Friday, January 30, 2009

The Day!!!

For those of you that know him, Ethan turned seven today. Here are some shots of our dinner with some people that came over to help celebrate.

Here's about how his day went. I took him to Bruegger's for some bagels for breakfast, then he went home and watched a couple of episodes of the Munster's.

After that, he helped me clean my guns and helped his mom bake a cake, then it was off to the bowling alley for a round of bowling with the fam.

We went home, made up some dinner in time for some guests to join us, ate, open presents, ate cake and ice cream and watched Kung Fu Panda.

I think that is a pretty good day for a seven year old. Not bad for the rest of us either.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Couple of New Things

I added our friend's blog to my list.

Our friend is Jennifer Moore. Yes, she is a Realtor and some of her musings on her blog might be related to real estate. Some of you may be tempted to not read her blog because of this. But she is, among other things:
1: Someone we like and the wife of someone we like and even the mother of some people we like.
2: An advocate for great neighborhoods and communities
3: The holder of some interesting things to say

Here is her blog address:

And something else:

Tomorrow is Ethan's B-day. He will be seven. Isn't that cool?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I O U's

California, unable to resolve the budget crisis and agree upon an approved budget, is seriously considering sending IOU's in the form of registered warrants in lieu of tax refunds. The warrant would let the taxpayer know that the state owes them a certain amount of money and it will be redeemed at some undisclosed time.

Here is an article and report on all this.

This is the first time that California has done this since they tried issuing state workers IOU's in 1992. They were sued for damages that time.

But, I think this opens up some interesting options. Maybe you can give the IOU to the DMV instead of paying. Or, you could give the state an IOU instead of paying your taxes. If you get a ticket from the Highway Patrol, a state law enforcement agency, maybe you could just give them an IOU.

Another great idea from the state that leads the way in many of the great ideas of our time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

El Presidente

Have you seen these posters around. Whatever your political views, do they really have to make posters making a presidential hopeful, and now president, look like a president of a third world country.

I saw these being sold on the corner by some guy who was also selling Superbowl paraphernalia and thought that it looked like it should be plastered on a bullet riddled wall somewhere.

How about a nice portrait or something like that, instead of this thing?

And these comments are made, of course, meaning no disrespect to the artist that thought this up after his visits to Nicaragua and Rhodesia.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the......

For obvious reasons, at least to me, I don't tell work stories on here. But, this one happened when I was off work. It would have been just a regular sort of thing if I was at work, but since I wasn't, it was kind of remarkable...and kind of funny. So, just because I think you might like this story:

Last week, as we (as in Diane, Emily, Abigail, Ethan and I....the whole crew) were driving home from services, I looked over and saw an old lady, a young guy in a wheelchair and another young guy all fall out into the street. I rolled my eyes and thought, "Geez, I am glad I am not working right now. I would have to go see what these (people) are up to.

Diane then gave me the look that was like, "Did you see that? You better go stop and see if you can help them."

So, I pulled over, gave Diane the phone and went to see what was going on. The guy in the wheelchair was helped back in by the other young guy, who said it was his cousin and they had fallen. The old lady said that she was out helping them, because they were thrown out of a car. The guy in the chair was talking like he had a developmental disability, slurring his words and curling his arms at the elbows and hands.

I noticed the other guy, had been drinking. When I asked about if they were drinking, he said he was, but his brother in the wheelchair wasn't.

"You said he was your cousin."

The old lady said, "He means he is his brother like we are all brothers."


Then a van pulls up and says that the one guy pushed the wheelchair guy into her car. By this time, I had signaled Diane to call 911 and I could hear sirens. Wheelchair guy tried to get up and said, "I wuhhhhnt to go hooooome." I know, I am not so good at making the sounds he made, but I told him to just relax because the ambulance was going to come and make sure he was ok.

After I told him that, he jumped up and ran into the street. I was afraid he was going to get hit and I would somehow get blamed for it, so I followed him across the street as he outran his wheelchair, both of his flip flops and me into a gated yard on the other side. I noticed the other guy was running up behind me, so I turned on him and told him (in my outside voice and maybe even with an outside word) to please not follow me and to kindly sit down on the ground.

It must have been the way I said it, because he then asked if I was a cop. When I said I was, he took off running the other way in a panic.

