Friday, December 24, 2010

Bioethics: Christmas to remember...

This morning I came across a rather provocative article on the subject of personhood, a mythical yet tangible category concerning the middling aspects of the human animal.

The information can be found below:

The American Journal of Bioethics, 7(1): W1–W4, 2007
Copyright c Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1526-5161 print / 1536-0075 online
DOI: 10.1080/15265160601150352

One qoute stood out more than others concerning PVC, or persistent vegetative condition, and I recall it here in length:

By now we hope it is clear that we are not advocating a
naturalized conception of personhood. What we are doing is
addressing the relation between the moral concept of a person
and the natural world
, and in that sense we are assuming
that the natural world is relevant to moral theory. Although
moral principles themselves may not require empirical validation,
they do refer to entities in the real world, and for bioethics in
particular the way in which we anchor such principles in empirical
reality is crucial
. (AJB 4)

Ahh..the natural world IS relevant to moral theory huh? I could agree but our societies and communitas esoterica create mythologies by which we live, support, exist, tear down, replace, (re)edit, et cetera. Santa Clause is of this construction. Is Christ? Not necessarily seeing as how there is/was a historical analog labeled Yeshua, Jesus (or, James).

This year forget about the traditions, which are mythos--supported and (re)apply topically the love for the human animal, the person and quotidian event/phenomena of the neighbor. Let us be Levinasian in the sense that heaven can exist on earth amidst those seeking the other's good without reciprosity.

What a Christmas to remember, no. Be well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Death of the Year: 2010

I've been on the run for some time now travelling the first quarter of the 2010 year to St. Croix, St. Lucia then back to St. Petersburg, Florida. The middle and end of the 2010 year allowed me to do some more travelling; this time to Indiana to defend my doctoral prospectus and place me as a Ph.D. candidate.

Currently, I am in Michigan visiting my wife's family for the Christmas holiday; then, proceed to St. Croix to visit my side of the family: mom and lil bro (who is not so little anymore). Our plan is to also visit St. John and possibly Puerto Rico.

Finally, we are going to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico sometime Spring 2011. The point? We are never at rest; we are always subjects of the travelling body; the corpus that is always-ever on the move.

This is why I firmly believe in travel, exploration, discovery, et cetera. Global no longer really exists, but cosmopolitanism is still possible. I hope to exceed my travelling from this 2010 season and at least double it in 2011. My ambitions are second to none, and the work I have to put in to live and breathe and move the way I would like are in my possession.

Resolved: to do me; to not listen to the haters and nay-sayers who would rope me into submission within their concept of time and expectation. Black Phoenix will not only rise again and again and again, but he will be...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vamos, vamos, vamos!!!

This has been an incredible year for Spain and all things Spanish, no. The National Futbol team won the Euro Cup in 2008, then went on to win the World Cup in 2010. Rafa won the French Open, then Wimbledon and finally the Open (US).

And yet, CBS and the remaining media powers that be truncated its magnificence, its celebration with mere American football and the capitalism of filling time slots.

This kind of thing is not only ridiculous, but goes to show why we NEED to slow down and appreciate what we have; recall, Rafa fell to tendinitis in his knees--a sure sign of a crumbling career, no. NO! He came back, and with a vengeance.

When the GOAT discussion begins again, ALL will have to acknowledge the greatness of a young, yet seasoned 24 year old tennis veteran who now owns ALL 4 Grand Slam titles on ALL 4 surfaces.

Vamos indeed Rafa, vamos!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Campus Grind Coffee Bar: a review

On the campus of University of South Florida--St. Pete, and next to the Tavern, a local watering hole akin to Harry's Chocolate Shop in West La La--exists a new coffee shop. Previously the space was home to Bayboro Books, but now it is called The Campus Grind with a subtext: Coffee Bar.

I looked at the open space plan and noted that the AC was in full effect. A plus living out here in the South, and in St Petersbug. It shouldn't take anytime at all for students, professors, et cetera to find themselves here. Not to mention the hallway space allows for Tavern clientele to glide over (students of my LIT 3451: Literature & Occult course will appreciate the "glide" reference) and eat, sip and be merry.

I ordered a Cafe Latte and a regular coffee with refills to boot in my Belize, bamboo mug of course. What can I say, when Black Phoenix is caffeinating, he must drink. Besides coffee products (cold or hot), smoothies are available, as is tea; moreover, they have croissants, cinnamon buns, muffins, bagels, cranberry bread, parfait, mixed fruit bowl and even breakfast sandwiches such as: croissant, ham, egg and cheese as well as bagel, turkey sausage, egg and cheese.

