Saturday, December 3, 2016

Swords and Strategy

You are holding a longsword over four feet long with two hands. The pommel rests on your chest as both hands grip the hilt. Staring through a wire mesh as the sweat rolls down your brow and your breath is becoming labored, you warily watch a relaxed opponent as he holds his sword in a low guard just outside the reach of your blade.

As you move in and your blades clash, he quickly pivots his blade and it crashes into your unguarded hand, followed by a quick thump on your head. You were struck, for about the eleventh time in a row.

This was the experience I had last night at the Tucson Historic Fencing Club (

At the urging of the daughter's, she and our youngest son and I joined the class. We were met by Doug and Jay, who greeted us and began describing the history of, not only the club, but medieval fencing from 15th and 16th century Germany. Jay was kind enough to demonstrate the basic guards strikes and moves from the German system and they both gave a thorough description of the club's philosophy.

Doug, who founded the club, has obviously spent years pouring over ancient manuals and documents to learn about this fighting art and was able to answer all our questions about the art.

But, as I soon discovered, he is not merely a scholar, but a practitioner as well. He put us through the paces of some of the basics and then treated me to a few minutes of - well, I'm not sure what they call it. It wasn't full speed fighting that they usually do, with pads, gaurds and gauntlets, but some basic squaring off to practice some of the basic maneuvers in a real time environment. Let's call it"Sparring".

The training I usually do in "Krav Maga", which means "Contact Combat", had some glaring deficiencies in fighting with a long old sword at the end of your arm. Krav is designed for close in hand to hand stuff, while a long sword has a considerably longer reach. While some of the principles I applied seemed to translate well, the range, footwork  and philosophy of movement and defense was different enough that I was easily handled.

If you are at all interested in martial arts, consider checking out this art from Europe's past. We spent an interesting and engaging evening at the Club's new facility. It's fun, interesting and the people are truly passionate about this art.

Again, here is a link:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's the thing to do!

I recently heard on some radio broadcast that everyone is putting out a country album. Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler, that guy from Stained...

So, in that vein, I am re-releasing the lyrics of the first verse of my biggest country hit.

Next, I am gonna have to do a Christmas Album.


The Things That Happen to Me
 - they are bad

"...had a real bad night
Got in a fight with my lover
the truck broke down,
she ran off with another

Oh, I can't believe the things that happen to me.

The dog jumped out
Got hit by a semi
You shoulda seen
that poor little mutt fly

Well, I can't believe the things that happen to me.

They're bad, so bad
Oh so bad."
c 1999, James T. Allerton

Sunday, November 20, 2016

You've probably had a tough year!

It seems a common theme among may of our friends. And it holds true for us as well. It has simply been a tough year.

Clouds seem to have gathered for many of us. In between us, we've had trouble with family, finances, relationships, health issues, loved ones getting sick, loved ones dying, employment, and with the things we own...our houses, cars, clothes and more.

It is so easy for me to focus on the negatives in my life. To look at the desert and remember how bleak and dry so much of the landscape appears to be.

But, as Thanksgiving approaches, I hope to remember the good things that have happened this year. The plenty of things that I can be thankful for.

Won't you join me in seeing the flowers in the desert just a little bit as Thanksgiving Day approaches?

And this doesn't apply to every situation, but it is something to consider:

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ths will probably be my last party

"This will probably be my last party"

That was what Betty told us when she was eighty years old.

In 2005, when we moved into this neighborhood, we held ourselves a welcome to the neighborhood party. No-one else seemed to be interested in throwing us a party, so we had our own and invited all the neighbors, and the few family and friends that we had here in town.

One of the neighbors that joined us was Betty. It turns out that it wasn't her last party.

Betty has some family around in Washington and Phoenix, but she couldn't spend too much time with them. They were kind of far away, and she was getting older. But, she was able to come next door, to our house.

So, Betty joined us, whenever she could, for our Holidays. Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas brunch, birthdays, and the random parties we sometimes throw just so I can see people. At one party, Diane offered her a drink. Betty let Diane know that her Doctor told her she really couldn't do anything like that anymore. Fortunately for her, we didn't have much in the way of alcoholic beverages at this party, so she happily took some tea, or water, or lemonade, or whatever we were serving. 

 She made sure she kept up with what the kids were doing and always wanted to hear news about their events, activities, progress in school.

