Monday, June 30, 2008

Drink Up!, A Bad Sign, -and- Saved!

Drink Up! - luxury spring water $100 a bottle
A Bad Sign - directional arrows point wrong way
Saved! - wildlife officer rescues drowning bear

On this day in history: June 30, 1999 - Two members of the Old Order Amish, Abner Stoltzfus and Abner Stoltzfus, are sentenced to one year in prison for trafficking cocaine to other Amish folk in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The men had scored their drugs from a Philadelphia motorcycle gang.

Born on this day in history: June 30, 1917 - Lena Horne (1917 - ) Born in Brooklyn, NY, singer and actress Lena Horne began performing at age 16 at Harlem's Cotton Club. She was the first African-American to sign a long-term film contract. Outspoken about discrimination, Horne was blacklisted during the 1950s, then worked in film and on stage later. Her autobiography, "Lena," was published in 1965.

Scripture of the Day: But Moses said to the LORD, "Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?" - Exodus 6:30

Video of the Day: Why You Should Never Eat a Habanero Pepper - submitted by Cindy

I encountered this scene while passing the local rifle rang on my way to the office this morning. Click to enlarge.

Saturday evening, we had a celebratory dinner for my birthday and our anniversary. Wednesday was the actual date for these, but we felt it would be more festive to celebrate on the weekend. I grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignon sent us by my long-distance friend and reader/commenter, Chris, from Omaha Steaks. They were incredibly delicious. I also grilled giant shrimp. I cut the shrimp in half and grilled them on a fish grate—shell-side down—and brushed them while they cooked with a mixture of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Tony Chachere's More Spice, garlic powder, and lime juice. They were delightfully succulent. Laura exclaimed that they were the best shrimp she had ever eaten, saying that they had the texture and flavor of lobster. For desert, we had molten lava cakes, topped with fresh raspberries. Chris sent these, also. We enjoyed champagne with our meal. It was a wonderful dinner. Thank you, Chris!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Slave Labor, Unholy Matrimony, -and- Slow Down!

Slave Labor - NY millionaire gets prison for abuse of housekeepers
Unholy Matrimony - bigamist "forgot" drunken 1978 marriage
Slow Down! - motorcyclist cited for driving 144 MPH

On this day in history: June 27, 1844 - Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, are shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois. According to church legend, after Smith is shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but is thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven.

Born on this day in history: June 27, 1975 - Tobey Maguire (1975-) Born in Santa Monica, CA, actor Tobey Maguire spent years playing "sensitive young man" roles before hitting it big in the action adventure "Spiderman"(2002) and then "Seabiscuit" (2003).

Scripture of the Day: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? - Matthew 6:27

Video of the Day: Thermite Experiment

Here is one of Laura's photographs of the pork loins she so masterfully
barbecued last weekend. Click to enlarge.

The sky appears clearer this morning than it has been in many days. Blue sky is visible, and the smell of smoke from the fires is not as strong as it has been recently. Hopefully, these are signs that the fires that have been plaguing California are coming under control.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Relax!, Monkey Business, -and- Slow Down!

Relax! - town wants to ban couches from porches
Monkey Business - Spanish parliament to extend rights to apes
Slow Down! - man arrested after speeding 22 times in 45 days

On this day in history: June 26, 1990 - Irish Republican Army bombs the Carlton Club, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.

Born on this day in history: June 26, 1892 - Pearl S. Buck (1892 - 1973) Born in Hillsboro, WV, Pearl S. Buck was raised by American missionary parents in Chinkiang, China. She lived in China until age 40. Her second novel, "The Good Earth" (1931), won the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1964, she established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to help children.

Scripture of the Day: "I [Darius King of Persia] issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." - Daniel 6:26-27

Video of the Day: How to Make Cheese - submitted by Danica

Here is the birthday/anniversary (she called it a "birthiversary" card Laura made for me! Click to enlarge.

The fires continue. The air quality is horrid. The sky is darkened from the smoke of many fires near here. This morning, there were ashes from the nearby fires on Mr. Nitro. While the ashes were lightly scattered about him, this is the first time I have seen such evidence of the fires. I continue to pray for the welfare of those who have been affected by the fires and for those still in danger from the fires.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fighting Back, Look out Below, -and- Extra! Extra!

Fighting Back - 70-year-old woman chases down would-be robber
Look out Below! - inmate falls through ceiling into Texas jail
Extra! Extra! Read All about It! - CA newspaper to outsource copy editing to India

On this day in history: June 25, 1910 - The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose."

Born on this day in history: June 25, 1945 - Carly Simon (1945-) Born in New York City, singer-songwriter Carly Simon’s first hit single was "You're So Vain" in 1972. She has two children with songwriter James Taylor, whom she divorced in 1983. She has published a series of children's books and won an Oscar and a Grammy for "Let the River Run," written for the movie "Working Girl."

Scripture of the Day: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" - Matthew 6:25

Video of the Day: Dogs Go for a Swim

Have you ever heard that a dog 'knows' when an earthquake is about to hit?

