Thursday, December 29, 2011

herding cats

video
It's not unlike herding cats.

This brief video, taken from my i-Phone, illustrates how three grandsons can be completely uncooperative, while giving the appearance of participating in a brief group video.

The occasion was a birthday party (for me) and Emilie (youngest and childless but holding her nephew in the video - right) gave me an Arkansas Toothpick for my birthday because presumably I needed one. The Romans would have called it a gladius... 

But I digress. Listen to the cooing and strange noises coming from composed adults, all in the effort to elicit a smile from a child. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Latin Rock

One of the things that I asked for this Christmas was music to complete my collection of the work of Santana. Carlo Santana is an old favorite of mine. Fortunately for me, the Christmas elves delivered.  (Thank you Amanda)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Your Mexican Get-Away





This Mexican Police Training Video demonstrates graphically how they extract information from those that they arrest. The first portion is sort of strange, showing a guy who threw up on himself, but then it moves toward their operational procedures. Like it, don't like it. Watch it, don't watch it. It can be disturbing, however it's part of every-day police and military operations in Mexico. No scars, marks or bruising results from using a bottle of soda water and a dirty rag.

For those of us who work in Mexico, this is something that you see, and it's something that is done. It might be disturbing to those who are safe at home in a peaceful country that is not at war.


It's just another day in Tijuana.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lost

I've been viewing episodes of the popular television series, Lost, on Netflix. When it was on prime time, I didn't have the time or inclination to watch it and wait for the next in a sequence of episodes. As with many series programs, if you aren't tuning in from the beginning, there are things that simply don't make sense. It's much like beginning a 500 page novel in the beginning.



The first season begins with a plane crash that strands the surviving passengers of Oceanic Airlines flight 815 on what seems to be adeserted tropical island. Their survival is threatened throughout the season by a number of mysterious entities, including polar bears, an unseen creature that roams the jungle (the "Smoke Monster"), and the island's malevolent, and largely unseen, inhabitants known as "the Others". They encounter a French woman named Danielle Rousseau who was shipwrecked on the island 16 years prior to their crash. They also find a mysterious metal hatch buried in the ground. While two characters try to force their way into the hatch, four other survivors attempt to leave the island on a raft that they have constructed. Meanwhile, flashbacks centered on individual survivors detail their lives prior to the plane crash.

The second season follows the growing conflict between the survivors and the Others, and continues the theme of the clash between faith and science, while resolving old mysteries and posing new ones. A power struggle between Jack and John over control of the guns and medicine in the hatch develops, resolved in "The Long Con" by the machinations of Sawyer when he gains control of them. New characters are introduced, including the tail-section survivors (the "Tailies") and other island inhabitants. The hatch is revealed to be a research station built by the Dharma Initiative, a scientific research project that was conducting experiments on the island decades earlier. A man namedDesmond Hume has been living in the hatch for 3 years, pushing a button every 108 minutes to prevent a catastrophic event from occurring. As the truth about the mysterious Others begins to unfold, one of the crash survivors betrays the other castaways, and the cause of the plane crash is revealed. And that's where I am, with four more seasons of programming to view.

I became interested in the show because I hung out in the area where it was filmed on Oahu when I was there this past month.

For you Lost fans, these snapshots of landscape should look familiar.

And these snapshots from the set of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (link)

It should be released in February 2012 and I don't know whether or not it will be a good film. I can tell you that I visited the mysterious temple and showed my Sampson-like strength.
The Mysterious Temple ruins on the Mysterious Island (below)
This was filmed in the same place where they filmed Godzilla, Lost, Jurassic Park and a number of other Hollywood classics.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

California History

In 1850

California became a state.

The people had no electricity, the state had no money. Almost everyone spoke Spanish. There were gunfights in the street. Chinese were considered second-class citizens and congregated into their own neighborhoods where everyone who didn't speak Spanish, spoke Chinese.

Nothing has changed except then the women had real breasts and the men didn't hold hands.

h/t WoFat

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just for the sake of cultural exchange

WoFat suggested this blog offering. So I share it, for what it's worth.

Seriously, if you plan to go 'down under', this might be worth knowing...

Yes, and when an Aussie Shiela tells you, "I could go a fag", that does not mean that she is a lesbian and wants to find a 'new friend'. It means that she wants one of your cigarettes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ye Olde Halloween Pumpkin Patch Adventure

I partnered up with my girls for a trip to the local pumpkin patch.

My granddaughter, Alyssa is clearly the ORIGINAL Snow White. 

