100th Post!

Well, four posts ago, anyway.

Sure, that's not that impressive compared to most blogs out there. But compared to my buddy JP, I'm screaming along. ha ha

Sorry JP, you'll get there eventually. Good luck on the diamond hunting!

Coke Zero

Oh baby! This is the stuff! No calories, no sugar, no problems.

Yeah, darn right it tastes just like Coca-Cola. It also doesn't have that "heavy" feeling you get from Coke Classic (if you mention "New Coke", you lose a finger).

I'm not what you'd call much of a soda drinker - basically, I don't like all the sugar & diet soda (not counting Diet A&W) tastes like crap. This stuff has me drinking more...which probably isn't a good thing on any level.

Fortunately, my 32 year-old frame has seen fit to keep a magnificent set of zero-cavity choppers (knock on wood).

Yeah, Coke Zero. Check this stuff out if you haven't already.


Artist: Vanessa Carlton
Price: $8.50 (Shipping included)
Purchased at: Amazon

I've already listened to this CD a number of times before buying it (one of the advantages of having Rhapsody). It's much darker than her previous work, "Be Not Nobody", though we're not talking a depressing album.

It's very down-to-earth, which is something I like in my music, & most of the songs have something in them that makes each worth a listen. The track, "Annie", is particularly haunting & is obviously someone very important to the writer.

Overall, I'd recommend this CD for the entrancing piano melodies lacing every song. It's a darker album, which may not ring so well with the "Bubblegum Pop" crowd. I never went for that sort of stuff, anyway. I'd at least give it a listen if you're a fan of strong piano players with a bit of edge in their music.

You Had To Be There

Bill, did you get that chip off your shoulder? ha ha ha


Cutting Class

I skipped out on class three of four days this week. Needless to say, that's unusual for me. I'm normally there at least three days.

Tuesday, the one day I went, was fine. My flexibility was excellent in TKD & most of my techniques were OK in HKD. Soreness played a part in my not going to class on Wednesday but it wasn't anything that would have really stopped me.

Tonight, I just didn't feel like getting up. I'm hoping this isn't the start of a trend. I had thought going on vacation would relieve some of the stress I've been feeling. I was right. It alleviated it for two weeks or so. Now things are back to "normal". Boy, you don't ever want that feeling.


You ever have one of those days where you don't want to get up?

I started off with a good couple days off - kept busy, got some exercise, etc. After that, I just got lazy. I mean really lazy! I went to class on Tuesday, stopped at the ID for a couple refreshments, went home & was asleep by midnight. I woke up at 7am & (since I work nights) decided to get a nap that afternoon.

Yeah, a 5-hour nap from 3pm to 8pm.

After that, I was up from 8pm to 1am & slept for 2 hours. I decided to go grocery shopping about 6am or so & came back to make breakfast (fruit, yogurt & a couple waffles). I was up until about 1pm & went to sleep (yeah, AGAIN!) until about 8pm.

So, that's about 22 hours of sleep in under two days. Obviously, there's something not quite right about sleeping that much. My guess is it's just wanting to get out of Iowa but being conflicted about it. I'm feeling burned out on just about everything. Not so much martial arts, but my mood is affecting that, too.


Dems Have A Plan For Surrender

But they sure don't want anyone to know what day it'll be...just that they want us to surrender.

Honestly, I have to ask if the Allies would have defeated the Axis in World War II on a "timetable", secret or otherwise. I think the answer's pretty obvious.

War is not managed like a quarterly report. You can't say, "OK. Either we're done by this day or we quit". It doesn't matter if you keep that day secret (yeah, right. "Con"gress can keep a secret.) or tell it to the world. A timetable is nothing more than giving up in the face of adversity.

This is a world dominated by the sitcom - in which every problem is resolved in a cute-ending 30-minute episode.

Reality, sadly, isn't as such. Brave men & women - so much better than this author - offer the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of liberty. The fight is not over in 30 minutes. Truly, the fight for liberty is never over.

Talk of withdrawal is a disservice to every person wearing or who has worn the uniform. Honor their noble efforts for this great nation & support them!

Pretending any timetable - even kept secret - will win the war says our politicians see this fight as they want to...

A 30-minute TV show.

No More Iowa Winters!

Yeah, we should be so lucky.

Nope, looks like this is the latest we've-got-funding-for-an-agenda report. This time from the University of Wisconsin-Madison claiming all the world's climate zones will disappear by 2100.

