a different kind of safe

In light of Katrina temporarily wiping (flushing) New Orleans from the map, Florida's repeated hurricane spanking last summer (not to mention their inability to hold a valid election), the earthquake prone left coast, and some of the worst tornado seasons to date, Forbes magazine scientifically rated the safest and least safe cities in the USA. These calculations were based off of frequency of natural disasters of every shape and size. Disasters of the human variety NOT included.

The disasters include tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, gale force winds, damaging hail, brush fires, and the ambiguous "extreme weather." Extreme is another word meaning "we can't describe it."

Of all things, Spokane made it to the top ten list of the safest cities in the US at #5. Now, I'm not a resident of Spokane, but CD'A is close enough. Other cities that beat us out of the top spot: Boise, Santa Fe, and Yakima. No suprises. But the number one spot was a bit of a shocker... Honolulu ranks in as the safest American city.

So I guess this might be a great place to raise a family.

In unrelated yet somewhat related news, Associated Press ran a recent statement, "The Spokane area seems awash in pedophiles."

So, that thing I said about raising a family... I was just kidding.

The number of registered sex offenders in the inland NW (Spokane/Cheney/CD'A/Post Falls/ Hayden/Rathdrum) is daunting as it numbers in triple digits. And highly disturbing when compared to other metro areas.

Sioux Falls, SD: 5 sex registered sex offenders. Marysville/Tulalip/Smoky Point (where I grew up): 1 registered sex offender.


So, Spokane might be safe from mother nature, but we're swarming with pervs. What a comforting feeling.


drama never ends

Albert Einstein once said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Cindy Sheehan proves his point.

Now, I'm sure Al (or E-Stein as I like to call him) was not speaking of Sheehan specifically, but people like her. After all, stupid people have existed since the beginning of all humanity. Think this present era is immune?... Here's your sign.

Now, I do sympathize with Sheehan's loss of her son, Casey. However, I feel her methods have made her the laughing stock of the right-wing and an embarrassment to the left.

Point #1. Her 26 day vigil near President Bush's ranch. She said that she would not leave until Bush agreed to meet with her and validate her anger... er... I mean despair. The meeting never happened. She left (something urgent came up) and Bush enjoyed the rest of his vacation.

Point #2. She got arrested. Sheehan led the way with multiple protests and demonstrations in DC over the weekend. That in itself is not news worthy, we as Americans have a constitutional right to free speech, including the right to publicly voice disapproval and dismay when we disagree with the political powers that be. What made it newsworthy was the ending of Monday's demonstration. It was the third protest over the weekend, and ended with Sheehan in the backseat of a cop car.

After a demonstration on the Mall on Saturday and a rally on Sunday, Sheehan and supporters marched around the White House. When they reached the front of the White House, some one thought it a good idea to stay there, sitting (blocking) the entry to the White House.

Naturally, police advised them they were breaking the law. In fact, police gave them THREE warnings that they were breaking the law. Associated Press reported that a total of 50 people were arrested, Sheehan being the first to go. As she was being hauled to the cop car, the crowd chanted, "The whole world is watching."

Yes, Cindy, the whole world IS watching you make a fool of yourself. If you wanted to use your grief to make a difference, there are better ways to do so, rather than beating your chest like a big dumb ape.

As stupid as Sheehan is, at least she's smarter than a fellow protester who jumped the White House fence to escape police custody, only to be arrested by a swarm of Secret Service agents.

I'm sure everyone would agree that war is not a good thing. I, as much as anyone else, would like to see this conflict resolved. Iraq is slowly becoming my generations version of Vietnam. The tremendous loss of life in Baghdad and the rest of the Middle East due to this war is saddening. You'd have to be heartless not to admit that. But there's got to be a better way than Sheehan's floundering method.

Now from a grieving mother to a grieving widow. Mitzy Kenny's husband died in Iraq last year. This Ridgeley, W. Va. resident speaks out. "I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters: Don't be a group of unthinking lemmings (anti-war demonstrations) can affect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy Hope."

Well said Mitzy.


of seagulls and children

During a nice little picnic lunch at the park with Bekah and Christian, I made a few observations I'd like to share with you.