When the firemen and policeman arrived moments later, they both were surprised to hear how the wheelchair guy jumped up and ran off when he heard that help was on the way.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Interesting thoughts from Penn the atheist, of Penn and Teller fame.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This guy is looking for a new favorite wife....and no, it is not Gerard Butler.

In 2009 the Jewish Feast of Purim will start on Tuesday, the 10th of March and will continue for 2 days until Wednesday, the 11th of March. Note that in the Jewish calender, a holiday begins on the sunset of the previous day, so observing Jews will celebrate Purim on the sunset of Monday, the 9th of March.

The story of Purim is told in the Book of Esther, in the Old Testament of your Bible. it is the story of how, when Israel was in Persian captivity, they were saved by the actions of Esther and the decisions of King Xerxes.

Xerxes is also the antagonist in the movie 300. The picture above is him trying to convince the Spartan, Leonidas, to surrender to him before the famous battle of Thermopylae.

That is one creepy looking dude that Esther had to confront.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winner Takes All.

For a little while there, I was on a pretty good winning streak. I won, randomly, some good stuff.

- I won a jewelry chest and some other do-dads from Hallmark and American Girl for the girls. You see, they had this drawing at the local store that you could enter as many times as you wanted. So, Diane and the kids went every day for a couple of weeks. They dragged me along and I threw in an entry one time. A couple of weeks later, they called to say that we won, and the entry that won was mine.

-I won a three week all expense paid trip to India at a National Convention.

- At a company party, I won the grand prize of a dinner at a nice restaurant that I was able to gift to some friends.

- At another company party I won a DVD player that the kids wanted.

So, every time their is some sort of entry or drawing thing, everyone wants me to sign up. I usually don't, because I don't think I will win. You see, every one of the aforementioned times, I knew I was going to win if I entered and I would say so ahead of time. I don't think I have been wrong yet.

I think it is time for another win.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another History Maker

As the first black president is about to be inaugurated and we pause to remember a leader in the civil rights movement that was a catalyst in changing many peoples views and ideas about African-Americans, I wanted to share a word or two about one of my favorite historical figures, George Washington Carver.

Carver was born to slaves in 1864 and became one of the most influential men in the shaping of agriculture in our country. Consider some of his achievements:

- First black student at Simpson College
- Earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree at Iowa State College and was accepted as faculty
- Left Iowa for a position at the Tuskegee Institute in poverty stricken Alabama
- Discovered more than three hundred products derived from the peanut, about 100 from sweet potatoes and 75 from pecans.
- Introduced a crop rotation method that replaced vital nutrients to the soil.
- Received patents for paints and stains derived from Alabama soil.

Carver attributed his successes to God's revelation, saying, "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."

Hopefully, in all our endeavors, we will seek to hear how God is speaking to us and get our wisdom from him.

A Few Quotes By Martin Luther King Jr.

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”

"The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy."

"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Even though we love to go, I often find it difficult to find movies I can take my kids to see at the theater. Many of the ones that are popular with kids and families have foul language and blatant sexual references (like Transformers) or gruesome twisted violence (Like the Dark Knight). Ok, I know both of my examples are PG-13 movies, but they both are very popular with the families with young kids crowd.

So, it is nice when they release a movie that is appropriate for us all to watch, as well as entertaining enough that adults enjoy sitting through it too. There are plenty of "kids" movies that are fine as far as not showing naked dancing girls screaming profanities and they gruesomely kill one another, but that are downright boring. One that immediately comes to mind is the terribly dull Milo and Otis.

Bolt has a kind of Toy Storyish, Incrediblesy feel and is about a dog that is the star of an action oriented tv series. The twist is that the dog thinks he is actually a super powered dog, only to discover that his powers don't work quite right when he happens to leave the set one day hoping to save his person.

Yes, it does have the kind of corny, tearsy, my familyand friends are more important than fame and fortune sort of stuff, but it is, all in all, an enjoyable show sprinkled with humor and even action throughout. Rhino, a hamster in a ball, steals the scene again and again, as he follows his tv hero, Bolt, into daring and funny adventures.

The show also includes a short featurette featuring the "Cars" characters. I am not a fan of Cars at all, but the kids thought it was a great addition.

Bolt actually did better the second week of it's release than it did the first week. This shows that the people that saw this movie the first week of it's release actually enjoyed it, recommended it to their friends and family and made it a hit. It is at the cheap theaters now and is soon to be released on DVD.

