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


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:

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.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I had to share a quick bit from this book I am reading. The book is the life story of Jack H. Lucas, who lied about his age to join the Marines and earned the Medal of Honor after jumping on two hand grenades to save his 4 man squad while fighting on Iwo Jima.

He lived through his experiences on Iwo and the grenades and the subsequent hospital experiences.

After a few years, he was having a difficult time adjusting and was haunted by dreams of combat. So, he decided to go to counseling sessions.

He abruptly ended the sessions when his psychiatrist committed suicide. At that point, he figured that he might be better off figuring out things on his own.

While I have recommended counseling to people in the past and think it can help, if your counselor is more despondent than you, or if he begins to talk about ending it all, you might be better off on your own.