Monday, December 31, 2007

Chuck E. Cheesy


Went to Chuck E. Cheese last Saturday with the two big ones. Of course I spent about 100 big ones while there...but as you can see from the picture, the kids love it. It only took me about a minute to not worry about whether the kids were "wasting" their tokens on games. The ROI on the tickets back doesn't get you anything anyway...at the end of the day, you get 300 tickets, a plastic bug ring, and smiles on the kids' faces. (Having a spray bottle of anti-bacterial/germicidal/anti-fungal/ay carumba is good, too.)

I'm Done Dreaming


Since we moved up here, we at least get a shot at a White Christmas every year. This year we hit the jackpot. Enjoy the picture of our little slice of paradise...taken from a low-res Motorola cell phone.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Perspective.

From my Mom, I give you this link. No real lead-up, just click it and listen. I could only think "from the mouths of babes."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Now That Baseball is a Confirmed Cheat-Fest

I give you another reason to watch hockey.


You can be sure that when baseball players fight, it's probably roid-rage or because someone told someone else they had a big fat (HGH-induced) head. In hockey, it's just adrenaline--and enhances the entertainment value.

Remember, the guy who watched this fight from section 212 paid $20 for his seat--and got this in addition to a whole hockey game. The same rube who saw similar results from Mike Tyson in his prime would've shelled out hundreds for a crummy seat. Who's the smarter fan?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Church Shooting in Colorado

With the church shootings in Colorado dominating news coverage today, I am drawn to James E. Faust's address from April 2007's LDS General Conference.

It's difficult to say how I'd react in such an instance. I can only pray that God would grant me the clarity to take the Amish road in such a case.

Posts Without Pictures

Just another of the free services that I offer.

Well, after about three months of working at home--and not traveling a single mile for business--I reentered the world of the business traveler last week with a one-nighter to San Jose. My thoughts:

1. The Quality Inn & Suites - Silicon Valley/Sunnyvale is neither quality nor sweet. Picture this nice setting: out the front door, you have the 101 whizzing by; around the door to my "suite" is this non-religious aura caused, no doubt, by a door supplier who didn't "get with" the frame supplier to ensure that the doors were the same size. It was like having a doggy door that went all the way around the entry; breakfast consisted of 37 ways to serve bread: waffles, bagels, toast, muffins (English or otherwise), etc. and a juice machine that had the old stalwarts apple and orange--with some odd concoction called "Pass-o-Mango" sandwiched in-between. Tasty. Um...

2. I recall that Norman Mineta was a commerce secretary under Pres. Clinton and a transportation secretary under Pres. Bush--but found out he was mayor of San Jose. What else I was reminded of this week, is that the rental car area at the airport that bears his name in San Jose stinks. Um, hey, San Jose? Seeing as how it rains there fairly regularly, you may want to invest in a canopy or two. How I love running from my car drop-off to the bus drop-off under the protection of my "fits-in-your-bag" umbrella. Nice work, Norm. And to the shuttle driver that closed the door as I was walking up to the shuttle--just two steps away--I saw the placard with your name on it, "Vincent." I'll be back in January--and I have a long memory for missed buses.

3. I hate Hyundai Elantras. XM satellite radio make them bearable, however.

4. I usually make a wrong turn on a business trip. This was no different. What stinks about NoCal, however, is that you can get off the freeway at an exit--but usually you cannot hop right back on. Thanks, Caltrans. Te amo.

5. I love me some CRJ Horizon Air planes. Irene the flight attendant was a breath of fresh air, however. The only empty seat on the plane was next to me (created a nice "buffer" between me and the loo...yup--I got to sit in the delicious back seat. Irene shared with me all of the fun that goes with turbulence with story after story. I thanked the Good Lord that my wife wasn't in that empty seat. I'm sure I'd have had "squeeze marks" on my forearm, chest, neck and head.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans, Thank You.



I was driving around Boise today and as coincidence would have it, stopped at a light behind a late model sedan with this license plate:

My wife noted that of all the military/veteran plates out there, this is the one that really hits her hard. I was choked up, too. She said she'd get out and knock on the man's window if she didn't think she'd startle him and his wife.

As for our Veteran's Day observance, what can we do? We'll be going to our neighbor's home this evening. He was a sailor in WWII and lives with his son here.

I just want to say that when you see a veteran, thank them. Hug them. Shake hands with them. A while back I almost missed the opportunity at the local grocery store--but seized it when presented the second time--to acknowledge a WWII/Korean War veteran. If you could've seen the look of humility in this man's face, and the look of pride in that of his wife, you'd never miss another opportunity--and would seek to create them--to thank veterans for everything with which we've been blessed in this great country.

Thank you veterans. I'll be forever in your debt.

If you'd like to support a good cause, check out my friend Chip's blog. He's affiliated with the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, and is doing something about it.

Are You Tired of This Guy?

Juan Carlos is! My respect for the Spanish king has always been high ever since I saw what he did when Col. Tejero Molina tried a military coup in the Madrid cortes back in 1981. Now that he laid the hammer down on Hugo Chavez in this clip, JCI has reaffirmed himself as "el hombre." Enjoy.


FYI: "¿Por qué no te callas?" is "Why don't you zip it?" in English...clásico.

Update: In this link, Juan Carlos has had enough of another South American dignitary and gets up and leaves. This provides a little context as well, as apparently Chavez called former Spanish president Aznar a "fascist." In other news, the pot in attendance called the kettle sitting to Chavez's right "black." Incredible.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Once a Cougar...








I had a great weekend driving back to watch my undergrad alma mater destroy yet another opponent on the gridiron. It was my first trip to LaVell Edwards Stadium--since they renamed it after I was last there in 1995. The Cougars did not disappoint and won the game handily. I had a great time there with my wife and four other couples from here in Idaho. Campus has changed somewhat since I left in 1994, but at the end of the day, BYU is BYU. It will always be THE University of Utah.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Inspirational.


As I was riding along on the second day of the MS ride, a guy came up alongside me and said, "Craig, right?" I said, yes...thought for a second, and told him, "Hey, I remember you from last year--but I don't recall your name." He told me "Glen." Then I was reminded that Glen was the guy who read my letter last year about why I ride--the one that was sent out to all the people on the SoCal MS Chapter's mailing list--and the one that inspired him to ride. I snapped this picture at the final rest stop on day two, right after we realized they were cutting the ride short for safety's sake, on account of the high winds and fires in the area. I was happy to see Glen had gone for two straight years, and that he was planning to do it again next year.

Keep up the good work, Glen...and may you be someone else's inspiration next year!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fantastic Finish



Watch this.

Then watch it again and count not the laterals, but the number of guys in dark jerseys standing around after lateral #4.

Then watch it again and keep an eye out for clowns, unicycles and seals honking horns.

Cal-Stanford eat your collective hearts out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Other "Bib"


The MS Society has also taken to giving people the opportunity to tell other riders who their inspiration is--who they're riding for. In six rides, I've only done this twice. The last time, my hand cramped as I wrote the names of all those I've met and love who are battling MS. This year, I whittled the list down to one: Mom.

Mom represents all those people for me. She is the most visible reminder to me of what MS does. She is the most loving example of someone who tries hard not to make it about her--like when she told me Monday night how amazing I was for doing this ride. Me? Amazing? How about you, Mom? How about Dad for being the best Dad, husband, father ever? And Mom calls me amazing? I'm truly humbled. I had another MOM-ent on the phone there.

So to all those I love who are battling MS, I say "keep fighting" and I'll keep riding as long as my chubby belly and "second knee caps" will let me. You all rock!

My Big Little Girl

I had a nice voicemail waiting for me when I finished the century ride on Saturday. My daughter left the following for "Daddy":

"Hi Dad. We love you a lot. We really miss you. Congratulations on your bike ride. We miss you lots. We wish you were here with us. We're watching Hannah Montana. We wish you were here to enjoy it. It's not the same without you. Bye from all of us. We miss you. Bye!"