Of course, there's the pesky fact that few people alive today will be around to say, "I told you so!", in the (incredibly unlikely) event this comes about. Never mind thinking about the real long-term effects, they've got government funding as long as they milk the fear of global warming!

Just A Thought

Maybe it's because I'm in martial arts...or it could be common sense...but why in Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, when Yoda fights the Emperor, does Yoda jump high to attack when the Emperor puts his lightsaber over his head?

If I were three feet tall, 850 or so years-old & a master Jedi, I'm thinking the Emperor just lost his legs.


Platform: X-Box 360
Rating: M (violence, language)
Cost: $59.99
Purchased At: Gamestop

This game is in the "sandbox" - meaning free roaming world - style. Your role is a genetically-engineered "Agent" who is charged with clearing the city of three major gangs.

Throughout the title, you'll focus the largest part of your efforts on leveling up your five key abilities: Agility, Driving, Explosives, Strength & Weapons. Each level grants significant improvement for tackling your challenges. Strength, for example, allows you to lift up to 10 tons at maximum level. Needless to say the abilities are off the chart with regards to your typical "GTA"-style game.

The difficulty ramps up at a smooth level for the first gang & quickly escalates after their defeat. Enemies don't react foolishly & will use numbers to overwhelm you when possible. Cover & agility are your friends in these cases.

I'd recommend this (for the 18 & older crowd) if you like the GTA concept but can't stand the "Mission Failed" screen that pops up all too often with this kind of game. In actuality, you have one mission: to clean up the city. To do so you have to get your hands dirty...but you'll find being on the supply side of Justice is more fun than a life of crime.


CD Challenge

OK, I'm feeling generous today! Here's the deal: Based on the below lyrics, if you can guess the song title, the album & the artist, I'll buy you the CD!

Seriously, no games, no gimmicks, etc. The only "catch" is that you have to be the first person to reply accurately with the song title, album title & artist name (1st & last). Only one person can win per challenge. Only one guess per person...

Here's the lyrics:

"...stumbling on reasons that are far & few/
I'd let it all come down & then some for you..."

If you think you've got the right answer, comment on this post & include your e-mail address so I can get back to you. Good luck!

Congratulations to Jim!
Song: "Pretty Baby"
Album: "Be Not Nobody"
Artist: Vanessa Carlton

Check back in every month & I'll post a new challenge.


Well At Least They Can Figure It Out

Should we vote these 6th graders from Trail Ridge Middle School in Longmont,CO into office?

Apparently, a bunch of 12-year olds were able to debate - constructively, I might add - this controversial subject & come to an all too reasonable conclusion:

Man is not responsible for global warming.

They cited all sorts of (often opposing) data. This includes the fact while population rose in the 1960s, the overall global temperature fell.

Does this end the debate on global warming? Not by a long shot. I don't think bleeding-heart liberals are willing to give up a pet cause that generates tons of revenue in the form of federal grants & some private donations. You can bank on the fact they'll keep this snowballing (pardon the pun) as long as possible.

Little Bit of Change

I might be moving back to my old shift! Woo hoo!

Lipton Cranberry Pomegranate Tea

Purchased: Hy-Vee
Cost: About $3.50
Qty: 20 bags

A really nice tea. The flavor has quite a bit of pomegranate that takes the bitterness away from the cranberry. If you like something different in your tea, this is probably for you.

That being said, it's NOT at all like a traditional tea. I doubt you'll even pick up the green tea flavor for the most part. If that's what you're looking for, you may want to stick with your Pickwick!


Wow! My arms are killing me today. Painkillers (in the form of Ibuprofen) are the order of the day.

I guess getting back to TKD & HKD after 2+ weeks off is going to induce a little soreness. It's not a bad thing - at least I can feel the progress of strengthening muscles. I'll stop short of saying I could try out for the cast of 300.

Most of what I did involved punching, blocking, etc. I did work on my arms a bit (mostly shoulders) & even spent some time on the Wii. That bowling game is just addictive! I've also noticed it does a lot to improve your shoulder strength & rotator cuff motion.

Ah, even with the soreness, exercise feels GOOD!


Want To Cut The Pork?

Some employees of Target in Minnesota are refusing to scan pork products because it, by their interpretation, conflicts with their religious beliefs. I'm sorry but these people should be fired. Period.