They're all mine.

Liam's first pumpkin

Everyone is a winner on the Midway

And then there's the Pony Ride.

I haven't blogged much because work has been very intense lately, but no so intense that I can't spend a little quality time at the Pumpkin Patch.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Prep


My grandson, Liam, at 2 months (in a bunny suit, if you can't tell). I don't know how much trick-or-treating will be accomplished on Halloween with Liam. More of a photo op at this age.


Liam's Mother, Heather, is living with us while her husband is deployed to Afghanistan. Therefore Liam is a regular, where other grandchildren simply visit.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

What does he do for a living?


I wonder what my blog readers can draw from a face and perhaps from an 'attitude'? This man is known to at least one of you (so no spoilers).

He is:

  • Hated by many.
  • Admired by a few.
But WHAT do you think that he does for a living?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dome of Heaven



When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer 

Walt Whitman first published this in, Leaves of Grass. 

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.


I live in a city where the 'light pollution' blanks out much of the night sky. You can only see the brightest stars. However in the desert, or in the high mountains where the air is dry and clear, the Milky Way bursts brilliantly overhead.  And sometimes it seems that you can reach out and touch heaven.



###

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hey - Dude!

For those of you who know me personally, my idea of a great vacation (because most people don't share my interests in this department) is driving across the mountains or deserts in the most desolate place I can find. Because the best place on Earth to be is in the middle of nowhere.
It's why I turned a perfectly good Toyota FJ Cruiser into THE SCORPION (a very capable Toyota FJ). 

A friend of mine from the East Coast (of the US) recently invited me to go to a dude ranch with him and some of his buddies. They're in the computer software business. While software engineers aren't all 'soft', the name "Rancho de los Caballeros" (Ranch of the horseback riders) struck me as odd, even for a dude ranch. I asked him where it was. He said, "Wickenburg, Arizona". I've been through Wickenburg before and it's a wide patch of desert, about half an hour outside of Phoenix, on State Route 93 (a major drug trafficking route).

I asked him what 'we' would be doing. He said that everyone was planning a 'spa day', a golf day (I golf poorly), a morning riding on (local nag) genuine cow ponies (elderly, saddle weary, sway backed, flea bitten horses) and a genuine old west cookout. http://youtu.be/R6dm9rN6oTs

He had offered to pay for everything, which was very generous when you consider that the room alone is over $500 a night (for a joint outside Phoenix, nowhere near NOWHERE).


He referred to himself and his buddies as "the Three Amigos". I could be the fourth amigo if only I joined them. But somehow, I don't think it would work out.

While I was flattered to be asked, I declined once I checked my schedule.


Monday, October 17, 2011

A Portable Island Vacation

Are you thinking far enough out of the box when it comes to the concept of an island vacation? On what is coming to be known as a 'traditional island', you're stuck in one place. If the diving isn't up to your expectations, you can walk around to the other side of the island, but that ends it. There is also the matter of tourist trash and flotsam washed up on the shore. What do you do about these problems when you're on an island vacation? THIS may be your answer.


This is part of the company's promo:
The design as you can see is inspired by tropical islands, with huts, a pool and to top of that, a whole volcano that is sure not to erupt. Since this is a yacht, it comes packed with special VIP rooms, arcades, gym, lounges, spas and even a helipad. The volcano adds a lot of beauty to the whole look of the yacht, it also happens to have water flowing out of it onto the pool creating this amazing river complementing the whole tropical look. 
The back of the yacht has a retractable beach deck where structures float on the sea making the sea accessible to swim in and of course allow access to various water activities such as wake boarding and jet-skis. The whole concept is pure genius and the result looks even better.

This may be the ultimate in 'plastic', canned vacations where you can lounge on your simulated island, be served an umbrella drink by a hostess clad in a skimpy outfit and eat frozen food from the ship's galley without ever having to risk the 'danger' inherent in a genuine land mass.



I don't know how the swimming pool on the bow would handle heavy seas. I suspect that you could be sloshed overboard and might end up swimming for a 'real island'. (oh, the horror)



Thursday, October 13, 2011

The RIGHT (?) to student loans??

Why would anyone feel as if they have a right to steal from me? Yes, socialists have that as the hallmark of their political philosophy and the younger generation are confident that they are entitled to -- everything (money for nothing, chicks for free [LINK to Dire Straits])



The Occupy Wall Street crowd typify what is wrong with America:



And my rant today focuses on people who make really dumb choices and feel as if the general public should band together and set things right financially for them.