I was thinking of you, too, sweetie.

Thanks: Ready-to-Wear


Everyone who rides the MS ride gets a number known as a "bib". In this year's ride, I was assigned orange bib number "44". According to the results from last year's ride, my supporters pledged enough support to make me the #44 top fundraiser in the ride for 2006. Altogether, you--my friends and family--and I pledged exactly $1500 to help fight MS. For that, I want to thank you forty-four times.

This year, you came through again. As of today, we're over $1200. If you're interested in pledging more or pledging for the first time, click HERE.

...and THANK YOU again!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Three of my Favorite People


For those of you who've heard me talk about how great the Rockin Jalapenos team is, here are some of the reasons right in this picture.

The guy on the left is Arvin, our team captain. I had a chance to talk to him this weekend and realized just how committed he is to this cause--and to making it easy for others to be committed as well. He's an inspiration to me, and truly lives the mantra that you hear when you call his voicemail: "Remember, do good things!"

In the middle, a bit back, is his wife Joannie. I always say that behind every good man is an even better woman. Well, she's behind Arvin in this shot, but not in commitment and just interior goodness. I love them both.

On the right, the woman with the irrepressible smile (seriously, it's always emblazoned across her face), is Jennica. I met Jennica last year on this ride. Her story is that of a thriver, not just a survivor. She's kicking MS's butt daily. She rode the century this year (and kicked my butt, too) and just inspires me to make something out of this. I have what I call "a MOM-ent" each year I ride, where I think about my Mom and what she goes through, along with the thousands of others who have MS. This year, my "MOM-ent" was punctuated by the knowledge that I simply don't know what those who have MS go through, and, God willing, will never know firsthand--but I respect them, love them, and am inspired by their fights every day of my life. Jennica is nothing short of a poster child for making lemonade (with super sweet sugar and a strawberry garnish!) with the lemons of life.

Life's pretty good anyway. Knowing these three people is just gravy.

Santa Barbara at about 8 a.m.


I took this shot as we were getting geared up for day two of the MS ride last weekend in Santa Barbara. This is Leadbetter Beach at about 8:00 a.m. The setting is idyllic to say the least. This is day two, prior to the fires really taking over in Southern California, so what looked like it was going to be a wonderful day actually became a bit of a nightmare for many. What was to be 75 miles morphed into 30; and what was a slight ocean breeze became Santa Ana winds clocking in around 45 mph. They canceled the ride after 30 miles--and I started crying. I asked myself later why, and I think it had more to do with letting down my sponsors by not being able to ride the full distance than anything else. My Mom came through with the right comment at the right time on Monday night, though, as she said: "The fact that you're doing all of this is what matters" not the miles.

It's official, I'm 100...okay, I'm 97.69.


In the first of hopefully a bunch of MS Ride-related posts, here goes:

I did the Century Ride last Saturday at the Santa Barbara MS Ride. The was spec-ed at 99 or something, and my bike computer's calibration coupled with that fact means that according to Sigma, the maker of my cheap computer, I went 97.69 miles in about 7 1/2 hours, including stops. Things I learned on my second century ride:

- I still didn't train hard enough
- The hills are bigger in California than in Idaho
- The temperature in CA in October is hotter than in May in Idaho (Rupert, to be exact--site of my other century ride earlier this year)
- The downhills are the main reason why I ride bikes as opposed to running: in running, you run uphill and run downhill--in riding, your ride uphill and coast downhill. Not as easy as a workout, but it feeds my desire to try to maintain some semblance of being in shape and be lazy too!
- I'll do another one

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Feel Like I'm 100 Again!

I've decided to give the century ride another go this weekend as I participate in the Santa Barbara Start to Finish MS Bike Tour. So it's going down like this: I ride 100 miles on Saturday. Vomit. Ride 75 more miles on Sunday. Get heart transplant Sunday evening. Fly home Monday.

Wish me luck!

Don't forget to donate for MS at my site...and pass the link along!

Donate HERE

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Good Dream Room

Last night the two big kids informed me, after watching a pseudo-scary program on Disney Channel, that our room was the designated "good dream room" and that they would have to sleep on our floor.

Over breakfast, I asked my daughter if she had good dreams while sleeping in the "good dream room" last night. She said with a smile that she had. Then she recounted how she was "in the middle of a really good dream" when Mom woke her up for school. Before I could ask the content of this "good dream," she shared this with me:

"I was winning another prize from the cereal box."

Friday, October 05, 2007

My First YouTube Upload...

I made this little video for my bike friends in California. They're doing a pre-MS 150 Ride get-together tonight in Los Angeles which I cannot physically attend. So I did this:

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Widget

I've also added a new widget to my blog. My sister turned me onto Last.fm, so I made a playlist and have embedded it here because I've got mad tech skills. I also have bowstaff skills, break-dancing skills and Diet Dr. Pepper ingesting skills.

Friday Afternoon

I just realized I haven't blogged in a while, and I'm sure my family and friends are going into withdrawal as they wait with baited breath for that which they yearn for daily: some nonsense from me.

Well, here you go.

My wife is making fried okra tonight. She informed me that she's doing it, even if it "doesn't match" dinner. Since okra is jokingly referred to around here as "the poor man's veggie" I suppose it "matches" just fine. We dropped $400 at the auto shop to fix a rear wheel bearing this week. So I'm poorer.

We've just gotten some rain here in Idaho. It's changed from warm (yesterday) to cool and wet. It's like God pushed the "refresh" button on the Idaho home page. I love the smell of recent rain. As for the mud the kids track in, the jury is still out on that.

Speaking of jury: I got a duty summons a week ago. Apparently, Idaho now knows I'm here. I neglected to ask for a postponement, though--and my obligation is the same weekend as the MS ride in Santa Barbara next month. Maybe I'll remember to call. I wouldn't want to be held in contempt of Idaho court. That would be an interesting first impression.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How do you spell B.S.?


According to the Associated Press, an arbitration court has voted 2-1 to uphold tainted results of a tainted investigation by a tainted lab in tainted France.

I spell B.S. with four letters: W.A.D.A.

Why would Landis, an elite, oft-tested world-class cyclist take the easiest-to-test-for substance on the planet in the middle of the biggest race on the circuit?

(For that matter, why would Vinokourov do the same thing in 2007?)

This is a witch hunt. Unfortunately, they've convicted a phantom.

Here's the story of the ride that put Floyd into contention in the '06 Tour


Here's Floyd crossing the line in winning that stage

Lance Armstrong prophetic--unfortunately


Landis in yellow--where he belongs

Jimmah

I know my wife says I should blog more about the family, but it's early in the morning and I'm upset...actually, I'm just angry. I don't like Jimmy Carter. I think he's done more to upset peace in the world than just about any other alleged proponent of democracy in the history of the U.S.

From his loudmouth soapbox, and as president of the U.S., Jimmy did these wonderful things:

- Deposed the Shah of Iran; while not a great leader, by deposing the Shah, Iran got Ayatollah Khomeini, the U.S. embassy was overrun and we got a hostage crisis for more than a year. Do I need to remind anyone who was in that group of "students" who took the American embassy and its employees hostage? He'll be coming to New York shortly, and he's currently the "president" of Iran.

- Has routinely hung out with Fidel Castro, referring to him in very positive terms

- Oversaw the fraudulent Venezuelan election that brought Hugo Chavez to power. Chaves recently introduced "legislation" that would make him "president for life." Democracy in action.

- Wrote a book comparing the wall in Israel, designed to keep suicide bombers and terrorists out of Israel to apartheid in South Africa.

- As of this morning says that "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel."

Can we get a judge to put a gag order on Carter? He obviously learned nothing in his four years in office. He had little grasp on the world back then--and what he may have had is obviously gone now.

...and I love my kids.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't TASER me, Bro!


I'm sure when you saw the title of this, you thought "oh, a dumb post on that Florida thing..." Well, I wasn't suckered by the moron in Florida. I smelled set-up right away and posted to that effect on a couple of blogs.