By their same argument, they shouldn't WORK for Target in the first place because their stores sell pork products, right? Of course that doesn't apply under their "whatever I claim my religion says is for my advantage" rule.

Typically, CAIR & other agenda-pushing organizations come to the "beleaguered" employees' aid.

I don't think it's coincidence this happened in the "flying imam" state - where a few opportunistic individuals are exploiting leftist political correctness to weaken national security by way of airlines.

To illustrate the absurdity of this situation, I'll counter with an equally absurd example. Let's say a devout Christian joins an adult film company. As soon as they tell him to "perform", he objects because it's against his religious beliefs. Well, my hypocritical hypothetical friend, you signed up to do a job. Before you accept it, the responsibility is YOURS to determine if it's not in-line with your religious beliefs.

Likewise, the opportunists "working" at Target should have realized they're going to have to scan the occasional pork product. I find it hard to believe a rational human being wouldn't have that sort of foresight. Therefore, I can only reason they don't want to work.

Note to you slackers there - as I've posted previously, try portraying yourselves in a positive light for a change - silliness like this makes honest, hard-working people (regardless of religious preference, I might add) furious. Get a life & get a different job!


I just saw this & have to say every part of the movie was excellent! Normally, you have a few points that drag - it's just to be expected. Well, not in this flick.

The movie centers around the king-god Xerxes & his Persian army laying waste to all kingdoms in his path. His courier presents a message to Sparta: pay us tribute or suffer the consequences. Obviously, being Spartans & dedicated to warrior ideals, they're not so accommodating.

King Leonidas, portrayed by Gerard Butler (Phantom of the Opera) decides he must prevent the impending invasion of Xerxes, played by Rodrigo Santoro, by massing his army at the "Hot Gates" (Thermopylae) & preventing an onslaught which will murder the first embers of democracy. The problem? Corrupt bureaucrats & oracles prevent him from sending the whole of the Spartan force to counter the invasion.

Leonidas - being the ever-adaptable (almost Marine-like) ruler - assigns, you guessed it, 300 men to accompany him as his "personal guard". What ensues is some of the most impressive action in a movie to date. The images are enhanced by the acceleration/slowing of certain moments. This, magnificently placed, does wonders to highlight the fervor & brutality with which the doomed men fight.

Throughout the lengthy episodes of battle you're witness to all sorts of excellent encounters - from verbal sparring between kings Xerxes & Leonidas, a betrayal & finally a climactic scene where you can only believe the Spartans were proud to place themselves.

As an additional little finish, Leonidas utters perhaps the harshest insult to an enemy that would be a compliment from anyone other than a Spartan. You can feel the shame in the pathetic creature as he winces.

There is notable violence in the film but I have to say it wasn't overdone or ruthlessly gory. Sure, I wouldn't take any kids to see it as there is some nudity as well.

It's a great work that offers a glimpse into the selfless life of those who serve. At all times the Spartans are the very embodiment of their traditions - never wavering, never fearing. In so many ways, this film seems an homage to the men & women who serve this country everyday. Though they may be against terrible forces, derided by wind-changing relativist politicians & receive all too little appreciation for those they protect, never do they fail to do their sworn duty.


Not So Perky

OK, Perkins, here's a note for you: When your store says it's open 24 hours, it SHOULD BE OPEN 24 HOURS!

I went in there tonight to meet a friend who works second shift & was told they're closing for 6 hours to clean vent hoods. Yeah, really nice!

Oh well, we had to cross over to Happy Chef which really isn't that bad, I suppose.

Still, Perkins might want to try closing on, say, Sunday night when there's probably not a darn person in the place...


JKD? I Don't Know...

While on vacation, I went to a Jeet Kun Do (JKD...now the title rhymes!) school my brother uses to work out. I don't know the first thing about JKD so I figured what the heck & gave it a try.

My feelings are mixed. It was an excellent work out. The owner knows his stuff & how to get things moving even in the early morning. He has excellent control & teaches effectively.

On the downside - & this is all opinion. I'd recommend this school to anyone who wants to learn a martial art - I'm not a proponent of the "headbutt" technique. I think the likelihood of knocking yourself out is too high & that's a disaster waiting to happen in a self-defense situation. Again, my opinion. He's not "wrong" in teaching that.

Overall, the school teaches well & offers practical coursework for any student of the martial arts. While I'm content to apply HKD/Arnis for my self-defense needs, JKD is more up your alley if you want to keep a little more distance & allow for strikes. HKD emphasizes close quarters for the most part & Arnis will offer distance in (mostly) armed situations.

