكَ فَرْدًا

شَاخِصًا اِلَيْكَ بَصَرِي مُقَلَّدًا عَمَلِي

قَدْ تَبَرَّأَ جَمِيْعُ الْخَلْقِ مِنِّي

نَعَمْ وَ اَبِي وَ اُمِّي وَ مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ كَدِّي وَ سَعْيِي

فَاِنْ لَمْ تَرْحَمْنِي فَمَنْ يَرْحَمُنِي

وَ مَنْ يُؤْنِسُ فِي الْقَبْرِ وَحْشَتِي

and if You have accepted from the likes of me

then accept from me

O One who accepts the early morning prayer

accept me,

O One who, I still know only good from Him

O One who nourishes me with blessings

morning and evening

have mercy on me when I come to You


my glance fixed on You

my actions carried on my neck

When all of creation

will withdraw away from me

yes, even my father and mother

and those for whom I worked and struggled

then if You will not have mercy on me

who will have mercy on me

who will give me solace

from the loneliness of the grave

وَ مَنْ يُنْطِقُ لِسَانِي اِذَا خَلَوْتُ بِعَمَلِي

وَ سَأَلْتَنِي عَمَّا اَنْتَ اَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي

فَاِنْ قُلْتُ نَعَمْ فَاَيْنَ الْمَهْرَبُ مِنْ عَدْلِكَ

وَ اِنْ قُلْتُ لَمْ اَفْعَلْ

قُلْتَ اَلَمْ اَكُنِ الشَّاهِدَ عَلَيْكَ


فَعَفْوُكَ عَفْوُكَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ قَبْلَ سَرَابِيْلِ الْقَطِرَانَ

عَفْوُكَ عَفْوُكَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ قَبْلَ جَهَنَّمَ وَ النِّيْرَان


عَفْوُكَ عَفْوُكَ يَا مَوْلاَيَ

قَبْلَ اَنْ تُغَلَّ الاَيْدِي اِلى الاَعْنَاقِ

َيَا اَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِيْنَ وَ خَيْرَ الْغَافِرِيْن

and who will make me speak

when I am alone with my deeds

and when You will ask me

about what You know better than me?

Then if I say yes (to my sins)

where will be the escape from Your Justice?

And if I say I did not commit it

You will say was I not a witness over you?

So (I beseech) Your Forgiveness

Your Pardon

O my master

before the wearing of the clothes of Hell

Your Forgiveness Your Pardon O my Master

before the Hell and the Fire

Your Forgiveness Your Forgiveness

O my Master

before the hands are tied to the necks

O the most Merciful

and the best of Forgivers




Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Supplication for Friday

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful,
the All-compassionate

All Praise belongs to God,
          the First before the bringing forth and the giving of life,
                    and the Last after the annihilation of all things,
          the All-knowing who forgets not him who remembers Him,
                    decreases not him who thanks Him,
                    disappoints not him who supplicates to Him,
                    and cuts not off the hope of him who hopes in Him!

O God,
          I call Thee to witness
                    - and Thou art sufficient witness - and I call to witness
                    all Thy angels,
                    the inhabitants of Thy heavens,
                    the bearers of Thy Throne,
                    Thy prophets and Thy messengers whom Thou hast sent out,
                    and the various kinds of creatures Thou hast brought forth,
          that I bear witness
                    that Thou art God;
                              there is no god but Thou, Thou alone,
                              who hast no associate nor any equal,
                              and Thy word has no failing,
                                        nor any change;
                    and that Muhammad (God bless him and his Household)
                              is Thy servant and Thy messenger;
                    he delivered to the servants
                              that with which Thou charged him,
                    he struggled for God as is His due,
                    he gave the good news of the truth of reward,
                    and he warned of the veracity of punishment.

