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Monday, October 25, 2010

A Monthly Round-Up: October's Collection Pt. 4 or "Way to be Professional"

It's quite amusing to read and view all of the attention being placed on a recent "entertainment-violence" hockey incident between a "ham en egger" checking forward and a supposedly sincere Minnesota Wild fan. I'm mean really c'mon now - only two weeks into another promising NHL season and we're forced to choose sides between these two?

Quickly after the incident, Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune writes: Runway view rocks, until run-in with a Canuck,
["I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out," Engquist said. "He was out of control. So then I said, 'Way to be professional,' and he obviously didn't care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail…Engquist said nobody from NHL headquarters had called him as of late Wednesday afternoon, so he called Mark Stoffel, Xcel Energy Center's senior director of operations, who gave him the number for NHL security… Engquist said he has received no apology from the NHL, the Canucks or Rypien. He said he is "definitely" seeking legal representation.] Read More

Professional hockey players are an emotional bunch. Fans even more so...

According to President Gary Bettman, the NHL holds it's players accountable to the highest professional standards. My understanding is that, "under no circumstance are club personnel permitted to have physical contact with fans, or enter or attempt to enter the stands. ” History tends to side with Bettman- at least in so far as violence between players and fans.

But, is this really the "state of hockey" today?

Kaelon Lupton of Bleacher Report counters with,  Rick Rypien Suspension Raises Questions Among NHL, Fans,
[Rugged Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien made his court appearance Friday (Oct. 22) and received a six-game suspension for pushing a fan, during an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Wild... Can we say overreaction? ...most people think six games is a joke, a weak punishment that laughs in the face of the NHL. The most recent six-game suspension was Sean Avery's, which he received for his Elisha Cuthbert-Dion Phaneuf controversy. So, assaulting a paying fan is equal to telling a "sex joke"? When you put it like that, it looks like the NHL dropped the ball on this one. Most people had anticipated anywhere from 10-20 games.”] Read More
Cooler heads prevail in the Vancouver media apparently. A sports headline which triumphantly states, NHL gets it right with Canuck Rick Rypien suspension: League commissioner Gary Bettman stunned the oddsmakers by refusing to overreact,
[For all the times the National Hockey League's ministry of justice is criticized for the ill-fitting suspensions it pulls out of its hat — or some mid-body aperture — to punish incidents requiring supplemental discipline, it behooves us to mention the odd time the league gets one right. Rick Rypien, meet King Solomon. He looks taller in the paintings, doesn't he?] Read More

An afterthought...

My answer to Mr. Engquist's potential legal action...ummmm dude, let it go. If last Friday's Canuck's vs Wild score is any indication, good hockey is really defined by off ice preparation and motivation rather than on ice  revenge.

Do I really have a problem with the deep-seated, ingrained, and old school leadership inside the NHL?


In case your wondering, the model ethic for professionalism in hockey was recently defined last winter in the 2010 Winter Olympic games... in Vancouver of all places. It's no surprise then as hockey moves forward, LET'S (both player and fan alike) all take notice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Monthly Round-Up: October's Collection Pt. 3 (maybe)

I just finished reading Cap. Joshua Slocum's breath-taking journal about his ground breaking solo circumnavigation across the world. Just simply amazing! At the age of 51, this seasoned, gritty sailor set sail from Boston, MA - alone -  in his thirty-six foot sloop "Spray" en route for such exotic and remote places like South America, the Straight of Magellan, Samoa, the Philippines, Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena. Three years and 46,000 miles later Slocum returned unfettered and in better health than when he left. Here's a brief excerpt as he prepares to sail toward Gloucester- his first major destination: 
["The wind freshened and the Spray rounded Deer Island light at a rate of seven knots...Waves dancing joyously across the Massachusetts Bay met her coming out of the harbor to dash them into myriads of sparkling gems that hung about her in every surge. The day was perfect, the sunlight clear and strong. Every particle of water thrown into the air became a gem, and the Spray, bounding ahead, snatched necklace after necklace from the sea, and as often threw them away. We have all seen miniature rainbows about a ship's prow, but the Spray flung out a bow of her own that day, such as I had never seen before. Her good angel had embarked on the voyage; I so read it in the sea."] pg. 26

Further on the arduous journey he gives us this awakening thought... 

["During these days a feeling of awe crept over me. My memory worked with startling power. The ominous, the insignificant, the great, the small, the wonderful, the commonplace- all appeared before my mental vision in magical succession. Pages of my history were recalled which had been so long forgotten that they seemed to belong to a previous existence. I heard all the voices of the past laughing, crying, telling what I had heard them tell in many corners of the earth."] pg. 36
Slocum reading below deck as the Spray sails on!