All things being equal JKD is a fine art developed by perhaps the finest modern student of the martial arts: Bruce Lee. While there's a lot of hype surrounding his name, my understanding from people I've met who knew him insist he was as great as the legend implies.

I'd encourage any of you interested in the martial arts to get out there & see what's available. There are more "kwons", "ryus", etc out there than I could ever name here & I believe all offer something of value. I, for one, would love to learn traditional "kumdo" (sword). It's not practical for self-defense unless you're the Highlander but fun doesn't have everything to do with practicality, does it? :-)

Reasons I Should Stay In Iowa

1) Friends

2) Hapkido (the art, not me)

Disclaimer: The above are in alphabetical order & do not necessarily reflect HapKiDo's actual views regarding the order of importance. Besides, if you're my friend you know where you stand!

Reasons I Need To Leave Iowa

1) Corn

2) Pigs

3) The smell made by the above

4) Having to scrape my windshield EVERY morning for 6 months!

5) South Carolina is closer to family

6) 15 minutes just to get to the closest store

7) "High Rise" = 10 stories

8) What's up with that cross-wind on every highway in the state?

9) "Cold enough for ya?"

10) I've met friendlier people in New Jersey!


Cowards, Get Over Yourselves

School officials in West Yorkshire, England have decided to present their own play with a unique interpretation of "The Three Little Pigs".

As you may have guessed, the title & production have been altered by the surrender-monkeys to "The Three Little Puppies". School administrators cited, "fear that some Muslim children wouldn't sing along".

This sort of reflexive cowering in the face of phantom "threats" does nothing to help anyone. No one has suggested this material might be offensive to some groups. Even a Muslim council in England said it took "political correctness" over-the-top. Additionally - if it is offensive - WHO CARES?

People can't live their lives afraid of what every other person may take as offensive. If that were the case the democrat party would have to disband immediately for offending common-sense.

These afraid-to-offend folks remind me of the "better red than dead" crowd during the cold war: Anyone so willing to sacrifice their liberties for the sake of life foolishly prove they can easily be parted from both.

Hapkido in Hapkido

Well, that makes for a confusing title!

I decided to stop by class this evening with the idea of saying hello to
everyone & to reassure Master Rion I was, in fact, returning to Iowa after
a fun trip to South Carolina. :-) I didn't plan on participating but that
was until I had a had a chance to show off in front of Denise!

Of course, I'm kidding (mostly). I just missed getting into the mix. My
techniques seemed to have more energy in them & I enjoyed every minute of class - except for Bill trapping me face down in a scuffle. The nerve of that guy! (Kidding, Bill!)

We also have advanced class tomorrow so I can transition back into things
without too much rough-around-the-edges stuff come Tuesday (class canceled next Monday).

BTW, for you "girlie-men" out there. Denise is a Master's Degree candidate
enrolled in Master Rion's Practical Self-Defense course - which does many
similar things to HKD. This includes chokes, grapples & takedowns. So, I
want you to keep one thing in mind:

You could get beat up by a girl!


Hapkido Back In The Saddle

Many thanks to Idlike2bnTX for his excellent efforts in running my blog! I noticed the traffic actually went up in the last week so you folks out there must have liked his posts, too.

Vacation was excellent. Sure, I didn't do too much but I did manage to have a great time. I spent most of my time with my brother, Matt, met some new people & generally found a way to have fun without involving the police.

I'd just like to say that while my friends here in Iowa are all important to me & I'm proud to be counted among their trusted comrades, the other people in Iowa need to learn a few things about being sociable & cordial. Note: Just because someone didn't go to high school with you or even live in the same city doesn't mean they're bad. Get over it!

In contrast, the folks I met in South Carolina were very warm & friendly - similar to how I remember. People wave hello in the most nonobligatory way & don't have to feign interest for the most milquetoast of conversations when they meet someone new. Sure, I'll bet they have their share of jerks but the jerk to pal ratio is certainly more favorable for the south.

I honestly think I'd be more at home there than I ever will be here. Heck, I can even drink tap water there. I've been here 9 years & still can't do that.

Anyway, I'm happy to be back with the blog & have a lot of posting ideas coming down the pike. So much happened in the last two weeks!



Ok, so you know, I didn't go to church on Sunday. Monday I caught a cold and am still dealing with it. Last night I felt a little better but tonight I'm really feeling it. With HapKiDo coming back tomorrow, I figured I better post something or learn exactly why he's called HapKiDo.

