Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's almost time for the Holiday!

Hanukkah comes early this year. December 8th -16th.

Here is the Hanukkah Blessings song from Barenaked Ladies Holiday Album, "Barenaked for the Holidays"

Oh yeah, Christmas is coming too. Here is another of their tunes from the same album. It's my favorite album of the season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


 While on vacation, I started to get a little irritated with, what I consider, high gas prices.

I know the politically correct thing is to get angry at the oil companies for making money off of me while I go the places I have to go and they make obscene profits while I do it. I will try.

I did look into it, and found that the oil companies generally make between 6 cents and 8 cents per gallon. Probably not the most lucrative business, gallon per gallon. But they are still making money off of me.

Then I discovered that government makes an average of 48 cents per gallon from the gas I purchase. A little more or less, depending on the Federal, State and local taxes on gas. I wonder if I should be angry with them too?

Of course, they do great things with my money. The feds are currently handing out grants for rail transport type projects. Without the gas tax money they get, they would not be able to show a regular income and they would not be able to borrow money from China so we could do these projects.

We have one of these projects in Tucson. They call it the modern streetcar (pictured below), all paid for with Federal funds, so those of us locally don't have to pay a dime. Yet.

It will go from the University, where there is nowhere to park, to the downtown area, where there is also nowhere to park. The primary purpose seems to be moving college students downtown, so they can go drink at the bars there instead of just at the closer 4th Avenue bars.

Oh, and the local price tag, even though the project is completely paid for by magical federal funds; about 4 to 6 million per year for operating costs that will not be covered by fares and whatnot.

So, I suppose I shouldn't complain about high gas prices. Instead, I should just be angry with the oil companies and look forward to the day when I can pay even more for trains that drive me to local bars, so I can anesthetize my anger.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lesson from the Long Run

I am really not sure what the takeaway is for this. You will have to come up with your own. All I know is what happened.

I was running a little further than I usually (ever) do, which was an 8 miler. At first I thought I would do my usual 3 mile loop twice and then add a two mile loop. Or maybe I would do 3, then 2, then 3.

Then I realized that I would be back a bit later than I wanted and thought I might give up after the first 5 miles. Knowing myself, I figured I would give up at 5 or 6 if I did the loops, so I decided just to run 4 out and then have to run 4 more miles to get back home.

Sure enough, at about 5 miles in, my fun meter was pegged and I was ore than ready to move on to another project. But, I had to get home. So, I kept going.

As I said, I am not sure of the lesson I learned, but sometimes I have to psych myself out to go as far as I wanna go.

Speaking of Long Run, here is a cool and inspirational running book about New York City Firefighter Matt Long that was cripplingly injured when a bus ran him over while he was riding his bike and how he rebuilt his body and his life:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Each day when I wake up, before I put on my...

Part 1.
Last week, in my capacity as a chaplain for our department, I was asked to give the invocation at the local City Council meeting.I guess they consider me a person of prayer, so I am somehow qualified to say them for public functions.

It made me think about what it meant to be a person of prayer. Is a life of prayer largely ceremonial, meant to be a performance for public and familial events? Or is it an act of desperation when things go wrong, as in "O God, don't let that truck hit me!" Or when they could go wrong, as in "O God, help me pass this dumb test, or I will never get a decent job anywhere ever!"

Or maybe it is meant to be a chance to communicate with God himself. For those that don't believe in him, this certainly seems delusional. But, what a difference it could make in our lives if we actually could communicate with the God of the universe.

Part 2.
When I was in school, one of our classes(on prayer) assigned us to spend an hour in prayer every day during the week. One day, prior to heading out to my hour long interlude, I got in a good argument with the wife. And by good, I mean that she wasn't listening to me, so I had to elevate my tone of voice and repeat the same things over and over.

Finally, in a fit of exasperation, she finally just yelled at me, "You better go pray!"

It seemed obvious that my prayer world at that moment wasn't having too much of an effect on my likability. Or maybe she thought that if anyone could get through my thick skull, it would be the almighty himself.

So, what does being a person of prayer mean?

I have met people that pray (I know they do because I have heard them) that are as mean as a stepped on snake.

Still, I like to think that being a person of prayer can a will make a difference in our lives, our outlook and our attitude. And maybe even in the way we relate to other people.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day and thanks to all those who have served!

Here is a special tribute to those in our family that have served. they include:

Our Son Tom, pictured here. U.S. Army. Veteran of some FOBs and outposts in Afghanistan.
My Brother Michael, USAF
Uncle Bob, U.S. Navy Pilot. WWII
Uncle Cliff. U.S. Navy, World War II. He worked in an Engine room that, just after he rotated out, was destroyed by a kamikaze pilot, killing all hands.
Uncle Wes, U.S. Navy, WWII
Uncle Ken, U.S.M.C.
My other Uncle Bob, U.S. Army
Nephews Troy and Trevor, U.S.M.C.
Nephew Kent, U.S. Army

Thank you for your service on behalf of our country!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


The latest three I have been reading deal with some commonly held beliefs about a few different topics. From the motivations of the massacre at Columbine, to the events of the inquisition and the idea of the "dark ages", to what it takes to bridge the gap between your dream job and your day job, these books all smack some of the myths, misconceptions and ideas we have formed, for whatever reason, right in the chops.

The Triumph of Christianity