Have you ever heard that a dog can 'sense' when a tornado is stirring up, even 20 miles away?

Do you remember hearing that before the December tsunami struck Southeast Asia, dogs started running frantically away from the seashore, at breakneck speed?

Do you know that dogs can detect cancer and other serious illnesses and danger of fire?

Somehow they always know when they can 'go for a ride' before you even ask and how do those dogs and cats get home from hundreds of miles away?

I'm a firm believer that animals - and especially dogs - have keen insights into the Truth.

And you can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance.

Simply said, a dog just KNOWS when something isn't right ... when impending doom is upon us . . . they'll always try to warn us...! Click to enlarge.

Today is my birthday. It is also our wedding anniversary. Yesterday, I was
contemplating what I should make for dinner Friday evening, in celebration
of my birthday and our anniversary. (Although today is the actual date of
these events, Friday seemed a more suitable evening for celebrating them.)
Imagine my great surprise when the Big Brown Truck rolled up in front and
delivered a large Styrofoam container, containing beautiful bacon-wrapped
filet mignon steaks and molten lava cakes! My excellent friend from afar
(and regular reader/commenter here, Chris, sent this fine gift to me! No
longer did I need muse about what would be served at our celebratory dinner!
Thank you, Chris!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Perfect Storm, Thou Shalt Not Steal, -and- Mingle!

The Perfect Storm - ferry survivors drifted at sea for 24 hours
Thou Shalt Not Steal - con artists scam $80 million from churchgoers
Mingle! - scientists discover wonder drug that cures shyness

On this day in history: June 24, 2004 - Rapper DMX is arrested at New York's JFK Airport after he and a partner were trying to steal a car. While attempting to flee, DMX plows his SUV into a security gate while claiming to be an undercover federal agent. He later pleads guilty, blames Valium and receives jail time.

Born on this day in history: June 24, 1895 - Jack Dempsey (1895 - 1983) Born in Manassa, CO, boxer Jack Dempsey boxed in mining camps and turned pro in 1912. He won the 1919 heavyweight championship, defending the title five times before his loss in 1926. Dempsey moved on to sports promotion and business, opening a famous New York restaurant.

Scripture of the Day: Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. - Ephesians 6:24

Video of the Day: Jay Leno Picks Up His 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 - Jay Leno takes delivery of his 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, the fourth one built. In the video, he is shown rolling up to the dealership in his bright orange 1970 Hemi-equipped Challenger. - submitted by Darin

Thankfully, I did not require fuel this morning! Click to enlarge.

The Wisdom of Larry the Cable Guy
1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets The cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound.. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of Jalapeños.
What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Are You One?, Open Wide!, -and- Hic!

Are You One? - 6 most annoying coworkers
Open Wide! - dentist accused of dropping tools down patient's throat
Hic! - man charged with DUI in wheelchair

On this day in history: June 23, 1996 - A story by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward in the Washington Post reveals to the world that First Lady Hillary Clinton employed psychic Jean Houston to help her get in touch with her inner "Eleanor Roosevelt."

Born on this day in history: June 23, 1929 - June Carter Cash (1929-2003) Born in Maces Springs, VA, daughter of Ezra and Mother Maybelle Carter, June Carter belonged to the first family of country music. She and sisters Helen and Anita performed as the Carter Sisters. Carter performed with Johnny Cash and the two married in 1968. After semi-retirement, she began recording again in 1999, winning two Grammys. Carter died in Nashville, TN.

Scripture of the Day: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23

Video of the Day: The Fly

This is Mr. Fly. I have taken his as an office pet. I have him tethered by a gossamer thread of 15 feet in length. He is able to fly about the office, but he cannot leave. Click to enlarge.

One of my brothers came to dinner Saturday. I made chicken and penne with artichoke hearts. I sautéed a head of garlic (peeled and cut into thick slices) and two medium white onions (julienned) in extra-virgin olive oil, seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice, Italian seasoning, and ground black pepper. When the onions were translucent, I added the contents of a can of quartered artichoke hearts, a red bell pepper (cut into 1/4-inch slices) and three previously-grilled chicken breasts (cut into 1/2-inch slices). I cooked a box of Barilla penne until underdone by two minutes. I drained the pasta and placed into a large pasta bowl, added the chicken and vegetables, tossed, and sealed securely with aluminum foil. I allowed this to rest for five minutes prior to serving. At the table, we added DiGiorno shredded Parmesan cheese. It was a delicious meal.

We watched "Identity." [Ten complete strangers are stranded at a remote desert motel during a raging storm and soon find themselves the target of a deranged murderer. As their numbers thin out, the travelers begin to turn on each other, as each tries to figure out who the killer might be. This spine-tingling thriller stars John Cusack, Jake Busey, Rebecca DeMornay, Clea DuVall and Ray Liotta.] This movie is fast-paced and certainly entertaining. It is unpredictable and disturbingly realistic. I recommend it to those who enjoy such movies. I enjoyed it.

