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Tag Archive: MaybeToday.org

In Case You Need to Know How to Vote on Tuesday…

Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 (9:51 pm), by John W Gillis


The coveted MaybeToday.org Election 2012 endorsements and voting guidelines are here at last. Readers will certainly want to use these statements to inform their own decision-making prior to the upcoming election. For example, any of my neighbors in Precinct 8 of lovely Natick Massachusetts could print out this post and take it with them to the Morse Room in the Morse Institute Library next Tuesday, for use as instructions on precisely how to cast one’s votes (I think that would be legal, but I have to admit I’m not sure – please check with the voting officials before pulling this out at the polls! It might be classifiable as campaign-related material, although I have no involvement with any campaign). Others may find it less directly applicable to them in places, but hopefully still plenty helpful. Don’t forget to share it with your friends – or enemies, I’m not picky – I’m bi-partisan!

For President of the United States: Republican Mitt Romney gets my vote, and my unhesitating endorsement. I admit to starting out this campaign season as a simple anti-Obama voter (sensibly enough, I would hope the reader would admit), but I have grown considerably in my opinion of, and confidence in, Mr. Romney, and I look forward to seeing him inaugurated in January, which I am quite confident will be the outcome of this election. I have been particularly impressed with the graciousness with which he has tolerated the slanderous campaign against him by the Democrats. He has been a model of the idealized leading citizen envisioned by America’s Founding Fathers. Go Mitt!

For U.S. Senator from Massachusetts: incumbent Republican Scott Brown gets my vote, as well as my reluctant endorsement. I’m not a big fan of Scott Brown, but as was also the case when he ran for this seat in the 2010 special election, he represents the only even remotely sane option on the ballot. Of course, this is often the case with Republicans running against Democrats, but challenger Elizabeth Warren truly represents the worst of the Democrat Party. She is a relentless “I’m on the side of the little guy” demagogue who, as a professor at Harvard Community College University, pockets a salary of over $300,000/year for teaching a single course, while calling for the government at all levels to increase tax-supported “funding” to schools in order to make education “more affordable” to the kind of people who do her laundry. At the risk of sounding “sexist” by mentioning her physical appearance, I must say that her startlingly high cheekbones remind me of a legendary American cultural hero I once saw on a $3 bill (I think it was Chief Wild Eagle), but that’s just not enough to convince me she has what it takes to execute an honest political office. Good grief.

For U.S. Representative from the Fifth Massachusetts Congressional District: Framingham Republican Tom Tierney gets my reluctant vote, over perpetual incumbent Ed Malarkey. I would vote against Ed Malarkey purely on account of his idiotic (hence, predictably successful) campaign to double-down on the screwball idea of Daylight Saving Time – a social engineering adjustment that cost businesses billions of dollars in wasteful compliance costs when it was implemented a few years ago, and continues to screw up the works for various information systems today. However, Ed has much more to answer for than that. Tierney, for his part, looks to be almost as bad a candidate as Malarkey. He’s the very definition of a RINO, who I have to assume registers as a Republican only for the chance to (repeatedly) get on the ballot and garner some anti-Malarkey votes. On the other hand, at least he’s had a real job. Nonetheless, he will be trounced once again by party-line voters who have no idea who he is, and that will be no great loss, except as an opportunity to put a genuine alternative to insipid progressivism on the ballot for this important seat.

For Governor’s Councilor, Second District: I will be abstaining, as this Council should simply be abolished.

For Massachusetts State Senator, Second Middlesex & Norfolk District: I will also be abstaining on this choice, as incumbent Democrat Karen Spilka is running unopposed for her fifth term in the Massachusetts Senate. As a rule of thumb, I do not vote for candidates running unopposed, unless I specifically want to encourage them. I have no such desire to encourage Ms. Spilka.

For Massachusetts State Representative for the 5th Middlesex House District: Republican challenger William Callahan of Natick gets my vote, although I’m not sure why, except that he’s not seven-term incumbent, Natick Democrat David Linksy. Linsky isn’t a bad guy, but he’s very much the insider, and he strikes me as too much of a typical liberal: the sort who seem incapable of understanding that there might be actual alternatives to threadworn liberal solutions, habitually dismissive of those who don’t “get it”, where “it” is nothing but the pious orthodoxies of post-modern liberalism. It’s time for David to return full-time to private law practice. As for Callahan, he told a local newspaper that he was running on a “transparency” message, but I’ve found it almost impossible to find out anything about him other than that he’s ex-military (National Guard – retired as a colonel). Whatever. If he’s willing to run and serve, he’s worth a shot.

