Tuesday, April 30, 2013


By now many have seen the video of the 747 taking off out of Bagram in which 7 lives were lost.  If you've been living on Mars, you can see it here.  We don't know what happened.  None of us were on board (obviously).  So the best things do is express regret, condolences, and sadness at the loss of life.  Anything else is, well...stupid.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Motivation Monday

A good friend posted this on Facebook.  I really like it so I stole it and using it on MM.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Idyllic Sunday

What a pleasant day!  My Sister-in-Law was in town from Iowa and we spend a very pleasant evening yesterday grilling fish tacos (of course) and catching up on family.  We don't always see eye-to-eye politically but I think with age and wisdom, we've both decided that's not a place to go.  So it was very nice to see her.

After dropping her off at the airport this morning we ventured down to little Italy for the annual Art Walk.  You can read about it here.  Lots of people, lots of art, a fun place to walk around.

We stopped in a little place called Davanti Enoteca for lunch.  Got a great table out in their back patio which was very charming.  Great service, great menu, great ambiance.  Their website is here if you're ever in Little Italy and looking for a place to eat.

Cool Pic

Don't know where this is but it sure looks like a nice place to spend an afternoon with my sweetie!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Back On The Bike

Broke my arm on New Years Eve.  You can read all the gory details here.  Got back on the bike today.  I have obviously been sitting on my butt for 4 months!  IT KICKED MY ASS!  But not to worry.  At least I'm back.


Interestingly enough for the Chargers, their first round draft pick, tackle D.J. Fluker, wasn't the story. Although he's a massive guy who will be a great addition to the offensive line, it was all about their second round pick, Manti Te'o.  You can read about it here.  If you follow football, you know there is a bit of controversy surrounding him.  Off field baggage.  Finished the season getting blown out in the championship game.  Less than impressive Combine.  But...this guy is a playmaker.  He's definitely got the physical skills.  He's passionate.  He's a leader.  So for my money it's a great pick!  Go Chargers!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wednesday's With Jimmy

Here we go again.  I'm not a freak about food but I try and eat as healthy as possible.  But every once in awhile I really need a cheeseburger.  And I live in somewhat of a paradise.  So...

Is That Steak Done?

Here's a little public service announcement from Mike's At The Beach.  If you spend a lot of time barbecuing, like we do here in SoCal you probably have had occasion to cook the steak too much or not enough.  But ran across this simple explanation of how to test for doneness.  You can read it here.
It's sort of ingenious.

Democrats and Gun Control

It's become a largely partisan issue.  Like everything else in our culture today, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground.  Or any bending from what is the generally accepted orthodoxy of whichever side you're on.

Saw this blog post and thought I'd share.  You can read it here.   It's essentially a liberal talking to his fellow democrats about gun control.  And it makes a lot of sense.  The post is long and you probably won't read the whole thing, so here are his six tips:

  1. Stop sending mixed messages
  2. You have to understand what you're regulating
  3. Stop using children
  4. Stop pretending background checks don't already exist
  5. Treat the NRA as what they are:  other American citizens
  6. Don't forget about us (meaning Democratic gun owners)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Losing Both Sides

It finally may be happening.  People seem to be recognizing the void in leadership coming out of the White House.  I came upon two articles from both ends of the spectrum in the last few days that say virtually the same thing...Obama's leadership capability is a disaster.  First that champion of the left, Maureen Dowd, writes about the disaster of the gun control loss here in a piece titled "No Bully in the Pulpit".  Stinging!  Here's a little sample:

Unfortunately, he still has not learned how to govern.
How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.
It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.
And from the other side, I ran across an article titled, "Obama couldn’t sell a candy bar to a fat kid".  Given my views I knew this would be my kind of article.  You can read it here.  And here's a sample from this one:
Projects were built, programs enacted, wars fought and frontiers breached because American presidents sold ideas to the American people. Appealing to our consciences, to our imaginations, to our pride, to our fears, to our virtues and faiths, past American presidents made their mark, reshaped the nation and forged their place in history by getting the American people behind their visions.  

