Saturday, December 27, 2008

Is this Puppy Torture?

Who would guess a reading light with a laser pointer would be the high point of Christmas presents? Thunder, the dimwitted dog, is convinced the laser point is something to be chased. Beam it on the rug and he pounces and scrambles after it all over the place. Cast it on the wall and he climbs it searching for a photon snack.

He has yet to lose interest before the person with the laser does and when the light goes off, he's sniffing around to find it for a long time after.

Grizzly sees it but has no interest. Thunder, meanwhile, believes he has a new friend.

Is this puppy torture, and if so, do you want to come watch?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tiny Tim Said it All

God Bless us, everyone!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I suppose it's better odds than the lottery...

Spoke with a client the other day who explained a company he's working with is developing a "paint on display system."

Rather than pigment in the paint, there are bazillions of quantum dots. The paint is whitish-grey in the can, and goes on the same... until you beam or plug an I/O lead into it and command a color or a high-resolution pattern. Paint a wall and make it anything you want - wood, sponge paint, metal, or a TV or computer screen of any size any resolution you desire. Your TV show could be displayed in better definition than you have now, and it could follow you through your house so you don't miss anything. Plug a computer into wirelessly or otherwise, and size your data and have as many windows open as you want. Best of all, the Q-dots are cheaper than pigment.

My dad wants to hear about such things for investment purposes. Such a cool product will make people billionaires. The only drawback is that there are dozens of companies racing to the finish line. The first one there wins the bananas; everyone else is hosed. Invest in the wrong one and you're in trouble. Maybe it's a good thing I have nothing to invest...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Brakes of God

One of the cool things about my job is I get to talk to people developing the next wave of world changing tech. That is not what this post is about. Rather, it is a look at a subject I have opined before. Throughout history, God has remade the world. The great flood, the burning of the library of Alexandria, the rise and fall of various world powers (Rome, Ancient China, etc.).

I have it on reliable report that we have suffered two waves that have slammed the brakes on the next quantum leaps in progress. I can think of several "promises" of tech described by the bigbox manufactures; in other words, huge capital-intensive plans to leap forward. These modern leaps begin when giant corporations start collaborating. We were on the verge of sweeping change that slammed to a halt when 9/11 struck. Joint partnerships simply fell apart. The world stage was suddenly too unstable to take the jump, so they pulled back. Those partnerships began to form again (with some amazing stuff!) and they have fallen apart again because of the economic downturn (Kennedy's fear of fear itself... the "downturn" is being fed by the perception of economic trouble, not the fact of it, itself. Again, the press is revealing itself to be a power of suppression instead of enlightenment it should be). The executives I speak with agree that the recovery will take ten years and if nothing major happens, 2015 to 2020 will remake the world even further.

God is doing this deliberately. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

(Maybe I'll talk about the irony of Muslim extremists trying to halt progress in the next post).

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Letters from the Waiting Room is now available in paperback on Amazon... (Click: )

Hard covers are coming next week! Whoohoo!

Place your large quantities of orders TODAY! :)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Clueless or Shrewd?

I was aghast when Obama picked Hillary for Sec of State. Could he really be that... unintelligent? She has eyes on the nomination in four years, I'm sure. As SoS, anything that goes right is to her credit, anything that goes wrong is his fault. Obama is assuring himself of four years of strife... unless...

...he fires her for incompetence a year or two in. That kind of black mark on her record could shatter her hopes for the presidency. Is he that shrewd?

Presuming her India ties don't disqualify her (or her gender, considering the Arabs didn't much care for Rice, why should they like a blondish woman any more?), we'll find out in the next year or so...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day of Awe

T-Day (or in this case the night before) is easy to transform into "Awe Day" (for adults more so than kids, probably).

I put the kids to bed last night and was walking through the house, saw moonlight bouncing off the pool, and the wood floor gleaming through the house I had renovated with the help of some good friends and my first thought is "how did I end up here?" "Is this really my life?"

In less than a second my brain, practically on it's own, flashed through time picking out my various dreams and goals for life while growing up. None of them foresaw what I now have. I suppose for some that would be a sad thing, but in that heartbeat I saw all those things I'd wanted were shallow, vague, and of very little value. Oh, sure, I hang on to a few of them still that I think are important, but mostly I'm bewildered by what I thought would bring meaning to my life. None of the things I prize now were predicted.

I never dreamed of living in Florida, or having friends so ingrained in my heart. I never pictured marrying someone like Lynette, or fathering three amazing children. The jobs I've held and things I've done that give me such satisfaction aren't those I picked out in college. No one would have ever guessed I'd be involved in a church of any kind, let alone a doctrinally correct, disciplined house of faith.

Honestly, I dreamed of bigger things, more money, wider renown... largely because I didn't know the quiet, often busy, and fully rich life I've been given could so fill me.

I desire accomplishment and impact on society, but when I make my daughter laugh or see my son banging away at his novel (almost 40,000 words and growing), I realize my desire has come true in far more meaningful ways than I could ever conceive on my own.

Thank you, God, for saying, "not that... THIS." You know better and You prove it every day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hey, It's Not All Bad...

Pres-Elect Obama did a smackdown on the homeboys, telling them to pull up their pants and cover their drawers. Grandma doesn't want to see that and neither does he.

No idea how the homeboys are taking it, but I'm sure its a lot better than if McCain said it....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Like Father Like Dog

Brian came over for a visit Friday when the kids and Lynette were out. The dogs barked, Grizzly finally went to another room, but Thunder, a coward to the bone, couldn't leave, couldn't get comfortable, and then climbed into my lap and started chewing his claws.

I've never known a dog to chew his nails...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Such a Time as This

When we were in Montana a couple months ago, we met an incredible family with two kids who have become good e-mail pals with Ben and Charli.

We just spoke with them yesterday. The son, Collin, has been diagnosed with cancer. Was it a fluke that we met these people, or was God mobilizing a praying force across the nation for just this time? I choose the latter. Please pray for Collin and his family. He's going to Portland Oregon for treatment. He has a wonderful attitude but the family is realing, of course.


Thank you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Oh, the Political Dillema

Just by the way they run their campaigns proves neither McCain nor Obama should be president. Every adult, non-felonious American (and even the felons if ACORN has its way) has a bright, shiny vote like a new penny to cast in the American gumball machine, but between the penny and the available gumballs, it's tempting to hold onto the penny.

McCain, who has had his eyes set on the presidency longer than Obama has been an adult should be acing this campaign. Instead, he runs it like he just got the idea yesterday. He makes poor decisions, squanders his resources, and the political manipulation of picking Sarah Palin was not followed by the strong information campaign necessary to make her a viable choice.

He should be letting the media (even if it's only FOX) run with the Ayers and ACORN connection, and never should have allowed the media to carry the info campaign for Palin.

She's been painted as a laughing stock because her credentials for defense and international policy are focused on her proximity to Russia, but who's pointing out that she's got a higher security clearance than either Obama or Biden? Or that she's briefed on all terrorist and military ops because she's commander in chief of the 39th missile battery, the only full-time reserve company in America because it's the first line of missile defense for America? She's the only one running with any executive experience and has full knowledge of homeland security (she has the same access as Ted Kennedy, who has the highest beneath Bush and Cheney).

Obama, meanwhile, who has less experience than ANY of the 4 candidates, is running a campaign solely on the ignorance of the American people.

He talks about McCain as being the standard-bearer for the Bush economy when all the problems of our economy have been the Democrats policies, starting with Clinton's push for sub-prime loans and the Democrat's refusal to confront Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae when the Republicans sounded the warning bell. As for the greedy executives of FMs who pushed it until they broke it, Obama is using the chief greed-head as his economic advisor.

We haven't seen Bush's economic plan yet because 9/11 prevented it in his first term and the Democrat majority in the legislative branch (including Obama) blocked it at every turn in the last four years. McCain won't carry on the legacy, Obama will, but he finds lies work just fine with the ignorant voters.

So, who do we vote for?

