Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dazzling.....

Dazzling Reflection #1:

When I was slaving away some years at school, they had a band that played for the gatherings and such. It was led by a talented guy that also taught some music classes and helped put together albums (or CD's or whatever the equivalent is now. EP's?).

If you had a penchant for music, if you were talented at the piano, electric guitar, bass, if you could sing like a diva (or at least on key) or could pound away on the bongos in time, you could try out for the band.

One semester, a guy showed up that was a virtuoso on the stringed instruments. Guitar, bass, lute, mandolin. He even played like mad on the banjo a few times. This guy was awesome. No wonder they let him in the band almost the moment he started school.

Unfortunately in order to be in the band, they had some restrictive rules. Among them: You had to go to class. Apparently some of these guidelines were unobtainable for this maestro, and he was soon gone.

While his talent was missed, the band didn't suffer too much. The other players worked hard to stick with the program and bring quality tunes to the rest of us.

Dazzling reflection #2:

When I was working as an associate at a Church, the Pastor told me one day that he had met someone who had changed his life. He said this man had told him things he needed to know, had helped him more than he could imagine and would be leading the services on Sunday. The best part was, he had just met him the day before.

Being slightly more cynical than the Pastor, I was less than impressed when I met this modern day Elijah.

Maybe it was when he told me he was following his wife around because he thought she was having an affair and when I rode in his car with him, we went hunting his two timing wife.

Maybe it was when the napkin he was using dropped a little bit of lint onto his pants and he tried desperately to get his dinner for free, doing everything short of punching out the waitress.

Whatever it was, something didn't impress me about this guy. But, our Pastor was sure that the cosmos would be realigned now that this guy had shown up. Sadly for him, this guy was gone in a week or so and things quickly went back to normal.

It seems that Talent and Charisma are dazzling. But, they do not compare with character and discipline.

The takeaway, If you need one( Cause who hasn't seen people picked to do a job that fall apart soon, or do things that embarrass everyone? And who hasn't said, "I could have called that?):

Maybe if you are hiring someone, you shouldn't just look at what the person can do, but also at whether or not they have the character and discipline to keep doing it.

If you are working for someone, work hard to develop your talents and to be like-able and easy to work with, but work harder to develop your character and to discipline yourself to do the job.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Favorites

Here are some of my favorite "Christmas" movies:

It's a Wonderful Life.....we watch it every year.
The Shop Around the Corner.....another Jimmy Stewart feature that is one of my new favorites. It was remade as "You've Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I think Steve Zahn was in it too. He should have been in The Shop Around the Corner. Then the movie would have been perfect.
A Christmas Story........Diane hates this one and doesn't let the kids watch it with me. Ever.
Die Hard........Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like surviving multiple shootouts and explosions. Yipee Ki Yay .....!!!!
Rich Little's A Christmas Carol.....I used to watch this with my family. Rich Little does all the characters as different celebrities. It probably helps if you have a clue as to who any of the celebrities are, but it is a lot of fun.
Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas....The cartoon. Not the nasty Jim Carrey.
Miracle on 34th St......This one is surprisingly enjoyable. Even for an adult. The 1947 one is better, but the newer one is not so bad.
Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.....another one that Diane doesn't like, but for completely different reasons. But how can you beat appearances by The River Bottom Nightmare Band and the Gift of the Magi-like gift exchange in this one? I love it.

Honorable Mentions:
The Home Alone movies. I know, they are all the same. We used to watch them together wiith T.J., because he was McCauley Caulkin.
The Muppet's Christmas Carol.......Anytime the muppets can frighten children and make you laugh, it is worth a peek.
I also enjoyed The Santa Clause movies when I first saw them. I know they are not critically acclaimed, but I did.

Did I miss any of your favorites?

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Not So Subtle Difference


For those of us that are married, it seems a good thing to understand what our spouse does and doesn't like. For instance, my lovely bride reminded me again today that:

She likes me "paying" attention to her,
not "drawing" attention to her.

Now to me, these seem just about the same. Ether way, she is getting some well deserved attention and I am causing it to come about.

Win win.

But, apparently she does not view them as being the same at all.

And now I am going to have to pay attention to her to make up for drawing attention to her here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I want to see your name in lights


Our friend Jennifer and some of her exploits in the Indian Ridge neighborhood are highlighted in today's local news. We met Jennifer when we first moved back to Tucson and lived in the neighborhood.