Our current commander-in-chief is taking a different tack.
So both sides show evidence of recognizing that the King is not wearing any clothes.  Many are scratching their heads at the fact that we elected a guy to the most powerful position in the world that includes the title Commander in Chief and he has no executive experience.  None.  Zilch.  For him it's been on the job training and it's been a disaster.  The funny thing is that he could win over a lot of guys like me if he'd just lead.  If he'd just reach out.  Sit down and talk...negotiate...understand the other side.  Hell, I wasn't a huge fan of Bubba, but at least he led.  At least he recognized that he had to do what was right for the country...for the greatest good.  But for Obama it's all been about winning and losing...pitting one side against the other..,my way or the highway.  And it's been a disaster.  We'll be paying for this for a long time...

What Not To Say

Some like to revel in celebrities stubbing their toes in public.  And I have to admit, I find it sorta funny.  Of course I'm talking about Reese Witherspoon's obnoxious behavior when her husband was arrested for DUI.  You can read about it here.  Ouch!  Probably the absolute worst thing you could say to a policeman during a traffic stop is:
"Do you know my name?" the trooper recalled Witherspoon asking him. "I answered, 'No, I don't need to know your name.'  "You're about to find out who I am," she replied, the arrest report said.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cool Pic

If The World Were a Village of 100 People

Stumbled on this little analysis and thought I'd share.  Pretty fascinating.  Don't know the source but most of them seem pretty credible.  Of course, you never know.  You can see the whole thing here, but I like this comparison the best.  If you have a college education, don't waste it!


This cartoon captures a sentiment and frustration of many.  I think it's pretty accurate.

Cool Pic

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on the Week...Highs and Lows

It's been an interesting week.  Lots of issues.  Lots of emotions.  Successes.  Failures.  No one isn't familiar with the events in Boston starting with the marathon on Monday.  The failure of the gun control legislation was a big deal that was overshadowed by Boston reporting.  And the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas would have been continual front page news any other week.  So I need to rant a little bit about all this.

First and foremost is the story of the courageous people of Boston and the heroic actions of the first responders.  It is a story that evokes pride by all Americans.  The people of Boston have been put through hell this week.  What started out as a wonderful, annual Patriots Day celebration ended in tragedy.  Can anyone forget the images?  The three people who were murdered, including a vibrant young woman, a cute little 8 year old Bruins fan, and a bright young woman from China who was here to study at BU.  Tragic.  Those injured, some horrifically.  Again, tragic.  But the response was great.  It seems like so many people reflexively sprung to action.  I wonder if the world we've evolved to after 9/11 is responsible.  Most people, especially those in big cities, are now sort of ready for anything.  It is what it is, but it's sort of sad.

There were a lot of people wondering if those responsible would be caught.  Well, we've evolved to possessing the best law enforcement organizations in the world.  Since 9/11 the leaps in capability and technology have been awesome.  The FBI was beyond good.  Ditto all the local folks.  There was never any doubt that they'd be caught.  It's nice that it happened relatively quickly, but it was going to happen.

Does anyone now believe that we aren't surrounded by cameras and that it will only get more pervasive?  Go to London.  They are everywhere.  It's almost that way here and after this experience, it will increas.  I for one don't have much problem with that.  If it helps catch guys like these assholes, so be it.

I love the fact that events like this bring out the best in us.  It brings out the patriotism.  Did you see the singing of the National Anthem at the Bruins game?  Did you see the spontaneous celebration tonight on Boston Common?  All great.  But I just wish it would continue.  I just wish that all those people who come together over something like this could come together over other things in our national life.

