Friday, September 12, 2008
The magazine was full of magnificent pictures of the stunning landscapes to be found in Arizona.
Yesterday my wife and I took a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad (Clarkdale, AZ) and got to see some of this beautiful country up close from the comfort of a first class railroad car with attached open air viewing cars.
The album can be found here. This was one of the most relaxing 4 hour journeys I have taken. I highly recommend it.
Afterwards we had dinner and saw a show at the Blazing M Ranch. It was fun. It was also nice to see a crowd of about 300 pause for saying a personal grace before eating. Taking a moment of silence for a 9/11 memorial and remembrance of our troops and closing the show with everyone singing God Bless America.
This is the America I remember from my youth and the one I love today.
An excellent day indeed!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
As a contractor working in Cedar Rapids from way out of town - New York, I just wanted to thank the Kernels for some of the most enjoyable baseball I have seen in sometime. The 5 games I saw from 7/19 through your loss last night - were fun to be at.
Many of you no doubt will be moving up from here in the off season - best of luck!.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
OK so I am still a bit envious that my daughter saw the Counting Crows do a “special’ performance of the above title earlier this month but the title does indeed fit this piece.
As summer draws to a close, many folks I have talked to are pondering how fast time flies when you are having fun.. a curious comment from people whose summer started off in flood recovery mode.
I have been thinking about this month and what I have done and left undone.
I have traveled home twice. This involved driving to
Last weekend when I was home was a whirlwind. My wife’s 60th birthday party and a ballgame at the Joe with Abby, Irene, Shawn and of course my granddaughter Angeline.
I had a great time. Angeline and I played let’s take Grandpa’s baseball cap off and laugh at his big head every time for about 4 innings. It was good to know I can still get the ladies to laugh.
Being away from home 23 of the 31 days of August – is a record I guess for my wife and I to be apart. It has given me time to reflect some, probably too much but here goes..
I have this lyric from Tim O’Brien stuck in my head:
“I've been up and down the road a time or two I guess
Now it's time to travel around with less and less”
I changed hotels 4 times in August. Nothing can get you more tired of your stuff than to have to pack it up and load it into your Chevy so often only to have to unload and unpack it again..
Today as I drove around this city trying hard to get back to normal from its flood (downtown is still a ghost town), hearing that they are evacuating the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav and hearing of the devastation of monsoon season in India and the need to rescue several hundred thousand people cut off by the resulting flood waters I kept hearing this Gordon Lightfoot lyric
When the waves turn the minutes to hours”
I found it interesting that a song played at the Devotional gathering this morning was based off this verse:
Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life. This is the instruction of Him Whom the world hath wronged and forsaken.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 261)
I saw the movie
This morning I read a short story called “Bulletproof” by T.C. Boyle (this month’s Best Life magazine) which tackled a school district labeling the Biology text book with a sticker that says that Evolution is a theory and should not be construed as fact. It quickly touched the creationist argument and told a tale of a 15 year old girls powerful statement of belief. The sense of ill ease and the out of balance nature of the adults who smugly dismiss simple belief and anything non-scientific. It made you think. I recommend it.
The movie and the short story make me wonder if God might not be making a comeback in our cultural circles. (I mean I know He never left – but you could not tell that from what generally passes for art.)
So I am in a hotel room on a really beautiful morning on the cusp of September thinking deep thoughts. I hope one or two of them take hold and move me forward.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
A hearty thank you to my friend Fardin for pointing out this video pointing out the plight of the Baha'i's in Iran by the Director of the film Persepolis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEI8RxFL7Zs this is well worth the watch.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Slept late. Then after my free breakfast at the hotel - I went out and fetched in some food for my room for the week.
Today I argued with my very old personal laptop - and the computer won. Not a good sign for a computer professional. I am watching the Olympics as I type this - maybe they will have discus tonight so I can get some pointers on form. (See my sales background teaches me that if you want to get people to buy you have to create a need!!)
I also went to Outback Steakhouse and had an outrageously good rib eye steak with grilled asparagus and sweet potato's cooked with vanilla and shaved almonds. Twas worth every penny of the investment!
I was at the Mall but passed on going to see Tropic Thunder - seemed like a good idea up until I had to pony up the cash and then I walked away and went to Starbucks for dessert. Life is too short to waste your time on sub-par entertainment.