So what I wanted to leave you all with is something that I came across this week. Now some of my numbers may be a little off so I encourage the inquisitive reader to further investigate the issues.

Feb 22nd it was decided that 100 Mexican trucking companies would be allowed to deliver into the United States. This will improve efficiencies at the border but the negative ramifications for the trucking industry are pretty significant. One must know that the Mexican driver on average makes 40% less than an American driver. Here is how things work out:

1st - when the Mexican carrier sends it's driver in to the U.S. it will be operating at a much lower cost than the American counterpart. This difference will then translate into a huge cost saving for a shipper who wants to ship back to Mexico if it were to select a Mexican carrier.

2nd - because a Mexican carrier will more likely be selected than an American carrier, American carriers will have lower freight volumes to generate revenue. That loss in revenue will create a minor to moderate shift in competition among American carriers. This will most likely happen through downsizing of certain carriers who will then, unable to maintain sufficient revenues and profits, be purchased by larger carriers, which in turn reduces competition.

3rd - if, and it's a pretty big if, an American carrier is sent south to Mexico, the revenue needed to bring that truck back to America will be substantially higher than all the other Mexican carriers surrounding it. Mexican shippers will not want to pay the price needed to return the truck back to the states. Therefor, the American carrier is forced to bring the truck back at a loss or with no revenue at all.

These are just three of the observations I can see and I'm no economist or financial wizard but the implications I am seeing are probably pretty recognizable by most. NAFTA, the genesis of this whole thing is, in theory, I think a good thing. But I'm seeing now what I think many saw when the EU was being created. When a superpower like the U.S.A. starts to 'compete' with a country like Mexico, the superpower will lose. Wouldn't you as a consumer and customer rather pay $3.00 for a rake instead of $15.00?

Now I know that there is something to be said for the phrase 'you get what you pay for' but when you are operating on a limited budget, the only thing most people-and companies-consider is how am I going to get 3 widgets for the price of 1. Competition drives down prices. That's a good thing. But when companies compete based on rates, not only do the companies who fail to secure the contract lose, but the customer often times loses as well because they receive an inferior product.

Why, you ask? Because the product provider, now operating on the tightest of margins can't put money back into its operations and has to find other ways to cut costs. This generally means reductions in quality of the raw materials going into the finished goods, reduction in staff which leads to poorer quality of finished goods, and loss of research and developments to further expand product lines.

Bringing Mexican drivers into the U.S. will most definitely improve the Mexican economy but their growth will certainly not add to ours. There may be an aggregate gain but it will happen because of an American loss. Of this I'm pretty convinced.

Now, shift gears and think about the rest of our economy. Did you know that we are an 80% service based economy? Do you realize that our economy is supported by 4 out of 5 business which are based on the idea that Americans need to consume something and yet don't actually produce the item being consumed? If Americans stop consuming, what happens to the economy? I think you see where I am going with this. But let me bring back transportation to the equation. If transportation is hauling product supplied to the economy by only 1 out of 5 businesses and we add a new influx of carriers that can operate at 40% less than their American counterparts, how are we supposed to split that pie? Economically speaking, I'm sure you're saying, "Boy, this guy sure is morbidly obsessed with transportation in the American economy." Fact is, I work in it. So, in the name of self-preservation, I have to be aware of what is happening. But failure to see this kind of thing happening in the rest of the economy, in different sectors (India and call centers ring a bell?), is alarming. As consumers, we are selling, even if by necessity, our heritage as a superpower.

Most motor carriers operate on a 2-7% margin. If that's all a kid made off lemonade, there would never be a cup of lemonade sold again in America's neighborhoods.

Now, everyone please welcome back - HAPKIDO!!!!


Daylight Savings

Don't forget to move your clocks ahead 1 hour tonight at 2am. That's right, be sure to wake up at about 145am and move all those clocks forward to 245am. Then go back to sleep and sleep in an extra hour. I have heard that this next week will be one of the most dangerous weeks for vehicle drivers as they adjust to the time change, fatigue being the primary culprit in the collision.

I believe the time adjustment goes until the 1st Sunday in November. Quite frankly, I didn't know what to think about the earlier/later changes but I think I'm going to like it. I was told that it is actually being done to help the BBQ grill industry. Maybe. It makes sense.

