America the Beautiful

A few videos to consider on this Labor Day weekend.. even if you just catch the first minute of each. The renditions are so unique.. each uplifting in it's own way. Please let me know which version you most enjoyed. Gotta admit that I am partial to Ray :)

Here is the story behind the song from the wiki:

The words are by Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College. In 1893, Bates had taken a train trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to teach a short summer school session at Colorado College, and several of the sights on her trip found their way into her poem: On that mountain, the words of the poem started to come to her, and she wrote them down upon returning to her hotel room at the original Antlers Hotel. The poem was initially published two years later in The Congregationalist, to commemorate the Fourth of July.

RonStock 08

According to this AP article:

There's no room at the Xcel Energy Center for maverick Ron Paul, so his acolytes have packed their cars, hitched rides on "Ronvoys" and will pitch tents at Ronstock '08 in defiance of next week's GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Almost 9,800 tickets had been sold for the Rally for the Republic, being held in Minneapolis, which seeks to bring together activists who are anti-war, anti-government regulation, anti-immigration, anti-taxes, anti-Federal Reserve, anti-outsourcing, pro-individual liberty, pro-civil liberties and pro-Paul.

The Ronvoys — fleets of buses and vans carrying Paul's loyalists — were to begin arriving Saturday. A few rally-goers planned to walk from Green Bay, Wis., and join up with Paul for the final miles of their Walk4Freedom. Other attendees are driving, carpooling or flying in for the convention alternative.

Doesn't surprise me too much.. Ron Paul is the real Republican maverick :)

Unspecial Occasions

Can anyone relate to this cartoon?
Or wanting to make someone feel special?
And making their occasion so unspecial?

Top Ten TV

According to The Classic TV Database these are the top ten TV shows of all time:
  1. I Love Lucy
  2. M.A.S.H.
  3. Star Trek
  4. The Andy Griffith Show
  5. Cheers
  6. The Dick Van Dyke Show
  7. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  8. Bewitched
  9. The Twilight Zone
  10. All in the Family
Not to be outdone I give you the KB top ten:
  1. Seinfeld.. I still laugh out loud at reruns.
  2. Star Trek: The Next Generation.. I know.. I'm a geek.
  3. Happy Days.. classic Americana.. 50s style
  4. The Twilight Zone.. grew up on this one.
  5. The Andy Griffith Show.. heartwarming TV.
  6. Mission: Impossible.. high tech mystery
  7. The Avengers.. aaah.. Mrs. Peel
  8. The X-Files.. I am seeing a sci-fi theme here.
  9. Columbo.. Peter Falk at his best
  10. The Cosby Show.. outstanding family TV
I could have added a few more like The Waltons, Frazier and others.

So fess up.. what are your top ten?

Sarah Palin

Here is the Wiki on the newly announced Republican Veep Candidate:

Sarah Louise Heath Palin (born February 11, 1964) is the current Governor of Alaska, and the presumptive 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States. She will be the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing the Republican Party and the second female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major political party. She will be the first politician from Alaska to be nominated for Vice-President.

Palin was born in Idaho and raised in Alaska. In 1984, she was the 1984 runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, receiving a scholarship that allowed her to attend the University of Idaho, where she received a degree in journalism. After working as a sports reporter at an Anchorage television station, Palin served two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska, City Council from 1992 to 1996, was elected mayor of Wasilla (population 5,470 in 2000) in 1996, and ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2002. She was elected Governor of Alaska in 2006 by first defeating incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary, then former Democratic Alaskan governor Tony Knowles in the general election.

Seems a bit light on the leadership experience that McCain regularly blasts Obama on. I guess that in the end it might be a bit more about idealogy than I thought. This should be an interesting few months.

Obama, The Elitist

This is pretty funny :)


This cartoon reminded me that it has been a year since Ann and I stopped doing water aerobics at the YMCA.. kind of depressing. These days Ann pedals a Theracycle 100 and I work off the calories typing as fast as I can.. actually I am hoping to soon get disciplined and use my Schwinn Aerodyne Bike.. maybe I'll start twittering about it.

Any suggestions for me? What motivates you to exercise?

Beau Biden

Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III (born February 3, 1969) is an American politician, soldier and lawyer from Wilmington, Delaware. He currently serves as the Attorney General of Delaware and a Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard. He is a heading to Iraq with his Guard unit in October.

I was moved by his introduction of his father (veep candidate) Joe Biden last night at the Democratic national convention. It was a touching and heart warming account of a son's love and admiration for his dad. Take 5 minutes and watch the video - you will be glad that you did.

