Monday, June 28, 2010

the Hard Part

We are getting ready to take a journey to visit the old home town and then off to the city of Denver to visit with my family and some friends. Like every trip we plan, in spite of the rigors of travel, it seems that the hard part is getting ready.

We have to make sure that:
- all the bills are taken care of
- we have a house sitter with adequate instructions
- our work is all squared away for the time we will be gone
- everything is packed
- We have books, audio etc. to entertain us on the way
-the house is cleaned
- the car is serviced and cleaned
- we have a route and lodging
- we get snacks for the long drive
- all my work stuff is secured and all our household stuff is stowed

All this and more without getting so irritated with one another that we ruin our trip.

It has been said that our life here on earth is the preparation phase for the journey of eternity. If that is the case, maybe that is why it seems like it can be so difficult.

Try not to let the irritations of getting ready for that journey ruin it for you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Things you have never seen, ever.

We are planning a trip to Colorado and Nebraska in the coming weeks to visit my Mother, Brothers and some relatives. I am not telling you so you can plan a heist of all the myriad of valuables I keep at my house or so you can lament the fact that we get to take a vacation in the dead middle of July to one of the most humid places on the planet in our old minivan. Okay, Nebraska is not nearly as humid as Louisiana or the mosquito coast, but it still is a little damper than the dry heat we are used to here.

I just wanted to mention that we are taking the trip for a couple of reasons.

1. If it seemed like my blogging slowed down a bit you wouldn't get alarmed and add me to the list of those people that started a blog to let people know what is happening and then never have anything to say. If I did fall in that category, you would understand, because it is so easy to be in that category, but I want to reassure you that I am not there.......yet.

2. To let you know that you will, in the coming weeks, here about some things that you probably have never heard about or seen before, right here, on this blog, from me. Why? Because you don't take vacations to Nebraska and Colorado. They are, how shall I say, unusual.

So, remember to forgive me for slowing down slightly as we prepare for our trip and then go away and keep checking back for word of some things you have never seen or heard of before.

Here is one now:

The Nebraska State Capitol Building is the tallest State Capitol Building in the U.S. of A.

It is also the home to the only state Unicameral legislative system. That is unusual too.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It is worth a try

Brian McCrary, a phone company worker and speeder caught by a Bluff City Tennessee speed camera went to the police departments website to see about how to deal with the ticket he was sent.

When he arrived at the web page, he saw that the domain name registration was set to expire. Checking back and seeing that the department neglected to renew it's registration, he spent $80 bucks with and now owns the domain name

Now, instead of being the website for the local P.D., you can find information about Bluff City speed traps and links to all sorts of articles about the speed camera phenomenon.

In other news that, could be related, The FCC is trying to gain more regulatory control over the internet. Will they succeed in reducing controversial free speech, such as the anti-(local speed camera) government rhetoric at

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad Time

Happy Father's Day to all!

Here is an email I got from 8 year old Ethan this morning. It looks like we will be spending some time together.

happy father's day dad


ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

here is some things we could do sometime.

  1. Hike
  2. Bike
  3. Fish
  4. Hunt (maybe)
  5. Run at the Park
  6. Swim
  7. Browse at stores
  8. Picnic
  9. Camp
  10. Paint

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Playing the Enemy

I've never really thought that much of, or about Nelson Mandela. Sure, I knew he was a radical revolutionary that was jailed in South Africa for years before being released. And then he became the president of the nation that had formerly tormented him.

But, I recently watched the movie Invictus and was intrigued by how it portrayed Mandela's leadership in attempting to bring about forgiveness and unity in a horribly torn nation. The focal point of the movie is the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the South African team, the Springboks, and how Mandela used them to inspire many South Africans.

The Springboks were, to many, a symbol of Apartheid, and hated by many of the non-whites.

Wanting to know more about this, I got a hold of
the book, Playing the Enemy, by John Carlin. The movie was based on this book and many of the things that are touched on in the movie are fleshed out and explained in the book. Including Mandela's charm and attitude towards his former enemies, much of the political climate and intrigue of the time, the attitudes and reasons for them and, of course, the rugby team and World Cup.

