Friday, January 30, 2009

His Dishonor, Somebody's Watching You, -and- To Serve and Protect

His Dishonor - judge uses vulgar, racist language as he is charged
Somebody's Watching You - Swiss police spy marijuana field with Google Earth
To Serve and Protect - university police chief caught in online sting

On this day in history: January 30, 1968 - North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive, in which they suffer a defeat and 46,000 dead, but shocks the complacent American television viewer who had been led to believe the war was won.

Born on this day in history: January 30, 1931 - Gene Hackman (1931- ) Born in San Bernardino, CA, actor Gene Hackman made it big in "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967). He went on to win an Oscar for "The French Connection" (1971), and has been making blockbuster movies ever since.

Scripture of the Day: Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

Video of the Day: Bus Races - submitted by Darin

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this school bus on the way to my office this morning! Click to enlarge.

It appears that the freezing weather has departed. This morning, the low was 38°, and the forecast for the next five days is a low of 40°. While this is certainly cold, by my standards, it is considerably warmer than it was earlier this week—in part, of course, due to the psychological effects of seeing ice covering Mr. Nitro! Highs of 70°+ are forecast, and I eagerly await this weather. It shall be good weather for grilling this weekend.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fighting Back, Unused Minutes, -and- The Taxman Stalleth

Fighting Back - chef uses giant spoon to fend off robber
Unused Minutes - teenage girl goes berserk when dad takes cell phone
The Taxman Stalleth 30-day delay for California tax refunds

On this day in history: January 29, 1919 - Prohibition begins, and with it the rise of organized crime.

Born on this day in history: January 29, 1918 - John Forsythe (1918- ) Actor. Born John Lincoln Freund, on January 29, 1918, in Penns Grove, New Jersey.The eldest son of Sam and Blanche Freund, John briefly attended the University of North Carolina before leaving academia to work as a baseball announcer for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Billed as John Forsythe, he appeared in regional plays before making his Broadway debut as Private Cootes in "Vickie" (1942). The following year, he moved to Hollywood, where he landed supporting roles in the action features "Northern Pursuit" and "Destination Tokyo." While struggling to find suitable film parts, Forsythe studied at the famed Actors Studio, graduating with the school's first commencement class in 1947.

Scripture of the Day: They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. - Psalm 22:5

Video of the Day: Newstopia - iGun - submitted by Frank

Say, "Ahhhh!" Click to enlarge.

My first car was a red 1952 Jaguar XK120. I was 17 years old and a nascent rock star. I unceremoniously declined my mother's offer of her pristine red and white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Aire Sport Coupe. The Chevrolet had a high-performance 283cid engine, factory dual exhaust, and 4-barrel carburetor. She bought the car new, it was still like new, and she wanted a new 1960 Chevrolet Impala convertible.

Today, the Chevy would fetch a vast sum at the Mecum Auto Auction. The Jaguar would garner greatly less enthusiasm there. In 1961, however, the Jaguar seemed the appropriate vehicle for me. It better suited my image—or, at least, what I imagined my image to be. Ah, the foolishness of youth!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mommie Dearest, The Kids Are Alright, -and- Hot and Cold

Mommie Dearest - mother teaches 12-year-old daughter to shoplift
The Kids Are Alright - Boy Scout earns 121 merit badges
Hot and Cold - Gore braves severe ice storm to testify on global warming

On this day in history: January 28, 1978 - "Vampire of Sacramento" Richard Chase is arrested. Miscellaneous human organs are found in his refrigerator. He managed to kill six people, drinking the blood of two of his victims.

Born on this day in history: January 28, 1968 - Sarah McLachlan (1968-) Born in Halifax, Canada, singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan had her debut album in 1988, gaining a following for her atmospheric folk-pop music. In 1993, her single "Possession" broke the Top 100. In 1997, McLachlan founded the successful Lilith Fair, an annual tour of women musicians.

Scripture of the Day: [Those who follow the LORD are firmly planted, healthy, and full of life.] Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. - Psalm 1:4

Video of the Day: Bizarre Foods: Guinea Pig - submitted by Jay

How tequila works! Click to enlarge.

COLD! It was a mere 30° as I drove to my office at 7 AM this morning. Fortunately, there was no wind, and it was dry. Only a slight patina of ice encrusted Mr. Nitro's windshield this morning, and it was quickly and easily removed with a squirt and cycle of the wipers. It was so cold, however, that once Mr. Nitro got underway, the residual washer fluid instantaneously froze, and it was necessary to repeat the process several times during the grueling, five-block drive to my office.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book 'im Dano!, Mama Mia!, -and- Hic!

Book 'im Dano! - 14-year-old boy impersonates Chicago cop
Mama Mia! - woman gives birth to 8 babies in 5 minutes
Hic! - trapped man survives by drinking whisky

On this day in history: January 27, 1992 - Prostitute Aileen Wuornos found guilty after she killed seven "johns." She claimed self defense but was still sentenced to death.

Born on this day in history: January 27, 1948 - Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948 - ) Born in Riga, Latvia, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov trained with the Kirov Ballet in St Petersburg, and in 1974, defected to the West, joining the American Ballet Theatre, and later the New York City Ballet. He also appeared in Hollywood films.

