Archive for September, 2014

Smart Doors

Friday, September 19th, 2014

I’ve been thinking about what I want in a smart door. I want it to recognize me (and others authorized to enter the house) and that we want to come it. I want it to unlock itself at a minimum. If my arms are full I want it to recognize that and open for me. I also want it to hear and respond to command like “lock”, “Open”, and “Close.”

When I leave I want it to automatically close and lock unless I tell it otherwise. If I am home I want the door to recognize people I know and let me know who is at the door. If I don’t know them they should tell me at least something about who is there like how many people and gender.

If I am not there I want the door to take a message from and pictures of visitors and at least give me some images of them if there is no message.

I believe that the technology to do this exists already. I wonder if someone it working on it as a research project.

September 11 2014

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

As September 11 approaches the first thing I think about is that it is the birthday of my nephew Erik Jon. Life goes on and we have to think about now and about the future. We also have to think about the people who are in our lives and what they mean to us. Erik Jon and his special day remind me of that.

Yes I think about the events of 9/11/01 as well. The faces and tears of the Ogonowski girls as they were escorted by my office after finding out about their father will probably never leave me. The worry about friends who working in the towers and about my father, senior chaplain for the NYC Fire Department that day, when I could not reach him for hours is still fresh. Thank goodness they were all safe though my father’s health was never the same after 6 weeks at Ground Zero ministering to first responders and the families of those who died.

What I remember most though is about how people cared for others afterwards. The event was created by hate but the country was better for the love that people showed to those who had lost so much.

Why I Skipped Mass Today

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

I skipped Mass at school today. I’ve never done that before. Mass is of course an important event at Catholic schools and I do want to be supportive of it. But I’ve come to a point where the lack of inclusivity of the celebration of the Eucharist has become painful for me. I was raised in a Methodist church which also considers the Eucharist to be very important. In fact in the Methodist church the Eucharist is typically celebrated only monthly because it is so important. The idea I was taught was that it was too important to be taken casually or habitually so was done less often to keep it special.

I don’t have a big problem with daily Mass and Eucharist but I do have issue with the limits placed on recipients in the Catholic church. There is a line in the Mass that goes “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Apparently though not being a member of the Catholic church is not healed by this prayer. On the other hand the invitation to Communion that my father (an ordained Methodist minister) read was:

Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways: Draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to your comfort, and make your humble confession to almighty God.

Methodist church membership, or any church membership for that matter, was not required. That is the open Communion I grew up with and which, to me, feels more like what Christ would have (does) want. Communion is very important to me. It is probably the single most important worship event I can take part in. Being excluded while others worship in that way hurts.

The Ten Books Thing

Monday, September 8th, 2014

People have been tagging me for 10 book thinks. I tend not to have favorite books at least not in the sense that I read them multiple times. Very few get reread. So making a list off the top of my head is impossible. But I have a list – a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Not in any particular order.

Bible – Not without reason is this the best selling book of all time.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein – AI computer and others rebel against the government. It’s full of libertarian ideals.

Have Spacesuit Will Travel – Robert Heinlein – This is one of his “juveniles” but the plot is wonderful. The human race is put on trial by galactic powers. There was a Star Trek (original series) episode with a similar story line but not done as well. How would you justify humanities right to live given our history?

The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas – The movies cannot hold a candle to the book. This would be a great summer reading book if you could get students to read a book this long. Revenge – right or wrong?

The Man in the Iron Mask – Dumas – Perhaps the greatest book long chase of all time.  Again, much better than any of the movies. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll worry.

The Foundation Series – Isaac Asimov – the ultimate future history novel. OK that is three books but if you read one you owe it to yourself to read all three.

Catholic Schools and the Common Good: Anthony S. Bryk, Valerie E. Lee, Peter B. Holland – non-fiction – A research project by some public school administrators about how/why Catholic schools work. Some eye opening things including that Catholic schools do a better job of dealing with racial, ethnic and religious differences in their population than public schools.

Democratic Education (Princeton Paperbacks): Amy Gutmann: 9780691009162: Books – Non-fiction. A case for public education that convinced me that public education was not such a good thing. Yes, the author’s arguments convinced me of the opposite of her position. If the goal of education is to shape society (authors position that I do agree with) I came away convinced that the government should have as little role in it as possible.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond – I love history and this is one of the most interesting and different looks at history I have read. This is one I intend to read again soon.

OK that is nine (or eleven) best I can do for now.