This article is about her efforts to light up the night with luminarias on Christmas Eve.

You can read about it here:

Indian Ridge neighborhood to light up with luminarias

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy What!?!


I know I probably say something about this every year, but.....

We went shopping for our tree on Sunday. After we bought it, someone threw out the usual, "Happy Holidays."

It made me wonder what holiday they were talking about, since everyone knows it is Christmas time. I wasn't buying a Kwanza tree, Hanukkah was over last Wednesday and I don't think it is the time of year for Ramadan.

At first I thought that people said this because they were afraid of offending people by mentioning Christmas, even though everyone knows that it is Christmas time and they are really saying "Merry Christmas" when they say "Happy Holidays". Sort of like when friends shake hands they are really saying "I love you".

But, I think I was wrong. Here is a list I found of Holidays that are between December 12th, when I bought the tree until the end of the year. Turns out they are thinking of quite a few holidays.

So when someone wishes you "Happy Holidays", they are really wishing that you would find joy, not only in Christmas, but in Tiger Wood's birthday, the anniversary of the first flight at Kittyhawk and the invention of the thermometer.

Happy Holidays!

December 12th

December 13th

December 14th

December 15th

December 16th

December 17th

December 18th

December 19th

December 20th

December 21st

December 22nd

December 23rd

December 24th

December 25th

December 26th

December 27th

  • Visit the Zoo Day

December 28th

December 29th

December 30th

December 31st

  • New Year's Eve
  • Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Hot Pion

    - Victims jumping to their deaths from smoke filled rooms to escape the blaze.

    - Smoke filled stairways that sent the smoke up to upper floors like a chimney.

    - Firefighters climbing up to face the blaze, in spite of the dangers and inadequate equipment.

    This is not a re-cap of events that occurred on September 11th. Rather, it is a few of the true events that happened at the Pioneer Hotel Fire on December 20th, 1970, which resulted in the deaths of 29 people and the change of many of the fire codes and standard equipment issued for firefighters in this City.

    I had a chance yesterday to speak briefly with Assistant Chief Al Pesqueira of the Northwest Fire District. Chief Pesqueira not only responded to the fire in time to see some of the victims being removed from the structure. He also recently spearheaded a new documentary about the fire.

    The Chief said he was concerned that the anniversary of the fire would come without anyone really taking notice of it, so he came up with the idea of a documentary.

    This documentary, called Hot Pion because, during the fire, only the letters H....O...T and P...I...O...N... were lit up on the Hotel pioneer sign, is being shown at the Fox Theater downtown next Sunday. Included in the movie will be numerous photos, videos, interviews and info about the hotel and the fire itself, much of which has not been seen before.

    ****If you are into history, disaster stories, fires or firemen, take a trip downtown on the 19th to check out the Chief's show*****

    Hot Pion: The Pioneer Fire Documentary

    Sunday, December 19, 6:30 pm

    Fox Theater, Tucson

    Location:
    17 West Congress St.
    Tucson AZ 85701
    FREE ADMISSION.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    a tribute and a tributary


    * This photograph is used without permission. It was taken at a Starbucks in San Clemente*

    Many times our plans do not work out the way we expect them to. As we chart our course downstream, we sometimes get unwillingly and unexpectedly shuffled off down a tributary we were trying to avoid.

    We had that happen to our plans when we came here to Tucson.

    But, had we not taken that tributary, we would not have met Dale and Candi.

    Since Diane and I have been married, our family has gotten to be close friends with several other families. We do, of course, have many people that we consider our friends. We are very likeable and we really do enjoy people and care deeply about most all of the people we have met. But, sometimes our whole family ends up clicking with a person, a couple or another family and they become a very important part of our lives.

    Dale and Candi and their family have become this in our lives.

    Dale has been away with the military for nearly a year and last week the rest of the family moved on to their next duty station.

    We were all very sad to see them go, but we are equally glad that the tributary that we were shuffled down let us get to know them.

    So, Dale and Candi and the kids, thanks for joining the exclusive group of Allerton Family Best Friends. It is a lifetime membership.

    And for the rest of you:
    When you do end up going in a direction you didn't plan and maybe didn't want, keep your eyes open. You might find something good about it....maybe even some new best friends.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Sir Walter Scott or Whitman he is not


    Today Ethan and Abigail went to a poetry workshop. Ethan, being a boy, did not find it the most enjoyable experience of his young life.