Clearly, a place with "Stuff to get you Going" as well as "Stuff to Start your Day"! So far, I recommend the Campus Grind, a friendly aesthetically pleasing and cool hang out for the caffeination. When you arrive, say hello to Gavin for me.

Open (for Summer hours): 7 a.m.--6 p.m.

~Black Phoenix

p.s. chalkboard access in men's bathroom; funniest post by far: Please do your part to dilute the oil spill...(an arrow points to the urinal)...piss here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

La Furia rosada: Vamos Espana!

This has been a good death to the banality of mediocrity in sports re: Spain and the Spanish athlete. Recount:

~The Los Angeles Lakers with the help of Pau Gasol won their back-to-back NBA Championship.

~Rafael Nadal coming off of sore knees was able to win, for a second time, back-to-back grand slams: The BNP-Paribas French Open and the All-England Tennis Club Wimbledon Championship.

~Spain's "National" Team, who won the Euro Cup in 2008 has come out to win TODAY the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They truly are a world power!!!

As one whose allegiance is Spain and all things Spanish, Black Phoenix is proud to say, and to say for a long time:


Thursday, July 8, 2010

a mumble and a murmur...

Everyone awaited to hear the news of the young, yet older more sagacious Lebron James and his decision on free agency. It was touted by ESPN as...wait for it...The Decision. Ha! Yeah...that's our ESPN.

When the final question was posed Live on-air of course, Mr. James announced that he would be joining two other NBA superstars (Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, respectively) down in South Beach; Miami people! Miami!

He further shared his nostalgia with the world re: leaving Cleveland and moving on. And yet, ESPN had the audacity to showcase a clip of James' #23 jersey being burned post-announcement in some field in Cleveland. Tactful? No. Classy. No. Trying to get a rise out of Lebron James? Priceless.

Mr. James did none of the above and became the exemplum we all had hoped. No ire here, but one can believe he felt it. Then came the Cleveland fans and shouts of betrayal and the like. Puh--lease! This man took a city like Cleveland and for seven fat years took it to new heights; however, there will be seven lean years to come that is for sure!

All of this aside--I have no problem with any of it until I came across the following news piece and quote from the AP:

'LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship. We will win a championship before [the Heat] do.'

Ok. No problem with that so far. But then came this:

In a phone interview with the AP, Gilbert says "people have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is."

Gilbert says James quit on the Cavs during their second-round series against the Boston Celtics, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland.

"He quit," Gilbert said. "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."

And then it hit me. Mr. James took a serious pay cut (so it was not about the money); he tried to acquire Carols Boozer to come to the Cavaliers, but Boozer was not interested in trading Cleveland for Chicago. No way! And still, he held a one hour special where knowingly there would be sponsors and the like waiting on bended knee for Mr. James' announcement; the end result, ALL proceeds would go to benefit The Boys and Girls Club (BGC); further, The University of Phoenix would award an additional $500,000 to BGC and five scholarships to boot! I mean what a bad guy, right? Wrong!

If there was ever a time in NBA history where the likes of such a free agent could condescend and look over his rose colored Pradas it would be Lebron James! At this time for this moment before these fans--it would be capitalism and business and all of the marxist political philosophies et al. But not Mr. James. How about Mr. Gilbert? The President of the Cleveland Cavaliers ends up looking like (to me at least, and perhaps others with class and ethical decorum) the rotten, sore loser.

Mr. Dan Gilbert it is you sir who has disgraced the face of your team; you are to blame for your candid, sourpus remarks; and the whole world was and is watching to see, to hear what other audacious remarks you can make for losing a stellar exemplum to the game. I was not a Lebron fan, and am certainly not a Dan Gilbert supporter, but the former has MY respect and the latter can...hmph...not even worth it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

RE: The passing of a great man...

My phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing and I kept ignoring, ignoring, ignoring until I finally heard the words from my brother: "yeah bro, dad is gone."

On 9 April 2010 at 7:11 a.m. I lost a great, great man--my father. This truth has been coming in waves, with its emotional troughs and crests, and I have no experience to really bounce this off of. My grandfather's passing was a tough one, but he was 80 and then some; my grandmother also was nearing that mark when she passed; my great-grandparents lived about a century each! My dad, mid 60s.

For anyone who has loved and lost, I have now truly entered, unwillingly, into that circle of experience. It hurts, I am hurting and everything else seems so small and insignificant.

