Saturday, February 28, 2009

Root, Root Root for the Home Team.

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
- Hebrews 12:15 (New International Version)

Church people are great. Truly they are. If you find a good Church, you can't find a better group of people anywhere. Think about it, people that forgive and love one another and do their best to help each other out. When God gets a hold of a life, it can be a great thing.

But, I think people can, from time to time, forget that whole God thing and treat other people meanly. People outside of the Church do it too, so don't use that as an excuse not to go to Church. Just don't be surprised when people act in ways that you don't think they ought to. Church people are still human and if you can't forgive them, then you are certainly no better than they.

That being said, here are some crazy things I heard at the first Church I was Pastor of, back in 1995:

After our daughter was born, one elderly gal came by and held her.
"What a beautiful baby. And such beautiful hair."
Then, her face contorted and she said, "Not like those Mexican babies."

When we explained to her friend that we were going to see Diane's sister in Chula Vista, she scowled and said, "Chula Vista, you can see Mexico from there." She went on to explain how those "Mexicans" always ran their carts into her's at the Walmart.

One lady who heard that Diane used to have a horse, let us know that "...horses are a rich man's hobby."

She also remarked that we"....must not of had a yard sale" before we moved to town, after she saw what we were moving into a new house.

She did redeem herself, when she let us know that she was saving a blanket for "the next baby that was going to be born. I guess that's yours, so here."

Another man let us know that "...if you hug someone for more than a second or two, you are fondling them." He was also kind enough to write a sermon for me that he thought I should give sometime. Oh, and he also gave me a fifty that same day, saying that he thought it would help us out, since we just moved to town.

I didn't have a chance to give the sermon before he left for another Church down the street. The Pastor, a friend of mine, let me know that the same fellow told him, as he was hugging one of the Church folk goodbye, that he"....abhorred pastors that hugged people." My friend told him that he needed to find a new Church. No dice, he had already been to most of them in town, so he hung around.

If you have had trouble with people in Church, or in life, you're not the only one.

If they made you bitter, get over it.

If you don't, you could very well end up like them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Now that's interesting.

For those of you that just want to see something randomly interesting, here you go:

Cleveland's most interesting people of 2009 from

The strange deaths of 20 interesting people from the Mental floss blog.

There you go. What could be more more interesting than that......and more random.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Twelve Angry Men

Diane had to go to Jury Duty on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, she was not selected. The defense attorney actually told her that this may not be the jury for you. As if she was actively campaigning to be on a jury and she needed to go find another one that was more suited to her.

Here are some of her experiences...embellished just a little.

They first asked her to come last Thursday, after asking her if she would be able to come on that day. After she said she would, she was told that it was rescheduled for Tuesday. Thanks for asking.

After meeting at Superior Court, she was farmed out to City Court to participate in Voir Dire for a DUI trial. The jury gathered in a room where they were asked a series of questions. After the whole group was asked together, the jurors were called back in to explain the affirmative responses they had to any of the questions.

Here is the exchange:

Would you give more weight to the testimony of a police officer than to the testimony of a known drunken sorority girl?
A: Wouldn't you?

Do you or any of your family or close friends work in Law Enforcement
A: My husband is a cop. He also won the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers award for Outstanding DUI Enforcement. Isn't that great?

Have you or any of your family or close friends ever been victimized by a crime involving alcohol?
A: My cousin was killed by a drunk driver in 1998.

Would you be able to set aside your biases and be objective in this case?
A: Yes, I would be happy to find her guilty regardless of how much I like her personally, feel for her plight driving her to drink and drive or how unfair she thought she was treated by the police.

Would you want someone of your mindset sitting on your jury?
A: Yes, because if I was guilty I would want someone that could help me to face my consequences, deal with my problems and get on with life.

Ok, that is not quite what she said, but I am sure that is what the defense attorney heard. She was not chosen.

Inappropriate Agitations

I drive around quite a bit at work. I will often go to the very North end of the county, or down south to the border, or the very east side or over to the boundary of the Tohono O'odham reservation. Sometimes all of the above in one day.

So, while I am driving around, I try to throw down some audio books from time to time. Maybe, I hope, I can glean some valuable life insights in between thrilling car chases and running people down in the desert. And sometimes I do.

Last night, I was listening to someone talking about dealing with difficult people at work and in our lives. We all have people like that in our lives. You may even be that person to someone else. The people that get their way regularly because of their inappropriate behavior. Whether they are yelling and screaming, whining and crying or heaping on the guilt, we are annoyed and agitated by people who act in difficult ways.

The speaker pointed out that there is a very good reason people act in inappropriate ways. The reason is, quite simply, because it works. That made me think.

Do my kids throw tantrums and whine and cry because they know that they will eventually win? How about the flashes of anger? Do they come because I have shown them that this is how to get what you want? Do people at work act in inappropriate ways because they know it gets them what they want?