My brother returned for dinner Sunday. I made dirty rice and red beans. I cooked a box of Tony Chachere's Dirty Rice in the rice cooker. I simmered a can of red beans in a large, covered sauce pan. When the rice was cooked, I added it to the beans and allowed this to simmer on low while Laura completed the grilling of two large pork loins. She seared the loins on both sides then moved to indirect heat and cooked for two hours—mopping every 20 minutes with I sauce I prepared from apple cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, honey, lime juice, cumin, ground black pepper, and Tony Chachere's More Spice. The pork loins took on a beautiful glaze from the mopping sauce and were succulent and delicious. Laura took photographs of the pork on the grill, and I shall feature one of her photographs tomorrow. The rice and beans were excellent.

We watched "The Brave One." [Oscar winner Jodie Foster stars in this dramatic thriller as Erica Bain, a New York City radio host who decides to take the law into her own hands after losing her fiancé in a brutal attack. With a determined cop (Terrence Howard) hot on her trail, Erica hunts down the assailants one by one, seeking her own brand of justice. Directed by Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game"), this gritty tale also stars Naveen Andrews, Mary Steenburgen and Nicky Katt.] This movie is fast-paced and entertaining. While it is predictable, this fact does not diminish its impact. The concept of a vigilante as a heroine—while certainly not politically correct—had me cheering her exploits. I enjoyed the movie and recommend it to those who enjoy such movies. There is a good deal of foul language in the movie, as it depicts criminals realistically.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Have It Your Way, The Law of the Land, -and- Eek a Mouse!

Have It Your Way - Burger King launches world's most expensive burger
The Law of the Land - 14 San Diego County Clerk workers protest same-sex weddings
Eek a Mouse! - Internet addiction is a "clinical disorder"

On this day in history: June 20, 1993 - Vince Foster, Deputy White House Counsel for President Clinton, apparently commits suicide with an unnumbered pistol at Fort Marcy Park in Virginia. Foster's empty briefcase later turns up at the White House. But after it is searched again, it is miraculously found to contain his suicide note.

Born on this day in history: June 20, 1967 - Nicole Kidman (1967– ) Born in Honolulu and raised in Sydney, Australia, actress Nicole Kidman got her U.S. breakthrough with "Dead Calm" (1989). A string of international successes followed, including "To Die For" (1995), "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999) with then-husband Tom Cruise, "The Hours" (2002) and "The Interpreter" (2005).

Scripture of the Day: But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:20

Video of the Day: World's Greatest Pizza Twirler

This is the pizza we enjoyed on Wednesday evening. Click images to enlarge.

This is the pizza as it came from the box:

Here is the pizza following the addition of the mushrooms, Jalapeños, red
onion, and tomatoes:

Here is the pizza following the addition of Provolone cheese and bacon and a
visit to the oven:

Here are the remaining slices that followed me to my office Thursday

TGIF! This has seemed like a particularly long week, for some reason. The first day seemed like a week, and the second day seemed like five days. And the third day seemed like a week again, and the fourth day seemed like eight days. And the fifth day seemed just like a day. Here it is Friday once again. The next two days will pass quickly, I am certain. Weekends always seem to do that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fighting Back, New Sheriff in Town, -and- Slow Down

Fighting Back - armed customer foils bank robbery
New Sheriff in Town - Orange County to review concealed-weapon permits
Slow Down - speeders to pay extra for police fuel

On this day in history: June 19, 1999 - While taking a walk, horror author Stephen King is struck by a van piloted by a distracted Bryan Smith. King's extensive injuries (broken leg, broken hip, lacerated scalp and collapsed lung) remanded him to a hospital bed for three weeks. Smith would later die in his sleep on Stephen King's birthday.

Born on this day in history: June 19, 1962 - Paula Abdul (1962-) Born in Los Angeles, CA, dancer, singer and choreographer Paula Abdul began as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader and choreographer for Janet Jackson. She started recording in 1990, winning a Grammy. After dropping out of the limelight, Abdul re-emerged in 2002 as a judge on Fox’s popular "American Idol" series.

Scripture of the Day: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Video of the Day: Can You Dance Like a 1st-grader? - submitted by Frank

I encountered this scene while passing Corning Lake on the way to my office
this morning. Click to enlarge.

For dinner last evening, we had a user-configured pizza—created from a Red Baron thin-crust pepperoni pizza. I sautéed sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion, and sliced Jalapeños. I sliced cluster tomatoes. I cut cooked bacon into 1-inch sections. Laura removed the pepperoni from the pizza. She spread the mushrooms, onion, and Jalapeño and seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice and garlic powder. She added the tomatoes and pepperoni. She covered the pizza with sliced Provolone cheese and scattered the bacon atop it. It was wonderful. Two sliced remained after dining and followed me to my office for breakfast this morning.

