Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Why I Do What I Do

Life is full of twists and turns and is always too quick to stay the same for as much as a moment. Life is fleeting. Life is something ephemeral, something here today but can very well be gone tomorrow. Life is this way, and, justly so, we must ruefully accept such an agreement.

So what is my driving force to write here in blog? Ultimately, my impetus is in itself to be remembered not as a good writer, not as a good student, not as a good programmer, not as a good thinker, and not even as a good Aggie. Rather, I wish to be remembered as a good person.

If there is anything that is Aggie Bonfire Memorial dedication ceremony taught me, it is to live life to the fullest and to never take granted of your friends' existence with you, no matter the circumstances. May God grant repose to those who died in the Bonfire '99 Collapse and fill the voids of the hearts of those who miss them.

Miranda Denise Adams, Christopher David Breen, Michael Stephen Ebanks, Jeremy Richard Frampton, Jamie Lynn Hand, Christopher Lee Heard, Timothy Doran Kerlee, Lucas John Kimmel, Bryan Allen McClain, Chad Anthony Powell, Jerry Don Self, Nathan Scott West...

We remember your sacrifice. Always.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bonfire Memorial Day

The day has finally come. The five year remembrance of Texas A&M's deadliest day, that of the 1999 Bonfire Collapse. Now the Bonfire Memorial will be dedicated in a long-awaited and much anticipated event this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. May this Memorial bring some closure to the saddest chapter in the tradition-rich history of Texas A&M.

The Bonfire Memorial can be seen online here at the Memorial's web site: bonfirememorial.tamu.edu.

That Fateful Day

Then Heaven's pearly portals opened,
And hosts of Angels showed the way
For that Fighting Texas Aggie group
On that final Judgment Day.
Then more Aggies came into view,
Twelve dressed in Bonfire gear
Walking arm in arm and singing
Of the School they hold so dear.
Twelve Aggie voices said "Howdy"
To the keepers of the Gate.
"Working hard, we just lost track of time;
We hope we're not too late."
"It's the Fighting Aggie Bonfire Crew,"
St. Peter said. "Behold,
They're ready to light up Heaven,
With their courage and faith so bold.
I would often watch them building,
That stack so large and high,
And surely knew the time would come
That they'd build it into the sky."
And so the Twelve came through the Gates
As St. Peter said, "Don't fear,
You are just in time for Roll Call."
One by one, they answered, "Here."
November 18, 1999

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Never Forget...

Three years ago, at this very moment, the world as we knew it changed forever. The first attack on the World Trade Center happened at 8:46 A.M. EDT, September 11, 2001. This and the ensuing Acts of War by the 19 Islamic Extremist Hijackers should NEVER be forgotten.

May the remembrance of the loss of life, liberty, and freedom of the unfortunate victims of 9/11 be a reminder and forever a rejection of Extremism of any kind, especially Religious Extremism in any form, whether it is the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, the Bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, the Bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Africa, the Russian School Massacre, or those unmentioned and those yet to come. Forever must we stand vigilant, ready and willing to bear the load to wipe Extremism from the face of the Earth.

May God Bless America and All on Our Good Green Earth.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Reflections on a Friend's Anecdote

I've been out and about all weekend, so I thought it was best to refrain from posting something that was worth nothing. In the wise words of the 'Unknown' Food Critic's "running partner" in a WWL-TV food critic review: "You could have the biggest pile of junk in town, but it's still just trash."

Anyway, I'd like to share something I wrote after reading a friend's latest blog post after graduating from Texas A&M with a masters, "At Last the Circle Is Complete." I wrote the poem shortly after reading his post, trying to capture some of Jacob's theme of coming full circle.

A Journey

Life is but a journey,
A journey we all are on.
We are all at different places,
but our lives continue to go on.

Life is not to be wasted,
since one day we all will be gone.
We are on a journey,
a journey that is life.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Curt Jester: Catholic Comedy & Commentary

The problems with the current American Catholic state of mind are ever apparent in a site I stumbled upon after an interesting AIM consersation with a Aggie Catholic friend from Friendswood, TX. The conversation, which began innocently enough on the music of the mass and our preferences, led ultimately up to the question: is Marty Haugen, the composer of so much of the "modern" Catholic church music (most often sung by many choirs in the U.S.) , Catholic? Frankly, neither of us knew at the time, so I did a little internet research (which I'm beginning to do more and more often) and found a number of web pages after doing a search on Marty Haugen, and I came up with this web page: "Marty Haugen in Concert and Workshop at Monastery," from a Catholic web site, thedome.org, ran by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Indiana. Turns out he's Lutheran. Figures.