Scripture of the Day: He [the one who delights in and meditates upon the Law of the Lord] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. - Psalm 1:3

Video of the Day: Trucking Duck - submitted by Frank

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while driving to my office this morning.

Cold and dry. It was a mere 31° this morning as I drove to my office at 7 AM. It was very dry, however, and there was no ice on Mr. Nitro's windshield. Yesterday morning, it was necessary to wait for 5 minutes while Mr. Nitro's defroster melted the carapace of ice from his windshield. Looking at all that ice made it seem much colder than it was.

For dinner last evening, I made a simple, hearty dish that is a favorite of ours: I placed a half-head of cabbage (cut into 2" wedges, several small red potatoes (quartered), a small red onion (cut into 6 sections), a handful of baby carrots, and a package of Johnsonville brats in a large Corning casserole dish. I seasoned this with sea salt, ground black pepper, dried parsley flakes, and red pepper flakes. I cooked this in the microwave for 18 minutes on power level 5. Laura stirred the ingredients and cooked for another 8 minutes on power level 5. At the table, we used spicy brown mustard as a condiment for the vegetables and brats. It is a delicious, hearty, and very easy-to-make meal.

UPDATE - 8 AM: I received a surprise visit at my office from Pastor Rob Kee—a very dear friend and former pastor of Harvest Christian Center. What a wonderful surprise it was to visit with my dear friend and brother in Christ! 11 months ago, he answered a call from the Lord and passed the mantle to Pastor Mike Sharp and moved to Lompoc, CA, where he is now pastor of Riverview Church of God. It was a glorious visit!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fighting Back, Recidivism, -and- No Yolk

Fighting Back - dog bites woman's attacker, thwarts rape
Recidivism - Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video
No Yolk - egg carton has warning that contents 'may contain eggs'

On this day in history: January 26, 1971 - Charles Manson and three of his followers are convicted in Los Angeles of the Tate and LaBianca murders. All were sentenced to the gas chamber, with sentences commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was temporarily abolished.

Born on this day in history: January 26, 1958 - Ellen DeGeneres (1958-) Born in New Orleans, comedian Ellen DeGeneres became famous for her self-titled TV series, "Ellen." In 1997, the show made headlines when DeGeneres's character became the first lead in sitcom history to acknowledge her homosexuality on air, which led to cancellation in 1998. She then made a few movies, and again hit it big with a daytime TV talk show.

Scripture of the Day: But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. - Psalm 1:2

Video of the Day: Guy Fieri: TGI Friday's Commercial - submitted by Cindy

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this motorcyclist this morning on the way to my office! Click to enlarge.

Many, many years ago, I had a custom van. It had two gas tanks. I was returning from a concert in Sacramento, CA. The van began to run poorly. I looked at the fuel gauge and thought to myself that it was time to switch to the auxiliary tank. My female companion noticed that the van was running poorly and asked me what was wrong. I said everything was fine, that I simply needed to switch tanks, and pressed the switch to do so. Unfortunately, the auxiliary tank was empty! Apparently, I had previously switched tanks and neglected to fill the empty tank. We were approximately midway between Marysville and Oroville—about 15 miles from the nearest gas station. It was winter, it was cold, and we were out of gas. This was long ago, and there were no cellular telephones. I told my companion that I would walk ahead and find a house with lights on and ask to use the telephone. I told her to stay in the van and keep the doors locked. I began to walk.

It was well past midnight; I had walked about 20 minutes; there had been no traffic; and I was very cold. Suddenly, a creature riding a very loud Harley screeched to a halt near me.

The rider asked whether that was my van that he had passed a few minutes prior. I said that it was and told him the van had run out of gas. He offered me a ride, saying he was going to Oroville. This offer was fortuitous and afforded a very reasonable solution to my problem, since I had a new 1978 Toyota Celica GT at my home and a 2.5-gallon gas can. It would be a simple matter, I thought, to get the Celica, take the gas can to a service station, fill it, and return to the van.

Little did I know that this motorcyclist was a drug-crazed maniac! I climbed onto the Harley, and before I could negotiate resting spots for my feet, he blasted off into the night—piloting his roaring machine with feral abandon, propelling it at an extremely high rate of speed, with no semblance of caution and no apparent fear. At times, he appeared to be falling into an unconscious state! Then, he would suddenly spring upright and appear to be taking full control of the demon craft—only to suddenly swerve onto the shoulder, causing the Harley to slide about in the gravel and fight for traction!

It was easily the most frightening ride I have ever taken in my life! When we arrived at my house, my legs were as if made of soft rubber, as I attempted to free myself from the loathsome machine and stand upright. I managed, however, to do so. I put the gas can in the Celica, drove to a station, filled the can, and returned to the van. Soon, both vehicles were resting comfortably in my driveway.

For reasons that should be obvious, I only very rarely think of that evening. Last night, as I slept, however, I re-lived the entire nightmarish ride on the demon cycle! I tossed and turned and awakened suddenly, sweating and trembling. It was 3:45 AM. I did not return to sleep, since I feared taking that ride yet once again!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fighting Back, Recidivism, -and- Gnawing Concern

Fighting Back - man uses ice scraper to fend off two attackers
Recidivism - Boca Raton carjacking suspect arrested for 190th time
Gnawing Concern - man punished for abandoning 300 rats

On this day in history: January 23, 1998 - Montana hermit Ted Kaczynski admits to four Unabomber attacks, pleading guilty in a federal plea bargain that spares him the death penalty, but denies him the right of appeal.

