Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


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


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

    17 West Congress St.
    Tucson AZ 85701

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    a tribute and a tributary

    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 lifelong 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."
    "Poetry is as dull as doing the dishes."

    Perhaps his career choices lie in other places than literature.