O God,
          make me firm in Thy religion
                    as long as Thou keepest me alive,
          make not my heart to swerve
                    after Thou hast guided me,
          and give me mercy from Thee,
                    surely Thou art the Giver.
          Bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad,
                    make me one of his followers and his partisans,
                    muster me in his band,
                    and give me the success of
                              accomplishing the obligatory observance of Friday,
                              performing the acts of obedience
                                        which Thou has made incumbent upon me within it,
                              and [receiving] the bestowal
                                        which Thou hast apportioned for its people
                                        on the Day of Recompense!
                    Surely Thou art Mighty, All-wise!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Mr. Venetucci

I just learned that Nick Venetucci passed away yesterday at the age of 92. The void in our community created by his absence can never be filled. He generously gave pumpkins away to school children every fall for 50 years, making no profit from his farming. There is not a person in this city of half a million who grew up here who does not have a memory of taking the field trip to his farm to select a pumpkin to take home. He stopped a few years ago very reluctantly due to poor health and severe drought. Last year even though the drought would not support a pumpkin patch, he planted a field of marigolds so that as we drove past his farm on our ways to and from work we would have something beautiful to look at. He has deeded his land to the Catholic Church as he and his wife Bambi had no children. The Venetuccis, the Pinellos, and the Janitells are all Italian immigrants who settled and farmed this land long before anything else non-native was here. Many schools in my home district are named after them. We will miss Mr. Venetucci. May God bless him for all his good deeds.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

IEB Nasimco


I spent most of the day Friday in the air. I left home for the airport around 5:15 a.m. Security went pretty quickly, and then I was on my way to Dallas. There I transferred on to Newark. At Newark, a lady who lives in Allentown where the conference was met me and drove me back to Allentown, about 1.5 hours away. We stopped at another airport and picked up another lady. We got checked into our hotel and went to the mosque which is only a few blocks away for dinner and opening session. Their mosque is a relatively new building - about a year or so and is very nice. The last activity of the night was a presentation of Islamic Jeopardy - a game system with all the timers, scores, screen etc., so you can design and play Jeopardy with an Islamic theme. It was pretty neat.


Saturday we really got down to business and had presentations on the aims of the meeting - IEB Nasimco is creating the whole scope and syllabus and lesson plans for madrassah teachers for all grades. They are going about it in a very organized manner, masha'allah. This year's aim was to provide teachers with modern teaching strategies, particularly cooperative learning and mind mapping. In the afternoon I presented a workshop on using jigsaw as a cooperative learning technique. It seemed to go over well. I managed to do one geocache at a park a little ways away from the mosque. By this time I was starting to get comfortable, meeting lots of people and finding some old friends. I met Sr. Sakina Dewji in person for the first time.


Sunday included the workshops on mind mapping. Dr. Liyakat Takim also presented on a resource paper he made about the period of minor ghayba and the beginning of the major ghayba of twelfth Imam (as) - what was happening at that time in the Shia world and in context, etc. It was very interesting, so I bought the resource paper for $1. In the afternoon, we went out into Amish country on a little bus trip. A brother used my camera to take a few pictures but I haven't had time to look at them. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some up, insha'allah. Also went out to dinner at an Indian restaurant with a few people Sunday night.


I was feeling pretty tired by this time because each night we were getting to bed around midnight and then getting up at fajr time. At fajr time, a brother came to take me and a few other sisters back to Newark airport. My flight didn't leave until almost noon, but their's left at 8 something so we all rode together and I got to hang out at the airport for a few hours. There were people at the conference from many places - most of the Khoja Jamaats from North America and London and Kenya and few other places. I met a Pakistani sister at the airport who just got back from holidays and was heading down to St. Lucius to continue her medical school studies. After flying I finally got home around 5pm and paid $20 for parking. Then I had to try to get caught up on graduate school stuff.

Okay, in brief that is the trip. There are some more details left out obviously that if I think of or get a chance maybe I will add later.