She would give us books that she thought were interesting, and discuss others that she had been reading when she came around.

She even joined us for an eclipse viewing party, where we all took turns looking through the telescope, my night vision goggles and binoculars at a solar eclipse.

From meeting them in person, sharing times with them and hearing her tell us all about them, we got to know her family too.

She became part of our family.

In the past few years, Betty's health began to deteriorate. We were on the list for calls in case of emergency, and we had to meet the firemen next door a few times for transports to the hospital. At the end of last year, we visited her a few times in the rehab center after she appeared to have had a stroke. Her daughter came to stay with her for several weeks and she had a round the clock in home caregiver.

Finally, her daughter went back home and, not long after, Betty followed to go stay with family.

Last week, Diane got a call letting her know that Betty had died. She was 92 years old.

We are grateful that we got to spend more than one party with our neighbor and that 2005 wasn't the last party she ever got to go to.

Goodbye Betty. We will join you again for that "last party" one day when someone who knows how to throw better ones than we ever did is the host. Until then, we will all miss you!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Who prays for the Daughters of David

This one is still a progressive work, but I wanted to express some thoughts about meeting some people on my journeys.
And I know, the meter is a bit off, as is the rhyming sequence. I call it free form-ish
And I know, it's usually son's of David and daughters of Zion.
It's irony.
Try to hear what it is saying:

We've all heard the story
time and again
Of the wayward one that ran from the fold.

And how God intervened
To keep them safe and bring them back 
Before they grew too old

And all through those years
They knew in their heart
That someone had kept them in prayers that were constant 
 and prayers that were bold.

We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Jerusalem Shel Zahav,  Jerusalem of Gold

Shalu Shalom Yerushslyem 
Or that is what we are told

And then, perhaps, God's spirit will revisit that land
And maybe warm the hearts that, for so many years
have grown so very cold.

But I  will continue to wonder,
Perhaps until I am old,

Who prays for the Daughters of David and the Sons of Zion
With a name that can be told

And who remembers not the place, but the person, 
And asks that they find the peace
That can neither be bought nor sold.

When your knee hits the floor
 whose plight do you remember, 
whose story do you uphold

With your hands lifted high,
when you utter a sigh,
for that blessed City of Gold 

Do remember a friend from the land they are in, 
And ask on behalf of that one specific heart 
that God alone can remold?

Monday, September 26, 2016

End of Watch: Friday, April 26, 2013

As you may know, I recently returned from a trip to Israel. One of those that we were honored to have with us, on the "Yellow Bus", in our tour group was Julie Candelari. She had set a goal to come to Israel and be a blessing to the people there and some of those that serve there too. And she made it!

While setting the goal and getting over there was an achievement in itself, her trip was extra special to our tour because she had to do it alone after losing her husband in 2013.

Officer Larry Candelari was struck and killed after stopping to assist at a traffic accident while off duty and coming home from a hunting trip. His 23 years with his department and his prior service in the Marine Corps shows him to be a great example to us all. And he lost his life serving when he didn't have to be.

And that last sentence is not entirely true. I don't know any cops who would pass by an injury accident and not help when they were able to render aid. And Larry Candelari was a great example of our finest.

Please take a look at his ODMP page and remember Larry and his wife:

Larry Candelari
End of Watch: Friday, April 26, 2013 

Rest now, Brother. We'll take it from here!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The nerdiest place I've ever been

So, here I sit at Minecon 2016. Minecon is a convention for Minecraft players. To get here, 12,000 people sat at their computers at the precise moment to scramble to get their tickets, which sold out in a few minutes.

Ay this convention, you are filled with inspiration to sit at your computer and, not only play minecraft, but virtually watch others to sit and play minecraft as they stream their games live and on YouTube videos.

You can sit in panels and learn how to fritter away every spare moment on mods, packs, twitch, punching trees, making caves and all the other things that go along with Minecraft.

What, I wondered, is the big appeal? I have been known to sit for hours and play games, but, after a while, you realize you need to do something useful. So why do people spend so much time on stuff like this.

I think a big part of the appeal lies again in the desire for community. When you are playing minecraft, you are not only playing a game, but you are working with others to make worlds happen, share the work you've done and connect with others while learning about stuff that's fun for all of you. It's an electronic virtual front porch where you can connect with others.