Born on this day in history: January 23, 1957 - Princess Caroline of Monaco (1957-) Princess Caroline Louise Margueritte, eldest daughter of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly, the American actress who died in a car accident in 1982, is considered the most stable of the Grimaldi children, including brother Albert and younger sister Stephanie. Caroline still made headlines with various romantic relationships, including three difficult marriages, which resulted in four children. Caroline serves as Monaco's de facto first lady since her mother's death.

Scripture of the Day: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Video of the Day: New Geico Cavemen Motorcycle Commercial - submitted by Cindy

Imagine my surprise when I saw this fifth-wheel trailer setup while gueling Mr. Nitro this morning! Click to enlarge.

Cold, Dry Weather: The rain has abated, for now. The streets are drying. Perhaps this respite will allow the rainwater to be absorbed by the soil. It was very foggy this morning, when I first peered outside at 5 AM. By 7 AM, however, the fog had departed—leaving behind a cold, dry, overcast day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bang!, Spare the Rod, -and- Money Talks

Bang! - actor shot by loaded gun during rehearsal
Spare the Rod - mom spanks kids while on plane, charged with terrorism
Money Talks - Bank of America soars after directors buy shares

On this day in history: January 22, 11918 - Manitoba, Canada film censor board decides to ban comedies, on the grounds that they make audiences "too frivolous."

Born on this day in history: January 22, 1965 - Diane Lane (1965-) Born in New York City, actress Diane Lane began her film career at age 13, opposite Sir Lawrence Olivier in "A Little Romance" (1979). She caught the attention of director Francis Ford Coppola, who cast her in a number of films including "The Outsiders" (1983), opposite Matt Dillon. Lane has gone on to star in films ever since.

Scripture of the Day: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! - Romans 5:9-10

Video of the Day: GEICO Caveman Playing Golf

Imagine my surprise when this young lady arrived at the local gun club this morning!

Rain! I shall keep reminding myself that we "need rain" and praise the Lord for this rain that he has sent us. I realize, of course, that we do need rain. The lakes, streams, rivers, and creeks are at dangerously low levels, and ski resorts are in desperate need of snow. While I do realize this, I must admit that I really enjoyed the brief period of dry, 75°-80° weather that visited us recently!

When we left to attend Bible class at Harvest Christian Center last evening, it was lightly sprinkling. Apparently, while I slept this sprinkling became an earnest downpour. This morning, I deemed it prudent to drive Laura in Mr. Nitro to her Yaris—thereby avoiding the walk along the sidewalk to the carport that would have exposed her to the rainwater cascading from the eaves.

It is forecast that this rain shall continue for several days. I am discontinuing my grilling plans for the weekend and shall change our menus to meals that can be produced indoors.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fighting Back, No Granny No!, -and- All Aboard!

Fighting Back - two boys with baseball bat stop man with gun from killing woman
No Granny No! - woman bites granddaughter, blames dog
All Aboard! - man survives being run over by train

On this day in history: January 21, 1992 - Former child star Dana Plato (Diff'rent Strokes) arrested on charges of armed robbery for holding up a video store in Las Vegas. She served 200 hours of community service as sentence.

Born on this day in history: January 21, 1957 - Geena Davis (1957- ) Born in Wareham, MA, actress Geena Davis was a model before making her film debut with a small role in Tootsie (1982). She won acclaim for playing Thelma in the controversial "Thelma and Louise" (1991). Davis also appeared on several TV series, including the 2005 debut of "Commander in Chief," playing the first woman president.

Scripture of the Day: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

Video of the Day: "Boston Legal" Spoof - submitted by Danica

For dinner last evening, Laura brought home two orders of General's Chicken from Sierra Nevada. It was a delightful meal that featured tempura chicken, rice, fried won ton skins, and a sweet and hot sauce. Leftovers followed me to work this morning and shall soon be devoured greedily.

I placed an image of a dragonfly on my photography blog yesterday, and it quickly became the Top Post. Dragonflies are very popular, it would seem—in particular, since previous photographs of dragonflies have met with similar results on the site.

No doubt thinking of dragonflies—daydreaming, actually, about spring and dragonfly photographic opportunities—and eating garlic- and Jalapeño-stuffed olives from The Olive Hut caused dragonflies to dominate my sleep. I dreamed of giant dragonflies that swooped down and clutched dogs, cats, and small children with their gripper hands and carried them off into the sky. I do not recommend eating garlic- and Jalapeño-stuffed olives just prior to retiring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Turn Me Loose!, Cold Reality, -and- Bad Hair Day

Turn Me Loose! - grandmother kidnaps washing machine repairman
Cold Reality - 5-ton ice sculpture of Al Gore unveiled in Alaska
Bad Hair Day - woman hits man on scooter, drives to salon

On this day in history: January 20, 1998 - Nepalese police seized a shipment of 272 human skulls in Kathmandu, stashed atop a bus, apparently destined for sale to tourists as curios.

Born on this day in history: January 20, 1930 - Buzz Aldrin (1930 - ) Born in Montclair, NJ, astronaut Buzz Aldrin trained at West Point and set a record by walking in space for more than five hours during the Gemini 12 mission in 1966. During the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the Moon.