Which brings us to the Divider in Chief.  The gun control loss was a stinging loss.  Obama went all in and lost.  So what did he do?  Trotted out the usual backdrop of people he thinks the rest of us will feel bad about because they didn't get what they want.  Here's the deal.  When Newtown happened, I was all about some increased controls.  I was calling for something to be done.  What I thought that something would be was some combination of attacking problems in the mental health world, problems with disgusting video games, and something that would make guns harder to get for crazy people.  The issue in Newtown wasn't the guns.  It was the guy.  But what did BO do?  He saw an opportunity for political gain by taking on the evil NRA.  Forget the rest.  And certainly don't impact the fortunes of his Hollywood cronies.  He went on the road (naturally) to place blame and divide and conquer.  Only this time it didn't work.  The genius of the system that our forefathers put in place is that the Senate is a slow, deliberative body and it can't be railroaded.  That was proven this week.  Here's the worst thing for me.  I've evolved to the point that if he is for it...I'm against it.  I don't trust him.  I don't think he has the best interest of all the people at heart.  And it really pisses me off that he has forced me to be that way.

And then there was the explosion in Texas.  In any other week this is 24 hour news for a couple days.  But this week it's driven off the main stage pretty quickly.  Interesting.  If you saw any of the photos, it was horrific.  Sort of like a war zone.  I feel for those folks and their loss.  But here's the thing...they are Texans.  They'll be back.  They'll take care of each other.

And so tonight the people of Boston are celebrating that it's over.  That one of the terrorists is dead and the other captured.  And we see people all over the net evoking the same celebratory thoughts.  But here's the thing.  It's not over.  It won't be over for generations.  We are at war.  Doesn't matter if it's Islamic radicals from Chechnya, Pakistan, Yemen, or wherever.  Including right down the block.  You have to ask yourself what drives someone who lives among us to that point.  I don't know what the answer is but I don't think it's going away.  We all are put off by airport checks, by increased security, by perceived over-reaction by first responders.  Well...as was proven this week...it only takes one event to bring us back to reality.  We are at war.  And we have to support those sworn to protect us.  We've got to do whatever it takes to protect our way of life.  Protect the freedoms and security we've worked so hard and bled so much to achieve.  Take a little trip to one of many garden spots around the world and you'll know what I mean.

I mentioned gun control above.  I'm a 2nd Amendment supporter.  Hell I'm an all Amendment supporter.  But I do think there could be some reasonable rules and restrictions put in place.  All it would take would be for the two sides to talk.  But that doesn't seem to be possible in the current environment.  There is only one guy to blame for that.  I don't own a gun.  Not my thing.  But if I were in Boston today and did have a gun stashed in a gun safe in my house, it would have been loaded and sitting on my hip all day.  Count on it.

Finally, I have no problem at all with whatever bad happens to people who do these things.  The older brother is dead and in hell.  The younger will go to trial and as sure as the sun will come up in the morning, will someday soon get a needle in his arm and join his brother.  I have no problem with that.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's With Jimmy

So many to choose from.  But this is one of my favorites.  For the tune...for the words...just because.

RIP Lady Thatcher

I was going to post this earlier, but the good CDR beat me to it.  You can see his post here...or here's the video.  Strong!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dogs and Cats

Some people like both but I've found that people are generally either dog people or cat people.  Not always...but usually.  I'm a dog person.  That's why I really like this!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cool Pic

This looks like the perfect swimming hole!  Only problem is that it is in the middle of nowhere in Northwest Australia...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

True Nickel Knowledge

A friend posted this on Facebook.  Who thinks of this?  Why do they think of this?  Of course...why do I post it?  Because its the ultimate in nickel knowledge?

Friday, April 12, 2013


There are certain images in sports that are iconic.  This is one...

Kim Jong Un = Barack Obama?

My disappointment with the leadership (or lack thereof) of our President has been monumental.  I've commented on it many times.  But it is really, coherently described in a narrow context here.  I've also pasted it below just in case you don't want to follow the link.  This is really important!
 Same Lyrics, Different Beat 
The plan is to create chaos and force political rivals to work together as they struggle to wrap their mind around what is happening. The plan includes ignoring laws and discarding good governance to achieve desired political objectives. The plan is to create as much fear and uncertainty as possible to cloud the judgment of the various parties involved. The hope is that by creating enough chaos everyone eventually gets tired and agrees to concessions.
This is North Korea's plan, right?

