"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Friday, June 30, 2006
 
Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-121) Go For Lauch
UPDATE: We can fly into space, but we still can't control the weather. Next launch attempt is July 4, 2006 at 3:26 pm Eastern. Stay tuned.

The news cycle is a fickle thing. Between SCOTUS rulings, Britney's Bare Boobs, and the World Cup, its hard to keep track of much else.

For those of you overwhelmed by the different storylines of the day, let me point you to one you may have missed. Tomorrow - July 1, 2006 - will mark America's return to space on the wings of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

For most of us, myself included, space travel has been a fact of life. Its something we've become accustomed to - so much so that one television network once declared a trip to the moon to be about as exciting to cover as a bus ride to Pittsburgh.

Missions like Apollo 13, Challenger, and Columbia remind us that space travel is indeed rocket science and those brave men and women who undertake these missions are indeed pioneers on the final frontier. I admire them greatly and hope someday soon they will be permitted to do more than just orbit the earth. I long to see them walk again on the moon and beyond - to truly go where no one has gone before.

So tomorrow, weather permitting, at 3:48.37 Eastern Daylight Time (gotta love the time calculated down to the second) seven astronauts will once again "slip the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

Good luck, and Godspeed to the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-121.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
 
The Battle Of The Birds
As my home has been overrun by the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro's Book Club, I have been relegated to the basement with my two children, Cordeirinho and Cordeirinha. They are currently desecrating the 42" Plasma TV with a showing of The Great Mouse Detective. All I know is it will take several showings of manly flicks such as Master & Commander and Top Gun to return the Plasma to its normal testosterone levels.

As I have seen The Great Mouse Detective one too many times (the number of times being one) I shall regale you with a story that will soon become part of the ever growing volume of Cordeiro Lore. Some is fact. Some is fiction. Sometimes you're never really sure which is which. That's the great thing about lore.

A few months ago I was due to leave my home for a few weeks of business travel. It has become an accepted fact that at least one disaster will strike my home or family while I am away. Realize there is a very broad definition of the term disaster. Usually it constitutes an event which I would be required to handle were I in the same zip code at the time of the event.

Disasters can range from illness affecting one or more of the household members - although the term Complete and Total Disaster usually requires the illness to affect the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro. Then, of course, there are the usual malfunctions of automobiles, computers, and any host of home appliances.

Sometimes disaster strikes just as I am about to leave. Such was the case with what has come to be called The Battle of the Birds.

It was a normal Sunday morning. My flight was scheduled to leave at around two in the afternoon, thus giving me a chance to get the family off to church and then myself off to the airport. I was even going to get a chance to sleep in.

Murphy always has a field day when I try to sleep in.

Around 6 am, the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro shook me out of a dead sleep. "I hear scratching in the attic," she whispered. "Its just the trees against the roof," I said, calmly attempting to assuage her concerns. I don't know why I keep trying to do that. It never works.

"I think you should go up there and check it out." With that pronouncement, I surrendered my sabbath slumber and went to pilfer my neighbor's ladder.

Getting into my attic requires a form of gymnastics that I am very poor at performing. The attic is hot, blown insulation is everywhere, and I have to be very careful so as to not put an appendage through the ceiling of any number of upstairs rooms. After removing the access panel to the attic, I heard a very dangerous sound.

The chirping of birds in an attic is a very, very, very bad thing. That's what I heard when I contorted myself into the attic. Loud, ceaseless chirping. I then proceeded to the source of the chirping. I lifted up a piece of Pink Panther insulation to find a bird's nest - complete with five tiny birds.

There is a God, and He looks after drunks, old ladies, and new homeowners crawling through attics at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. How do I know this? The birds had not yet learned how to fly.

I took a plastic bag from a box and proceeded to pick up the young birds one by one (wearing a pair of thick leather gloves of course - beaks are sharp!) and stuff them in the bag.

"What are you doing?!?" The Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro's head had poked up through the access panel.

"I'm getting rid of these birds!" My answer was short. I was busy stuffing birds in a bag.

"You're gonna kill those baby birds!" Her point was valid, but killing the birds was the least of my concerns.

"They won't suffocate in the time it takes for you to get them outside." Her concern for the birds was knocked down a peg when she had to handle the bag.

The birds were released, unharmed I might add, to the bush next to the front porch. From there we can only hope they avoided the neighbor's cat.

Never let it be said I never did anything for the welfare of small flightless birds.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
 
I Am Maximus
...at least that's what the Quiz said.

You scored as Maximus. After his family was murdered by the evil emperor Commodus, the great Roman general Maximus went into hiding to avoid Commodus's assassins. He became a gladiator, hoping to dominate the colosseum in order to one day get the chance of killing Commodus. Maximus is valiant, courageous, and dedicated. He wants nothing more than the chance to avenge his family, but his temper often gets the better of him.

Maximus

83%

William Wallace

79%

Captain Jack Sparrow

75%

James Bond, Agent 007

71%

Indiana Jones

71%

El Zorro

67%

The Terminator

58%

The Amazing Spider-Man

58%

Neo, the "One"

54%

Batman, the Dark Knight

54%

Lara Croft

50%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Friday, June 16, 2006
 
World Cup Fever
For those of you living in an US-centric world without access to ESPN, the soccer phenomenon of the World Cup is taking Germany by storm. Soccer is a far bigger sport outside the US than it is domestically. Its a fairly easy sport to play and the start up costs are exceptionally cheap. All you need is a dirt field and, two goals, and a ball.

Soccer has never really been my sport. I played it for a year or so as a young lad until I discovered the joys of American-style football. I didn't really pay attention to it again until I ventured to Brazil as a missionary.

Shortly after my arrival in Sao Paulo, my companion and I were being driven back to my apartment by a recent-convert. "Elders," he said, "let's take a little detour. I want to show you something." I, of course, caught little of this due to my rudimentary language skills so I went along for the ride.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

We then came to a main avenue in the city where a celebration was in full swing. I've been to my share of street parties, but this put them all to shame. Sao Paulo has two major soccer teams - the Sao Paulo Futebol Clube (SPFC) and the Corintios. The Corintios had just beaten SPFC for the city title - thus the celebration.

It was quite an experience, many photos were taken, and no, my Mission President never saw them.

Brazilian soccer fans can only be compared to Texas football fans in their dedication to their sport and their team.

Brazilians at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate

Brazil's World Cup victories are commemorated with week long celebrations followed by years of treating the World Cup team with a reverence usually reserved for Deity. World Cup losses are mourned for years, sometimes decades. Rumor has it that a goalie from one World Cup team which lost to another South American rival is still reviled to this day.

There are high hopes for many nations in this year's World Cup chase. Sadly, my nation - short of a miracle akin to that of the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team - will soon be eliminated. France shows promise, as does the home country favorite of Germany.

Personally, I'd bet on Brazil if for no other reason than their players (as a unit) are the Michael Jordans of Soccer. Most of them grew up playing on the dirt fields of their neighborhoods and despite their incredible celebrity still play the game with a love known only to boys who would rather play soccer than eat.

Take some time over these coming days and see what all the commotion is about over on ESPN. You might just learn something about a game which really gathers world attention.

Viva Brasil!
Sunday, June 04, 2006
 
Ghosts of Tinananmen
June 4, 1989


Here they talked of revolution.
Here it was they lit the flame.
Here they sang about 'tomorrow'
And tomorrow never came.



From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade at dawn.



Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.


-Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables


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