The purpose of this post is that I heard the origin and meaning of the acronym "TASER" this morning on the Dennis Miller radio program. Apparently, TASER derives from "Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle" from the Tom Swift books (circa early 1900s). Pretty keen.

Apparently the inventor was a fan of Tom Swift.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fellow Cougar


I've been following this story for the past week-plus since Camille Cleverley is a fellow Cougar. My heart goes out to the Cleverley family as they bid temporary good-bye to their daughter. I thought her Dad's comment from the memorial vigil last Sunday was indicative of a family blessed with the perspective that faith offers:

"She's had some refining trials this past year, and she was prepared to meet her Savior."

I can't wait to hug my own daughter upon her return from school today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Remember again.

I regularly read Charles Johnson's blog Little Green Footballs. I'm newer to it, though, and was unaware of this story from 9/11 survivor Tilly. I suggest you read it.

Click here and when done reading, click on the "195" at the top. Then scroll down through a series of four additional posts to LGF.

It's riveting and I hope it kindles in you the feelings it should.

Remember.

I probably couldn't have been more geographically distant from New York, the Pentagon and that field in Pennsylvania six years ago today. I was on my way to work in Orange County, California, having just finished teaching an early-morning seminary class to a group of high school-aged youth at my church. As was my custom, I listened to KFI640 on the way to work. I heard about the first plane on the radio news as I entered Carbon Canyon. As the news came in, I couldn't really believe what I was hearing. Were we under attack from an army? Who was doing this? Was it an accident? Multiple accidents? An aircraft controllers glitch? I remember actually turning the radio to 97.1 FM KLSX, because I knew they ran the Howard Stern show in the morning--and I knew he broadcast out of New York--that he was there.

I remember later that week, still not fully understanding who or what did this--as I drove up the hill towards the freeway with my wife and daughter in the car--telling my wife as tears welled up in my eyes, "if they need me, I'll go and fight. I'm ready to go." In retrospect I knew that the spirit was more than willing--but the flesh was old, out of shape and ill-prepared. In this war my physical abilities have not been called upon, but in the years since September 11, 2001, my confidence in this country and in its leadership has not waned. It is not the popular road, but I believe it to be the right one.

Now I have three kids, and we don't miss an opportunity to thank the men and women in uniform: armed forces, police, firefighters, for the service the render on our behalf. Last year we brought homemade cookies to the local police and firefighters with the kids; earlier this year, our daughter collected Girl Scout cookies and delivered them to the local National Guard troops--the day before they deployed to Iraq.

However you remember today, remember that real human beings lost their lives on 9/11--not reds or blues, conservatives or liberals, real human beings--our brothers and sisters. It was fratricide on that day. With that in mind, I wholly support the efforts of freedom-loving people everywhere who, when faced with the choice of us/freedom vs. them/radical enslavement, choose us.

God bless the memory of those who have died fighting in this war against evil. May God grant His grace to accompany those who died innocently six years ago this day--and those who had just enough information to die as heroes--thereby showing all of us that greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On This Night, One Sleeps.

We lose. Heaven wins.



My wife says classical music is "just trying to sound like a hymn." I think she'll make an exception in this case as the only musical instrument created by God without man's interference shows its true capacity to resonate and inspire the human soul.

Thank you Giacomo for writing this. Thank you Luciano for sharing it with us mere mortals. I'm sure Puccini has written some additional material for you while he was waiting.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pope John Paul II's Cause of Death SCOOP!

Most of the U.S. gets their news from the MSM: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, etc. When you want hard-hitting journalism on the issues that matter, however, and don't want some candy-coated "died of old age" story for a prominent Western religious figure, you turn to where all clear-thinking individuals turn: The Weather Channel.



How (c)old was the Pope?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

B4YF Contest

This is a first here at Bicycle for Your Fish: A contest.

If you can tell me what the heck this man is going on about, I will provide you with one quarter pound of smoked Alaskan salmon.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Nater #1

Where I go to church, on the first Sunday of the month, congregation faithful are given the opportunity to take the podium and share their thoughts, feelings and convictions about their faith. It's known as "testimony meeting." It's really a neat concept, as we learn, grow and gain strength from each other on this special day.

Enter my son.

He's four, and informed us mid-meeting today that he would like to "bear his testimony" to the congregation. Mind you, this is the same guy who just this morning while tossing a sponge ball around the living room, hit Jesus's picture and remarked, "I wanted Jesus to play catch with us...he's good at catch." Mom and I talked briefly to him and surmised that he was sufficiently able (to not say something inappropriate) to share his feeling with the congregation.

He bounded up to the pulpit and walked with conviction to the microphone. He started off with "I'd like to bear my testimony..." and then took a half-step away from the mike and said (audibly for the congregation): "Actually Mom, I don't want to do this" as he broke into tears.

My wife, being the great mother that she is, met our son as he rushed off the stand and carried this cute, handsome, brave sobbing little boy out of the meeting for some one-on-one love. I couldn't have been more humbled by my son today. I think he's probably one of the bravest little four year-olds I know.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What Not to Do When you Graduate In Colorado

From the same state that gave us a school that has banned playing the game "tag" on playgrounds, we get this wonderful news:

Mention Jesus Christ in your valedictorian speech and we'll withhold your diploma until you apologize.

A 2006 Lewis-Palmer High School graduate who mentioned Jesus Christ during a valedictorian speech and had her diploma withheld until she wrote an apologetic letter, has sued the district for allegedly violating her free speech.

Erica Corder was chosen to conclude a commencement speech shared by 15 valedictorians at the Tri-Lakes-area high school in May 2006. Although students’ 30-second speeches were first rehearsed for the principal, she added evangelical comments when her turn came during the ceremony.


Seriously, how messed up has this country gotten? Apparently "In God We Trust" is just a saying anymore. I'm not sure what makes me more upset, the fact that she is supposed to apologize for speaking freely of her religious convictions in a country built on alleged freedom to do so, or that fact that the district tried to extort an apology by withholding something she obviously worked very hard to achieve.

What inflammatory rhetoric did she include at the last minute? Well, this will shock you:

“We are all capable of standing firm and expressing our own beliefs, which is why I need to tell you about someone who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He died for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago, yet was resurrected and is living today in heaven. His name is Jesus Christ. If you don’t already know him personally I encourage you to find out more about the sacrifice he made for you so that you now have the opportunity to live in eternity with him.”


Double thumbs down, three boo-hisses and a "you're a major nugget" to (now "Former" thank goodness) Principal Mark Brewer.

Thank you multiculturalism for working hard to produce a generation of pansies that do not know how to compete or win, and may be inhibited to stand firm for that in which they believe.

Momentarians?

Brad Lakeman claims credit for it. I heard a guest on the Dennis Miller Radio Show yesterday mention it (could've been Brad...). I like it. The term is "momentarian."

Here's an excerpt from the entire interview last year with Mr. Lakeman and Tucker Carlson on MSNBC (an interview most people likely have never seen--since it was aired on a program that most people have never seen): emphasis mine

BRAD LAKEMAN: The vast majority of Iraqis do not hate us. I coined a term, we've become momentarians in this country. We live for the moment. That's not what makes America great. That‘s not what makes our society free and a peaceful world. We have to look to the future and that's what George W. Bush is doing.

TUCKER CARLSON: Wait a second, momentarians - wait a minute. Who is the momentarian? Who looked at 9/11 and said, oh, a new world order. Who sort of forgot the several millennia of history that preceded 9/11? Millennia in which the people of Iraq lived without democracy in a tribal society that was hostile to outside influence and had almost nothing in common with the West? All of the [sic] sudden that was forgotten, as you put it, in a moment. The White House totally forgot about all that. History didn't exist. All of the sudden we're in a new age, a new world. The people want democracy, they want it really, really bad, but they didn't and they don't and it's time to face reality on this one.