It's moments like these that help me connect to all of the great travelers out there. I experienced a similar, very powerful feeling many years ago when undertaking my own "water voyage" en route to Hudson Bay, Canada. It occurred on a beautiful July evening as we paddled toward a remote harbor on the western side of Lake Winnipeg. Perhaps not a feeling but rather a calm, peaceful assurance that all is well. I felt transformed in a way- gaining an increasing respectful  communion with the lake as we slowly... but surely crept towards our ultimate destination. The experience was like looking at oneself in an out of body sort of way. I experienced the lake as a truly living, breathing entity and I saw myself and my friend as welcomed travelers united with her waters and her waves. Difficult to describe in a sort of poetic way then , but today it seems more about how we understand ourselves in our environment. Not domineering individualists, but rather uniquely connected and spiritual creatures who are called towards our true and real purpose in life.  

The Barnes & Nobles classic paperback edition from 2005 has several notable features you might be interested in including detailed sketch drawings from Thomas Fogarty, endnotes, a glossary of nautical terms, and selected commentary. The thorough introduction is provided by  Texas A & M professor Dennis A Berthold. 

The Chicago Daily Tribune summarizes "Sailing Alone Around the World"  in April, 1900: 
["Captain Slocum's simple and delightful narrative of his voyage around the world alone in the little sloop Spray combines the adventurous charm of 'Robinson Crusoe' with the life of and humor of Marryat. It is a rare good book for lovers of sea travels and adventure. The Captain is a literary artist as well as a daring and skillful sailor, and he tells his experiences with a delightful combination of modesty and delicate humor. Best of all, his story is true, and as remarkable for what it tells as for the way he tells it."]
I would expect nothing less of a Nova Scotian


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Monthly Round-Up: October's Collection Pt. 2 (maybe)

Q1- Why don’t you just move from Duluth to Grand Rapids and get it over with already? Q2- Why do you commute literally hundreds of miles a month to a job? 

A1- Upwardly-mobile, promotional moving that is driven primarily by monetary motive doesn’t solve much I’m afraid. The decision to move or not to move (or even to sell), must be made with the utmost care and delicacy folks. It demands thoughtful reflection along with an acceptable resolution between the love(s) for work, faith-community, relational-desire, and north shore environment. 

A2- As far as commuting to and from the workplace –that’s an even more sensitive topic with me these days. A topic so filled with complexity and competing priorities that I can’t even begin to illuminate how important it is, yet alone try to reconcile the issues like my increasing carbon foot print. Oh sure, there are many professionals who drive for a living. I respect all of you, especially those who deliver important packages. That’s not really what I mean. 

Ken Nordine often asked, “What’s he building in there?” 

He also echoes, “What’s he thinking about in there?…(in the vehicle)…in the time-commitment. Imagine fifteen-hours a week devoted to that drive… back and forth, every day… seems like one might need some snacks."

Perhaps the only really gratifying experience with long-distance work commuting is the simple fact that I have ample opportunity for prayer & dialogue. Perhaps it’s also the opportunity to observe a rare wildlife viewing event like this - October highway - morning encounter with an East Floodwood moose. I call him the “browsing adolescent”.  Intellectual for sure, but definitely an extrovert and a showboat! How many moose do you know who will pose for the camera? (music by Dustin O' Halloran- Opus 23)

Principles of Catholic Environmentalism: Because of the excesses associated with environmentalism in an increasingly pagan West, many Catholics shy away from formal involvement with the “environmental movement”. At the same time, Catholics are (or ought to be) by the very nature of their Faith deeply committed to responsible stewardship over nature, cultivating and even improving God’s patrimony for the common good. Read More

Don't stop reading yet...

For Reflection: Embrace suffering to foster a love for Creation

Rev. Bud Grant, Professor of Theology at St. Ambrose University (Davenport, IA), not former Viking coach ed. proposes a solution to saving the planet that isn’t quite as marketable -- or simple -- as reduce, re-use and recycle.  His idea? Embrace suffering, out of love for both God’s creation and future generations.

 “I’m going to suggest suffering is an environmental virtue -- in fact, the environmental virtue,” said Fr. Grant, who specializes in environmental ethics.  In the opening keynote address entitled “Back to the Garden” at last Saturday’s diocesan Institute for Catholic Social Ministry in Peoria, IL, he outlined the “vast” scope of the crises threatening the earth, including global warming.  “If we’re going to save the planet, we have to start acting like doctors,” he said.  “We have a very sick patient,” he added, noting that 18 of the last 20 years were the warmest ever recorded. His prescription of “redistributive suffering” -- sacrificing our standard of living so that the impact of the environmental crises shifts away from the world’s poor and future generations -- is rooted in faith and family. Read More

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Monthly Round-Up: October's Collection Pt. 1(maybe)

Here's a sampling of some stuff I've been reading, watching, or listening to this month. October is dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary and her intercessory prayers are the inspiration behind this post. 

