Friday, December 31

Out With the New - In With the Old

Time to ring the New Year in with all the traditional hoopla, including enjoying fireworks in the rain, watching the ball drop in Times Square and eating too much. Thankfully, I'm not doing any of these things this year. Our usual house party was skipped for the first time in recent history and Barb and I are just sitting back and enjoying a great movie (Luther) and a lousy one (13 Going on 30). Not hard to figure out who picked what.

One item of interest: The closing of Salinas' three public libraries, including the one named after John Steinbeck. An 8 million dollar shortfall (voters opted for police and fire protection), forced the local powers to send everyone to Prunedale for their weekly fix. Hey folks, there's a great library in Paso Robles! What gripes me isn't locking the doors. It's the locals blaming Governor Arnold for keeping monies that used to come to them, when they should be frying the former Gov. for getting us into this budget mess in the first place. And where does the Constitution provide for public libraries, payed for by taxpayers? The free ride is coming to an end, Americans. Time to fork over a few cents to borrow a book or read a magazine. And ask for donations so our poor can still visit. Problem solved.

It's 11:03 p.m. I should be sleeping, not listening to You've Got Mail in the background on TNT for the 100th time. All these girly movies end in the same way. Boy and girl almost don't get together, but then they always do. We know that all along. It's the getting there that wrenches the gut and brings the tears. "Why don't I just put these in water?" At least 80% of your will read that and know who said it and when and why in the movie. "John 3:16?" Maybe 20%. Lord, help us!

Folks, I strongly recommend that you rent "Luther" for a serious night in front of the television. It's one of the few historical films that's historical. Add great acting, strong storyline and emotionally moving themes. You won't feel like you've wasted $3.75. Not a good popcorn movie, though.

Saturday, December 25

Merry BusyNess

This season's number one complaint isn't replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays." It's the consternation of fighting traffic, long lines, shopping for hoardes of people, attending at least a dozen potlucks, dinners, brunches, gift openings, parties, and having to watch The Christmas Story on TBS for the millionth time. And you should know better than anyone (if you live near a WalMart) that it's a good thing people are a bit friendlier this time of year or the murder rate would double.

Thankfully, there is the day after Christmas when the warm, fuzzy memories replace the actual chaos, and normal ebbs back to the shore of life. I know it will be hard to get up and go to church for those with food hangovers, but you might miss a wonderful blessing if you stay away. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 14:1. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:10,11.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born [again], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12.

Saturday, December 11

Back to the Dump

Here we go again, but this time unplanned. After helping us get the tree at Lowe's and eating dinner here yesterday, Liz and Gary went and cleaned up his place. She called early this morning wanting me to go to the dump with her with the bagged stuff, so off we went to my almost favorite place in the area.

The fog and mist followed us all the way. One dreary date with destiny as we meandered through the back country roads, past vineyards, dairies and rusting pickups. Pretty quiet except for the wind whistling through the aging Silverado's weatherstripping. It was a good time to talk. Small and big stuff. Christmas scheduling plans, Gary's health, who was going to back into the slot at the recycling center.

Not many out today. Didn't take long to toss a dozen big bags, and nothing to clean up. The workers got their eyes full of Liz as she worked to unload. I snapped one sneak peek at them before leaving (remember, it's against their policy to do it, but my juvenile delinquent streak got the better of me).

I really don't think I'll need model releases for this picture anyway. Ha!

Barb and I took a dozen packages to the Post Office for mailing later. Only $48, so I wasn't too shocked. The shock came as we heard Christmas carols and music wafting through the place. Good thing it's not a government office or the ACLU would have been called in for sure! Kind of nice to see an 'almost' government institution giving their blessing for the true reason for the season. This whole anti-Christian thing at Christmas is making a lot of people hopping mad. Businesses are motivated by fear, not their discrimination policy.

Wednesday, December 8

Still Here and There

The season has taken a toll on my writing/blogging time, for which I make neither apologies nor amends. I do feel a little guilty, though, and offer this snippet to mitigate the feelings.

Pictured are my two concurrent bosses. Steve Kurtella and Dan Plunkett are both Presidents of Operations, Northern California Region, for K/P Corporation. Actually, Steve is in training. Dan is leaving shortly. Steve headed the S.F. facility for 18 years, making it the most profitable of our 11 divisions. Sorry to see Dan go after his short tenure, but he has better plans --- to take some time off and think about what he wants to do! No job to go to. May go to South America and live with a missionary family for a few months. May consider a number of business options. Real faith.

I've been asked to shoot a wedding in January. Man, it's been a LONG time since I've been the main shooter at Morris Chapel on the UOP campus. But it will be a low key affair, so there's no stress. Ha! Widow and widower and a small reception.

Wind and rain have been the order for the past few days. There's something about this winter that has whipped me into submission with its icy stare.

December bites my heavy heels;
It snaps with teeth a-grinnin'.
It chases fast and hard behind
Me while I'm runnin'.

The door at last is latched and locked;
The monster's kept at bay.
A load of wood and cozy fire
Have chased the beast away.

Haven't put up the outdoor lights yet. Will pick up a tree this Friday with Liz and Barb playing chief art critics. Angel comes back from her dads later and can help decorate it. I'll retreat into the computer room.

May this season's wonder and blessing be yours to enjoy as you give thanks to God for his infinite blessing --- His Son, Jesus the Messiah, Savior, Lord and Creator.

Saturday, November 20

Eating Breakfast With Santa

My Saturday morning ritual of reading the newspaper
at Denny's was punctuated with a visit from Santa.
He sat a few booths away. Unassuming, street clothes,
a really big guy. The give-away was the flowing white
beard. Our waitress, who had just complained about
Jingle Bell Rock playing in the background, perked up
and started the conversation.

Yeah, he was working one of the malls. A 'rookie.' His
Santa mentor had just died. He was probably nervous, but
I couldn't tell since his back was to me. Never saw his
face. The waitress carried on about her three kids. The
eight-year-old screamed and cried about having to sit on
Santa's lap last year, so would never do it again. The
almost four-year-old would be the most likely sitter this
year. Apparently there is an unpredictable willingness to
venture onto unfamiliar territory.

I still don't like this idea of lying to your kids. We
think it's harmless, but I disagree. In a world that is
full of advertised and unadvertised lies, kids need a
good dose of truth. Tell them Santa is a fake before he
comes down the chimney and they'll understand. They'll
still love you. Maybe more.

Tuesday, November 16

Modesto --- CA's New Mystery Spot

Who woulda thunk it? Modesto is the newest Mystery Spot
in California. Chandra Levi, Laci Peterson, and thousands
of Honda's, Camry's and Chevy pickups missing.
Ranked #1 in these United States for car thefts, little Modesto
had more than 6500 cars and trucks stolen last year.

The reason? There's more than one, but the top three are:

1. Joy riding or just needing transportation for the night.
2. A quick sell to support your drug habit. In case you
didn't know it, the Valley is the meth capital of the
3. Your car is too easy to steal. Late 80's thru mid 90's
models are big steal deals.

Please note that the highest risk cities are mostly in
California (6 out of the top 10). And what does that mean?
It means that if you live in California, one of the safest
places to live is in San Luis Obispo County. But have you
priced homes there lately? You're better off letting your
vehicle get stolen once in awhile!