Saturday's away are the hardest day of the week. But this one too has passed.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
It's always nice to know one is not alone. This is a quote from the reporter who covers Track & Field for Sports Illustrated:
Customarily, in the Olympic realm, I am a track and field writer, but these are the Olympic Games, where versatility is required, and besides, the track meet does not begin until Friday morning in Beijing. I covered road cycling on the weekend for Sports Illustrated (cycling is track on bikes) and on Monday morning in Beijing I was in attendance at the Cube (swimming is track in the water). I also cover horse racing (which is track on horseback). But enough.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I have been in Cedar Rapids for 4 weeks now and I have visited the Baha'i Center twice previous to today's visit. Each time there was a very small crowd for the weekly devotional gathering. I was not going to go today... even said as much in an email to my wife last night - but decided to go anyway (there was just so many other things to do!!!). Needless to say the place was packed. About 17 folks came, babies, college students, and some mature flowers in the garden of the Faith..it was a great gathering and indeed what was necessary to remind me who I am..
Thank you Lord!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
"James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
Sure looks like the founders of our country intended a welfare state and nationalized healthcare - yep sure do!
"To expect innovation without support is hallucination."
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
- Charles Mackay
"The Mets have set an all-time franchise ticket sales record of 3,863,542 for the final season at Shea Stadium, marking the third consecutive year the club has broken its previous mark....
The Mets this year are averaging 50,671 fans through 53 home games, for a total attendance of 2,685,582. That puts them on pace to eclipse the 4-million mark for the first time in team history.
The Mets drew 3,853,949 fans to Shea last year. They will begin play in new Citi Field starting next season."
"Squarely in the winners column in the aftermath of the Brett Favre trade is SNY, which offers plenty of Jets-related programming but last season was stuck with an awful, eventually irrelevant team.
Not anymore! Well, the Jets still might be awful, but they're not irrelevant.
SNY staffers plan to take a break from celebratory dancing in the newsroom to produce a special edition of "Jets Nation" to be seen at 6:30 p.m. today.
Earlier this afternoon the station will be busy with some sort of baseball game. They still play baseball in New York? Who knew? We're a football town now! Sort of."
well that's all the remaining functioning brain cell can handle - good night!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
today was the start of the recovery from this bear market.
Time to watch the Olympics- and remember just how good and strong America is. Time for the Presidential Conventions and hopes for a better future.
This year will end up on a positive economic note.. because in the end to be an American is to be a dreamer.
¿Qué es la vida?
¿Qué es la vida?
que toda la vida es sueño,
y los sueños sueños son."
by Don Pedro Calderón de la Barca ... 1600-1681
Bonnie Noches folks!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Today is the last full day of this visit that does not involve regularly scheduled working hours.
So far, my wife still recognized me, I have gotten a chance to visit with both my daughters and to play with both my grandchildren. A successful weekend by any standard.
I also saw The Dark Knight - and while probably the best of all the Batman films - it was not my cup of tea. Heath Ledger did a fine job as the joker - but I do not believe it is Oscar worthy. Iron Man is still the best comic book to movie - movie of the year.
The Met's are dysfunctional. I must admit that I do not believe anyone from the NL East is worthy of the World Series this year.
Hosted Feast last night - it was my first Feast back home since March.
I am concerned about the Baha'i's in Iran - the string of arson's this year directed at members of the Faith, the 7 leaders still under arrest. I applaud the House of Representatives for passing their 10th resolution condemning the Iranian government for their mistreatment of the Baha'i Community in their country. I pray this comes to an end soon.
But for now - it is onward and upward - I am thankful to be working in this troubled economy.. even if it is a thousand miles away.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I do not know how to express my sadness for the passing of such a great soul from this world. Viola was the Secretary of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i's of New York City - forever. Viola was also the delegate from NY to the National Convention for many years. Many years ago my family and I lived at the NYC Baha'i Center as Caretaker's. Viola was there almost as many hours as we were. Viola was there for Assembly Meetings on Tuesdays. Then she would come in to work in the Assembly office at least two other nights during the week - many times more than that. In addition I cannot remember in my years of living in NYC Viola ever missing a Feast, she was always there to give the Secretary's report.
When I think of faithfulness, and service to the Cause of Baha'u'llah I think of Viola. To my daughter Abby I say that this great lady held you as a child - and you were truly touched by greatness.
Now I pray for Viola and her great soul, but I am pretty sure in my heart that the Master greeted her personally upon arrival..
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I started on NutriSystems the morning of the 23rd of July and have lost and kept off 75 pounds this year..
More importantly I have maintained this weight for 5 months - 4 of which were spent traveling around the country, living in hotels and eating out often.
