Sunday Mornin' Gospel - Faith Hill

Can I get a big Amen?

Posted on Feb 15, 2009 at 06:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments4 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Snow in Cameron Park!

It doesn’t happen often, but it was snowing this morning as low as Cameron Park (about half way between Sacramento and Placerville), just a few miles from our home!. I don’t remember that happening since ‘04 or ‘05! Chains are required just past Placerville!

Anyway, this Sacramento Bee photo shows drivers during heavy snowfall along Durrock Road in Cameron Park about 7 a.m. this morning. It’s just not something we’re used to seeing this far down the hill! Everyone’s wondering if the next storm will affect the AMGEN Tour of California scheduled to pass through downtown Sacramento about 1 PM tomorrow…(More)

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 at 11:45AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments5 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Oh No, It's Friday the 13th!

I stumbled upon an article I’d posted a couple years ago about “Friday the Thirteenth” and thought I’d again share some of what I learned about the subject. At least a few of you, I’m sure, believe the day to be unlucky while others of you believe it to be nothing more than superstitious folklore. Regardless, it is what it is and, right or wrong, some folks take it quite seriously. Here are a few factoids:

friday13th_an.gifA Friday occurring on the 13th day of any month is considered to be a day of bad luck in English and Portuguese-speaking cultures around the globe. The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia. (Say that three times quickly!) Months whose first day falls on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th. (Didn’t know that, did you!)

The first recorded incident relating to Friday the 13th refers to the massacre of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307. Pope Clement V viewed the Templar as a threat, so he decreed that they be eliminated. The Vatican was not directly involved in the massacre, but rather acted through King Philip IV of France. Philip sent letters to his forces all over the country with instructions to seek out and arrest all known members of the Knights, slaughter those that resisted, and capture Jacques DeMolay, the last known Grand Master of the Knights Templar.

Another possible origin relates to the Last Supper. Judas, the thirteenth guest, was instrumental in the Crucifixion of Jesus, which is believed to have happened on a Friday. Other theories suggest that Eve offered the apple to Adam on a Friday or the slaying of Abel happened on a Friday.

Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they’re simply unable to get out of bed when Friday the 13th rolls around. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that more than 17 million people are affected by a fear of this day. A British Medical Journal study has shown that there is a significant increase in traffic related accidents on Friday the 13ths. (Despite that, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don’t suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.)

Click to read more ...

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments9 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Random Thoughts

Among those whom I like or admire,
             I can find no common denominator,
but among those whom I love,                          
I can: all of them make me laugh.

                                         W. H. Auden, “Notes on the Comic”

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments10 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

There's More Than Just Pork Hidden In Obama's Stimulus Plan

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress took his advice by creating the 647-page, $825 billion House legislation that was sold as an economic “stimulus”. But when Democrats finally released the details, we better understood Rahm’s point. It managed to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

Just scratching the surface exposed $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects, even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

House Republicans and even some Democrats argued that the Democrat appropriations bill disguised as a stimulus bill was heavily laden with pork and pet projects that had little to do with stimulus or job creation and demanded they be trimmed. Some were, although an outraged Nancy Pelosi wanted them added back in when the Senate came to bat. And so the Bill moved on to the Senate which, with the help of three RINOs (Sens. Susan Collins, Maine, Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania and Olympia Snowe, Maine), passed their version. Now dems in both bodies will feign due diligence before presumably reaching a compromise.

Click to read more ...

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , , | Comments13 Comments | References2 References | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Do Miracles Really Happen?

By now everyone knows about US Air 1549 pilot “Sully” Sullenberger’s textbook ditching in the Hudson River. Was it a miracle? Even those that don’t believe in God have to recognize a miracle when they see one!

Cousin Mike says it was a miracle, all right. “No one died, the passengers standing on the wing appeared to be walking on water, news of the ditching knocked Obama out of the headlines for 24 hours, no one in government could take credit, and no one claimed it was George Bush’s fault.” I can’t argue with that logic!

Mike also sent a timely link to this story about another successful ditching, this one involving PanAm flight 943 in the Pacific in late 1956 with no fatalities or serious injuries. Another miracle? You bet! It’s another good story worth a read. And watch the video at the end taken by the guys aboard the Coast Guard ship that just “happened” to be in the area to rescue the passengers and flight crew.

Nope, you can’t tell me miracles don’t happen!

Posted on Feb 10, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments14 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

"Honest Mistake" Exemption

Bad news for those of us who were counting on applying it liberally this year as we prepare our own tax returns…

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments11 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Note to Self: Keep it in Neutral

I’m “cleaning off my desk” at home today—paying bills and sorting through disheveled piles of sundry papers that seem to thrive and multiply there—and as usually happens, I’ve come across many that, for reasons that now escape me, I failed to expediently dispatch.

One is a direct mail advertisement from a CPA firm. Now, I’ve used the same CPA for more than thirty years, so why, I ask myself, is the solicitation gathering dust on my desk? Another is a letter from my home mortgage company announcing, as though I’ve just won the lottery, that I’m “eligible to apply” for refinancing. The letters arrive so frequently that I’ve learned to recognize their envelopes. So why did I toss this one on my desk instead of into the circular file?

