Monday, July 31, 2006

Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, known colloquially as the Jesuits. They're a large order of priests, with a long tradition of intellectual, academic, and spiritual excellence. Pere Jacques Marquette is perhaps the best-known Jesuit around here, as he and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to seriously explore Illinois. Jesuits were the eyes and ears of the Catholic Church during the early exploration of the Midwest. The order even sent priests to China, where they became members of the Imperial Court for a short time. All this time they were observing the world around them, looking for God in all things in imitation of their order's founder. Consequently, Jesuits were often regarded as spies, especially as they observed Europe during the Reformation. The order does have a little controversy in that regard.

The way that most Catholics have met Jesuits has been through education. Jesuit priests are quite often teachers at many levels of education. If you look at some of the schools in the NCAA Tournament, sometimes you'll see Xavier, Gonzaga, or Loyola in the first round. The Jesuits loved to found universities. They still turn out well-qualified graduates from what I've seen. If you have an academic problem, there's probably a Jesuit who will help you find the right answer.

I guess I found a little time to blog after all, eh?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hey, all.

I may not do much updating in the next three weeks or so. I have a new job with new demands, one of which is spending the next three weeks pulling 14-hour shifts.

So, I'm going to leave you for the time being with another FAQ-style article from the State Journal-Register on our local brouhaha over a new power plant, the city government and the Sierra Club. Once again, I have to give credit to the SJ-R. Ask questions, get answers, write the answers down. It's simple reporting that's quick and effective. Older readers might find dense text to be a sign of better writing, but readers younger than me are more used to this style of writing from the various Frequently Asked Questions lists that inhabit the Internet. People who want to go deeper into the story now have a good set of starting points, and the rest of us have the story broken down into more comprehensible chunks. It also has a good recap of previous articles and discussions, allowing new residents to get informed quickly about their new home. This will help keep the readers informed and more able to retain that information.

Can this FAQ format be biased and rigged to present one side? It certainly can be biased just as much as any other article can be rigged to favor one group over another. I would like to see more articles in this format in the future. Given a little more time, I think Springfield readers will enjoy the ease with which they can bash local pols over the head with their errors thanks to the new style of writing.

See you guys in a few weeks. Take care!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

SJ-R.COM - How state hires is raising questions -- Governor promised clean government

It's not even so much that this is unusual for the Blagojevich administration, but I'd like people to read this article and take a look at the format. It's set up much like the FAQ lists that dominate the Internet. It's clean, easy to read, and oddly enough seems like the article is less biased than normal.

Now, knowing all of this, we see that Rod Blagojevich is not much better than the guy he replaced. I remember seeing a lot of State workers rejoicing in the fact that Ol' Blaggie was electable compared to George Ryan. Well, it doesn't look like the Democrats ushered in a new era of good government. It looks like they just changed a few nameplates and left the system as is.

This is what I've missed from living in Chicago's suburbs. I've missed the spectator sport that is state politician-spotting.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Not really news, but not really not-news

Song of the Suburbs has moved its headquarters from the lovely Northwest Suburbs of Cook County to scenic Springfield, Illinois. That's right, folks, I'm back in my hometown, trying to find work and get ready for whatever the world throws at me. It's nice to be back, though. I forgot how much I missed the old place in the summer. I'm going to try to get back on track for geting my Masters degree in History, hopefully at UIS. I want to teach, and hopefully I can do so at the college level once I'm done ("once I'm done" meaning "once I get my Ph.D. as well"). I'm going to miss my old stomping grounds and the quick availability of sushi places and diners like The Buffalo and the Omega, but it's time to get serious about my further education and what God has called me to do.

So all of you upstaters, have fun and don't wreck the place. I'll be back there soon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Go out, celebrate, grill, and have fun enjoying the freedoms our ancestors fought and died for.