Friday, January 16, 2009

And for your viewing pleasure.

As you have seen, I try to post something interesting related to faith, family, community and culture at least every other day.

Now, for those in between days, I have added an "Art of the Day" gadget along the right hand column.

At least you will have something to look at until the following day.

I posted this before, but have you paid it off yet?

Since I make more than $20 an hour, I guess I am free to spend as much as I want for whatever holiday comes along.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A River Runs Through It

The Fox Theater, renovated a couple of years ago to great fanfare, really is an excellent piece of local history. It opened in 1930 to what historians consider the biggest party Tucson had seen up to that time. Around 3,000 people turned out to see the opening of a spectacular main auditorium, which can seat over 1,100 people.

Sadly, the theater was closed in 1974. It's ignominious future included a time when it was a refuge for the local homeless community.

When the renovation was finished a few years later, it was considered the jewel in the crown of the local Rio Nuevo plan....a plan to restore downtown to some forgotten former glory, or at least make it more palatable.

I, for one, thought the Fox renovation was a splendid idea. We had a Fox theater in the town where I grew up, and nostalgia alone would get me excited about an idea like this. I have also been to downtown Columbus, where several theaters of this ilk have been successfully renovated. Watching an old movie (well, I saw E.T. in one, Does that count?) in a grand old theater was an awesome event.

After millions of dollars spent on consultations, collaborations and conceptions, the monies the City and State spent on Rio Nuevo has disappointingly yielded very few discernible results.

Now, this news bit informs that the City is taking over the running of the theater from the foundation which has brought it back to Tucson. Apparently some salaried employees that already work at the Tucson Convention Center can take on some double duties (for no extra pay) and run the box office and concessions at the Fox. The Foundation, according to the report, is looking at $60,000 worth of regular expenses with only $40,000 in the bank.

The Fox Theater, crown jewel of Rio Nuevo, in it's now tarnished state, appears to be a fitting representation of the whole darn thing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Death of a Legend

If you know who he is, you have probably heard that Ricardo Montalban passed away today at the age of 88.

Some of you are too young for this, but I used to see him on Fantasy Island every week. It always had some cool twists and turns that always turned out the best for the people seeking their fantasy on the remote isle.

My favorite role of his was his appearance as Khan in the Wrath of Khan, the second Star Trek movie. this is by far the best of the original Star trek movies, especially after the disappointment the Star Trek: The Motion Picture was.

And, I just saw that The Wrath of Khan movie was made 27 years ago. Montalban would have been about 62 when it came out, and was in great shape. Some people were shocked that he did not have a body double as he went around shirtless, as seen in the picture above.

In any case, I am sorry to see him go.

His wife, Georgiana Young, died in 2007, after 63 years of marriage.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Adrenalin Junkies

Certain types of jobs seem to provide adrenalin rushes that people start to crave, almost like a drug.

My current job has an element of that and some guys will constantly put themselves in a place where they will be able t get that rush.

In my former life, I was a Pastor/Minister/Parson/Clergyman/Ecclesiastic. That job also had elements of the adrenalin junkie lifestyle. Really, think about it. What is the number one thing people are afraid of. Numerous surveys have shown that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. People would rather be the departed at a funeral than they would be the one giving the eulogy.

So, what is it that clergymen/pastors/parsons/etc. do on a weekly basis. They talk in front of a group of people. It really can be an adrenalin rush, whether the minister admits it or not and it really can be addictive.

Of course, Pastors can also get addicted to the feelings they get when people look to them for spiritual guidance, when people give them kudos for the feelings they got from the talk that was given or when people give them the power to be an influence in their lives.

So, for all you with addictive personalities, consider the ministry as a profession.

And for those of us involved in ministry (or other "adrenalin rush" sort of jobs), we should check ourselves (as always) and see what our motivation is for what we do.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Filling Quotas

Tonight, I was reminded by some friends of a document I received when I was in the Air Force. One of the items stated the following:
Ethnic Background: None.

I was somewhat offended at the time, but it actually might be helpful.

I think I will put this on all the things that ask for my ethnic background. Especially at work, where they keep track of how many people of each ethnic group and gender they have in each position. How long has it been since they have promoted someone with no ethnic background. I am a shoe in for whatever job I want.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Acidents Are Rarely Accidental

The organizational disasters that I have seen (or been involved with), whether they were financial crisis, leadership problems or problems with personnel, have all had many indicators that they were imminent. When we think of disasters, accidents, etc., we usually tend to think of them as unavoidable.