Nope. This looks to be Barack Obama's plan with the FY14 defense budget sent to Congress. Now political rivals, no not China and the US, but Republicans and Democrats - must find a way to work together as they struggle to wrap their mind around a budget that ignored - outright - the statutes related to sequestration. The last couple years suggest that's unlikely. 

This is the worst possible way to govern, but good governance towards stability that would save the taxpayer money be damned, because political objectives must be met - the primary political objective apparently being to avoid making tough choices. Congress will fight it out, eventually get tired (probably sometime in Q2 next fiscal year), and will concede to concessions.

Don't tell me North Korea is acting irrationally unless you are ready to say the same about the way the President is handling sequestration. North Korea is playing games with the lives of others in the region, but Barack Obama is playing games with the jobs of Americans. Either way, the objective is political instability until everyone is worn out.

Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama are basically executing the same political strategy under different contexts. Worth noting that Kim Jong Un will likely ultimately lose because the world elites are not stupid and refuse to put up with people who create dangerous instability, but Barack Obama will likely ultimately win because American elites choose to act stupid and will put up with a President who creates dangerous instability.

Thinking Americans might want to ask themselves why the President of the United States is executing political strategies and tactics in America targeted at Congress that have everything in common with the political strong arm tactics being used by North Korea today, and whether that political standard is good enough.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Friday Funnies

The whole North Korea situation is pretty serious...but I just can't resist...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Want to Go Here!

Four Seasons Hotel, Bora Bora

Wednesday's With Jimmy

Second week of this series and I really like it!  I'm almost so excited that "I don't Know Where I'm a Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows"!

A Woman of Courage...and Hard Work

So it's been a day since we learned of the passing of what I believe to one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century...if not all time.  Margaret Thatcher quite simply changed the world and saved Britain.  Her legacy will live for generations.  Of course there of been a ton of tributes but I think one the best is here.  It's a bit of a long read, but Paul Johnson has done a great job of describing some of the key facets of her life.  He starts the article with this incredibly strong and inspiring passage:
"Margaret Thatcher had more impact on the world than any woman ruler since Catherine the Great of Russia. Not only did she turn around—decisively—the British economy in the 1980s, she also saw her methods copied in more than 50 countries. "Thatcherism" was the most popular and successful way of running a country in the last quarter of the 20th century and into the 21st."
Her life story is daunting to the average person.  The story of her domestic successes are impressive enough.  But check out this potion of the article that describes her victory in the Falklands:
"Once Reagan was installed in the White House, the pair immediately reinvigorated the "special relationship." It was just as well. Some foreigners did not appreciate the force of what the Kremlin was beginning to call the Iron Lady. In 1982, the military dictatorship in Argentina, misled by the British Foreign Offices's apathetic responses to threats, took the hazardous step of invading and occupying the British Falkland Islands. This unprovoked act of aggression caught Thatcher unprepared, and for 36 hours she was nonplused and uncertain: The military and logistical objections to launching a combined-forces counterattack from 8,000 miles away were formidable. 
But reassured by her service chiefs that, given resolution, the thing could be done, she made up her mind: It would be done, and thereafter her will to victory and her disregard of losses and risks never wavered. She was also assured by her friend Reagan that, short of sending forces, America would do all in its considerable power to help—a promise kept. Thus began one of the most notable campaigns in modern military and moral history, brought to a splendid conclusion by the unconditional surrender of all the Argentine forces on the islands, followed shortly by the collapse of the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires."
Johnson perfectly captures her most important characteristics in the following:
 "Thatcher's strongest characteristic was her courage, both physical and moral. She displayed this again and again, notably when the IRA tried to murder her during the Tory Party Conference in 1984, and nearly succeeded, blowing up her hotel in the middle of the night. She insisted on opening the next morning's session right on time and in grand style. Immediately after courage came industry. She must have been the hardest-working prime minister in history, often working a 16-hour day and sitting up all night to write a speech. Her much-tried husband once complained, "You're not writing the Bible, you know."
Margaret Thatcher was a great and inspiring leader.  Her legacy will be felt for a very long time.  And we will likely not see a leader of her character, courage, and vision for a very long time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Motivation Monday

I've seen this before...I still like it a lot!