For Middlesex County Sheriff: Ernesto Petrone gets the nod over Democrat Peter Koutoujian, for no other reason than that Petrone is unaffiliated with any political party, which means that we belong to the same non-party. Let’s face it: one less Democrat occupying a political office in Massachusetts is a step toward establishing a more truly democratic (small-d) political environment in the state.

For Middlesex County Clerk of Courts: Democrat Michael A. Sullivan is running unopposed, and the “No Voting for the Unopposed” rule is to be applied.

For Register of Deeds, Middlesex Southern District: Maria Curtatone is running as an unopposed Democrat, which almost disqualifies her from consideration on two counts right away. But she goes down swinging wildly on strike three, when the 48 year-old identifies herself in a biographical sketch provided to e-the-People as “the proud parent” of two children. This smacks very clearly of the fashionable, transgressive, “post-gender” pieties that are coursing through the atrophied veins of the Democrat party and other lodes of progressive group-think these days. Any woman who has neither the sense nor the decency to identify her relation to her children as “mother” should be kept out of public positions of influence, as far as I’m concerned.

On QUESTION 1 – Right to Repair: I am advocating a NO vote on this question, seeing as compromise legislation has been worked out and signed into law since this question went on the ballot – otherwise, I would have supported this effort. The compromise agreement should be honored.

On QUESTION 2 – Legalizing “Doctor Assisted Suicide”: NO. This is such bad law that it is hard to know where to start in criticizing it. The sick, the despairing, and the dying do not need to be told that it is time for them to put themselves out of our misery. The medical profession is already fatally compromised by its embrace of abortion, but this would further erode the premise of its existence. Suicide is a tragedy, and those who destroy themselves – and mark my words: suicide destroys the self, not the evil circumstances of pain, suffering, and whatnot – they have absolutely no idea of what the personal consequences of such a self-repudiation are. I imagine they suppose it “ends it all”, but that would require that the human being be purely material, having no spirit (i.e. intellect and will). That is a dubious assumption, to say the least, and you cannot make the spirit to be as if it never was, simply by killing the body. This is beyond foolishness; the worst sufferings are spiritual, and everybody with a shred of honesty and self-awareness knows it. Why is it that, just when the human race finally has the technology to effectively ameliorate so much of the pain and suffering that have long defined the descent into death for the ill, it has suddenly become fashionable and “compassionate” to promote self-obliteration on account of the fear of pain and suffering? I smell a rat.

On QUESTION 3 – Medical Use of Marijuana: NO. That this is nothing more than a Trojan Horse should be fairly evident to everyone eligible to vote on Tuesday, unless they’re stoned. The War on Drugs might be a disaster, but marijuana’s War on Intelligence is no suitable replacement.

iBreviary now available on MaybeToday.org

Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2011 (9:48 pm), by John W Gillis


I’ve embedded the nifty iBreviary web app on a new page on the site, which can be used to peruse the daily offices of the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as the readings for the daily Liturgy of the Eucharist. The other content from the missal for Masses (Roman or Ambrosian rite) is also available at a click, though not integrated with the readings – not that anyone would be likely to be celebrating Mass with my website up in front of them, anyway. Another section displays an impressive selection of common prayers.

This is a really cool addition to the site, if I do say so myself. It could only be better if it were available as some kind of text feed I could style to match my site’s CSS. As it is, it lives in an iframe, which is essentially a window that embeds the content of another web site, and allows people to interact live with the other site through the window living in my page.

My deep gratitude to Don Paolo Padrini and the good folks at ibreviary.com for not only publishing this fabulous app, but allowing sites like mine to embed it. Besides the web app, they have apps available for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, as well as any WiFi device (Kindle, phone…) via a browser. All this available in English, Italian, Latin, French, and Spanish. Great stuff.

Bible Study Software English Bibles Comparison Published

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2010 (9:36 am), by John W Gillis


Last night, I was finally able to publish on the site a comparison table I put together in January, showing which English language Bibles are available in which Bible Study program, and what the cost is for each. I had struggled with this for technical reasons, because the table doesn’t come close to fitting within the standard content column of the site, and I didn’t want to orphan it.

This is more interesting than one might suspect. Yes, the bigger name translations are generally available in most programs (only KJV, ASV, YLT, and Darby’s are available in all the ones I reviewed, however), but it’s good to know where to find some of the more obscure versions, and some curious traits did emerge from the data. See for yourself.