Both murdering and stealing are sins in God's eyes. Both
reflect the utter and total depravity of fallen humanity.
And both anger and wanting what belongs to others are the
taletale hints of what is in our hearts...murder and theft.

Saturday, November 13

Traces of Faces

Dave's latest craze is looking for faces where you might not see them
ordinarily. Something your kids would enjoy doing, not an old start like
me. Oh, well, humor me.

This rock is about 3" wide, found at the beach north of Cambria, CA last
Sunday. Looks more like a prehistoric bowling ball, but served the purpose.

Ginnie's backyard boards some mysterious creatures, including this strange
rendition of John Kerry saying "OOOHHHHH! Shucks!" The worse for wear, this
wizened, weathered wannabe weeps like a wapiti.

The prize and surprize of the beach front visit was this wonderful example
of evolutionary progress. After creating the eyes of this creature, the teeth
(by chance, mind you) washed ashore and found their way to form a
smile --- all by themselves. A brain should drift in shortly.

We had a wonderful, but short, vacation in the Paso/Atascadero area, where
I celebrated my birthday with Ginnie's carrotcake, attended the Paso Gathering,
visited with a former schoolmate, Mike Edwards, took pictures at the beach and
in Solvang, enjoyed family (thanks everyone), and ate too much.

Friday, October 29

666 For Kerry

An inexplicable ABC News snafu, snapped by an observant observer who
has seemingly surmised the Satanic scenario surrounding the John
Kerry campaign.

Luna Tune

Nothing like a rare natural occurence to get out the neighbors,
binoculars and telescopes. And the cameras. My little digital had
more than it could handle, overexposing a bit and commanding a big
blur when I tried to zoom and handhold (I had the video on the tripod.)

Our neighbor tried out his untried telescope with zero results. It
was given to him, complete with a half dozen lenses or more. But no time
to read the instructions, and again, no tripod.

Across the street, young Eduardo had set up his LONG telephoto lens for
a look and maybe some pictures, I never asked him.

The three elementary school age girls next to him were huddled together
gaping in the almost dark front yard.

Nothing really exciting to watch, but it beat watching the last Red Sox
game for a half hour.

Saturday, October 23

Affording the Past

A rainy morning goose chase to the downtown Farmer's Market yielded
a quick ten minutes of realizing this wasn't your regular fare Flea
Market as advertised in the newspaper a few days ago. I wasn't looking
for Asian vegetables and 40 different varieties of fish. I was looking
for the old, crusty, vintage STUFF most people call junk.

It's the Grandma Skinner 'buy it cheap' and 'buy it if it might be worth
something someday' and 'boy, that's cute' gene. They're right: It's usually
junk to me, too. So I look for the esoteric, the hobby-connected, or "I'm
going to the Paso Gathering - might need a western belt buckle" items.

Today's fare included looking through another grandmother's stuff. Estate
pickings. San Francisco addressees. Lots of kitchen, old books, knick-
knack items. And they were pretty much giving the stuff away, so I picked
up two books by John Skinner, Scottish Episcopal Church defender of the faith,
for $1.00. Add value in the author's name (same as mine, of course)
and the 1788 publishing date for one of them. They'll look nice in my relic
laden living room for awhile.

Later went to a local Mustang Car Show with my neighbor. My first visit.
Lots of restored cars, along with a few mid 60's Falcons, a Shelby Cobra and a dragster.

This is a picture of the compact and muscular Cobra. Not my choice if I
had choices. But I was shocked to see an old Sunbeam Tiger all fixed up.

Hadn't seen one in years, and it brought back the old college days in El
Paso. My best friend had a Sunbeam Alpine that we terrorized the streets
with. A real little sports car, for sure. It lost its appeal when we drove
it to California once. What a ride! Sardines in the sardine can, loaded
hand gun in the glove box, and zipping across the desert like a little bug
on the asphalt.

Value is placed on everything we see. We're connoisseurs of all, weighing
things by past and present experience, what we've been told and believe,
and hopefully and most importantly by what God says about it. "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity," said the ancient king. Solomon had it all, saw
it all and did it all, yet pronounced the things of this world as passing,
unfulfilling and not worth getting worked up about, especially since you
came in naked and will leave with nothing as well.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone
loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in
the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing
away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
I John 2:15-17.

Pretty sobering considering our passionate affair with all that is STUFF in
the world. Lord, replace these desires for a pure and lasting desire to love
You and others before anything else.

Tuesday, October 19

Pretty Little Angel . . . Ears

Yeah, that's the Angel Bunny laughing while Grammy folds underwear
on the T.V. Or didn't you know about the new sitcom starring the
world famous B.S. Skinner? That's Barbara Sue, not what you were
thinking. Shame on you!

We were flooded today with an afternoon deluge. You couldn't see
across the street while the rain pounded our poor little hovel. The
perils of Providence.

Liz's store was robbed a few days ago by a 400 pound woman with a
butcher knife. She and her accomplice loaded up on Big and Tall pants
and other items. Over $1000 worth before heading north and robbing
another place using the same tried and true method. Thankfully, the
staff at the other store got the license number, so they were soon
apprehended. And thankfully, Liz wasn't working when it happened, but
had to deal with the police and DM right afterwards. (Assistant Mgr. stuff).
The manager was on a cruise. Good work, Elizabeth!

Thursday, October 14

National Stop Shaking Hands Day

It's unofficial. With the rationed flu vaccine, the experts are advising
everyone to stop shaking hands and give a salute instead. This will be
easy for present and former military people, but rather difficult for the
touchy-feely crowd.


* Try shaking or squeezing each other's left arm.
* Try the ancient custom of kissing each cheek.
* Try giving the other person a modest hug. That's
where only the shoulders touch.
* Just raise your right hand, like you were in court.
* Just smile and say something stupid like, "My doctor
doesn't want me to touch anyone."

Or if you just have to shake hands, always
have a packet of handiwipes with you. Pull one out after each
viral exposure and clean those digits up.

Saturday, October 9

Blue and Gray

The old '63 Chevy blue is slowly being replaced by
Pep Boys Varsity Gray Primer. It's still both blue
and gray, like my Civil War great-great grandfathers.
One fought for states rights, the other for big
government. Big government was against slavery. That's
the side I'll choose. Not big government, but freedom
from owning other people. Equality.

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,
'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very
religious; for as I was passing through and considering the
objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this
inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

'Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him
I proclaim to you. God, who made the world and everything
in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell
in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's
hands, as though He needed anything; since He gives to all
life, breath,and all things.

'And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell
on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-
appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so
that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might
grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of
us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.'" Acts 17:22-28

You can't get inequality from a common ancestry and common blood.
In God's sight, "all will appear before the judgment seat of God"
for "all have sinned." That's equality. Equally guilty according
to Paul's letter to the Romans, chapters 1-3. God doesn't judge by
outward appearance. He judges all sin without prejudice or favortism
using perfection as the yardstick. Only His Son, Jesus, has lived that
perfect life.