For some weird reason we've received news lately of friends, relatives and acquaintences struggling with illness and life challenges.  I could detail them but there is no point to that.  Just suffice to say that it seems like every few days in the last few weeks we've received news that is met with sadness.  And anger!  The young parent is stricken with a terrible and life threatening illness.  A horrific accident takes the life or dramatically changes the life of someone with everything to live for.  Some little kids are in their classroom and a madman enters with a gun.  Innocent people somehow veer into the path of war, fighting, senseless acts...and they are gone.  And on and on.

These situations bring out the age old question...why do bad things happen to good people?  Wish there was a simple and easy answer.  Wish I could make it all go away.  Fix it.  But of course, that's just wishful thinking.

I was thinking about this and did some googling and reading.  Pretty good article here.  For me, the logical answer is based in religion.  Seeking answers.  Seeking comfort.  Seeking rationalization.  Ultimately renewing faith.  That's what we do.  For me, as a Christian, this works.  Gives me something to hang on to.  Some way of going on.

We have a good friend who used to be our parish Priest and has moved on to another church.  He is an inspiring and gifted messenger of God.  He sends out his sermons to a list of the faithful every Sunday.  Coincidentally (or not?) his sermon this week is titled, "Believing in a World Like This".  Wow!  For me at least it offers some measure of comfort so I'm providing here in its entirety in hopes that if you're suffering a loss, a challenge, despair...maybe this can offer comfort to you also.

