Saturday, July 26, 2008

Service to the Cause of God

My wife called me about an hour ago and informed me that she had obtained a copy of the American Baha'i - and that Viola Wood had passed away at age 84 in Idaho.

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

It's an Anniversary...

an important one for me - you see one year ago today was the last time I weighed myself and I was over 400 pounds. 405 to be precise.

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

Monday

yep Monday has happened.

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

my weekend....

Finding Starbucks and my favorite apple fritter Saturday morning - a good start..

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)

On Sunday

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

Things to do during tornado warnings...

I am glad I brought my own laptop into the wilderness this time.
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

Crisis in the Heartland...

Just saw the store closing list for Starbucks..and I am distressed as 1/2 of all the Starbucks in this part of Iowa - Yep according to the list

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

Laundry happens..

Yep it's Thursday and I change hotels tomorrow- therefore it's laundry night.
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

Amen!

Now that's something every State legislature should do...

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/07/16/oklahoma_rebellion

Ramblin...

Cost of living is an interesting thing - the difference between a renting a 2 Bedroom in Albany and a 2 Bedroom in Cedar Rapids (non-flood) is $300 per month or $3600 per year. The best CD rate for 1 year I could find on the web was 3.45%. Using the assumption that the money in your retirement account pays your rent you would need $105,000 more just for the privilege of living in Albany. Though, I have heard that rentals in Mexico are even cheaper!

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

Old School...

Went food shopping after work tonight. I went to a small supermarket called Fareway in North Liberty, Iowa. It took me back to the local A&P my family frequented when I was a child in Brooklyn. The cashiers were all dressed better than most of the women I worked with today. There were 5 registers on the front end all were open - each cashier had a young man who bagged the groceries - they wore slacks, white shirt a tie and aprons. There were actual butchers in the Meat dept.

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 good, the bad and the let's not go there...

The good - all and all a passable first day on the new job. Really big place - folks think I talk funny.

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...

stuff to say

OK so the Mets go into the All Star break 1/2 game out of first place - having won 9 in a row. The pitching staff suddenly looks awesome. It should be a great 2nd half.

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

Shhhhhhhhh......!

The Met's have won 6 games in a row - first time since 2006. They are 1 1/2 games out of first place and could very well be in First Place this time next week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The center of the known universe

very much like Albany is 3 hours from NYC, Boston and Montreal - it turns out that Cedar Rapids is 250 to roughly 300 miles (out there 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours) from everywhere (speed limit is 70 through the corn). 252 miles to Chicago, 254 miles to Milwaukee, 263 miles to Omaha, 270 Miles to St. Louis, 278 Miles to St. Paul, and 321 miles to Kansas City. Hmmm what do all this cities have in common with the exception of Omaha???

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

And the answer is ....

in reference to the post immediately below this one - the answer is #1 - somewhere in America.

Time to go back to Iowa - Cedar Rapids this time!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where I be..

OK so my two year consulting assignment lasted 3 months.
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

Disappointment

Saw Hancock - do not know what everyone is raving about. - It was not much on substance, plot or acting...then came home to watch the 9th inning of the Phillies - Mets game only to see the Met's lose.

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!

My thoughts on the Fourth

First - on this Fourth of July a thought and a prayer for our troops around the world. Without their sacrifices our freedom would surely be in peril and the world we be a much poorer place.

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

Doobie Brothers/Chicago concert

My wife and I are just back from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center where we saw the Doobie Brothers and Chicago in concert. I had a great time - alas it was too loud for Irene - but I do appreciate that she persevered.

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.

SHROOMS RULE!

Of course it helps if they are the sacred type!

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUKN0127105120080701

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The not so incredible Hulk

Old special effects for the action scenes - just new computer animation for the Hulk ..this was a tired movie. Best part was Lou Ferigno being the voice of the Hulk and his cameo appearance.
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!

OOPS

I forgot to mention I also saw Zohan - a dubious movie at best - but hey what else can you do in Wisconsin on a Tuesday during Tornado warnings?

Movie Reviews

Lately I have seen:

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!

new space

OK so I missed blogging. But I must admit I do not miss paying the hosting fees of the past.
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!