BRAD LAKEMAN: No. There are people who want instant gratification. They want instant results. And democracy is not a switch you turn on. It's something that people fight for. And that people go to the polls for.


I think many Americans have become momentarians. Many Americans--and America has no corner on the market--sacrifice the big picture at the altar of instant gratification and poll results. Case in point? Once positive news was finally allowed unfettered into the MSM in America post-surge, Pres. Bush's approval ratings began to climb--while the Democrat-controlled Congress's ratings hit an all-time low.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cool. Really cool.

I've posted on this before. One thing about living near a larger city is the airport overhead traffic. One thing about living near an AFB is the overhead traffic.

Just caught a pair of F-16s flying in formation over our place. Oh, Say Can I See.

Awesome. Simply awesome.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Official. I'm Above Average.

According to an AP/Ipsos poll, whose results were released today, I am a more avid reader than 25% of Americans. I'm also above the median for men--five books in the past year--and women--who reported reading nine. Of course, not counting kids' books, I still beat the curve.

A short list of some of last year's reads for me:

The Last Templar, Raymond Khoury
John Adams, David McCullough
The Bible, God (with a little poetic license taken by man)
The Book of Mormon, God (translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.)
Godless, Ann Coulter


I'm in the process of reading 1776, also by David McCullough. The more I read these accounts of America's Founding Fathers, the more I realize they did a lot of reading of the third book on my short list.

Monday, August 20, 2007

All Hail My Wife


In the ultimate gesture of love, my wife took a cooking class about a month ago at The Basque Market in downtown Boise. The gesture comes in that it was a class on making paella, a dish that she has, in no uncertain terms in the past, told me she "doesn't care for." She does, however, know that paella is one of my favorites. She bought the paellera, and last night, she christened it. I am now a member of the Church of Yummy, with my wife as High Priestess.

So I ask: What did your spouse make you for dinner last night?

Tastes sooooooooooo good!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Why I love Provo #1

Not to be outdone, my alma mater, the one with the "Y" in the middle of the "B" and the "U" had their own fantastic finish.



Let the new season begin. And may the results be quite the same. Or more of a blowout. My heart can't take this on a repeated basis.

Why I Love Idaho #11



I didn't graduate from BSU...although my undergrad alma mater has a "B" and a "U" in its acronym. I just moved here in 2006--before the football season started. I'm not really a "BSU" fan. But I do know a good..er...great football game when I see one.

So in preparation for this year's football season, and the ensuing blue/orange rush I'm sure I'll see on the streets (probably win or lose, but I don't know) here in the Boise area, I offer this look back to what was the best college football game I think I've ever witnessed.

9


Here's something interesting I learned from the Human Calculator.

Take your age, add the digits, and subtract that number from your age.

The resulting digits will add up to nine.

Example: I'm 38. 3 + 8 = 11. 38 - 11 = 27. 2 + 7 = 9.

Now I know what the Beatles were droning on about.

Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. I'm really scared, too, because when I played hockey, I always chose the number nine.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Clarity.

I cried as I listened to this passionate Marine tell it like it is.



Needless to say, he gets it. Do we?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Clever Bumper Stickers


My wife always gets on my case about slowing down for cyclists, but since I am one, I believe in karma--and in not getting flattened by a motorist. I figure if someone sees me seeing a cyclist, then I may exponentially help my own chances of being seen. That having been said, we always chuckle when we see the "Start Seeing Motorcycles" stickers.

We see them. On our recent cross-country drive, we saw them. We saw them without helmets in Idaho, Montana and Minnesota. (Didn't notice in North Dakota--we were too rapt in the flat nothingness.)

The bumper sticker that does stick out from our trek was found on one of those mobile houses classified as an RV. You know, the one that cost more than your house (and your neighbor's--combined)? It read:

"Zero to sixty in fifteen minutes."

I'm guessing his carbon footprint is bigger than mine. Chew on that, Al Gore. Hah!

Cross-Country Travel in a Van

Aaah, the priceless joys of endless miles of open road in front of you. I suppose that if there's one thing I enjoy about the mindless...er...endless driving is the wide variety of "interesting" things you find in the most mundane places. Take this photo at a McDonald's in Butte, Montana (home of Levi Leipheimer, but you didn't ask). What you can't see is that the word "convenience" has been replaced by the word "indoctrination." What you can see is that the "c" in "changing has been oh-so-cleverly removed to create a baby "hanging station." This is the logical progression from the road graffiti of my youth, where equally-clever folks would scratch out the "w" on the electric hand dryers to reveal "rub hands under arm air" just below where the "on" in "button" had been etched away to reveal the important instructions to "push butt" (again, to be executed before you rub hands under your arm air).

I'm not sure which is a sadder image: the hanging station itself or the thought that there I was on the throne snapping a picture of it with my cell phone.

Pathetic? Yes. I was snickering as I typed this post. I need to grow up, yet strangely, I refuse.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Peace in the Basque Country?

Here's a nice little article from Smithsonian Magazine. My sister subscribes and saved the January 2007 issue for me knowing I'd want to read it. There is something wonderful about the Basque Country and the Basques that just penetrates my soul.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I-35W Update

The Star-Tribune has just noted that two more individuals were taken from the wreckage of the bridge collapse about two hours ago. My sister, my wife and I went to downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday evening and walked out onto the balcony of the Guthrie Theater, which overlooks the Stone Arch Bridge and the Mississippi River. Off to the right, we could see the lights on the 10th St. Bridge--and the remnants of the green steel framework of what was the I-35W bridge. The feeling in the air is best described as "eerily peaceful."

The flags around the metro area are flying at half-staff.

The MN-280 detour around the site is working flawlessly.

With all of the road construction on the weave (where I-35E and I-694 meet in Vadnais Heights/Little Canada) as well as MN-36 in North St. Paul, I'm really impressed with the way the detour around the bridge is working. I haven't been on it during rush hour, but I think people are just being smart and doing the best they can to help in this situation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why I Love Idaho #10

No poo on the beach. Actually, no beach. But hey, no beach = no poo on the beach.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hal Fishman Dead at 75


If you've never lived in SoCal, you probably have little idea who Hal Fishman is. If you have, you know exactly who he is, and you've probably gotten your news from him on more than one occasion. He's even played a newsman in the movies. Hal Fishman, like he said, was not easy on the eyes and had less-than-average hair, but he was believable. Most folks in SoCal if asked, could probably not name another main-desk anchor on the news in California. Hal was sort of a caricature for me when I first moved to SoCal in 1994, 30+ years after he started broadcasting, but I could always count on Hal's intelligent commentary on the news when needed.

RIP Hal.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Start to Finish MS

Due to some creative computing (read: a hard drive crash!) since my last MS ride, I have been nothing short of a schmuck in sending personal thank yous to all who donated to the cause last year. Seriously--the first year I planned to do something really unique and special--and wait until after the ride to thank anyone "personally"...my hard drive crashes. No files salvageable. No backups. No files available on the MS site to rebuild my donor list. I couldn't even image the hard drive to recreate anything. Now I know how Mom's synapses feel. We just couldn't do what we wanted to do--no matter how much we wanted to do it.

So here I am getting a late start on this year's MS ride support drive. My personal page link is here. Please log on and donate whatever you can. Just click on the green "donate to Craig" button and follow the easy steps. We ride in October--so time is of the essence. Thanks in advance for your help!

I did a little calculation. Last year, you helped me raise $1500. This year, I'd like to reach out to one hundred people and get each to donate $30. That will double last year's total. If you'd like to donate more than $3o, please do, as not all will be able to give $30. I'm going to get it started with the first $100.

Will you donate to help me beat Multiple Sclerosis?