WWW: Cooking Video Game

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this new video game designed exclusively for the Wii™ system and Nintendo DS™. Here is it's description:
In Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine players square off in Kitchen Stadium and battle through a series fast-paced and intense culinary challenges.  Each victory advances players closer to a final showdown that will determine who will reign supreme as the next Iron Chef America.
I guess those teen video-gamers have grown up :)

Doctor Don

Robin posted today about how our dental problems are relatively insignificant when compared with the tragedy of others.

It got me to thinking about Doctor Don.. my dentist of since 1980. In this age of professionalism Don has been a great example to me of how a doctor should interact with his clients. He is warm (he loves to talk about his family), personal (when my first wife died he sent flowers), and competent (he really knows what he is doing).. he is also cheap.. my dental insurance has almost always covered his charges.

So here is a toast to all of the medical professionals who, like Doctor Don, care for their patients in extraordinary ways. How about you? Do you have a Doctor Don in your life that you would like toast?

OliveTree Mobile Bibles

Are you tired of toting those heavy bibles? Ever wish that you had the bible with you when you really need it? Have I got deal for you :)

For the past few years I have been using bible software from Olive Tree. I have used it on a Palm device and since March of 2007 on my Motorola Q (pictured right). I love this software and find it easy to use and very reasonable - many of their bibles, Christian literature and tools are free.

They are currently looking for some of you iPhone folks to help them check out their new software.

So, here are a few reasons to give Olive Tree a try:
  • free and easy to install and use.. I love how intuitive it is.
  • customizable for us geeks.. don't get me started on colors :)
  • great search capabilities.. use this all the time.
  • easy to look up passages.. by transalation, book and verse.
  • always carry the word with you.. great for waiting rooms.
  • study with commentaries.. helpful for the studious.
  • read books on your phone.. lots of free ones.
  • available on all mobile platforms.. even iPhone.
  • they have a blog - check them out!
Please let me know if you do try it and if you like it or not.. and specifically what you like about it.

The Politics of Prayer

Here is the prayer from last night:

8/23: Donald Miller is probably best known (by me anyway) for writing
Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.. and apparently 28% of Christianity Today's online readership doesn't know who he is.. wonder how they would have voted if the pray-er was someone more well known like Franklin Graham?

I voted with the 20% but could have voted with the 19%. I was happy that.. if you discount the 28%.. most people think that it is okay for Miller to pray at the Democratic National Convention.

How would you have voted? Do you think that evangelicals should only pray with Republicans or maybe we should let other religous folks pray? Or maybe people shouldn't pray at political conventions? Please let me know what you think.

Jay Leno Funnies

Al Jazeera aired a new tape of Osama bin Laden. It was the usual stuff, he called Bush evil, the Great Satan, called him a war monger. Basically, the same thing you heard at last night's Democratic debate.

I went into a McDonald's yesterday and said, 'I'd like some fries.' The girl at the counter said, 'Would you like some fries with that'?

Here's something to think about: How come you never see a headline like 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?

I think high self-esteem is overrated. A little low self-esteem is actually quite good. Maybe you're not the best, so you should work a little harder.

If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.

Politics is just show business for ugly people.

The crime problem in New York is getting really serious. The other day the Statue of Liberty had both hands up.

You're not famous until my mother has heard of you.

Smelly Laptops

Enjoy a breath of fresh air in the world of personal laptops and celebrate individuality with the ASUS F6 scented notebooks. The F6 engages the eyes with attractive motifs and our sense of smell with infused scents. Available in four captivating designs.

Is there a market for this?

Would you buy one?


This 60 Minutes video is one of the scariest 7 minutes you might spend this week. It highlights many of the problems addressed in the new I.O.U.S.A. documentary. According to the official movie website:
I.O.U.S.A. boldly examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, increased international competition, overextended entitlement programs, and debts to foreign countries that are becoming impossible to honor, America must mend its spendthrift ways or face an economic disaster of epic proportions.
In this election year we need to be thinking about a different form of terrorism.. the financial kind that we inflict on ourselves.. and we need to be thinking about leaders that will take issues like social security and health care for seniors seriously.. I hope the candidates watch I.O.U.S.A. and take it seriously.


I have had a Facebook account for a while so I sometimes get requests to be a facebook friend. I usually accept but feel bad because I am never on Facebook.

Maybe you can help me - why do you Facebook?

Ethan Bortnick

A bit of musical inspiration for your Sunday morning viewing and listening enjoyment by way of Elizabeth's blog.

Authentic Living

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. -Judy Garland

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. -Abraham Lincoln

No one man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one. -Hawthorne

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. -Mother Theresa

Character is not made in a crisis — it is only exhibited. -Dr. Robert Freeman

We must be the change we are trying to create. -Ghandi

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. -Albert Schweitzer

Just be what you are and speak from your guts and heart - it's all a man has. -Hubert Humphrey

Lesser Evil Question

Does it surprise you how many people say that they are voting for "the lesser of two evils" this year? Here is my question:

Why would anyone vote for evil?