I recently found the book "Flirting With Disaster", by Marc Gerstein with Michael Ellsberg. In the book, the author outlines several major disasters in recent memory, including Hurricane Katrina, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters, Chernobyl and other events that were terrible and may have seemed sudden and unpredictable.

In all the incidents described, ample warning signs, indicators and evidence existed to take steps to circumvent disaster. For instance, in the case of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans City and Army Corps of Engineers had ample warning that a disaster could be imminent, yet stalled on taking measures to adequately protect the City. Consider these warnings:

- In 2001, Scientific American published a n article entitled "Drowning New Orleans", discussing how a major hurricane could swamp New Orleans.
- In 2002, the New Orleans Times-Picayune ran a series of articles analyzing the flooding risk.
- Also in 2002, PBS Frontline aired "The City in a Bowl", spelling out the risks.
- In the summer of 2004 , FEMA conducted an exercise that was based on a slow moving category three hurricane, the same scenario as Katrina and viewed as the most likely scenario for disaster.
- In October of 2004, National Geographic published a disturbing hypothetical scenario entitled "Gone with the Water", that showed New Orleans punished by a hurricane.

The book is full of examples, like the Katrina example, of how responsible parties were myopic to the risks involved, hoped things would resolve themselves despite all information to the contrary, or were unable or unwilling to act due to political, organizational or procedural pressure.

You can view the website to the book here, or view the trailer here.

If you have any interest in avoiding organizational (or even personal) disasters, would want to analyze past disasters or are just interested in seeing an overview of what happened in these past well-publicized cases, this book is a good read.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One Second Thought

In case I never get around to finishing the story this week, you can here the scaled down version of both the story and the message I shared in Tucson only on Saturday morning at 9:30am...15 minutes of it anyways....on am 940.

By the way, free to the first one that is interested, A Pima County Sheriff's Department Calendar. No, it is not like the firefighters calendar, cause cops are usually not in anywhere near the shape of firemen. But, it does have some cool pictures and I am in one of them riding a quad.

If anyone wants it, be the first to say so on here.

If no-one says anything, I will take that as a sign that....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Global warming Doesn't Cause Tsunami's

"Head for the hills!"

I had a dream last night that I was in California for a big bunch of tidal waves. This was weird, because they don't seem to get tsunami style tidal waves in California. It was also weird because I was in California barefoot looking for a rental car, but that was just a strange part of the dream, I guess.

I have often wondered why they don't get tsunami's in LA or something like that. Maybe it is because the faults are inland, rather than out to sea, so it doesn't have that Indonesia effect. Or maybe they just haven't had any there. I don't know. Does anyone else?

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.......

Monday, January 5, 2009

running away from it all.....

I had to speak for a local Church group this Sunday and I shared the following story (slightly embellished here for your reading pleasure).......

When I was in High School, I was on the Football team for a year. The coach, at one practice after I had a particularly good game, said I was the best player on the team. I played defensive tackle and it was great fun. All I had to do was tackle the guy with the ball, or rush in and slam the quarterback.

Now that might not seem like much, but consider this. In Nebraska, where I grew up, they took Football seriously. Very seriously. Our town had a population of about 6500 and the High School Football (notice that I capitalized Football, because Football is that important) Stadium held at least a couple of thousand people. And, it was always filled up for varsity games. That's about a third of the town that came out for Friday Night Lights. Football was serious business in small town Nebraska.

So, after the coach told me about my prowess, I decided to not play the next year and try a new sport. After all, I had reached the pinnacle of achievement on the gridiron. I could now assume my place among the myriad of men who could look back at their younger days and say, "Those were the best days of my life!". and, "If only the coach would have put me in in the third quarter of that playoff game. Things would sure be different."

The year after that momentous achievement, I tried cross-country. Cross country requires a different skill set and a different type of conditioning than Football. I was, needless to say, not varsity cross country material. I was surprised to learn that they were even concerned with things like varsity and jr. varsity in cross country.

One cold and blustery day, practice consisted of running up hills head on into the stingingly chilly breeze. Now this was something I could do. charge up the hill, then jog down another while catching my breath and preparing to charge up another one. I did great. So good, that the coaches decided I would run with the varsity boys at the next meet, or pointless run, or run that had no point or whatever they called the thing.