The national policy to award student loans for people, who, based upon their educational decisions, can not possibly pay them back is WRONG. A friend of mine's brother was placed into this decision. The guy had been in a bad auto accident and it left him in a bad way. The lenders gave him a lot of money in student loans and the poor guy was one of those souls who had difficulty maintaining part time work. He was not destined to be a captain of industry or a rocket scientist. The accident took that potential from him. Yet still the loans flowed.

People don't have a RIGHT to money for nothing.

And they should be protected against themselves when we offer them massive debt for an education that is unlikely to help them repay it.



Football Scouts - Start Here


I'll admit that C. Larry doesn't look like a first round draft pick at the moment, but by 2030, this kid will be in high demand.


And the girls will be swooning from here to Dallas - presuming that the Cowboys are smart enough to pick up his contract. I'll allow him to date the Cowboy's cheerleader of his choice. 

One of the best things about being a grandfather is the opportunity to armchair quarterback your grandchildren's lives. Will the grandchildren do what you suggest? Doubtful. However, much like fantasy football, you're able to enjoy the game without having to get any 'skin' in it.

I don't think that being a grandfather is better than being a father. One is simply an extension of the other, except that I think you appreciate the fleeting moments more.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is Jazz Dead?

I think not!

There are still audiences for toe-tapping Dixieland Jazz.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street


There is a group of people who have decided to 'occupy Wall Street'. They're unhappy that some people are making more money than they are, but that's about as far as it goes from a philosophical standpoint. Some are there protesting whaling, or advocating legalization of narcotics others pine for a return to the 1960's which they missed as an accident of birth timing.


I think that's about a far as it goes.

UPDATE: Commentator WoFat suggests that the woman in the front must be a government plant because she shaves under her arms. Neither WoFat nor I have ever seen a radical woman with shaved armpits. HOWEVER, if you look closely, somebody photoshopped the photo (not me) to white out the hairy pits and make the photo more appealing.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reflection and Action

Atonement and repentance are the theme of Yom Kippur (today). It's also a day when the Jewish people ask for forgiveness from people they may have slighted. The concept of approaching people sincerely and forthrightly and setting things right to the extent that you are able is the first step in atonement and repentance. One must do the same with God. 

Life is short, and we don't own the next second of breath. All we really have is those moments that have passed. Humanity is fallibility. So taking a moment to reflect on the past, on the future, on our relationships, on those around us and on our status with them and with God, is important.

This blog has its bawdy side, it's political side, and its personal side. And perhaps today, a moment of reflection is appropriate - maybe every day? The message of Yom Kippur is not merely to acknowledge the need for atonement and repentance but the need to take action in that regard. The first is much easier than the second. 


At least that was Kurt Cobain's take on it - before his suicide.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rules of Polite Behavior

(1) Don't tug on superman's cape.

(2) Don't spit in the wind.

(3) Don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger.

A post by Race Bannon on his blog, Race for Justice, a few days back, got me thinking about the late, great Jim Croce. He was one of my favorites. His wife, Astrid, opened Croce's, a restaurant in the Gas Lamp District in San Diego and I go there for supper occasionally when I'm in town.




"Don't go hustling people strange to you even if you do have a two-piece custom made pool cue." (Croce)

"An armed society is a polite society." -- me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

March of Time


Is it true that men age more quickly than women?
In the photo above, the man is showing the ravages of years 
                                                              while his wife is not.

Maybe women simply have more fun?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brothers

My brother died in an automobile accident when he was 27 years old. Losing him nearly killed me. Saying that long farewell to my brother, 18 months younger, hurt deeply. More than words can express.


People talk about the connection between brothers - that bond that binds them together, forged by blood and by mutually shared experiences. I see it in my two grandsons, growing up together.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bare Naked Ladies in Newport Beach

I hit "A Taste of Newport", which is sort of a street fair where restaurants from Newport Beach, California showcase some of their food. 


The Bare Naked Ladies played as the headliner. As you can see from this photo, the crowd was not particularly 'young'. But they rocked as best they could. 

With the economy being down the way it has been the police were vigilant. Nobody wants a replay of the Lido Island food riots. The police closed down the bridge and nobody could get in to clean the bottoms of the yachts and the domestics weren't able to change the sheets with fresh linen. It was a crisis. (yes, I'm kidding)


There was no excuse to leave the party hungry.




Summer is over. A Taste of Newport reminds us that soon the cold will sweep down from the north and even though people will still be able to wear t-shirts and shorts at midnight without discomfort, shorter days will make it difficult to keep your tan at the precise shade you desire.