    When they were given some thinking exercises to help spur the creative process, his writings were a bit different than everyone else's.

    During the exercise which called for the kids to finish the sentence, I wish......, thinking that they would write things like I wish the wind would blow me across the ocean or I wish I had a climbing horse so when we went to the mountains I could ride it up the cliff, Ethan wrote the following:

    "I wish I wasn't here. I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish I could leave. I wish there was no such thing as poetry."

    He struggled a little more with the exercise that asked them to compare things using the words like or as. He started with "I don't like this place. I don't like this place. I don't like this place." Being told that this wasn't a comparison and with a little help, he finally settled on:

    "Poetry is like being in the pit of despair."
    and
    "Poetry is as dull as doing the dishes."

    Perhaps his career choices lie in other places than literature.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Duels, foot-binding and working moms.



    Here are a couple of books I have been working on last week.I'll deal with the blue one first.

    The War on Moms (subtitled On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation) by Sharon Lerner caught my eye because I am intimately acquainted with the struggles of moms and families in today's society. I had hoped it would deal with the pressures that families in general and moms in particular face as they deal with being, well, family.

    Instead, the book came across to me as a rant and a complaint against the society that doesn't allow moms to make as much as someone who isn't raising children whilst still having all the time and resources necessary to raise said children.

    I really do understand how difficult it is to raise and finance a family with all the bells and whistles that we have come to expect. But, I don't think that society owes everyone all the bells and whistles that we have come to expect, as the book seemed to suggest. In the book, Lerner advocated for federal regulations that ensure that moms all get the leave, commensurate salaries childcare, etc. that they deserve. If they do not, then we are failing moms.

    The book is full of anecdotes of struggling moms, and I could list many more stories of moms struggling to make ends meet that I am personally aware of. One story, to me, was particularly telling.

    One woman had come from a former Soviet Republic where she used to have to stand in line for bread every day. She was so happy to get to America, but became stressed out when she began to have to deal with health-care struggles. She said she expected this sort of thing in her country, but nor here in america (where there are no cats and the streets are paved with cheese).

    I think this is the problem. We have come to expect that we can have whatever we want and if we can't get it ourselves, then the Government, meaning everyone else, damn well better make sure that I do get what I want.

    It made me angry.

    The next book, The Honor Code (subtitled "How Moral Revolutions Happen) is an interesting look at how society changes it's mind about some issues of morality. I thought this was interesting and would provide some good insights on some of the moral shifts that American culture is going through now.

    The book looks at how society changed it's mind about Duels of Honor, Footbinding, Slavery and issues with Women. Interestingly enough, too great a part of the world (not to mention a growing part) still suppresses women and believes in "honor killings" and the like.

    Here is an excellent paragraph from the New York Times summarizing what the author argued in this book:

    “Whatever happened when these immoral practices ceased, it wasn’t, so it seemed to me, that people were bowled over by new moral arguments,” he writes. “Dueling was always murderous and irrational; foot binding was always painfully crippling; slavery was always an assault on the humanity of the slave.” What was needed in each of those cases, he suggests, was the awakening of a nation’s sense of honor, an awakening that caused people actually to act. Mr. Appiah writes well about how shame and ridicule, often delivered through a free press, have consistently been sharp moral motivators.

    This book is very interesting and worth reading whether you want to have an overview of the history of dueling, foot binding and slavery, or if you want to look at how and why social mores change and to understand how and why many social mores are changing today.

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Redirect


    This one is primarily for the Church Folk:

    I had just given one of my most powerful sermons at the church I started and led in California. It was about the importance of giving and tithing and how changing the way you give and the amount you give can radically change your life. I think people were challenged, motivated and maybe some were even a little frightened by this message.

    After the message, we typically had a song or two of response, led by our "worship leader" or "music guy" or whatever title we decided was most appropriate. This week was the same.

    Apparently he felt the message was too strong, or he was feeling a little guilty or he just didn't agree, because he jumped up and immediately started to redirect. Before doing the song of commitment to God, he started talking about his idea of how you could give.

    You don't have to give your money to God. If you can't afford to give money right now, you can give him your time or some good hard work or a nice deed to the old lady down the street or just some happy thoughts and good vibrations. God loves happy thoughts and good vibrations.

    Maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but it was pretty close. He wasn't around for too long after that.

    The fact of the matter is that ministry activity takes money. Pastors need to put a roof over their heads, Church buildings need heating and cooling, guitars need new strings, and the list goes on. This need for money is tied to the believer's call to give. Without giving, people's lives are not changed.