I had a nice time mostly and was very happy to meet with the people.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Survey Fun - maybe I'll make one later

Sister Scorpion's Survey
Your country of origin?USA
Your country of residence?USA
Bush, Kerry, or Nadar? (who you'd like to win)none of the above
Best World Leaderno one currently in politics
Worst World Leaderno one is leading the world.....
What did you have for breakfast/your first meal today?fruit juice called "Naked".
Best Olympic moment 2004Paul Hamm's comeback gold
Worst Olympic moment 2004controversy over scoring gymnastic men's all around
My bumperstickers, don't have any
Favorite colorred and blue
Worst insectflying beetles/cockroaches/ants
Best insectlady bug
All time favorite TV showGilligan's Island, Star Trek, Dead Zone
TV show you watch, but don't want anyone to know you watch Chappelle Show (sometimes)
Favorite book(s)Qur'an, LOTR, Hillerman's, Patrick O'Brien's, Ender's Game,....
Favorite subject of studystatistics, today
Top 3 hobbiescomputer stuff, geocaching, sleep
What's your calling?Hmmm....
Coffee, Tea, or Bebsi?Bebsi


My Own Dumb Quiz
If you could be instantly fluent in three languages, what would they be?Arabic, Urdu, and Spanish
Which talent or skill did you always wish you had?remembering everything perfectly
Favorite place to take a vacation?outside
What's your dream job?not needing one
If you had $500 to spend in a bookstore, which section would you head to first?science fiction
Favorite Islamic lecturer?I don't know
Chore you hate the most.all of them
Favorite dinner food?stuff I didn't make
Favorite car?one that runs, cheaply
Favorite type of weather?variety, but a bit cool and breezy
Favorite blog (there is only one correct answer to this). Ba ha.I plead the fifth
Favorite computer / video game?bejeweled
Top 3 fave films? LOTR(all of them)


Friday, August 27, 2004

Keys Handed Over

Militants Turn Over Keys to Najaf Shrine

Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) -- Thousands of pilgrims streamed into the Imam Ali Shrine on Friday, and militants who had been holed up in the site left it, handing the keys to Shiite religious authorities after Iraq's top Shiite cleric brokered a peace deal to end three weeks of fighting in this holy city.

Dozens of militants piled Kalashnikov rifles in front of the offices of their leader, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Thousands of al-Sadr's militiamen were still believed to be armed in the city, though most were staying off the streets. In one narrow alley, some militiamen could be seen pushing carts full of machine-guns and rocket launchers.

Iraqi forces took control of the Old City, which al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia had used as their stronghold during the fierce fighting with U.S.-Iraqi forces.

Dozens of Iraqi police and national guardsmen deployed around the compound of the walled, golden-domed shrine in the Old City Friday afternoon - but did not enter. Some kissed the compound's gates, others burst into tears. Some residents of the devastated Old City neighborhood waved to them and yelled out, "Welcome. Welcome."

U.S. forces appeared to have maintained their positions in the Old City.

After a day of prayers and celebrations at the shrine - one of Shia Islam's holiest sites - civilians and fighters left, and al-Sadr's followers handed over the keys to the site to religious authorities loyal to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the esteemed cleric who secured the peace deal.

"Now the holy shrine compound has been evacuated and its keys have been handed over to the religious authority," al-Sistani aide Hamed al-Khafaf told Al-Arabiya television.

The handover the keys was a symbolic, yet crucial, step in ending the bloody crisis that has plagued this city since Aug. 5, killing hundreds of Iraqis and nine U.S. troops, ravaging parts of the Old City and threatening the control of Iraq's interim government.

Al-Sadr ordered his fighters to lay down their arms and leave Najaf and neighboring Kufa after agreeing to the peace deal in a face-to-face meeting the night before with al-Sistani.

"To all my brothers in Mahdi Army ... you should leave Kufa and Najaf without your weapons, along with the peaceful masses," al-Sadr said in a statement broadcast over the shrine's loudspeakers.

Iraq's interim government also accepted the deal, and U.S. forces ordered their troops to cease fire. Police briefly exchanged fire with militants in one part of town Friday, and some U.S. troops were still receiving occasional sniper fire. Nevertheless, most of the city was calm.

The agreement leaves the Mahdi Army intact and al-Sadr free, despite U.S. vows in the past to destroy the militia and arrest its leader. Since the transfer of sovereignty June 28, the Iraqi interim government has said it has no intention of arresting al-Sadr, but wants him to turn his militia into a political party.