The guy who should have a slam dunk but is blowing it, strongly suggesting he'd be just as ineffectual as the president (funny thing is, all the things I don't like about McCain's plans would be blocked by the Congress anyway, so it's not like he'd be dangerous in office)?

The guy who is dishonest, has no experience, thinks little of the average American (when will Democrats realize that we don't have a Monarchy in the US and that the serfs don't need a king to make it through)?

At one time I thought Obama would be the ineffectual one in office. I no longer do. He's dangerous on so many levels its frightening. We think Bush destabilized Europe? Wait until this guy's arrogance and naivete gets into the mix. No to Obama.

I promised myself I wouldn't devolve into the lesser of two really-bad-choices this year. I said I'd vote only for a good candidate even if I had to write him in. This is me devolving. McCain is a bad choice but he's safer than Obama. I'll drop my penny on McCain and feel cheated at the polls.

When will we select a good choice for a leader? Or is it even possible? God can raise even the worse man to the occasion, so I'll rest in that. My penny is looking very tarnished....

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Missed Opportunity... Or Was It?

Driving home from work a one-legged man was limping in the meridian. No sign, but his hat was in his hand. He was wearing shorts so his prosthetic limb was in evidence. I didn't feel like getting my wallet out of my back pocket (an ordeal when you've got your seatbelt on).

By the time I changed my mind, the light turned green and it was too late. I mentally kicked myself, which made me feel more guilty because he only had one leg and couldn't... nevermind, that's a dumb rabbit trail...

So, he's got a drinker's nose and bloodshot eyes. That and his indigent ways suggest he could possibly be an alcoholic. Do you give alms to someone likely to drink it away? Or do you give money to organizations that will look after people in need?

Your thoughts?

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Problem of Pain

Bad things happen. People we love suffer, we experience difficulty and trial, wars rage on...

Why? If God loves us, why does awful stuff happen? In the light of our little time frame it seems horrible. But that doesn't make it so, Skipper. Follow me for a moment...

God gives each of us what we want - Either eternal life with Him or eternal life without Him. (You'll often hear - "I don't want anything to do with a God who would send people to Hell" but really, that's what they're asking for, isn't it? Nothing to do with God, and so he grants it).

The stakes are pretty high. Heaven or Hell? The entry ticket to Heaven is simply acknowledging our need for Him and accepting His provision in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is being ultimately fair to let us know of our need. He's told us in the Bible, but being a merciful God of great blessing, there is a problem.

In our plenty, with all our resources, it's difficult to really KNOW we need God. We need Him physically, emotionally, and spiritually, yet in our society all of that seems taken care of.

The solution is reduction. God reveals our need for Him throughout our life by stripping away our earthly provision and leaving us only our exposed need for Him. In that moment, we can turn to Him in humility or rage against him in pride. Pain and suffering point us to Heaven.

A further thought and a corollary of sorts: Those people who point at others in tragedy and disaster do so from a lack of perspective. God's provision is individual as well as corporate. The Indonesian with so much life and possession swept away by typhoons and waves receives personal provision in little ways that we can't see from our viewpoint. The Indonesian can if he looks with humility. A thousand kindnesses individualized for each of us. We'll point at the tragedy-stricken and say "Hey!" but do we ask them where they see God?

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Prodigal Country?

The prodigal son is a parable about a boy who wanted his inheritance NOW rather than waiting until Dad passed away. He lived high on the hog and then low on the hogs, wallowing with the porcine creatures doing worse than Dad's hired hands. Realizing the error of his ways, the boy returns to his father who receives him joyfully.

Easy to apply this to an individual, but does it also describe America? Amassing our wealth NOW and not waiting until the riches of heaven, are we dining with pigs? Our national morals have dragged into the mud, we appear to be on the edge of a bleak tomorrow... are we the prodigal nation? Can we, as a country, bring ourselves to see the truth and turn back to God? We know from His Word that He would accept us. What effect would this have? Would God's celebration be one of a return to physical prosperity or would it be of spiritual riches, which could be enjoyed in poverty or wealth (maybe not as easily in wealth...)

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Not a Republican, but...

A coworker had a political cartoon on her cube wall that pointed out that Fiscal Conservatives Reagan, Bush, and Bush all presided over budget overruns while Clinton was underbudget (it of course left out Carter who was also over budget).

The secret to Clinton's budget win was the fact that he gutted the military and intelligence agencies, and then when multiple terrorist attacks (the Cole, that New York flight that was shot down by SAMs and was then covered up) came, he did nothing except hand wave and run cover ups.

Bush 2's overruns began when he had to rebuild the military, and the anemic CIA couldn't keep up with their job, making 9/11 possible, which really broke the bank.

In each case, world events dictated presidential action that exceeded budget plans. Except Clinton, who ignored them.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fireproof - The Sum is Greater than the Parts

(With thanks to Mrs. S.)

SPOILER WARNING - Don't read further if you don't want to know much about the movie before seeing it.

Sherwood Productions is doing a very good job of re-defining Christian movies to full blown evangelical, didactic films. Strong messages, clear and compelling presentation of the Gospel, with flashes of brilliance.

I very much enjoyed the movie, with the understanding that the elements would be weaker than an A or even a B movie. I'll forgive a lot just because the effort is undertaken by talented beginners with magnificent hearts.

That being said...

I don't like Kurt Cameron as an actor. I never believe him because he doesn't have continuity of emotion, jumping like a jackrabbit from one emotional state to another without sufficient motivation. I expected his performance to be as bad as it was in the Left Behind *ahem* films. And at first I thought I was right, but as the film progressed it was clear the problems of the first act were the director's more than Cameron's. He gave probably the best performance of his life, which isn't saying much. The old Cameron peeked out several times, but overall he did okay.

The Kendrick brothers are improving, but they have a long way to go. The direction was often brilliant in moments, but between on-the-nose direction and a straight-line script, the comprehensive showing was great for a C (for Christian) movie, but not for an A movie (which they are not, so it's perhaps an unfair comment). A multi-layered plot would have been helpful, I think the script has structural flaws (underdeveloped B plot, absent C plot, and a pathological need to tie every bow with a double-knot).

Erin Bethea did a great job, overcoming the direction, as did the Lieutenant for the most part. The script has some wonderful moments, great messages, and deep insights. These guys are talented at the scene level, not so hot on the sequence or beat level. Steadily improving, though.

The ending was a low-stake affair with no ticking clock. The rom-com station moment was really nice, but it hadn't been foreshadowed so it came off a little cheesy. The final reveal was over the top and over expressed.

Nonetheless, there is a lot more to love than dislike. Great concept, great story, great moments, great message. Definitely worth seeing. We had people sobbing at the showing we saw, not just tears but wracking sobs, which speaks to the need this movie fulfills. Further, where most movies have to earn your loyalty, this one gets it going in... you're so on their side you'll forgive anything; a magnificent achievement. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Panicked Republican Spam

I've been bounced several spam-mails about the rumor that after the VP debate, Biden will drop out of the race and be replaced by Hillary. The spam calls this "shameless manipulation!"

I think it's just more of the same from both sides of the ticket. Palin, no matter what you think of her, was a blatant move to secure the Mid-West states. No one seems to care if people are qualified; the only way McCain won the nomination was because people voted by who could win, not who would should win.

Nor was it coincidence that McCain didn't announce Palin until after Nobama announced Biden. Character or not, Palin isn't qualified to be VP (just as Obama isn't qualified to be president); she was chosen as a tasty conservative woman to court the vote that McCain couldn't, not because she can run the country (having said that, I think Palin's got the right people-first take on things; she just needs more seasoning before going national). Her selection was made to catch Osama flat-footed, and BOY did it work. Even Biden said that in light of this, Hillary should have been the VP nominee.

What I don't understand about this rumor is why wait until after the debate -- Biden has to worry about being too tough and hitting just the right note, while Hillary could just bash away at Palin like a hockey player on steroids.