I hope HapKiDo is having a great time on vacation. He's probably going to be disappointed I didn't write more. I could give some excuses but I hate doing it. Except that Thursday I was getting over something weird. I woke up that morning, trying to get my brain to keep up with my head as I turned to look at stuff. Vertigo is not an enjoyable experience. It sorta went away Friday afternoon.

I'll try to come up with something better to write about tomorrow after church. Religion, as you can tell, is an area of thinking that has a lot of my attention. But I don't intend to be preachy about anything. Maybe I'll tell you all about my aquarium. :)


America: The land of mass media

This is a follow up to last night. What I wanted to share is something a reader passed on to me that gives a little light on what, according to the links below, is a very under reported position of Muslim-Americans. I'm going to just copy and paste from my blog and then maybe close with some additional comments. Then I'll be done with this subject for awhile I think.

A reader gave me some links to articles and other links where Muslim leaders are speaking out against terrorism in the name of Islam. I appreciated the information and enjoyed the read. However, I also found myself asking the question, "Is condemning the violence enough?" That was then followed by the question, "At what point will I be satisfied that Muslim-Americans are doing enough to stop the violence?" I don't have answers to those questions. But at least knowing the questions is a starting point. The answers may not be favorable for me or Islam. I'll let you know.

So here are the links:





With all the potential air time that these things could be getting, I think that it is a shame that the media is not making this a greater part of their reports. Now I know that Glen Beck is pretty outspoken about this theme but I don't know enough about his comments and position on the subject. I have seen some of his reports and wonder (hope?) he is seeing these articles and links that claim that Islam is peaceful. But as I said above, when will I (America) be satisfied?

Just today, I came across an article about a Saudi woman who has been convicted of violating an Islam based law forbidding unmarried women from being alone with a man. Her punishment: 90 lashes. Oh, and she was also gang raped 14 times by other men who stopped the car she and the man she was alone with were driving. Peaceful? I'm still having a hard time seeing it.


I have the conch!

Thank you HapKiDo for the opportunity to step in and blah blah blah for a few days. All of you avid readers out there are probably unsure about what I'm going to put before you but I think it might be OK.

So this weekend I was with a bunch of friends and family and I had to bring up the absence of peace activists among Muslims. Now, Iowa City is probably not the best place to bring up such a subject, especially during a war but I just had to get some input from these folks to see if I was really out of touch with reality. So I admit that I'm concerned about how little I'm hearing from the Muslims and the Islam faith condemning those "radicals" who seek the destruction of America and all its citizens. Please refer to my earlier post on my blog for additional reading on the matter.

Well after this subject comes up there is a lot of back and forth debating and people every so often concede one point or another. During all this it comes up that the war in Iraq is President Bush's little crusade - his religious war. Now, I've heard a lot of things about this war but I hadn't heard this one. First it was about Sadam supporting terrorism, then WMD, oil and now religion? Why can't it just be about removing one regime for a people who did not have it in their power to remove it themselves? Of course, that begs the question, how do they measure up to the American colonists in their desire for new leadership. But that's another post.

Now something that I walked away thinking about that I hadn't considered before or even in commented on in my previously referred to post was this: why do American news reports seem so empty the American Muslims here in this country standing up and protesting against the terrorists in the middle east? I don't know what the U.S. military Muslim recruitment numbers are but are Muslims in America signing up for military service to do their part to protect America from becoming what the middle east is now? If Islam is a religion of peace, then why is it that the general media isn't portraying that fact? This may be a dumb thing to say but if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck, it probably is a duck. If it doesn't look peaceful, it doesn't sound peaceful or it doesn't openly promote peace, then it probably isn't peaceful.

Now I don't question American Muslims to incite a McCarthyism fear. I simply ask for clarification on what Islam in America is. I understand that there are various branches, sects, or whatever they are called in Islam just as there are divisions based on various degrees of interpretation, adherence, and practices in any other religion. But if Belgian Lutherans were all of a sudden going about chanting, "Destroy Canada" and "Death to Canadians" and burning in effigy large maple leafs, all in the name of their religious faith then wouldn't Canadian Lutherans be sort of obligated to voice their disagreement to such protests and defend Lutheranism? Or is that wrong of me to think that they should?

So there are some things I was thinking of this weekend. I would like to know what you think. Please feel free to post a comment. Please stop by my blog http://idlike2bntx.blogspot.com.


