Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 30 Foot Dash

I was driving to take my horse of a dog to his veterinarian appointment, so he can get his nails clipped and his anal glands milked, when I noticed an elderly couple standing on the street corner. Now when I say elderly I’m not talking about the Greatest Generation old I’m talking about Civil War old. These two may have been around at Bull Run.

Different Bull Run people.

Anyway, the woman pushed the crosswalk button and the two waited for the crosswalk signal to change. Finally the signal turned to the green walking guy and the woman nudged who I assume was her husband. When she nudged him it was like he was awaken from a nap he was taking while standing on the street corner. His head would bob up and he would automatically start walking toward the curb. By the time he reached the curb edge the signal turned to the blinking red hand and he stopped suddenly.

Like deer they may jump out infront of your car.  Use caution.

Without her expression changing the woman turned and pushed the button for the other direction at the corner and she waited. When the crosswalk light turned to green walker she turned to her husband and nudged him. His head bobbed up again and he turned and shuffled to the other curb’s edge and, again, by the time he arrived at the edge the red hand signal was flashing so he stopped.

The more it went on the more I kept watching and waiting to see what would happen. It was like a train wreck. I couldn’t stop watching. Each time the signal changed I kept cheering for the man to make it and each time he didn’t I would yell to myself in my car, “Keep going! The cars will stop!” and a lot of, “You can do it, you can do it… NOOOOO!!” Vegas would have taken odds on this guy making, that’s how exciting it was.

What a' you lookin' at?  You makin' a bet or what?

I actually sat through a complete cycle of traffic signal changes just so I could watch. This is the point where I realized that I am inherently a horrible person. Instead of getting out of the car and stopping traffic for this poor old man, I just watched. Finally a car came up behind me and I had to drive off. Since I did not see any Boy Scouts in the immediate vicinity when I drove off I have to assume that he never made it across the street and quite possibly shuffled back to the senior living center for dinner at four.

Another fun filled night at the senior center.

How often does a situation come up where we can help another in need and we just drive by? We think to ourselves, “I’m too busy” or “Someone else will help them” to try and rationalize our choice not to help. We need to go out of our way to help those who need it.

On a side note… It was kind of funny though (See… I’m horrible!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mixed Signals

As I was stopped at a red light this afternoon I noticed a license plate frame of the vehicle that was parked in front of me that read “Live every day like it is your last.” The plate frame was on a Toyota Prius. You know the hybrid car that people buy to help save the icebergs so their grandchildren’s grandchildren can have ice in their frappuccinos. Isn’t that sending out a mixed message? Save the planet for future generations but, on the other hand, live like you are going to be dead by sunset. Isn’t that like adding a Krispy Kreme on the side of a Jenny Craig?

Without Prius drivers we all would be living in a Waterworld ruled by Kevin Costner.

Last winter I saw a car parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot that had a bumper sticker on it that said, “Your dollar is your vote. Boycott Wal-Mart.” So apparently this individual was casting their vote but it wasn’t for boycott. There comes a time in everyone’s life when things get tough and they need to ask themselves if they are going to stick to their conviction or, in this case, go to Wal-Mart. This person said to themselves, “There’s a sale on hemp purses and tie-dye dresses!” … and out went the conviction.

Which is it people? I have my application ready.

Over the years I have seen many cars zoom by me on the freeway so fast it parts my back hair only to see an ichthus (Christian Fish) on the back of the vehicle. This always annoys me especially since I am a Christian and I am not a fan of other Christians making us look bad. The Bible tells Christians to obey the laws that are placed over them and that includes the speed limit. These people put the ichthus on their vehicle to show everyone that they are followers of Jesus and then drive like man who’s Ex-Lax just kicked in and he needs desperately to find a clean toilet. Sadly this is one of the many reasons why people call Christians hypocrites.

The Men's Retreat needs to find a new location.

We all need to take a look at our actions and listen to our words and make sure they fit together. If you are saying one thing and doing another, people will look at the doing part.  Actions speak louder than words they say. Do your actions drown out your words?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Great Storyteller

Let me tell you all a little something about my father on this Father’s Day. During my formative years my father could string together quite a yarn. Here are two of the first stories I remember my father telling me as a young child.

When I was a young lad, around the age of five or so, I was in my parent’s master bedroom walk in closet as my father was changing his shirt. My brother and I noticed a large round scar on the side of my father’s abdomen and inquired about it. My father got a proud look on his face and continued to tell us a remarkable story. During the Vietnam War my father was a machine gunner in both the Huey Bell and the Chinook helicopters. He would be the soldier that would mow down the forest with a hail of lead as the other soldiers loaded and unloaded from the helicopter. During one of these missions my father was pierced through the side by an enemy bullet. He received the Purple Heart for his bravery. A true hero.

This is my dad if he was black and he was on a boat instead of a helicopter
and those were soldiers he was shooting at not planes.

Later, when I was a senior in high school, I was retelling the tale of bravery to my mother and noticed she had a blank look on her face. I asked her what was the matter and she informed me that the scar on my brave father’s side was a mole that had been removed because he spend too much time in the sun surfing. For those of you who have met my father, the thought of him on a surfboard is quite a shock. It would be like Dennis Franz hanging ten. To my disbelief I discovered that he was never shot while manning the big guns. He did, however spend some time in the hospital but it was because he burned his bare feet while running across the tarmac during a bombardment. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t told everyone I know how my father was shot in combat.

This guy spins wonderful tales. 
They are not as believable as my father's stories though.

Another time when I was around the same age I remember the family was driving down the street as I saw an odd light. On the end of the traffic island on the ground was a small cage with a yellow light in it. I asked my father what purpose did the odd light serve and he told me that the light was from the underground tunnel system used by the people who lived underground.  It took a few years for me to figure out why I could never see these people. Apparently they do not exist.