Laura documented the creation of the pizza photographically. Tomorrow, I shall feature images of the production of this delightful pizza.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fighting Back, No TLC, -and- Do As He Says

Fighting Back - kids chase lemonade stand robber, phone police
No TLC - women dressed as nurses target Florida shoppers
Do As He Says - Gore's electrical usage up 10% over last year

On this day in history: June 18, 1996 - Ted Kaczynski is indicted on ten criminal counts. He is suspected of being the Unabomber, who perpetrated 16 bomb attacks on people involved in technology.

Born on this day in history: June 18, 1942 - Paul McCartney (1942– ) Born in Liverpool, England, musician, songwriter and composer Paul McCartney found fame as one of the Fab Four Beatles. After the group?s 1970 breakup, he performed solo and with his own bands. In 1978, he was declared the most successful composer of all time, playing his 3000th concert in St Petersburg in 2004. McCartney was knighted in 1997.

Scripture of the Day: "But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!" - 2 Chronicles 6:18

Video of the Day: Challenger: Faster than a Speeding Bullitt? - submitted by Darin

I saw this scene near Corning Lake this morning. Click to enlarge.

For dinner last evening, we had Johnsonville brat sandwiches. Laura grilled Johnsonville brats and Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts (to be used in a future meal). When the brats were nearly done, she split two in half and topped them with Provolone cheese. She toasted two sourdough buns on the grill. At the table, we added thinly-sliced red onion, Klausen Stackers, and hot dog mustard. Ruffles sour cream and onion potato chips accompanied the meal. It was delicious.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please Help Me I'm Falling, Honey Don't, -and- They're Here!

Please Help Me I'm Falling - man, dog survive 220-foot plunge
Honey Don't - city tells woman to get rid of bees
They're Here! - Chinese company develops UFO

On this day in history: June 17, 1994 - O.J. Simpson fails to turn himself in to the LAPD at a prearranged time and is later spotted in a white Ford Bronco on a Los Angeles expressway. After a low-speed pursuit through the freeways and streets of Brentwood, O.J. is finally arrested live on television in the driveway of his mansion. According to one of the defense attorneys who served on O.J.'s "Dream Team," Simpson tried to kill himself in the car, but the gun misfired. The Juice allegedly told him: "I pulled the trigger and it didn't go off."

Born on this day in history: June 17, 1980 - Venus Williams (1980– ) Born in Lynwood, CA, tennis champ Venus Williams was the first African-American to reach No. 1 ranking. She's won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and Olympic gold.

Scripture of the Day: But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. - Romans 6:17

Video of the Day: "Dream On" - Kelly Sweet - submitted by Amber

Laura had a 3-hour worship team rehearsal at Harvest Christian Center last evening, so I have no exciting menu to share. I had some tortilla chips and salsa and some spring water. Well, I warned you that it would not be exciting!

I watched two episodes of "Party Heat" and two episodes of "Beach Patrol" on truTV. I am always amazed by the idiotic antics of drunken beach-goers. The cops show considerably more restraint than I could!

I got in an hour of good practice with my new guitar and amp. I am very rusty, but I am progressing nicely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hotel California, Free Falling, -and- Gnawing Concern

Hotel California - Alcatraz to become upscale lodging
Free Falling - toddler survives 40-foot plunge
Gnawing Concern - nearly 800 rats removed from Oregon home

On this day in history: June 16, 1948 - In the first skyjacking of a commercial plane, three armed men storm the cockpit of the Miss Macao, a passenger seaplane operated by Cathay Pacific airline. When the pilot refuses to turn over the controls, he is shot dead and the plane crashes into the ocean. The only survivor among the 27 people on board is the leader of the terrorists.

Born on this day in history: June 16, 1917 - Katharine Graham (1917 - 2001) Born in New York City, publisher Katharine Graham took over the Washington Post and Newsweek after the suicide of her husband, and acted as publisher for 10 years. Graham’s memoir Personal History won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997.

Scripture of the Day: ... what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. - Galatians 6:16

Video of the Day: Latte Art Printing Machine - submitted by Cap'n Jack

Click to enlarge.

Friday evening, we produced a wonderful pizza: I sautéed julienned white onion, sliced white mushrooms, and chopped Jalapeños. I thinly sliced a cluster tomato. Laura removed the pepperoni from a Red Baron thin-crust pepperoni pizza, scattered the sautéed items, laid the tomatoes atop this, replaced the pepperoni, and seasoned it with Tony Chachere's More Spice. She then shredded a quantity of Monterey jack cheese over the pizza and baked it until the crust was golden brown and the cheese was bubbling. It was excellent.

Saturday afternoon, we snacked upon smoked Gouda cheese, Italian salami, tomato and olive oil Triscuits, and frozen margaritas while playing Scrabble.

Saturday evening, we enjoyed bacon sandwiches. I placed 15 strips of bacon on paper towels, in a Pyrex baking dish, covered with more paper towels, and cooked in the microwave oven. I toasted sourdough bread slices. At the able, we added Sierra Nevada Stout mustard, sliced cluster tomato, and Vlasic Stacker pickles. It was a delightful meal.