This whole election has been shameless manipulation.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Amendment to Get Behind

I admit to struggling with any Marriage Amendment. Amendments are to protect rights not abridge them. Which is why I am fully behind the Colorado Equal Rights Personhood Amendment that protects the rights of the unborn.

Now, I just wrote a long post on my problems with illegalizing abortion, which makes my support of the CERPA seem hypocritical, but it's not. A law is directed at the mother; the amendment is directed at, and protects the rights of, the baby. A law allows us to pass it and dust our hands free. An amendment forces us to continue to protect the baby after it's born; it becomes incumbent on the people to fortify the post-birth infrastructure (my biggest complaint with the Pro-Life movement).

My difficulty has always been with the legal response to abortion never the right. The right to life is expressly proscribed by the Constitution and it's been ignored by the masses. I don't want to force women not to abort, I want to call them to uphold the liberty of our birthright (and perhaps that should be fertilization-right).

A hundred and fifty years ago, black people were not considered "human" and that horror was corrected. It is the EXACT SAME horror that allows people to believe a child is not human. Constitutional amendments are a source of culture change, which we desperately need. We need the day when a law isn't even necessary.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am an inveterate fingernail chewer. However, you have to hold your jaw in a certain way that I can't until the incisions in my wisdom... gums, I guess... heal. I now have finger nails and they're driving me crazy. I miss the physical habit, and I don't like having nails that project off my fingertips. It's like a constant awareness at the edge of consciousness.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I'm not seeing the appeal of drugs

I had three teeth cut out Friday. It was the first time I'd ever been knocked out for surgery (took awhile since my veins kept collapsing). Once they got the feed working, I got groggy fast and thought I wasn't going under, but apparently I had because the surgery was finished. I spent the rest of the day in bed under the influence of Vicoden and SuperIbuprofen. And all of Saturday. I didn't have much pain just lots of nausea (threw up three times Friday night). In fact, whenever I took Vicoden it felt like I had the flu. Why people like this stuff, I have no idea. It makes my brain feel like it comes unmoored and is just floating around in my head, which, come to think of it is what all drugs seem to do to me.

We watch House on DVD, in which the main character is addicted to Vicoden - presumably to get rid of the pain in his leg. My college roommate was a pothead. I just don't get the appeal. A guy at work offered to buy any Vicoden I had left for 2o bucks....

I think most of the anesthesia has flushed through my system. I'm still using the Ibuprofen, and this is the best writing I can do at the moment. Down with drugs. Just say no. Or even "what for?"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tell us your SQUIRREL Stories!

I have two; one from a loooong time ago and one from last Saturday.

It's the afternoon and Grizzly, our white haired chi, goes insane. He's barking so fast and so furiously that we're afraid his heart would explode... it seems a squirrel is trapped within our pool enclosure. It took awhile to find him but all we had to do was look up. In his panic, Mr. Furry Tail had shot up the screen and climbed up under the the porch roof. Once he stopped, he was in trouble. His little claws hooked through the mesh, he is too afraid to move. Suspended perilously 16 feet in the air, he doesn't move for ten minutes.

Finally, determining it would be harder to get his skeleton down, I resolve to help him. I put the leaf basket on the pool hook and reach up to scoop the hapless creature. No soap, he skitters away. Without the speed to clear the beams, Mr. Furry Tail plummets to the earth...

...fortunately straight into the pool. A perfect two point landing from the 16 foot high dive. Before I can even lower the pole, the demoralized rodent scrambles out of the deep end, his tail no longer fluffy, and scampers out the torn panel and up the tree. It was a near thing; he entered the pool six inches from the edge.

Second story. I'm a teenager on my parents back porch and Bear, our dimwitted hound, is chasing a squirrel in a ragged path across the yard. At top speed the squirrel is running around the yard table trying to keep away from the dog, however, the squirrel was faster than Bear and all of a sudden, the squirrel is chasing the hound who scampers across the yard with the squirrel in hot pursuit. Wonder what he would have done if he'd caught him...

I think the dog was embarrassed, as well he should be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I'm curious... if abortion was made illegal, what would that mean?

What do you do with mothers who abort?
Assisting Nurses?

Are we under the impression that making it illegal would be the end of the fight or the beginning of a harder one?

Can one be pro-life and not be shouting to make it illegal? I have no problem with overturning the bad law of Roe Vs. Wade (which wouldn't instantly criminalize it; it would be up to each state to pass legislation prohibiting it).

The pro-life argument will never be won in court; it's people like Allura who are truly fighting the abortionists, one soul at a time. Legislation might make it even harder to save the lives of babies.

Or am I missing it? Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm still wondering...

How did we end up with McCain?

Persistence is everything, I guess. That guy's been running for President since I was a kid, every time, he throws his hat in the ring and people wisely throw it back out. Only this time he won.

The conspiracy theorist in me is shouting we now have proof the whole thing is rigged. We had better candidates... well, we had one.

Let's talk about Huckabee for a moment. He was caught in a catch 22; harping on the Fair Tax (a wonderful thing) was the only way to get noticed, and it's probably what lost him the nomination (which truthfully, he never had a shot at anyway).

Unless it's rigged, McCain has no way to win. I have yet to hear anyone who likes him other than on talk radio. I've seen thousands of Obama stickers and signs and none for McCain. He's going to play horribly in the debates (now, personally, I think Obama is an awful speaker and he's funny looking, but I seem to be in the minority here). Obama will show up and look young and energetic; McCain will show up looking stuffy and old. Obama will play with McCain like a cat plays with a mouse.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Huckabee was un-nominateable, but he could have won the election. He could have matched Obama in the celebrity factor because Huck's funny and likable. He has fresh ideas, and while being conservative, he's not Bush-like. The debates would have been something to watch. They'll still be something to watch, but in the train-wreck kind of way.

The Republican party has been running on fumes since Reagan left the White House. It's now coasting uphill. As far as I can tell, the Democrats have never had fuel, but they're good at pushing the car and it's all downhill this election.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bozeman or Bust

It's beautiful out there. Why Bozeman is so different in spirit and feel is difficult to put into words. God wrote grandly in the Montana landscape. The church (amazing pastor, and we sang a worship song Vicki wrote - okay it was like 12 years ago and that was the most contemporary song they sang, but, get this, their worship pastor wasn't there because he was attending the Sovereign Grace Worship Conference). The ministry Eagle Mount was a block away, as was the University. Surrounded by mountains, Bozeman is nestled in a wide valley where the mountains scrape the rain bearing moisture from the clouds, so rain is uncommon. Wonderful people (all 35,000 of them). :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A collection of firsts

Well, the flight went well and the kids were wonderful. Our final decent was marked by a rapid dive the sent our stomach into our chests, lasting much longer than normal. Oh, and while in Atlanta we saw unending reports of the female Muslim suicide bombers, then boarding the plane my seatmate was covered by a blanket for 5.5 hours, and when she finally emerged, she was a middle-eastern woman - probably not Muslim, though (no burka or bomb bag).

Traffic was amazingly light for Seattle.

Good to see Dad and his dog. I was in the garage with him, moments after getting there, and Charli comes out and said she had pushed Ben, and his head hit the table and he was bleeding. I'm thinking a little scrape so I was in no hurry to go in. When I do, Ben is leaning over the kitchen sink, his hand is scarlet with blood and he's breathing heavily. I look at the back of his skull and it looks like a baby's open mouth. It wasn't gushing blood, but it stained a wet paper towel quickly.

So, 15 minutes after reaching our destination we were in the emergency room. To Ben's credit, he was hurting, breathing hard, and praying without ceasing on the ride there. At reception he puts his head on the counter and the receptionist starts hauling out forms. "He probably needs a bucket or something, pretty quick, I'm guessing," I say. "Just a few forms..."

Then Ben threw up. A lot.

We got some quick attention after that. Twenty minutes later he was getting 6 staples to seal the wound. He was great through the whole thing. This is not the kid who feints at the sight of cartoon blood. That and I'm sure he knew he could milk this against Charli for months to come.