Well, this is my last post prior to vacation. I'll be out of town from 3/5 to 3/14.

In that time, I hand you over to the capable musings of Idlike2bnTX. I think you'll enjoy his writing as much as I do.

Best wishes to everyone & I'll talk to you next week!

Coffee House 2007

I thought it was a nice show. Merrick, as usual, did an excellent job & really took things above & beyond with his rendition of Don McLean's "American Pie". It was a highlight to an already entertaining night.

My Imoto, Sarah, played an original piece titled "Burial". It's not as sorrowful as you might think. There are some powerful, precise chords in the higher octaves - something I'd call a resolution (as opposed to mournful). She's always included quite a bit of depth in her music & this song shows her appreciation for giving you something emotional to interpret.

Some of her outfits were just adorable! I hope she'll forgive me for posting a couple here but you have to agree she's the cutest little sister in the world. :-)

Nurse Sarah
"Little Shop of Horrors"

Pianist Sarah

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pie

OK, I know the one with her eating pie wasn't a "costume" but it's still a nice picture... :-)


Speaking of Second Amendment

I'm fortunate that Idlike2bnTX started the "Second Amendment" category: it affords me the opportunity to discuss three of my favorite things...my 2001 Franchi 3" 12-gauge, my 1971 Franchi 20-gauge & my compound bow.

Yeah, before you ask, darn right I'm a hunter! Human beings are omnivores & that includes meat. I love my veggies, but nothing wrong with a nice, juicy deer steak to go with them. It seems hypocritical to me for people to argue hunting is morally wrong when that's EXACTLY the means of survival that got us to be the dominant species on this planet.

Anyway, back to the "meat" of this post - pardon the pun. My prize is the Franchi 12-gauge. It takes up to a 3" shell, has a recoil-reducing spring & comes up smooth. I'd put that gun out there with any other one I've ever fired. Dad's used it as well & said it's a really accurate weapon. It weighs right around 6 lbs & is easy to maintain. Included in the $675 price are four chokes: Cylinder, Improved, Modified & Full.

The Franchi 20-gauge was given to me by Dad. It's a fixed-choke barrel (Improved) & excellent for birds. The only limitation of this gun - as expected - is the range. You can offset that a little with 4-shot when you go for "larger" upland birds like pheasant. Still, there's no better gun out there for bobwhite & it's the definition of precision on doves (well, not in Iowa...don't get me started on that). The unique aspect of this shotgun is the "reciprocating" action. It ejects a shell by kicking the barrel back & pushing it out of the chamber. It's kind of like a tank - & VERY cool!

My bow is an old Hoyt set @ 60 lbs. I could probably go a bit higher (62.5 to 65) but it's a comfortable pull for me. My accuracy - when I was in practice - allowed me to put a group (six arrows) inside 6" at 30+ yards. OK, that's not William Tell-like accuracy but it's not shabby, either. I wouldn't chance anything outside 35 yards, so there's not much point in testing farther. Hunting is all about being responsible & knowing your capabilities.

Feelin' Better

I'm definitely feeling better than I was yesterday. Maybe stress was getting to me. Who knows?

I'm sipping on a 44oz. "Rooster Booster" from the gas station across the street, listening to Vanessa Carlton (hey! It helps me relax, so don't judge) & am getting stuff done.

I'm off tomorrow because I have a concert to attend for little sis, Sarah - which I always enjoy. Yeah, I know I'm not objective but she's very talented & it's always enjoyable to hear her perform. I'll also be able to give her the Christmas gift (yeah, forgot last time I saw her) I never brought to class. Spoiler: It's a Swarovsky silver-crystal butterfly. I'm 90% sure she won't read this post, so the secret's safe.

After the concert, I've got to do a little laundry for the trip, make sure I have cash to travel & get everything packed up. I'm giving my brother, Matt, my old 3.2MP Sony camera since I have the 10MP superbuttkicker model now. Hopefully, that'll get included in the mix.

I should probably also load up some new songs on the MP3 player. Maybe not. The flight is only 2 hours or so & I have waaay more music on there for that time. I'll keep that in mind.

It's Dad's birthday on Monday & I ordered him a gift. I sent it to the SC address, but I don't think it'll get there in time. Fortunately, he & Matt are picking me up at the airport, so I'll be able to take him out to dinner at the very least.

Whew! Bunch of random thoughts in there.



I don't know if it's the lack of class lately (or more likely the colds that have prevented me from making it to TKD/HKD) but I've been very down.