It also talks more in depth about how the Springboks, the hated symbol of Apartheid, learned and sang the Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika, the hated anthem of the African National Congress.

For those interested in politics, history, race relations, Mandela, rugby or leadership, consider "Playing the Enemy."

And, here is the English translation of the current South African National Anthem, which includes a hybrid of Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika and Afrikaans and English verses.

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika

God [Lord] bless Africa
Raise high Her glory
Hear our Prayers
God bless us, her children

"God we ask You to protect our nation
Intervene and end all conflicts
Protect us, protect our nation, our nation, South Africa - South Africa"

"Ringing out from our blue heavens,
From our deep seas breaking round,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound,"

"Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Afrika our land."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

That's a lot of bull

Most of the jobs I have had, and probably the ones you have had too, have had things to be scared of. Going to the house where someone has been indiscriminately firing a shotgun around in the yard can be scary. Trying to stop a car that in a remote area that is likely to have armed guards can set your nerves on edge. Putting together a grand event and waiting to see if people are really going to come or facing a classroom full of what may be hostile teenagers can give a person the jitters.

But, for some reason, I am fascinated with this story: Cowardly bullfighter: Mexican matador flees bull

If you read the story or watch the video, you see that the bullfighter just kind of decides not to be in the ring facing the bull anymore. Afterward, to add injury to insult, he is arrested for breach of contract.

In the classic self-defense/personal security/watch out for killer's book The Gift of Fear, the author explains how fear is a good thing, warning us of impending disaster, and should not be ignored.

While the matador's fear is valid, large bulls really can hurt you, it seems that sometimes you need to use the fear to help you focus, drive on, soldier up and face that bull to get the job done.

What sort of bull do you have to face in your work?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Taking the heat

Here is a little anecdote from days gone by.

When I was in the Air Force, they sent us to this little base in Indian Springs Nevada for Desert Warfare School. We had already been to Ground Combat School in Ft. Dix, N.J. and I had already been to M-60 machine gunner's school at Indian Springs, but it never hurts to stay sharp with your ground combat skills.

The Desert Warfare School was mostly just a ground combat school in the desert. During the first week, we stayed in big tents and did a week long combat rifle course, shooting at things while walking around and all that sort of stuff.

The next week, they sent us afield, starting off with the raid of a fake town followed by a long march to where we would be our digging our own defensive fighting positions to live in (including eating our steady diet of MRE's) and pretend to fight in for the rest of the week while the teaching cadre snuck around, shot blanks at us and lobbed tear gas in our general direction. It was actually kind of fun.

We practiced the one up one down concept of security during the night, meaning that one guy would stay awake while the other guy slept and switch off every hour or two. One particular night, when it was my turn to be "down", I leaned myself back with my feet in the grenade sump and my back against the escape route. Apparently, the Sergeant I was assigned to in our hole flung himself on the ground and curled up in his sleeping bag while it was his turn to be "up".

Next thing I know, one of the Sergeants in charge was standing in front of me all upset and lecturing me on how in times of war I would be executed for falling asleep on post and all sorts of other stuff.

Since I didn't want to be "that guy", I didn't mention that it was my turn to be asleep and, even though I was semi-upright so I could be ready if anything happened, I was merely following the protocol that was spelled out for us in using the "one up one down" idea. The angry Sergeant stomped off after letting me know that he would deal with me later.

After we returned to good old Tucson, we were awarded the coveted "Defender" tab and authorized to wear it on our uniforms. The "Defender" tab is sort of like the "Ranger" tab, only is says "Defender" and it only takes two weeks of playing around in the sand to earn.

Some liked to call it the "Pretender" tab, but it still looked really cool.

I saw the list of who was awarded the tab, and my foxhole buddies name was not on it. "Why not?", I asked. Rumor was that he had been caught sleeping on post.

It turns out that after the whole fiasco with the angry Sergeant in the middle of the night, my buddy had gone and turned himself in as the actual scandalous sleeper.

So, Sgt. Sherwood, from the 836th SPS (later the 355th), for your honor and integrity and taking the heat after making a mistake that could have easily been blamed on a lower ranking comrade, I salute you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Picture this....

This one is Diane's idea.

