Article Review #1

This is an assignment for one of my courses ad I just figured I would post it here. I may or may not continue doing more of these, but we will see if the future!

Article Title (link): Yum says equipped to navigate China’s “ups and downs”

On October 10th, 2012, Reuters online news source posted an article about Yum Brands, Inc. and their condition with the Chinese economic situation. This article talks about how Yum Brands, Inc., back in October, stated that they were still feeling confident that they would be able to deliver consistent sales and operating profits. This is a crucial factor to the operation of Yum Brands because China represents the biggest market for sales and profit for them. This relates to the stocks of the company because along with this confidence statement the company also “raised its full-year profit forecast due to better-than-expected third-quarter earnings that were driven by solid results from China and the United States.” October 10th also happened to be one of the days that I recorded the market value of YUM stocks and it was $70.99, roughly a 6% jump in price from the two days prior price of $66.94. Since this point in time the stock value has continually increased with limited to no decline in value. Even with the poor and slowing economic growth at the time in China, YUM Brands still is predicting a double-digit profit growth in the fourth quarter of their fiscal year. A stat that I found quite interesting and surprising was that the development plan for Yum Brands in China is to open, on average, two new restaurants per day. In the end, all of this seems to point to a continual increase in the stock value for Yum Brands, Inc.

We May Seem Different, But We Are All the Same

A few weeks ago I went on a service trip down to Tijuana, Mexico with a group from University Ministry here at USD. It was the first time I had been to Mexico and was the first time I had been in an area that was so deep in poverty. Coming away from the day-long trip, I knew I wanted to put together some sort of reflection about what I had seen and experienced but I never felt inspired to write something. It wasn’t until the other day when I was going out with some friends and I thought back to the weekend I had gone to Tijuana.

To start out I want to talk a little about what the activities of the day actually consisted of.

First thing in the morning, at an early 7:30 AM our group gathered up and set out for the border. The few weeks before, building up to this moment, I was pretty nervous and unsure about what it would be like once I got across the border into Mexico. With going to school in San Diego I have heard quite a few rumors and “stories” about Mexico and what it is like. I had the usual perception that everything would be completely different from what we have here in America.

Once we had crossed the border to get into Mexico (which was much faster and less formal than I had expected), we made our way to the area of La Morita, one of the poorest, most impoverished, and fastest growing regions of Tijuana. From there we worked with the San Eugenio Mission, a small community of priests living within the community, with whatever physical labor was needed. This was the point where I was hit with culture shock the most. We walked through the community to get to the Mission and meet the priests and I was torn by the sight of homes that were just thrown together by metal plates, garage doors, and whatever people could find to keep rain, wind and bugs out. I remember at one point while we were still in the van driving through the community noticing that there were no street signs. I asked our group leader how he knew when and where to turn, because I could have sworn we were just driving in circles at one point. But he said that he simply knew based on memory and familiarity of the area. Such simple things like this caught me by surprise all day. Street signs/names are such a base form of structure and organization for just about everywhere here in America. They are what help us get from point A to point B. They are what we use to not get lost in an unfamiliar area. They are what we use so that people know where we live, so people know where to send mail, and so people know where we will be if we need to be contacted in an emergency. There was no such structure or organization like that in La Morita.

For the physical labor project that the mission split us up into 3 groups so that we could get as much done as possible

view of Tijuana, Mexico

view of Tijuana, Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in the short time that we had. My small group was sent to one of the small chapels in the area to help dig a ditch to build up a wall of tires. It sounds like a pretty easy task, and when presented with it I didn’t see much difficulty in it either. But once we got started working in the blistering 85 degree sun, dry dirt, and gusting wind I had a much different opinion on the work I was doing. We were using pick-axes and shovels to dig a ditch, and I found myself constantly complaining about dust in my eyes from the dirt that was being thrown up by the wind. It was a bit pathetic and it makes me have a lot of respect for the people who are doing this everyday for 3 times as long as we were working each day.