So this is my first anniversary of something I'm not - I'm not a 400 pounder.
Maybe next year at this time we will celebrate another not - not being a 300 pounder..it could happen!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Thunderstorm on the way to work...sunny all day...thunderstorm the minute you log off to go home.
Yep that'd be Monday...
But beneath those fast moving clouds - I was very aware that my Granddaughter Angeline is 1 today. I missed her party on Saturday which from the photos looked like an excellent time. But today all I could think of is this long distance hug and a kiss from Grandpa.. your simply awesome Angeline...and I can't wait to see you in 11 days...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Finding the Baha'i Center on the first try - encouraging.
Doing business with national outfit Jiffy Lube - a great experience - I put my NY car in an Iowa shop - the attendant comes out and greets me - Hello Mr. Bush - I see the last time you visited us in East Greenbush you had ... done - do you want to..You bet I do - that's called service!
Finding the stand alone (not in a mall) 16 plex - a plus.
Seeing lines like the Beatles reunited and movies being sold out days in advance - with people being told when they bought tickets for tomorrows show to show up 1 1/2 hours early to wait in line..not part of a world I live in!!!
Getting in right away to see the next showing of Wanted - a plus.
My review of the move - should have been titled - Help Wanted.
Having my favorite Dinner at AppleBee's - Orange Crunchy Chicken Bowl (it's the same everywhere you travel!- followed by a key lime shooter for dessert - a nice finish to the day (well except for that whole tornado thingy - see below)
A real breakfast at the Village Inn with a complimentary Sunday Paper to read - the way to start a day.
A good talk with my honey followed by a talk with my Mom - well good for my heart.
Going to Devotions at the Cedar Rapids Baha'i Center - refreshing..
An early burrito for lunch at Panchero's - tasty - very fresh food - and reasonable.
Attending a minor league baseball game - always fun..
Hearing a 7 year old girl out to the game with Mom, Dad and about 9 year old brother - inform her mother that this was rather boring - even before the game started - worth a Grandpa chuckle...
Talking baseball (and a little trash) with total strangers - a great way to pass the day..
Finding out the Met's came from behind and won while watching the 5th inning via a call from my wife - excellent news...
Not paying the electric bill at the hotel - coming back to your room and cranking the AC so that my body may return to a more human like form after sitting in 90 degree weather for 4 hours - a small guilty pleasure...
Realizing that I am too hot to go out to eat but that there is a Coldstone Creamery right next door and something Chocolate Marshmallowy is going to be the main entree for dinner tonight - Excellent!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This allows me to unplug from the outlet and blog while we await the weather.
It has been in the viewing area for about an hour and there have been some small tornado's touching down west of hear.
I cannot help but think of Bill Cosby's "Chicken Heart" routine as it gets closer and closer.
The "city" cam shows that it just started to rain here. This is supposed to put on quite a light show as well.
Out of respect I did get dressed and will move to the bathroom if things get bad. (I am already on the lowest floor.)
I was talking to a woman in the lobby. All she could do is bemoan the rain flooding her basement again. The hotel is about 50% folks who were displaced by the floods. They are just shell shocked.
Iowa could use a break folks.
Starting to get loud outside..
time to go..
Friday, July 18, 2008
9644 LINDALE MALL 4444 FIRST AVE NE CEDAR RAPIDS IA
8688 CORAL RIDGE MALL 1451 CORAL RIDGE AVE CORALVILLE IA
are being closed. The first one is like 300 yds from where I type this missive...
The gas price thingy has now gone too far...people are choosing to drink substandard stale coffee instead of a quality brew in order to pay for gas or to keep the bank from foreclosing..
If you think about this is plainly un-American..whats next -savings accounts...or actually paying cash for things..
Our economy is doomed if either of those things happen and you know it - now go out there and go further into debt will you..
Oh and God bless America!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
That means I have ironed and did laundry in the same week. The universe has definitely tilted on its axis!
But it is such domesticated tasks that made me happy its Jeans and sneakers day tomorrow..it made the whole packing and laundry thing easier.
So tomato's are not the culprit for the salmonella/ecoli whatever breakout. The government said OOPS! perhaps we have erred. Meanwhile whole farms worth of tomato's were plowed under as unsellable for no reason - why as a tax paying person do I feel that not only are tomato's going up in price but that my wallet and yours will be held liable for the OOPS!
Thunder storms are banging away outside..
That is all...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
OK so the National league did not win - it still does not mean that the Met's can't win the World Series on the last game at Shea.