Going good so far, but already the lack of time to see the people I want/need to see is rearing it's head. We'll see how it goes...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Contemplation via Hair Cutting

My barber didn't speak much English, which was a blessing because I didn't have to hold up a conversation I didn't want to have.

So I just sat there. And in the sitting, realized several things.

1. I realized I could never be a barber because I don't like to touch people. Not pathologically so, you understand. I don't consider it a hardship or disgusting or anything, I just prefer not to touch others, with the natural exception of my wife and children. I don't mind being touched, in fact, I enjoy a good haircut, but my outward personal space is tighter than my inward personal space.

2. I realized I am not unique. I don't generally look at myself in a mirror, but there's not much else to do during a haircut. I see my brother peeking back at me, bits of my mother, a lot of my dad, some of both granddads. Even my mannerisms echo family members. I don't think I have a single original piece on me. I suppose that's true of the people I look like, too. Probably if we could do a reverse time/person lapse photography thing, we'd discover that every single human being alive today would see themselves in Adam and Eve. How's that for weird?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dark Knight well named

Very dark; very, very dark.

Really good, excellent script, direction, acting (didn't like the new Rachel and she really wasn't pretty like others were saying, but what can you do). Minimal gore, no bad language, but the philosophy and bad guys make it very adult anyway. If you don't like dark, you won't like this. If you can see past dark to incredible storytelling it's really good.

Amazing work.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interesting conspiracy theory

I have a co-worker who pointed out something I hadn't considered before. Why is TV going digital mandatory? Why can't company's broadcast in analog if they wanted to? Why should the government make this demand?

Her take is that by going digital, the government can track what we're doing/watching/etc.

Sounds paranoid. I like it....

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Spielberg gets it; Fans don't

A little theater history here: 3 is the magic number (in point of fact, it's a universal truth). 3 act structure reins and so does stories told in trilogy. Spielberg understands that very well. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull IS NOT PART OF THE TRILOGY. That's done and over with two hits and a miss (1: hit; 2: miss; 3: homerun).


IJ&tCS isn't the beginning of a new trilogy, nor is it a stand alone. It is a bridge. Because it is a bridge, it tips the fedora to the first three and sets up the future. You've been given a peak at the new direction of the IJ franchise and it is a clever one.

Indiana Jones is about history; about ancient legends.
Mutt Jones will be about the bizarre; about urban legends. Hence the aliens (and not just space aliens, but interdimensional ones).

Indy is a relic that belongs to the 40s and 50s. He, nor any archaeologist, is going to work in the 60's.

Indy is loosely based on Alan Quartermain, of King Solomon's Mine fame. He is meant to be a hold over of the previous generation. The purple haze of the hippie generation is too far beyond that era, so this movie sets up the next movies as a precursor of the X-Files type stuff.

I really enjoyed the movie. Yes, some big plot holes, yes, a bit over the top (as is common for Indy movies). Rather than annoyed by the thought of Indy as an OSS agent, they gave him a Casablanca riff (Rick is cut from the same cloth, but he does his bit for flag and country) and it worked for me (interesting possibilities for books, I'd think). A nice melding of ancient legend and urban legend. I would have liked Mutt to "get" stuff that Indy didn't, but we can't have everything.

Even Mutt's name is a wink to expect a melding of ideas. Not sure why the whip wasn't used much, maybe Ford can't handle it anymore.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Slow down, you're movin' too fast... you got to make the moment last, now..

The title is a reference to an old song for you pipsqueaks with no music training...

When we accept something basic as true, anything that challenges that truth is rejected.

That is the state of science on both the secular and intelligent design groups. Rather than shifting their mountains of claims to examine the truth of their foundational precepts, they'll ridicule or dismiss anything that challenges precepts. That's the essence of Ben Stein's new movie No Intelligence Allowed (or something like that). The secular science of our time is so strong that anything attacking foundational concepts is immediately rejected.

Enter Barry Setterfield. His ideas are so damaging to both sides of the evolutionary debate, it's laughable. Some creationists seize on his work just because it supports their beliefs (but without really examining it). Other creationists realize that it also attacks their precept that radiometric dating is wrong... and if that's true, they have a lot to apologize for. Evolutionists laugh at it, because if his theory is true then evolution is impossible.

Barry's theory is that the speed of light is slowing down exponentially. I'm not a math guy, so I have no true way to understand his position, but I'm intrigued by it. It ties up a lot of little knots that no one else has explained.

Do I think he's right? Dunno, but he could be. If he were right, it turns a whole lot on it's ear.

Check his theories for yourself:

Have fun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Booger Bites the Big One

George Carlin has passed away. Ye, though his mouth was so trashy his ear should be a flush handle, I will miss the kindly philosopher. George's commentary on the absurdity of life was often spot on and always hilarious. And with his journey into night, a thousand media workers whose job it was to hit the BLEEP button are sure to be laid off. Not to mention a lot of pushers will be poorer...

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

Aptly named. Also known as Hulk: The Apology, they got everything right in this that they got wrong in the first one (which is everything). Very innovate, they told the origin in flash cuts in the first few minutes of the film. Edward Norton was great as Banner, and Liv Tyler, whom I don't care for, was pretty good (but nothing will make that girl pretty). It says something that the Banner parts were just as good or better than the Hulk parts.

I've heard people complain that Spider-Man was way too obviously CGI; those people will hate this movie, too. You simply can't get away from that yet, and Hulk is cartoony, but intriguingly so, nonetheless.

Marvel has figured out the formula to making their comic books work, finally. Stick to the successful comic book incarnations (and in this case, the tv series). Rather than be embarrassed by the comic background (which they shouldn't be; many of today's writers are the best in any medium) they portray it well, patching together different incarnations seamlessly (no gray Hulk, unfortunately, but it wouldn't have worked here anyway). Plenty of nods for the comic book nerds (there are a lot in this movie, and I'm not sure it's a good thing that I caught all of them).

One scene kids don't need to see (interrupted because Bruce can't get too excited). The images are too intense for my protected kids; children who see this stuff won't be phased (I saw a 5 year old after the movie that loved it; my kids would be completely freaked at twice her age).

Lynette would hate it. I really liked it, but Iron Man is better. Oh, you don't have to stay through all the credits. No easter egg.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's not for kids, Juno

Juno was a quirky movie that I probably would have enjoyed more if my conscience wasn't watching it with me (AKA, my wife).

It isn't for kids, even though it makes some really great points (a co-worker called it a family film, but between subject matter, language, attitudes, and images, I wouldn't recommend it to pre-adults, and not all post-adults, either).

Well acted, quirky direction, weird music, and charming-if-profane people.

Sorry, Josiah.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pet Irresponsibility Class

To avoid a 100 dollar fine, I enrolled for a Pet Responsibility Class with Orange County. 3 Hours long.

What a complete and utter waste of time. I'd initially thought, hmmm, maybe there are things I should know about like rabies shots, vaccinations, care and maybe training.

No, it was a film decrying our horrible society and it's hatred for animals. It condemned dog breeders and people who won't spay their pets. It discussed the stray problem and gleefully showed us animals being put down.

Then there was the PowerPoint show about animal bites in gory detail. It detailed extreme irresponsibility but didn't say a word about responsibility.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

27 Dresses

I was told by everyone that this was a great movie. And I suppose it was; good direction, good acting...

Maybe it's the prophet in me (the downside, not the upside) but liars get what they deserve. I don't like stories where all the problems are brought on by lieing (unless they're whoppers - a pathological liar is funny in a movie; their compulsion causes the problems despite themselves). In this, she's just a liar and at any time the problem can be solved by telling the truth; she isn't compelled to lie. Further, it's another movie where all the women besides the heroine is skanky.

Not as good as I was lead to believe. Juno is up next whenever I have time to watch it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dogs, pools, and work

Life is amazingly busy. I'm sitting on my pool deck about to get to some piling up work even though it's a saturday. Fortunately the pool is clean, the weather warm-and-not-too-hot, and my new puppy is lounging in the heat with me.