Following our physical labor portion of the day and after a short lunch break we made a 2 mile walk through La Morita to Casa de las Memorias (House of Memories), a HIV/AIDS house on the outskirts of the city. Casa de las Memorias is a residential facility where people with HIV/AIDS and related diseases are welcomed to live. The people who live here are rejected by the community, hence them living on the outskirts of the city. There we simply spend time with the residents there and heard a few stories of their lives and experiences that lead them to be living in Casa de las Memorias. One women in particular that we met was named Jesse. She was in the critical care part of the home and couldn’t leave her bed. Her story was very touching and we were blessed with her honesty and humility in sharing her story. Jesse, with AIDS, was a drug addict who was so addicted to drugs that she needs to be slowly taken off of them, meaning she still needs to take the drugs but at a slowing rate so that she can get to the point where her body can survive without them. Through all her struggles with drug addiction she has always been faithfully seeking God and she praised Him so much for getting her the care she needs to get healthy. She asked us to pray with her and we were on our way forever changed by Jesse’s story.

While at Casa de las Memorias we also got the opportunity to play soccer with some of the men that were residents there. This was a really special time for me because, one, soccer has been a really big part of my life growing up, but most importantly because it broke through a lot of realities for me. The game was all the same as it has been for me when I play with my friends. The only big difference between playing with the men of Casa de las Memorias  and playing with my friends is the language that we were communicating in. For me, not knowing and Spanish, it was difficult to speak with them, so most of us playing resorted to simple gestures, high-fives, smiles, and hugs. The experience really helped open my eyes to the fact that although these people live in poverty and a different culture than I do, we are all humans, and as humans we are all the same.

Our next stop was on the western side of Tijuana right on the border, looking at the border fence and the US from the Mexican side. This was the first time I had ever seen the border fence. I had never even seen it from the US side. Along the fence were crosses with the names of those who had died in their attempts to cross the border. The name(s) that stood out to me in this case were Fr. Raya Zamora, as well as the many crosses that had deteriorated so much that no name was legible on the cross any more but were still left up to honor the person whom it originally was put up for. It brought me great joy to see that those people weren’t simply lost when their cross withered away.

Tijuana 3

Tijuana 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our next stop brought us even further West all the way to the ocean where the border fence extends out into the Pacific Ocean. From here you could look directly through the fence and see the skyline of downtown San Diego in the backdrop. To add-on to this we could see a family maybe a mile past the border fence on the US side playing on the beach with such freedom. At this point we were in a much wealthier part of Tijuana so there was more people on the beach enjoying themselves but I could definitely feel a difference between the US side and the Mexican side of the border. This was our time of reflection and the thing that kept coming to mind for me during this time was how

English: The beach on the Pacific Ocean at the...

English: The beach on the Pacific Ocean at the U.S.-Mexico border from the Mexican side. Español: Frontera de San DIego y Tijuana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

something as simple as land can be restricted for people. I could help but put myself in the shoes of the people in Tijuana that so badly wanted to get out and move to the US but because of financial and legal reasons couldn’t. Their desires are so close, just mere miles away yet there are not allowed to go there. It amazes me because this past summer I when i got my passport it was so simple. I went into an office, paid the fee to get it, and received it in the mail in a couple of weeks. I personally don’t know the process that someone from Mexico needs to go through to get a passport or the correct legal documents to cross the border, but it simply amazes me the how many restrictions there are. I understand why the US does have these restrictions and why they must be enforced, but I feel there should be a different, more effective, more understanding way to go about it. But I had no real idea of what could be done in this case to improve the system.

I don’t know what I personally can do. I know that I do want to do something productive towards this issue, but at this stage in my life I don’t have the answer to that. But this is just something that I can continually grow on and find my role and most importantly my calling.

To bring it back to my original statement, “It wasn’t until the other day when I was going out with some friends and I thought back to the weekend I had gone to Tijuana.” The thing that motivated me and drove me to write this was that I was going to a mall and needed to know what food they had there. I thought well I can just look online and see. Upon going online I also found that there was an app for the entire mall, to see everything that was there; all the stores, restaurants, entertainment, etc. It all just reminded me of the abundance of luxury that we (or at least I) find ourselves living in. My school, USD, is a mere 25 miles from Tijuana. That is not very far at all. But having seen the two places and the conditions that we both live in sometimes it is sad to see that they are opposite sides of the spectrum. The people of La Morita in Tijuana fight each day to make sure their families have food to eat while in San Diego I find myself and friends sometimes struggling to decide what movie to watch, which video game to play, what luxury to buy, etc. It is a sad true that I find myself fighting to avoid as much as I can and to think back to the people of La Morita and Casa de Las Memorias.