We watched "Déjà vu" [ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) finds himself dogged by that feeling as he investigates a bombing on a New Orleans ferry. Should he shrug off the unsettling sensation, or can it help him unravel the clues he needs to save hundreds of innocent people from disaster? Directed by Tony Scott, this thriller also stars James Caviezel and Val Kilmer.] The movie explores the possibility of going back in time and changing the outcome of events. The movie is exciting, well-acted, and believable. I recommend it.

Sunday evening, we enjoyed sushi. I made California rolls, using Calrose rice, shrimp, avocado, Jalapeño, and green onion. It was delightful.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crosstown Traffic, Heat of the Moment, -and- iRobbed

Crosstown Traffic - New Zealand drivers use blow-up dolls to avoid traffic regulations
Heat of the Moment - truckers face fines for idling rigs over 5 minutes
iRobbed - iPhones used for bait in Craigslist robberies

On this day in history: June 13, 1985 - Mailroom workers discover a bomb inside a suspicious parcel at Boeing, Inc.'s Fabrication Division in Auburn, Washington. After the police bomb squad disarms it, investigators discover the initials "FC" stamped on both caps, making it the first explosive device recovered intact from the Unabomber.

Born on this day in history: June 13, 1986 - Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986-) Born in Sherman Oaks, CA, actress twins Mary-Kate and Ashley debuted at nine months old, sharing the role of Michelle on ABC sitcom "Full House," which ran for eight years. By 12, the girls had starred in home videos, feature films, multimedia entertainment and another ABC series, "Two of a Kind."

Scripture of the Day: Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. - Ephesians 6:13

Video of the Day: 120-watt Crate Guitar Amplifier

I sold my Fender SJ-64S acoustic guitar and bought a Crate FXT120 guitar amp

and a Samick Strat guitar.

When I am not touring with Sammy Hagar, I shall assist Laura by accompanying her as she rehearses the songs she performs with the worship team at Harvest Christian Center

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Controlling Substances, -and- Judge Not

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - how to know if your tomatoes are free from salmonella
Controlling Substances - world's largest drug seizure, $400 million, in Afghanistan
Judge Not - LA obscenity trial suspended over judge's Web site

On this day in history: June 12, 1978 - David Berkowitz is sentenced to 365 consecutive years in prison without the possibility of parole. Berkowitz killed six New Yorkers between 1976 and 1977, known collectively as the Son of Sam murders.

On this day in history: June 12, 1994 - Nicole Brown Simpson and her male friend Ronald Goldman are savagely murdered in front of Simpson's condominium complex in Brentwood, California. The most plausible suspect turns out to be Nicole's estranged husband O.J., who is arrested for the crime a month later. He is later acquitted in the criminal trial and found responsible in a subsequent civil trial.

Born on this day in history: June 12, 1929 - Anne Frank (1929 - 1945) Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Jewish diarist and concentration camp victim, Anne Frank fled the Nazis to The Netherlands in 1933. During the occupation, she hid in an office flat in Amsterdam with her family and kept a moving diary, later published. Frank died in Belsen concentration camp.

Scripture of the Day: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. - Ephesians 6:12

Video of the Day: Monkey Taunts Tigers - submitted by Amber

You'll never be as cool as a bull-riding monkey! Click to enlarge.

For those who think they know everything:

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes or shark attacks.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

The King of Hearts is the only king without a moustache.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.

Walt Disney was afraid of mice!

Pearls melt in vinegar.

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs—but, not downstairs.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first U.S. president whose name contains all
the letters from the word "criminal." The second? William Jefferson Clinton

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slither, The Name Game, -and- Grillin' and Chillin'

Slither - Brentwood mom finds snake sleeping in crib with baby
The Name Game - couple wins right to name son "Lego"
Grillin' and Chillin' - store refuses to sell woman barbecue sauce without her ID

On this day in history: June 11, 1962 - Frank Morris and the brothers John and Clarence Anglin escape from Alcatraz.

Born on this day in history: June 11, 190 - Jacques (Yves) Cousteau (1910 - 1997) Born in Saint-Ande, France, underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau pioneered underwater TV. In 1950, he commanded the French naval research ship Calypso. Cousteau’s films include the Oscar-winning "The Golden Fish" (1960).

Scripture of the Day: In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. - Romans 6:11

Video of the Day: How It's Made: Marbles - submitted by Cindy

The wind continues! Drat this pesky wind!

For dinner last evening, I made enchiladas. I chopped grilled burgers that remained from last Friday's dinner. I placed the resulting pieces in a Glad container, sprinkled a tablespoon of water over them, affixed the lid—leaving one corner unsecured to allow steam to escape—and steamed for a few minutes in the microwave oven. This made the chopped burger meat very moist and tender.