Of course, he's on the other side of the puppy fence that keeps him from going for an unplanned swim. Thunder is a rat terrier, known for their intelligence. This one is know for the springs in his legs. He leaps vertically - straight up with all four legs. He's not so bright that he's figured out the great outdoors are supposed to be his bathroom; he prefers rugs and behind my easy chair.

Sadly, I'm not posting because I have anything to say; I've just felt guilty about not posting for so long.

Much like the quantum physics question "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" I have to ask, "if a blog post has nothing meaningful, is it better than no blog post at all?"

Schrodinger's Cat wants to know...

Monday, May 19, 2008


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my oldest (and only) son, the sole possibility to carry on the 6 generation name of Swanson, turns 13 today. !!!!! A teenager! A young man! A scholar and a (mostly) gentleman! In Jewish culture back-in-the-day, he would be marrying soon!

More importantly, he's a young man his father and his Father can be (and ARE) proud of.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Iron Man!

Flat out best Marvel Comics movie yet.

Despite the fact that I don't like Robert-not-an-honest-moment-Downy Jr. or Jeff-my-tongues-way-too-big-for-my-mouth-Bridges, they both rocked the house.

Spider-man's downfall was horrible casting of whiny-boy and not-beautiful-fashion-model.
X-Men's downfall was over-the-top characterization and dark-dark-dark tone.
Daredevil had major script problems.
Punisher was just flat bad in every way.
Ghost Rider was twisted.

Iron Man, perfect casting, spot-on characterization and well-balanced tone, with just a couple plot problems. Homerun. So good I want to see it again (especially because I missed the Easter Egg at the end of the credits).

Never a character I cared for - armor looks too uncomfortable - the movie made me wish I had a suit just like it.

The plot problems were more convenience cheats than anything else (the chest piece has a universal I/O port that fits into anything? Stane just so happens to have a tool that can remove it? He's an instant expert at the Titanium Man armor?) s'okay. Way good.

Caveat - An unfortunate scene in the beginning to establish Tony as a cad and some of the horrors of war make this not-a-kid's-movie (though you see far worse on TV these days).

Next: Iron Man 2 or Avengers?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Do cults serve God?

Or better put, is any religion better than no religion? From a purely sociological view, religious people are more moral and improve the community. They are happier (from a mortal perspective, not eternal) better citizens, better workers...

Your thoughts?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Of Deafness and Potato Chips

This is so weird.

I had to use a pile driver to chip out the tile in our bathroom. Very loud. As a result I felt (and still feel) like I have pounds of cotton stuffed in my ears. Everything sounds as if it's coming through walls.

So Ben and I return the pile driver to Home Depot and hit Subway for lunch. I open my bag of Lays Potato Chips and eat one. It tasted stale as if it wasn't crunchy. I had Ben try one to see if he thought it was stale. Nope, it wasn't. Because the crunchy sound was muffled in my suffering ears, it didn't feel crunchy. It felt WEIRD. Who knew?

I wonder what deaf people think of potato chips.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deep thoughts at the Dentist

So I'm sitting cranked back in the dentist chair waiting, waiting, waiting.... I'm not wearing my glasses so I can't read any of the propoganda which means I had to just sit and think. I prayed for a bit, but admit I don't do that as well as I might, but it did lead to thoughts arisen from my last post (I know, the right word is "aroused" but nope, don't think so).

Faith. According to the Bible it is believing in what you hope for. But like the fellow who said to Jesus, "I believe, Lord, help me with my unbelief" I have to wonder if faith is sometimes acting on what you struggle to believe.

I don't struggle with disbelief in God. The resurrection must be believed if one is intellectually honest, and therefore I have no struggle with belief in the Son, His atoning work on the cross and arisen from the tomb.

I firmly believe that God is at critical work within our world and in each and every life.

Where I do struggle is believing in how I fit in to the whole thing. Why would God care about my prayers? How can my actions matter?

And yet I know they do. Odd that I know but struggle with belief. Faith is carrying through with what is true whether you believe or know or not. That is what I think the fellow means when he says "help me with my unbelief."

Nor do I think my "struggle" is a bad thing. Faith is fairly empty if one believes or knows fully. It's easy to inhale oxygen under normal circumstances, but there exists a highly-oxygenated water (made in a lab) that one can actually breath. It has yet to be experienced by a human, though. They hold a rat under until it "drowns" and takes a breath and finds it can breath. The next time, they still have to drown the rat - it "knows" it can't breath liquid (even though it can). People have TRIED to do it, but they always thrash their way out rather than draw liquid breath, and since it's not legal to hold someone under, it's never been tried. These people KNOW and BELIEVE they can breath it, but they do not have FAITH they can breath.

Interesting, huh?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Depression. What is it?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Is Biblical "flesh" spiritual?

When the Bible talks about "flesh" it means, oddly enough, just that. Our "meat." It's not some spiritual geegaw. The devil does not have claws sunk into it. Our flesh certainly moves us toward sin, but only ascetics thing flesh itself is evil. The five senses have no moral boundaries. If it tastes good, we want it. If it sounds good, we want it, if it looks good, we want it, if it feels good... well, you get the idea.

"Want" is okay. "Must have" not so much. "Five-sense-satisfaction instead of God" real bad.

God does not call us to eschew our senses, but to balance them. The ascetics on a mountain-top refusing all pleasant sensation are not hearing from God (a brief fast is good, an extended asceticism is a deprivation of what God happily gives us).

When we over-spiritualize the wisdom of the Bible we miss simple truths. I asked my class last Sunday what "flesh" is. They didn't know. They thought it was sin. Or a symbol of evil. Each of them thought when the Bible says "flesh" it has some other spiritual meaning.

We are flesh. Our glorified bodies will be of flesh. People have been, and eternally will be flesh. Our danger lay in choosing flesh over spirit.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Oh, Joseph, What Does My Dream Mean?

I dreamed myself a dream last night...

In the dream the Rapture (or something similar) occurred and Heaven's waiting room was a campground with a set of unstaffed administration buildings at the center (and rustic restrooms not far away). Mike Y. suggested going in and finding out what our real names were - the name God gave us when he created each of us. Seemed like a good idea so the Y's and Lynette and I went in where there were boxes and boxes of window envelopes. In each were a yellow card with our real names. M&M and Lynette found theirs easily, but instead of an envelope I had a bag a peanuts with a message tightly folded up in mine. Unfortunately, the note was wet and the ink had smeared to illegibility.

I woke up perplexed. What did the dream mean? Why was I left out? And then it dawned on me...

I was afraid of going to shell.

BWAHAHAAHAAAHAAAA! (real dream, no kidding)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets

I know it came out a long time ago, but it just recently came to the cheap theater which is the only place I can afford to take the whole family and not feel horribly guilty ($60 for a movie night is WAAAAAYYYYY too ridiculous).

So, okay, the movie. It was fun. A certain Sherlock suggested it was a lot like the first movie, but really, it wasn't. You remember how Disney used to put out sequels straight-to-video of their brilliant 2-D animations that they've so foolishly cast aside (the original, not the sequels). The originals were by top drawer talent and the sequels were done by the television third-rate pitchure draw-ers and felt like it.

Same with this movie. The scams were EFFORTLESS and EASY. They made it look like anyone could do it (the first movie was clever, this one was cheap). The actors were fun, the plot needed a re-write, the stakes were too low. If he had easy access to the president, why not just ask? Had they been bitter enemies, had the queen been in residence, had it just be harder and more risky instead of everyone seeming to be sleepwalking...

Nonetheless - apart from a truly bad hairpiece for Nick Cage - it was clean (even the ogling White House guy was mostly implied).

The elements were there; the execution was not... should have used the room behind Mt. Rushmore which was SUPPOSED to be a library but "never was." More real history bent to story purposes, higher stakes, and a better ticking clock is all they needed.