5 Million Can't be Wrong

Back To School

This cartoon reminded me of when my son was in the sixth grade. For his birthday that summer all he wanted was a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers. I checked them out and discovered that they were $89 a pair.. we had been spending about $49 on shoes for him. Well, in a moment of weakness I told him that we buy him a pair.. after all I did have a 10% off coupon.

The next day we got to the shoe store and discovered that my "boy" needed man-size shoes - that retailed at $129.. yikes! I equivocated a bit but wound up buying the shoes.. thought that dad needed to keep his word to his son even though he choked a bit on it. After that summer we initiated a back-to-school clothing/shoe budget with him.. he never did want the expensive shoes after that.. especially when it meant forgoing other things :)

Do you have any back-to-school stories to share?

Muna Lee

8/22 Update: Congrats to Muna who just missed a medal last night and placed fourth in the 200 meters final. Fourth in the world is pretty great!!

In 2000 Muna graduated from Central High School in my hometown Kansas City. We are all rooting her on as she vies for Olympic gold this week in the women's 200 meters.

WWW: Gun Toting Teachers

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this Associated Press article:

A tiny Texas district will allow teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings when classes begin this month, provided the gun-toting employees follow certain requirements.
Trustees approved the policy change last year. For employees to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations; and must ammunition designed to minimize the risk of ricocheting bullets.
It isn't clear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers.

The Faith of Barack Obama

A few weeks ago I posted a video by the author of this book and of how Thomas Nelson was sending me the book to review. Well, I just finished it today, and here is my review of the book.. be advised that I am an amateur reviewer :)

To begin, I have to say that the book was a big disappointment.. I thought that a better name for the book would have been "The Faith of Jeremiah Wright". The author seemed to fixate on Reverend Wright and spent large amounts of text writing of Wright's theology and church. This would not be as much of an issue if he wove in Obama's reflections about Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ but he did not. I think this is a typical error though - many often confuse a person's faith with the faith that their church or pastor espouses.

The book started out okay chronicling Barack Obama's history.. starting with details of his grandparents' religious history in Kansas with Methodism and his mother's rejection of religion. It sets the stage and speaks of their influence of Barack's early years. The book also speaks to the influence of Obama's Muslim step-father Lolo - I was surprised to find that Lolo was more of a secular Muslim than a religious one.

The book also briefly covers his rebellious teen years and academic accomplishments through law school. Surprisingly the book doesn't cover much more of his personal life. It doesn't once mention Barack's wife, Michelle, or his children's names. I got the impression that the author, Stephen Mansfield, has probably never had a lengthy discussion with the person he wrote about. The book in many ways seems to be more of a commentary on Obama's faith than a delineation of it. It uses conjecture and innuendo at times and sometimes didn't seem to be factual.. it could have been but it left me a bit confused.

Mansfield also included short vignettes on the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and George Bush. I am not sure what the point of this was except to very loosely (I mean very loosely) compare their faiths with Barack Obama's. He also included sections on Obama's run for the Illinois state senate against Bobby Rush in 1999 and for the US senate against Alan Keyes and how Keyes' Christian rhetoric stayed with him after he won the election.. and how it fueled his thoughts of involving his faith in his politics.. I thought that this was an insightful aspect of the book.

On a positive note I think that the author did somewhat paint Obama as a man of faith but not the sort of faith that we Evangelicals embrace. He spent some time speaking to the idea that Barack Obama views the church as his house as well as the house of Evangelicals like Senator (from Kansas) Sam Brownback. He spoke of the time that Obama responded to an altar call at Trinity church. He affirmed that Trinity church believes in such conversion experiences at the church altar much in the way that many evangelical churches do.

Mansfield also spent some time delineating how Obama's view on faith diverges from classical Christianity. He cites Obama speaking of how there are other valid religious ways and quotes him talking about how the traditional view of Hell and his views (of Hell and of God) seem to be a bit at odds with each other. It seems apparent from this and other parts of the book that Obama embraces a more liberal-leaning faith than most Evangelicals embrace. That said I found him to be one of genuine, albeit incomplete, faith.

Guru Bob

According to this test about our life roles I am:
  • a naturally good counselor.
  • inspiring, encouraging, and compassionate.
  • eager to help everyone who crosses your path, even those who don't want to be helped.
  • a natural healer.. people feel at peace when they are with you.
  • so good for people, in fact, that they go through withdrawal once you're gone.
Apparently I:
  • quietly do my own thing, without openly resisting.
  • secretly try to fix every problem.
  • regret not being able to help as many people as I'd like.

According to them I am a Guru!!