I sautéed julienned white onion, julienned Jalapeños, minced garlic, Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground cumin, ground black pepper, and Gebhardt's chili powder in extra-virgin olive oil. I added the meat and half a package of baby spinach leaves. I continued to sauté this until the spinach was fully wilted. I stirred the mixture and set aside to cool. I brushed a Pyrex baking dish with enchilada sauce. I placed some of the meat mixture in a white flour tortilla, rolled tightly, and placed in the Pyrex dish. I continued this procedure until the mixture was gone. I poured enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, topped with sliced extra-sharp cheddar cheese and chopped green onions and set aside. I made corn salsa with fresh salsa, chopped green onions, and kernel corn. I made guacamole with fresh salsa and two large avocados. Laura baked the enchiladas in the microwave until the cheese was melted. At the table, we used sour cream, guacamole, and corn salsa as condiments. It was a delighful meal. A quantity of enchiladas remains for dinner on Friday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fighting Back, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, -and- No Emergency

Fighting Back - burglar makes the mistake of choosing 308-pound mastiff's home
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - tomatoes pulled off shelves amid salmonella scare
No Emergency - police arrest teen for making 1,650 prank calls to 911

On this day in history: June 10, 1692 - Bridget Bishop is hanged at Gallows Hill near Salem, Massachusetts after having been convicted of "certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries." Bishop is just the first casualty of what will come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials.

Born on this day in history: June 10, 1922 - Judy Garland (1922 - 1969) Born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, MN, actress and singer Judy Garland was a child star in The Wizard of Oz, but career demands and drug problems caused difficulties. Concerts and occasional films continued with public success, but her private life was full of overwhelming difficulties, and she died from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills.

Scripture of the Day: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:10

Video of the Day: Will it Blend? - Pens

Ronald Reagan Quotes:
'Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.'

'The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

'The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.'

'Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.'

'I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.'

'The taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.'

'Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.'

'The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.'

'It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.'

'Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.'

'Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.'

'No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world , is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.'

'If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.'

Monday, June 09, 2008

Fighting Back, Grave Injustice, -and- Look up in the Sky!

Fighting Back - man mauled by grizzly kills bear, lives to tell tale
Grave Injustice - investigators seek missing funeral funds
Look up in the Sky! - winged stuntman beats commercial flight

On this day in history: June 9, 1980 - In the midst of a cocaine binge, comedian Richard Pryor attempts suicide by dousing himself with rum and setting it ablaze. The self-immolation attempt goes haywire when the flaming man leaps from his apartment window and runs down the street, screaming in agony. Pryor barely survives the incident, and only after six weeks of intensive care and three skin graft surgeries.

Born on this day in history: June 9, 1963 - Johnny Depp (1963-) Born in Owensboro, KY, and raised in FL, actor and director Johnny Depp left school at 17 to play in garage bands. He gained teen idol status on TV's "21 Jump Street" and today has carved a niche for himself as a serious, somewhat dark, idiosyncratic performer, consistently selecting roles that surprise critics and audiences alike.

Scripture of the Day: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. - 1 Timothy 6:9

Video of the Day: Amazing Stick Men - submitted by Frank

You in a heap o' trouble, boy! Click to enlarge.

The wind has abated—now that the weekend has passed. The wind that plagued us most of last week returned Friday evening, after a brief respite, and continued through the weekend. It is gone this morning, and today promises to be calm and hot. It is forecast to be 96 degrees today.

Friday even, we had grilled cheeseburgers. Laura incorporated thinly sliced steamed mushrooms and Jalapeños, minced garlic, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and ground black pepper into Sierra Nevada beef. She grilled the patties, topping with extra-sharp cheddar cheese just prior to removing them from the grill. At the table, we applied condiments to sourdough bread and added sliced tomato, sliced onion, and baby spinach leaves. It was an excellent meal.

Saturday evening, I grilled New York strip steaks, large white mushrooms, medium white potatoes, and large Jalapeños. I rubbed the steaks four hours prior to grilling with Tony Chachere's More Spice and ground black pepper. It was a wonderful meal.

Sunday evening, we enjoyed sushi. I made California rolls with shrimp and avocado, green onion, and Jalapeño slices. It was wonderful.

We watched "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" Saturday evening. [Get ready to globe-trot with one of the big screen's greatest adventurers. When Dr. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) -- the tweed-suited professor who just happens to be a celebrated archaeologist -- is hired by the government to locate the legendary Ark of the Covenant (resting place of the original Ten Commandments), he finds himself up against the entire Nazi regime. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas teamed up to create this all-time favorite.] I had not seen this (or any of the Indiana Jones movies) previously. I enjoyed it a good deal and was impressed by the special effects and video quality of this 27-year-old movie. I highly recommend it.