Al-Sistani's highly publicized, 11th-hour peace mission also boosts his already high prestige in Iraq and cloaks him in a statesman's mantle, showing that only he could force an accord between two sides that loathe each other.

In the morning, thousands of Shiites marched through Najaf to visit the shrine, one of Shia Islam's holiest, which was at the center of the fighting since Aug. 5. Many kissed its doors as they entered, chanting "Thanks to God!"

U.S. soldiers looked on as people passed in the streets, heading to the shrine. Army 1st Lt. Chris Kent said the peace agreement "appears to be a final resolution. That's what it looks like right now."

Inside, the crowds mingled with Mahdi Army fighters and performed noon prayers. Afterwards, civilians and militiamen streamed out, with some militants chanting "Muqtada, Muqtada."

By the afternoon, the shrine appeared empty, clear of the visitors and the militants.

Police later set up roadblocks on the edge of the Old City, preventing people from entering and searching throngs of people leaving the shrine. Most of those leaving carried no weapons, but police detained four militants carrying grenades.

The U.S. military said it was continuing to monitor the situation and maintain "a supportive posture," according to a statement.

The five-point peace plan put forward by al-Sistani calls for Najaf and Kufa to be declared weapons-free cities, for all foreign forces to withdraw from Najaf, for police to be in charge of security, for the government to compensate those harmed by the fighting, and for a census to be taken to prepare for elections expected in the country by January.

There was no immediate word if the U.S. military would accept the provisions on the agreement calling on its forces to leave Najaf, though military leaders have said they were fighting there only at the behest of the government.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Aide: Al-Sistani Brokers Najaf Peace Deal

Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq (AP) -- Rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr agreed Thursday to a peace deal presented by top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani to end three weeks of fighting in the holy city of Najaf, according to a top aide to al-Sistani.

Al-Sistani, the most influential cleric among Iraq's Shiite majority, reached the deal in direct talks with al-Sadr in the evening, only hours after making a dramatic return to Najaf.

The five-point plan called for Najaf and Kufa to be declared weapons-free cities, for all foreign forces to withdraw from Najaf, for police to be in charge of security, for the government to compensate those harmed by the fighting and for a census to be taken to prepare for elections expected in the country by January.

"Mr. Muqtada al-Sadr agreed to the initiative of his eminence al-Sistani," Hamed al-Khafaf told reporters at a news conference outside the house where al-Sistani was staying here. "You will hear good news soon from the government and Mr. Muqtada al-Sadr."

"It's the same initiative that we had proposed ... almost the same initiative has been agreed upon," al-Khafaf said.

Following the announcement, the Iraqi interim government called an emergency news conference in Baghdad to discuss Najaf.

Al-Sistani, who had been abroad in London for medical treatment during much of the fighting, returned Thursday with a new plan to end the violence.

The fighting, which has spread to other Shiite communities throughout Iraq, has killed scores of civilians, nearly paralyzed the city and caused the biggest crisis yet for the new government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

A long-threatened government raid on the holy Imam Ali Shrine here, where the militants have sought refuge, appeared to grow increasingly likely in recent days as peace initiatives broke down and the militants refused to honor a promise to withdraw.

But al-Sistani's return, and his apparent determination to end the bloodshed in his city, brought new hope for a peaceful resolution.

"There will be a mechanism that will preserve the dignity of everyone in getting out of the holy shrine, and you'll see this in the coming hours," al-Khafaf told Al-Jazeera television.

The fighting here continued up until al-Sistani's arrival Thursday afternoon, when the government and rebels separately agreed to a 24-hour cease fire to give peace efforts a chance.

More than 90 people were killed in the 24 hours before al-Sistani's arrival, according to health officials, including 27 people killed when mortars hit the main mosque in nearby Kufa, where thousands had gathered in preparation to march to Najaf in support of al-Sistani.

The U.S. military and Iraqi government have backed al-Sistani's peace mission, but they have not said whether they would agree to his proposal. The government has long demanded that al-Sadr disband his Mahdi Army militia and join the country's political process, a condition al-Sadr has refused to agree to.

Al-Sadr has agreed to one other peace deal that fell apart and later said he would pull his followers from the shrine, but the militants remained and the fighting has continued.