The ladies I am working with all seem to have young babies - first young lady has a 9 month old son and today I worked with a woman who has a 6 month old. Babies are everywhere. But my Grandkids are the best and I show everyone their pictures which are proudly displayed on my desk. A few older gentlemen have stopped to tell me how good looking they are..
One of the new smells in my life is the odor from a soy bean processing plant (I pass it on the way to my hotel daily)..I wish I could can it and send it to every veggie type in the world..smells like a very bad pot roast.. But hey tofu will save the world...or not. They have proven now that soy lowers testosterone levels in men..something which lowers all by itself in old age anyway - but hey who needs to feel older soonerer...Did I tell you how much I enjoyed the sirloin I had at Texas Roadhouse on Sunday..Corn fed beef..yep - I insist on all my cows being veggies types...Yum!
Interesting - without mentioning it 3 different men said that if I liked baseball I should go see the Kernels play. They are an A level farm team of the LA Angels. Interesting in that baseball was not the subject - they just offered it as something to do whilst sojourning in Iowa.
Billy Wagner is having dinner with the President of the United States today..I'm speechless..
Well soon to bed, perchance to dream
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Service - its a concept! Maybe it will catch on again.
Must admit to really enjoying the intro's at the All Star game tonight.
Loads of folks I saw play - some in the Polo Grounds. It was a nice moment when the Yankees on the field greeted the obviously ailing George Steinbrenner as he brought out the ceremonial first ball. But to see McCovey and Mays, Gibson and Brock, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Al Kaline, Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron - and of course Yogi - it was good for my heart. OK so Yankee Stadium deserved this fitting good-bye.
HBO ran its special on Mickey Mantle. I was truly brought back to my youth when they showed footage of the first Mickey Mantle day..I was there and remember it well. My friend Anthony and I along with our Dad's saw a great event.
Now if the National League can only win tonight so the Met's can have home field advantage during the World Series and there can be a truly fitting farewell to Shea.
Yep - now that's a good dream...
Monday, July 14, 2008
The bad - whilst searching for a grocery store I espied a Chinese food place and just like you first meal at any Greek diner is a Cheeseburger deluxe to see how they handle your basic fare - whenever I try a new Chinese food place I order General Tso's (MISTAKE!!!!)
The let's not go there...The sauce on the General Tso's was barbecue sauce with dried pepper flakes.. I took about 3 bites, ate my egg roll, drank my soda and left... There ought to be a law..this is mouth abuse...someone please call Chuck and Hillary and get them on this for me!
The worse thing is there was a constant line for take out and about 15 people dining in - in this rather small establishment.... HMMMMMMMMM maybe they will find me incredible handsome as well...
just a thought on a very hot day...
Two men of note passed away during the past few days. Bobby Murcer and Tony Snow. I mention them because they were two of the good guys. Bobby Murcer as a guy who was Post Mantle and here comes the Boss - but was always a gentleman and was always nice even as a denizen of the evil empire. Tony Snow - who I grew to like in my years as a sales person listening to him fill in for Rush. A true gentleman - even the loyal opposition liked him. He was my age. Gone too soon!
And - Yes I am in Cedar Rapids. Today is the first day of assignment #2 as a Consultant. May this be a mutually profitable and enjoyable venture.
Yes the flood waters are gone. But I must say I had some logistical problems as all the emergency detour signs are seemingly in place and no longer have meaning.. but it is dry and the weather is just magnificent today.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Yep that's right they all have a Major League Baseball team!!!
And the Met's play in Milwaukee (9/1 Labor Day, 9/2, 9/3)
Ah the possibilities! Planned right I could add 6 stadiums to the places I have seen a game.
(Wrigley, comiskey, Busch, rogers, Twins, Royals)
I have seen a game in the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, The Astrodome, and Fenway Park.
This could catch me up with my friend Anthony!! but hey - who's competitive???
Just a little something or 6 for the to do list - who needs to make a profit when you work when you could see live pro ball in new places??
Well maybe if I behave!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
I did enjoy this whole consulting thing - but it could very well be over as quick as it started.
I did do much traveling and I met some great people in Wisconsin and Iowa.
I got to meet Baha'i's in both states.
It has been an adventure but what do I have to show for it - 2 free nights at a Comfort Inn, 2 Free Nights at a Raddison hotel and 1 free round trip flight on Southwest Airlines anywhere in the U.S.. Not bad but you have to have some money to travel in order to use any of the above.
So I guess they will stay on the shelf for a little while.
Oh and I also have $900 after fees in travel credit with Delta Airlines, but that is my own money - not an award.