I have a "hopeless" air about me for the past few days. I'm somewhat excited about visiting my family in South Carolina but not as upbeat as I'd normally be.

I guess it's just a phase. Every now & then I get these "what's the point?" moods.

Right now the feeling I have is along the lines of, "Well, this is your life...man, this sucks". Everything's been the same for three or four years now: perpetually single, boring existence, same routine - day in, day out - nothing exciting ever happening.

I'll grant you boring is sometimes good - it eliminates the worry of nasty surprises. But the single life isn't supposed to be so overwhelmingly fraught with bouts of ennui. Maybe it's loneliness but not entirely of the no partner type.

I wouldn't mind dating again, though it's been at least 2 years or so since I've even tried. I'm not in the mood for rejection (of course, who ever is?) which always hangs about me like some twisted telling of Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The thing is getting shot down for most people is an inconvenience. For me, it's practically a guaranteed bitter end.

For all this, "You've gotta like yourself", or, "There's nothing wrong with you", crap I hear, not once does someone give me some USEFUL advice. Tell me what one of the above phrases does to make me feel better? Yeah, didn't think so.

It's not that my friends & family don't mean well but they're not in the same situation I am. I'm that guy whose always been outside looking in. My siblings seem largely satisfied with their current places in life. It seems more & more to me that I haven't figured out one darn thing in over three decades on this earth.

Coffee House Rescheduled

It looks like the weather caused the cancellation of Coffee House last night. Sarah sent me a text & said it's going to be on Sunday at 730pm.

Of course, I had to try & contact some other folks to let them know what was happening & that captured about three hours of my time. Fortunately, everyone is on the same page now & we should have a perfect attendance record for Sarah's last musical.


Vacation (I Want Good Weather!)

The latest here in Iowa is the wonderful weather (read: ice & snow) we've been having (AGAIN!) this week.

That's right, you'd think now that it's March & that we had a nasty storm last week, we'd be done with this winter crap. Punxatawney Phil needs to be served up in some sort of rich stew for his dirty, filthy lies of early spring!

Anyway, my plans to vacation in South Carolina next week will NOT be thwarted! I've already checked the forecast & it's looking good to fly out on Monday. Furthermore, the coldest temperature will be 53o - and that's on Tuesday. Everything else is mid to upper-60s.

Once again, it must be said.

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Freeze up here, suckers!


Ever Watch A Stephen King Movie?

Apparently a company in Florida wants to build condominiums in West Palm Beach.

On top of a pet cemetery.

Seriously, have any of these people ever seen Pet Sematery or Poltergeist? If for no other reason than superstition, wouldn't you choose to build elsewhere? Heck, I'D never live in a place built on any sort of cemetery. It just seems disrespectful.

The seller says the property isn't "zoned" for a cemetery, it's set up for residential.

You'll have to excuse me but, similarly, just because something's legal doesn't make it ethical.

Coffee House 2007

This one is Sarah's last concert in high school. After that, it's off to college at Iowa State University.

I had to make arrangements to be there for this one - it interfered with my normal work schedule. Fortunately, Liz (the other little sister), was willing to cover me for the extra time. In return, she'll be able to sleep in for a bit & I'll cover her.

The "Coffee House" is an Alburnett tradition of sorts. I can't tell you how long it's been around (OK, because I really don't know) but it's a nice production every year.

The idea is simple: You give certain people tables & have servers come around to sell them various confections & drinks. This, of course, is included with the main production of an entertaining musical. They do very well every year & I've always been happy to attend.

So, thanks to Liz & "break a leg" to Sarah at her farewell performance tomorrow!

3 Times Canceled

Because of weather, TKD & HKD were canceled three times this week. Normally, I'd really be bummed about that but my cold - which recently enjoyed a resurgence - kept me out of the action on Wednesday anyway.

We're getting ANOTHER ice storm today. Unbelievable! I'm definitely hoping against hope there's no loss of power again. The last time we were down for only 36 hours - about 1/2 of the average time, I think. Still, another storm in such close proximity to the previous one won't be good.

The other frustrations I'm coping with are Sarah's musical tomorrow night (hoping there'll be no problem making it) & vacation the next 2 weeks. The latter means I can't go to class for all that time. Maybe my brother will take me to that JKD school they have in SC. It'll at least keep me active.

Well, here's hoping the weather holds off over the weekend so my flight on Monday departs on time.

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