Sunday evening, we watched "No Country for Old Men." [A hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a dead body, $2 million and a stash of heroin in the woods. He absconds with the cash, but brutal thief Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) comes looking for it, with a local sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) on his trail. The roles of hunter and prey blur as the violent pursuits of money and justice collide. Joel and Ethan Coen direct this dark morality tale, which won four Oscars in 2008, including Best Picture.] The mere fact that this movie won four Oscars should have prepared me for disappointment, but my appreciation of Tommy Lee Jones drove me to want to enjoy the movie. This could very easily be the worst movie I have ever seen—at least, I judge it to be the worst mainstream movie I have ever seen. Surely, there are independent films that are worse yet, but for a major Hollywood movie, this one is truly abysmal. There is a very simple plot, scant plot development, and no character development. The action—what little there is of it—is, for the most part, senseless, gory killing. The one opportunity for special effects comes at the end of the movie, when the hunter's car is T-boned by another car. Unfortunately, this accident is anticipated—so there is no element of surprise—and there are no special effects or dramatic photography whatever. The movie adopts the premise that the depiction of gory, senseless murder is a theme. In actuality, the movie is embarrassingly gruesome and, ultimately, boring.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Cover Me, To Serve and Protect, -and- Daredevil

Cover Me - DOJ sues Honeywell over defective bulletproof vests
To Serve and Protect - S.F. police chief skips out on target practice
Daredevil - two men scale NY Times building on same day

On this day in history: June 6, 968 - Senator Robert F. Kennedy dies at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. The Democratic lawmaker had been campaigning for his party's Presidential nomination when he was shot three times by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.

Born on this day in history: June 6, 1955 - Sandra Bernhard (1955-) Born in Flint, MI, comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard developed brash, in-your-face comedy in the 1970s. A multi-talented performer, she has appeared in movies, TV shows, and written several books. In 2001, Bernhard hosted her own A&E TV talk show.

Scripture of the Day: But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Matthew 6:6

Video of the Day: Captain Kirk for President! - submitted by Frank

Welcome to Texas! Watch your speed! Click to enlarge.

While certainly not as violent as the wind that plagued us earlier in the week, the wind has increased considerably since yesterday. Hopefully, this will soon pass. The forecasts are for warm, calm weather.

We watched "The Smoking Gun Presents the World's Dumbest Daredevils" yesterday evening. It is amazing what people do for attention and the danger to which they expose themselves. Some of the daredevil stunts were truly stupid. Others were bizarre. All were dangerous. I felt no urge whatever to reproduce any of them.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fighting Back, Somebody's Watching You, -and- Fruit of the Vine

Fighting Back - Packers running back foils home intruder
Somebody's Watching You - cell phone users secretly tracked in study
Fruit of the Vine - alcohol cuts risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis

On this day in history: June 5, 1968 - Seconds after Senator Robert F. Kennedy is shot dead by Sirhan Sirhan in a Los Angeles hotel, witnesses wrestle the Palestinian to the ground and grab his smoking .22-caliber revolver. Sirhan later claims to have been acting unconsciously, possibly the result of hypnotic brainwashing.

Born on this day in history: June 5, 1878 - Pancho Villa (1878 - 1923) Born Doroteo Arango in Hacienda de Rio Grande, Mexico, revolutionary Pancho Villa fought against Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz in 1909 and led the successful revolt against Victoriano Huerta in 1914. Although pardoned in 1920, Villa was assassinated.

Scripture of the Day: If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. - Romans 6:5

Video of the Day: Zürich Chamber Orchestra - Roller Coaster - submitted by Chris

The wind has abated! The fierce wind that has plagued us for several days has abated. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and clear, and birds are singing. It is likely that this weekend will benefit from beautiful weather.

Gasoline prices were disturbingly high this morning. At the Valero near our home, I noticed that current pricing for 89-octane gasoline is $4.55 per gallon. Yikes! I do not drive much, hence I fill Mr. Nitro's tank infrequently. I do not generally view the gasoline prices as I pass Valero each morning. Something bade me look this morning. Although Mr. Nitro's fuel mileage is certainly better than many SUVs (18.5 MPG city / 23.5 MPG highway), it is significantly lower than that of Laura's Toyota Yaris, which averages 40 MPG. Since Laura commutes to Chico each weekday, she is continually made aware of the high fuel costs. For me, this morning's revelation was shocking.

For dinner last evening, I removed the meat from the bones of the leftover baby back ribs, added it to the leftover beans, and stirred in cooked penne that remained unused from a previous meal. I made small cubes of extra-sharp cheddar cheese. We placed the cheese cubes in bowls and topped with the beans, rib meat, and penne. It was delicious.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mutual Attraction, Outbreak!, -and- Fruit of the Vine

Mutual Attraction - girl swallows 30 magnets, steel balls
Outbreak! - antibacterial wipes can spread superbugs
Fruit of the Vine - new hints seen that red wine may slow aging

On this day in history: June 4, 1967 - The Emmy for best comedy TV series is won by "The Monkees."

Born on this day in history: June 4, 1975 - Angelina Jolie (1975– ) Born in Los Angeles, the daughter of movie star Jon Voight, actress Angelina Jolie began studying acting at age 11 at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Her film roles have won awards and box office appeal, including "Gia"(1998), "Girl, Interrupted" (1999), "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," with Brad Pitt (2005).