So, probably most of you already knew this, but it was a discovery for me. What is your front porch? Maybe you even have a real one!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Where were you......

Do you remember where you were when you first heard?

I am not the hero of this story, by any means.

15 years and one week ago, terrorists brought down the twin towers and attacked the Pentagon.
Do you remember where you were when you heard about it?

To spur your memory, I will tell a little about what I remember.

We lived in California at the time, and I had spent a leisurely morning at home. We tried not to have much going by way of media in the morning and no one called me that day to let me know about the events, so I was kind of taking it easy until I had to go into my office for the day. As soon as I got in the car, I popped on the radio and heard the news.

Immediately, I pulled back into the drive and told Diane what I had just heard. We then checked into it more and watched and listened as things unfolded throughout the day.

At the time, my assignment in life was working on getting a new Church going in West Sacramento (If you are in the area, go check them out: ). My warrior training and instincts made me wanna join the army or something, but I had work to do there.

We were privileged to get a chance to lead and host the first community service to help people honor the fallen and pray for the nation a few days after. a couple of hundred people from the community, including the mayor, came and joined us. It was quite and honor for our new Church that had just moved into a new facility.

9/11 definitely changed the directory of our nation and my family as well. I think it definitely helped inform my decision to take a job as a first responder after I moved to Tucson. Through this, I have had the chance to serve this community as a Deputy and serve the department and other fisrst responders as a Chaplain.

It also played a role in our oldest son's (Tom) decision to serve and led to his deployments to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

I definitely remember 9/11 and understand how it has affected us. How bout you? Do you remember where you were? How has it changed things for you?

Lace up your boots brothers and sisters and keep your heads down!

Here's some fun photos of Me....:)
In the desert with the Border Crime Unit, Hanging out with Sean Hannity and the Sheriff as a Chaplain.
And one of our son in the Sandbox.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Intense Community....Do you know what you are missing?

With a few of the boys on Ben Yehuda Street the night after Shabbat.

This week, I just returned from a trip to Israel with a group that was traveling with the intent of touring the land, growing in our own faith and, more specifically, to meet and encourage leaders of several congregations and organizations the live and work in Israel.

It wasn't a particularly long trip and I am really glad to be back home with the Diane, Emily, Abigail and Ethan. But, I already find myself missing the friends I made on this journey and the opportunities we had to laugh, learn and serve together in the Land of Israel.

Here is part of the reason why:

On this trip we experienced community in a way that is a little more intense (in a good way...:)than what I usually experience. We were emotionally, spiritually and physically invested in working together to help make sure everyone in our group had the best experience they could, grew closer to God, learned interesting and edifying things and were able to be a blessing to the leaders we came to connect with and to each other.

Working on these things together brought to light the scripture passage found in Psalm 133. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!"

Interestingly enough, this is also the passage that is sung when ascending up to Jerusalem (Hine Ma Tov Una Ma Naim, Shevet achim gam yachad).

I attend Church and small group, where we experience some of this community. At work, we strive for common goals and get a taste of this. In the fighting class, we get some of it, as we work together to help each other improve. But this trip was an intense example of how good and pleasant an intense taste of community can be.

Thanks brothers and sisters, I miss you and our work together already!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

And I'm away

Here's an older photo of the Gavish siblings. Every year I send our Christmas letter to them. Apparently they haven't ever gotten Christmas letters, as the whole family makes a point of reading it together every year.

Today I am doing some of the final prep for a trip to Israel tomorrow. The point is to try and connect with leaders of ministries and non-profits there, and to tour around a bit.

After meeting with some leaders there, I'd like nothing more than to give you a chance to help encourage and inspire them to continue doing the great work they are doing. I'll be sure to let you know how you can be a part of what they are doing to make our world better. And, if you want to go meet some international ministry leaders overseas, let me know. I can help make that connection too.

In the meantime, remember me in your thoughts and prayers as I travel.

And maybe I will get to see the Gavish's, so they too can appear in the next Christmas letter.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

I just had to make it rhyme....:-/

The stars don't sing anymore,
Like they used to do
Early in the morning
Back when the earth was new

And all the creatures don't join the symphony
Like they used to do
Lifting up their discordant voices
In the morning dew

But I know that one day
And it may be far away or soon
When we can join the stars and the beasts
In a new and joyous tune

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Front Porch Reminder

Last night, the whole family was out in front of the house. We haven't been spending a whole lot of time out there as of late, since the heat has been just shy of oppressive. And since our monsoon season hit, it's been uncomfortably humid too.

