Monday, May 30, 2005

The Gulag Archipelago

It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Remembering the Forgotten

While veterans from World War II, Vietnam, and now the Iraqi War deservedly receive honor and remembrance from a grateful nation, often forgotten and neglected are those who faught and gave their lives in the Korean War (1950-1953).

36,940 Americans died, and nearly 100,000 came back with permanent injuries. There are still 8,176 MIAs. Even though the numbers are staggering, the war has been dubbed "The Forgotten War," because it is rarely talked about while other wars in recent history dominate the nation's collective memory.

I for one will forever be grateful to those who faught and gave their lives in the bloody conflict. While Communism has faded into very well deserved oblivion in most of the world, North Korea still remains one of the last holdouts of Stalinism and hell on earth by all accounts. It serves as a reminder of what my own life would have been like had it not been for the brave men who paid the ultimate price.

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!

Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C., dedicated July 27, 1995
forty two years after the cessation of hostilities.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


For some reason, the runway bride story a few weeks back was a source of my rather twisted fascination and endless amusement. I know. You noticed. Perhaps that is because I am scared that I will never get married given how my dating life has fared lately, hence the warped sense of pleasure over a stranger's meltdown over a life event that seems out of my reach.


But it stopped being funny when I read the story about her past arrests and prosecution for shoplifting. Let me explain.

There is a myriad of temptations I wrestle with on a daily basis, but strangely, substance abuse and shoplifting are among the vices that I have never been tempted to commit.

The idea of consuming non-nutritional chemicals to alter my mind has never appealed to me, not necessarily because of deeply held morals, but rather because of the fear of losing control over my faculties. I take anti-cold pills as the absolute last resort if other measures such as resting fail. And never have I ever been tempted to take into possession something that I have not paid for. Software piracy and downloading music illegally are out of the question. Can't explain that one.

As strange as it may sound, I feel some guilt over not having been subject to such temptations which many are bombarded with and succumb to, ruining their lives in the process. Perhaps it amounts to something akin to "survivor guilt" which this site defines as "a phenomenon often experienced by those who escape from a disaster that seriously injures and kills others." Individuals dealing with this type of guilt are said to believe that they survived at the expense of those who didn't. Is the absence of temptation on my part at the expense of people like the runaway bride and chronic drug abusers?

There is no profound take to offer here other than my own observations. Now talk amongst yourselves. I will give you a topic: Rhode Island which is neither a road nor an island ... (or something like that. Does anyone remember the exact line? Dang, how I wish I could mimick that New York accent.)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm back

Been busy, but there are over 15 drafts in the pipeline. Will publish one at a time once they look interesting enough.

In the meantime, click on the link below to one of my old postings I published on my third day in the blogsphere. I suspect most of my regular readers have missed it because it's so far back in the archive. I find myself going back to read it again and again whenever I can use some laughs. It is classic. It's a masterpiece.

How narcissistic can I get, you might think. Hold on there. I wrote only a very small fraction of the posting and the rest was written by someone else. I was merely a detached observer as the post practically wrote itself. Of course credit was given where credit was due.

Here it is

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Another ebay item


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


You gotta get this NOW. Hurry!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Two Emails

Exactly three months ago today, I shared this news about my very dear friends.

Yesterday and today, I got a phone call and these two emails. They should be self-explanatory.

Last night ...

I'm [name withheld], a good friend of Dennis and Kelly's who, like you, have been praying for them and for Baby Vaughn throughout this pregnancy. Tonight Dennis and Kelly have asked me to write an update to you and solicit your focused and very valued prayers for them.

We all received their most recent email on April 26th, detailing their 4 appointments tomorrow with specialists at Stanford. With Kelly now at her 24th week, the baby was just expected to be at the point of viability.

Yesterday Kelly did not feel any of the usual "flutters" (baby movements) and this morning still felt something was not quite right, so she called her OB-GYN and asked me to accompany her for a checkup today. This afternoon the doctor was unable to find the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler, and an ultrasound confirmed that the baby, although now the right size for this stage in his/her development, had died.

We were able to get a hold of Dennis at work and he joined Kelly immediately. This has obviously come as a heart-wrenching shock to them! They are grieving, in shock, and still hoping against hope that God may enliven this little one before any procedures are done in finality.

They felt unable to write tonight themselves, but desperately wanted you to know so you could be praying. Please join them/us in praying for a miracle: that Baby Vaughn has somehow eluded the instruments, and will pull through to join Dennis and Kelly's family. Pray that Dennis and Kelly know and experience God's tender love, His intimate presence and comfort this evening and in the days to come.

Either Dennis and Kelly or I will update you very soon to let you know how you might continue praying. They so value your prayers and support! At the same time they realize their need for privacy and have asked you not to call immediately -- knowing they're unable to talk to many of us due to the crushing weight of this pain.

Thank you so much for supporting Dennis and Kelly in this critical way. We will update you as soon as we know more.

This morning...

Kelly called from Stanford Hospital about an hour ago with an update, and asked that I fill you in with where things stand today.

Dennis and Kelly kept the first of their scheduled appointments this morning with the perinatologist. He did confirm what the doctor yesterday found in her office: that unexpectedly and so sadly, their baby has died in utero. Their options from here were either to have a D&C or to induce labor and deliver their baby. Dennis and Kelly have chosen the second option, in their commitment to honor this child. They will be talking to one of their pastors later today, and would like to have a memorial service honoring this baby and the brief life God gave him.

They are working on scheduling the inducement, hopefully at Stanford sometime later this week. To induce labor, Kelly will be given 2 different medications: one to open her cervix and one to begin the labor. She will be given a private room and they will be allowed to have a few friends present to support them. They will be able to hold the baby and name him, then honor him with a service after leaving the hospital. Kelly will stay overnight after delivering their baby so she can physically recover. Genetic services there at Stanford will do some tests to determine if there is any identifiable cause of death.

I think you'll agree that choosing to deliver this child is the much more gut-wrenching option; yet Dennis and Kelly are determined to honor this baby and cherish the gift God gave them, however briefly. Please continue in prayer for them! Despite their pain, they are resolute to honor God in this! They will face tough decisions and tougher circumstances in the coming days; pray with me that they continue to experience God's presence, comfort, strength and peace.

Thank you so much for your support, love and prayers for Dennis and Kelly at this time.

With thanks for your love for them,