Friday, August 03, 2007

I-35W


I happen to be in the Twin Cities for a family reunion this week. I also happened to be on 35W the other night when the bridge collapsed. I missed it by about a half-hour, thank goodness, but it was oddly surreal watching as we saw signs saying "accident at river--highway closed" and then heard/saw police cruisers and fire rescue vehicles, some towing boats, drive by on the shoulder at a rate of about one every 15 seconds. I was heading to NE Minneapolis with my sister to practice a song we're singing on Saturday for our parents' 50th wedding anniversary. My sister looks over at me and says, "we left late, just think if we'd been on time?" We held hands for a second and were left to ponder the fate of those on the bridge. What were their stories? Had someone left early and missed it? Had someone raced through a light changing to red to "make it" only to be on the bridge when it went down? This sort of thing really puts things in perspective.

My prayers are with those who were affected by this. I trust that all is well--or will be made well soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why I Love Idaho #9


I decided for family night on Monday to take the kids and the wife and do a little picnic at Table Rock, on the north end of Boise. We grabbed a bucket of chicken from the Colonel and headed up Table Rock Road through some really gorgeous neighborhoods.

After we got there, we ate chicken, drank Capri Suns and looked out over the Treasure Valley's panorama. Then Dad decided to take the kids for a little hike. Nathan was reticent, but we all insisted it would be fun.

We got down on a dirt path that rings the Table Rock mesa and Nate was enjoying it. Having walked the short trail once before, I took Lauren in my arms and led the way.

Good thing.

About three-fourths of the way through our "hike" I encountered a snake on the path. The big kids freaked out and started crying. I looked for a rattle and told the kids to get behind me.

Long story short: one snake; two crying kids; an upset wife; an oblivious 18-month old and a Dad who's seen enough for one Monday evening...

What a Dope?

It looks like the Tour de France has gone from a bad scandal to worse. Today's stage winner and the leader in the GC, Denmark's Michael Rasmussen, has been "fired" by his team for "lying" about his whereabouts when he was on holiday. Apparently he had told Rabobank that he was in Mexico when he was, in fact, in Italy. Also apparently, what he was doing in Italy may be suspicious, although there's no proof. Yet.

The official TDF site is in denial. This link is from this evening at 10:25 p.m. EDT. Still no mention of their leader being out of the race. What I hate is that I was up at the crack of dawn this morning anticipating an incredible stage--one where Discovery Channel's Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer would give Rasmussen all he could handle as they tried to take a bite out of his leading time. As it turned out, the stage was all that and more. On the final HC climb, Spain's Contador, the American hope Leipheimer, Cadel Evans from Australia, and Rasmussen were locked into a major climber's duel. Evans got dropped and Contador attacked at least twice. Rasmussen answered. Then he dropped both the Disco riders like a bad habit and blew the stage out by a half-minute on his rivals--all in the last kilometer.

Now he's out of the race and the white and yellow jerseys are on the same back. I'm a cycling fan. I'm a cyclist (although not a good one--but an aficionado nonetheless). I'll watch the TDF--no matter what happens. But if I were working for the TDF, I'd be pulling what few follicles of hair I have left out right now wondering what the heck is going to be the next bad PR thing to drop in my lap?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Michael Totten Reports

Much is made of the mainstream media reporting "what's going on in Iraq." I just found this link today to Michael Totten's website. He also reports "what's going on in Iraq." I submit it here for a little balance. Read the entire article--and see the faces of our Iraqi brothers there--and you'll hopefully gain a new perspective on "what's going on in Iraq."

Una Copa de Vino

It looks like this year's Tour de France is going to be more troublesome than last year's Tour. Alexandre Vinokourov has tested positive for a banned blood transfusion. His A-sample showed two types of red cells--indicating blood from another individual--and prompted the expulsion from the race.

My first thought was "last year..." However, I'm not going to lie, as an American, and as you've seen me write here, I still don't think Landis is guilty. Why is it so easy for me to convict Vino? I've decided to step back and wait until the B-sample, but when your team pulls out, it suggests complicity. Vinokourov had ALL the weight on him this year. He didn't race last year because too many of this teammates were implicated in the Puerto scandal, so Astana couldn't field nine riders, and he had finished on the podium in the past--having kept up with Lance in 2003. This was his Tour to lose.

And lose it he has.

Why I Love Idaho #8

It's a beautiful day in the Boise area and I've got every window in the house open. This just provided me with a wonderful piece to the soundtrack of my day. I hear commercial jets quite a bit as we're near the flight path to Boise Airport, but my ear is now tuned to the unmistakable sound of non-commercial jets: the military jets that also call Boise home.

Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, just south of the commercial airport, is home to the 124th Wing. As I looked out my window just now, I was treated to a pair of F-16s flying west in formation. Although there aren't any F-16s technically based in Boise (try Mountain Home AFB) we see them fly over quite a bit because of the AFB in Mountain Home being only about a half-hour's drive over the ridge.

On July 4th, we were treated to a fly-over of an A-1o. I don't know much about military aircraft, but I can spot an A-10. That is an impressive plane--and one you don't want any piece of in the field of battle--unless you're in the cockpit.

What the flyovers do for me is serve as a reminder of the importance of defending what we know is right, understanding that there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers and families that lay their all on the line every day and that we ought to be thankful to God above every minute of every day for what we take for granted in this land.

God Bless America.

Those Amazing Men and their Debit Machines

The link above is to an article in Spanish, but let me translate the title at least:

"Si robas una tarjeta de crédito, ¡Utilízala en los peajes!"

--> "If you steal a credit card, use it on the tollways!"

The author of this article talks about how his credit card (a 4B card like the one I had in the late 80s in Spain) was stolen and that, although he called Banco Santander and cancelled it, it can still be used at toll booths across Spain. Apparently, the toll booths are not equipped to "handle this sort of fraudulent use."

He closes tongue-in-cheek: "With a little luck, I'll find a Gold Visa in the next couple of days. When that happens, I'm off to St. Petersburg...and the tolls for everyone following my car are on me!"

Monday, July 16, 2007

30Rock

My wife says I have a nice little blog--except that I never blog about my awesome family and my totally beautiful wife. Well, that won't change with this post, but I do have a segue: My wife and I record 30Rock and guffaw every time we watch it. Tina Fey, who was a genius as head writer at SNL, is a genius on this show. The little bits, background gags, etc. have me and my esposa in stitches weekly.

I selfishly prayed that the negative PR from Alec Baldwin's very public voicemail to his daughter wouldn't amount to anything--because I didn't want it to affect 30Rock. Although I'm not a huge fan (read: not a fan at all) of his movies, and totally disagree with his politics, Alec Baldwin is perfect for this role. Comedy gold.

Please don't cancel 30Rock, NBC.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is a Problem

Why are the liberals in Congress trying so hard to bring back a scuttled former piece of legislation--dead for twenty years--now? Why would the liberals have such a problem with free-market demand dictating what is or isn't available--or said--over the airwaves? I think the key word there is "dictating." For all of the posturing on the left about "neocons" or "fascist tactics" of the current president, I have yet to see Pres. Bush or other conservatives attempt to force-feed opinion to the rest of America. On the contrary, I haven't heard a peep out conservatives...because they seem to understand that market forces dictate what is created for public consumption.

Let's take a look at what I mean here. Should you turn on the radio--and I have in three markets over the last month--in seemingly any market, you have a multitude of choices to listen to when it comes to talk radio/political commentary. Nevertheless, it would seem from my non-scientific study (Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Boise) of three markets--two of which are decidedly non-conservative, at least on paper, that the overwhelming majority of these advertiser-supported programs lean to the right. Interesting. Even in Los Angeles I didn't even know where to find Air America. In Minneapolis, the only left-leaning radio programming I could find was NPR--you know, the radio stations supported by YOUR tax dollars. Interesting.

So now the liberals, tired of only having a monopoly on the print media (a format whose readership is falling faster than a lead balloon), want to remove free-market forces from the radio waves. They want to force-feed their nonsensical viewpoints on Americans who don't want them. How do I know? Because they're not buying it when they're free to do so now.

I submit that the so-called "neocons" aren't the ones we should be worried about. Anyone who tries to force their point-of-view is. Liberals should note that this country is currently locked in a struggle to eradicate groups of people who would force-feed their ideology. They have names like "Taliban" and "Al-Qaeda."