But all sides appear to be hoping the immense authority of al-Sistani can keep a deal together. The 75-year-old al-Sistani, who has long refused to intervene directly in the standoff between al-Sadr and the United States, has much wider support among Iraq's Shiites than al-Sadr, a much younger and lower-ranking cleric.

Al-Sistani arrived here in a 30-vehicle convoy that drove in from Basra, cheered by thousands of supporters in towns along the way. Heeding al-Sistani's calls, thousands more came from their hometowns to Najaf and gathered on its outskirts.

Late Thursday, Al-Sistani asked the government to allow them in to visit the sealed-off shrine compound provided they leave again by 10 a.m. Friday, al-Khafaf said.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Al-Sistani's return and call for march causes for hope

Al-Sistani returns to Iraq

Wednesday 25 August 2004, 16:18 Makka Time, 13:18 GMT

Iraq's most influential Shia cleric, Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani, is in the southern city of Basra and will head to Najaf soon to try to resolve the crisis there, an aide says.  

Al-Sistani's return comes as US and Iraqi forces tightened their siege of Najaf's Imam Ali mosque, where supporters of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr are holed up. 

"He has entered Iraq through Basra. He will head to Najaf tomorrow," Hamid al-Khafaf, an al-Sistani aide based in London, said on Wednesday.

Al-Khafaf called on Iraqis "to be ready … to march on the city of Najaf under the leadership of al-Sistani to save the city."

Iraq's most senior Shia Muslim figure, Iranian-born al-Sistani has returned from Britain where he had been treated for a heart condition. Al-Khafaf told Aljazeera that the Ayat Allah had overidden doctors' recommendations not to travel.

Initiative welcomed

Aides of al-Sadr, whose al-Mahdi Army militiamen have resisted attempts by US-led forces to expel them from the revered Imam Ali mosque complex, told Aljazeera they welcomed al-Sistani's proposal to lead marchers to Najaf.

Al-Sadr 's supporters have been
besieged for three weeks
"People welcome the return of his eminence Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani and now men, women and children, in groups and individually, are heading to the city of Najaf to lift the siege imposed by the US occupation forces," said Aws al-Khafaji, an al-Sadr's spokesman from the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya.

Asked about demands by al-Sistani's aides for Mahdi Army fighters to leave the shrine, al-Khafaji blamed besieging US-led forces for preventing a peaceful withdrawl.

"We repeatedly call on a peaceful solution but ... no one can leave the shrine as US snipers have taken up positions on the roofs of the neighboring buildings while the shells are falling here and there," said al-Khafaji.


"It is better that the fighting ceases so all those conducting their sit-in can leave safely".


'Silent' claim rejected

Al-Khafaf rejected charges that the Iranian-born al-Sistani, who has urged his compatriots not to take up arms against occupation forces, had been curiously silent over the situation in Najaf.

"It is absolutely incorrect. Despite his serious illness, his eminence and the team accompanying him were following the situation in Iraq.

"He has not spared any efforts to end the crisis peacefully. He has proceeded with contacts there that were not reported in the media."

Al-Sistani's propposed march is likely to put al-Sadr's movement under further pressure to withdraw from the mosque, whose occupation by al-Mahdi Army militiamen has directly challenged the authority of US-backed interim Prime Minister Iyyad Allawi.

Aljazeera + Agencies

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Star Wars Name

My Star Wars name is Beadi Ancol - what's yours?

Star Wars Name Generator

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sistani Sistani and the future of the Hawza

The media continues to speculate wildly on the timing of Grand Ayatollah Ali Taqi Al-Sistani's unexpected departure from Najaf to London for emergency heart treatment. While several of his spokesmen have denied that the medical condition of the 74 year-old cleric is critical, I have personally heard from an informed source who is a close relative of Sistani's agent in Basrah that he has been suffering from ischemic heart disease for some time and that he had recently experienced a myocardial infarction just 2 or 3 weeks before the fighting broke out in Najaf.