    Yet, as a former Pastor supported by this system, I sometimes wonder if my view of giving was colored by the needs of the vision I had.

    So, I am going to gather my resources and re-look at the topic of giving, tithing and finances for ministry. Perhaps my views will shift. Perhaps not.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Lesson's Learned

    ******* Extra Credit if you can name the movie from the scene in the picture!!!********

    I try to learn something from all my experiences and what not. Sometimes it's harder than others to codify and relate what I have learned. But, since I haven't said anything on here all week, I will attempt to share some lessons I might have learned from work last night.

    1) If you mess up, you can usually undo your mistakes.

    However, it might take time and energy that you really didn't want to spend to do it. For instance, if you drop your phone in the middle of nowhere, it can take hours of looking after working hours longer than you planned in the first place.

    1.5) A sort of corollary to that:

    If you are trying to track where you went and you are wearing the same footwear you had on when you originally made the tracks, it can be very difficult to follow those prints. If you lose the sign, it is very easy to follow the footprints you just made instead of the ones you made hours before and end up walking in circles.

    I am not sure what the lesson is, but it is still difficult.

    2) Mad schemes to turn a fast buck for the holidays are probably not a good idea.

    Especially if they are illegal.

    3) Every blessing in your life requires hard work.

    The best things in life: family, good food and good clean fun
    ...like chasing bad guys that might be armed with your friends in the middle of the night through the desert for miles and miles until you catch them and help them face the consequences of their actions so they can move on to a productive life as contributing members of civilized society.....;
    are not free and require more effort that it would take to not have or do those things. In the case of the latter, it might mean spending an extra 8 hours of work plus a few more hours stumbling around finding your phone (see lesson #1). But, the extra effort is usually worth it.

    4) If you fall down, get back up and keep going.

    It is part of the fun and all the extra dust looks cool.

    5) If you keep going, you might just be successful.

    If you keep chasing, you might catch, even when you are sure they have gotten away. If you keep looking, you might find, even if you are sure you don't have much chance of finding what you are looking for in the vast expanse and your inner voices keep telling you it is time to pack it in and that you really need some sleep.........

    6) Chasing bad guys that might be armed with your friends in the middle of the night through the desert for miles and miles until you catch them and help them face the consequences of their actions so they can move on to a productive life as contributing members of civilized society.....really is a good way to spend your evening.

    Even if the chances are that they will never learn from being held accountable and never improve their lives.

    I could go on, but I won't. Hope you enjoyed!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    I figured it out.


    My lovely wife has always been a clever one. Sometimes she even makes it fun. By way of illustration, I think I will favor you with an anecdote. Here ya go:

    One of our friends was doing the worship time for one of those big old christian music festivals and was putting together an album to go along with the festival fun. For some reason, he was short a bass player and was auditioning some guy out for the album or for touring or something like that.

    We took the crew out to dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen at the Arden Fair Mall and were enjoying our Thai Chicken pizza, sesame ginger chicken dumplings and some stories from the boys in the band.

    During dinner, someone happened to ask how old the new bass boy was. He told us he couldn't tell us. His reason was that he was a schoolteacher and was so young when he started playing that he was afraid that all the girls would fall for him. From our perspective, he didn't need to be concerned.

    Diane, thinking this was a stupid reason not to tell us how old he was, thought she would have some fun. She turned to our friend and I and said, "Watch this."

    Then, she started asking the bass guy about his teaching. Questions like, "How long have you been teaching?", "What subject do you teach?", and, clincher, "How young were you when you started teaching?".

    The last question, of course, let us know how old the zip lipped bass player/teacher was and everyone else laughed at the poor guy.

    To add insult to injury, I don't think he got the bass playing gig.

    On the bright side, they are opening a new California Pizza Kitchen right here in Tucson, which helped me remember our time at that one.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Learning from others.


    "Boys, hold your horses, there are plenty of them down there for all of us."*
    George A. Custer. June 25th,1876

    I am sure we are all familiar with the story of George Custer and the 7th's last stand. He set out on a punitive campaign against the Souix nation and, instead of waiting for his superior officer and the rest of the army, he divided his forces and rode to glory on the hills near the Little Big Horn River in Montana.