First the birds...
1. Seagulls do not like to be chased
2. But they do like to be fed
3. They will eat anything
4. Seagulls do not trust humans
5. But if you feed them, they will follow you
6. If one lone seagull finds food, another dozen will appear out of nowhere

And the kids...
1. The shortest distance between a little boy and his mom is always through a puddle
2. Sunlight is good as long as it is not in your eyes
3. Kids will eat anything, even woodchips
4. You might think it's cute to shove a kid's head through a hole to pose for pictures
5. The kid doesn't think it's cute
6. One year olds can fall asleep while eating


different kind of hero

Thanks to Regis and Kelly, the Guiness Book of World Records has a new world record. When I was younger these records fascinated me. Stuff like the longest baseball game in history, oldest living person, largest building under a single roof, fastest speed reached by a wheeled vehicle, tallest person ever, etc.

But as there years have past, the records have gotten more bizarre: largest collection of belly button lint, most piercing on a single person, longest time spent frozen in a block of ice, longest distance traveled on a pogo stick. It's the kind of stuff that normal people would never thing to try. Even slightly unbalanced persons (like myself) would never say "gee, I'm going to walk backwards the entire length of I-90 from Seattle to Boston." just to get into the Guiness book of world records. These newer records come from the imagination of some truly deranged lunatics.

Then there's this guy: Suresh Joachim. This dude holds 16 guiness records. 16! Holy cow! First thought... Cool, so did he like, circle the globe multiple times in a hot-air balloon? Did he successfully juggle 19 chainsaws? Did he climb the highest peak on each of the seven continents in a year?

No. He spent 69 hours and 48 minutes with his eyes glued to a plasma TV screen. Second thought... What?! That got him into the world records. I could do that. But then again, you have to be monitored. And since it was done as a part of Regis and Kelly's morning talk show, poor Suresh had to spend the nearly three days of television viewing trapped on a couch in a tiny room at WACB studios in New York. Worst part, he was only able to watch ABC programming, channel surfing not allowed. Never mind, I couldn't do it.

The funny thing is he beat the previous record of 50 hours 7 minutes. Third thought... You mean, someone else had set a record for watching TV!!! Are we really that bored and lazy that sitting on our duff for three straight days with the boob tube as our best pal sounds appealing?

But he does it for the kids, so I guess it's OK. His purpose is about as vague as it gets: to raise awareness of suffering children. Possibly children in some places don't have a television to help waste endless hours and rot their brains. The poor helpless children. These kids probably can't afford 100 strait hours bowling (another of Suresh's records) The cost of concessions and shoe rentals are atrocious at some bowling allies.

What other records does he hold? According to his website... Yes he has a website... The records are: 1. running for 1000 consecutive hours 2. balanced on one foot for 76 hours 40 minutes 3. traveled 225.44 consecutive km on an escalator 4. ran with a 4.5 kg brick in one hand for 126.675 km 5. 120 hour radio broadcast 6. 84 hour drumming marathon 7 & 8. 79 bridesmaids and 47 groomsmen at his wedding 9. longest bouquet 62.09 10. ran 100 km in 7 hrs 21 mns 40 secs on a treadmill 11. 100 miles on a treadmill 12. 257.88 km in 24 hours on treadmill 13. more running on treadmill 14. 100 hours dancing w/no sleep 15. played music w/a band for 42 hours 52 minutes 16. even more time on a treadmill. And finally 17. 100 hours strait 10 pin bowling.

This shmuck has no life. Oh yeah, I think he's married


Judge Judy brings protest to Bush ranch

Waco TX

Taking her cues from previous protester, Cindy Sheehan, Judge Judy Sheindlin is setting up camp beside the highway near President George Bush's Crawford area ranch.

Sheindlin's demonstration has a very different focus however, as Judge Judy disputes President Bush's nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice.

As Roberts faces the Senate Judiciary Committee today to answer questions about political and personal beliefs, Judge Judy holds a picket sign near Crawford, demanding an audience with the President.

After losing a bid for a prime-time slot for her show on CBS, she began to lobby for a Supreme Court nomination.

"I'm horrified," she says. "I'm not looking for a Broadway show to do next. This is my show. This is my gig. I'm not looking for anything afterward."