I will continue to pray for the people of La Morita and Casa de las Memorias and hope to go back and visit on another day trip soon.

God Bless.

Feast Day of St. Jerome

As the title of this post states, today is the feast day for St. Jerome. I wanted to post about this because in my religion class we learned a little bit about St. Jerome. Not much, but enough to know that he is a significant figure in the Churches history. St. Jerome is responsible for writing the Vulgate, which was the version of the Bible that was used by the Catholic church for roughly 1500 years (c. 400 C.E. – 1960 C.E.). In his time St. Jerome was a great scholar, having been educated in many different places in the world (Dalmatia (in the former Yugoslavia), Rome, and Germany). He was a master in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldaic (spoken by the people of Babylonia) languages.

Quick Facts about St. Jerome:

Born: c. 340 AD

Died: 30-Sep-420 AD

Remains: Buried, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy

Patron Saint of: Librarians

I don’t want to go on saying a ton about him as I am not an expert on him or his life, but I do want to bring people’s attention to him and give some links to find more information about him if you want to.

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

So since I missed posting yesterday I am posting today.
I came across this article the other day while just reading through some random news articles. The article in a nutshell, if you don’t want to go read it or watch the video, is about a baseball player who, back in 2005, made his major league debut pinch-hitting in the 9th inning of a game for the Chicago Cubs. The first pitch of the at-bat he was hit by a pitch. In the head. He has not played in the Majors since. His name is Adam Greenberg.

I think this story is important because it shows us two things. One, it shows us how quickly our lives can change with one simple event. In a split second something so far from expected can take away what we love, in Adam case it was baseball. But through perseverance he was able to over come what had happened.
And that brings me to the single thing the story shows us. It is a story of over coming odds. Things are gonna happen that we don’t expect or that we don’t want to happen whether they be small or big, but if we keep working we can get to the place that we want to be.

I truly think this is an amazing story. As the article says Greenberg will play in the Marlins game on Tuesday, Oct. 2nd against the Met’s. According to the Marlins schedule on ESPN.com the game will not be televised but regardless I think this game is still a big moment in sports as a whole and most definitely in Adam Greenburg’s life and he deserves the support.

Gangnam What?

Being in a college setting almost all the time I pick up on a lot of the “main stream” media that is going on in the world. One of those things that has recently hit was the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy. You probably have heard of the song before, if not here it is. (Gangnam Style) Here are my thoughts on the…song.

Initially I will admit that the rhythm and beat of the song isn’t bad. It is rather catchy and it does fit well into the American style of electronic style music. But in all honesty who knows what Psy is really even saying in his lyrics? I’m not calling him out and saying he doesn’t have good lyrics or that they don’t make sense. I’m just saying that to an American, mostly English-speaking audience here in America, we don’t know what he is saying because we don’t speak Korean. It is as simple as that. Yes we have translations of the song on the internet everywhere, but there is usually a lot of meaning in words that gets lost in translation. I’m still not totally sure how the song became SO popular. I would understand if the song had its few weeks of fame and then died out, but the popularity continues. It’s crazy!

One thing that I would love to find out is if the people who listen to the song all the time know what it is about and know the message. I have only heard the song a few times, as I’m not hooked, but I managed to also find this article explaining a little about the meaning behind the song. The article takes about comparing Gangnam, a neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea, to American areas such as Beverly Hills, which yeah is a high-class area, but is always surrounded by some sort of drama one way or another. I personally don’t think living in either of the areas would be that fun or enjoyable.

Well, anyways, these are just my thoughts. I don’t know everything about the song. I just did a little research about it once I heard it the other day and thought I’d put my ideas out there.