He was advised by his family and close supporters to leave Najaf immediately for treatment and rest in London. They had already coordinated with Iraqi, US and British authorities for the preparations. The old man stubbornly refused to leave, mentioning that he had remained in Najaf during even darker days. However, he resigned grudgingly to their suggestions later on. He was practically hauled to  London by his son and his senior aides. My source also tells me that the other three senior clerics of the Hawza were also aware of what was to take place in Najaf, and that they had been advised by the governor's office and SCIRI to either leave Najaf for safer ground or lay low. He says that people from Sadr's office grew extremely uncomfortable on hearing this and that they had sent someone to either beg/convince or prevent Sistani from leaving Najaf. They have been claiming that Sistani was forced to leave Najaf by the Iraqi and US authorities ever since.

Sistani refused to take a US helicopter and instead was driven to Baghdad Airport by the Diwaniyah-Hilla-Baghdad road in a closely guarded yet inconspicuous convoy. He arrived in London via Beirut, and there was some footage of his arrival at Heathrow. He was with his son Mohammed Ridha and one of his aides, and they were received by his London agent under the eyes of gawking British security personnel. More footage was  released yesterday of an old tired Sistani lying down in a bed at the Cromwell hospital. He is said to have been visited by an Iranian official who offered him Tehran's services, and that he snapped back at him that all he wanted was for Iran to leave him and Iraq alone.

So that settles all the conspiracy theories. Some people have been claiming that Sistani was flown away to London to 'remove' him from the scene in Najaf against his will. They underestimate the power of a supreme Hawza cleric, if Sistani wished, he could quite easily issue a fatwa or a statement from his hospital bed against the US actions. A supreme marji' can't easily be intimidated or silenced. They forget that Sayyid Mohammed Taqi Al-Shirazi issued the fatwa that sparked the massive 1920 uprising against the British while he was on his death bed, and he did indeed die days later but the revolt did not.

Also, the sensational media's talk of a power vacuum, or a struggle in Najaf among the  clerics on the event of Sistani's death betrays their ignorance of the traditional Shia leadership hierarchy. Sistani would be succeeded by either Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Ishaq Al-Fayyadh or Grand Ayatollah Bashir Al-Najafi, with the former being the most likely candidate even though they are equals in terms of scholarship and Islamic jurisprudence. Al-Fayyadh is of Afghani origin, while Al-Najafi is Pakistani. Al-Fayyadh was also, together with Sistani, one of Al-Khoei's most favourite students and esteemed aides. Grand Ayatollah Abu Al-Qasim Al-Khoei (who is Sistani's predecessor) even allowed Sistani, Al-Fayyadh, and Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr to issue fatwas on his behalf at many occasions. His followers are all over the Shi'ite world from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Furthermore, Grand Ayatollah Al-Fayyadh is known to be the most moderate of Shi'ite marji'iya, even more so than Sistani. He belongs to the traditional old school of  the Hawza (that of Abu Al-Hassan Al-Asfahani, Sadiq Al-Shirazi, Al-Barujardi, Hussein Kashif Al-Ghatta', Muhsin Al-Hakim, and Al-Khoei) that calls for a distinct seperation of state and religion and an utter contempt for the notion of Wilayet Al-Faqih (the rule of the jurisprudent) that was preached by Khomeini and taken up by the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

So I wish to comfort the sensational media that there will be no power struggles in the Hawza after Sistani's death. There will always be a peaceful consensus on who would be the supreme marji' in Najaf, as it has always been that way for centuries.

#  posted by zeyad : 8/10/2004 07:41:15 PM

Meeting with Ayatullah Al Udhama Syed Ali al Hussaini Al Seestani
The Office Bearers of The World Federation had a second opportunity of meeting Agha on Sunday 15 August 2004 at a London hospital. The President of The World Federation, Dr. Ahmed Hassam conveyed to Agha salaams from the Khoja community worldwide and informed him that our prayers are with him for his speedy recovery. Agha thanked the Office Bearers for visiting him and expressed his satisfaction at the work being done by The World Federation, in serving community and humanity at large.