Scripture of the Day: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. - Ephesians 6:4

Video of the Day: Best Card Trick in the World - submitted by Amber

For dinner last evening, I made a sausage and penne dish: I simmered Johnsonville brats until approximately 75% cooked and set aside. I simmered six cluster tomatoes (cut into eight sections), a head of peeled garlic (whole), a large white onion (julienned), 3 medium Jalapeños (julienned), two small zucchini (cut into 1/4-inch sections), and four large white mushrooms (sliced thickly) in two ounces of Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon. I seasoned this with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, and Italian seasoning. After an hour, I sliced the brats into 1/2-inch sections and incorporated into the vegetables. I cooked a box of Barilla penne for 8 minutes and plunged quickly into cold water to stop the cooking process. 30 minutes later, Laura incorporated the penne into the sauce, and we allowed this to simmer for another 15 minutes before serving. At the table, we added crushed red peppers and DiGiorno shredded Parmesan cheese. It was delicious.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Just the Cricket, Stupid Criminals, -and- That Sinking Feeling

Just the Cricket - eating bugs saves Earth
Stupid Criminals - suspect arrested returning to Starbucks he had robbed
That Sinking Feeling - 100 stuck cars close Daytona Beach

On this day in history: June 3, 1968 - Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto, arrives at the art studio of Andy Warhol and shoots him three times in the torso. Warhol barely survives the attempt on his life. Solanas is later jailed and institutionalized.

Born on this day in history: June 3, 1906 - Josephine Baker (1906 - 1975) Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, MO, singer-dancer Josephine Baker debuted on Broadway in Shuffle Along (1921). In 1925, she appeared in an all-black act at the Folies Bergère and became an instant success. In the 1950s, Baker supported racial equality, and addressed crowds at the 1963 March on Washington.

Scripture of the Day: Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? - Romans 6:3

Video of the Day: Very Funny Dogs 11 - submitted by Darin

Goodbye! Click to enlarge.

The sky is strange-looking and somewhat ominous this morning. It is warm yet unseemly humid. It is already 65 degrees, and it is 6:59 AM. The humidity is at 59%. Hopefully, the humidity will drop.

Update: At 7:15 AM, the humidity had dropped to 51%, the sky had cleared, and it appeared that this would be a beautiful day. A mere 30 minutes later, the sky is now overcast again, the temperature has dropped to 62 degrees, the humidity has risen to 58%, and showers are predicted! Yikes!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Johnny Mnemonic, I'm Researching a Part, -and- It's in His Kiss

Johnny Mnemonic - students soon will download lessons directly into brains
I'm Researching a Part - Tatum O'Neal busted for cocaine, crack
It's in His Kiss - teen DUI blames drunk boyfriend for her BAL

On this day in history: June 2, 1793 - Jean-Paul Marat recites names of 29 people to the French Assembly, virtually all of whom will be guillotined. Over the next year 17,000 will be executed in the Reign of Terror.

Born on this day in history: June2, 1972 - Wayne Brady (1972-) Born in Orlando, FL, comedian-actor Wayne Brady started at local clubs and Disney World and moved to Los Angeles in 1996. His break was on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," ABC’s version of the British improv show. Brady went on to star in his own variety and daytime talk shows.

Scripture of the Day: Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2

Video of the Day: Mecum Auction Presents - Lot # S115 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda - submitted by Cindy

Great Scott! Drunk again! Click to enlarge.

The weather was beautiful throughout the weekend. It was not as warm as it had been forecast to be, yet it was wam and without the wind that plagued us earlier in the week.

We had BLTs for dinner on Friday. We made them from toasted sourdough bread, bacon, sliced beefsteak tomatoes, sliced avocados, and baby spinach. They were delicious.

Saturday evening, I grilled New York strip steaks that I had marinated for four hours in extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and ground black pepper. I also grilled large white mushrooms, Jalapeños, and red potatoes. It was a delicious meal. I grilled three steaks—planning the third to be used for Sunday brunch.

Sunday, we had Potatoes O'Brien, sunny-side-up fried eggs, and the New York strip steak from Saturday's dinner. This was a delightful brunch.

We had Cajun black beans and baby back ribs for dinner Sunday evening. Laura made a spicy dry rub (Tony Chachere's More Spice, garlic powder, ground black pepper, brown sugar, crushed red peppers, Gebhardt's chili powder, and dry Chinese mustard) and applied it to an enormous rack of baby back ribs. She barbecued them over indirect heat, bone-side down, without turning, for four hours—brushing every 20 minutes with a sauce I made from apple cider vinegar, Tony Chachere's Louisiana hot sauce, and garlic powder. I simmered sliced white onion, sliced Jalapeño peppers, diced Roma tomatoes, minced garlic, and minced garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. I seasoned this with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, Gebhardt's chili powder, and crushed red peppers. After simmering for an hour, I added a can of black beans, stirred, turned the heat to low, and allowed this to simmer for 30 minutes. It was a wonderful meal. We both declared the ribs were the best we had ever had! Leftovers await our dining pleasure on Wednesday evening, following Bible class.