But, last night, the cops were at the neighbors house, so we wanted to go out to watch. Right after we got out there, Our oldest daughter got back from a walk and the two of them sat on the red chairs and continued their conversation. Our oldest son was around too, so all six of us, plus Emily's friend, were out having a good old talk. 

Yes, it was interspersed with the quiet murmurs of the officers as they talked about what they were going to do and, after they left, two less than light ladies accusing one another, in so many words, of having a particularly plump posterior(which was, in both cases, true). But, in spite of some odd distractions, the time spent on the front porch with family and friends is really rather nice. Why not head out there yourselves?

I'm out there right now! Come join me.

Let's see if we can see what the neighbors are up to!

FYI....picture is of Diane and I at a Wedding (not ours) in 1999. Yes, we really did party like it was 1999, cause it was!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Frustrations and Rewards

On Thursday night, in a long overdue celebration of Abigail's birthday, we headed over to the Music Hall for an long anticipated evening at The Piano Guys concert. Well, it wasn't supposed to be as long anticipated for Abigail, but the surprise might have been diminished a little when I put on my Facebook page that I was going to the show.
When we arrived, the usher up front asked where we were seated. After telling her, she pointed us to the North side of the Hall, admittedly not knowing where our seats would be, but most definitely somewhere on that side. This should have warned me that things could get a little screwy.
Once there, we encountered another usher, who checked our tickets and said that he wasn't quite certain where our seats would be, but we would have to go around to the South side of the Hall to get to them. Things were beginning to seem a little odd.
On the South Side, the usher there let us know that the seats we had tickets for (and paid a few dollars more than we generally spend on anything) were for seats they no longer had available. At this point, I began to think that we might just miss this thing, since Ticketmaster had sold us non existent seats, or something, but she assured us that she would get another usher that would help us with our trouble.
The next usher that arrived said he check to make sure they could find us some other seats, even though the place was probably sold out. And now I was beginning to feel frustrated. But, we were all looking forward to the show, so we decided to press on, which happened to include a trip back to the North side of the Hall, where the original usher let us know that we had some wheelchair seats.
Did this mean we would be standing for the show, or that we would only get some folding chairs, or that we would have to go find wheelchairs for all of us? Fortunately not. Some other people already in this section shared our frustration by relaying how they too had no idea that his was a wheelchair section 'til they showed up. Fortunately, the usher was able to dig up some banquet chairs for us, and some people that we squeezed into this section with us that arrived shortly after we did.
Admittedly, I get frustrated easily at things like this. Especially when I already feel like I spent too much money anyways. But, I think I learned something that I think I will share with you. Let me see if I can make it sound sensible.
You see, we were there for something really cool that we were all looking forward to. And we did pay out a bunch, but it was because we were at something we really wanted to be at, a chance to see The Piano Guys live in concert. And to bring Abigail, who has been a fan of theirs for years.
In spite of our high expectations, we still ran head first into some frustrations. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, they were so minor, but aren't most of the frustrations we face, in the grand scheme of things?
 If we had chosen to storm out, or gotten testy with the staff or even let it leave a bad taste in our mouth, it would have changed our experience at the concert.
It did seem a little odd and I may have felt a twinge of guilt when we watched a lady nearly careening down the aisle, in a wheel chair, and when she had to shuffle awkwardly to her seat but instead of giving in to the emotion, we shook off the frustrations we had and really enjoyed the show.
Frustrations come much more than we think they should. The real test, I suppose, is not how well we can avoid them, but how well we can shake them off and enjoy the show.
In the mean time, if you aren't familiar with The Piano Guys, check out some of their videos here. They are most excellent:

Monday, August 1, 2016


i feel as if I have been depriving you of my insights and advice by not writing anything on here for you in such a long time. That being the case, I intend on ramping back up the activity. Shall we say three or four times per week? Too much?

I think not!

This, of course, corresponds with my intentions to start distance training again, work on other writing and get some other stuff going.

I'm going to have to start getting up earlier.