And now that I have made you feel is the person I was listening to: Connie Podesta

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Geeks In A Gunfight

SNL Get A Life

I went to hear some dude give the story of the Gunfight at the OK Corral today. I have been to Tombstone a few times and think it is an interesting story. The guy giving the presentation was very engaging and informative.

After the presentation, he opened it up for questions which, as is often the case, ended up consisting of not only questions, but a few people wanting to display their knowledge of obscure facts that are somehow related to the gunfight. Reminded me of the video above.

Seriously, you have to watch this video.

Apparently every field has it's nerds.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Time To Change.

Our President mentioned in a speech in Arizona today that it is time that we, as Americans, need to learn to live within our means again. Great idea, but apparently this does not apply to government entities.

For instance, the State of California, touted as having the 6th largest economy in the world, just passed a new budget. The budget includes tax increases to what are already notoriously high state taxes. Apparently the state is unable to live within it's means and needs to take more money from it's citizens. It seems to me that a state with such a massive economy and an already high tax revenue would be able to afford to run itself. Maybe Californians are in need of more governing than the rest of us. Everyone on my career field knows that people from California are more unruly than people from anywhere else.

Special thanks to State Senator Abel Maldonado who voted for the budget saying that it's an "ugly budget" and "takes a lot away" from California. He did add that it keeps people working, those people being the State workers.

Perhaps it is time for Californians, and the rest of us, to realize that living within our means really means living with a good 40% to 50% less than what our paycheck says we make.

The good news is that I happened to recall the song below. It was recorded by the bunch when Peter's voice was changing. I think it is a great reminder of how painful change can be. This song was painful, unnecessary and done in an ill advised effort to make the viewers happy that led to the shows ultimate demise.

Let is serve as a theme song for these changing times.

The New One

Here are some promised pics of MaKai.

Our Oldest, T.J. had a baby last week. Actually, it was his wife.

For those that don't know, He has been in Hawaii for about a year and a half with the Army, married since January 3rd of last year and is now a Dad.

Here are all the vitals I have:
Name: Makai Benjamin
Age: 7 days
Date Of Birth: 02-12-09
Time of Birth: 2128 Hours Hawaii Time.
Weight: 7lbs 1 oz
Mom and baby are reportedly doing fine.

An Interesting Shift

Pendragon - Sword of His Father

Here is the message these people sent out about their new movie:

"The Pendragon Team started as a group of two homeschooling families - nine cousins and their parents - with a big idea. As the "Pendragon Project" expanded, God answered our prayers by sending countless volunteers to join our team.

Most of the shooting was done in sets constructed in our backyard. The costumes were sewn in our living room, and the soundtrack was composed in our basement. As we saw Pendragon through to completion, we watched God provide in amazing ways.

Although it is set in a distant time and a faraway place, Pendragon is more than an exciting fantasy - it tells a story that is essential to Christian families today. Through Pendragon's epic battles and dramatic intrigue shines the story of a young man whose life was changed when he submitted himself to God's plan."

I am not sure of the quality of this film, although I am pretty sure it is not one of the best ever made. But, it does represent an interesting shift. Now, instead of waiting for the movie you want to be made, with enough motivation, passion and homespun expertise, you can make the movie you want.

My daughter is kind of a fan of FRED. Fred started making videos for you tube that caught on with the younger set, and now he is being featured on icarly. See what you can do if you have enough motivation, or if you're just plain strange.

It appears that the face of media is continuing to change. I am not sad to see it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anyone have an opinion about this?

Emily is prepping for a debate about beauty pageants next week. The debate is about whether or not beauty pageants are beneficial or bad for young girls.

Does anyone have an opinion, anecdote or information about anything like this? If so, feel free to share.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I got a compliment!!!!

Shameless self promotion compels me to republish this compliment I just got from the wife of a friend on facebook.

"I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading your blogs. I find your stories very interesting. I think your dad and mine worked on the Police Department in McCook together. Just wanted you to know I read all your stuff and it is great. Thanks, B."

Hang in there B. More stuff is yet to come.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Some of you might think it's crazy, but I am going anyway.

See the Traveling Dinosaur & Fossil Museum!

Did Dinosaurs and Man really live together?

See Human footprints along with Dinosaur footprints!

See Man-made items found in deep rock & coal layers!

See ancient artifacts of man interacting with dinosaurs!

Hold a stalactite and figure out its real age!

Handle dinosaur bones, skulls, footprints, eggs & more!

This is the last time Ian Juby will be in Arizona with the Traveling Dinosaur & Fossil Museum!

Bring family & friends; front rows reserved for the children!

Arizona Origin Science Assoc, Inc (South) Presents:

Creation Science Research & Paleontology

And the Traveling Fossil Museum!