    Custer's concern seemed to be, primarily, that the Lakota would escape his grasp before he was able to ride his troops through their village and send them reeling. Custer was relying on his experiences, which told him that no Indian village could stand against the well disciplined and well armed forces of the U.S. Army. In the past, his superior tactics and weaponry had always carried the day as he stormed into villages or drove off marauding bands of braves.

    Perhaps if, instead of relying merely on his experiences, he remembered what had happened to Capt. William Fetterman and his men ten years earlier, he may have been a bit more cautious. Fetterman (who may be a relative of mine), was convinced that, due to the superiority of the U.S. cavalry, he could ride through the whole Sioux nation with just 80 troopers.

    Things didn't quite go as planned as he faced a bunch of Lakota warriors (including Crazy Horse, instrumental in organizing the battle at the Little Big Horn). Using the oldest trick in the book, Crazy Horse and a few others led Fetterman's command over a hill into a horde of marauding killers. These marauding killers killed every one of them. All 80 of them.

    Maybe if Custer had remembered the lessons of the Fetterman Massacre that the angry nomads of the plains really could organize themselves into an effective fighting force and that it is not good to be woefully outnumbered and outmanuevered by people who want to kill you and mutilate your lifeless body, he would have been less eager to divide his forces and ride to his doom. Instead, he relied on his experiences, that told him he could charge a village, get the inhabitants panicked and kill most of them.

    This reinforces my belief that it is always better to learn from the mistakes of others when you can.

    * The Last Stand
    Nathaniel Philbrick
    pg. 164

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Is there anything to this?

    With my new workout program carving out an average of an hour and a half to two hours each day, I have had a little less time to read and write. But, I recently ran across the book Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. In this book, Richard Louv talks about how a lack of exposure to nature is having a detrimental affect on children.

    I think it is intriguing to think that we are actually healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually when we develop in a way that connects us with the world that we were designed to live in.

    Admittedly, I haven't actually read it yet, but it is in my reading cue. If I don't get to it right away, it is because I am taking the kids for a hike or tracking someone through the local desert areas.

    Here is an excerpt regarding his work from a 2005 Salon.com story:

    "In the not-so-distant past, kids ruled the country's woods and valleys -- running in packs, building secret forts and treehouses, hunting frogs and fish, playing hide-and-seek behind tall grasses. But in the last 30 years, says journalist Richard Louv, children of the digital age have become increasingly alienated from the natural world, with disastrous implications, not only for their physical fitness, but also for their long-term mental and spiritual heath.

    In his new book, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder," Louv argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally "scared children straight out of the woods and fields," while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors "safe" regimented sports over imaginative play. Well-meaning elementary school curricula may teach students everything there is to know about the Amazon rain forest's endangered species, but do little to encourage kids' personal relationship with the world outside their own doors. And advances in technology, while opening up a wealth of "virtual" experiences to the young, have made it easier and easier for children to spend less time outside"

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    I worked so hard......

    Some election day fun. I'm going to vote after I get some lunch.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Definitions


    We define ourselves and our limitations based on our past failures.

    We say, I can't do this, or I can't do that, or I am a this, or I am a that based on the mistakes we have made and our previously not meeting the goals that we either set for ourselves or others set for us.

    I know people that are not physically fit to this day because they were not as athletic as some of the kids in grade school. When they realized that others were faster/stronger/more coordinated than them, they defined themselves as no athletic and decided not to take care of themselves physically for years to come.

    Others have made mistakes in personal relationships, at work or in their studies and have decided to define themselves as not good with people, not a performer at work or as someone that can't do math or doesn't know history or not good with english.

    It is easy to define ourselves based on our past failures. It is harder to look at a goal and realize that we can reach it, we can be a top performer, we can solve math equations, but that doing it will require hard work and dedication.

    Take a look at what defines your life. Is it based on your past failures or the things you intend on accomplishing?

    Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    Geologic time is Now


    Do you remember the story of Aron Ralston? He is the guy that got his arm stuck after a large boulder (800 to 1000 pounds) fell on it while he was climbing in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Six days later, he walked the eight miles back to the trail head after having broken the bones in his arm and sawing through the soft tissue to amputate his arm with a cheap multi-tool.

    In his book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, he mentions how one of his professors always told him that "geologic time is now". In other words, even tho we see rocks that we speculate may have taken centuries to fall, move around or be rearranged, when a big rock does fall, it falls quickly. maybe it sat in the same place for a thousand years, but it can go from up there to down here in less time than it takes to say "geologic time is now".