What good intentions do you have?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Not All the Mighty Are Warriors

Reposted, but not re-edited:

How the mighty have fallen
and the weapons of war have perished.
2 Samuel 1 

Not all the mighty are warriors
Sometimes the most powerful thing a person can do, the most powerful weapon they have, is to bring a smile to someone else's face.

Not all the great feats are things that are done in the heat of battle
Sometimes the things that last the longest happen on a summer night when a few friends help each other get through some tough times.

Not everything that makes an impact for eternity is something that we can see.
Sometimes the things that last the longest are the way we cheered someone else, or boosted someone's confidence or maybe the most glorious thing we do is the way we welcome someone into our home.

Not all the mighty are warriors
Sometimes the mightiest people, those that make the most difference,
 are our friends

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Independence (a work in progress)

(A work in Progress)

Raise your rifles
Rattle your Sabres
Roll out your rebel yell

Let all around you know
That the people in this land are free
And free they shall remain

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bitter or Better

Since it's nearly memorial day, I have been reading up on and considering the sacrifices that were made during our first war, the Revolutionary War. I also considered the disparate end of two of, who were considered at the time, our greatest generals.

You have heard of them both, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, and they were similar in many ways. Both men were fiercely patriotic at the beginning of the the war. Both were considered great leaders with fiercely loyal troops under them. Both were victorious in battle. Both were known for being volatile in their temperaments and prone to fits of rage and anger.

And yet, they had very different endings.

In battle, Arnold was considered one of the best tacticians we had. His leadership lead to several victories, including a major role in the battle of Saratoga. But, a series of disappointments in the people he had thought were on his side devastated him. Not small among them were a series of unethical actions by groups of "patriots", his being unfairly overlooked for a promotion he well deserved, his victory at Saratoga being accredited to another and a grievous injury that left him plenty of time to brood and blame.

Washington had major disappointments too. People he should have been able to rely on, including Arnold ultimately, abandoned him, betrayed him and plotted against him. Washington's deep emotions and ready anger nearly bested him on several occasions because of this.

But, while Benedict brooded, Washington understood that the cause was greater than his emotions and he learned and tried and worked and struggled to temper his temper. Perhaps he never overcame this propensity completely, but he learned that the bitterness that comes from replaying past hurts does not make you better.

Arnold, on the other hand, let his anger burn and turn into an ashy bitterness that led him to betray the cause he had loved. Now, when we think of a traitor, we think of him.

Have you learned to control your anger, or does it control you?

 Do you let it make you bitter, or do you let it make you better?

And for a couple of great works on the war:

The story of Washington and Arnold and the events that displayed their greatness and that led to their fates. On top of that, this guy is a really compelling writer.

I'm just starting this one, but its the largely untold telling of a largely forgotten unit that turned the tide time and again for Washington.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Prop. 123

When I was a recipient of a public education, our state, Nebraska, had well below national average expenditures per student. And yet, Nebraska maintained a graduation rate that was in the too ten for the nation, higher than average attendance (in spite of some nasty weather from time to time) and above average scores in other educational yardsticks of the time.

Current thought and practice regarding education is that one helpful solution would be to increase funding for what is known as an underfunded system. While The state I'm in now, Arizona, may be below other states in funding, I am not convinced that additional money will fix what may be a more complex systemic problem.

I do not fully grasp the details of proposition 123, which promises to increase educational funding with increased revenues from the State Land Trust sales fund using a combination of increased sales and an increase in the percentage of the fund that could be applied and used for education. But,  I do have some concerns about it.

For one, is it a good idea to deplete our trust funds at a higher rate? Is it sustainable, or just a way to put off finding a more lasting solution. Secondly, will tossing more money at education improve our real rates of learning, or is it merely a way to show that we care?

That all being said, since it's for the children, it will most likely pass.

And, here's a link about Nebraska education expenditures just after my learning heyday:

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Penstemons are a straight stalked plant that makes some very pretty flowers. The flowers come in a variety of colors (the ones we have range from a light pink to the deeper red pictured above) and are common in many regions.

When they aren't flowering, they can look (to the uninformed) a bit like a plant that may not belong in the yard. Some refer to such a plant as a weed.