I am not sure that I agree with their assessment.. I am not a fixer and have confronted people who try to fix me.. and I don't think that I have regrets about people that I have worked with in counseling situations.

If you are interested you can take the "What Role Do You Play?" test here.. and please let me know if you do and if you agree with their conclusions.

Six More Random Things About Me

Susan over at Penless Writer tagged me. Like Susan I have posted a lot about me so this could be a bit boring.. even so.. here they are:
  1. I did not kiss a girl until I had graduated from high school. I was very shy.. I stuttered.. and embarrassed easily.. dating was a pretty terrifying thought back then.

  2. I washed my first load of laundry when I was almost 20. Yeah, I was a sheltered kid. Hardly ever ate out growing up and mainly stayed around the house.

  3. I smuggled bibles into China on a short term mission back in 1987.. you can read about it on my other blog.

  4. My favorite color is blue.. if you saw the theme on my laptop (and of course the jeans template here) you might understand.

  5. One of my greatest shortcomings is my fixation on the past.. it often short-circuits hope. I have to tell myself that things can (and probably will) be different.

  6. I bought my first house in New Jersey when I was 23.. have owned 4 others since then.. lived in my last house for 18 years.. so many great memories there.. the house my kids grew up in.

I think that I am supposed to tag six other people.. instead of hitting the usual suspects I think that I will tag: Shane, Brian, LTF, Bilbo, Pearlie and Wanda. Feel free to post your randomness here in the comments or on your blog.. be sure to tell me if you do.. but I won't pester you at your place if you don't :)

Typepad Rant

8/18 Update: Finally got some answers to why I have to re-login every time I want to comment. Here is a reply from Sarah at Typekey:
When you log in to another weblog via TypeKey to post comments, there are actually two logins occurring - a login first to TypeKey's servers, then a separate login to the weblog, with TypeKey's servers providing your login information to the weblog you are logging in to. Checking the "Keep me signed in to TypeKey for two weeks" box when logging in to TypeKey only applies to the login to TypeKey - it does not apply to the separate login via TypeKey to another weblog. The length of of a commenter login session when logging in at another weblog via TypeKey is determined by the weblog, rather than TypeKey.
I wish they handled identities more like Blogger :)

4/1 Update: Typekey/Typepad doesn't seem to be able to keep me logged in longer than a day. Guess that is why I am a blogspotter :)

3/11 Update: I ranted to Typekey.. they actually responded and told me to delete my cookies. I did it and things are better this morning. Maybe I'll check back in two weeks and see if I am still signed in :)

3/10: To enable me to comment on Typepad oriented blogs I was forced to "sign-up" using this TypeKey service. The idea is that TypeKey would "remember me" when I came back to that blog.. you know.. the way Blogger does.

Well Typepad never knows who I am and always forces me to sign in every time.. and it never keeps me signed in for a day much less two weeks. Color me allergic to Typepad.

Civil Forum Reflections

Well our friends cancelled on us last night so Ann and I got to catch the live broadcast on CNN of Saddleback Church's Civil Forum on the Presidency. I thought that Rick Warren did a great job on the questions. I don’t think that I learned anything new about the candidates positions.. well.. I was surprised that McCain and Obama have essentially the same position on a constitutional marriage amendment.. both feel that marriage and civil unions are a state issue.

I was disappointed that McCain felt that “saved and forgiven” was all he had to say about his Christian testimony before he rehashed the POW cross in the sand story.

A thought that came to me as I watched was that the demeanor of John McCain is very similar to President Bush.. a bit cocky and sanctimonious.. often digressing to campaign stump speech rhetoric. On the other hand I thought that Barack Obama came across a bit more contemplative and humble.. seemed genuinely interested in answering the questions and not giving a speech.

It will be interesting to see if the issues rule the day in this election like they did in 2000 & 2004 or if demeanor will be weighed in as well.

In my 30+ years of voting I don’t think that I have ever been undecided in August.. I am still watching and praying.

And you can catch the replay here.. and you might want to check out Dan Gilgoff's perspective here.. he makes the point that the forum was not what it was advertised to be.. hmmm.

Michael Phelps

The amazing star of the Beijing Olympics!

Wishing him the best for his final event today!

Memories Blacktopped

With all of the hubbub around the strange story of an Australian guy passed out on his lawn caught on Google Maps: Street View I thought I would take a journey down memory lane and visit the street where I grew up on Staten Island, New York. What I found, ala Google Street View, was sort-of amazing. Three of the five houses I lived in on Forest Avenue had been blacktopped over for parking lots.. not sure what this place pictured above is.. I think one of those cars is parked on my sandbox.. the other two houses had been razed for new condominiums.