Attacking "AttackWatch"

There have been several different versions of this sort of thing that the Obama Administration has put forward in an attempt to have people denounce their friends and neighbors to the government. The latest is Attack Watch at barackobama.com, the official website of the President of the United States. If you feel that somebody is saying something unfavorable about the narcissistic fool who occupies the White House, you should let him know, and this is the currently in-vogue method of doing it. The red, white and black color scheme harkens back to the days of the Third Reich. Now THEY knew how to turn in their neighbors. (Americans can be so pedantic)

I know (from reading the attack watch website) that it's somehow wrong to say anything unfavorable about the President's policies. Here is a trivial list of things that the current regime in the White House would prefer that you not speak about.

(1) Unemployment is as high as in America as it was during the Great Depression, it's only going higher and flawed government policies are exacerbating the situation. Just because it's true, doesn't mean that you should say it.

(2) Criticizing the Democratic Party's so-called "Stimulus Bills" is frowned upon. Yes, it's true that we've spent roughly a trillion dollars on 'stimulus' and it didn't do much but put large fortunes in the pockets of the Democratic Party faithful, but saying it is somehow 'wrong'.

(3) Denying that "Green Energy" programs are effective and desirable will get you reported to the government through Attack Watch. Never mind that the ones that the government funded (cronies of the President) seem to have all gone bankrupt to the tune of billions of dollars - "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, I am Oz the great and powerful."

(4) Expressing outrage that the US Government facilitated shipments of many thousands of firearms to drug cartels in Mexico (Operation Gunrunner) and concern that it goes all the way to President Barack Hussein Obama himself might get you denounced to the President, personally.

(5) Voicing concerns about the President's illegal alien relatives is bound to get you listed on Attack Watch. Aunt Zeituni Onyango, the famous welfare cheat and Onyango "Uncle Omar" Obama, the drunk driver who hit the police car recently, who was ordered to leave the United States as an undesirable alien a decade ago and went underground. When the police arrested Uncle Omar, he called the White House. I think that he called for bail money, not to turn in the police officers who arrested him as being "fishy". However, I have no first hand knowledge.

(6) Merely supporting a rival candidate for president may be enough to get you reported. The criteria are very vague, but be assured that the people you're reporting will be added to the enemies list and you will get credit for the denouncement. I'm sure that you get money for reporting these enemies of the state. Maybe payment comes in a small brown envelope, in cash? Money like that (free from the President himself) is bound to stimulate the economy.

(7) If you watch Fox News, do you qualify to be denounced? I suggest that it likely the case, but since the list of people who denounce and the criteria for that denouncement is secret, I don't know. Just to be on the safe side, you're better off watching an organ of the state such as MSNBC.

(8) Since it's not Vice President Joe Biden's 'rat point', I don't know if you can list people there who voice concerns that poor old Joe (Slow Joe) might be senile. However, when in doubt, denounce!

Hitler has the last word on the subject.

 (as usual)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Changing with the Seasons

No, my daughter Emilie didn't make the video, but she could have...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bring Back "Old Sparky"?

For those of you who don't know, Old Sparky is an electric chair used to execute criminals in the State of Florida. Since I am pro-death penalty, you can imagine that I agreed with Presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and his approach to the solution Texas pursues.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Timely and Timeless

A Few Timeless Sentiments from Thomas Paine



"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -

"To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not."

"When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon."

"When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary."

"A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."

If you have friends who are 'progressives', 
they won't understand any of this.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How did you spend your twenties?

I don't know whether or not the next US Presidential election will be between Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) and President Barack Obama or not. If character counts, the Zig Zag Man won't be re-elected.

(h/t WoFat)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Life Goes On (report from the West Coast)


The Eastern Seaboard (US) is preparing to be swept out to sea by Hurricane Irene and it's dominating the news. Christian media reports that it's God's wrath. Al Gore says that it's an inconvenient truth.



Meanwhile, on the West Coast, we're preparing for another perfect day to BBQ and maybe head down to the beach to surf or watch the surfers, whatever your preference. It's supposed to be over 100 (F) today, which means very little, because it's August.


So, while people on the East Coast crowd into markets to buy up all of the bottled water and canned food that they can find...


We're making do as best we can, throwing shrimp on the BBQ and just hanging out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Missing Cat (?)

Submitted from Southern California for your information. If your cat is missing, they found him somewhere on Sunset Blvd. (in Los Angeles)...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Environmentally Incorrect

Submitted for your consideration:





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