Believing in a World like This 

Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
But what does it mean to believe in God in a world like this? For some of us, belief may not come easy. I think of the people who come to the parish office seeking a food voucher. They are wearing worn-out clothing; some have body odour or smell of heavy tobacco use, others are overweight and have serious health problems, and most are simply unable to work or hold a steady job. They live from month to month, from one government check to another, barely making it, sometimes going without a meal, and often struggling to survive by eating all the wrong food. What does it mean for these people to believe in God?
Other people have trouble believing in God because they have experienced one bad break after another, one heartache after another, one disappointment or failure after another. I think of the man who thought he was marrying the woman of his dreams that turned out to be a nightmare. I think of the parents who were brought to the brink of bankruptcy because of the actions of their son. I think of the young man whose parents could not afford to send him to the college. I think of the middle age woman who was unable to conceive and bear a child, though she tried desperately to have one for many years. I think of the man who lost his job at the age of 52 after his company moved the plant to Mexico, and he wondered what type of job would he ever hold again and how he would provide for his wife and three children. You can think of your own scenario, I am sure. There are too many people who have had too much heartbreak for belief in God to come easy.
But perhaps we have to back up and re-define our use of the word “God.” God is a generic word like aspirin. People use the word to mean any number of things, but when Christians refer to God, we mean the God of Jesus Christ; the God who suffered, died and was buried but rose on the third day; the God who knows our pains and sorrows, and bears our burdens. This is a wounded God, a crucified God a God who knows hurt and pain and grief. This is not the God of the Silicon Valley elite or Hollywood movie stars. This is not the God of the rich and famous, the successful and powerful. This is the God who knows rejection, failure, and disappointment. This God triumphs in the resurrection but only after he suffered and died on the cross.
This, dear people, is the God of Jesus the God Thomas confronts eight days after the resurrection. Thomas expected a God who would vanquish his enemies, a God who would never feel forsaken or know sorrow a God without any scars or wounds. Yet there stands the risen Jesus who has been to hell and back, showing him his wounds and asking him to believe in him. Years ago I heard a man describe two paintings in his home. One was of the figure in Jesus’ story of the rich man whose crops produced so abundantly that he decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones, and said to his soul, “Soul, eat, drink, and have a great time, for tomorrow you die.” The caption under this painting said: “The Failure That Looked like Success.” The other painting, the companion painting, was of Jesus dying on the cross, and the crown of thorns on his head, his chin drooping against his chest, the crude nails in his hands, and all his friends off somewhere in hiding. The caption under this picture said: “The Success That Looked like Failure.” Do you see what this means for you and me anytime we feel hard pressed or beaten down? It means that we have a God who has experienced the worst things that can happen to human beings – evil, suffering and death – and has overcome them all. This God knows what it is like to be an outcast, marginalized, and rejected, yet triumphs over every power that would destroy our human worth. “Human hope is the greatest power in life and the only thing that defeats death,” someone once wrote. Well, in Jesus hope has conquered despair, life has defeated death, and love has overcome hate. Whatever the world throws at us, we know that in the end God’s victory in Jesus is final and complete. If you believe this, then you can rebound from any adversity that comes your way. As a parish priest, I have always been inspired by John Wesley, and his determination to preach the gospel despite intense opposition from the leaders of the Established Church. In his diary Wesley writes: “Sunday, A.M., May 5: Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore... Sunday, P.M., May 5 Preached in St. John’s. Wardens said “Get out and stay out... Sunday, A.M., May 12 Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either... Sunday, A.M., May 19 Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Wardens called special meeting and said I couldn’t return... Sunday, P.M., May 19 Preached on street. Kicked off the street... Sunday, A.M., May 26 Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service... Sunday, A.M., June 2 Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway... Sunday, P.M., June 2 Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.”  Winston Churchill, who knew something about adversity, said that there are six words for success: Never, never, never, never give up. Yes, life can throw hard punches at us, knock the wind right out of us, and make us feel helpless, hopeless and alone. Our health can fail us, our friends can disappoint us, and the things we counted on for security can collapse right under us. I think of Dave Dravecky, the former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. At the peak of his career in 1991 he lost his pitching arm to cancer. Those who watched his 1989 comeback will never forget the Montreal game. Dave’s left arm snapped with a deafening crack that could be heard in the stands. It is bad enough to have cancer, let alone face the amputation of an arm, but then on top of that, to lose a promising career as a major league baseball player. Dave Dravecky was honest enough to admit that he faced his own doubts and that faith was not always easy. And yet, he wrote, “I am convinced there is a God. That no matter what happens to me, there is a purpose for it and behind that purpose stands a loving, caring God.”  I dare say that Dave Dravecky has probably done more good with one arm than he ever did with two arms because he has inspired and uplifted people to cope with their own pain and suffering. If the resurrection means anything, it means that life is not over when tragedy comes our way, because it is then that the power of God is manifest in our lives, helping us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death into the realm of glorious light. You and I may never face the adversity of John Wesley or Dave Dravecky, and yet we can keep the faith that God will see us through whatever challenge or trial comes our way. We can focus on Jesus, knowing that in the end God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We can face the heartaches of life knowing that God is with us every step of the way. Yes, life can be tough, but God will uphold us with everlasting arms. There is simply no adversity that we cannot face in the power of Christ’s resurrection. Years ago when I was visiting my friend in England, a neighbour came over for tea and spoke of his experience in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. It was a place of unbearable torture and human degradation. The prisoners were treated horribly and their lives seemed not worth living. One of the prisoners, who sang in a church choir before he went into the military, would sometimes hum songs to himself as the prisoners were being led out to the fields to work each day. Walking along in the sweltering heat, miserable, unfed, unwashed, he would sing. He often hummed William Blake’s great poem “Jerusalem” put to music by the British church composer Sir Charles Hubert Parry. The Japanese guards did not know the tune, so the song meant nothing to them. But to the prisoners, the tune evoked freedom, hope and new life.
I will not cease from mental flight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
Soon, the whole camp was humming the tune each day on the way out to work, with the guards oblivious to the revolutionary significance of this defiant gesture. So what does it mean to believe in God in a world like this? Well, if you are a Christian who believes in the resurrection of Jesus, then it means affirming that the best is yet to come, that evil and death never have the last word in our lives, and that God will always make a way where there is no way. So don’t despair. Don’t become cynical or bitter. Don’t admit defeat. Focus on Jesus, keep the faith, persevere, and live in the power of the resurrection, triumphantly, joyfully and hopefully, today and forever.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Friday Funnies

Maybe not so much funny ha-ha, but funny uh-oh.  Or oddly funny.  Or...just dumbly funny...