I think we know what those two groups are all about...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gora San Fermin!

News from Pamplona today includes the annual Goring of the Americans...er...Running of the Bulls.

Although I don't like to look at the graphic pics of humans getting a horn up the jimmy or having a horn run BETWEEN your shin bone and skin, it is nice to see the bulls can still bring it occasionally.

I did this in 1992 and let me tell you, I still get goosebumps thinking about it. It really is an amazing experience--something I'll never forget. On July 12th this year, the encierro was about six minutes long--with a bull going the wrong way, which is akin to "asking for trouble." If you read Spanish, read about it here.

And you thought YOU were famous. Check this guy out. How cool is it to be the man people think of when they think of "guys who run with the bulls in Pamplona?" I ran with this guy (and hundreds of others) in 1992. I remember seeing his picture in El Pais in 1990. This guy has a cult following--which I think is pretty impressive.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Watch "Le Tour" This Year

10. Where else can you watch a team totally comprised of Basques, representing Euskadi, riding in orange?
9. George Hincapie is 100 years old and still hammering.
8. Will Alexander Vinokourov be avenged for having to sit out last year's tour because too many of his teammates were doping?
7. It's anybody's tour this year.
6. Levi Leipheimer is an alliteration. And a damn good cyclist.
5. The TDF starts in England (sorry, no Chunnel stage), moves to Belgium, rolls through Spain and ends in France--for 2100 miles. Now that's a bike ride!
4. Floyd Landis didn't cheat last year. I don't care what Greg LeMond says.
3. I like names like Haimar Zubeldia...and not just 'cause he's Basque. (Well, maybe...)
2. If you have millions of sponsor dollars laying around, you can scout the Discovery Channel Team. Disco is looking for a sponsor for next year. Got cash?
1. Your alternative is baseball.

Friday, July 06, 2007

So You Think You Can Cook?

Right about now I'm feeling pretty good about my abilities in the kitchen. It could be worse, I could be Jenny Brown.

Hat tip: My Mom

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

First of all, let me say how proud I am and fortunate I feel to be American--to have been born in this free nation.

We had a great morning of community events. A pancake breakfast at the church and then a July 4th bike parade around the neighborhood.

After the parade, we were treated to a pretty cool sight: an A-10 Thunderbolt did a fly-by on its way to who knows where. There is a squadron of A-10s based in Mountain Home, about an hour out of Boise, so this was a pretty cool thing. I remember when the B-1 stealth bomber flew over our place in California on a Rose Bowl day a few years ago--that was something else. This surprise elevated the spirits of all, on a day when we were already "high" on freedom.

Just in Time for the 4th

Thanks, ACLU. Please continue to decry an artistic depiction of Jesus Christ while defending members of NAMBLA in court. "But...but...separation of church and state...but...but..." But nothing. You've laid bare your agenda: The de-Christianization of America. I won't stand for it. And while you're at it, please take me OFF your mailing list. I have no idea how I got on it, but I want OFF.

On second thought, please keep me on it. I'll bleed you financially, 42 cents at a time. HA!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mitt and Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an opinion columnist for the decidedly non-conservative Boston Globe. I recently was emailed a column in which former Massachusetts governor and current presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the subject.

In it, Mr. Jacoby documents some of the recent religious bigotry that has been on display as Mr. Romney has campaigned for office. In my observation of Mr. Romney, I have seen a man who, together with his family, has been nothing but gracious to those who hate him not for the man he is, but for the faith he professes, and a man who has shown nothing but class in the face of this medieval approach to religion in America.

Mr. Jacoby offers up this little nugget from our Constitution. So ask yourself: Who, in this dialogue, is being more "un-American" in light of the Constitution? The candidate or the mudslinger?

Read what the mudslingers Mr. Jacoby refers to have to say and you be the judge:

- In Florida, televangelist Bill Keller informs his 2.4 million e-mail subscribers: "If you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!"

- Another evangelical leader, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Philip Roberts, tells an international Christian conference that the Mormon claim to be the true Christian church is the "overarching and primary concern" behind evangelical opposition to Romney's candidacy.

- The Associated Press reports that a Romney trip to New Hampshire "started on a sour note" when Al Michaud, a Dover resident and self-identified liberal, shouted, "I'm one person who will not vote for a Mormon" and refused to shake Romney's hand.

- In Warren County, Iowa, the local chairman of Senator John McCain's presidential campaign reportedly tells Republican activists that the Mormon Church funds the terrorist organization Hamas and treats women the way the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

- Al Sharpton, during a debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens, gratuitously says of Romney: "As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways."

- The Politico, a popular Washington e-zine, publishes an essay by veteran Democratic strategist Garry South, who says Romney should be hectored on whether he "personally believes" Mormonism's "offensive" teaching that mainstream Christianity is "an abomination."

Now go back and read that little nugget I referred to from the Constitution. Who's trying to rewrite that document? Who's trying to apply a religious test? Who needs to go back to school for a little historical remediation?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

iYawn?


I'm no Apple-hater, nor am I a Windows apologist. I did find this review of the new iPhone interesting, though. The first paragraph is here with a pair of links:

iYawn by ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes -- I was expecting that the early reviews of the iPhone would blow away any doubts that I had about needing a $500 ($600 for the 8GB model, $500 only buys you 4GB of storage). While Apple's marketing had failed to convince me of how much my life would be better if I had an iPhone, I was expecting that Walt Mossberg/Katherine Boehret, David Pogue, Steven Levy and Edward C. Baig would show me the error of my ways. I was wrong. The iPhone has become the iYawn.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vacation? Vacation!



Just got back from Sitka, Alaska where I spent three days and four nights fishing the wonderful waters of the Pacific. What a trip! My father-in-law and I made arrangements to fish with Raindancer Charters in Sitka, sight-unseen...which is what we did two years ago with the good folks at Angler's Lodge on the Kenai River.

We were not disappointed.



Owner John Brooks runs a great little operation. His operations manager Louise handles all the transfers to and from Sitka's airport and takes care of the accommodations and fishing licenses/stamps once at the lodge. John's dogs handle lookout duties at the lodge. They're part Rottweiler part wolf and all about the love. Chef Ty Yamamoto makes a strong case to take the day off and just eat in, but at the end of the day, you just want to go fish. He's also good for a prank or two and will give you a run at the nine-ball table located downstairs.

The fishing regulations in Alaska are stringent...and set to become more so...but we did great with what we were given. The mornings were all about finding King Salmon, and we did just that every day. The limit is one per day--and each of us ended our trip with the maximum three. In addition, I added a few "bonus fish" as Capt. John calls them--Cohos. I picked up two on day one and one on day three. Six delicious salmon along with our limit of halibut (small, but edible) and a ling cod and yelloweye (red snapper) to round out the fun. We fished one day for ling cod as the season closed on 6/15...our first day out.



As I mentioned coming back to the lodge was like coming home. Ty cooked up an excellent feast each night. We had: char-grilled pork chops with a personal-recipe potato mash and green beans (apple pie for dessert), sweet and sour halibut with shrimp fried rice and Japanese stir fry veggies (pound cake and raspberry drizzle for dessert), pork ribs with new potatoes and salad (banana cream pie for dessert) and then the crowning delight: a mojito-inspired halibut dish that was out of this world. Who knew you could get halibut to stay moist on the barbecue? (And don't forget chocolate pie for dessert.)

All together, Raindancer gave us an unforgettable week of lodging, food, fishing and friendship that we'll remember for the rest of our lives! Thanks again to John & Company.

In the words of Arnold, "I'll be back!"

Monday, June 11, 2007

As we drove in from Las Vegas back to Southern California last night, I was reminded why we left.

All through Utah we were grouped on I-15 with courteous drivers who passed on the left, then returned to the #2 lane to drive like civilized people.