This is what happened to me when I was asked to go out to weed the yard some time ago. All these green things were growing. Some belonged, some did not. Not knowing which was which, I gleefully tossed weeds about like the reaper felling his wheat or a Gatling gun mowing down rows of bloodthirsty savages.

That was when I learned what Penstemons were.

Sometimes we try to get rid of weeds, but we can, if we are not careful, get rid of the flowers too, in our attempt to clean up the yard.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Hail to the Artist!
The author, the poet, the painter and such
The musician, the sculptor,  the singer
that moves us so much.

Hail to you dreamers!
May your ilk never fade.
As you inspire with pen, brush and note
And remind us all with the lands that you've made;

That the place we are in,
With its troubles, it's pressures, it's rush and its din
Is not the only place we will ever be
And is not the only place we've been.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Emotions of Leadership

Here's something good to know, if you are in any sort of leadership role:

When leaders come into the room, they will always evoke one of only two emotions. They will either bring fear or they will bring joy.

While some leaders like having their troops and charges fear them, it doesn't hurt to remember that if people fear you they will hide things from you. Their ideas, observations, insights, facts and circumstances will not be shared freely with you.

So, which emotion comes with you and your leadership?

- The two emotions are adapted from an idea I heard from Perry Noble, to quote my source.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Hashtag Activism

You know what it is. We find something we are passionate about, or moved by or want to change. 

What can we do about it?

We can make sure the world knows how important it is to us. We can raise awareness. We can pop up a hashtag'ed statement on social media to let the world know that we are aware of the injustice and, dammit, we are gonna let someone else know about it too!

I recently heard that one of the founders of the "occupy" movement decried this type of hashtag activism as being one of the downfalls of the occupy movement. Many were wanting to make a change, so they did something about it. They tweeted, posted and voiced a quick blurb about how they were in the game. Since they felt like they'd made a difference, they went on with their lives, then wondered why the change they craved never came to fruition.

I am not a fan of the occupy movement, but I do wonder if I've ever fallen prey to thinking my hashtagivisim has at all changed the world. Have I tossed out a quick "I support you" post, and thought that would take the place of doing something real and making an impact in a meaningful way.

As for you occupiers make sure you hash tag it up. As far as I'm concerned, that's all we need out of you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Doomed for want of an egg!

Alarming! Shocking! Controversial!

If you haven't heard, an expert panel at the FDA has recently issued a new set of dietary guidelines reversing the adamantly held previous guidelines regarding the so called dangers of eating foods with fat, cholesterol and other foods that, for years, the government has told us were bad for our health.

 For those of you that have always trusted the government and made sure your omelettes were egg white omelettes or tried to lose weight by eating a "healthy" high grain diet, this might be a big surprise.

 For those that have looked at the research, this is not really anything new.

Others will continue to throw up their hands in the face of this information and not what to do with it, other than to say, "Well, something is going to kill you, so why worry about what you eat?".

These are, perhaps, the same people that don't use car seat because, "These kids are gonna die one day anyway. May as well be from being ejected through the windshield in a minor traffic accident." 

Or they might say, "Well, I'm gonna die from something. so why bother disconnecting the electricity before I install my ceiling fan?".

Maybe they really don't care, or maybe they don't really think what they eat will kill them.

Reality is that diet strongly effects health and many have died from an improper diet. We can eat better and be better stewards of the body we have been given and maybe decrease the chances that our death will be because of how we treat ourselves.

I suppose we can start by looking at the new dietary guidelines, even if they are somewhat behind the times: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reefer Madness

Our lovely house in the Sacramento area, where we bought our last refrigerator.

Finding ourselves in need of a little more cooling and freezing space, we recently replaced our 17 year old refrigerator. In the midst of our looking and switching out and all that, Diane reminded me of this:

A few years ago (it was nearly 6 years ago now) a call came in to the local emergency services/911 dispatch. What was the big emergency? A refrigerator was left in an abandoned lot. Not only that, but the doors were still on it! With nothing to keep them closed.

When this was made known to my coworkers, many of them had no idea why this would be a problem. Apparently, this is only something we old timers know about.

Have you ever been warned of the dangers of a refrigerator in an abandoned lot?