She noticed that the City is always spending money on some grand new scheme. Whether it is a myriad of new soccer fields or the "Gardens of the Ancient Signs" parks along the "river" walk to whatever other latest project they think they need to do. She thought it would be great to go out and take pictures of all the things the city is spending money on and put it in an album.

Now, we both enjoy the parks and I think soccer is an excellent game and their is nothing wrong with throwing out some soccer fields so everyone can play. But, when the City is saying that they have no money and are going to have to furlough some cops or fire some firemen or burn down an elementary school with all the children inside, it seems kind of odd that they still have money to put up the "Gardens of the Ancient Signs".

I wish I was being facetious when I mentioned the "Gardens of the Ancient Signs", but right there, along the Pantano "River" walk (which does seem facetious, especially this time of year), it sits. Perhaps they hope that by putting up some ancient religious symbols they will be able to appease the Gods, the rain will fall and the economy will right itself. It obviously worked out well for whoever originally thought up those signs.

So, the next time the City or the State or whomever starts spouting off about how they will have to sacrifice children or sell some firemen into slavery or let all the killers out of prison if we don't give them a pay raise, lets bring around some photos of all the work they have paid for (not done) on the Rio Neuvo project or some snapshots of the Gardens of the Ancient Gods....I mean signs.

Hey, I just had an idea. Since these symbols clearly have a religious significance that does not mirror my own beliefs, I could file a frivolous lawsuit based on the establishment clause. I will have to think about that.

For all you music lovers

From the Huffington Post:

The Israeli government has apologized after its press office sent out a satirical video mocking the activists involved in the Gaza flotilla following last week's deadly incident.

The YouTube clip, entitled "We Con the World" and set to the music of the 1980s charity single "We Are the World," shows people dressed up as flotilla activists, some in Arab dress, singing such lines as "we con the world, we con the people. We'll make them all believe the IDF is Jack the Ripper," and "there's no people dying, so the best that we can do, is create the greatest bluff of all." The video also includes footage from the actual raid last Monday of the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos in which nine activists were killed.

The video was made by a website,, run by Jerusalem Post editor Caroline Glick, who described the clip on her blog as featuring "the Turkish-Hamas "love boat" captain, crew and passengers in a musical explanation of how they con the world." The video has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times on YouTube.

"The contents of the video in no way represent the official policy of either the Government Press Office or of the State of Israel," a statement from Israel's Government Press Office said, according to CNN.

However, according to the Guardian, a spokesman for the Israeli government said that the video did reflect most Israelis' view of the incident. "I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny," the spokesman said. "It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I just might.

For several years, I have wanted to try one of those 5K runs that so many people get into. I know, it seems kind of silly to pay money just to go run with people. But, for some reason, it seems appealing to me.

With the conditioning that I have enjoyed in the past several years, I haven't been able to just sign up for one and, in good conscience, think I would finish without embarrassing myself beyond belief. I have been doing a little training in the past few months, so now I am considering diving in and giving it a go. I was going to say giving it a try, but I want to set you up for a future post about training versus trying, so "try" does not seem appropriate.

The race I found is on July 4th near to where we plan on visiting (Lord willing and the creek don't rise) at the time. So now, all I need to do is find a training plan that will get me ready to race a 5K like a hero in less than one months time. No more progressively longer runs for me for a few weeks, which will not bother me. But, I am afraid I might have to start running faster.

So, wish me well.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jews go home???

Heard about this from a friend yesterday, so I thought I would share.

It really seems, well, unbelievable.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blessings and Curses

I think I may have told you this story before, but here it goes again. In case I have, you should know that Diane used to recommend I get a little book with all of my favorite stories in it and write down who I told that particular story to so they don't have to suffer though it again. One day, I might just do that.

We used to give a guy a ride over to the VA hospital after school. He and I both went there for a work study program to help pay the bills.

One day, as we were riding over, we saw some guy in some sort of a uniform with a bucket, obviously asking for donations. Jonathan asked who that guy was, as If I had more information than him since I was sitting in the front seat and he was in the back. I said, "I dunno, probably some cult or something."

With his loud, grating and scary voice, he then screams, "I curse you in the Name of Jesus!!!"