As I traveled this virtual span of about 3 miles or so I was in awe of how few buildings had survived.. our local Methodist church was still there.. it looked like they were making major repairs on PS 22, my elementary school, and it seemed that Edwin Markham Junior High School 51 had expanded.. other than those few landmarks I did recognize just a few houses - my friend Tommy's house was one of the few still standing.

Isn't it interesting how time flies and yet seems to stand still? I have vivid memories of my backyard.. it was wooded back then.. I remember taking walks with my dog Shep on those sidewalks.. sidewalks that I shoveled snow from in the winter.. and of course hours upon hours of memories playing all manner of street sports on the side streets.. which by the way are now through streets and not dead-end ones.

I enjoyed the visit even though it saddened me to see all of the blacktop. Guess Thomas Wolfe was right when he said "You can't go home again".

Rethinking Party Politics

I resonate with what Christain attorney and author David Iglesias said in an interview with Christianity Today. When he was asked if evangelicals should rethink their affiliation with the Republican Party he said:

Our values are biblical values, not the popular philosophy or the political soup of the day, so to speak. It should serve as a real wake-up call, and evangelicals should study the candidate and not think that if the Republicans say something, it's gospel truth.

It's not an easy task. What I'm going to look at is not only social issues —the pro-life / pro-choice thing is important to me — but also, Is this candidate going to help the poor? Are they more focused on those accused of crime or victims? Are they going to spend more recklessly? Our spending is out of control. Our national debt is the greatest it has ever been. We have got to get fiscal health. The Republicans have spent more money than the Democrats. I'm looking for a candidate who's a lot more positive, civil political candidate and not one who's trying to tear down the other.

Mark Spitz

I thought that it was appropriate to post this one while Mark's record is still unbroken. Between 1968 and 1972, Mark won 9 Olympic gold medals, 1 silver, and 1 bronze.. he was the Michael Phelps of my generation. You can check out his wiki entry and a current picture of him here.

NY Times Machine

Rose pointed us all to this webiste that allows you to view editions of the New York Times going all the way back to Septemeber 18, 1851. Note the price of the paper then - one cent.. things have changed a bit since then.. but those New Yorkers still have their act together :)

Which do you think is more amazing - that they still had the original papers or that ability to zoom in on scanned articles?

The Faith Vote

This article about the Rick Warren (Saddleback Church) candidate civil forum titled Obama, McCain aim for faith vote at forum caught my attention this morning because it used the term "faith vote".. really is there such a thing? Here are a few excerpts from the article that I found interesting:
U.S. presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain target religious voters on Saturday when as guests of one of America's foremost evangelists they discuss faith in public life, AIDS, the environment and other issues.
The candidates won't debate each other at the Civil Forum which will be moderated by mega-pastor Rick Warren at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. He will interview each in turn, although they are expected to share the stage together briefly.
"For Obama it is significant that he will be participating as an equal on the same stage as McCain in an evangelical church. This signals the shift in the evangelical political landscape since 2004," said David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta.
I am interested in viewing this forum but have plans for Saturday evening.. maybe it will be available later. If you are available you can watch it here. Please let me know if you do.

Corporate Welfare

I have heard it said on more than one occasion that corporations don't pay taxes because they pass the tax burden on to their customers. This Reuters article says most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.

More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said.
Such a sad commentary on US tax policy and governmental incompetence.

What If It All Goes Right

I didn't catch this one on Nashville Star.. saw Melissa Lawson sing this on the Today Show. These words caught my attention:

What if you chased your dreams
and it changes your whole life
Yeah, what if it all goes right

A simple thought from a beautiful song.. chase your dreams today.. the results may surprise you.

Derek Redmond

Continuing my postings on Olympic atheltes I just had to post this video.. it is so moving.. it represents so well the heart of an Olympian.. not everyone can win a medal but all can compete.. all can complete the race thay were meant to run. You can get the rest of Derek's story here.

Moderate Wannabe

On Monday Henry Brinton wrote a USA Today oped piece titled The race for the religious center. It got me to thinking.. is there a religious center? If there is one then people identifying with that group would probably be called moderates or centrists. I liken myself as a part of that group.. ideologically anyway.. but practically.. in the way that I live every day.. fiscally and socially.. I am very conservative. I am anti-credit card debt.. I think that one should save first then buy a car. I think that one should be married before they live together. I believe that abortion is absolutely wrong. So why do I think of myself as a moderate/centrist?