Where does that leave me, the imperfect sinner? Under God's judgment.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Romans 5:8,9

The sin penalty has been paid by the only One who could pay it, the
Son of God. I can't pay for my own sin, even though I spend an eternity
enduring God's wrath. Only Christ can make a substitutionary payment
on my behalf that satisfies God's demand. Love and grace defeating
sin, death and eternal darkness and separation.

Yes, we are all 'free' and equal in an earthly sense. We all bear God's image.
But in a spiritual sense, we are all slaves. Slaves to sin. Slaves to
despising God having any rule over us. Slaves to thinking life is all about
me and God's way be damned. Deaf to the truth of God's word and the joyful
life He promises to those who turn to Him in faith and love. Blind to the
beauty of His holiness.

Lord, open eyes, ears and hearts to receive You even now.

Delta Blues

Today's photo excursion:

This summer's levee break in the Lower Jones Tract flooded the island with
about 9' of water. They're supposed to have it all pumped out in November.
The delta area directly west of Stockton has had more than its share of
problems, including the decades old problem of eroding levees. They think
this one was caused by an over-energetic beaver. Crops, property and lots
of dollars are lost. Most of the levees were built by the original land
owners about 100 years ago, which explains part of the problem. You can see
the flooding in the distance, below Mt. Diablo. In the foreground you'll
see another huge problem, a Water Hyacinth epidemic.

Introduced from South America in the 1800's, "Water Hyacinth grows profusely, forming dense mats that can spread across water surfaces eventually choking the entire water body. It can destroy native wetlands and waterway and kill native fish and other wildlife. Furthermore, it causes high evaporation rate and loss of water and degrades water quality.

The fast-growing Water Hyacinth soon becomes a noxious weed outside its native habitat. Plants interlock in such a dense mass that a person could walk on a floating mat of them from one bank of a river to the other. The presence of Water Hyacinth disrupts all life on the water. By shading the water, these plants deprived native aquatic plants of sunlight and animals of oxygenated water. As the mats decay, there is a sharp increase in nutrient levels in the water, which spark off algal growths that further reduces oxygen levels."

It's beautiful stuff, but has been a cancer to the Delta waterways. Herbicidal
spraying is the main course of action locally.

Another headache for Delta lovers is the abundance of trash. This morning I saw
everything from bagged newspapers on land to a partly filled quart oil can floating in the water. Discarded shoes, food containers, clothing, metal, lumber, concrete,
and much more, all within 15' of where these pictures were taken. Even an old
picture frame.

Civilization's mandate of having "dominion" over this good earth includes a
mandate to keep it beautiful and ecologically in balance. God's glory is to be
reflected in creation. His love and providential care should be reflected in
how we treat it and use it.

Sunday, September 26

Moon Bowl and Dessert

Nothing like a the end of summer when the nights are cooler
and you can drag Main Street with the windows down and cruise
the bowling alley parking lot looking for a good picture.

Barb and I were waiting until our friends finished dinner before
meandering to their house for dessert. This was a special night.
Not because the moon was up, but because we were going to meet
a trio of Danish travelers who had just spent a few weeks visiting
our great state. We took a few pictures on the way.

That's hosts, Deb and Harry in back, Gudrun, Tove and Kurt in front.
It was Kurt and Tove's 39th wedding anniversary, but they don't
celebrate except on the milestone dates, so they were surprised
when Debby gave them an anniversary card. Guys, if you have trouble
remembering the day you got hitched, move to Denmark. They don't get
into trouble if they forget.

Anyway, it was a great visit. So be friendly to Danes the next time
you find one. They can be wonderful people!

Saturday, September 18

Pet Project


All ready for another 15 years, our domicile smiles
a sigh of relief. Project over, complete, almost.
Still the extra third coat on the south and west
sunshine sides to fill in the old cracks left by
a blasting summers. Still the spray insulation foam
between the north wall and roof joists, where they've
separated about an inch or less. Still the fact that
the roof needs replacing soon. Patching will only last
so long.

But it was a beautiful day. Overcast. Cool. A hint of fall
in the breeze. Despite a blister and roof shingle splinter
under my fingernail, there's little to complain about.

God is working, even when I am. Even when my work overshadows
His in my mind and I forget His presence. Oh, I pray when I
take that step off the extension ladder onto the brittle cedar
shake, but then I'm sidetracked.

Thank you, Lord, for not forgetting ME!

Tuesday, September 14

Holding On

I'm a kid again, flying circles around my dad.
"Hold on!" I scream as a dizzy blur of pickets,
Trees and summer grass race by.

He laughs at me, then shifts to supersonic speed.
I hear the wind and turn my head to see
His smiling face relishing the joy
Of giving joy away.


Wednesday, September 8

An Unusual Punctuation Test

Punctuate this line so it makes sense: "Rich where Dave had had had had had had had had had had had Jacks approval."

Looks pretty impossible, until you realize the breadth and depth of the English language in which nearly all things are possible.

Here is the MEMO that started the problem:

DATE: 9/9/04

TO: Dave

FROM: Jack

SUBJECT: Everyone Who Doesn't Vote Will Be Fired

It has come to my attention that my employees are political deadbeats. Therefore, starting this year, anyone who doesn't vote in the Presidential election will be terminated.

Ginnie had had this proposal last year, but we didn't act on it.

Consider yourselves duly warned and threatened.




Dave copied the memo for Ginnie, but in the second paragraph he left out one "had." Ginnie recopied the memo for everyone, but replaced the missing "had."

Later, she explained what happened to Rich, saying, "Rich, where Dave had had "had," "had" had "had had." "Had had" had had Jack's approval."


Sunday, September 5

Once and Future President


Barring unforseen events, scandals or God's good displeasure, Mr. President will remain so for a few more eventful years. Shortcomings and flaws aside, common sense forces the only sane conclusion --- George must stay, or liberals will play --- with your hard earned tax dollars and commitment to high moral standards in and out of government.

So my advice is for you to get out there and kiss the President, like it or not!

This is a guy who loves his mother (and dad). What do you hear about Kerry's folks?

Most of us don't know that the close of the convention includes a prayer for the needs of this nation and its leaders. Now you do.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34

"Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne." Proverbs 20:28

Wednesday, September 1

Bush Bash

We'll surely all be ready to take a vacation from the relentless political assault on our senses as soon as this convention is over. It's like a tractor beam, pulling us into something we enjoy and hate at the same time.

Last night's top gun created a stir on and off screen. People at work were impressed. Even someone who didn't see him was impressed! Ha! Impressive speaking, maybe, but he still won't get my vote next time around. Not conservative enough.

The giggling girls were cute. And only that. Makes me feel that I should pray more for their parents.

Now here is a lady. Rhetorical? Yes. Predictable? Most of the time. Classy? Always.

Sunday, August 29

Terrorism at the Dump

I drive a '63 Chevy pickup that's showing its old age as
I cover up the rust with gray primer. The poor thing needs a major
operation to revitalize it inside and out, but the energy and funds
are redirected to higher priorities.