Supporters joining Sheindlin in Texas are her husband and fellow judge Jerry, a handful of plaintiffs and defendants who have received favorable judgments on her daytime TV show, and her bailiff Petri Hawkins-Byrd.

"I'm mainly here for security," says Hawkins-Byrd.

"I spent 20 years presiding in New York's family court," says Judge Judy. "All he did was private practice."

Both Sheindlin judges stress the importance of family values in politics and law.

"If you've looked at what I've done since I've taken the judicial oath, you would be convinced my rulings have continuously supported the health and welfare of the American family. We need a stronger moral foundation in our country, I would like to do my part to get there."

Roberts was a political power play as President Bush's choice to replace Chief Justice William H Rehnquist. Judge Judy is hoping to be considered as the President seeks a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

"I would just like the opportunity to meet with the President. If he would take time away from his busy schedule, he would see me as the perfect candidate."

After the protest near the Bush ranch is over, Sheindlin plans on joining the relief efforts in New Orleans by handing out bottled water and lecturing looters.

When Roberts was asked of Sheindlin's desire for nomination, he said, "You and I agree that that's not the sort of person we want on the Supreme Court."

The White House press secretary could not be reached for comment.

Disclaimer: Judy Sheindlin and her husband are NOT in Texas. Some of the above quotes may have been doctored or completely taken out of context.


So, you think you know the 80's

The 80's was a great decade to grow up in. Big hair, clashing colors, dorky glasses, and some of the worst fashion statements since Ziggy Stardust. We witnessed the birth and death of hair metal. (come on people, its dead. Admit it) Computers put roots down in American homes. We watched as the Challenger blew up and Gallagher smashed watermelons. Baseball cards were still worth something. Toys were constructed from metal and had sharp edges. All of the cool fast food joints had real playgrounds. (and I'm not talking about the hamster cages/ball pits that you see at McDonald's nowadays) There was no such thing as Barney or the Power Rangers. Kid's shows were humorous and movies were cheesy. (though it seemed so awesome back then)

Then there's the music. Fake drums, overwhelming synths, lots and lots of flair, and ambiguous lyrics. 80's music is like the crazy uncle that never seems to go away. He's your favorite uncle, but you'd never admit it. Try as we might, the songs of new wave, hair metal, bubble gum pop, and early hip-hop get in your head... and before you know it, Tainted Love is playing on an endless loop within your psyche.

I now look back at the 80's with a certain fondness and amusement. I still smile when I hear 99 Luft Balloons. So here's to the artists that set the soundtrack to our memories. The Clash. Peter Cetara. Devo. Modern English. Phil Collins. Stryper. This is for those who still crank up the radio to sing along with I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

Take this quiz, see how well you remember the songs that defined a generation. I scored 73. (could have been higher if I knew how to spell cocktail) Post a comment to let me know how well you did. And hopefully you don't get Animotion's Obsession stuck in your head. I did.



trials, tribulation

"We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And Patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us." Romans 5:3-5a NCV

Hope is impossible with out difficulty. For the charmed who has never seen any hardships, there is nothing to hope for. They would not need to hope for anything, because they had never been in want. These people don't exist, we know that hard times come and go, and they affect us all (even the blessed.)

While I quote the Bible, this is not a message exclusively for those of Christian faith. Pain, suffering, trials, temptation, and death are apart of life regardless of religious persuasion. Our faith, whatever it may be, dictates how we face our troubles.

This message is very real to me. My childhood was filled with the possibility that my father could be killed if ever an accident were to happen and he might not return home. I worked hard to overcome a learning disability, often refusing help from teachers and my family. We were poor. I had to learn to cope without many of the simple luxuries many of my friends took for granted. Both of my parents worked full-time, hoping to be able to provide me with more than the bare necessities while potatoes and scrambled eggs was the fanciest meal they could afford.

While my parents were here to visit over the 4th of July weekend, Dad and I got into a bit of an argument. He has wrestled with the thought that he is not a good father and that that his personal failures has caused irreparable damage to Mom, Aaron, and myself. Therefore, according to him, nothing he does is good enough, and that he must do something to right his wrongs. I told him that I forgive him for all of the shit that I went through as a kid. I am who I am today because of the difficulties we faced as a family when I was younger. My father is human, and like everyone else, he makes mistakes. I would be a fool to expect perfection from him.