We hurriedly drove him to the VA wishing that we could check him into the psych ward.

Yesterday, some man told me that he had a salesman at his door. The salesman didn't bother him too much, until he asked the man if he was a Christian and said some very strange and disconcerting words to him before he left.

What was the incantation that he uttered that shook the man's spirit and sensibilities? He said, "God Bless You."

Now, the man said he was a psychologist so he was paranoid about that sort of thing, but let's get your opinion.

Would you rather have someone ask God to bless you because you seem to be a nice person, or have someone call down fire from the fingertips of Jesus to consume you in screaming agony because you have been led astray.

Just a quirky observation from my experiences.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I was out for a run this morning and I thought, "Why am I doing this!?! This makes me totally uncomfortable!"

So, instead of giving up or falling in a heap on the trail and weeping uncontrollably, I tried to think of other things that have made me absolutely miserably uncomfortable. Here are a few of them.

Wearing a gas mask.

When I was in training in the military, we had to put them on, run in them, shoot in them and do all sorts of other crazy things while trying to breathe through the filters that filter out some chemical agents and most of the air. It was hot, stuffy and the early ones had two bug eyes to look out of that made you feel like you were peering sideways out of a small box. It made you want to scream.

That was uncomfortable.

Oh, until we did the gas chamber thing. That was considerably more uncomfortable. After that, I kind of liked wearing my gas mask. It was my friend.

Deathly Ill in Jabalpur

We just had a great week of teaching pastors and hanging out with the medical and theological students at the Central India Christian Mission in Damoh. at the end of the week, Dr. Lall and his wife Indu made us a fantastic feast with all sorts of Indian and American foods. I, of course, ate too much.

After dinner, we were off to Jabalpur for some more teaching. Since the road to Jabalpur (which I think is also the name of one of those Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies) was a bumpy dirt road, I thought the sickness I was beginning to feel was just from some mild food indiscretions and a little motion sickness from all thebouncing around. By the time we arrived at the hotel in Jabalpur, I realized that it was worse than that.

Diane tells me I babble insensibly when I have a fever anyways, so I must have sounded like a raving lunatic to anyone that happened by the room. I do remember calling her after puking my guts up over and over and letting her know that I was ready to come home.

That was uncomfortable.

For some reason, she didn't immediately find me a ticket home like I demanded. The fever broke in the morning, buckets of sweat poured off of me and I had a good breakfast. After all that, I was ready to go see the beautiful falls at the fast flowing Narmada river.

Crushed at Class

If you didn't get it from the gas mask post, I lean towards claustrophobia. Well, I don't find it unreasonably fearful at all to not want to be crushed or suffocated, so claustrophobia doesn't seem accurate.

During the Krav Maga training I did for a few years, someone had the bright idea of coming up with a new drill to help develop our mad fighting skills. They would make you lay on the floor face down, throw one of those wrestling mats on top of you and everyone would pile on top of the mat and you had to fight your way out.

Actually, it was kind of fun when you were on top of the mat. The fun wore off quickly when it was your turn to be crushed and suffocated. I think I bit someone, tried to twist someone else's foot off and was trying to gouge people's eyes out before I finally got out from under the pile.

That was uncomfortable.

How Are You Doing?

When we lived in Sacramento, I was attending a conference for our Denomination's Sacramento district, when I was approached by the Pastor of one of the larger Churches on the District. I barely knew the guy, and had never talked to him.

"How are you doing", he asked me, in what I assumed was the friendly sort of greeting that you throw at people that you barely know.

I told him I was doing good, which I thought was an honest and adequate answer. Apparently he did not agree. He squared off with me, like a boxer in the ring. He looked at me with his soul piercing preacher eyes and asked me, in his best compassionate, concerned, probing pastor voice, "No really, how are you doing?"

Since I really didn't know how to reply to this, wondering if he knew something I did not, I repeated that I was doing good and have done my best to avoid that guy the rest of my life.

That was uncomfortable.

That was a good start of things that have made me uncomfortable. A few others have been left on the editing room floor. Come back around sometime soon. I'll tell you some of the things that make my wife Diane uncomfortable. That should be fun.