I loaded her up with old boards, trash and tree trimmings yesterday
and headed for the dump, a one or two time ritual each year. To make
things more interesting, I grabbed the video camera and tried an
enroute commentary as Ol' Blue (and Gray) rolled down the highway.
This was a precarious situation due to the fact that there are only two
ways to shoot video when you're driving by yourself. One: put the
camera on the dashboard pointed forward out the window. In this case,
there is about a 3" space between the windshield wipers, enough to film
through the scratched and blurring glass to get a decent, albeit shaky
picture. And two: handhold the camera while steering with your left hand.
This way you can spice up the view by panning left, right, up, down, etc.
Your commentary will be more easily understood, also.

Unfortunately, this is not the safest nor most legal way to preserve those
warm and fuzzy memories. And in my truck there is the other minor problem
of the highspeed (third) gears disengaging if you're not continually holding
the gearshift lever down (column shifter). I can get about 10 seconds of
hands-off time before the crunch time is announced with a loud, whining
grinding coming from the transmission.

So being part juggler, able to steer with your knees, and making sure there's
no one around you are all pluses if you want to get that National Geographic shot.

I thought there might be a bit of value in setting the camera on the cab, pointing it
back toward the action while dumping my load. Big mistake. After tossing everything
and cleaning up, one of the orange traffic 'guards' came up to me and told me it was illegal
to be filming inside the landfill station without permission. I explained my reasons
for doing it. He was patient and kind, a little bit nervous. I told him if it was a problem
to call me and gave him my Dave Skinner Photography card. I'm waiting for the police
to arrive at the door and confiscate my 8mm film cassette.

Next time I'll ask, but there won't be a next time.

Sunday, August 22

Rooster Booster

We've lived in the city for the past 30+ years, moving a few times,
but always to another civilized part of town.

Many moons ago, we could hear a rooster crowing a few blocks away.
This rather nostalgic addition to our SUV crazed neighborhood always
put a smile on my face and told me that some of the people moving in
probably enjoyed a non-American culture.

Then about a month ago, the people on our south side thought it would
be good to start raising hens and a rooster, little caring that some people
on this side of the fence were light sleepers and only getting about 5 hours
sleep due to this more than exhuberant yellow crowned cock crowing at

Our neighbor, Wendy, called Animal Control more than once. They visited
the owners, were given warnings, ultimatums, etc. Okay, they'd take care
of it. Right. "Do you have a rooster?" "No," they said. They had given him
to their neighbor next to them.

My daughter yells at Barb this morning, "There's a rooster in our yard!"
Police were dispatched, a big net drawn, and the chase began. The bird 
hid under the Red Flame grape vines, but was soon flushed across the lawn,
around the back of the house and cornered on the north side. Finally netted
and grabbed by his cute little feet, it was more than granddaughter, Angel,
could stand. She loved the whole affair and had to explain the whole event
to me when I got home from church.

Case closed. No more early morning crowing tomorrow. No more excitement.
Wendy is wonderfully happy that the old bird knew how to fly and decided
to make his escape. Funny how some problems kind of solve themselves.

Friday, August 20

Blurbing Along

To those bloggers whose daily blurbs define their depth,

1. Like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest while no
one is there, a blogger's words are most likely falling on deaf
ears as well.

2. Blogging seems more an exercise in excesses than real
nuts and bolts reality.

3. Blogging is usually about the blogger, someone that
99.9 % of the population cares nothing about.

4. Revealing a true level of intelligence is an unintended
consequence of most blogging.

5. There is a simple reason why most bloggers are female.
[If you have hard evidence this is false, let me know]

6. Blogging is a fad that will fade into the cosmic background
in a few years.

7. The best blog site is one that your pet writes.

8. A blogger's time would be better spent reading the Bible.

9. No one gets paid for maintaining a blubbering blog.

and lastly,

10. Bloggers could care less what people like myself say.

Saturday, July 24

Life After Overtime

Blurry letters in a row.
Up and down, fast and slow.
Round and round, the rolls unwind,
I think I've almost lost my mind.
Stacks on stacks, cart after cart.
Bank of the West, have a heart!
Disclosure statements, half million strong.
All I know is it's taking too long.

Wednesday, July 7

Working Sabbatical

This week's time off is time on for the labor legion.
It's paint-the-house, two bedroom and living room re-do,
replace bad sprinkler heads, mix dump paint at Kelley
Moore, refinish and paint a 10 drawer dresser for Angel,
clean the garage, and who knows what else week.

We'll get an actual rest Saturday and Sunday, Lord willing.
At least I'm getting paid!

Monday, June 28

Party Survivors

Sunday's headache slowly dissipated
as the morning's church service and
class time ended. Thankfully. Especially
since I led the class.

The stress thing married yardwork, I guess.
The party's over. Never to be repeated.
Captured in pixelated, grey matter and analog form.
The birthday girl is still learning about
all the gifts she was given.

"And this makes a birdie sound, like this!"
"And do you know how to get the bubbles out?"

Grammy is the champion through all of this.
Full of energy and love, making the world go round.
There they go. Out to the backyard to test Angel's
new bubble-making toy in the Delta breeze.

Thank you, Lord, for these little ones who are
exploring their little worlds with true enthusiasm.
We old cogers think there's nothing more to explore.
Languishing on the edge of discovery, we would rather
be spoon-fed and diapered right before we exit this
"nothing new" existence. Ecclesiastes chapter 12 gives
a perfect rendition of this phenomenon. Oh, to be "without
hope in the world." What a miserable estate.

But hope is sure and sweet to those whose hope is Christ.
Saint Paul writes, " If in this life only we have hope in
Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now is
Christ risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits
of those who have fallen asleep . . . For as in Adam all
die, even so in Christ all [who believe in Him] shall be
made alive." I Corinthians 15:19-22

Saturday, June 26

Another Birthday Party

SpongeBob has capitulated to Nemo this year.
The party favors include underwater swim goggles
for the 9' pool, so you can see the bottom dwellers.

Angel will be 4 July 2. A whirlwind life in which
a spinning entourage of family holds on to the side
of the ship.

The divorce should be final soon, but the consequences
will never end.

Thursday, June 17

Having a Good Father's Day

The wheels of Providence turn ever surely, ever slowly.
God's temporal orchestra playing out each day and hour.
Pretty awful music to most.
A chalkboard and fingernail shudder.
Loved ones die.
Homes burn to the ground.
Marriages dissolve.

And in the midst of the pain God says these extraordinary words:

"And we know that all things work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

He doesn't say all things are good, but that all things are 'working
together' for good. The purposes, rhyme and reasons for life's horrors
will be made known in time. All questions will be answered. All tears
wiped away.

Of course, the implication is that all things are working together for
'bad' to those who don't love God, who don't know Him or follow His Son.

Will it be a good Father's Day for you?

Sunday, June 13

Nothing Was More American

"Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's 'evil empire.'
But he realized that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge within
its dark corridors. So the President resisted Soviet expansion and
pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when
communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these
pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge
from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and
to offer sincere cooperation.

Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted
magnanimity - and nothing was more American.

Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of his achievements. Ronald
Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavours
because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America
and what it stands for - freedom and opportunity for ordinary people."

Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Monday, June 7

An Untold Story About Ronald Reagan

[This story was called into radio talkshow host, Tom Sullivan, on
KFBK (Sacramento) on June 7, 2004, as heard by me, Wordydave. The
caller was at the following event.]