The chart is intended as a companion to a page I’m working on that will provide an overview of the history of English language translations of the Bible which, given my school schedule in April, will probably not be ready until May. At five or six months per page, I should have this site built out to where I envision it in about another 20-25 years.

Tempus Fugit

Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 (11:47 pm), by John W Gillis


MaybeToday.org turned two years old last Monday (March 1st). The occasion passed with little notice. Considering how much I had planned to write and post last month, and how much I actually produced (oops), I suppose I’m not surprised.

I spent the evening out with my wife, celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Having been married on Feb 29th, we usually get our choice of dates on which to celebrate the remembrance, but we very rarely wait until the 1st. I guess I launched the site the day after our anniversary in 2008 – I don’t recall being cognizant of the proximity of the dates, though I surely must have been (March 2nd is a birthday in our house, as well).

We had a nice dinner at Restaurant 45 in Medway, and as is customary on the occasion, it served as a quiet opportunity for recollection, reflection on the past, and a taking stock of how things are going. On the drive home up Rt. 16, while passing a road in Holliston which I used to travel daily to Framingham when we were living in Milford and I was working at General Chemical, it struck me how life experiences very often seem to have an import amplified in proportion to how early in life they occur.

In other words, it seemed like that left onto Brook Street, picking up Western Ave through Sherborn to the southeastern outskirts of Framingham, led to a road so many times traveled that I should be able to find my tire marks worn into the pavement – like an old friend with whom I share so many stories. Likewise, the whole experience of working at General Chemical looms rather largely in the scope of my composite memory of the path my life has taken to the present. But I worked there for only about three years, back in my early twenties. In contrast, I’ve sat a year longer than that in my current office, which is merely the most recent of five offices I’ve occupied in my current building, which is the fourth building I’ve worked out of for my present employer (in some permutation or another) over the past fourteen years. Yet, in terms of being a perceived life episode, I’d have a hard time not seeing the earlier experience as more life-defining.

The high school experience is another glaring example of what I’m referring to. The four years I spent in high school can almost be viewed as four distinct episodes in my life, each imparting a major impact on my life’s journey (or development, if you prefer) in numerous ways. Even the summers back then seem like they were so much longer, so much more decisive. I hesitate to say that time just doesn’t seem as interesting anymore – Lord knows I’d be somewhere between bored stiff and embarrassed to death if I had to relive a day of the inanity that was my adolescent life – but it might have something to do with the relative lack of crises in my life these days. The occasional heart attack notwithstanding, I lead a pretty crisis-free existence these days, and perhaps that equanimity just lends itself to a general dialing-down of the memory-experience meter. Perhaps our memory is a drama that, lacking dramatics, tends toward quietude and stillness. 

Or maybe I’m just stumbling upon another angle to the age-old truism that life seems to accelerate as we age. But I’ve never heard of anyone trying to recapture their forties or fifties, no matter how old they get. One needn’t look far to find people aching to recover their lost adolescence, though. I don’t believe youth offers the vitality we tend to ascribe to it – at least not beyond the physical robustness that aging breaks down. In the life of the mind – in the living-ness of life, in our relationships, our imagining and thinking, and our willing, both loving and sinning – youthfulness is such a crude exactor of purpose, crying out for perfection to wisdom and prudence. And yet, time flies…

Coming Up for Air

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 (11:58 pm), by John W Gillis


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For the first time in almost six months, I’m not working on a college course. I finished my first pre-req course at Franciscan University over the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying the mental break of knowing I’m uncommitted (especially since receiving confirmation of my assignment submission yesterday), but there are a couple matters that have surfaced in the process.

I never expected to take anywhere near six months to complete that course, and if I can’t find a way to shave course durations significantly, I could be on this program for an unwieldy amount of time – it would be at least another three years before I began my actual graduate courses, which simply doesn’t sound workable. I need to find a way to reduce the course durations to something much closer to three months. In a world without other responsibilities, that would be a piece of cake, but I’m struggling to even imagine how I could consolidate my schoolwork like that without shirking other duties – and these courses won’t get any easier.

The other glaring matter is what to do with the website. Fronting this site with a blog has become something of a joke, as I rarely find time to write for it, and increasing my focus on schoolwork will hardly work to ameliorate that. My writing interests hardly intersect effectively with the blogging ideal, anyway, as I just can’t rouse myself to blurt and link every time I have half an idea. I want my writing to stretch my thinking out, to help move my mental acumen from intuition and cleverness to substantial and substantiated reason.