I have many contemporary writers that I look to for ideas, inspiration and focus.  One of those is Victor Davis Hanson.  This guy has a pretty impressive résumé.  The part I like best is that he's a Professor at Stanford, a prolific and award winning author, and a farmer in the Salinas valley.  Talk about perspective!

He wrote a piece this week for Real Clear Politics that seems to me to be a very insightful analysis of the Obama Presidency.  You can read it here.  He takes a look back at the legacy that Obama leaves from the perspective of 2017.  Like any prophesy, there is a bit of wishful thinking, a bit of guessing, and a healthy dose of projecting what is a disastrous Presidency into the future.

Of course, economics plays a big part of the prediction
There will be no more $1 trillion deficits. About $10 trillion will have been added to the national debt during the Obama administration, on top of the more than $4 trillion from the prior eight-year George W. Bush administration. That staggering bipartisan sum will force the next president to be a deficit hawk, both fiscally and politically

In addition, there will be no huge new federal spending programs -- no third or fourth stimulus, no vast new entitlements. The debt is so large and voters so tired of massive borrowing that the next president will talk not of "investments" but of balancing the budget. In 2016, President Hillary Clinton or President Marco Rubio will tell us that cutting spending and living within our means is the new cool.
President Clinton or President Rubio.  Hmmmmm...I'm sure there are miles to go before we get there.  But I have to admit (and I can't believe I admit this) I'd take Bubba's wife over the great divider that we have now.  But it's 3 years away...anything can happen.

I also have to admit that the prediction I really (and I think many people really) hope comes to fruition is this one
Obamacare may remain in name, but in fact most of its provisions will be discarded or amended. Its full implementation next year will result in almost everything that was not supposed to happen: higher health-care premiums, rationed care, scarcer doctors and fewer jobs. Obamacare will mostly go the way of the Defense of Marriage Act -- officially the law of the land, but its enforcement simply ignored by the powers that be
 And this one has to happen.  If it doesn't, well...then we're not only doomed, we're stupid.
Despite an increase in carbon emissions since 2000, the planet did not heat up in the last 15 years. Scientists will continue to argue over global warming, but politicians will not talk much more of implementing costly cap-and-trade policies. They will still praise green energy as the way of the future, but they will not continue the massive subsidies to substitute it for far cheaper fossil fuels.
Instead, expect a renewal of federal oil and natural gas leases on public lands. There is too much newly discovered recoverable energy on federal property to continue to delay its full production -- and too much of an upside in cheaper gas at the pump, more independence from Middle East autocracies, more jobs, more money and more economic growth.
And the absolute worst part of who Obama is will hopefully fade away without doing irreparable harm on the country...
The next president will jettison the sort of class warfare that has led only to short-term political gain and long-term polarization. Obama's "fat cats" and "one percenters" will disappear from the presidential vocabulary. We will hear no more accusations that the successful really did not build their own businesses, or that they should have known when it was time not to profit because they had made quite enough money. Expect just the opposite: a Bill Clinton-like schmoozing of small businesses to please start buying, hiring and expanding again.
And while I think this is true, I also think it's sad...just really sad
Barack Obama is a landmark figure: young, charismatic, seemingly post-national and supposedly post-racial. For those reasons alone, he enjoys a level of unshakeable political support not predicated on the actual record of his tenure as president -- in the manner most remember fondly that he won the Nobel Prize but don't quite know what he did to earn it.
Obama's economic record will be dispassionately acknowledged to be similar to that of Jimmy Carter. But, unlike Carter, Obama will remain a mythical figure in liberal circles.
To borrow a line from a classic Western, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." And so we will do just that. 


Saw this really cool list of "Spectacular Hidden Beaches" with some amazing photos.  You can see them here.  I like them all.  Would really like to visit all of them!  But I think I like this one best (I say think because I had to go through the list several times!)