While governor of that great state of the Golden West, Ronald Reagan
decided to throw a backyard BBQ and party for his friends at his
home in Sacramento. A number of families attended, so there were kids
running here and there and kids playing in the pool.

Mr. Reagan was surrounded by friends, enjoying a conversation, when
he suddenly jumped up, ran to the pool, and dove in. Seconds later, he
surfaced with a young black boy in his arms. It wasn't clear how he knew
the youngster was on the bottom of the pool, maybe the other kids were in
a panic over him. Or maybe he was keeping an eye on all of them while he
was talking.

After making sure the child was okay, the drenched governor returned to
his friends and quipped about his "Mickey Mouse" wristwatch that had
stopped working. At that point, the caller took a Polaroid picture of the

Wanting to publish the picture and tell the story to the local newspaper,
the young man (caller) was dissuaded by his father. The incident never
made the news.

Saturday, June 5

Something Snailworthy

Granddaughter Angel has discovered the friendship of the
backyard snail. And since we have zillions of them in Grandma
Skinner's old ivy that she used to grow in San Luis Obispo,
Angel has a zillion new friends.

She likes to pair them up and give them rides on her little
cart, or put them in a bright yellow plastic cup and add some
grass for them to eat, or let them slime their way across her
hand. Their telescoping antennae with the little black 'eyes' on
the ends fascinate her, of course.

I was thinking: are there any slimy people in my life that I can
call 'friends' even though most folks would just rather step on them?

Saturday, May 29

Little Patriot


"Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but
our country. And, by the blessing of God, may that country itself
become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror,
but of wisdom, peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze
with admiration forever." --- Daniel Webster

Friday, May 28

Falling Together

Things usually fall apart. Science majors and smart people
call it 'entropy.' Simply put, everything in the universe
degenerates from a state of order to one of disorder. The
complex becomes simple. Mountains become molehills, stars
burn out, life ends. Pretty depressing stuff.

Depressing until you think about how the complex got here in
the first place. I mean, how do you get something from nothing,
if nothing was here in the beginning? And even if all the elements
were always here, what could possibly arrange them in such a way
as to produce anything closely approximating a single living cell?
DNA prohibits a chance encounter of chemicals producing it. Too
complex. Astronomically complex.

Design dictates a designer.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It
couldn't have happened any other way.

Monday, May 24

Tower Power

Is Paso building any new landmarks that will stand the test of time
as did the clock tower? The new library? The Emergency Center? What will
they look like 150 years from now?

Saturday, May 22

$60 Per Hour

For those of us who dream of that perfect job, your dreams
have been answered:

This job pays about $60 per hour, many times more.

This is a job you will be asked to smile while performing.

This is a job where people will smile at you and praise you while
you do good work.

This is a job where you may or may not work really hard.

This is usually an indoor job.

This is a job where you'll usually be working with younger people.

This is a job that almost anyone can do.

This is a job that will give you a sense of accomplishment.

This is a job that some of us may have had in the past and despised it.

This is a job that ranks low on the 'great jobs' ranking poll.

This job is waitressing.

Go figure . . . I give the girl a $5 tip for less than 5 minutes of her time. That is $60 an hour plus her regular wages.

It's time to stop feeling sorry for the lowly table server.

Thursday, May 20

That Green Spider

No blister draws sharper than interest on money.
It works day and night; in fair weather and foul.
It gnaws at a man's substance with invisible teeth.
It binds industry with its film, as a fly is bound with a spider's web.

Debt rolls a man over and over, binding him hand and foot,
and letting him hang on the fatal mesh, till the long-legged interest devours him.
One had better make his bed of Canada thistles, than attempt to lie at ease upon interest.


Friday, May 14

Angel the Bug

Yes, she's here at my side,
A fidgitying bug, never stopping
That hyper-chronic-movement.

Staccato mouth ablare,
"Can I play that game on that
computer?" "I didn't play on the
computer." "Papa? I didn't play
on the computer." "I wanted to play
on the computer." "I don't have no game
to play on the computer." " Or I'm goin'
to get mad if you don't put me on the computer,
papa." "Papa!" "Papa?" "Huh?" "If you don't put
me on the computer, I'm goin' to get mad."

All matter-of-factly. All the normal part
of this 3 year old's daily daily.

"I wanna see it!" (Angel)

Monday, May 10

On the Death of Our Canary, Chrysostom

Birdless . . .

Tuesday, May 4

Lizzy's Got A Brand New Job

The new Big and Tall girl.
Storming the aisles, smile flashing,
Making the sales.
$1000 here, $600 there.
And that was Monday.

Congratulations to a 5 foot hotdog.

Mother's Day Poem

Momma, Ma, Mom or Mother,
You're known by each, but yet another
Appellation's better than the rest:
True and gentle Friend is best.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day thinking about
and praying for all your kids, grandkids and
great-grandkids. (You're going to be busy!)

Monday, April 26

Food Fest

Thirty thousand pounds of asparagus,
freshly cut in Stockton, the spear capital
of the world.

Deep fried, pastaed, cheesed, dunked,
sauteed, barbequed, you name it.
They ran out of the stuff a little after
6:00 p.m. on Sunday. About 150,000
ticket holders braved the heat, long
lines and each other to get a mouthful.

I watched the hordes on the local cable
channel live. Like ants in an ant farm.
Liz and Hillary were there. Two little ants
on the screen. They didn't want to stand
in line for an hour. A kid thing. You can
see a picture here:

Guess I'm a kid, too. I just watched the
tube and ate a hot dog

Saturday, April 17

Sum It Up

"Sum up at night what thou hast done by day,
and in the morning what thou hast to do; dress
and undress thy soul; mark the decay and growth
of it. If with thy watch, that too be down, then wind
up both. Since thou shalt be most surely judged, make
thine accounts agree." ---- George Herbert

Sunday, April 11

Still Minding the Score

God has given us this thing called memory. Words, sounds,
sights, thoughts --- most are fleeting, but a few take up per-
petual residence. We're great 'replayers.' We can sing the same
song or melody or few notes all day long --- even when we don't
want to. In our worried way we chew on the 'what if?' and 'why?'
scenarios like uncontented cows in a rainstorm.

What if we could replace those broken records with a new song
that doesn't get old? God's Word will satisfy when everything else

"Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day . . .
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!" --- Psalm 119:97,103

Friday, April 9

Paso - Paradise Lost

It just wasn't the dramatic horror show I somewhat
expected. Rubbled remnants had been removed. Most
businesses were bustling. Traffic was trafficking. And
spring's mind-blowing symphony of color and warmth
was mesmerizing.

Sanitized --- except for the tourist attractions: the
aquatic sulfur pit, demolished corners, red-tag graffiti,
and warning signs posted here and there.