Once we crossed the crest of the hill just north of the Vegas Speedway, the Oblivions took control of the freeway. We left Vegas, then Jean, then Primm...and a strange thing happened. People began to behave like animals. Unnecessary and unsignaled lane changes. Weaving in and out of 150 miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Gunning the accelerator in order to hurry to stop 100 meters further up the road.

Then, as we approached Yermo, the coup de gras. We were actually stopped, for the first time in recent memory, and asked: "Are you traveling in from Idaho?" Yes. "Do you have any produce?" No. As we drove away, my wife turned to me and asked "why does California spend more time caring about a banana or a peach entering illegally than a human being?"

Interesting thought.

I was actually more curious as to whether the inspection station agent knew that Ready For The World called and wanted their hair back.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hidden Springs - Heaving Lungs

Went out for a Memorial Day ride with six others to Eagle, Idaho yesterday. What I didn't know was that we were going to Eagle, but that Eagle was not our destination. We ended up riding through Eagle on our way to Hidden Springs--via the very long Dump Hill climb up Seaman's Gulch Rd. I did this last September and it seemed easier back then. Of course in September I parked at the bottom of the hill and rode. Monday I rode to the hill and rode some more. I also wasn't a week removed from a century (gotta milk that, but this should be the last mention).

If you've never been to Hidden Springs, it's like Mayberry in the mountains. Cute little town but not one I'd like to live in, although when considering the move to Boise, I did look at a few houses. Funny that now I remember riding up that windy rode with my Realtor...and now I've ridden it. I think the grades are something like 11% - 18%...not for the faint of lung...or heart.

Good ride. I really earned my Memorial Day bratwurst to be consumer later that evening. I had two. Mmmm...

Good Local Riding in Boise

I've only been out with the SPIN Idaho group once, but I really enjoyed my time. I met Michael, one of the "ringleaders" for this group, and rode with about twenty other like-minded roadies on a windy day in Kuna, Idaho. Of course, the more I ride in Idaho, the more I realize that Idaho is not really ever going to be wind-free. I just wish it wouldn't be a headwind in any direction.

I digress: The group is top-notch, there are no drops, and the skill level varies. Michael rides his recumbent and the rest ride a hodge-podge of roadies, hybrids, etc. I was happy to ride and can't wait for the next opportunity. I recommend SPIN Idaho if you're in the area, new to the area, or just looking to ride with a bunch of good folks.

The group keeps a great calendar on its website, including maps and a list of upcoming rides. Enjoy the ride!

Friday, May 25, 2007

What's this Technorati thing?

I've decided to be a publicity hound and use my new Technorati Profile to drive a little outside traffic to my lonely blog. If you've stumbled upon this blog, be kind, rewind.

Do we even have a use for that phrase in today's world? I mean, hey, DVD...

I'm a 21st Century Man


Last Saturday I fulfilled what I had jokingly referred to as my final opportunity to accomplish a New Year's Resolution for 2007: I completed my first century ride on my roadie.

The ride encompassed a thrice-round 33-mile loop in Rupert, Idaho. It's sponsored by the town as part of Rupert Days and it looks like there's a local bike shop guy by the name of Rock who owns Rock's Cycling and Fitness on Main St. in Burley. You ride for free, but make a donation to Bikes for Kids. I dug up an old article that looks to chronicle the genesis of the idea.

The group that did the century was about 30-strong. We finished our second loop about ten minutes before the strong riders finished their century. It was incredibly windy out there as we pushed south and west, but the going was great on the north and east legs. I rode with two friends I've met since moving to Idaho, both of whom I've spun with all winter and now just look to get out with in the good weather.

Next goal? Who knows...a double? Am I that crazy?

Update: By the way, I'm the good-looking one in the picture...

Quick Cycling Thought

I was over reading a bit on the The Fat Cyclist blog earlier and posted a comment that came to me regarding the doping scandals in cycling: "Lance" is an anagram of "clean." Of course "Floyd" isn't, but I still think Landis was clean as well. I'm not sure why, but in my gut, I trust him...at least more than the WADA and USADA. Definitely more than Lemond, which is an anagram for L Demon.

Anyway, with Bjarne Riis coming out saying he doped today, and willing to give back his maillot jeune and be stripped of his title, the pressure ratchets a bit on ol' Floyd. Looks like Erik Zabel and some other elite cyclists have come out of the Rx closet as well. Why isn't anyone looking at Miguel Indurain? Five in a row? He had to be on EPO, right?

If Indu goes down, though, I think my heart would break. I'm Danish by heritage and Basque at heart. Riis's confession I can live with...but I've been to Indu's hometown...lived 2km from it...cheered loudly when he was dominating...I don't know what I'd do.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why I Moved to Idaho

I had one of those moments that made me grateful that I moved out of California. I had an 8:00 flight from Boise on Tuesday and was pleased with the elite upgrade to first class. I arrived early, plugged in my laptop (free WiFi at BOI) and iPod and settled in for about an hour of work before boarding. When they called to board, I got my things together and got on with the others in the first class cabin. I settled in, opted for the raisin bran with fruit, and struggled to stay awake. As I landed in Minneapolis, I was refreshed and ready for leg #2 to Detroilet. As I made my way from the D Concourse to the F Concourse, I started to have a bit of a realization that made me uneasy. As I got to my gate, I rifled through my bags. I looked again. No iPod. After about...hmmm...two seconds of thinking, I realized that my iPod was still plugged into the wall at gate B16. In Boise.

I called the airport and after being redirected twice, got connected to operations. I asked about it and they said they'd send a custodian to the gate to check on it, and that I should call back in ten minutes.

I called back.

It was still plugged into the wall.

I was not surprised.

The woman at operations told me that they have cash turned in all the time.

I was not surprised.

I'm glad we moved to Boise.

This is the sort of environment we envisioned for the raising of our children. What was the kicker? Nathan heard about me leaving the iPod in the airport and he said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me get back my iPod. Well, prayers really are answered. Even in Boise.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Very Convenient Article

I'm a total Weather Channel junkie. Nevertheless, I'm disturbed by the politicization of the weather by the liberal ex-CNN'ers at TWC as well as radical blowhard and Columbia University (need I say more) grad "Dr." Heidi Cullen who insists that humans are the cause for climate change.

To these individuals, I submit this article. Enjoy the read from one of the pioneers of meteorology and climatology. From the looks of it, Reid Bryson has been pioneering weather studies and breaking research ground since Dr. Cullen's mom was a gleam in her grandfather's eye.

How inconvenient.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Conference Calls From Home

Working from home is always a challenge. Sometimes, however, it affords you some of life's more "interesting" moments.

I was on the phone this morning with my boss and my son walks into my office. First of all, he's wearing denim shorts, a green raincoat and a clip-on necktie. That was fun, but I excused myself for a second and asked my son what he needed. He said:

"Dad, do you know what day it is today? I answered, "no, what day is it?" He responded enthusiastically, "it's banana on the head day!!!" He then produced a banana and placed it squarely on his noggin.

I love being a Dad.

Greater Love Hath No Man...

Out of the horrific crime perpetrated against the student body and faculty of Virginia Tech comes something that, in my opinion, is an incredible story of courage, selflessness and charity.

Liviu Librescu, a professor at VaTech, and at 79, a man who had seen much, gave his life so that his students could escape the carnage wrought by the gunman that day. By blocking the door and taking bullets, all of his students were able to escape--by leaping out of the windows. I have no knowledge of the Romanian language, but, based on its Romance roots, I'm guessing that Librescu is loosely translated as "bookman." It's fitting then, that the Good Doctor died in the classroom.

This was a man who was a concentration camp survivor--only to end up post-World War II in Commnunist Romania, suffering further. Dr. Librescu is to be commended for his bravery, his courage and, ultimately, his deliberate act of selflessness as the crowning achievement in his life. My prayers are with his widow. My heart is inspired by his example.

In the words of the man many Jews do not recognize as The Messiah:

John 15: 13
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Rest in peace, Dr. Librescu.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus-t Blog About This

I found this today on CNN:

"On Wednesday, appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room," presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Illinois, blasted NBC for airing a host who makes "derogatory statements toward women and minorities."

