Tie Dye and Thunderbolts
Why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is ‘Everyone’s Favorite Harry Potter”

  It is sad when one of the hardest things in your life is avoiding a movie trailer. Welcome to my life. The final installments of the Harry Potter movie series have issued their first trailer recently. As an avid trailer watcher (I know, it’s sad), I have fought tooth and nail not to watch them. I have successfully avoided most information about what happens in the final book, but it’s getting harder. That is why this summer I have tasked myself with reading the entire series. I just completed the 4th book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, last night. I have spoken with a few people about the book and they all have stated that this is their favorite of the seven. I have a theory why.

    I was adamantly opposed to Harry Potter when it first came out. I would not read them simply on the principle that they were extremely popular. The books had come out at about the same time as Pokemon, and I was sternly anti-money sucking fads. After the 4th movie came out, I began to be attracted to the series. When I began to read them this summer, I realized why people liked them so much. It was the new fun world that had been created. It was the fact that JK was revisiting her inventive process in the Wizarding world that gives the 4th book such an edge.

    Where books 2 and 3 build off of pretty much the exact same universe of the first book, adding a few students and a professor, in the 4th book we are introduced to a whole new dimension to wizarding. From the Quiddich World Cup to the Triwizards, there is so much new to be introduced. JK was good at it now and had great fun with it.

    The other reason I feel this book finds itself at the tops of so many Harry Potter favorite lists is because when looking at the 7 books as one story, this book is where the rising action begins. The first three books are exposition, establishing our heros and the history, 5 and 6 are rising action and 7 is the climax.

     GoF stands as the strongest holding a dual identity. It is both an excellent story by itself where the wizarding world is explored. It is also a strong key to the over-arching story of Harry Potter. The first three books are more about being episodes, stronger as individual stories. 5 (as exampled by the movie not the book, as I have only begun to read it) seems a bit confused, it does not know whether to be about the individual story (as it is in the first two thirds) or is it part of the series story (the last third). The 6th story (at least in the movie) is much more about the over-arching story and so for some it may lose some of the magic (excuse the pun) that the fun wizard-world exploration that existed in the earlier stories.

     I rather enjoyed it. We’ll see if it comes out as the winner after all 7!

Absolute Hypocracy

This whole BP oil spill has begun to get to me. Outside of the obvious dissatisfaction at the preparations made when the drilling occured, the response by the US Congress and Executive office is particularly upsetting. Almost the only issue that has support from all parties, from Republican to Democrat, from Green to Tea Party is the universal condemnation of BP and demand of repayment. HYPOCRACY!

   This is the grossest example of hypocracy by government politicians in recent years, and there have been some doozies. On what planet is is ok to demand BP suspend dividend payments for just over half a year, set up a 50 billion dollar escrow account, pay 100 million in losses due to US moratorium on effected industries, AND pay for envirnomental clean up, BUT (and it’s a big BUT) not expect the financial firms that caused the greatest economic melt down in eighty years to pay. Not only were they not made to pay, but they were injected with hundreds of billions of dollars.

  Does it seem that BP/Deepwater Horizon make choices they knew were risky at best and criminal at worst? Yes. Did the investment banks make clear choices to use risky credit default swaps and securities and promote them at better ratings which could at best be be considered risky and at worst criminal? Definitely! Did both effect economies in a devistating manner? Yes, the banks even more-so. Will it take years to recover? Yes. The banks, even more-so than BP pursued instruments that were not stable, packaged them so that they could promote them as good and allowed their house to be built on sand.

   I find it horrendous that the banks were not held to the same scrutiny and repromand that BP is. They did not have to suspend dividend payment. They did not need to set up an escrow account. They did not have to provide money for businesses that had to shut down because of government mandates.

   I am not advocating that BP be treated the same as the banks. I am advocating for perspective. Our politicians are so fixated on image and interest. Their interests were not threatened the way they were with the banks. All their money and investors’ money wasn’t tied up in BP. BP isn’t an American company. For so many reasons except the conduct of the parties in question are these businesses treated differently. It’s not blatant curruption. It’s just Hypocracy, absolutely.

Perched and Targetted

  So I decided to do my run without music this past weekend. (I had seen the Karate Kid movie and obviously had to become more ‘one with my surroundings’) Well, that didn’t work. I’ve become a bit dependent on the music to keep my mind occupied while I run. So that day, instead of running a lot, I did some streatches and crunches etc… (not much really). I decided to do them on the roof of the enclosed stairwell for the parking deck. After being up there for about 15 minutes a first happened. I had not until that point, and never since, seen anyone else on the top level of the parking deck at that hour. It was Securitas, one of the university security forces. Their jeep came up and stopped at the other end of the parking lot from me. It stood there, what I can only assume was staring at me to make sure they were actually seeing someone.