In other news, we do have a fully functional Maytag for sale. Cheap.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Two we went to last week

We don't ordinarily go out to the movies, certainly not first run ones that set us back a good $30 or so. But the Brother and Sister in Law were in town and I really wanted to see 13 Hours, and God's Not Dead was a preview type screening. So, here are some thoughts on the two:

I know the critical reviews of this are mixed, some mainstream critics love it and some are less than impressed. I thought it was great. Although it was frustrating and made you want to lace blame on someone for the mistakes that were made, it was a great picture of how you can be frustrated and wanting to know who is to blame, but only after you face what's in front of you with what you got and do the best you can.

The real people portrayed in this film felt that it put you back "there", in the action. Being a veteran, a shooter and having a little bit of tactical training, I can say that this film seemed to be as close to "real" as you can get. 

And, it showed a group of guys that weren't required to dive into what they did, but they did it anyway. I was gonna say that they did not "have to" do what they did, but I don't think, in that situation, these guys could have not done what they did. These are guys that could not sit idly by when they knew they could help. And that is inspirational.

So, this is a movie that is realistic, frustrating and inspirational. I think I will see it again soon.

Here is the link to one of the men who was grievously injured and started a non profit to aid contractors like them that are injured or lose their lives while serving for us in places like this:

This movie, is, of course, completely different than the last. It is the sequal to the surprise success, "God's Not Dead".

Like that movie, it pits angry non-Christians (this one includes so called Free Thinkers, Atheists, and the ACLU) against a believer that has the audacity to share scripture. Unlike the last one, this one does not do so in an effort to share personal beliefs, rather as an answer to a student asking to compare Jesus to Ghandi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King JR.

I won't give away the plot details, but it also includes the idea of Pastor's being subpoenaed by the local municipality to provide sermon transcripts to ensure "hate speech" is not included in what they teach, a teacher hauled off to court for answering the question in the paragraph above and a fun group of recognizable characters.

Among the luminaries in this feature: Pat Boone, Fred Thompson in his final role, The Newsboys, Robin Givens, The guy that you are not sure where you know him from until you realize he was one of The Ghostbusters, Lee Strobel and others you might know.

While this is highly dramatized and not based on any true stories, the movie provides at the end a list of cases that are similar to the details in this movie. And, in spite of the ridiculous idea of sermons being monitored and policed by the government (we are allowed Free Speech, which includes hate speech, right?), municipalities have recently been in the news for this very thing and recent polls have shown that increasing numbers of people are good with free speech being limited if it offends people (here). So the idea of Christians being singled out, ridiculed and silenced is not all that far fetched. Nor should it be a new idea for Christians.

So, I enjoyed both movies. One is already in theaters. Go see it today. The other comes out right after Easter. Invite me to go see it with you.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Tomes I've been taking in

In case any of these topics might pique your interest, here's a few I've been perusing lately (Well, since November):

This includes some vivid battle descriptions and the a look at the aftermath of these recent battles. Interesting and provocative.

While I certainly don't agree with much of what she is saying (i.e. violence and crime by certain ethnic groups was, to an extent, created by police efforts to "re-define"what is criminal and repressive practices), it is good to hear some alternative voices.

A fun collection of illustrated stories from the 40's and 50's, with mind bending (but usually predictable) twists. How can you not grab this up and look when you see this book?

I'm already biased against what the military considers "healthy" food choices. This did not help at all. But, it is an eye opening look at how military practices have influenced out diets.

This war, known by some as the first world war, helped define our practices in dealing with natives and certainly informed the revolutionary war and "decided the fate..." of North America. It also had some anecdotes that I've never heard before.

And I'm more into military history than what is probably healthy, so I had to pick it up.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Drive In Theater

We recently saw the new Star Wars on the big screen at the Drive In Theater in Glendale. I think I am beginning to understand why they have been avoided enough to lead to most of them closing. Here are a few challenges:

- Chain smokers parking next to you. We had to move twice.
- Throughout the movie, people were flicking their lights on and of and driving around. Really?
- Someone idling their Diesel engine the last ten minutes. Sigh.
- A Domestic disturbance right next to us. It was one of the chain smokers, so we were happy to leave them.

But, I still enjoy the drive in. Where else can you tailgate with your crew for a movie? Where else can you chit chat with the neighbors a bit before the show? Where else can you pile on the blankets and pillows and enjoy Star Wars?

I guess if you focus on the positive, and hope your neighbors have a little common courtesy (which seems to sadly be less common), you can still enjoy.