So I’m seriously considering moving the blog off to a side page (maybe with a weekly article commitment, just to keep me honest), and fronting the site with a structure geared toward publishing static content. I’m considering a series of doctrinal studies,based on my CCD class preparation notes, among other things.I could see this serving a good purpose, as a kind of semi-popularized collection of important ideas in Catholic theology, where semi-popular means presented at a level a layman (or student) can easily grasp,  while also providing the background necessary to effectively read scholarly works.

July? What July?

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 (11:41 pm), by John W Gillis


ccp2 What a whirlwind! Nasta & Yulia have returned to Belarus after a whirlwind month of activity. These girls were very much like other girls I’ve known, but they possessed a truly remarkable courage. They were just little kids, of course, but they really impressed me in how they handled themselves. There was much more bustle in the house than I am accustomed to, while they were here. There was a constant chatter going on in Russian, which at first seemed out of place in the home – as if the house were a train station or airport, and not my sanctuary and refuge – but which quickly became just another background element of the domestic fabric. I miss it.

Being with and around the girls added an interesting contextual layer to my thinking about some issues that have rapidly come to the foreground of my thought these days; issues around technology & medicine, sickness & dying, etc. A number of public and private concerns have had me reflecting yet again on these matters, which seemingly have never been far from the surface since my own brush with death two years ago.

I think the train of thought got started just a day or two before welcoming these two young kids, whose lives are part of the sad legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, when I coincidentally picked up a small book that I had been uncertain how to classify in my library, and began to read it. It was by Pedro Arrupe, who at the time of writing it was the Superior General of the Jesuits. Roughly the first half of the book was a recollection of his experiences on the ground in Hiroshima in 1945, where he was stationed as a missionary when the first atomic bomb was dropped. Arrupe had studied medicine for five years before entering the seminary, and he had to call upon every thread of his experience in dealing with the crisis. It was a sobering read, to put it gently. My intellectual circumstances snowballed from there, and I soon had several thematically related posts sketched out in my mind, but have been so strapped for time that I’ve little more to show for it than a couple of drafts, and a bucket-full of good intentions.

I’ve had so little time to write that the idea of publishing a blog is beginning to look a bit silly, and I’ve been finding myself (again) tempted to use the blog for publishing blurts & blurbs, instead of somewhat longer pieces, though that’s really not what I launched the site to do – I wanted to use it as a vehicle for stretching out my thinking. I almost always find the idea of publishing blurts uncomfortable when I’m working on more substantial things, even though the majority of articles I at least mentally sketch out never see the light of day, eventually ending up in the dustbin of good intentions. In my saner moments, I continue to think I should be able to strike a better balance here. My preference would be to find more time to write!

The One-Year Mark

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 (9:46 pm), by John W Gillis


March 1st came and went largely unnoticed this year. I would have expected myself to pen a one-year mark post, to commemorate the first year of the maybetoday.org web site. I‘m guessing I slept through it. I’ve been feeling quite run-down as of late, and I’m not sure if this is simply a case of the late winter blahs, or if I have something else going on.

It’s been a far less productive year on the site than I had hoped for when I started out, but that doesn’t surprise me much. Although I am surprised I’ve made as little headway as I have in putting together information on Bible Study software – that was one of my primary goals at the outset, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I’d intended to do.

I also got nowhere integrating LibrayThing into the site, which I decided to do after determining the Now Reading plugin was not what I was looking for. I’m in the middle of reorganizing my physical library as I prepare to move my office up two flights of stairs, and perhaps I can use the opportunity to collect the missing ISBN numbers I need to get the collection migrated into LibraryThing. It shouldn’t be too much work after that to integrate it into the site.

Technically, I think the theme has held up pretty well. Seeing as I had no clue what I was doing when I started, and that there is a considerable level of customization of the base theme, I’m pretty satisfied. I still need to fix the drop-down menu to work right with all browsers, and the poor formatting of Comments text only got addressed within the past week or so, but that’s OK. I now need to implement threaded comments, and I’m seriously considering widening all three columns. Otherwise, I just need to focus on mission, and praying for energy.

Why MaybeToday?

Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 (7:46 pm), by John W Gillis


I was listening to a lecture by Peter Kreeft a while back, and he observed that time is the stuff of which life is made – time is life. People often say that time is money, but that’s an understatement. Kreeft is right: time is life.

This isn’t meant to suggest that time is a metaphysical necessity, or that there can be no such thing as eternal life. Rather, it means that the life we each possess – our life – is ultimately a very precise allotment of time, and that each sunrise brings us one day closer to death. Time is really all we have, and the whole content of our lives is an answer to the question: What did you do with your time?