Apparently, according to my father, a race of dwarves live
below the greater Orange County, CA area.

These stories, like many, have become family legend and, of course, my father denies telling any of them. For those of you who know me, you may be thinking, “So that’s where he gets it from!” you would be quite correct. I get my gift of telling a fantastic story from my father. One of the great gifts a father can give their sons is an imagination and all those stories growing up really allowed me to think outside the box. Today that’s where I live. You may say that I live in the different zip code from the box… but I wouldn’t change a thing.

The great storyteller himself.

Thanks dad, I love you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Unfortunate Task

Today I was reading through the Bible, as I often do, and came upon a passage in the book of I Samuel chapter 18. For those of you who are not familiar with the Bible, this passage talks about the famous King David before he became king but after he killed Goliath.

You remember David and Goliath right?

During this time there was another king named Saul who happens to feel threatened by David because God is on David’s side. I guess that would be as good a reason as any to feel threatened by someone. I once felt threatened by a guy because he had a better wave in his hair. Now look at me. Anyway, back to the story. Saul’s daughter, Michal (yes it’s a girl), fell in love with David and they wanted to get married. So Saul, not liking David gave him a rather daunting task that had to be completed in order to marry his daughter.

Saul replied, "Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” – I Samuel 18:25

I don't know why dried apricots popped into my mind.

Saul’s grand plan was to send David off to kill one hundred of the king’s enemies and get their foreskins as proof. Foreskins. Not swords, shields, teeth, bellybuttons… Foreskins. No wonder God was not on his side. I wouldn’t be on the side of the foreskin guy either. No one wants to be on the side of a guy with a collection of dried up foreskins. Again, back to the story.

This photo was taken when Saul told David to get the foreskins.

So David, being that over achiever that everyone hates to work with, gathes his band of merry men and rides off and gathers not one hundred but two hundred Philistine foreskins. But this isn’t the part I want to focus on today.

Today I would like to talk about the unspoken soldiers that were involved in this merry tale. They fall into two groups. The first group is that of David’s one thousand soldiers. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the average soldier when the commander gathers up the men only to explain that the goal for the day is to lay waste to the enemy camp. I can imagine the men were in high spirits and were elated with the chance to slay the enemy of their country. Then the commander continues on by telling them that once they kill the enemy they must take his foreskin. I just picture a whole lot of smiles turning to sheer horror. There must have been a lot of, “You want us to what?!?” and “I think I misheard him, why does he want us to take their hairpins?” or “Wow… I thought he said foreskin for a second. That would be gross huh?” That would have been a long march to the enemy camp. I don’t know if I would really want to kill any of the enemy. Maybe just wound them so they run off. That way I don’t have to collect any foreskins.

You want us to what?

Then we have the second, unmentioned, group of men in this story; The Philistine army that found their fallen comrades. Imagine the poor scouts that came across the 200 dead soldiers all missing their foreskins. “Hmmm, why are all the loincloths remov… oh the humanity! No, no, no, no, no, no, no…” I’m sure there was a point when one heard a woman screaming only to realize that the woman screaming was he. I’m sure after they emptied their stomach near the bodies they had to go back to the troops and notify the commander of what they had witnessed. That had to be a great moment trying to convince the leader that what they saw was real and not due to the hot desert sun baking their brain.

The permament expression of the scouting party.

What a horrible event to be a part of. Even to this day I think of how much King Saul must have really hated David to make him collect man parts from dead soldiers in order to let him marry his daughter. I know I had to collect fingernails from dead hobos around the greater Los Angeles area in order to marry my wife… but never man parts… that’s just gross.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Last night I was sitting on my back porch and looking up at the night sky, as I often do, observing God’s awesomeness. I love to look at a constellation and wonder how many trillions of stars and galaxies make up each one. As I looked up I saw my favorite constellation Orion, the hunter, I remembered the many stars that make it up; Betelgeuse, Rigel, Bellatrix, Mintaka, Alnilam, Alnitak and Saiph. Every little dot one sees as they lift their eyes to the heavens has a name, even if it is just a number. There is Capella, M42, Castor, Pollux, the moon, Sirius… wait… the moon?

Someone named all of that... every star

I was shocked that I did not know the real name of the moon.  I must have forgotten it.  At this point in my night I walked inside and looked on the internet; because the Internetz knows all. Well, it turns the official name of the moon is… get ready for it… The Moon.  Mankind has spent millions of hours documenting and naming everything in the sky and they haven’t name the really big bright circle that outshines everything else in the night sky? Every other moon in our solar system has name, all 167 of them. Jupiter has 63 moons… all named. Saturn has 61 moons… all named. Earth, the planet that holds the really smart people who name everything, has one moon… named The Moon. Did we run out of ancient Roman gods? That’s like naming your child The Boy because he is the only one your have.

One of Jupiter's moons is named S/2003 J 12, so don't worry about picking a bad name, they already did.

The ancient Romans called it Luna, the Greeks called it Artemis and Selene. Many, many other ancient civilizations and tribes have names for it. Modern man? The Moon.  I would have thought the name would have been Luna because that's where we get the words lunar and lunatic. I discussed this conundrum with a friend at work today and he suggested we call it Fred. He always like that name. I like the name Luigi. That would make for a good name for a moon.  Here is my logic:  All the planets are named after Roman mythology, Luigi sounds like the Roman god of pizza, Romans are Italian and so is Luigi.  There you have it.

We have made The Moon cry.

I say we start a movement to name the moon. Who’s with me? Let me know your suggestions.

I feel we have done a good service to the residents of Earth today. Now all the objects in the sky have been given a name. I think I will celebrate by going outside and enjoy myself under the warmth of The Sun… wait…

Its the big shiny thing that hurts my eyes!