I have to turn in for the evening now, so you will have to wait until tomorrow night to find out what happened on my debut run with the varsity boys and what the point of sharing it with you is. It will be on the radio sometime soon. Maybe this Saturday. But, it is embellished some here, so you'll probably get a better story than everyone heard. So check back soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christian T-Shirt Conventions

Have you ever been to a stadium sized "Christian" event. I have been to several, from youth events to Promise Keepers to concerts. Each one makes me think that they must be a "Christian T-Shirt Convention", because everyone wears their Christian t-shirts with an array of crosses, kneeling praying people and catchy slogans (here is a website full of them) designed to let everyone else around know that you are one of them...... I guess.

This weekend, I had to work at the local annual pow-wow. While there, I noticed that a number of white folks get into the act and buy up t-shirts with "Indian" symbols and sayings. I even have a couple of these shirts myself.

I think they are wearing these shirts to show that, while they are not Indian, they think that Indian people are cool and, boy, they wish they could be part Indian too. By wearing the shirt, they seem to offer proof that, if they were around back in the day, things would sure be different. Everyone knows I am not an Indian, the shirts screams, but I like you guys and maybe I am just a little bit Indian too.

I wonder if that is the same reason people wear the "Christian" t-shirts to the conventions?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Anyone Seen Apocalypto?

Here's a few pics from the weekend, for those that wanna see what we have been up to. Wednesday, we went for a Hike in the Rincon's with Uncle Robert (Diane's Brother from Boise). Abby stayed home sick with her Aunt Dale. I was sick too, but I went for the hike.

The other pic is some Aztecs from the Pow Wow I worked at on Thursday and Friday.

Oh, and the Aztec calendar already came to an end a few years ago. It was the end of the Aztec world as we know it. The Mayan calendar comes to an end in 2012. Many are speculating that 2012 will also mean the end of the world as we know it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


In military strategy, there is a principle of reinforcing success.

To follow this, if an element of your forces is doing well you will reinforce that element to enable a victory. For instance, if some of your troops are defeating the enemy in a certain sector of battle, you will send in more troops in that sector to ensure a breakthrough or a victory.

On the other hand, if you are being defeated in a certain area, it is often wise to retreat from that area so you can reinforce the areas that are having success and minimize the losses to the troops facing defeat.

Nationally we have recently applied bailout strategies to certain parts of our economy. My concern is that they are not parts of our economy that will be successful, even with the bailout.

The auto industry, for example. Or perhaps I should say the American owned original auto makers in Detroit. They have showed no signs of being successful in their practices. Well, that is not entirely accurate. They sell plenty of cars. How they are able to do this without making a profit is beyond me. But, there are no signs that they will become a profitable part of our economy if we only prop them up one more time.

There are other auto makers in our country that do well. They employ a good number of us, make cars that people ask for, sell them at more reasonable prices* and make a profit. Maybe we should give them money to do more of the same.

* I have to say "more reasonable" because I think cars are overpriced. Much like the sub-prime mortgage stuff, the prices have become inflated because credit is available for everyone to buy a car at pretty much any price.

And here it is....

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would write up a list of things I am grateful for this holiday season and encouraged readers to do the same. So, here are a few of those things:

- As you know, my Dad passed away earlier this year. This was very sad, but I am grateful that:

I was there with him and my Mom when he unexpectedly passed.
My bros and I were all getting along
He was in my life

- Abigail is in the hospital right now. She has had a bad headache for over 24 hours. Since she has a shunt in her head that could malfunction at any time, this raises some alarm bells. So, after watching her for a while, we took her in. As soon as the Doctor saw her, she the headache had begun to dissipate. So, we are not sure if it was from the shunt or what. But, I am glad she is feeling better.

- Diane and I have been married for 16 years, going on 17. At a recent wedding we attended, they had a dance where people dropped out based on how many years they had been married. they started by asking those married one year or less to sit down, then 5 and so on. At 16 years, the only ones who beat us were the old-timers.

- T.J. is doing well in Hawaii.

- Ethan and Emily are great kids, and doing well.

- I have a job. This seems like such a basic thing. But, when you have been without a job, you realize what a blessing it is to have one. Today I get to go work at the annual pow-wow. hoka hey!

That is the start of my list. Don't forget to make your own and share it with someone else.