The one I’m looking at now is a ragged page torn from a magazine I don’t even recognize. Maybe Dawn clipped it for me to read. On one side is a full page ad for a beauty product that “lifts away years while you sleep”. I know that isn’t what caught my attention; I want to keep all the years I can! On the other side is a short article about the music preferences of composer Danny Elfman—Billy Holiday, Goran Bregovie—and I can’t imagine that would have interested me.

Hmmmm. At the bottom of the page is a link to, an interactive site offering online foreign language instruction. Maybe that’s it; I’ve often considered brushing up on my high school Spanish. Or maybe, just maybe, it was this profound excerpt from The Personal Credibility Factor by Sandy Allgeier:

“Highly credible people make decisions to ‘suspend judgment’ when considering another person’s perspective. They do this because they are okay with being wrong - or, at bare minimum, okay with having their opinions challenged. This doesn’t mean they don’t have passion and strong beliefs. It simply means that their minds are open to other opinions, even if those are quite different from their own.”

Yeah, that must be it! I probably wanted to check out the book. Mystery solved.

Now, why do you suppose I’m holding on to this expired offer from Hallmark for a $5 stuffed panda if I buy three cards before December 24…?

Posted on Feb 7, 2009 at 01:00PM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments15 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

WWII Posters - 2

We talked briefly last week in Part 1 of this series about War Bonds but I’d wager that many of you have never seen one. They looked a lot like regular savings bonds, didn’t they.

Although they were stamped “War Savings” bonds, they were actually U.S Series E Savings Bonds, first issued earlier in 1941 in an effort to control inflation. After our formal entry into the war in December of that year, they became known as “War Bonds”. Also known as “war loans” and “victory bonds”, they appealed to our sense of patriotism.

Popular contemporary art was used to help promote the bonds. Norman Rockwell’s painting series Four Freedoms toured in a war bond effort that raised $132 million. Some of his Willie Gillis paintings and his Rosie the Riveter painting were raffled off during the United States Department of the Treasury’s Second War Loan Drive.

The music industry got on board with songs and campaigns like the song (and animated short), Any Bonds Today?. The Music Publishers Protective Association encouraged its members to include patriotic messages on the front of their sheet music like “Buy U.S. Bonds and Stamps”. Band leaders and celebrities held rallies where they encouraged the public to help their country by buying war bonds.

Although they were initially marketed as war bonds, Series E Savings Bonds were offered by the U.S. government until June 1980 when they were replaced by the Series EE bond.

To be continued…

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 at 11:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments10 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Friday Fly-by - Wingsuit Flying Revisited

I’ve posted videos of wingsuit base jumpers before, but this compilation from Michael provides some new (to me) footage along with some I’ve posted before. I’m sure you’ll recognize Loïc Jean-Albert…

Let me reiterate that this isn’t “flying” in the usual sense of the word. It’s more “controlled free falling.” They’re definitely going down. Fast! It’s insane, but can you imagine the rush?

Hint: For a better viewing experience, move your cursor off the video after beginning play.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 at 09:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments11 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Vote for "Buddy"

My daughter, Shannon, entered her cockatiel, “Buddy”, in a fund raising contest to raise money for The Humane Society’s annual Spay Day event. The idea is to “buy” votes and cast them for your favorite pet contestant. (Shannon hopes you’ll vote for “Buddy”.)

It’s for a good cause and couldn’t be easier. Just click on the photo, cast your vote by filling out the form (minimum contribution $5, tax deductible) and know you’re helping a worthy cause. Ready? Heeere’s “Buddy”!

What is Spay Day?

Spay Day is The Humane Society of the United States’ and Humane Society International’s annual event to inspire people to save animals’ lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats. Spay Day officially takes place on the last Tuesday of February - but events will be running all through the month! The 15th annual Spay Day will be February 24th.

Why enter a bird to support spaying and neutering? They don’t spay or neuter birds…do they?

‘Cause he’s loyal and cute. And she doesn’t have a cat :-)

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 at 04:45PM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

How To Stump a Guru

I keep asking the same question…

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments6 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Bush-Obama Transition - A Photo Morph

Got this from Mike, James, Michael and Frank. It shows the photographic morphing of G.W. Bush into Barack Obama. The middle image will likely give liberals and Bush fans a few nightmares!

(Click image to biggerize)

This series of photos has apparently gone viral; it’s all over the ‘net. I’m sure someone will create, if they haven’t already, an animated GIF showing the same morphing. I thought this series was particularly effective, though. Even the necktie maintains its basic design. Pretty nice work! But nothing is as scary as this!

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 at 10:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments15 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

John and the Pyramids

Long time friend and dive buddy, John, shares this photo of himself taken while visiting the pyramids in Egypt. I’ll bet you thought they were bigger…

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments7 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Prop 8 - The Musical

I haven’t been to Funny or Die in a while, but Jamie at Perr Bear has, and she grabbed this mini-musical skit protesting the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure in last year’s general election that defined marriage in California as between a man and a woman.

Written and co-produced by Marc Shaiman (on the piano), the cast includes Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, John C. Reilly and other celebrities.

Law suits seeking to overturn the measure abound and the California Supreme Court has accepted three, with oral arguments and a decision expected later this year.

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , , | Comments20 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint