Monday, June 29, 2009

When will I learn to listen to her?

Diane and I recently went to eat at the local Bar/Restaurant/Iconic Burger Joint Bob Dobbs with some friends.

I thought it was an ok experience. The burger I had was great. People were allowed to scribble on the walls, so some of that was interesting, notwithstanding the naughtiness that some people felt compelled to scrawl on their little plot of fame.

Tonight I came across the article in the local news thing on-line that indicated that Bob Dobbs failed a health inspection by the County, failing with "five critical food safety violations".

I suppose that figures, because after we ate there, I asked Diane what she thought. "It seemed dirty," was her reply.

Actually, if they get it cleaned up, you should try one of their burgers. They are excellent.

Here is Bob Dobb's website.

Read the article here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What? No Skipper?

When I was a kid, I grew up watching regularly shown re-runs of shows like Gilligan's Island, Looney Tunes and the Brady Bunch. And so did all my friends. Watching a show or two was what you did after school or on a Saturday morning. And, since we only had a couple of channels, we all watched pretty much the same thing. Even when HBO and a few other cable channels popped up, you still watched the standards.

Someone made the comment that today's generation of kids have virtually no unifying media experience. Many of them may watch television, but with the myriad of channels available, they are watching a variety of different programs.

However, one common media experience they do share is the watching of certain videos on Youtube. For instance, while they may not have all seen whatever the kids programming is on Saturday on ABC or CBS or Disney or Nickelodeon or Discovery or whatever, they probably all have seen an episode or all eighteen of FRED on Youtube.

And, like me, he is from Nebraska.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mama say mama san mama m.......

Our Church is holding a gala in a couple of weeks to help support a refugee family from Afghanistan. At this gala, we will see examples of Afghani culture, food, apparel and activities. After hearing of this, I wondered aloud to Diane, "If we were in another country and a gala was held for us, what would we do, show, say and serve to show our culture?".

Last night, I came across some Border Patrol agents that had found four Chinese ladies that had hopped the fence by Sasabe and were trying to find their way to somewhere to call someone to get the to New York or something like that. Only one of them spoke even a lick of English, and hers was very limited.

But, they were able to understand when one of the agents showed them the front page of a newspaper she had in her truck and pantomined a death. The front page of her newspaper was covered with pictures of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson is a world renowned cultural icon. Everywhere I have been in the world, I have been asked about Michael Jackson. I think when people from other places think of American culture they think of him. Would we be expected to display a sequined glove and demonstrate the moonwalk as we celebrated our culture?

Or, would we find some way to explain how perhaps the most famous person on earth, someone who had made more money that almost anyone, was deep in debt, scarred, in constant pain, ridiculed and rejected when he died. Maybe he really is a good example of our culture, as we pursue things that really don't matter and find the things we want slipping away from us.

Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives informed us that the newly passed global warming bill is about four, jobs, jobs, jobs. And she is, of course, entirely correct.

Other countries, without the emissions restrictions we have here, will benefit from this bill as more of our manufacturing jobs move away. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs for them.

The bureaucracy to govern the new legislation will create more jobs.

The bill is certainly not about cleaning up the planet, because making more dirty air somewhere else doesn't make the world a better place.

And it is not about stimulating a new economy, because kneecapping our current industry and hoping that a new industry arises does not guarantee that it will.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No, I haven't seen it.

I have posted before on how some recent movies have changed their advertising to appeal to kids. One of the movies that has recently been billed as a "family" movie is the new sequel to Transformers.

When I saw the previews in both kid friendly and adult appealing versions, and after our daughter-in- law said that she saw the movie and it definitely was not something kids should see, it made me want to check it out a bit further.

Plugged in Online is a conservative service of Focus on the Family that reviews movies, television and games. They record all the positive elements, violent content and any spiritual references the movie makes. They also keep track of how many instances of foul language the movie has, the sexual references and other things that might be questionable.

I typically ignore the reviews from plugged in. I am an adult, I can watch what I want, right? But they do have an accurate look at the good, the bad and the ugly in most popular movies. So, I wanted to see what in this movie might not be appropriate for children. Ignoring the violence in the movie (which everyone knows is ok for kids), here are a few of their observations:

Characters ... make crass references involving testicles, pubic hair and other intimate body parts. A guy crudely propositions a college girl by comparing his anatomy to the meat pizza he's carrying. Two pairs of people end up unconscious in compromising positions (including two guys in one instance). A professor flirts suggestively. Leo, Sam's roommate, asks if he can watch Sam and Alice have sex. Some people walk by a store with a neon "Porn" sign in the window. And we see a character's nearly bare backside while he's wearing a thong."

Elsewhere, the Witwicky family dogs are twice shown having sex ("You'll see a lot of that in college, too," Sam's dad guffaws). His mother talks about how she heard her son lose his virginity.

Mikaela ... sports short shorts and cleavage-bearing tops throughout the film..One particularly gratuitous camera shot zooms in on her backside as she works on a motorcycle (this scene is partially shown in the adult focused previews, not the kid's focused ones). When Sam goes off to college, he and Mikaela talk about having Internet dates—complete with candles, music, special outfits and the suggestion of X-rated hanky-panky.

We hear a bunch of barely disguised f-word variants, including "freaking," "frigging," "frick" and "eff" (as in "what the eff?"), as well as one interrupted exclamation of "mother—." "Pork" is also used as a suggestive stand-in for the f-word. Other profanity includes about 10 s-words and 15 or so misuses of God's name. We also hear about 25 uses combined of "d--n," "a--hole," "b--ch," "h---" and the British profanity "b-llocks."

Part of the reviewers conclusion includes the following:

...a much bigger issue than the film's cinematic failure, for our purposes, is its level of crassness and sexual content. This is a movie based on children's' playthings, for Pete's sake. I can't imagine that many in the audience really came to see robot testicles or small-dog erotica. And then there's Megan Fox's ongoing parade in her barely there outfits, not to mention a sexed-up co-ed who turns out to be, bizarrely, something else entirely.

I know that I probably sound prudish and boring to talk about this movie this way. I really am not. In fact, if you are into the Transformers, go see the movie. It is probably fun watching the incredibly hot Meghan Fox parade around half-dressed, guys with guns and things blowing up. I just hope that parents will think before they expose their children to this movie and some of the words, ideas and activities that they will, if not mimic, remember and make later value judgements based on what they have been exposed to and what has been silently condoned in the past.

End of rant.

Another Sad One.

In the course of my new job, I get to do and be a part of some interesting and tragic things. I helped track down a multiple homicide suspect the other day (finding his footprints myself), a major cable company is planning on doing a television program about our unit, I pulled over local luminary Jim Click on a traffic stop, and I participated in a sad event yesterday.

I was sent to Ajo to help guard the funeral procession for seven year old Rhia Almeida. Rhia was brutally murdered, "allegedly" by a friends older brother, last week. We were sent because their were concerns that some of the 500-1000 expected mourners might let emotions get the better of them and focus on the house where the suspect lived, about fifty feet from where the memorial for Rhia was located.

About five hundred people came to Rhia's house and marched the two blocks to the memorial site, where Rhia died and where I was posted. The service was led by a Pastor from the Papago Baptist Church on the Tohono O'odham reservation, as that is where Rhia lived before her recent move to Ajo.

The Pastor shared how Rhia had met a friend two years ago from Kentucky and how that girl had led her in giving her life to Jesus. He also reminded everyone how God promised never to leave us and how he kept that promise to be with her and hold her even as she was horribly slain.

The whole situation was heartbreaking. But, it is still good to know that we don't mourn hopelessly and we still can see our loved one's again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a beautiful thing.

I was recently driving down Broadway Blvd. approaching downtown and I noticed that there seemed to be an inordinate number of vacancies in some of the strip mall type things along the road. And, of course, many of them looked downright run down.

The City of Tucson came up with a conceptual plan they called Rio Nuevo a couple of years back that was intended to address this very problem. They were going to revamp and revitalize the Broadway corridor leading into downtown. After spending large sums of money on studies, ideas, plans and consultants, they are stalled with no noticeable improvements.

In fact, the whole Rio Nuevo idea may have had the opposite effect. Not wanting to do improvements that might soon be destroyed to make way for Rio Nuevo, or waiting and hoping to get in on some of the soon to come funding, the owners of the facilities seem to have let many of these places slide into disrepair.

I know Rio Nuevo has been highly criticized already, but it seems another good example of why this is true:

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
Luke 14: 28-30

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Up and Away

By now, many of us have seen Pixar's new movie UP. Critics have raved about it being one of Pixar's best. Coming from a company that has brought Toy Story, Monster's INC. and others, this is quite a statement.

I saw and enjoyed the movie in 3D with my family and a colleague from work at the local theater. It was well done, but it left me kind of sad. The whole first part of the movie is a long look at the lives of two people who never quite make the adventure that they had planned to go on, and then one of them dies. Granted, there is redemption for this at the end of the movie, but it still seemed sad and made you feel a little hollow.

I guess the point of the movie is that there is redemption for the missed opportunity, so I will not un-recommend the movie. It was fun, colorful, interesting and moving. So, if you don't mind being sad, go watch Up.

Now here is a story that is really sad: Pixar grants girl's dying wish to see 'Up'

Friday, June 19, 2009

Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...

Matthew Chapter 25, vs. 34 and 35

I think I will go check out the Tucson Refugee Fest.

According to their website: Since 1982 Tucson has become home to almost 10,000 refugees. A refugee is any person who is unable to return to his or her own country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Each year thousands of families arrive in the United States from countries all over the world to rebuild their lives and become members of a new community. For many, Tucson has become that community

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Further Along

In personal and professional development, I have found it helpful to find mentors, or people to hang out with who a little further along and who are a lot further along.

The people who have progressed way past you help you see the big picture and give you ideas of what you can do and what you can become. The people who are a little further along help you see how those ideas can be applied and give you the sense that you can do it too.

And don't forget the new guys. the new parent, newlywed, new recruit, new hire have fresh ideas, and excitement that can give you a boost.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I Added Andy Allen's blog to my list of blogs to check out. So, check it out.

He is an interesting and insightful guy, he blogs enough to keep your interest and he has a link to my blog listed on his.

You can find him on the roll call list on the side column, or at Called To Worship.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The world is not my home.

We just buried two more guinea pigs today. One of them died a while back and was autopsied and frozen for a while. Since the other one died today, we decided to bury them at the same time.

The other one was Abby's favorite guinea pig, Silvester. She named it that because it was black and white, like Silvester the cat. She was very sad, and made most of us cry while we said some words over it's grave. I suppose it didn't help when Emily went and played Auld Lang Syne on the piano afterward.

On a little brighter note, the girls are playing in a piano recital tomorrow evening. They have been taking lessons for about two months now and I am pleasantly pleased at their progress.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Serpent and the Rainbow and the Skunk

In 1988, the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow was released on an unsuspecting public. Through it's wierd twists and turns, it told the tale of a BotanistAnthropologist that is hired by a large pharmaceutical company to investigate some herbal remedies in Haiti. Not mood enhancers, like St. John's Wort, but herbs that turn you into a zombie.

During some of his supernatural and strange encounters, the protagonist is told that he is protected from many of the goings on because of his skepticism. In other words, the superstition of the locals enhances the effects of whatever is happening in this strange little movie.

The other night, I was tasked as a part of a two man team working a thermal imager on a hill overlooking a suspected problem area. After being dropped off in the boonies, we hiked ourselves up the hill to view the area. My counterpart set up the camera and I made myself comfortable on the ground as he took his turn scanning with the imager.

It was a nice night and I was perfectly relaxed when I felt something clawing it's way up my leg. I immediately jumped up and brushed it off, thinking a lizard or something was climbing on me. Ewwww. As I brushed it off, away ran a small skunk. I was ready to go home, but we still had several hours to go. Most of which I spent standing and hyper-vigilant.

So, if the guy in the movie was protected by his skepticism, am I protected by my belief that God looks out for me? Or, does it make it worse when a skunk runs across me? I suppose if it sprayed us, it would have been different. If nothing else, I probably would have had to walk home.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Live a little

Technical difficulties. Stand by.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Take your seats

When we lived in West Sacramento (be sure to click on the link and see the street view) , we had some of the nicest neighbors.

One day, as Diane and I went for a walk, our neighbors had the ugliest leather swiveling recliner thing, with matching ottoman, in front of their house. It was and orangeish sort of brown, smelled like cigarette smoke and had obviously come to the end of the line, if it ever it was on the line.

This was truly one of the saddest chairs ever.

As we were leaving, I asked the neighbors what they planned on doing with that thing. they told me they were going to give it away and they were just sure someone would take it. Good luck with that!

On our way back, they were smiling and looked very pleased as they let me know that some guy really liked it and snapped it up on the spot. And, it didn't take long at all to find a home for it. Wow! Who would have wanted that thing?

Our oldest son, TJ, who is now in the army, was living with us at this time. I think you can probably see the downhill slide this story is starting to take. He thought the orange-brown chair was the best thing ever. With its soft seat, easy swivel and even a place to put your feet, it was custom made for video games, playing guitar or just hanging out. I suppose the bad smell only added to it's luster for a teenage guy.

That nasty thing sat in his room until he joined the army and it was disposed of only after it was completely broken and worn through. Well, we put it in the alley first, where people usually pick up stuff if you leave it sit. No-one picked it up, but someone did stop there long enough to take in a beer and leave the bottle there. So, we had to pick it back up and take it to the dump.

I guess everyone has a little different idea of what is nice and what is not.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Trying to keep my head considering different ideas, fields and stuff and my recently renewed interest in studying the events of the Second World War, I found this interesting book, "The Great Starvation Experiment" by Todd Tucker. I have been working some all-nighters all week and it has made me feel extra hungry all the time. I think it has been compounded by having just finished the book.

The book is an overview of the notable experiment carried out during WWII by Dr. Ancel Keys. During the war, numerous conscientious objectors were given opportunities to serve in non-combatant roles. Some were made medics and that sort of thing. Others, that were opposed to any sort of martial support at all, were given the opportunity to work in work camps.

Of these, some thirty-six men volunteered and were selected to participate in a starvation experiment. The idea was that they would live on a severely restricted diet so Dr. Keys and his crew could study the effects of starvation and hopefully assist in combating starvation in the post-war world.

It sounds like they had a miserable time of it. Some of the guys started to question their sanity, have dreams of cannibalism and one even chopped his fingers off with an axe as a means of escaping. A few of them cheated and were shamefully released from the program. Most, however, hung on and made it through the experiment to the rehabilitation phase.

By the way, the good Dr. discovered that, while nutrients, etc. are important in a diet, the only way to rehabilitate someone who is starving is to provide them with enough food so that they are no longer starving.

And, in an interesting side note, the majority of these men lived their lives at approximately the same non-overweight weight or a slightly lower weight than before they entered the program.

Whether or not the program helped in the fight against starvation was, to me, unclear. However, this study is still the definitive go-to study for anyone that is studying starvation.

Now I am going to get something to eat.