Monday, March 24, 2008

So So

Goodness, the press had made hay out of a totally pragmatic response of VP Cheney's response to a reporter saying two-thirds of Americans don't think the Iraqi war is worth it. He said, "So?"

Probably not the most diplomatic response, but truthful? Yup. Until a time machine is invented, what we now think of a past action that is irrevocable should be "so what?"

We can't change the past. Now that we're there, we have no viable choice but to see it through. What should he have said? "I'm sorry" "that's too bad" "I'm not one of them?" No, none of those are effective responses because looking back is not what's called of leadership, looking forward is. Regret is not an executive quality. Perhaps that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats (or at least these Republicans and, y'know, those Democrats), the recognition that polls do not determine right or wrong or leadership.

"So" indeed.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I don't know what they call it, but have you ever seen ice skaters do this odd figure-eight thing with their feet where it looks like their feet go through each other before moving away again? My brain does that a lot.

I was sitting here thinking about the presidential race and the dismal prospects ahead of us and I realized something. Most presidents are just standing in until a great one comes on the scene. Sure they may do some good, but that's what they're supposed to do. Some, like Carter, you have to be grateful they didn't completely destroy the world. Most, you have to hope they manage to keep the damage down to a minimum. I think we're due a great president soon. Certainly not in this race, probably not in the next two, but we're due soon. Washington was a great president. Then there were some good ones just standing in until Lincoln showed up (interestingly, he was an okay president his first time, then a phenomenal one his second term). After that we had some boozers and losers until Franklin Roosevelt hit the scene (a Democrat!). Then we had some primpers and sour fellows until Reagan came up. Since then we've had major disappointments... to be fair, GW Bush was a miraculous right man at the right time in his first term; kind of sad in his second...

Then my brain did the crosshatch thing.

I realized that that's descriptive of a man's life, too (and maybe a woman's, but I don't have first hand knowledge of that). Most of the time we're just standing in for ourselves, then there are moments or seasons in our life where we are great (invested unduly with the grace of God, no doubt). It's more obvious in some people's lives. A prolific writer, for example, where many of his books are just okay, but then suddenly the great one comes out. The one he was born to write and the others were just practice. Or perhaps a composer and his one or four songs out of two dozen. Or an athlete who puts it all together for a star performance just once.

There are some people who are great all the time (Spurgeon, Shakespeare, Di Vince) but for most of us there are golden moments but briefly... but, oh, those times are like lightening in a bottle. They may not be loud, or all that golden for others, but we know our own moments.

It's been awhile for me. I'm hoping I have a few left...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Talk about lazy...

I'm sitting in my easychair with my laptop in hand. Lynette is at her laptop in the other corner of the room. She's reading a funny e-mail and getting a real kick out of it. So I ask her to send it to me, which she does.

Now, I could have gotten up and gone the eight feet to look over her shoulder, but instead I have her forward it to me, which means the e-mail bounces out of the house, shoots through the network to Timbuktu and back to my house just a few feet from the originating computer. This doesn't cost any money, or slow down anyone's server. With all the traffic on the superhighway, this is less than a mote of dust on a scooter's windshield, but still, SOMEHOW, this is a waste of resources. For SOME REASON it would have been better for me to get up and walk the 8 feet.

But I didn't. And while I confess, I'm not so sure I repent...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Forever Young...

My oh my things are a-changin'

We have three kids in our sunday school class leaving for different states or churches. Home group seems very small all of a sudden. I was sitting there trying to imagine what the Cook group will be like without so many key players attending anymore.

Clearly, the Youngs may not go on vacation anymore. Forget about hosting it, with the exodus of the K's, M's, S's, and C's it is imperative that the Y's be there week in and week out. Imperative, I say. It's like a ship without an anchor, a camera without a flash, a sundae without chocolate.

(the official post missing the Youngs)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Diet/Non-Diet Thing

Okay, I got fed up with the extra fat I'd been sporting so I finally had the conviction to do something about it. I gave up processed sugar and dropped 15 pounds quickly. Lack of soda pop changes your eating habits a bit, but otherwise no-sugar was the big thing. Not as difficult as I'd have thought (but then, conviction comes from God and he helps with stuff He commands).

What has been difficult is training myself to eat when I'm hungry and not just when appetite shouts from its empty-calorie lungs. I don't think snacking between meals is bad unless it's because I feel like eating and not when I'm truly hungry.

For you young-and-can-eat-14-pizzas-and-six-liters-of-Coke-and-still-look-thin, enjoy it while you can.

At the same time, we just visited a nursing home and I couldn't help but think that a good, healthy diet gives you a long life that ends up there. If eating badly meant I'd go quickly and avoid long-term care facilities, it might be worth it.

Hypothetical (story idea, not reality): If you put a contract out on yourself and hire bodyguards to protect you, if the assassin succeeds is it suicide?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Too bad cockroaches are vile, disgusting creatures...

...because really, they're quite pretty - if you can divorce yourself of their loathsomeness.

On the big palmettos, they have an exoskeleton reminiscent of the finest wood grain. And when you spray them and they flip over, the segmentation of their feebly kicking legs is an amazing example of engineering design.

Sometimes, as I gas them with a shot of Raid, I wonder, "what if we have it wrong? What if cockroaches are God's chosen people?" Think about it, after a nuclear war, they'll be scampering around on our radioactive bones. Everything about them denotes amazing design.

Doesn't stop me from killing them, of course, but sometimes I wonder.

Along the same lines, I watched a squirrel bound over grass and up a tree in a heartbeat and exulted in the furry clown. But if it had been a rat leaping and climbing I'd have grabbed a pellet gun. Can hair really make that much difference? Then I remember Farrah Fawcett from my youth and remember "yes it can."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Presenting Mrs. Colleen Moore!

Colleen and David had a beautiful wedding. I am moved by God's graciousness to Colleen. She sold her house and moved down to Orlando. For seemingly unknowable purposes, God did not allow her to buy a house here. Staying afloat was difficult. Now, a few years later the purpose becomes clear. Colleen has moved to Jacksonville; had she bought a house, this housing slump would prevent her from selling it. Instead God has demonstrated her need to rely on Him (and she has faithfully always done so) and He would provide what she needs.

That's where David comes in. Colleen has a.... boistrous personality... and not just anyone would be a marvelous match for her. David, and his unique and lovable family is not just a match, but THE perfect match. He has demonstrated his love and faithfulness to her as the Lord has.

I wish them a happy life (which is like betting on a sure thing). Rock on, Moores!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thank you, all our soldiers...

I just watched a YouTube presentation brilliantly promoting us to remember, love, and support our troops. It reminded us of every possible kind of relationship we could have with a soldier. Well done, and it made me think...

I have no family in the military right now. No one in the current generation has signed up. No one in my generation signed up. My father, maternal grandfather, and uncle all served, but no one does now. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

On the one hand, relief. My nephews and nieces aren't in military harm's way (though civilian life is dangerous enough). And I certainly can't demand from them something I didn't do (I was rebellious, short-sighted, and self-centered. The military probably would have done me good). I know a civilian contractor over there. There are a few boys from church who enlisted, but mostly I don't know many soldiers.

As a writer, I am dependant on the military to safeguard my right to free speech; I am eternally grateful for the safety and freedom secured and defended by our soldiers. So why aren't there more of them? Why has my generation and the current generation forsaken military duty? In so successfully ensuring civilization, has our military created a society of non-warriors?

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Prestige

Somewhere along the way I've started to like Michael Caine, go figure.

Caught the Prestige finally. Excellent movie. I had to see it over the course of a couple days, so that's probably why it felt choppy. I'll have to read the novel at some point. Some of the tricks that were sabotaged where incomprehensible on the small screen (the dove cage apparatus looked cool, didn't understand how it worked, and seemed elaborate for a sad little trick).

Christian Bale is an okay actor, despite the back teeth thing. He kind of slips in and out of character a little bit. I saw his arc halfway through and find it a bit unbelievable, so no surprise with that one.

Hugh Jackman is great. His arc was a surprise (nice twist of mystic realism) and quite a bit disturbing.