I think that moderates are people who embrace other peoples ideas.. they see the positives aspects of the right and left sides of life. When they vote they look for candidates that are both strong on fiscal responsibility and are advocates for the poor in our country.. tough on foreign policy but have an accent on diplomacy. They try to look past polarizing issues and give their attention to the candidate instead of their positions. In January 2005 I proffered the following incomplete list of positions that I found attractive:
  1. Tangible commitments to the working poor,
  2. Moderate trade agreements that helped US labor,
  3. Sensible restrictions on abortions (i.e. 2nd trimester viability),
  4. Gun control that excluded hunting rifles (i.e.shotguns),
  5. Middle ground health care coverage for everyone,
  6. Some limits on liability for healthcare professionals.
Maybe I am way off base on this one.. maybe I am just tired of being a part of the right side of the voting block.. I have to admit that the republican politics of the new century has pushed me closer to the center. Yet when I voted last week I mainly voted conservatively.. voted against new local taxes.. voted for a conservative congressional candidate (one that I know personally).. but I also voted for the more left-leaning school board member. This is the first year in a long time that, in August, I am still undecided about the presidential candidates. Maybe I am just a moderate wannabe?

How about you? Has your voting tendencies changed over the years or do you still pretty much vote the way that you always have? I have let down my guard a bit in this post so.. maybe, instead of railing against my moderate-wannabe position, you can give us a peek into your voting life this year?

WWW: $300k Peacock Jumpsuit

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this Associated Press article that tells of the sale of Elvis Presley's favorite performance costume, the peacock jumpsuit, for $300,000.


Can anyone relate to canceling or postponing travel this year? We are hoping to travel a bit (Lord willing and Ann's health is okay) in the fall. Any suggestions for Ann and me? Needs to be some place we can get to by van from Kansas City.

What about you? Any (non)travel stories to tell?

Religious Bumper Stickers

I have an extreme dislike for bumper stickers.. though I once did, these days I would never put one on my car.. but I do think that some of them are funny.. especially the religious ones. Here are a few of them:

Atheism is a non-prophet organization

Jesus is coming
Everybody look busy

Are you as close to Jesus as you are to my bumper?

Get the hell out of my way
I'm late for church!

Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

The way I drive, I've gotta have Faith!

Trust in God
But lock your car

Have you seen any lately? Do you have any favorites? Any on your vehicle(s)?

Dry Cleaning

From The Messy Truth About Dry Cleaning:

When it comes to the environment, traditional dry cleaning is downright dirty. The liquid solvent used at 85 percent of dry cleaners, perchloroethylene, known as "perc," is unequivocally bad for people and the planet: It's a central nervous system depressant and respiratory irritant that the Environmental Protection Agency deems a "probable human carcinogen." According to the EPA's Web site, it also seeps into air; breaks down into other chemicals, "some of which are toxic, and some of which deplete the ozone layer"; and can seep into groundwater and eventually drinking water.

Yikes! I gotta say that this is one scary topic. We don't dry clean much.. maybe less after reading this. I recommend the reading of the rest of the article here.

401k Accounts

According to this AP article Corporate America may have turned its back on traditional pensions but it appears to be embracing 401(k)s more than ever. My experiences with 401k acounts are pretty positive. Do you have any positive or negative experiences with a 401k?

Cloaking Device

Holy Star Trek Batman.. according to this article scientists have created two new types of materials that can bend light the wrong way, creating the first step toward an invisibility cloaking device.

Looks like we are one up on the Romulans!

Jesse Owens

Continuing my postings on Olympic athletes, I give you this from the Wiki entry on Jesse:
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (1913-1980) was an American track and field athlete. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team.
Jesse's story is an amazing and interesting one of a person who rose from ghetto life to achieve wild acclaim and fame in sports. The story after the Olympic games is a bit of a sad one with Jesse being prosecuted for tax evasion and dyng at at 66 from lung cancer. Here are a few things that Jesse said:

Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.

The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself - the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us - that's where it's at.

A lifetime of training for just ten seconds.

Life doesn't give you all the practice races you need.

Although I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler, I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.

Find the good. It's all around you. Find it, showcase it and you'll start believing in it.

For a time, at least, I was the most famous person in the entire world.

Fan in Chief

This picture is one of President Bush greeting gold medal and world record winner Michael Phelps, right, and bronze medalist Larsen Jensen after their swimming events at the Beijing Summer Olympic games.

I am not always positive about our president but I have to say that I like seeing him enjoying the Olympics events as an observer and spectator. The games are all about getting past the politics and encouraging the athletes. I applaud President Bush for his encouraging efforts.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Scovell Hamilton (born August 28, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio) is an American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist known for his originality and engaging on-ice personalities. He won four consecutive U.S. championships (1981-1984), four consecutive World Championships (1981-1984) and the 1984 Olympic. In 1997 Hamilton had a much-publicized battle with testicular cancer. He made a return to skating after his treatment and his story was featured in magazines and on television. Here are a few things he has said:

The only disability in life is a bad attitude!

Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you. They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless.