   Then the jeep drove up to me and a woman emerged kindly asking me to get down. As I began to get ready to go down, she said, “Are you a student here?” To which I said yes. My roost had been taken from me.

   It was  very cool being up there. I could see even further and with much fewer obstructions than the view from just 8 feet lower. Oh well!

later days

The Morning Runs

No, not ex-lax but exercise. That’s what I’m talking about. Two weeks ago, I started a morning run regiment. I have only tried a morning run regiment one other time in my life. That was the beginning of freshman year, and it only lasted about a month (if that). I am however hopeful about this new one. Where the old regiment was in the university field house, this is outside.

   Each morning, I wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 and head out for the run. I run onto campus (not a great feat, as it is across the street) and over to the parking deck. Depending on my mood, I’ll either run up stairs or use the ramps that the cars use all the way to the top. The top floor of the parking deck is uncovered and completely open. There are 6 parking lanes running East-West; the center two are on an incline.

   It is absolutely wonderful up there. Partially because it is so early and partially because it is summer, there are absolutely no cars on the top floor of the deck. It is all to myself. It is one of the highest locations on campus, giving me a great view. The sun is low in the sky, giving an atmosphere of purpose to the run. I run up and down the center two, inclined lanes for about 25 minutes.

  Not only is it good for my physical health to be exercising again, but it is wonderful for my clarity of mind. It has rejuvenated me in a way that nothing else has. I have energy through out the day and I force myself to go to bed at a decent hour so I can get up early enough.

  I tried today, and hope to incorperate into the regiment, going to the gym right after the run to do some minor upper-body work.

  It is my personal opinion that everyone should have their own pleasant, calming, smooth and regular Morning Runs.

Role of Church and School

EWTN, the “Global Catholic Network,” posted an article today about a course being taught at Seton Hall University regarding the politics of same-sex marriage (http://www.ewtnnews.com/new.php?id=509). The article used limited quotes and limited research to paint the class and the institution in a bad light, when Seton Hall University has in fact upheld the Catholic Mission and should actually be applauded by Catholic News Networks for teaching an issue that so many others Catholics might deem too taboo to discuss even though it is a very pressing current political issue.

My major issue is in the construction of the article itself. It insights conflict where it may not even exist. It also has clearly not done thorough research.  The insighting of conflict can be seen in the quotes that it uses from the Archdiocese of Newark. The article paints the picture that the Archdiocese should not trust the academic and Catholic process at Seton Hall University. It does so by using only 5 words pulled from an email from the Archdiocese, saying it was “unaware” and “We find it troubling.” The quote leads the reader to believe the “We” is the entire Archdiocesen administration and the “it” is so amorphous that it could be the class itself, the process of selection, the fact that the professor “connected to homesexual advocacy groups” or it could be unrelated. Clearly, this is druming up an issue that doesn’t exist because the Archdioces trusts Seton Hall to respect the Catholic Mission. Seton Hall has existed for almost as long as Newark has had a bishop. The relationship established when the first bishop of the Diocese of Newark, James Roosevelt Bayley, founded the school has continued for over the past century and a half. The dioceses is liberated to know that Seton Hall maintains the Catholic Mission in its curriculum. If it did not, think of how over-burdened the archdioces would be having to micro-manage special-topics courses taught on a non-permanent basis.

Same sex marriage is an important social and political issue in America. It is likely to play a role in many elections this year. Having the course being taught during the election time to see the socio-political role of same-sex marriage seems particularly appropriate. The Catholic Church has shown itself over the years as being a very contemplative church. It seeks to defend its teachings not through blind obelience but through discernment and apologetics. The long-standing academic tradition of promotion of education and knowledge throughout the world has been a becon of the Church’s value. I believe, even though the article may not have intended to do so, it made the arguement that the Church should not be in the business of discussion, political comprehension, nor apologetics. It could also be interpreted as undermining the very strong and steadfast relationship the United State’s oldest and largest Catholic Diocesen university has with its host archdioces. I “find it troubling” that even if that was not the intent of the article, such a good and usually positive Catholic news sourse like ETWN would allow an article to be published that could easily lead to such implications.

GO PIRATES!

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