I wasn't sure if Bale's character was going to use the machine to replace his you-know-what (avoiding spoilers).

David Bowie is a scene stealer (didn't even know it was him). Tesla has always been an intriguing character (anyone who has all their notes, plans, and goods stolen by the government in quasi-legal manner, and which is STILL under secrecy despite the secrecy laws saying it should have been opened up long ago HAS to be an interesting fellow. His story needs to be told, but no one knows what his story really is...)

Filmmaking-wise this was excellent. The script turned in on itself wonderfully if not a little predictably (mystic realism is a bit of a cheat because you can't predict it, but it's fun anyway).

Not a film for kids, BTW. (Though I expect certain hands-in-his-pockets-while-others-work teenagers have seen it...)

The author of the novel, Christopher Priest, is an editor and writer at DC Comics under different names, by the way. A very nice and unassuming man who rarely trumpets his accomplishments. Met him at a trade show when some of his comics were the hottest things in the industry and he shunned the spotlight. Rather amazed he was in the extras of the DVD...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've Lost my Space Pen!

It's the coolest pen ever made. I carried it with me everywhere. It could write underwater (tested and proven), upside down, and in space (never personally tested).

I think I loaned it to someone at church and never got it back. :(

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This age thing...

My back is almost healed up from the muscle spasm Sunday. I'm hoping the cold weather won't cause a set back...

I've had no sugar for a week (at least none consciously; I'm sure there's trace levels in just about everything). I didn't weigh in on Thursday, but I did on Sunday. I'm down six pounds since then. Probably from between my ears...

The bummer thing about fat is that don't lose it in the order that you got it. The fat on my arms, legs, face, wherever will probably all come off before any fat around my stomach and sides. If I can stick with this, that will give me the skinny duded with the fat belly look. Plus with my dad's genes, I'll still have a big tummy with no fat on it.

Youth is wasted on the young.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Okay, Stay With Me Here...


Romney-the-man-of-no-integrity runs as the "only true conservative" blasting McCain for being too far to the left.

Romney complains that he's splitting the vote with Huckabee, suggesting that he and Huckster are too similar (he wishes).

Romney then drops out of the race... and supports MCCAIN! You know, the guy who's too far to the left.

What does this mean? It means the spineless loser has made a deal with McCain to be his VP.

Should McCain get the endorsement and he selects Romney as Veep, that's proof the deal was made. Meaning Romney will make a deal with the devil if it benefits him (no surprise, considering he's a follower of Joseph Smith).

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Part time Flu

This is the weirdest illness I've had yet. Mornings, I'm fine, then around 10:30 my stomach starts hurting. By the time I get home from work it's awful and all I can do is climb into bed. Two days later it started later in the afternoon and it was my ribs and back that hurt REALLY BAD. Yesterday it started even later and didn't hurt as much. Each day, though, it would go away around 8 or 9. Hopefully today it's over...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mea Culpa

Okay, I was wrong about the Super Bowl, so maybe I'll be wrong about the election.

*Still thinking Huck's the Man but willing to believe that the spinning positional dervish that is Mitt might - just might - be able to beat Hillary*

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A "Drawback" about the Fair Tax

While without a doubt the Fair Tax is beneficial to all of America it occurs to me that it's bad to politicians.

One of the biggest platforms pols run on is "lowering taxes." Republicans especially trot out lowering taxes and look the big bad guys will raise your taxes. Fair Tax would remove one of the most kneejerk of polical vote gathering. *Gasp* Republicans and Democrats would have to run on the ISSUES and not shallow promises.

Sad, sad, sad

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tell Me I Didn't See What I Think I Saw...

So, I'm driving to work and glace over at the subcompact next to me. A very large lady is eating a chocolate donut with one hand and applying makeup with the other. She's the driver, by the way. As I shudder at the horror of it all, without hands she turns the corner.

She was driving with her stomach.

To laugh or to cry....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The irony of politics

I suppose we get the president we deserve.

It has happened many times before; a republican candidate who can easily beat the democrat can't beat the other republicans for the nomination. And there's only one reason...


Romney is winning. Romney is a flip-flopping spineless man of no integrity, BUT he has more money than they others, which means he can buy more television air time for commercials. Consider for a moment: his ads have little policy or substance, but his name and face become familiar. That's enough for the limited intelligence of today's Americans.

There is a simple solution: Politicals candidates should be restricted from push technology. Put all the ads you want on YouTube, run as many websites as you want. Publish articles (no ads) in newspapers (free, though, no paid spots). The only money spent must be on pull technology.

Push tech is passive. It comes to you on television or ads in papers and magazines. It requires no thought and no action on the viewers part.

With Pull tech you have to take action (you know: research). You have to go to YouTube and look up the videos. You have to go to the websites. You have to read the articles.

Mr. C. challenged me to dig into Mike Huckabee more than I had. I did and was delighted to discover what a great candidate he is. The ONLY great candidate. All others pale in comparison. This man should be the next president, but he doesn't have the financial machine behind him. So he's run a grassroots campaign that is impressive in scope.

But Romney, who has been pro-choice, anti-second amendment, and every other liberal position you can name, runs as a conservative and people are dumb enough to believe it. But when he's running against Hillary, she'll bring out his hypocrisy and make him eat glass. He will not, cannot win and if by some miracle he does, he'll be no better than Hillary.

Equally revolting is the demogogary that some people give Rush, Hannity, and other radio personalities. They believe them because they hear them and seemingly don't question.

America is going to have a horrible next president, and we deserve it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The (il)logic of emotion

So, I'm debating same sex marriage with a co-worker. While I don't support the amendment, I do support the idea that no law should enable same sex marriage.

I was told I hate gays.

No, I countered, I see no purpose for such a law. Same sex marriage does not benefit society, so there is no purpose to granting it through legislation. She claimed that they should have the same rights as a straight married couple. I said there are no rights, just benefits. All these benefits, except a tax break, are available through legal means that are non-marriage related.

AH-HA, she says. How about that tax break? No go, I said, the tax break is to encourage mom's to stay at home with their kids; no kids, no tax break. They could adopt! she says. Studies and anacdotal evidence says such kids are troubled and experience role confusion. Mom/Dad are necessary for well-adjusted kids. Even children raised in an orphanage aren't as conflicted.

But they want to be married, so they should be allowed.

They are allowed to make any sort of commitment they want, it just won't be recognized by the law because it serves no purpose to society.

You just hate gays, I'm told.

Sigh. Those with no understanding of legal philosophy have to fall back on emotion, even when it makes no sense.

I like pomegranites, but there shouldn't be a law that recognizes that fact. Y'know?

Friday, January 25, 2008

It Probably Means I'm Shallow

Here's the thing. I don't like the middle east. If not for the Muslim threat and pyramids, I. Just. Wouldn't. Care.

There is nothing appealing about this century's Middle East. Zip. So all these novels and movies are bugging me. I like socio-political thrillers, but not if they take place in the ME and that's all they're writing about. There's a huge crop of movies (which, admittedly, is no big deal since I don't watch movies much anymore), there's probably even trading cards.

Here's the deal. All we have to do to end the M.E. threat is to find an alternative to oil. Cut their funds off and we can go back to ignoring them.

Got Hydrogen?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh, THAT Amendment

First, let me trumpet my disgust with the writers of all those yea/nay ads about any amendment. The resounding school of knowledge says "Don't tell anyone what the amendment is, or give any reason other than 'it's bad' or 'it's good.'"

They believe that if you don't know what the amendment is, you shouldn't find out. That way, whoever yells yea or nay loud enough wins.

Amendment 1. It shouldn't be an amendment because it doesn't secure a right.

That being said, the detracts say the homestead increase will hurt schools and benefit rich people and not poor people.

As a poor people, I say let the lottery actually help schools like it said it was going to. If it isn't going to HURT us poor people, what do I care if it benefits rich people?