He asked Dr Hassam, to convey his salaams and duas to mu'mineen and to thank them for their concern for his health. He also asked mu'mineen to continue praying for him and advised us to always remain steadfast on the path of the Ahlulbyat (AS).     
The President asked him for his advice to the community on the recent events in Najaf.  Agha responded by asking that mu'mineen pray for a quick peaceful resolution of the conflict and once peace returns to Iraq, to assist in the rebuilding of the Hawza Ilmiya and the other infrastructure that have been destroyed over the years. He also advised that mu'mineen not to be involved in any political activities. After the brief meeting which lasted for 25 minutes, he requested us to continue remembering him in our prayers as he does us in his prayers. 
Alhamdulillah Agha is in stable condition. Please continue to pray for his quick and full recovery.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Culebra Peak

Will new owners open access to Culebra Peak?

Climbers await news on fourteener's status after sale


Climbers trying to bag all of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks often settle for what they call A.B.C.

All but Culebra.

The pyramid-shaped summit of Culebra Peak is off limits. It lies on the private 77,000-acre Taylor Ranch in the Sangre de Cristo mountains just north of the New Mexico border, and only a few lucky hikers a year are allowed by the owner to set foot on its summit.

But the peak may open now that the ranch has new owners - and hundreds of dedicated climbers await the news.

"We're holding our breath," said Kristy Judd, executive director of the Colorado Mountain Club. "They may decide to keep it closed. They may open it. They may build Elitch's up there. We just don't know."

The new owners, Bobby and Dottie Hill and Richard and Kelly Welch of Texas, finalized purchase of the ranch last Thursday aug5 for an undisclosed sum.

They have yet to announce whether they will open up the trail to the summit, or keep it locked tight.

"It's just too early to tell," Bobby Hill said Wednesday. "We want to take our time and learn about the place and the issues before we go off and make a decision."

Every other 14,000-foot peak in the United States lies on public land where anyone can climb it them.

For much of the 1990s, Culebra Peak could be climbed for a price. Owner Jack Taylor charged hikers a $20 to $40 entrance fee.

Former Enron executive Lou Pai bought the ranch from Taylor in 1999 and let only a small number of Colorado Mountain Club members climb the peak one weekend a year.

The club added its own restrictions: Only members who had already climbed the 53 other fourteeners in the state could enter their names in a lottery for a chance at the last peak.

Half a million people climb Colorado fourteeners each year, according to the Colorado Fourteener Initiative, a group that builds sustainable trails on the peaks. Only about 60 get a chance to climb Culebra. A climber's name can take years to come up on the estimated 400-person waiting list.

Many mountaineers these days say "the heck with it" and embrace the considerable accomplishment of A.B.C.

"I've never been up there," said T. J. Rapoport, the Initiative's director. "I'm anxious to see it. It's supposed to be very pristine, very untrammeled."

So is the majority of the above-treeline crowd, which is buzzing over whether A.B.C. will finally R.I.P.

"The owners will have a real opportunity to build a sustainable trail that will preserve the alpine ecosystem," he said.

Mountaineers are only one group curious about the new owners.

For generations, people in the town of San Luis at the foot of the mountain have feuded with owners over their traditional rights to hunt, graze, and gather firewood.

In 1975 someone shot owner Jack Taylor in the ankle for closing the ranch to outsiders. Later, someone burned down his ranch house. Protesters have chained themselves to the ranch gates to protest logging on the property during the 1990s.

Owners, in turn, have aggressively prosecuted trespassers.

"You'd have to be an idiot not to know that this ranch has had its problems. I knew that. But we want to make a clean start," said Hill. "We plan to respect the people here, and we hope they will respect us."

To start from a clean slate, Hill has renamed the ranch Cielo Vista, or heavenly view.

He said he is interested in finding recreation-focused ways to make the ranch ecologically and economically sustainable. Allowing climbers onto the property could be part of that, he said, but he did not want to commit to specifics.

He plans to meet with locals in San Luis to start hashing out the public's place on Cielo Vista next Friday aug 20 but said it would take several months before things get settled.

Locals are cautiously optimistic.