Thursday February 19th 7:00 - 8:30 PM

The Journey - First Evangelical Free Church

4700 N. Swan Rd. (E of Swan, between River & Sunrise)

Honored guest speaker, Ian Juby, Paleontologist, Dinosaur and Fossil Hunter from Ontario, Canada founder of Canada's first Creation museum: Traveling Creation Science Museum of Canada, founder and president of CORE Ottawa (Citizens for Origins Research and Education), and of Creation Science Special Interest Group for Mensa members. He has been an in-the-field researcher and speaker on Creation Science subjects for more than 16 years with his displays now in seven different museums throughout North America. See his website:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Immigration that works?

“All you need to do is grant visas to 2 million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,”

said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper.

“We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans, because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”

Oldest Border Patrol Retiree Hospitalized

Recently, the new guy on our squad, whom we refer to as "Chamaco" (kid in espanol), was riding with BP Mike and me. At one point, he asked how old we were. When we told him he said, "Wow, It's great that I can work with people with so much life experience!". We seriously considered throwing him out of the moving car.

But here is someone who really does have life experience. Diane's Grandpa, Marion Russell, is the oldest Border Patrol retiree. In 2008, he celebrated his 101st. Birthday. The previous year, for his 100th, Border Patrol officials took him on a tour of some of the stations and sent the honor gaurd out for his party.

He was a school teacher for several years before joining the Border Patrol at age 34. He worked in paradise locations such as Sasabe, Douglas, Naco, Casa Grande and, of course, Tucson.

He was hospitalized this week after taking a tumble at the Golden Corral while out to lunch with some friends this Sunday and had to have some pins put in his leg.

Here is an article about him from the Customs and Border
Protection website.

Here is another from the local paper.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


On Sunday, we went and saw our friend Jennifer at an Open House she was holding in the Indian Ridge neighborhood.

We first met her when we were renting a house in the neighborhood. I don't remember exactly how, but she and her husband became friends of ours and even attended the church I was starting for a time.

During this time, we were looking to buy a house. I had come across a Realtor that seemed nice enough and she showed us various properties. With her help, we placed offers on several houses. I think she was getting frustrated with us when she started telling us that she didn't know what we were looking for. Well, how about houses similar to the ones we put offers on?

She even went so far as to show us the listing for a house that we really liked, then told us, when we immediately told her we were interested, that the house had been sold some time before. Finally, she told us again that she didn't know what we were looking for and she would have to turn us over to a couple who specialized in working with people like us. Ok, that was insulting, but whatever.

Now, keep in mind that we did find one house that we were certain that we didn't want. It belonged to an old acquaintance and we were certain we didn't want to live in that house. Since we liked the neighborhood it was in, we had looked at the listing a couple of times and agreed that we didn't want it. Not only because of the weirdness factor, but we just didn't care for the house. And, as long as we were the ones deciding....

So, we went for an interview with the couple that we were dumped onto. They immediately began to let us know how they were going to find the perfect house for us. Barely stopping to hear one thing we said, they dove in and let us know how happy we were going to be with the house they picked out and how it would fit all of our expectations and be in our price range. Wow! Maybe they were going to build it for us.

So, a couple of days later, they let us know that they had found the house for us. It was, of course, the one house that we had decided not to buy. It was then that we decided just to keep renting where we were for a while.

When we explained our plight to Jennifer, she told us that she was wanting to get back into realty and would we look at a few houses with her. Well, sure, why not?

So, we looked at several, put offers on a couple and then, since we were already frustrated with the whole deal, decided we were done looking and took a trip to California. When all else fails, go to California.

Jennifer called us and asked when we would be back. She had one more house to show us. It ended up being the one that we happily bought and are happily living in now.

Thanks Jennifer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have you seen this one yet?

Want to save some money on your interior decorating? They say it is tough economic times, so maybe you should consider what this man did - decorate his basement with $10 worth of Sharpie pens.....and another $15,000 worth of furniture.

Still, it is quite creative.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sure, you got it, but do you know how to use it?

At work, we are almost regularly being issued gadgetry that I am not entirely certain how to use. They have given us GPS things, which I am still trying to figure out the nuances of. Then they installed a mapping program in our in car computers. It is a great tool, but they assumed we would all know how it worked just because they installed it in our cars.

I have been extensively trained in the care and use of the M-16 type rifle, which they issued to us last year. Even though I am pretty confident with my rifle, there are some people that I don't want to be anywhere near when they pull theirs out. Not that they are bad people, the training they have received just doesn't seem adequate.

Now they have given us, among other things, a medical trauma kit. The official name is a Combat Casualty Response Kit. This appears to be a handy tool. We wanted to get them because we are often out in remote areas and the possibility of being involved in a violent encounter is fairly high. If this happens, someone is going to get shot and it is good to have some supplies to help us deal with that. It really doesn't look good in our reports if we say something to the effect of, "I then stood and watched as the subject bled to death."