Normalized --- except for the at-your-wit's-end drivers
who are cursing the day they moved or landed a job
east of the Salinas River. We drove into town on a nearly
deserted Union Road from Hwy. 46, waited at the bottom
of the hill for a loaded truck leaving a new development
with its graded dirt. The flagman didn't smile. Clue number

Mobilized --- Then we tried to merge onto the 13th Street bridge
at the bottom of Creston Road. It was about 2:30 and
the cars were backed up a quarter mile up the hill. The
car in front of me made a mad dash at the traffic, trying
to squeeze into the flow. Unfortunately, he picked the
wrong van to squeeze in front of. The van driver wasn't
impressed. In fact, he was SSSSSSOOOOOOO unimpressed
that he almost rear-ended that poor little car in front of
him. Got right up on the other guy's bumper like he was
going to kick him in the pants. The man in front had to open
his door to see if there was enough room to keep
going without getting hit! Thankfully, neither one of them
had a gun. Unbelievable! At least to me. But
what do I know? I'm a foreigner now. A bona fide alien who
lives 235 miles away and only visits a few times a year.

Thursday, April 1

Free at Last

"It is a fearful thing to lead this great
peaceful people into war, into the most
terrible and disastrous of all wars,
civilization itself seeming to be in the
balance. But the right is more precious
than peace, and we shall fight for the
things which we have always carried
nearest our hearts---for democracy, for
the right of those who submit to authority
to have a voice in their own governments,
for the rights and liberties of small nations,
for a universal dominion of right by such
a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace
and safety to all nations and make the world
itself at last free."

Woodrow Wilson

(American President during
World War I, for those of you who didn't
learn about him)

Sunday, March 28

Slap Happy

Spring's annual sacrament sends me reeling,
Rolling, landing in a face-slapped sprawl
Among parading efflorescence.
Blessed shock treatment for a wintry soul.

Wednesday, March 24

Paso Police Stuff

On the light side:

March 4, 2:28 p.m. Subject running up the street making squeaky noises
with his shoes, annoying reporting party. When reporting party approached
him, he threatened reporting party.

Feb. 28, 9:59 p.m. Sixty year old female in lingerie walking up and down
driveway talking to herself. Officer advised female was on phone.

March 5, 8:16 p.m. Approximately ten juveniles were in the front lobby
entrance of the Public Safety [police and fire] building. The juveniles stated
they wanted to pray for the prisoners in jail. The group was let into the lobby
and prayed.

March 6, 8:30 a.m. Report of a suspicious male subject, described as a
blond man wearing an army jacket and a backpack. He appeared to be
fighting with himself.

That's four items out of about 125 that I perused in the Press. You
don't want to hear the others. Pray for Paso's police officers and other
safety workers. It can't be any fun dealing with the dark side.

Paso Thanks the Governator

Congratulations to Paso Mayor Frank Meecham, his wife and others for surprising
the folks in Sacramento (especially Arnold) with a framed Thank You for
the governor's help following the December earthquake. Gov. S. was duly impressed
with the gesture, shocked that anyone would break from the 'thankless' norm.

Sunday, March 21

The Underdog Thing

It's the underdog thing. The gut-wrenching hunger for a major
upset. The lion-roaring desire to see the mouse play the man.
The hope that your David is going to win against their Goliath.

I remember the dropped-jaw reaction to my team going
to the finals in 1967. The unheard of UTEP. That's El Paso back
in the 60's when coach Haskins nurtured a bunch of nobodies to
become the greats that spring.

This year's players include more of the little guys in another home
team, the UOP Tigers from Stockton, CA. After upsetting Providence,
they're now playing Kansas with 1 minute to go. Getting kicked a bit.
Behind 18 points. But who cares if they lose. Not me. They made it this
far and there are no regrets. Not after 30+ years of trying to make it
and getting this far.

God says the angels in heaven rejoice when someone repents and
trusts in Christ for salvation. The ultimate underdog victory.

Sunday, March 14

Losing $1 Million

The greatest desert billing of the century: Design an off-road vehicle that is
autonomously remote-controlled. Use infra-red technology, sonar, video,
whatever you want. All you have to do is maintain its life over 140 miles of
rock and roll desert in southern California and Nevada. Then sit back and
enjoy your greatly deserved wealth.

A week ago or so, there were at least 25 entries, including a robot motorcycle.
This particular entry crashed 150 times in tests and was disqualified before the
race. Others were pared, as well, so at the official start Saturday only 13 entries
competed for the title of desert robot champ.

This 'project' was sponsored by the Pentagon, paid for by you and me, and was
a dismal failure. Most of the vehicles broke down within eye-shot of the starting
line. A few made it a few more miles. One of them completed seven before its wheels
got stuck on an 'obstacle', kept spinning and caught on fire. OOOOOKKKAAAAYYY!

And where are we now? Back to the brainstorming backyard of roboteering
engineering. Back to trying for 14 miles next year.

I want to personally thank all of you who made entries, lost, and saved me a few
dollars in taxes. On the other hand, I'll save a lot more as soon as you learn how
we can fight a personnel-free war.

Saturday, March 13

Mixing It Up In The Cul-de-Sac

Few places compare to our cul-de-sac nation.
One nation divisible by country of origin.
One nation indivisible by choice.
Today's birthday party next door blended both
Mexican and American traditions: party favors,
Bingo, three pinatas, carrot cake, inflated 'castle'
bouncer, south of the border dishes, American
sandwiches. Lots of Spanish spoken as relatives
arrived from Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

I'm the white guy, along with Andy and his red-
haired American Irish wife, Shannon. Foday came
over to enjoy our company. He's from a country in
West Africa. Great English accent. Tang and his wife
and boy came from across the street, where three
families live. Vietnamese. Miguel, a newcomer to
the neighborhood joined us from down on the
corner. The Filipino and Puerto Rican families
didn't come. Probably because they don't have any
young kids.

So English was the second language, but that's okay.
Enjoying each other was the first.

Monday, March 8

Ann Coulter's Passion

Although I don't endorse the movie, Gibson's The Passion has
certainly promoted a nation-wide banging of the keyboards. Ann Coulter's recent
column reveals the shallowness of those political types who equate Jesus with
the meek and milktoasted guy who went around Israel saying nice things all the
time. She says:

"In fact, Jesus' distinctive message was: People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day because I'm here to redeem you even though you don't deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it. That is the reason He is called "Christ the Redeemer" rather than "Christ the Moron Driving Around in a Volvo With a 'Be Nice to People' Bumper Sticker on It." "

Here's the whole article:

Saturday, March 6

Hidalgo Hype

Everyone is making a big deal about Frank T. Hopkins' bio
about his life adventures. Hopefully, the effort (and there
has been MUCH of it) to debunk the 'legend' won't give the
boot to these fabrications. If nothing else, Hopkins was a
great storyteller, the John Grisham of his day (1930's), giving the
folks exactly what they wanted --- pure entertainment.

I'm not excusing his sin of lying and stretching the
truth. We'll all give account to God for each and every word
we say ("But I say unto you, That every idle word that men
shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of
judgment." --- Jesus). Too bad Frank felt compelled to fool
the public just to make a name for himself.

Anyway, we've just seen the movie. Pretty good
scriptwriting, great music, nice photography, superb
costuming, and wonderful acting EXCEPT for the main character,
whose cardboard lines and presentation probably ruin it for
a lot of viewers. The storyline is predictable, but engaging.
Overall, I would raise the 1-star rating to 3 if you're one who
roots for the underdog, doesn't like gratuitous sex or
swearing, and loves a good horse race. This movie grabbed
me much more than Seabiscuit.