Everything that I've ever been able to accomplish in skating and in life has come out of adversity and perseverance.

I don't think most teachers realize how much impact they have.

I had a ninth grade teacher who told me I was much smarter and much better than I was allowing myself to be.

The high road is always respected. Honesty and integrity are always rewarded.

Immoral Dimensions of Leadership

“I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter.” -John Edwards in 1999 speaking of Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky affair.

I gotta admit that I was blindsided when the tabloids started reporting about Edwards' affair.. a report which has proved to be true. In January I predicted that John Edwards would be the democratic candidate for president this year.. last year I wrote a congratulatory post about how I admired them for the way that they were fighting together to combat Elizabeth's cancer. So I was totally blown away about Edwards' affair.

I have listened to a few of the clips from Edwards' interview with an ABC reporter and I have to say that he is sounding more like a weasel than a one time senator and.. wait.. maybe that was an insult to weasels.. I guess he just sounded like a politician :(

Biker Family Values

Interesting video of McCain at Sturgis. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, writing for the Washington Post had this to say:
I never thought I would write these words, but where is James Dobson of Focus on the Family when you really need him? Why are the "family values" evangelicals silent when John McCain campaigns at the famously raunchy Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and suggests that his wife might compete in the "Miss Buffalo Chip Beauty Pageant--Bikinis on the Beach?" According to Jim Caple of ESPN, this is "essentially a topless beauty pageant. And occasionally bottomless, too." I'm absolutely certain this does not reflect the kind of "Christ-centered marriage" about which Dobson so frequently lectures.
I guess that is the rub isn't it? What "family values" are we really interested in? Should we people of faith be interested in critiquing these kinds of activities or are people like Thistlethwaite simply over-reacting?

My reaction wasn't the same as her's.. I simply saw it as a candidate trying to reach and resonate with another segment of America. Oh, and I know a few folks who go to Sturgis.. they are certainly not the loons that many make them out to be.. at least I don't think they are :)

Wilma Rudolph

According to the Wiki.. Wilma Glodean Rudolph (1940-1994) was an American athlete, and in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy, she became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during a single Olympic Games, despite running on a sprained ankle. A track and field champion, she elevated women's track to a major presence in the United States.

I found this to be so amazing:
At the age of 4 it was discovered that she had polio. In 1947 her mother took her to Nashville's Meharry Medical College, a hospital for blacks 50 miles from their home, twice a week. Because of the expense and difficulty of obtaining professional medical care, Wilma's mother usually treated her ailing child at home. Rudolph remembered that during her youth, "my mother used to have all these home remedies she would make herself, and I lived on them". Many nights her mother, tired after a long day's work, would sit on Wilma's bed and massage her daughter's leg well into the evening hours. Blanche Rudolph kept telling her polio-stricken daughter she would one day walk without braces.

In 1952, 12-year old Wilma Rudolph finally achieved her dream of shedding her handicap and becoming like other children. Wilma's older sister was on a basketball team, and Wilma vowed to follow in her footsteps. While in high school Wilma was on the basketball team, when she was spotted by Tennessee State track and field coach Edward S. Temple. Being discovered by Temple was a major break for a young athlete. The day he saw the tenth grader Wilma Rudolph for the first time, he knew he had found a natural athlete.
Wilma and her mother are women of inspiration.. people who would not give up despite what doctors told them.. women who held onto their dreams and worked diligently to see them come to pass. They represent the best of humanity.

Olympics Open Tonight

This cartoon captures it for me. Pages from Darfur and Amnesty International also cannot be displayed. Gotta wonder some days.

HT: The bloggings of RippleGirl

Kennedy Quotes

John Fitgerald "Jack" Kennedy
  • Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.

  • Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

  • I look forward to a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy
  • Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.

  • Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.

  • Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy
  • The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.

  • Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in its veins.

  • The Constitution does not just protect those whose views we share; it also protects those with whose views we disagree.

Young Celebrity Gal Quotes

Okay here is a bit of a pop quiz for you.. just match the quotes below with these celebrity gals:

Christina Aguilera, Jessica Alba, Miley Cyrus,
Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears

  1. "My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything - even if you have no clue what you're doing."

  2. "With love, you should go ahead and take the risk of getting hurt... because love is an amazing feeling."

  3. "The roughest road often leads to the top."

  4. "Life is full of risks anyway, why not take them?"

  5. "The best part of my carreer is getting to meet so many different people, because I learn so much from everyone."

Check the comments for the answers.. then let me know how many you guessed correctly.

Candidate Voting Records

According to this July 10th UPI article John McCain cast 36 of the Senate's 169 votes this session, while Barack Obama cast 70.

Give Me A Break!!

I hope that our country has a better turn out in November.