Scripture of the Day: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. - Romans 5:6-7

Video of the Day: Bike Drifting - submitted by Darin

Imagine my surprise when I encountered this scene while strolling through a local park yesterday afternoon. Click to enlarge.

The beautiful, spring-like weather we have enjoyed for the last 10 days or so is ending, it would seem: This morning, it was 39° as I drove to the office at 7 AM, and the forecast is for a high today of 68°. While that may not sound cryogenic, I must add that tomorrow's high is forecast to be 61°, and Thursday's high is forecast to be 58°! Additionally, there is a possibility of rain on Thursday!

California needs rain, however, so let it rain! I shall survive. I do prefer, however, that it does not rain on weekends!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Get Behind Me Satan, Your Government at Work, -and- Your Government at Work Two

Get Behind Me Satan - firm hires witch to hunt debt dodgers
Your Government at Work - town pays $141,000 to count trees
Your Government at Work Too - Las Vegas mayor plans Mafia museum

On this day in history: January 19, 1997 - Todd Bridges, "Willis" on "Diff'rent Strokes," booked in Marina Del Rey on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He repeatedly rammed the weapon, his car, into another vehicle after an argument in a video arcade.

Born on this day in history: January 19, 1946 - Dolly Parton (1946- ) Born in Locust Ridge, TN, singer-songwriter Dolly Parton gained early fame singing with country star Porter Wagoner (1927 - ). She is credited with taking country music into the mainstream with hits like "Jolene" (1974). Parton has also appeared in films and operates a theme park, Dollywood.

Scripture of the Day: And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. - Romans 5:5

Video of the Day: Wackin Sea Kittens at Shasta Lake - submitted by Frank, and starring Frank!

There were voting issues. Click to enlarge.

The weather was beautiful over the weekend. We intended to go on a road trip and do a lot of grilling. As it happened, we did a good deal of relaxing, went nowhere, and grilled only one meal. It was a very delightful meal, however: I cooked huge New York strip steaks and giant white mushrooms on the grill and baked two large russet potatoes in the microwave oven. There is sufficient steak remaining for another meal. Laura did a goodly amount of housework and put in several hours of work for her job. I read "The Midas Touch - A Balanced Approach to Biblical Prosperity," by Kenneth Hagin. It is an excellent book.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Imagine That!, Matters of Life and Death, -and- Vanished!

Imagine That! - O.J. lawyer: "He's a sociopath"
Matters of Life and Death - D.C. cops ban pro-life messages
Vanished! - science closing in on cloak of invisibility

On this day in history: January 16, 1942 - Raising money for the war, actress Carol Lombard and her mother are killed along with a score of others in a Las Vegas airplane crash.

Born on this day in history: January 16, 1959 - Sade (1959-) Born Helen Folasade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria, singer Sade grew up in London, recording her first album, "Diamond Life," in 1984. It was a huge hit thanks to singles like "Smooth Operator." Later albums established Sade as a top-selling soul and pop artist, and, with the 2000 album, "Lovers Rock," she became an international mainstream musician.

Scripture of the Day: The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. - Proverbs 10:11

Video of the Day: Fast and the Furious 4 - submitted by Darin

Brrr! Click to enlarge.

Viewing the chill factor map above makes me feel truly blessed that we are enjoying such spring-like weather here. While I certainly realize that rain is much needed here, it is impossible not to enjoy the 75+° weather we have had recently. The forecast for today is 82°! The forecast for this weekend indicates that the temperature will remain high. Make certain you have plenty of propane. This is grilling weather!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Armed and Dangerous, Say It Ain't So Joe, -and- Shop 'til You Drop

Armed and Dangerous - BART officer who shot train passenger arrested for murder
Say It Ain't So Joe - high caffeine intake linked to hallucinations
Shop 'til You Drop - shopaholic dies in avalanche of clothing

On this day in history: January 15, 1947 - The body of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short is discovered in a vacant lot, her mutilated corpse chopped in half at the waist. Her murder is known as The Black Dahlia Murder, one of the most lurid murder cases in Los Angeles history. The murderer was never found.

Born on this day in history: January 15, 1929 - Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968) Born in Atlanta, GA, Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr., was the guiding light for the most crucial years in America's civil-rights struggle. Chosen president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, advocating nonviolence, he was jailed, attacked and had his house bombed. King's finest hour came on August 28, 1963, leading the march in Washington, DC, and making his famous "I have a dream" speech. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Scripture of the Day: For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. - Psalm 100:5

Video of the Day: The Loaded Dancer - submitted by Connie

Remembrances of things past. Click to enlarge.

My cat, Zeus, often speaks in my dreams. He does not ask for cat food or milk. He does not ask to be petted. He does not ask to be allowed outside. He speaks of the things he wishes to do! He has expressed his desire to be a tour guide at MOMA, a croupier, a CIA operative, a rock star, the captain of a cruise ship, and so forth. The list is long, and his aspirations are often very great indeed. Last night, while I slept, Zeus told me of his current desire: He said that he wished to journey to Los Angeles and help solve the Black Dahlia Murder! Imagine my great surprise when I began composing today's blog posting and encountered the news item for "on this day in history" that stated today is the day—in 1947—on which the body of Elizabeth Short was found! It could well be that I simply remembered this to be the anniversary of Elizabeth Short's demise, but that would certainly seem an odd bit of trivia to store in memory. However, having no alternative explanation, I shall (for the time being, at least) accept that as the genesis of my dream.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stupid Criminals, Sell this House, -and- The Other Dark Meat

Stupid Criminals - masked man waits in line to rob bank
Sell this House - showhome comes complete with teenager's messy bedroom
The Other Dark Meat - raccoon is making it to the table

On this day in history: January 14, 1601 - Authorities of the Catholic Church burn a large percentage of the Hebrew books in Rome. Monks targeted the books because they felt they portrayed Jesus in a blasphemous manner.