Unfortunately, we have some items in the kit that I have no idea how to use and our squad medic is not even allowed to use. Since I don't have advanced medical training, I am allowed to use them. I just would be clueless as to how to do it.

For instance, the Robertazzi Nasopharyngeal Airway or even the Air Release System for needle decompression. Needle decompression? The kit even has a handy triage tagging system, so I can use some chart to figure out if the patient I have been working on is Immediate, Delayed, Expectant or Dead (the Dead one I can figure out).

Actually I think the needle decompression thing is to release pressure to your lungs so you can breathe better. I went for a hike with Diane today and I was wishing I had brought that thing along. On the steepest part, I would have been seriously tempted to stick it into my chest to try to get some more air.

I'll be waiting...

Have you ever had visitors from out of town that you couldn't wait to see. When they call to tell you where they are, you try to estimate how long it will take them to arrive. Will they be tired? Do they want anything? What will you talk about? Will they look the same? Maybe they have changed.

I wonder if the people who have passed on before us wait for us like that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just Stop It!

Diane, my wife, remembers when many of the homes in Tucson had well manicured lawns and plants galore.

In recent years, Tucsonans have been encouraged to conserve water. We have been asked to xeriscape (a fancy technical term for a nice desert landscaping) our yards, shorten our showers, whatever it takes to decrease our water usage in the face of drought throughout the Southwest.

Tucson Water, our local water utility, is now facing a budget deficit of just over 15 million dollars. It seems they were unable to sell enough water to pay for their expenses.

Here is an article about the crisis and what the utility is trying to do about it.

And here is a clip that I have posted before that describes some of my political ideology. Ok, not really, but it is funny.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Face is on Your Book

I know that many of you have already discovered it, but that Facebook thing really is a unique and interesting way to connect with friends, both old and new. Where else could I connect with people as diverse from various points in my life? Consider some of the following that I have recently added:

My friend Jason, who was in a play with me and Larry that we wrote, directed and were the principle actors. He also was on my (or was it his) champion brain bowl team two years in a row. All in High School, of course.

Brea, who was a good friend and a key part of our Church in Sacramento. She was an elementary teacher there and is an aesthetician in Boston now.

Kaye, who was in my Sunday School class and I distinctly remember seeing a group of people carry her car to the lawn in the 11th grade.

Melissa, who along with her twin sister watched our kids each time a Lord of the Rings Movie was released.

Dan, who fell out of a pickup and was put into a coma, then recovered none the worse for wear.

Heather from Bookman's, who gave me $50 bucks for not blogging bad things about Bookman's.

Heather from work, that likes to run in crazy marathons.

Kelly, that I knew when I was in the AF and that we just visited in Denver.

And that is just a small sample. I have 145 people that are listed as Facebook “friends” and I have stories for each of them. It just seems an odd and unusual thing.

Oh, and I just added another friend...Judy, who used to live here in Tucson and I met her at some local small business mixers.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Shawn Says......

Here is a great link for people involved in Church Ministry. Check out the 10 Commandments of a weekend experience on this blog by Shawn Wood. Shawn Wood (from his site) is the experiences Pastor at Seacoast Church and the Author of 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One and Wasabi Gospel (Abingdon Fall 2009). As experience pastor he helps create spirit-filled, yet not creepy but kind of mystical connections with God on 13 campuses and the web.

A word of warning. If you are not involved in the operation of Church services, try not to judge the services you attend by these commandments. It can ruin the experience you have where you are. They are just here to help if you are involved in putting together the service.

Here are 8 of the commandments, in case you don't want to go all the way to his blog:

Commandment #8 - Thou Shalt communicate with all your team before, during and after each service.

Commandment #7 - Thou shalt pray for the best, plan for the probable and prepare for the worst.

Commandment #6 - Thou shalt be keep the welcome and announcements to 240 seconds or less.

Commandment #5 - Thou Shalt start on time and end on time.

Commandment #4 - Thou shalt introduce yourself and assume no one knows who you are.

Commandment #3 - Thou shalt be in the light as he is in the light.
Two parts to this commandment.
First, If you are on stage, make sure you are in the light.

Second, make sure that your auditorium has enough light in it that a 50 year old can read the note sheet. During worship light sets a mood and dark can be effective. When you are on stage speaking it helps people see you and take you seriously - when you are out of the light it is a major distraction. When our auditoriums are too dark during speaking they feel like a movie theater. When people feel like they are in a movie theater they become spectators and not participators.

Commandment #2 - Thou Shalt practice all transitions.

Commandment #1 - Thou Shalt have no blank screen behind you.