Monday, February 28, 2005

the links. Some funny, some scary

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Dalai Lama Links

I found it somewhat amusing that the Pope, while more or less viewed as God on earth, is chosen by democratic vote. The I though to myself, how else could it be done? The Dalai Lama seemed like a good model to use for perspective on other end of the pendulum.

On we go.

What is a Dalai Lama?
The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Dalai means "Ocean" in Mongolian, and "Lama" is Tibetan for "spiritual teacher" . The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people.

And who is the current Dalai Lama?
The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal Leader of the Tibetan people. He was born on July 6, 1935, in a small village called Taktser, in north eastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognised at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama.

And how do they find (recognize) the Dalai Lama?
In 1935, the Regent of Tibet went to the sacred lake of Lhamoe Lhatso about 90 miles southeast of Lhasa, Tibet's capital. The Tibetans have observed that visions of the future can be seen in this lake. The regent saw the vision of three Tibetan letters : "Ah" "Ka" and "Ma" followed by a picture of a monastery with roofs of jade green and gold and a house with turquoise tiles. A detailed description of these visions were written down and kept a strict secret.

In 1937, high lamas and dignitaries, carrying the secrets of the visions, were sent to all parts of Tibet to search for the place which the regent had seen in the waters. The search party which headed east was under the leadership of Lama Kewtsang Rinpoche of Sera Monastery. When they arrived in Amdo, they found a place matching the description of the secret vision.

So it takes a few years at least to find a candidate...

And does the interview process work?

Familiarity with the possessions of the previous Dalai Lama is considered the main sign of the reincarnation. The reincarnation is then brought to a monastery to be trained by the other Lamas. The process is not always peaceful; at times rival groups of lamas each "discover" a child and claim it is the true reincarnation. This has historically turned into political struggle to decide who is the real Dalai Lama, in a manner analogous to the Pope and Antipope conflicts in the Christian world.

Ok, so who were the previous Dalai Lama's?

6 out of the 14 were assassinated and/or died young. Sounds like a dangerous job. Only one of Dalai Lama's was non-Tibetan.

what are the odds? (Not links)

not links, but interesting odds calculation for comparison derived (gorilla math) from the information in previous emails. Results are based upon if you live in the U.S.

The odds of you being Pope (1 in 500 Million) if you are Roman Catholic
Most Popes are over 60 when confirmed. There may be two Popes between when you are 60 and dead. Though if your not a Bishop, its never happened before.

The odds of you being U.S. President (1 in 50 Million)
Estimate of the number of US presidents between when you are 35 and 80 years of age: 5. Though if you are not a Senator, Governor, or Representative, its never happened.

The odds of winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot (1 in 18 million).

The odds of being killed in a car accident on the way to buy a Lotto ticket (1 in 6 Million).

The odds of a heterosexual becoming infected with AIDS after one episode of penile-vaginal intercourse with someone in a non-high-risk group without a condom (1 in 5 million)

The odds of you being Dalai Lama (1 in 1 Million) if you are a Tibetan Buddhist and under the age of 4
Since Dalai Lama's are confirmed at very young ages, there may be 2 chosen in your lifetime. Only 1 Dalai Lama not living in Tibet has been confirmed.

The odds of being killed by terrorists while traveling abroad (1 in 650,000)

The odds of being dealt a royal flush on the opening hand in a poker game (1 in 649,739)

The odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 3000)

The odds of having a twin (1 in 33)

Kind of puts things into perspective.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Your Holy Father Links

Before I get the the main links, I had to include this before it reminded me of T.C.

Russian Scientists Develop Tablet to Prolong Drunkeness

So today I saw...

Pope Has Tracheotomy to Help Breathing

and then wondered who exactly is the Pope...

John Paul II

Now I needed to know what it means to be the Pope or "The Holy Father"....

"The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful."

Now, since the current Pope doesn't appear to have much time left, how is the next Pope chosen? Apparently they use an an age old voting process performed by 2/3 majority the Bishops....

A Papal Succession Primer

Interestingly enough.... "any Roman Catholic adult male is technically papabile (i.e., able to be elected Pope), for centuries only Cardinals have been elected." A one party system. :)

Then, who are the likely candidates...

Who Will Be the Next Pope?

Lastly, looking at the average age of these guys... we might need another Pope again real soon afterwards.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

the links and a bit of commentary

Only a Slovak man I tell ya. :)

Man peed way out of avalanche
"A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it."

Don't touch the little red button!!!

False Alarm, Connecticut Not Being Evacuated
"Connecticut emergency management officials have apologized for an erroneous message sent to state broadcasters today saying an evacuation of the state had been ordered."

Looks like our U.S. border security

I'm going to break out from the usual link parade to rant about the President's "State of the Union Address ". I found much of material hard to disagree with - had it been said by anyone else. But, this is Dubya and how much can we really believe? There was something in the speech really got to me though. It forced me think hard about today's American culture and who we are as a people. My comments after the speech snippet found below.


"America's immigration system is also outdated -- unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists (Applause.)"

When he finished this paragraph and after ensuring applause, I was actually upset. And I rarely get upset at television. I was upset because his statements ran completely contrary to my view of the American Dream and "AMERICA". The dream that says no matter who you are, or what your current situation, you can start at the bottom and work your way up. The fundamental belief that there is opportunity to work your ass off for a better life for your family and decedents. This life won't be easy and the results aren't guaranteed. But, you have a chance and this is all we ask. My parents did it this way and they're parents before them. A lot of others did it this way too.

Then I wondered if Bush could actually be right! Obviously he won the election based on his beliefs and not mine. So then I thought to myself...."Has American culture arrived to the point where we are so fat, lazy, and arrogant that there are jobs even the most disadvantaged among us won't take?" As a culture, do we now believe its better to collect a welfare check than be subjected to hard manual labor such as fruit picking and meat packing? Is manual labor embarrassing? Did he just say we need we NEED illegal aliens because we're dependent on a 2nd class type form of people?

The truth is I'm not prepared to call Dubya a fool. He may very well right and I'm the one thats wrong. I just have to believe if he is correct, America is destined to get its ass kicked by whomever/wherever because we're no long hungry enough to work hard. Isn't this exactly how other empires have fallen throughout history. For most American's I guess its better to drink beer, watch TV, and collect the welfare check. Maybe Bush is right and this is the new American Dream.