Born on this day in history: January 14, 1968 - LL Cool J (1968-) Born James Todd Smith in Bayshore, NY, hip hop artist LL Cool J (or, Ladies Love Cool James) released his first hit, "I Need a Beat," while still a teen. His fourth album, "Mama Said Knock You Out," was a mainstream success, popular with mid-America and urban kids. LL Cool J has also pursued an acting career and, in 1996, launched a clothing line, FUBU (For Us, By Us).

Scripture of the Day: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. - Psalm 100:4

Video of the Day: Stethoscope - submitted by Frank

I created today's blog from the comfort of our deck. Click to enlarge.

The Visitation
My friend, Frank, visited me at my office yesterday. If you came to this blog between 4 PM yesterday afternoon and 7 AM this morning, you saw Frank's 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra, captured by the CATCam. You can read about Frank's Mustang and see videos of it by clicking on his name and visiting his blog.

The Dinner
Last evening's dinner was a relatively simple dish, but it is easily one of our very favorite meals: Chilled Oriental Noodle Salad I cooked three large Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts and 10 large white mushrooms (sliced) in boiling water for 20 minutes. I removed the chicken breasts and set aside to cool, and I removed the cooking pot from the stove. I broke up the contents of four bags of Oriental-flavor ramen noodles and added this to the pot. I allowed the noodles to remain in the hot water for 5 minutes. I drained the noodles and mushroom slices into a large colander and ran cold water over this to stop the cooking process. I left the noodles and mushroom slices to drain while I chopped two bunches of green onions, a quarter of a head of cabbage, a large red bell pepper, and four ribs from the center of a head of celery. I moved the contents from the colander into a large, stainless-steel bowl and added the chopped vegetables. I added a cup of frozen corn kernels and a cup of frozen peas. I shredded the chicken breasts and added them to the bowl. I dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, sea salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, ground ginger, lime juice, and the contents of the four flavor packets from the ramen noodles. I tossed this slowly until everything was mixed well, covered with aluminum foil, and placed in the refrigerator to cool. It was indescribably delicious. A quantity will follow Laura to work this morning, and a quantity remains for a dinner later in the week.

The Dream
[While I slept] I attended a Microsoft seminar in San Francisco. Following the seminar, I recalled that my friend, Frank, was working on a job site (Frank is a master tile setter) in Berkeley. I called his cell phone and suggested to him that we meet. He agreed, we met, and he suggested we visit the Seismic Research Facility at the University of California at Berkley. He said the facility was open to the public this week and said it should prove to be an interesting adventure. When we reached the facility, we were greeted by a young male tour guide. He guided us through the facility, explaining the functions of the equipment we encountered. Suddenly, we were in a large room that contained only a small domestic cat—suspended upside-down by a cord, from the ceiling. The cat dangled approximately 6 feet from the floor, and on the floor beneath the cat was an intricate pattern of intersecting lines, numbers, and scientific symbols. "Why is this cat suspended thusly?" I said. "Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways," he answered. "Get him down from there at once!" The tour guide shrugged his shoulders and made no verbal response. I advanced toward the cat. The tour guide gave a signal with his right hand, and several armed guards approached me. I quickly took my Spyderco knife from my pocket, cut the cord holding the cat, clasped the cat to my chest, and ran! Soon, I was seated in an outdoor café. I was enjoying a glass of Pinot blanc, and the cat was lapping with great abandon at a saucer of non-fat milk.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wanted, Fish Story, -and- The Taxman Cometh

Wanted - 107-year-old bride seeks groom
Fish Story - pig that catches fish
The Taxman Cometh - tax-free buying on Web to end?

On this day in history: January 13, 1987 - New York mobsters Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Carmine "Junior" Persico sentenced to 100 years of prison for racketeering, along with six others. All were members of the Mafia "board of directors."

Born on this day in history: January 13, 1961 - Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961-) Born in New York City, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus began with Chicago's "Second City" comedy troupe, and, in 1982, joined "Saturday Night Live." Stardom came from her portrayal of Elaine Benes on hit sitcom "Seinfeld," also earning her a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Louis-Dreyfus has appeared in several films.

Scripture of the Day: Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. - Psalm 100:3

Video of the Day: Bluegrass All-Stars - E.M.D. - submitted by Cindy

Evidence of a fine education! Click to enlarge.


24. Yellow Pages - This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodel Factors like an acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

23. Classified Ads - The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores - While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.

21. Dial-up Internet Access - Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines - According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs - Maryland 's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay . Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.

18. VCRs - For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

17. Ash Trees - In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia . In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the Midwest , and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.

16. Ham Radio - Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming Hole - Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park . As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs.

