Rambles In The Brambles: October 2003 Archives

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October 26, 2003

Vegas Reunion

During my senior year of Notre Dame, I lived in a six-man in Grace Hall. My roommates have proven to be excellent friends over the years. (Four of us live out here in Los Angeles.) We were all there last year when Sasena got married, and the experience was so pleasant that we all managed to get together this year in Los Vegas. The 2003 Grace Hall 911 reunion was held at the Vegas Hilton, on October 10-12.

Having never been to Vegas, I was a bit surprised at the town (the Strip part, at least). People were handing out pornography on the streetcorners, and really playing to the very base parts of the human psyche. The lights and architecture of the city certainly were impressive. I enjoyed playing blackjack, especially when my roommates and I shared the table. I ended up down about $70 on the weekend, which is probably not that bad.

I have to thank Andrew for suggesting the idea, and Mike Douglass for getting the reservations (and generally pushing us along). It is my hope that we can continue to get together that way. In some ways, those guys are like brothers, and I enjoy their company. It is a pleasing vision to imagine getting together with the guys every year, and maybe letting our growing families get to know each other.

Mike attempting to surf, at Circus Circus. I had a similar incident with Dance Dance Revolution (fortunately the pictures DO NOT EXIST). Fortunately, neither myself nor the machine sustained long-term damage.
John and Sarah Compton. They revealed that they were going to have another baby! Congratulations! They named their first boy "Mike", so I can only assume that this one will be named "Jeff".
My college roommates. Left-to-right: Brendan O'Connell, Mike Douglass, John Compton, Mike Sasena, Jeff Borlik, Andrew Sincic. This picture was taken at the Venetian.

Iraq Commentary

It seems like some people (even Americans!) seem to want the United States to fail in the reconstruction of Iraq. This is evidenced by their focus on bombings and setbacks, and the odd expectation that a nation can be converted overnight from a war-torn / fascism-ravaged wasteland to a prosperous and free democracy. (Anyone who has been involved in any large-scale change effort should recognize that it takes time and effort.)

What would happen if the Iraq reconstruction worked? (By worked, I mean: Iraq developed into a peaceful, relatively free market/nation with a relatively democratic government.) It would certainly take credence away from anything that political segment has to say. That is particularly poor reason to oppose something, but I guess that people hate to lose.

In all fairness, their actual argument probably goes something like: It is impossible for the USA to help Iraq move into the 21st century, so any resources spent there will be wasted. Setbacks demonstrate our lack of effectiveness, and thus should be emphasized to influence the future direction of the nation.

I don’t believe that of course, because freedom DOES work. Our particular cultural institutions may not work over there, but that doesn’t matter: The fundamental principles (individual rights, limited government, i.e. freedom) can be translated.

An essay that deals with some of these issues can be found at here. (I am not a huge fan of National Review, but I think that the author hit on something important here.)

October 18, 2003

Laura's Wedding

On 2003 September 27, my first cousin, Laura Borlik, married Mark Sniadecki. The ceremony took place at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, in New Carlisle, Indiana. Elizabeth and I made the trip from Los Angeles, to ensure that Laura was safely wed. I only have two first cousins (Laura and her brother Mike), so these kinds of events are important.
Aunt Kate at the lens. She read some of the readings of the Catholic ceremony.
The groom and groomsmen. (left to right) Mark Sniadecki, David Sniadecki, Michael Borlik, Paul Ohnesorge.
My little sister, in town after making deals and breaking hearts in Chicago.
My uncle Bill giving away Laura.
At the altar. The bridesmaides were Terra Sniadecki, Emily Borlik, and Jennifer Pawlak.
Note the stained glass window above Laura. It was donated by the Borlik Family, in years past. There are apparently two Saint Jadwigas: One was born in 1174 and the other was queen of Poland in about 1378. I have no idea why my family would be interested in either, other than the fact that they were both associated with Poland. I would prefer that the stained glass honored the Jadwiga of 1174, as I would not like to see my family honoring royalty (especially one whose main accomplishment was a political marriage that brought Catholicism to Lithuania).
The vows.
The ring.
Mr. and Mrs. Sniadecki.
The banqueting hall of Saint Stan's before the debauchery of the reception. My parents were married in the same church, and held their reception in the same hall. If it works once, it should work again.
The wedding cake, created by Laura's maternal grandmother.
Elizabeth and I, at the hall.
The first dance as husband and wife.
Uncle Bill and Laura dancing.
The view from above the hall.
Elizabeth and I shook our respective money-makers, too.

A good time was had by all. My girlfriend handled the strain of dealing with the plethora of Borliks. My sister succeeded in her role as bridesmaid. I am glad for my cousin's happiness, and I wish them good fortune in their life together. I wish that my grandparents (Joseph and Elizabeth Borlik) could have been their to witness their granddaughter's marriage. But I am sure that they would approve, and enjoy the day.

October 07, 2003

Stephenson Quote

In honor of today's recall election, I shall attach an interesting quote from Neal Stephenson. This quote was taken from a recent article about Neal's new book, Quicksilver.

The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir… We Americans are the only ones who didn't get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals.

California Recall Vote

I did my civic duty today by voting in California’s recall. It was a pleasure (on several levels) to vote to remove Davis. I voted for McClintock as the new governor, and against both propositions (on general principle).

For the most part, I dislike politics (and politicians). Perhaps the prototype politician, in my mind, in Bill Clinton: Perhaps they are smart, and certainly they are charismatic, but they flawed on many levels. My “prototypical politician” is interested in gaining power, and enjoys the adulation and favoritism that goes with it. How can I respect someone who changes their philosophy (or, at least, their actions) whenever it becomes popular to do so? A deeper question: What is the source of political power? Of what use is it, unless to force a person to do something that they did not want to do (e.g. transfer wealth to a cause that the person does not believe is critical)? I wish to reduce “political power” to the bare minimum.

So, I get a visceral thrill when a politician is removed from office. It makes me think of revolutions bringing down kings, and pleases me that the people have the backbone to fight for their rights. Davis has mismanaged, and worse, lied.

It is not to say that either Schwarzenegger or McClintock is much better. McClintock seems to know what he is talking about, with respect to the economic needs of California. I remember Schwarzenegger introducing Milton Friedman in some movies that I watched in high school economics class.

Best of luck to either of them… I hope that they reduce the overhead of politics that burdens my life and the lives of my peers.