The Faith of Barack Obama

Stephen Mansfield - The Faith Of Barack Obama from MansfieldGroup on Vimeo.

Stephen Mansfield (who also wrote The Faith of George W. Bush) wrote a new book (The Faith of Barack Obama) that was released today. In this 3 minute video he speaks about love and politics in the body of Christ.

Michael Hyatt's blog also has an interesting perspective:
Obama is the first liberal presidential candidate in a generation to speak openly about his Christian faith. Is that faith sincere? I have been surprised by the adamant opinions of people who have yet to read Mansfield’s book and stridently insist that Obama’s faith is a sham.
Let me know what you think about Mansfield's or Hyatt's views. I resonate with them and would love to hear what you all think. HT: Robin for the heads up.

PS: Just found out that the publisher is sending me a free copy of the book to read and review.. so stay tuned.. I may have it reviewed before the election :)

Wing-Walking Wedding

$1.62m Baseball Card

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you this Associated Press story about a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card that was sold for $1.62 million at a memorabilia auction in Chicago on Saturday.

Truly weird and unbelievable!

Primary Election Day

Ann, my son and I are headed to the polls today to cast our votes. I checked out the ballot online to determine how I would vote and.. surprise.. surprise.. I am voting conservatively.. (so much for Moderate/Centrist Bob) anti-tax.. and for pro-family and pro-life candidates.. of course the presidential candidates are not on this ballot.

Can you and do you view your ballot online before you vote?

Jet Blue Pillow

Yes, that's right: those looking to catch a few hours of airplane shut eye will have to shell out $7 fee for a pillow and blanket kit from JetBlue, the first American carrier to charge for pillows.

Give Me A Break!!

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1918-2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died Sunday. He was 89. His son, Stephan Solzhenitsyn, told the Associated Press that his father died of heart failure in Moscow. He was a Russian novelist, dramatist and historian. Through his writings, he made the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet labour camp system, and for these efforts, Solzhenitsyn was both awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970 and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974.. he returned to Russia 20 years later. In honor of his passing I give you a few of the things that he has said:

The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.

Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.

Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.

It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.

The task must be to banish from mankind's thought the idea that anybody has the right to use force against righteousness, against justice, against mutual agreements.

In our country, the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State.

How can you expect a man who's warm to understand one who's cold?

Toyota Winglet

Just in case you are wondering what to buy me for Christmas :)

Dremel Your Dog's Nails

Check out this fascinating post at Brian's place where he speaks of his experience sanding down his dogs nails.

Brian Williams on Iran

This interview with Jon Stewart was both funny and a bit informative.

Sea Wife | ★

Last night Ann and I caught this campy 1957 flick starring Richard Burton and Joan Collins. The following from user reviews at IMDB pretty well sums up my sentiments:
  • Joan Collins is a nun (!!) shipwrecked on an island with Burton. This movie is hilarious and sexy.
  • I haven't seen it for years, but I still use Burton's growling "I love you, Sea Wife" to make my wife laugh.
  • Shallow, but certainly entertaining on a minor scale.
  • The nun's curious reluctance to divulge her vocation unnecessarily drags out these proceedings (and makes Sister Collins out to be something of a tease, which is touched upon fleetingly).
My wife reminds me of how I commented on Burton's suits.. yes they were fabulous :)

On a scale of 10 I give this movie for campiness, good scenery and for the memories.

$10 in 2010

A few excerpts from this RNS article:
A nonpartisan coalition of more than 90 faith, community, labor and business organizations has launched an ambitious "$10 in 2010" campaign to raise the federal minimum wage within two years.
The launch of the new "livable wage" campaign came as the federal minimum wage rose 60 cents to $6.55 on July 24, part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The hourly minimum will increase again in 2009 to $7.25 per hour.

"As people of faith, we believe there is no better way to urgently address the poverty that afflicts so many low-wage working people and their families than by raising the minimum wage," said the Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry, founding national coordinator of Let Justice Roll.
Opponents argue that an increased minimum wage will lead to more unemployment and layoffs, especially among young and unskilled workers. They also argue businesses will shift excess worker salary costs to consumers.

But Sherry said, "A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it. That conviction is at the very heart of the faith we proclaim."
As I began to read this I started to entrench into my ultra-conservative-don't-increase-the-minimum-wage mindset.. then I read that last statement. I agree that a job should keep one out of poverty.. what do you think?

McCain on a Higher Being

Contrast this one minute video from McCain's website where McCain speaks of his faith in a higher being with what Obama said to Christianity Today:
I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn’t ‘fall out in church’ as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn’t want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.
Hmmm.. contrasting
"I believe that a higher being has a mission for me"
"I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ"
I gotta wonder why so many people question Obama's faith in Jesus and not McCain's.. maybe just another example of evangelical politics at their worst.