14. Answering Machines - The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York ; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

13. Cameras That Use Film - It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America . Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs - Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys and Bowling Balls. US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The Milkman - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed.

9. Hand-Written Letters - In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses - It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States . In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.

7. Personal Checks - According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in Theaters - During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5. Mumps & Measles - Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States . In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

4. Honey Bees - Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News - While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.

2. Analog TV - According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital.

1. The Family Farm - Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. FARMS are small Family Farms. Both interesting and saddening, isn't it?

Monday, January 12, 2009

To Serve and Protect, Somebody's Watching You, -and- Fingerache

To Serve and Protect - sheriff undernourishes inmates, pockets difference
Somebody's Watching You - CCTV cameras used to provide 'evidence' against diners who complained
Fingerache - kid sends 14,528 text messages in one month

On this day in history: January 12, 1928 - Murderer Ruth Snyder executed in the Electric Chair at Ossining. Photographer Thomas Howard catches the moment of death with a camera secretly strapped to his ankle, and the photo runs on the front page of the New York Daily News.

Born on this day in history: January 12, 1876 - Jack London (1876-1916) (born Jan. 12, 1876, San Francisco, CA, U.S.—died Nov. 22, 1916, Glen Ellen, CA) American novelist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. He is one of the most extensively translated of American authors.

Scripture of the Day: Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. — Psalm 100:2

Video of the Day: Gadget Orchestra with RockStar - submitted by Darin

Brrr. It is -76° in Alaska. All I can say is, "Brrr"! Click to enlarge.

It was 76° yesterday at 4 PM, as I grilled chicken wings! The exterior temperature sensor in Mr. Nitro showed 60° at 6:45 AM, as I drove to my office. I very nearly wore shorts this morning. I am relatively certain I shall soon wish that I had!

I relived an experience I had many years ago while sleeping last night: My rock band was playing a wedding reception in the backyard of the bride's parents' home in Chico. The band took a break, and I sauntered to the bar to get a beverage. I espied a comely young lady standing at the bar. One of the three bartenders—a pleasant young man of about 25—was making a drink for her. He was pouring from a bottle of Bacardi Gold. I turned to the young lady and said, "Are you aware of the significance of the bats on the Bacardi bottle?" "Why no," she said. She appeared very interested, so I continued, "Rum is a distillate of the sap of the Puerto Rican acacia tree. The Puerto Rican acacia tree is the favorite roost of the Puerto Rican fruit bat." "How cool," she said.

Over the years, I have often rued this meeting—wishing that I had confessed to her that my story was meant simply to entertain and bore no validity. I did not, however, and sincerely hope that she did not suffer unduly as a result of my telling of the tale.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fighting Back, Weapons of Choice, -and- Bedside Manner

Fighting Back - rise in justified shootings continues
Weapons of Choice - new rule allowing loaded guns in national parks challenged
- patient left without food for 26 days, starves to death

On this day in history: January 9, 2002 - The DOJ confirms reports that a criminal investigation of mega-corporation Enron has begun. The Texas energy profiteers gave loads of cash to the Republican party before accounting fraud and insider trading caused thousands of Enron employees to lose their savings and pensions.

Born on this day in history: January 9, 1913 - Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994) Born in Yorba Linda, CA, 37th President Richard Nixon (1969-74) was Eisenhower's vice-president in 1952. After several political setbacks, he won the presidency in 1968, and was re-elected by a landslide in 1972. He was then brought down by the scandal known as "Watergate." Facing certain impeachment, in August 1974, Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign.

Scripture of the Day: Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? - Isaiah 2:22

Video of the Day: Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No
Keyboard - submitted by Chris

Here is the first shot of the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet FR500CJ starting
production. Aside from getting a factory-built, honest-to-goodness drag
racer, you get one of the coolest VIN number schemes ever.

Okay, yes, the Cobra Jet gets an upgraded 5.4-liter V8 with a cold air
intake, A/C delete, 9-inch rear end, a six speed manual or three speed auto
with custom shifter, a roll hoop, gauges, a specialized suspension and huge
drag slicks, but it also gets a VIN starting with the car's name. This first
car off the line is VIN number FR500CJ001. Since it is not a road-legal car
to begin with, it does not have to maintain the traditional VIN coding, so
it can be whatever it wants to be. Click to enlarge.

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- a showcase for the photography of David Louis Harter

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When I first viewed the video my friend from afar, Chris, sent me, I was unable to contain my delight and chortled in such a loud and effusive manner that employees from neighboring businesses rushed to my office to check on my welfare. The video so amused me that I felt compelled to share it here as the Video of the Day.

I am currently reading Max Lucado's "Cast of Characters." [Do you believe that God can use you to accomplish extraordinary things? If you have any doubts, take a look at the heroes in the Bible. You'll find people like Mary, Peter, David, Joseph and Esther--ordinary people who allowed God to work through them in amazing ways. In "Cast of Characters," Max Lucado gleans from several of his best-selling works to present some of the Bible's most interesting lives. Each chapter includes related Biblical text and discussion questions for individual or group study. Come closer to God's heart for you, by spending time with this cast of characters.] I am enjoying this book a great deal. Max Lucado is a favorite of mine. I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Kids Are Alright, Drive, -and- Mush!