Rich people are not evil and shouldn't be punished for being successful. If a law or an amendment will help them and not hurt me, why is that a bad thing?

The Florida constitution is plagued with stupid amendments and in my opinion if it doesn't secure a right, it shouldn't be an amendment regardless of the intent. So I'd vote no but not because it would be a bad thing, just a bad amendment.

Clear as mud?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Politics, Thy Name is Confusion

As we move deeper into the presidential pare down, I am no closer to knowing who I want to vote for. I know several I would gladly vote against, but not so much on the positive side.

Nonetheless, as I debate liberals on their bass relief support of democrats ("because they're better than republicans") I'm noticing a trend. They're dissatisfaction with government is rooted in how politicians aren't doing what they think politicians should do in a neutral world, as if each administration jumps in at zero and starts paddling. The truth is, every politician runs on what they will do, but the first major portion of their reign is making headway against where the former fellow left them, and the rest responding to what the world throws at them.

They hate what Bush has done by getting us into wars with Iran and Afghanistan (well, really, most liberals seem to have forgotten about Afghanistan) but can't give a constructive alternative to what they would have done; nor do most understand the conditions of the Middle East that made this kind of thing necessary (not aided by Bush's simplified claims of WMD when there was a complex geopolitical reason too complicated to explain in media sound bytes).

I like Fred Thompson, but that ship has sailed. Don't know enough about Huckster. Guess I have to do some research there...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Things that make go HMMMM... at the Disney Marathon

As we have for the last 9 years, we volunteered to man (and woman) the 25th mile waterstop. Ben joined us for the first time, and like always it was inspiring and exhausting. Some people looked good, some looked better, and some looked downright strange. Here are a few highlights:

  • We think the guy in first was the same guy as last year, though he had more tattoos.
  • The first woman, who normally comes in twentieth or thirtieth, came in third place. She didn't look like she was straining.
  • Fewer people were bleeding this year, and there were thousands more runners than ever before.
  • We didn't see anyone dressed up for the longest time. When we finally did, it was Minnie Mouse in full dress and bloomers. Minnie was an Asian man looking very serious. I can only hope he lost a bet and had to do it.
  • One skinny white guy came prancing by in white Speedos. JUST white Speedos. They should be outlawed.
  • Not to be outdone, another fellow jogged by in full gladiator gear up top and bright red Speedos down below. When we laughed (you just couldn't help it) a runner behind him said, "Try looking at that for 25 miles..." she was not amused.
  • Other notable costumes were another Minnie (this one female), a large guy with a drooping mustache in a Supergirl costume. A family dressed in full "Incredibles" uniforms without the masks. Assorted Peter Pans, Tinkerbells, Goofys, Stitchs, a couple aliens and a bride with no bridegroom (he may have dropped out or I just missed him).
  • Traditionally, the first and second guy have no interest in water. They just sail by like they're out for a light jog. The FOURTH guy wanted water and the lead tables were still setting up and no one offered him anything. Poor guy was not happy, maybe a bit mad, and when he swerved over to get his own darn water, the cups were empty. Ooops. Our tables, the later tables, made sure to give him some water. When I gently reminded the lead tables they should actually hold water out for them, they got ticked and said we could come down and help them instead of just standing around up there at our tables. Wellll excccussssseee Meeeeeee! We had our three layers set up and ready to go in very little time (9 years experience, don't you know) and we had twice as many tables.... okay, I felt a little bad for opening my mouth, but the look of sheer desperation on that runner's face was piercing. (And, true several of the front table people were working, but I counted six people who just stood and watched him run by. FOCUS, PEOPLE!)

Next year, we'll have Charli, too, if we can roust her out of bed at 5:00 am.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Marian Jones

The Olympic track gold medalist who took performance enhancing drugs to win... subsequently found out, lied to Feds, and was convicted. Judge gave her 6 months, which Jones' lawyer argued was too harsh.

Brings up an interesting question. Should race and societal impact influence a judge's decision?

Understand, she lied to the world, stole 5 gold medals and the glory of victory from the second place runner (who has been given the gold, and my isn't that joyful for her?), tainted the Olympics and lied to the Feds to cover up.

Had she been white, I would say she should have gotten a lot more than 6 months. That would send a clear message to athletes to get their act together.

But she's black, and one must wonder if that mixes the message. Black youth, especially those in poverty, require as many role models as possible. People they can look up to and see that success is possible.

Do I think the Jones verdict is just and good? Yes. BUT, how many people in poverty (and out) are telling themselves that if a black person raises themselves up, whitey's going to knock them down (the fact that she brought it on herself won't matter at all).

Ultimately, these are things Jones should have been thinking about, but she was teenager when she "won" and how many teens really think about what message they're sending -- not to mention what joy in victory if it's obtained by cheating...

I guess that raises another question: Should minorities consider the racial impacts of their every action? Britney Spears or Tom Cruise go bonkers and few generalizes that whites are messed up; should Jones have to be concerned that her actions can induce unfair generalizations?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"If this works, we'll eat like kings!"

We seem to have an overambitious black widow spider. Every morning as I'm heading off to work, a new spiderweb spans the walkway with a lovely black widow rubbing her multiple hands in anticipation of a bigggggg meal. No mean feat, either. The walkway is about 8 feet wide. She hasn't caught me yet, but she keeps trying.

I suppose if she spun it a bit lower she might reel in Aly or the dog...

I just don't have the heart to kill the thing; I figure anyone with such grand hopes and personal confidence has a right to life.

Friday, January 04, 2008


My shampoo froze.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Perfect Metaphor Meal

A couple nights ago Lynette and I had our annual year-end just-the-two-of-us really-nice meal to exchange our Christmas gifts and enjoy good food and good conversation.

The meal ended up being a metaphor for the year.

Two or three years ago, I ate at the Crazy Buffet, which is horribly named, but it had amazing food. The best Asian cuisine I'd ever had, tons of it, all high-quality and fresh. It was expensive and oh-so worth it. I'd been meaning to take Lynette there ever since and this was it.

Maybe the place has changed hands. I should have figured it out when the hostess didn't notice us standing there and just stayed absorbed in her magazine. Everything looked older, not just two or three years older but decades older. The grand piano was smudged and dusty... even the coy fish looked bored.

Still, we stayed. The food was incredibly plentiful. There was some appetizing stuff thrown in between the whole boiled octopus, eel, sea spiders, and fish eggs (no wonder they lost the war). There was Alaskan King Crab, which is my favorite food next to Dungeness Crab. All my favorite Asian items...

...but it wasn't very good. The crab had been frozen too long, the salad was tired, the sushi was pretty good, and the old ambiance of Japanese music was replaced with '80's and '90's songs.

This is a picture of 2007. I had finally gone freelance and loved it, despite the difficulty of getting paid by my clients. I had been anticipating it for years, but found my own character lacking in that my discipline wasn't the strongest. I did get to spend a ton of my time with my wife and kids, which all by itself makes 2007 a really good year. But the luster I'd been hoping for wasn't there in much else. Through Seattle visits, I was apart from Lynette and the kids a total of 2 months out of 12. Won't do it that way every again.

We began and ended the year with heavily family losses. Last night at 12:15 I told Charli that we could see the countdown all over again at 3:00. She looked confused so I told her that it was still 2007 for grandma and grandpa, bringing myself up short when I realized that it would always be 2007 for grandma.

When my Grandpa Ray passed away, the grief started my decade long struggle with anger-at-the-world, but I didn't have the maturity to recognize that grief had kicked it off. Now I'm learning what a life changing thing grief is. I'm seeing the changes in me wrought by grief. I wondered when I would get back to normal, and now know that while I will climb out of the valley of the shadow of death, my old normal is gone, and it will be to a new normal, whatever it will be. I guess I'll find that out in the new year. A promise, though. My blog will not be maudlin after this post.

There was a saving grace to our Crazy Buffet dinner, though. Lynette was with me. That makes any dinner bearable, and any year a winner. She is my metaphor for hope.

Oh, yeah: Happy New Year, everyone.