Many know this poem by Kipling.  If you don't...you should.  I gave a copy to my son when he was about 16.  I'm pretty sure he still has it...


by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Great List

Saw this while doing some net surfing.  Most of it is spot on.  Good stuff to think about...
Things I learned from my father.

Wednesdays With Jimmy

For a while I did a little ditty called "Pet Peeve Wednesday".  But the trouble is I just don't have that many pet peeves.  Guess I'm just at heart a positive kind of guy.

So I'm thinking of another weekly feature.  I'm a Parrot head from way back.  Can't get enough of Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers.  Been to the concerts.  Listen to Margaritaville on Sirius.  Love to fantasize about the lifestyle.  So featuring a different song every week seems like a fun idea.  And as I stated in the very first post...it's my blog, I can do what I want.

Soooo, let's go down to "One Particular Harbor"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Danger Is Brewing...

Lots of joking, amongst those who have never been there or never come close to combat, about the bluster of Kim Jung-un, the baby faced and drastically inexperienced, Supreme Leader of North Korea.  Seems like there are an increasing number of funny little cartoons and dismissive comments by the know-nothing's.  Here's a good example...
Now I've got as good a sense of humor as anyone...some might say better.  But here's the problem.  Although they have dated equipment, they are fanatics.  Although they can't inflict the damage that they say, they can still do huge damage.  They have a military of over 9 Million people, by far the largest military in the world.  The populace has been brainwashed.  They seem to be automatons.  They have nothing to lose.  As we used to like to say when planning alpha strikes, there is a quality in quantity.  In short, don't underestimate how heinous a war on the Korean peninsula would be.

The little blurb below gives a little taste of the heroic actions of MG O.P. Smith and his 1st Marine Division at Chosin Reservoir.  It is an unbelievable and harrowing story.  Well worth reading about and there are a lot of accounts.  One of the best is in Tom Rick's new book, "The Generals".  Check it out.
In October 1950, the 1st Marine Division landed at Wonsan on the eastern side of Korea under the command of the Army's X Corps commanded by Edward Almond. Almond and USMC MG O.P. Smith shared a mutual loathing that dated back to a meeting between the two in Japan before the landing at Inchon.  During the meeting Almond had spoken of how easy amphibious landings were although he had never planned or taken part in one and then referred to Smith as Son although he was only 10 months older than he was. Smith and the Marine command also felt Almond was overly aggressive and were sure that there were large numbers of Chinese Forces in North Korea when higher headquarters in Tokyo was telling them it was not the case.  Although ordered to go north to the Yalu River as fast as he could, Smith continuously slowed the division's march to the point of near insubordination. Also along the way he established supply points and an airfield.  In November 1950, with the 1st Marine Division surrounded at the Chosin Reservoir, he directed the breakout and subsequent 70 miles (110 km) march to the seaport of Hungnam. In the end his careful march north and ability to keep the division together saved it from total destruction and quite possibly the entire X Corps.
Korea is an interesting place.  They are a people ready for war.  The residents of that country have been on the edge of ready since 1951.  Think about that.  62 years! It's a harsh environment made harsher by the threat of war.  They have built a large, vibrant city in Seoul.  But it could all go up in smoke in a matter of weeks. And we have several thousand troops there.  They would be hard pressed to stop the hordes from the North in the first days of the war.   The casualties would be significant.  And this is without the use of nuclear weapons.  It's just through overwhelming numbers.  Oh don't get me wrong, we and the South Koreans would do tremendous harm and in the end prevail.  But it wouldn't be easy.  It wouldn't be clean.  It would be a long slog.  And after 12 years of war...I don't think the American people are remotely ready for that.  The evening news dutifully reports about the latest outrageous claim from North Korea most nights, but the stories are getting fewer and less detailed.  There is no awareness of the imminent danger.  Hope I'm wrong, but there is danger brewing on the Korean peninsula.  I think the military is doing what they can to prepare.  Not sure anyone else is...