The Kids Are Alright - 9-year-old boy rescues girl from pitbull
Drive - 6-year-old boy takes parents' car after missing bus
Mush! - Minnesota sled-dog race cancelled due to excessive snow

On this day in history: January 8, 1991 - Guitarist Steve Clark from Def Leppard found dead from a drug and alcohol overdose. He was 31.

Born on this day in history: January 8, 1935 - Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) Born in Tupelo, MS, pop singer Elvis Presley caused a national sensation on "Ed Sullivan's Talk of the Town" in 1956 because of his "scandalous" pelvic gyrations. That same year, he released his first million-selling single, "Heartbreak Hotel," and starred in the first of 33 films. After 1974, Presley became drug-dependent, spending his last years living reclusively at his Memphis home, Graceland.

Scripture of the Day: The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. - Lamentations 3:25

Video of the Day: White and Nerdy in Lego - submitted by Jay

Mr. Nitro has been Google-ized! The Google camera car caught Mr. Nitro napping on a Saturday morning. Click to enlarge.

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Some of my fondest memories of my youth center about an enterprise that once operated on Highway 99W, just outside of Corning—The Snake Pit! The Snake Pit was an excellent venue for a young boy who has a fascination with snakes. Dangerous snakes could be viewed there at close range, without danger. When I-5 was completed, The Snake Pit closed. Like many businesses along Highway 99W, The Snake Pit was a victim of new freeway. Travelers no longer passed these businesses, and they quickly became shuttered. The owner of The Snake Pit is rumored to have loosed all the snakes into the adjacent field.

I have ferreted through all my historical photographs of Corning, and I have not found any photographs of The Snake Pit. PLEASE: If you have photographs of The Snake Pit, bring them to my office, so that I may scan them and add them to my collection of historical photographs of Corning! If you are distant, please mail them to me. I shall scan them and return them to you within 24 hours of receiving them, and I promise to treat them with the greatest of care! Thank you.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fighting Back, Animal Kingdom, -and- I Hear You

Fighting Back - good Samaritan shoots, kills would-be robber
Animal Kingdom - mule saves woman from fire
I Hear You - man sues ex-wife for hiding recorder in stuffed animal

On this day in history: January 7, 1961 - Young hoodlum Al Pacino arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. He and his compatriots were driving around a suburb of Providence RI, in the middle of the night, wearing masks and gloves.

Born on this day in history: January 7, 1957 - Katie Couric (1957-) Born in Arlington, VA, broadcast journalist Katie Couric began at ABC, went on to CNN bureaus around the country, then to NBC, where she became No. 2 reporter at the Pentagon. She was a popular co-anchor of "The Today Show" before moving becoming the anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" in 2006.

Scripture of the Day: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23

Video of the Day: Legos: The Beer Song - submitted by Jay

I attended a car show yesterday. One of the cars looked very familiar! Click to enlarge.

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We hungered for grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts last evening. I seasoned four Tyson chicken breasts with Monterey Chicken seasoning. I braved the cold and slithered outdoors to perform this task. I charred the breasts on both sides nicely, over a high flame. I moved the breasts away from the flame and continued roasting them until they were done. I seasoned sliced cabbage, julienned red onion, sliced celery, and carrots (sliced thinly with a potato peeler) with ground black pepper and sea salt. I cooked this in the microwave oven while the chicken roasted. It was a delicious meal.

I completed reading Kenneth Hagin's book, "How You Can Be Led by the Spirit of God." This book describes the true leadings of the Spirit. It also gives warnings concerning some methods of seeking guidance which lead to trouble. The Scriptures on guidance are examined and carefully explained. After reading this book, you will better understand what being led by the Spirit of God is really like. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Background Uncheck, I Want My MTV!, -and- Nothing to Sing About

Background Uncheck - some US cities eliminate criminal background question
I Want My MTV! - $450 cable bill leads to domestic violence
Nothing to Sing About - singer has suffered non-stop hiccups for 22 months

On this day in history: January 6, 1969 - Future Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter sees an Unidentified Flying Object in Leary, GA.

Born on this day in history: January 6, 1957 - Nancy Lopez (1957- ) Born in Torrance, CA, golfer Nancy Lopez won the Ladies' Professional Golf Association Championship in 1978, and was voted LPGA player of the year four times, setting the record for the lowest 72-hole score of 268 (1985).

Scripture of the Day: I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. - Psalm 104:33-34

Video of the Day: Awesome Ford Mustang Commercial - submitted by Chris

Imagine my surprise when I found this creature hiding under my desk this morning! I have no idea what it is. If I knew its origin, I would surely send it home! Click to enlarge.

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My friend, Frank, visited my office yesterday. We had a nice visit. He is returning to Beserkley today—where he is working as a master tile setter. He told me to expect photographs of the wildlife there, and I shall. If you did not see the video of Frank racing his 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra at the Redding Dragstrip in yesterday's blog, by all means view it!

Frank gave me this link to A fascinating look at the history of ATF through the perspective of badge changes

Monday, January 05, 2009

Somebody's Watching You, Matters of Life and Death, -and- Drive

Somebody's Watching You - Police look to hack citizens' home PCs
Matters of Life and Death - schools give morning-after pills secretly
Drive - San Francisco considers fee on vehicles entering city

On this day in history: January 5, 1998 - Congressman Sonny Bono dead from blunt force trauma to his head after a direct collision with a pine tree at Heavenly Valley Ski Area.