My future memory has been stolen from me: my dad watching me accept my Ph.D. as I walk across the stage, my dad watching me get married to my best friend and best half, and him holding and bouncing and correcting his grandchildren as they consider him old fashion and a bit out dated.

My father's work ethic was legendary, and if I could have even half of his character I would be a very, very accomplished and formidable citizen. As it stands, I will never be my father, but I can try to remain his son.

I miss you and love you dad--every day...

Monday, January 18, 2010

U betta Belieze it: Imprints Collated

So today we got back from a cultural excursion at Gayle's Point, traversing the Mayan Mountains and surviving the Hummingbird Lookout Highway (believe me, it's treacherous) on the way back.

But first, let me share with you my host family and service-learning experience. Imagine a kind grandmotherly figure cooking for you and meeting your every need in a rather rustic and lower-income household sort of way; add to this an opportunity to build, from scratch, a septic holding cell for a building which serves as a community center with the local construction crew; and culminate with the feeding of emaciated cows and horses as well as the sampling of the local wines, and you have yourself one heck of a trip, via Crooked Tree, in Belize.

I even got a chance to read through the Defective version of Mandeville's Travels, read through A Book of Middle English and of course cherry-top my reading lust (or is it list) with Piers Anthony's Night Mare (uhm, yeah...a Xanth novel!). Ah...good reading.

I'm now counting down the hours before I depart this country; the kids are extemporizing around the proverbial fire pit, and I just got back with Dr. A from the local watering hole called "Amigos".

All in all, my trip to Belize has been a fruitful one and it was good to see, touch, taste and feel the political, ethnic and racial, as well as the otherwise, cultural Girardian violence evoked by the indigenous hordes. I am the better for it, and I fondly will remember (in the medieval subjunctive):

Whom Jah bless, no man curse...

'Till next we meet Belize, Belizeans and creeping things of this jungle world.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Belize: Imprint of Day 2

Today was not as eventful as yeasterday; still, we were able to see some Mayan ruins and shop at an old village called San Ignacio--a remnant community founded by Spanish missionaries.

The food has been quite delightful although some folks continue to get sick. The "G-man" survived today although give it a few hours.

I should have mentioned in my earlier post that the "G-man's" legend began with the loss of a hat while investigating the very cockpit of the plane that landed us in Miami. This of course was followed by a slip in the mud, the loss of a sandle, the loss of an oar, possible poison branches scratching his face on a bus ride, the flipping of a canoe, him floating down the river, and who knows what else has occurred.

Suffice it to say that the trip continues to be a rather syncretic mixture of cultural awareness, good food and spectacular flora and fauna opportunities. Tomorrow, we go spelunking.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Belize: Imprint of Day 1

So today we went to the Belize Zoo for a guided, "educational" tour to observe the animals indigenous to this Central American paradise. Look! Let me just say that it was a grand experience--complete with a tapir, the national animal of Belize by the way, peeing on me.

Not to be outdone, I fed a live jaguar named Junior, which incidentally means in Mayan: the one who kills its prey in one bound. After the aromatic zoo, we came back to base to eat a hearty lunch.

Our next trip was to canoe the Sibun River. And yes, some of our members fell in and we did have to rescue them. Awesome! In the midst of water rapids, minor tide pools, the largest orange iguanas known to man, we left no one behind on this expedition. Even the "G-man" was saved. Ah yes, the "G-man" is fast becoming the student explorer of legend.

Dr. A got the runs and I just have bad gas, but other than that we continue to be excited. Up next: Mayan ruins and "shopping" in San Ignacio.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Belize Proem: imprints from a Cruzan Medievalist

I woke up today too early to recount. Why? I was getting ready to go to Belize, my first Third World Country visit. I am traveling with my beautiful fiancee, Dr. A, and 15 students from Eckerd College.

The trip is under the academese rhetoric of "service learning," and I am sure this is indeed the case, but we are really going there for shock value. If an educated American falls in the Belizean rain forest, do the local flora and fauna hear it? Yeah,...I know.

So anyway, what is a medievalist doing in Belize to begin with? Well, I speak Spanish and Creole so my translating skill set should come in handy. By wait! Was it not formerly British Honduras? And then again, is not the official language English, one dialect removed from a king's English?

Yep! So again, why is a medievalist in Belize? Hmmm...this is indeed a question that will be addressed in a more everyday, informal manner. What?! A diary? A journal? Well, maybe more of what Whitman considered his leaves of grass. Perhaps, these ramblings, like Dr. Johnson's narrative attempts, can be considered...uhm...imprints.

So hang in there! I will hold nothing back, and I do mean nothing.