Without those hard times, I would not understand hope. I can see the natural progression outlined in Romans 5. Patience learned from my troubles, I'm still not a patient person in general, but I can be when needed. Character learned from patience, my father commends my character as well as my brother's. We have him to thank for our good character. Hope learned from our character.

Now, as an adult facing trials of my own, I hope that my son learns patience and develops character. I only wish his discovery of hope isn't as difficult as was mine.

Life is fragile. Because of that frailty, I know hope.

"Lord, remember my suffering and my misery, my sorrow and trouble. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:19 NCV, 3:20-22 NIV


house warming... and F.B.C.

I am having waking nightmares of boxes and mountainous piles of clothes and... stuff. This weekend has been an interesting venture of pick stuff up, throw it in a box, move the box, then take stuff out of box. My wife and I have moved four times since getting married. Hopefully, we won't need to move again for a very long time.

The good news, we are less than two miles from my work, so I can begin walking. We're much closer to Bekah's school and Christian's daycare. So we will be able to do our part of protesting gas prices by driving less. There is so much with in walking distance. The video rental store, supermarket, Hastings, Shari's Restaurant, and a dozen fast food joints.

We also unpacked much quicker at this place than I ever have in any move. When we moved into our apartment in Sioux Falls, there were boxes I still hadn't unpacked from when I moved from Meridian to Boise while Bekah and I were dating.

The bad news, Christian and Psuchen left very different house warming presents for us. Christian has discovered how to bite, and has been biting everything he can get his hand on. Mamma's knee, mamma's arm, the baby gate, his crib, the coffee table, the TV stand, the arm chair, everything except for his TOYS! He also spent much of the last three days, whining as if he was hungry. His stomach is smaller than my fist, so I don't know where the food we feed him goes. Two sippy cups of milk, a cup of yogurt and a waffle for breakfast. Still hungry. Two fish sticks, a bowl of green beans and more yogurt for lunch. Still hungry. As soon as he woke from his nap, he instantly began to grunt and whine his "feed me" mantra.

(One of Bekah's best friends came to help us move and brought her son with her. He's only four months older than Christian, and when he wants something, he honks like a Canadian goose. Thankfully, God did not bless my son with that talent.)

What was Psuchen's present, you ask? We bought a kennel for him this weekend, so that he couldn't run free and chew/soil what ever he wanted while the humans of the house were away at school and work. After last nigh, I would be scared to see what our house would have looked like with out it. I opened the front door thinking get the leash, take Psuchen outside so that he can go potty. Too late. The funny smell hit me while walking down the hallway, and by the time I reached the bedroom, (the kennel's location) the pungent odor was almost enough to knock me unconscious. Almost. The dog looked like he bathed in mud and smelled like a mixture of ammonia and methane.

Oh how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. We were ready to go to bed, but instead spent the next hour and a half cleaning. Scrubbing the paw prints out of the carpet, cleaning out the kennel, and the dog NEEDED a bath.

In entertainment news...

One of the headlines in my Yahoo start page announced Frances Bean's first interview at age 13. As some of you will remember, Frances is the offspring of grunge royalty Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. I feel bad for the girl, normalcy was never a posibility for her and she is a textbook case of how kids get messed up. After losing her father to a drug induced suicide, she gets stuck with a basket case of a mother. Courtney's drama has been well publicized, multiple court cases both civil and criminal. Former versus Dave Grohl and Chris Novasellic over publishing rights to Nirvana's music. The latter due to arrests from drug and assault charges. When She appears in public, you never know what version of Courtney will show up, incoherent Malibu glamour, or incoherent gutter trash.

But, back to Frances. Only 13 years old, and she looks like a carbon copy of Kurt. That's probably a good thing, considering her mother is not an attractive woman. In the interview, Frances stated her desire to create her own identity, apart from her parents. She doesn't want to be known as Kurt and Courtney's daughter. Can you blame her? Again, I think that is a good thing.

There is hope for the hopeless.