    Aron Ralston got a vivid illustration of this when the huge rock that had sat up there for a really long time crushed his arm.

    Sometimes we feel this way about taking care of priorities in our life. We think that things will always be pretty much the way they have been and, if they do change, it will be slow and gradual. Like the way we imagine years of erosion move a rock.

    But, things can change in an instant, the way a rock really does come crashing down after years of erosion seemingly have no effect. Maybe if we realized this, we would be more watchful, more ready. Or maybe we would at least learn to appreciate things the way they are more, realizing that it won't last forever.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Props to AZ


    For those of you concerned AZ voters, here is a list of the local propositions we are asked to decide on at this upcoming election. I stole this list from the Tucson Tea Party, so if you don't agree with them, vote the other way. It is still an informative and helpful list.


    Prop 106


    Proposition 106 would amend the Arizona Constitution by barring any rules or regulations that would force state residents to participate in a health-care system. The proposed amendment would also ensure that individuals would have the right to pay for private health insurance without a penalty.

    TTP endorses a "Yes" vote as a buffer to heavy handed health care mandates.
    Prop 107

    Proposition 107, entitled the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative arises from the House of Representatives (HCR 2019)as a proposed Constitutional Amendment. If passed Proposition 107 would amend the Arizona Constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to or discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.
    TTP endorses a "Yes" vote.

    Prop 109

    Proposition 109 would give Arizonans constitutional protection to the right to hunt in Arizona, and prohibit citizens from using the ballot initiative to make laws regarding hunting and fishing by giving exclusive authority to the legislature to do so.

    TTP endorses a "Yes" vote. The right to hunt has both 2nd amendment and personal freedom concerns.

    Prop 110

    Proposition 110 would authorize the exchange of state trust lands without auction or advertisement in order to protect military installations. According to the measure, the legislature must provide a process for exchanging those lands. It will also allow voter-approved exchanges of state trust land after public notice and hearing if the exchange is related to either protecting military facilities or for land management purposes.

    TTP endorses a "Yes" vote that gives our state legislature greater flexibility to protect our military bases.

    Prop 111

    Proposition 111 would change the position of Secretary of State to Lieutenant Governor. The amendment proposes that in an election, each political party's nominee for lieutenant governor would have to run on the same ticket as the nominee for governor and be voted on together in the general election.

    TTP endorses a "No" vote believing that this initiative further politicizes the Office of Secretary of State, and limits the participation of Independent candidates in the process of election for this office.

    Prop 112


    Proposition 112 would change the current ballot initiative petition drive deadline to be two months earlier than the current deadline. The current four month filing deadline would be extended to six months. Initiative organizers would have to turn in those signatures to the Secretary of State by that date.

    TTP takes a "No" position on this proposition.

    Prop 113

    Proposition 113 is sponsored by the Arizona Senate (SCR 1001). If passed the Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment would guarantee the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot in elections, designations or authorizations for employee representation (including unions and employee organizations).
    TTP takes a "Yes" position on this proposition.

    Prop 203

    The Arizona Legislative Council offered this synopsis: If passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act "...would allow a "qualifying patient" who has a "debilitating medical condition" to obtain an "allowable amount of marijuana" from a "nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary" and to possess and use the marijuana to treat or alleviate the debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the condition. The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) would be required to adopt and enforce a regulatory system for the distribution of marijuana for medical use, including a system for approving, renewing and revoking the registration of qualifying patients, designated caregivers, nonprofit dispensaries and dispensary agents. The costs of the regulatory system would be paid from application and renewal fees collected, civil penalties imposed and private donations received pursuant to this proposition...."
    TTP takes a "No comment" position on this proposition.

    Prop 301

    If passed the Arizona Land Conservation Fund (ALCF)Transfer would transfer the balance of money in the land conservation fund, which was established by voters in 1998 as part of the "Growing Smarter Act," to the state general fund. The Growing Smarter Trust Fund was set up as a means to conserve public lands. A yes vote on prop 301 transfers the current balance in the (ALCF) towards the state general fund in an effort to close the state deficit.
    TTP takes a "No comment" position on this proposition.