So life has presented me with this new opportunity as I see it and I am surely tempting fate as I write this - one of the following things must needs be next.
1) My Agency finds a new position for me somewhere in America.
2) I can go back to Financial Services Sales - I have standing offers of office space at multiple firms. (I believe this is my wife's least favorite scenario - but the one I am most qualified for!)
3) I can start looking for a Service position in the Capital Region somewhere.
4) I can apply for unemployment and take the rest of the year off and work on losing more weight and improve my incredible tan. (of course this is whilst looking for suitable employment!)
There are other more cynical paths that could be followed - like claiming that it is just too hard to work anymore as a heavily medicated type II diabetic with severe osteoarthritis in both hips. But they are just not my thing.
I could by lottery and scratch off tickets daily - but I have a better chance of getting hit by lightning.
But alas indeed a new road must be chosen. In the Guardians steps of prayer - we are to pray, meditate, make a decision and then arise and act like the prayer has been answered. I am having some trouble with that right now. The crystal ball has gone dark.
Time is a healer. Today I choose to work on my tan! Tomorrow - well - we'll see!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Oh well - it was a disappointing evening - but I did have a really nice time at a gathering with the Thompson clan this afternoon and of course seeing my daughter and granddaughter. I thought Angeline was going to walk to her Daddy Shawn today - she definitely thought about it for sometime before dropping to the ground and crawling, Angeline will be walking very soon.
Manana es un otro dia!
Second -I yearn for my country which is in the midst of one of the ugliest times I remember - true liberalism and conservatism much like Shiites vs. Sunni's are playing out a high stakes game with many mnhy casualties. America is coming to a day when they will have to make a choice, and alas we ae barely civil with each other. AS I age I seem to become more libertarian and want the government out of my life more and more. I believe that most issues of our day are states rights issues. If a state wants gays to marry, tougher environmental laws, mandatory death for smokers and obese people , or even no welfare or medicaid - it should be up to them. Let them compete for dollars and the economy and population will seek it's own level. The Federal government was only supposed to protect us from threats external and internal and help administer interstate and international trade. States should decide. That being said - I probably would have to opt out of New York - but at least I could have a choice.
Third - the military is not a police force. Everytime we have used that word we have "lost" our cause (Korea, Viet Nam). Our troops do not lose but the government loses the will to win and achieve the goals of the conflict. It is just not fair. There are times when the use of military force is called for and justified - but a military is designed to do two things - break things and kill people where necessary. That's it - nothing else. It is not a social humanitarian organization. Anything else is an abuse.
Finally - as I believe God loves laughter - as a New Yorker - here in the land of the highest state taxes in America - I am disappointed in our state legislators for passing all their spending bills and forgetting to do something of substance. This alas passes for governance. I received a book on Father's Day called The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said. Whilst reading today I found this one quite proper - especially in a year that gave us Spitzer, Trooper Gate, I did drugs and had a marital affair -
"Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature"
Samuel Butler (1835 to 1902).
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The Doobie Brothers opened and did a great set ending with a fantastic jam on Without Love, Chicago followed and after a slow start just got better and better.
Finally for the encore the two bands came out an played together - they opened with the Doobies - Rocking Down the Highway, followed by Chicago's Does anybody Know what time it is, followed by the Doobies Taking It to the Streets, followed by a "just nuts' it was so good version of Chicago's I just Want to be Free Followed by the Doobies Listen to the music and then the close - Chicago's 25 or 6 to 4.
If you don't know how overwhelming an experience that was well you be a kid or actually thought disco was music.
Oh and if you hear that there was a minor quake in the Saratoga Region tonight - not to worry - it was just the big guy doing the happy dance.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Liv Tyler has played the same role in every movie she has ever been in..surely she can do something else by now! Ed Norton was not bad - but he is so much more talented than this...
Save your money or go see Iron Man!
Iron Man - excellent and way better than expected!
The Happening - I enjoyed it as a whole. His royal darkness of a director - H. Night Shyamalan loaded this one with tons of meaningful scenery -which I am sure will make for cult types viewing this many times to try to catch it all. This is film making not pop entertainment.
and alas Get Smart! - silly stuff annoys me and this is just plain silly.
Tonight Hulk - Ed Norton as an angry green being - has potential.
Soon - Wall-E and Hancock.
Or basically - what I did on my summer vacation!
Hopefully this whole free thing works out. I do as a whole believe that you get what you pay for..but who knows maybe there is a free lunch or a pony in here somewhere!