I think Sean Hannity of Fox News says it best, although he's joined in concept almost equally by radio's Michael Savage: Don Imus shouldn't be fired, he should be left to the free-market forces. No one listens to his show now, and now that advertisers will leave him like a crowd exiting a flaming theater, his show will end for good.

The other piece of Hannity and Savage's comments include the race-mongers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson being the new barometer for what is and is not appropriate. If memory serves me, and it does, Jackson referred to New York as "hymietown" while Al Sharpton has spoken of "Jewing down (poll) numbers" among many other comments that would fit into Obama's definition of "derogatory statements toward...minorities."

The hyopcrisy of the left in America and the blatant double-standard is sickening. Hateful speech and insensitivity is what it is, no matter who displays it. The unlistenable Don Imus said something ridiculous. He gets skewered. Sharpton says similar things on a regular basis, and he's given a pass. I don't even want to talk about Jackson. He's a fraud, a shakedown artist and a professional blackmailer. I have inside information on this that I will not disclose, but sufficeth to say, Jackson's "Rainbow PUSH" is funded at least to some extent by business extortion.

Monday, April 02, 2007

$1.83

I spent the last week in California. Let me share with you what $1.83 means to me as a father.

While in California, I was working remote from my mother-in-law's house. From the big window in the dining room, you can see the front yard, the driveway and the street in front of the home, a single-story place built sometime in the sixties. I opened the slider and let the breeze blow in (and the pet dander from "Micky" hopefully out) and was treated to one of the most touching experiences of my life.

There at the end of the driveway, a street that basically is a really long cul-de-sac with only one outlet, stood my seven year-old daughter, with a card table, a tambourine and a hand-drawn sign on a piece of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper: Please Donate Money to the Homeless. She stood outside for about an hour calling to anyone and no one to donate money "for the homeless."

After an hour, she came inside and told me, "Dad, I got a $1.83." She seemed a little disappointed but she was happy that she would be able to "donate $1.83 to the homeless." I think the most wonderful thing about the whole experience was that we didn't ask her to do it...we didn't encourage it. She chose to spend this hour of her vacation doing that.

I love my daughter. I love being a Dad. I love $1.83 and what it means to me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Free Speech Dead at Huffington Post

Update: As of 3/6/07 I'm still "banned from posting" at the Huffington Post.

Apparently America "can't handle the truth." I'll check in with Colonel Jessep on that one. Apparently they don't want me on that wall. They don't need me on that wall.

My thanks to Arianna for ordering a cyber-Code Red on me. To paraphrase a moonbat on the Post: "Why do liberals hate free speech so much?"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Inconvenient Indeed...

From the Oscars to this:

(From Drudge Report Feb. 26)

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization committed to achieving a freer, more prosperous Tennessee through free market policy solutions, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Click here for more information.

Floyd Update: Was I right? At least I never doubted.

According to Bonnie DeSimone at ESPN.com, there is a fresh helping of doubt surrounding the veracity of the tests done on samples from Floyd Landis in the 2006 Tour de France. I've never doubted that Floyd is clean. See my prior post on this. Am I willing to accept the possibility of a French conspiracy against American cyclists? Not yet, but if it's not French-wide, it certainly seems plausible that it's at least inside the labs the TDF uses. Can't wait to buy my copy of "Positively False" when it's available (available on pre-order now). I'll put it right next to "It's Not About the Bike" on my shelf.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Huff Poo

I've been a little too busy to blog, but I'll add this little bit quickly. The Huffington Post does not advocate freedom of thought or diversity of speech. I have now been "banned from posting" for the second time on that site. I don't state this because I feel that somehow my life now has a void. I'll come clean: I only posted there to see what sort of fun I could have at the expense of those who congregate there from the left to exercise their BDS, commonly known as Bush Derangement Syndrome. Arianna Huffington ought to change her URL to www.hatingtonpost.com. It would be a little more appropriate.

The site is full of left wing conspiracy theorists, nutjobs, kool-aid drinkers and self-deluded idiots whose only ability to debate shows through in their colorful language and inability to string together a coherent thought. Of course, they all claim that anyone who thinks differently than they do is uneducated, a redneck or the ultimate epithet a neocon. Although I link to this site here, I do so not because I want you to log on and post, but instead because I want you to see what years of psychedelic mushrooms, LSD and marijuana can do to a human being.

If you're wondering what political slant is on display at HuffPoo: Sean Penn, George Clooney and Alec Baldwin are regular contributors, and the masses drool for Al Franken and consider Nancy Pelosi their Messiah. I emailed a month ago when I was banned the first time for an explanation as to why. No answer as of today. I have since (today) submitted my second request, this time for being banned under a second screen name. We'll see if the free-speechers at HuffPoo decide to show a little backbone.

Might I recommend sites with a little more intelligence here and here. Take note of the absence of name-calling (or at least the severe decline in incidences) on these sites.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Barack's History Primer

In this article on Examiner.com, presidential hopeful and freshman US Senator Barack Obama makes this comment:

“I agree with George W. Bush when in his second inaugural address he proclaimed a universal desire to be free,” Obama wrote. “But there are few examples in history in which the freedom men and women crave is delivered through outside intervention.”

I don't have much to say about Sen. Obama, but when I read this passage, the first example of men and women being given freedom with the help of outside intervention that came to my mind was our own American ancestors. Unless you read some odd not-founded-in-fact revisionist version of American history, it's clear that without the assistance of the French, the under-equipped, outgunned, outmanned American Revolutionaries would have been incapable of prevailing against the British. Oddly enough, the French were still ruled at that time by a monarch, although not for long. Of course, I believe that Divine intervention played a role as well. That's not to say that God didn't have a hand in influencing the French. Well, God, John Adams and Ben Franklin, right?

Should Obama be nominated by the Democratic Party I will not vote for him. A man who is clearly ungrateful for what we have in America and the obligation we have to spread freedom, an obligation that has never been greater, is not worthy of my vote.

Who would get my vote? Too soon to tell.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I still don't...


No one was happier for Floyd Landis the day he won the Tour. When he trailed after stage 16 by more than 8 minutes to Oscar Pereiro, even he was having his doubts. But an astonishing display of guts, grit and determination, all the qualities that define champions, in stage 17 put him back in contention. Eventually, Landis would prevail and keep the American streak at the TDF alive at eight.

Then the accusations of cheating came. I'm a more-than-amateur cyclist. I ride a middle-of-the-road Trek roadie, but, unlike most Americans, I understand team cycling. Having lived in Europe for two years, I gained a serious appreciation for the sport, especially for the TDF. I was in Segovia, Spain in 1989 when native son Pedro Delgado lost to my fellow Minnesotan, Greg Lemond. Since watching that Tour, I've been a fan of the road race.

That's why I can't believe Landis is guilty. Here's my case. Unfortunately, it is in no way based on evidence or science. It's all emotion and opinion.

1) Cycling has the most stringent anti-doping rules and tests in sport. You'd have to be an idiot to try to dope. You'd have to be an utter moron to do so DURING a race.
2) I trust Floyd. I don't know why. I've never met him. I trust him.
3) France is tired of losing their own race. In a sport that America did nothing in until Lemond won three Tours, France (and perhaps the rest of "Old Europe" are tired of Americans walking off with the honors. The problem for the rest of the world is that of our relatively small number of riders, the majority are found in the upper echelon of the classification.
4) I know how you can ride like crap one day and come back invincible the next. The human body is a strange thing. Some days it just comes up short, others it overperforms and surprises even the owner. On a 520-mile self-supported ride across Spain five years ago, I found this out. The distances we covered were nothing like those ridden by TDF-caliber riders, but for me, only making 25 one day on a flat stage and turning around and finishing 75 in about the same time with world-class climbs proved it to me.

Floyd: I believe you. Congratulations 2006 Tour de France champion!