    Prop 302

    Named the Arizona First Things First Program Repeal would terminate the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and programs, which were established by voters in 2006 as part of the "Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative." It would require the transfer of money remaining in the early childhood development and education fund on December 1, 2010 to be deposited in the state general fund. Thereafter, it would require tobacco tax money collected pursuant to the initiative to be deposited in the state general fund and used for health and human services for children.
    TTP endorses a "Yes" vote on this proposition because taxpayer money that could be used to fund education for all of Arizona's children is currently being overseen and spent by a non-elected commission. This does not encourage accountability of the taxpayer dollar.

    Prop 400

    Prop 400 would increase the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent for a period of 5 years. The additional percentage increase would be directed towards "maintaining and preserving staffing and programs for public safety services, transportation services including maintenance of city streets, and parks and recreations facilities and programs".
    TTP STRONGLY encourages a "No" vote on this proposition. The City hasn't made a strong enough case to show that it has made all available cuts.

    Prop 401

    Amends the Tucson City Charter by (1) providing the mayor with equal voting authority as the members of the council; (2) designating certain officers of the city as employees who are appointed and removed from office without the requirements of civil service; (3) fixing the salary of the mayor as equal to, and the salary of the council members as 80% of, the salaries of the Pima County Board of Supervisors; and (4) providing that the mayor and all council members shall be elected in concurrent, non-staggered elections, beginning in 2013.
    TTP takes a "Yes" position on this initiative in order to give some much needed changes to our current city charter and help reduce duplication in jobs and to be able to have more qualified members run for the City Council. Although not perfect, it is a step forward from what we currently have.

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Bar None, this is the best.


    Our bodies are providentially designed to consume, process and utilize a huge variety of foods. we can grow healthy and strong with things as various as roots, grains, fruits, meat and more. But, our modern science has been able to make a regular part of our diet things that are processed in such a way that they are not just tasty and full of added vitamins, but detrimental to our health.

    In our house, we are trying to cut back on things like over-processed sugars, soy proteins, hydrolyzed and hydrogenated this or that and our old friend, high fructose corn syrup (perhaps the number one contributor to diabetes, obesity, etc.).

    So, our new exercise plan recommends throwing in some protein and energy bars to help stave off mini starvation modes in our bodies. A quick check at the store reveals that most protein and energy bars contain the items I mentioned in the paragraph above. Nice.

    So, Diane made us some "Hudson Bay Bars". They are a kind of energy/protein bar with natural ingredients. Quite tasty. I haven't found the absolute best recipe, which is the one we use, online yet. So, maybe I should post it here, only for you.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Blog Fodder

    According to the Urban Dictionary, Blog Fodder is:

    "An interesting idea, story, or link. Referred to as blog fodder when your first reaction is to use it in your blog.
    I'm sorry your day sucked, but between the car wreck, the kiss off, and the layoff, at least you've got some real blog fodder."

    Apparently, I have seen no such thing for nearly a week. My apologies to those who are beginning to wonder about my creative and interesting insights. They will resume.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Gestures


    Last weekend, I performed a wedding ceremony of a colleague. The couple grew up with families that had different religious expressions. One grew up in a catholic home, while they other is a part of a Jewish family.

    In order to honor both traditions, I included elements of a traditional Christian wedding as well as some of the blessings that are often said at a traditional Jewish wedding. These blessings are call the seven blessings and are said in Hebrew. Since many of the people at the wedding didn't speak Hebrew, I also said them in English.

    The people that spoke Hebrew, to include grandma that traveled here from Israel, were more than pleased to have these blessings included. And said in Hebrew no less.

    Truth be told, I only gave three of the seven and included another that is not traditionally said at weddings, but that I thought was appropriate and would enhance the ceremony. It was not the whole traditional ceremony, it was a gesture to honor that tradition and to honor the new family. The blessings also pointed out God as the creator of the universe and the one that brings us joy.

    While this worked well for the ceremony and I am glad that I was a part of it and was able to include these blessings, it made me think about gestures like these. Not the type we do at weddings and other ceremonies, but the gestures we make in our lives.

    For instance, we like to take the time to pray before our meals together as a family. This is an important gesture for us to acknowledge that God provides for us. But, if the rest of our lives do not reflect a belief that God is real and that he does care for us, then this gesture is hollow.

    I guess the thing to do is to continue to make these gestures, but live a life that makes them real.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    An old bored game.



    In honor of some friends who spent the weekend at a board game convention and in honor of another friend who helped us come up with this exciting new gaming company, I thought I would repost this, from October of 2008:

    SPINGA is a game that no fun-loving household should have. Behind its seemingly simple exterior there’s a surprisingly stupid game in which not much happens at all. SPIN_GA is an ideal way to waste quality time with family or friends.