This Just In

When Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith showed up Sunday night for the game against the Patriots, he had a lot more on his mind than the AFC championship rematch so many fans were waiting to see.

Smith had barely slept and wasn’t even sure if he would play. He had driven home to Virginia after learning hours earlier his younger brother Tevin had been killed in a motorcycle accident. Shortly before grabbing an hour of sleep, at around 5:30 a.m., he tweeted about how much his brother meant to him.

An hour later, as tributes to his brother were pouring in, Smith posted a picture of the two of them together, saying, “I can’t say a bad thing about him… proud to have him as a brother. …”

At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, he finally made the decision he would play  in honor of his brother.

“It was tough emotionally. I didn’t…

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Our Search for Greatness and Descent to Humility

This week I want to just give some of my thoughts on the gospel of Mark. They are my thoughts and so they aren’t all going to be right and if you want to chime in on something I say feel free, just leave a comment.

Glory to you Oh Lord,

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:30-37)

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The passage above is the Gospel reading today about Jesus walking with the Twelve (The Apostles) to Capernaum. As the walked Jesus tells the Twelve about his “prediction” of his death for a second time. Yet upon hearing this for a second time they still didn’t seem to understand what Jesus was telling them yet Mark includes the fact that they were afraid to ask Jesus what he meant. I believe that is to show that maybe the Twelve did have at least some understanding of what Jesus was preaching to them and just didn’t want to believe it to be true. The news strikes great fear into the disciples and leads them to argue amongst themselves about who is the “greatest” of them. The “greatest” in my opinion mean who is the best Christian. (Although at this time there was no existence of Christianity. So I guess you could say they were arguing over who was the holiest.) They had turned their faith and religious life into a competition, something we see so much in today’s world with just about everything (work, sports, opinions, fame, popularity, and sometimes even our faith). I constantly find myself thinking “all I have to do is be better than this person,” or “I just need to make my work look better than theirs and I’ll get the better great.” It’s something that I constantly find myself falling into.

Jesus then sits the Twelve down (notice he does this rather than getting angry at them) and tells them, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark (9:35). I personally like this phrase from Matthew better, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16), but they both mean the same thing. This is Jesus’ test to the Twelve to humble themselves and our test as well. The example that Jesus uses for this situation is that of a child. At Mass today the pastor at the parish I attend explained the example this way, a child is fully dependent on their elders (parents), they need parents for food, shelter, love, education (all the basic necessities of life), but most importantly, and the key part to why Jesus used this example, is that children have no way to repay those who care for them and raise them.

What I am Blogging About

Well I figured I should let you guys all know what I’ll be blogging about. As of now my plan is to have roughly 3 posts a week. (That may change as time goes on). I’m looking at posting something every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday as those are the days I have the most time off. If school work gets more rigorous and time-consuming I’ll probably just knock it down to either Tuesday or Thursday.

My plans for Sundays are to have some sort of reflection on Mass from that day, whether it be about the readings, the specific feast day, or something else in the religious sphere of things.

My plans for during the week (Tues., Thurs.) is to just post about whatever I find interesting, or about something that happens to me throughout the week that I want to reflect on or that I feel would be a good life lesson for both myself and possibly others.

Why the Blog?

Hello all. I just had the urge to start this blog because, honestly, I just have too much time on my hands and not enough things to do with it. I also wanted to start the blog because I truly believe it will be beneficial for me to be able to express my thoughts and what I do throughout my week. I also do hope that what I post will be helpful and/or interesting to those of you reading this. I also want to be able to talk about and post interesting articles to people reading this so I would love to receive requests on things to write about. It can be any topic.
The types of articles that I will be initially posting will mostly be updates on things that I am doing in life (hopefully posting on a weekly basis), as well as popular news topics and what my position is on the subjects. I will most likely be putting somewhat of a moral twist on the things I write about, and as I do hope none of the things I say offend people I can not promise that it won’t as I am not one to change my opinion simply based on how someone feels about the topics. But on top of this if you have a counter opinion on something I write I will welcome it in the comments and will get to replying to it as soon as I can. Post with respect.
For now I am going to collect my thoughts and hopefully have a post up by the end of this weekend.

Happy Reading!