True Fibs

Today we'll meander a few blocks to the theatre so wifie can
see the new movie, Hidalgo. Says it's based on a true story.
OOOOKKKAAAYYY. According to the History Channel, all efforts
were made to track down the truth of this adventure.
All dead ends. Nothing could be substantiated.

When you see "Based on a True Story" figure in the poetic license.

Ditto "The Passion of the Christ." This story is loosely based on
the Bible and more exactly based on the book by Anne Catherine
Emmerich. This Roman Catholic nun's 18th century visions and
apparitions led her to write "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord
Jesus Christ," which Mel Gibson venerates.
Many of the extra-biblical scenes and dialogue originated
from this book. Please do your homework before seeing or giving
wholehearted approval of this movie.

The Perfect P & S

My eyes automatically scan for black plastic.
Flea market cacophony blares its wares.
I don't like paying over $3 for a point and shoot.
Most of them don't work, don't work well, or have lousy lenses.

But today's search was worth it:
An 80's vintage Nikon One Touch in almost mint condition. $3.
Cleaned it up, double-A'd it, popped in ASA 200 and started shooting.
Sounds like a tank grinding away in a WWII documentary.

Looked online for a free manual, but have to pay about $10.
No way. I've figured it out on my own anyway.
I especially like the feature of pre-focusing on something,
freezing the focus, composing, then shooting.
Reviews online rate its lens as sharper than most 2004 cameras.

We'll see after the first roll is drugstored for me.

Tuesday, March 2


More voting stuff today.
Let's save America in the voting booth.
Let's return to fiscal sanity and the moral high ground.
Let's throw more money down the black holes
And feel like we've given a little extra at church.

We just don't get it.

We'd all be rich if we kept just ONE law:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Printer's Hands

These are a printer's hands ---
Brothers to bark and stone,
Sisters to papered sand,
Strangers to monochrome.

These are a printer's hands ---
Turning the tulip's pose,
Tracing the lily's bands,
Teasing a morning rose.


Sunday, February 22

Another Rainy Day

This take for granted blessing chalks
The Desolation Wilderness
And paints my Valley backyard green ---
The Artist's brush is very big.

Friday, February 20

The Baying Burble Tree

In the silence of September
Where the gleaming Grundles grow,
Beneath the Baying Burble Tree
Across the hedging row,

There lives a cogered gentleman
Among the crazy Cricks,
A man of mirth and melody
Who peddles Burble sticks.

His voice is heard above the heath
And down below the holler,
Singing, "Buy my Baying Burble sticks
For a dillar and a dollar!"

Well now, all the Cricks and Creaks and Croaks
That lived around the land
Felt that buying silly Burble sticks
Was more than they could stand.

And so, they got them axes, gropes and graws,
Then vowed a villians vow:
"Tomorrow noon where Burble stands,
The plog will pull the plow!"

That night, the old and cogered gentleman
Could hear their cruel cries,
As Cricks and Croaks flew round their fires
That flamed the forest skies.

What will he do whose only joy
And job will turn to dust?
What could he do that could be done
Before the Burble busts?

Then as the morning billows blushed
Above the Tootle trees,
And yellow Yikes and Yolo Balls
Were swaying in the breeze,

The strangest sight that you could see
Was seen up in the sky:
A giant Baying Burble tree
And passenger sailed by.

There sitting on a lumpy limb
And holding on for life,
The dear old cogered gentleman
Notched a message with his knife.

And this is what the writing read
Although the tree grew smaller:
"Come ride the flying Burble tree
For a dillar and a dollar!"

The moral of the story is
A short and simple saying:
"Enterprise works miracles,
But not without much praying."


Sunday, February 15

Happy Valentine's Day, Mr. President

Flowering so close to Lincoln's birthday,
Wild romance and ragged cheeks embrace.
Roses' velvet kissed by rugged hands,
Peaceful sighs submerged in stormy tears.

Two loves, yet one the greater.

Wednesday, February 11

Morning Dusk

The nights are longer now. That blaze of glory
I used to see stealing up the grass
And roses is hiding east of the sierra.
Maybe you can catch it when I leave.

Our little friends are later every day.
Like you, they'd rather catch an extra wink
Of sleep before they brave the cat's meow.
It's almost time to flutter out of bed.

The engine's gentle rumbling is my song ---
A giant, snoring beyond the backyard lawn.


Hanging Out

Mosquito eater just flew by.
I see his brother hanging high,
Caught and strangled in a web ---
I do believe he's very dead.

They like to hang out at our door,
Little knowing what's in store!


Monday, February 9

She Loves Me, She Loves Me

The annual Show How Much You Love Me Day is here again.
Millions will be spent for flowers, candy, boxers and bras.
American tokens of love. Dollars doled in true affection.
And we say 'thank you' with smiles and hugs, kisses and more.

"Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his
life for his friend."

Easier to open my wallet than give my life.
Easier to kiss than die, to smile rather than offer everything,
yet that is what God wants me to do to show my love:
Love others as I love myself. Put them first. Die to self.
Be the servant. Love my enemies. Do good to those
who hate me.

Little wonder Jesus was crucified. Who really wanted
His kind of love?

Wednesday, February 4


It was only a matter of time before the news broke: The Hubble Telescope has located
a planet in a distant galaxy (only 150 light years away, mind you!) that has elements in
the atmosphere that are necessary for life - carbon and oxygen. Interestingly, this
planet's name is Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead. That is because this orb
is only 4.3 million miles away from its sun, which it orbits every four days. So hot that
its atmosphere boils, there is no way life 'as we know it' can exist. This rummaging for
a twin earth will continue.

At the same time, the United States 'scientific community' is praising the success of
the Mars' team, Spirit and Opportunity. Finding water on the Red Planet will further
convince them and many others of the life that once inhabited this now forsaken rock.

I'm puzzled at the 'let's find life at any cost' motivator here. Is it the loneliness spawned
from seeing the vast reaches of space and feeling like the odd planet out? Is it a quest
for higher knowledge from a more intelligent race than ourselves? Or could it be a search
for a society that never experienced the cannibalism, war, horror and suffering that is this
world's norm --- proof that we can overcome all that is sinful and rise to heights of
holiness (holiness redefined, of course)?

Or is it just a plot to rape the universe of its oil? More likely, its God.

Sunday, February 1

Earthquake Related Paso Robles Press Headlines for Jan 21, 2004

- Paso Roblans show their spirit - The Main Street Association's block party on Saturday was well attended
- Homeless arts programs scramble to relocate after earthquake damages auditorium
- Expert gives historical-assessment and rebuilding advice
- Kahuna's reopens in a new store uptown
- Flamson [Middle School - former high school] gets an "A" for adaptability
- Local banks unite to help with disaster relief effort
- Ali's [old Bank of America building] proposes to change north wall to stucco
- [Atascadero] Skate park finds temporary home
- IRS announces tax relief for county residents
- Downtown will survive
- Bringing life back to Paso - Local service clubs and businesses gather for fundraiser in City Park Saturday

And now you know the 'first' of the stories and get a glimpse at the renewal efforts underway
in war-torn Paso Robles. All very optimistic/pioneer spirit stuff about the enthusiastic plans for
a great revival.