    Much like other block stacking games, you play by removing blocks from lower levels and placing them on top. But, it has a twist....literally. While you are doing this, the whole game spins around on a lazy Susan type support structure. Wow! A game that is almost exactly like Jenga, but it spins! It's SPENGA(???)!

    Listen to what actual players have said about SPIN-GA:

    "This game is p***ing me off!"

    "Whose stupid idea was this, anyways?"

    "Can we do something else now?"

    Yes, you and your friends will be sorry you ever got together for game night when you try SPIN_GA. So gather your friends or family and get ready for some real "edge-of-your-seat" fun!

    For best results, play while drunk.


    Also coming soon from SpinBro games:
    SPINABLE - Make words from different letters on a spinning board.
    SPOKER - Bet your friends real money that your cards are better than theirs, while the deck spins around!!!
    And for Kids:
    SPIN-D-LAND and SPINS AND LADDERS

    SPINBRO ... We make games a little dumber


    To see the original post, that says the same thing, go here.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Italian Guy Sails for the Queen of Spain.

    It is becoming less and less acceptable in our country to celebrate Columbus Day. I know that many claim the reason for this is the many injustices that our ancestors visited on those who lived here before we did. Many that hold this view would have us believe that our country is nothing but the story of one evil thing done to virtuous natives after another.

    The reality is, many of those who found, and founded, this country did so as a response to what they believed was a call to avoid oppression, to build a country founded on the rule of law and an unprecedented system of justice, simply because they believed God called them providentially to come here and build this country.

    One such man was Christopher Columbus. Consider some of the words of Columbus writing about his desire and inspiration for his voyages of discovery:

    “At this time I have seen and put in study to look into all the scriptures, which our Lord opened to my understand (I could sense his hand upon me), so that it became clear to me that it was feasible to navigate from here to the Indies; and he gave me the will to execute the idea… I have already said that for the execution of the enterprise of the Indies, neither reason nor mathematics, nor world maps were profitable to me; rather the prophecy of Isaiah was completely fulfilled. And this is what I wish to report here for the consideration of your highnesses.”

    “The working out of all things was entrusted by our Lord to each person, {but it happens} in conformity with his sovereign will, even though he gives advice to many…I found our Lord well-disposed toward my heart’s desire, and he gave me the spirit of intelligence for the task. . .Who doubts this illumination was from the Holy spirit? He {the Spirit}, with marvelous rays of light, consoled me through the holy and sacred Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony,…encouraging me to proceed, and, continually, without ceasing for a moment, they inflame with a sense of great urgency.”

    While it is not in vogue in many circles to talk about Columbus (perhaps as much because of his idea of where his inspiration came from as the au courant revisions of history), I still celebrate this holiday. Primarily because I believe that, in spite of the faults, mistakes, problems, and even flashes of evil that are part of our history, our country was providentially ordained and is the best country that ever was on the planet and I am still proud to be a part of it.

    So, what sort of food does someone eat to celebrate Columbus Day?


    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    Clearly You Have Never Been To Singapore, Part 2

    Class reunions.

    Have you been to one of these yet?

    It is kind of like visiting a neighborhood.

    First, you have the ten year reunion. A five year old neighborhood is like that ten year reunion. In a five year old neighborhood, all the houses look about the same and everyone is trying to get the same landscaping in the yards, blinds in the windows, and cars in the driveway.

    A ten year reunion is where everyone looks exactly the same as they did ten years ago and people either tell you about what job(s) they have (or have not) been working for the last ten years, or what degrees they got and where they got them from or some fun stories about them drinking in the military (or in college).

    You don't hear anything other than these categories. Except for a few people who only have stories to tell about themselves drinking in a local bar. They always seem kind of sad and embarrassed at the ten year reunion.

    The twenty year reunion is where things get a little more fun.

    Hitting a twenty year reunion is like driving through a fifty year old neighborhood. Everyone has cars, yards, windows, spouses, careers, goals, hairlines, waistlines, facial features and drinking stories that are different and that makes it more interesting.

    The best reunion I have been to was Diane's twenty year reunion. Since she went to a large enough school and I was close enough in age, I was able to mingle and hear about how everyone had been for the last twenty years, and share what I had been up to for people who were desperately trying to figure out if they remembered me.

    I will have to share my anecdotes from that event on my next post. This one is long enough already.