Life is a timed test, where you don’t know how long the time is.

Like any test, it’s not enough to answer the questions; you have to somehow come up with the right answers. The right use of time is not just about avoiding procrastination, as important as that is. It’s about prudence, in all its aspects. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have found myself, in life, paddling furiously downstream to nowhere (sometimes quite effectively), just to realize that I’d only distanced myself all the more from the source I sought – and still seek. Time, in a sense, down the drain.

From my youth, I have been especially intrigued by the notions of time, of hope, and of reality. These three ideas have dominated my mental life in many respects. Perhaps I will find the opportunity to explore the relationships between them within these pages before too long, but Kreeft’s observation jolted me to the realization that the hope which lives in me – for all the lip service I may give it – has been subject to a rather systematic marginalization for much of my life, in deference to a kind of practical expediency – and even a heart attack at age 46 didn’t manage to seriously shake it free.

Hope is absolutely essential to sanity for anyone who seeks the truth, for anyone with a hunger to embrace reality, because reality has two very distinct faces. Reality is God, which we consider Beatitude, but reality is also the mess we live in – as well as God’s judgment on that mess. Hope is the reaching from brokenness to promise that climbs the ladder of reality, if you will. And it is hope that allows us to break free from captivity to anxiety and fear, to embrace – and realize – the promise of beatitude in our life.

The great Christian hope is in the return of Jesus Christ to earth, both to judge it, and to fully manifest the new creation. That return may happen today, or it may happen some day long from now – but we are not truly Christian if we do not expect that day, and indeed “wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” And yet, for each of us, we live our own allotment of time – and we know not what time is ours, but our time, too, may come today, and there’s no good reason we should be any less joyfully expectant of the advent of our own end time.

I haven’t met a lot of people that embrace such a joyful readiness for death. In truth, most of us just don’t feel ready for it, and – speaking for myself – I know that’s because I have not lived my life – that is, I have not spent my time – prudently enough. It seems to me that there is only one right time to start changing that: today.

I was beginning yet another long commute home in a miserable winter rain storm one night last year, when the thought came to me that I needed to make a decision on exactly what to do about a rather complicated computer-related situation I had waiting for me at home – which included choosing a domain name for a web site I was planning. My initial reaction was to say “Maybe tomorrow,” but – with Peter Kreeft’s wisdom in the back of my mind – I immediately thought better of that, and said: “No, maybe today.”

There’s really no better time to get on with life – reaching for the promise – and it’s entirely possible that there will be no other time at all. Maranatha!

Uttering...

Bible Software Review Criteria Published

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2008 (2:35 pm), by John W Gillis


As part of my effort to get serious evaluations of some common Bible Study applications posted on this site, I’ve published my overall evaluation criteria. It is available as a tab on my main Bible Study Software, which can be found here.

The Two Month Mark

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2008 (7:26 pm), by John W Gillis


So, this blog has been live for two months now, and I still don’t feel like I’ve finished the underlying work it requires. Frankly, April didn’t seem very productive at all.

I temporarily implemented Snap Shots on the site, but turned around and disabled them when it became apparent they were slowing down completion of page loads too much. It’s too bad – I liked the way it allowed the user to preview a link before clicking through to it, although I did find some of the advertising ill-fitting, and maybe even inappropriate. Still, I may reimplement it in a more limited fashion later on.

I went through a couple of bookmarking widgets before settling on ShareThis, which is a great compact little gizmo.

I still haven’t implemented LibraryThing, though I finalized my decision to go that direction. I’m going to lose a little control in terms of site layout for my book-related stuff, but plugging in to the LibraryThing community is a huge upside.

I installed WordPress 2.5 and 2.5.1, which broke my image upload capability, but I’ve worked around it, and the good news is that the new image upload function sets a few standard sizes for images, saving me from having to go into my CSS and do that as custom classes. I also made the metadata display in the post footers more to my liking.

Instead of sticking to simpler posts, I got involved in a couple projects last month I haven’t been able to complete yet. I can’t say I didn’t warn myself…

April was a grueling month for me. I spent most of it waiting for layoffs at work (I survived), and ended it at the hospital getting my foot x-rayed, as I’ve spent this week hobbling around on a brutally sore ankle (achilles tendinitis). But, spring is finally in full swing, and perhaps I’ll be able to make better use of my time in May. My goals for the month are to integrate LibraryThing, and to get my WORDsearch pages up-to-date.

JWG