If  you've never heard of Therese Borchard perhaps it's time you did.  She has a very insightful  blog entitled  Beyond Blue: a blog chronicling the daily spiritual journey of life with depression and anxiety. Now, before you go screaming into the night looking for your 24 hour ago sedated Halloween costume, give her site a try. Her
 writing defines what courage means. Not only does she provide  concise and relevant personal stories, she tackles head-on the supremely taboo issue of depression and  the spiritual life. I  admire her as writer because she's not out to hustle anyone, or prescribe the "quick fix" medication prescription that society seeks so often. Rather, she provides a more thoughtful and instructive approach knowing full well that  many people suffer from various forms of depression,
[ In my first blog post, I described my intention for Beyond Blue: "for it to become a comfortable place where we can pitch the unfair stigma of mental illness, expose our real selves, and lend each other an empathetic ear." ]. 
I think she's on to something here. What do you think? It's likely you know a family member or a friend who might be looking for some insights into the topic. Give them the opportunity to explore her site by sending this link. 

Source: CNS Photo/The Valley Catholic
Therese also writes a column for the Catholic News Service. That's where I kick off my monthly round-up with her short article found in the  entitled,  "Nonprofit group shows that real men pray the rosary". 
[“A few years ago, whenever someone mentioned the word “rosary,” I used to envision my grandmother at Mass, holding her crystal beads between her praying hands during the eucharistic prayers and throughout the second half of a church service. I certainly didn’t picture a businessman, with a cell phone in one hand, a wooden rosary in the other, telling his client to call back in a half hour because he’s one decade away from finishing the sorrowful mysteries. Apparently, I’m not the only person holding such stereotypes of the rosary.”] Read more.  
Source: The Catholic Spirit & The Northern Cross
 *** Shifting gears now.

Many folks should seriously pursue a better awareness and understanding of the opposing view.  Northern Cross editor Kyle Eller provides an opinion piece that dissects why people (especially vampire novelist Anne Rice) seemingly mis-understand or get confused over the teachings of the Catholic Church. His editorial is entitled, "Leaving church does not lead to happiness." 
["One of the best tests of honesty and intelligence is to look at how someone treats opposing views. A smart and honest person will understand and answer the strongest argument against his position. St. Thomas Aquinas is a great example — it’s sometimes said that the best-stated case against St. Thomas is the one he wrote before answering the objection. But men and women like St. Thomas are becoming an endangered species, even as our need for them increases. Some fail to understand an opposing view, either because of real limits to their intelligence or because they are unable to see past ideology or their passions. One hopes that few of the blowhards dominating our public discourse are genuine propagandists, deliberately distorting what others think, but I would almost prefer that to the many nowadays who prefer to avoid argument altogether and just call names."] Read more.
Perhaps we should call it: I'm fed up with the Church. I'll be much happier on my own, living life on my own terms!

Professor David Schultz teaches professional ethics, non-profit law, housing and economic policy, planning,  and public policy at Hamline University. He also provides a lot of hyper-pithy and creative commentary about Minnesota politics. You might know of him from his popular appearances on Twin City radio, PBS Almanac, and He also writes a local blog entitled "Schultz's Take".  I reference Prof. Schultz in this posting because I recently absorbed and reflected upon a paper of his that provocatively examines the dimension of morality, ethics, and "opposing views"  entitled Professional Ethics in a Postmodern Society. As a state employee who strives to integrate the values of service and mission -  (notable non-profit values) -  and economic sustainability (timber supply contribution to the state of MN), I definitely gravitate toward an academic discussion that involves questions about how one ought to think about values and how they can be applied in one's job.

Below is Prof. Schultz's abstract:

[The ethical values that guide the public, private, and nonprofit sectors have traditionally been seen as distinct from one another as well as from the values that guide personal relationships. However, recent trends in the economy and employment are blurring these distinctions. This commentary discusses these trends, contending that what is emerging is a new postmodern world of work. It is marked by a blurring of public and private lives as well as an increasingly fine line separating the three economic sectors. As a result, the ethical rules that apply to different facets of life and work are being challenged, necessitating a rethinking of the moral boundaries and rules governing professional behavior.]
Source: Public Integrity Issue: Volume 6, Number 4 / Fall 2004 
Alt. Source: Challenge to Minnesota ban on same-sex marriage: good law, bad politics Read More
Alt. Source: Justice Scalia: No Such Thing as a Catholic Judge Read More
Curiosity and the leafless tree? 

One ethical aspect that I personally think some of my co-workers "forget" is the importance of recognizing our unique role in natural resource stewardship. Our mission is truly for and about the citizens of the state of Minnesota -  it ought to avoid excessive catering to partisan and exclusive special interests. Although we often get caught up and self-involved with our work priorities, let's take a moment to listen...

More to follow... (maybe)... gabba, gabba hey!  Wait a minute Joey. We have some significant issues to discuss... yes,  no... ok, we both agree that we don't like Communism, but wait- are you up there with the Father?