"We view this as a new opportunity to have a good relationship," said Charlie Jaquez, a founding member of the Land Rights Council, a group based in neighboring San Luis that recently won a 44-year legal battle with various owners of the ranch to get them to respect historic land-use rights. "I think that's a really good sign. I hope they do open it up. It's a gorgeous place. The community has a real spiritual connection to that mountain. They want to befriend it again."


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Can you find a 3 or greater?

The Oracle

Did you ever see the movie 6 Degrees of Separation (Will Smith)? This is a program that tells you the degrees of separation between any two (famous) people. I've only played with it for a little while, but so far haven't gotten more than two degrees between people I've tried. Can you?

Sunday, July 25, 2004


Why is i supposed to be capitalized? Why not You, They, We, He, etc.? It seems so conceited. I don't like to capitalize my name, either,...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Today we're in Moab.  We have a much nicer hotel.  We left Cortez this morning around 8.  On our way here we stopped at Lowry Pueblo, about 20 miles North of Cortez.  It is about nine miles off the highway and is part of the National Monument called Canyon of the Ancients.  It is an unmonitored site - no rangers there watching you.  It has a painted kiva that they have tried to preserve since it was excavated in the 1930's.  However, there is basically nothing left of the paint - they preserved some of it in a museum, but it is still cool that you can walk in there for free, alone, no one bothering you, and get down in a covered kiva, etc.

Then we got back on the road (491) until just past Monticello, where we made the turn-off to Canyonlands National Park.  It is a huge park, and dad decided we didn't really have time for it. On our way in, however, it was starting to look really beautiful.  We did stop to see Newspaper Rock on the road into the park - now that was quite impressive.  It is a rock just off the rock on the canyon wall that has that black patina on it and it is literally covered with petroglyphs - probably thousands of them.  And they date from all different periods - some as old as 2000 B.C., and newer ones on top of those - including ones made by Utes after 1540 - because they show them hunting on horses.  I did take a few pictures to show you later.

After seeing the Petroglyphs, we went on to Moab, got our hotel room and had lunch.  We stopped for a cache that I found at the north end of Moab - a real one.  I also managed to do a virtual cache this morning because I saw a barber pole and my parents were getting gas so I had time to get the coordinates for that locationless cache. 

After lunch, we headed up to Arches National Park.  It is literally just a few minutes out of Moab.  We did the whole thing in a few hours, basically.  If you want to spend more time, there are plenty more hikes to do, camping, and jeeping.  Given the money and time and people who would do it with me, I'd be interested in doing some more challenging, longer hikes and even the jeeping.  My dad just isn't up for that stuff so our hikes have been short.  You can get the feel for Arches without hardly leaving your car.  It was a $10 entry fee, more than all the other parks we've been to this trip.  I thought it was nice, but my favorites still have to be back at Hovenweep and I liked Newspaper Rock.  There are some hikes through the Canyon of the Ancients that I'd like to try some day, and I'd like to do Canyon de Chelly and Navajo National Monument some day, too - more stuff like that.  It was REALLY hot today - right now it is about 100 degrees, it was up to 102 when were coming back from Arches.  So it was a bit hot for hiking; we did just a little, and took some pictures.  Today was a pretty good road trip day - three stops with interesting things to see and logged some miles.  If I win Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, I think it would be cool to take like an 8-week roadtrip through wherever - mostly the southwest as I am partial to it - and do all that hiking and camping stuff.

Mom's swimming in the hotel pool now.  If it weren't for the hijab thing I'd probably join her.  Dad's drinking beer and watching TV.  This trip would've been much more enjoyable if he didn't drink and smoke so much and was a little bit nicer of a person.  But, it was still a good trip.  He was upset today that, this being Utah, he had to buy his liquor for the evening from the state liquor store and they don't have domestic beer.  So he bought 12 of these British beers and some other 24 ounce bottle of beer to get him through until tomorrow night.  Yuck.

Tomorrow we're leaving Moab - which is a nice little town - a bit yuppyish but still nice, and heading on to Glenwood Springs.  Apparently there are some caverns to see there.  Then Friday we're supposed to come home.

Saw some rocky mountain sheep today and tried to get a picture of those, too.

Take care!