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


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 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?