God, too, often orchestrates earthquakes in our lives before giving us a hope of renewal.
Then He miraculously sends healing. The lessons are learned, we grow up a little more,
and He receives another round of applause.

Friday, January 30

Most Bloggers

I've noticed that most bloggers (Internet journalizers) at this site
are the much younger generation. The 'me' generation. Or better,
the 'ME!!!!!!!' generation. I don't recommend browsing their thoughts.
They are brash, profane, rude, horrible spellers, hopelessly lost in a world
of reactionary emotions, and willing to spill their guts about the most inane things.

They haven't seen enough beauty around them to be knocked off
their feet by the Beautician. They haven't seen how black they are
under their skin. They haven't learned to shut up and refocus.

Maybe no one is telling them to.

Saturday, January 24


Barbara is cnidophobic,
While I myself feel quite azoic.
Angel tends to be aerobic,
And Liz is anything but stoic.

Wednesday, January 21

American Idols

Unceasing amazement grips the audience as tone-deaf soloists
trill, troll and tune their way into the hearts of millions of viewers.
The questions are credulous: "Don't these people have any close
friends? Haven't they been told they suck? Can't they compare
themselves side-by-side to others who can carry a tune?"

And we feel SO BAD for them, but end up laughing along with
millions of others at their self deception and apparent idiosy. We
can't let them stay in that safe little cocoon of blind acceptance.
We have to shoot them while they're wounded and grin while we
do it.

It's the revival of the Roman arena mentality. Killing can be fun.

And me? Well, I can see all of my imperfections, thank you very
much. I'll admit to them all. But don't show me anything I don't
already know about! 'Me' here is the millions. Pride is deep.
Rejection is the unpardonable sin for the masses.

Wonderfully, some of us are shown our self-deception and kiss
the truth and Author of truth. Our deepest sins are revealed and
we run to the forgiving arms of our Heavenly Father. We are,
indeed, tone deaf. In fact, it is a prerequisite for going to the big
city where we can sing to our heart's content.

Monday, January 19

Winter Haiku

Cold white winter sheets,
Comfortless as unfelt shrouds,
Silence songs of spring.


I cleaned gutters this morning---birch leafed bogs,
Narrow brown black swamps boarding centipedes
And curious friends. Time to move on, boys.

Wednesday, January 14

New Old Stuff

We didn't have to wait long to head to that steakhouse with daughter, Liz. Got out of the place for only $50 for four of us (three of us had steak, lobster and shrimp --- the shrimp, Angel, had whitemeat strips). This after driving to San Leandro at noon to attend a plant meeting and ISO 9001 presentation. The traffic was cruel, of course, but providence provided clear sailing except for a little rain and stop and go just a couple of places.

And for all you kitty lovers:


It's sad, but true
That cats will do
The meanest things you've heard of.
They like to dine
Most anytime
On head and breast of bird, love.

And little mice
Had best think twice
Before they leave their houses.
A kitty's quick
And likes to lick
The guts of little mouses.

So when you hear
A meow, my dear,
Remember, though they're pretty,
Deep down inside
A cat can't hide
That he's a killer kitty.

May 1995

Tuesday, January 13

Quarter Century

The first quarter century milestone is passed today as daughter, Elizabeth, celebrates those few and many years. She's wearing a birthday present --- a polyester pink walking suit and enjoying dinner out ("my first real date") with her friend, Gary, instead of eating with her parents at a fancy steakhouse. Oh, well, it's pizza for mom and pop tonight, a lousy pizza from Round Table.


The door must have been open wide,
For in she flew --- fluttering ---
Sputtering --- all regal-eyed
And bushy tailed, her little wings
Raising dust where she alighted ---
I think she was a bit excited!

For an encore she began
To sing (or maybe it was squeak).
As a new and loyal fan
I admired her rosy beak:
Who could fault that happy chirping?
How mundane to call it burping!



Growing, growing, growing, gone!
Elizabeth, it won't be long
Before you leave your mom and dad
And try your wings. Oh, we'll be sad
And probably wonder what to do
For just a bit --- a day or two!

God's holy will and ways are best ---
And anyway, we'll need the rest!


Saturday, January 10

S.F. Bay Dinner Cruise

Last night's Hornblower cruise left the Berkeley Marina about 7:30 in the evening. It had been raining earlier but now a light mist fogged my hair and glasses. Eleven of us would be joining about 70 others from our San Leandro sister facility for a big city dinner cruise and thrilling one foot swells by Alcatraz Island. A belated, mostly casual holiday party.

Bay water is ominous. The stern's floodlights searched for bloated bodies in the swirling foam. Seagulls stroked above the murk, passing us in the dark as we pointed our 75 foot vessel toward the Bay Bridge. Dividing our time between sitting at round tables inside the second deck and visiting the fore and aft decks, we filled the night with people sounds.

We sailed under the Bay Bridge, around Treasure Island, back under the bridge then west along the Embarcadero and Pier 39 towards the Golden Gate Bridge, which was unlit because of the terror alert status. Guess they would rather have the fully lighted city and Bay Bridge as targets.

San Francisco's skyline sparkled like cheap diamonds. We were out too far to hear the horns honking, the screams of people being beaten and stabbed and robbery gunshots. Everything seemed so peaceful --- so serene --- so wonderfully perfect.

I lived in San Francisco for four months in 1964. I was the proverbial pre-Christian in Vanity Fair. The sights, sounds, smells, and mood of the city were bittersweet attractions. Fledgling flight, fragile at best, ended with failure of funds, failure in love and failure in the crash dummy test. Leaving my heart below Mt. Davidson's cross where I lived for that short time on Evelyn Way, I sometimes think of the best parts of my visit: friends, English shortbread, and learning never to call soil, 'dirt.'

Monday, January 5



Today's memorial service for an 83-year old friend inspires a few questions:

* Will 500 people say goodbye when off I fly? 50? 5?

* Will there be tears both of sorrow and joy?

* Will praise tell the truth or ruin the truth?

* Will people see their need for forgiveness of sins?

* Will God receive the glory?

* Will it be soon?

Life's brevity demands answers to the deepest questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?

In my atheist years the answers were seemingly safe --- I am a speck in the universe --- I am here by a random chance gathering of molecules for no particular reason above struggling to exist --- I am going nowhere when I die. Consciousness ceases, and the blip that I once was on the radar screen of life is formless, forever gone and forgotten.

In my God awakened years the answers are real --- I am an eternal being in a sin-infested, dying body --- I am here to give all praise, honor, glory and trust to God who created me and adopted me --- I am going to see Him face to face when this body of death is replaced with a spiritual body and enjoy His presence forever.

God holds the key. His Word is truth. His only begotten, sinless Son paid for sins. God-given faith turns the key. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

Thursday, January 1



The orchestra is waiting for the rain
In stony silence --- polished instruments
In tune --- all ready for this season's fame
And fortune out behind the broken fence.


Today's News

This New Year's day's windy rain is keeping me inside.
Time to cozy up to the silent screen and find a word or two.

Float #26 was Starbuck's first entry. Brother Marty helped flower it.
He and Karen were limousined to waiting parade bleachers this morning.
He won a contest. 45 degrees is too cold for parades in Pasadena.