Anyhow, back to the humor part of this rave post. In the meantime of doing this search on Haugen, I stumbled on a tongue-in-cheek, Catholic blog web site, The Curt Jester, with a parody on the American Catholic liturgy called "Liturgy for Ignoramuses." I highly suggest you follow their suggestions for mass next Sunday! It really hits home to my previous post on the "Life Teen Craze" that's effecting a number of parishes here around Houston and elsewhere in America.

It's also worth sharing that that Jeff Miller (of The Curt Jester), another Catholic blogger like myself, has his own rant on this 'clappy,' 'feel-good' kind of Mass popping up more and more frequently nowadays. It's nearly identical to my couple encounters with this nerve-racking, mass-killing phenomenon that is supposed to bring the youth to Catholicism. Unfortunately, if these proponents want to do that, why not act CATHOLIC?! At any rate The Curt Jester is a wonderful blog on everything Catholic, including a more traditional mass stance. Be sure to check out The Curt Jester's Rant, too.

Forgive the slight ranting tonight, but it seems necessary whenever approaching a topic such as the "modernization" of the Catholic Mass in America.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Blogs of Note: A Few Raves for Some Spiffy Blogs

Tonight's my usual night to rave. If you haven't noticed yet, the days I post I go in a sequential order for my blog. I started with a rambling one day, followed it with rant the next, and ended the cycle with a rave the following day (thus the reason behind the name of my blog: "The Ramblings, Rants, and Raves of John Book"---In that specific order!). I've now completed the cycle three times, look for yourself! So with that note, I'll continue with my rave...this time on Blogs of Note.

1. Jen Speaks ...Because I Love to Run Off My Mouth! ~ Jen (Northern Virginia)
This blog was the first I encountered and it has been a pretty memorable one so far. It provides a very intriguing view that seems to be Conservative leaning but don't confuse this for your regular political blog...there's plenty of heartwarming, personal, non-political things that will interest most anyone. I found this blog about mid-June of this year looking for the music played during former President Ronald Reagan's funeral, but stumbled on a blog post from Jen's blog on Lady Thatcher's touching eulogy (taped and then played at the National Cathedral). Her thoughts on her eulogy were well-said, I found them to be quite agreeable. So, despite being my first read, I still believe it to be the best I've seen yet...and it'll take a lot for me to change my opinion on that.

2. (-= ~ Jacob Foshee (Spring, Texas)
This is blog of a friend from Texas A&M up in College Station, TX, that was actually the kickstart for me to start this blog here, my first. So, although it's not as glitzy (as in number of posts/viewings), I think it still provides a quirky look into small snippets (episodes as the blogger calls them) of his personal life. Not that his life is any less/more interesting than another (normal) person, but it comes down to the the bit of storytelling used in the posts which I appreciate since it's already so hard to find elsewhere on the net. There's also a interesting post (and slightly more technical than his previous to date) on blog-reading programs that I find quite informative (In fact, I'm currently using his top-suggested program, Feedreader, which I highly suggest). Always a plus, Jacob's blog has a sense of humor, which is always refreshing.

So whether or not you're into blogging yourself, go ahead a give these blogs a quick read, and I'm sure you'll find them as interesting as I did.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Fallen Twelve: The Long-Awaited Tribute

"Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer 'Here'..."
This November 18, 2004 will mark the dedication of the Bonfire Memorial, the lasting reminder of those twelve Aggies who died in the unfortunate, untimely Bonfire collapse of 1999. May we remember all Aggies that have passed on, both now and forever. May the Aggie Spirit never falter, never fail, never be forgotten. Fail not to pass on the Aggie Spirit that makes Texas A&M University the greatest institution in the nation. Let the Bonfire Tradition renew again!

Both Dr. Robert M. Gates, president of Texas A&M University, and Jack Hildebrand, student body president, will speak at the November 18, 2004 afternoon dedication. Classes that afternoon will be cancelled so all students will be able to attend the dedication.

Learn more about Aggie Traditions at Texas A&M's web site and view the August 3, 2004 article "Bonfire Memorial Dedication Set in Stone" in The Battalion, Texas A&M's school newspaper, from the links above.

"Once an Aggie, ALWAYS an Aggie"

Thursday, July 29, 2004

First Things First...My First Post

Funny how things are in this hectic world....always on the move, always going, never for looking back. Funny it is, this bit of technology called a Blog, part of technology that is designed to not only communicate hopes and dreams of the future but reflections on the past. Looking to the past is a guide to the future; let no one dissuade you to believe otherwise. It is with this reflection we can move forward.

Rest assured, I don't intend to harp on the past too much, but I will let this blog be a reflection of myself, and I will let it go as far or little as it likes. For good writing cannot be done on command. Inspiration, vision, and the "spark" needs to all be there.

I sincerely hope you enjoy reading my various ramblings, rants, and raves both now and in the future.