Born on this day in history: January 5, 1946 - Diane Keaton (1946-) Born Diane Hall in Los Angeles, actress Diane Keaton starred in several of Woody Allen's best-known films, including, "Annie Hall" (1977), which earned her a Best Actress Oscar. She also appeared in the 1972 hit, "The Godfather" and its sequels. Keaton now splits her time between acting and directing.

Scripture of the Day:

Video of the Day: Here is my friend, Frank, at the dragstrip with his 1993 Mustang Cobra!

No caption necessary! Click to enlarge.

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We did a good deal of relaxing and reading over the weekend. I read "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis ["Mere Christianity" is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during World War II. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts, expanded into the book, originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (1942), Christian Behaviour (1942), and Beyond Personality (1944.] and "The Believer's Authority" by Kenneth Hagin [Do we have authority that we don't know about - that we haven't discovered - that we're not using? Kenneth Hagin points out that "as a result of my studies, I concluded that we as a Church have authority on the earth that we've never yet realized."].

C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" is certainly dated, but the moral positions he takes and the points he makes are easily as true and viable today as they were in the 1940s. The book is a very straight-forward approach to life, in general, and moral behavior, in particular. I highly recommend this book.

"The Believer's Authority" presents an incredible explanation of how one can take control of one's life by declaration of the authority given one by God. Hagin's own faith and his declaration of authority over his physical condition endowed him with the power to rise from the bed—which he had been doomed never to vacate by doctors—and walk!

Saturday evening, we watched "Noëlle" [In this heartfelt Christmas tale, aloof Father Jonathan Keene (David Wall) comes to Cape Cod to close a failing parish run by caring yet troubled Father Simeon Joyce (Sean Patrick Brennan). But both men harbor secrets fueled by guilt and shame, and soon, Keene questions his faith. As his heart opens to the townsfolk, especially the lovely Marjorie Worthington (Kerry Wall), Keene discovers the magic of forgiveness and the gift of a second chance.] This was one of the most boring, poorly-acted, disjointed and superficial movies I have seen in a great while. I cannot, with clear conscience, recommend this movie.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Layover, The Write Stuff, -and- Don't Think About It

The Layover - Japanese man spends 3 months in Mexico City airport
The Write Stuff - man banned from carrying felt-tip pens
Don't Think About It - study says too much thinking can make you fat

On this day in history: January 2, 1939 - Time magazine named chancellor Adolf Hitler its "Man of the Year."

Born on this day in history: January 2, 1969 - Christy Turlington (1969-) Born in Walnut Creek, CA, model Christy Turlington got her start by chance when a photographer snapped a photo of her on horseback and it landed at a modeling agency. Today, she has appeared on more than 300 magazine covers and is best known for work for Calvin Klein and Georgio Armani. Turlington is married to actor-filmmaker Edward Burns and has two children.

Scripture of the Day: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires... - Ephesians 4:22

Video of the Day: Macro Photography Tutorial - from Nikon, an excellent macro photography tutorial.

Tired of your digital photos coming out in all the wrong colors? The baLens lens cap's translucent plastic dome lets light through, allowing you to perfectly set the camera's white balance while the cap is still on.

I shall investigate this product and present my findings here when I have completed my research. Click to enlarge.

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Hello everyone! Welcome to 2009! Let us pray that this year will be significantly more prosperous and peaceful than was 2008!

Laura and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home on New Year's Eve. We enjoyed a wonderful meal of stuffed pork loin, with sautéed cabbage, white onion, and zucchini.

New Year's Day, we snacked on Jalapeño poppers, Triscuits, salami, cheeses, sliced Jalapeños and champagne, while playing Scrabble. Laura won the first game—starting nicely with her first word employing all seven of her letters. I won the second game.

That evening, we enjoyed a lovely meal of grilled giant prawns, filet mignon, and asparagus. I butterflied the giant prawns, removed the tails, and marinated them in La Conda Ranch extra-virgin olive oil from The Olive Hut, rice wine vinegar, ground ginger, ground black pepper, ground chile de arbol, and lime juice. I rubbed the filet mignons with a seasoning mix of my creation and ground black pepper. I poached the asparagus for three minutes prior to tossing upon the grill. It was a delightful meal. Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied this feast. A goodly portion of our filet mignons remained, and it followed me to the office this morning—sliced and placed on Oroweat Health Nut bread, with mayonnaise, wasabi paste, and sliced cheddar cheese. It shall be an excellent luncheon treat for me, I warrant!

After dinner, we watched "Iron Man" in Blu-Ray. [After ultrarich inventor and weapons maker Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) escapes from kidnappers using makeshift power armor, he turns his invention to good by using it to fight crime. But when he must face the evil Iron Monger, his skills are stretched to the limit. Based on the Marvel comic, this captivating superhero tale from director Jon Favreau co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard.] The special effects were incredible, the soundtrack was awesome (in spite of the disappointment of the absence of the vocal track in Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," which played during the titles), the acting was superb, and the action scenes were amazing. However, we both felt that the story droned laboriously through the majority of the movie. Hopefully, the sequel (and this movie begs for a sequel!) will feature a director who is considerably more focused on the action and less upon unnecessary, boring, minutiae.