Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain Surprised Them All!

I've not been one of John McCain's biggest fans, but I loved the way the news pundits were faked out by his naming of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Though she was on the "long list", none of the experts that were talking about the VP selection on Thursday got it right. I thought the surprise was great!

Since then, I have heard the Democrat Talking Heads run her down, and the Republican Talking Heads (at least some of them) praise her. On Friday, in Dayton, she was articulate, and came off as genuine. Since my single-issue is the right to life issue, I am so glad that he named a running mate that is not only pro-life, but walks the walk as well as talking the talk.

Since the Friday announcement, I ran across this piece, where Jewish columnist Nat Hentoff recommended Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate, back in May (5-21-08). It is titled John McCain, here is your vice president. Among other things, Hentoff said this:

Because of Palin's reputation as a maverick, and her initial reduction of state spending (including pork-barrel spending), life-affirming Palin connects with voters and has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for John McCain.

She would be a decided asset--an independent Republican governor, a woman, a defender of life against the creeping culture of death and a fresh face in national politics.

In a more recent article (7-16-08) about Palin's accomplishments, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard calls her The Most Popular Governor. Obama's supporters call McCain the continuation of George W. Bush. It is interesting that a campaign that promises change gives us a Washington insider as a running mate, whereas the alleged continuation of the status quo brings in someone who upset the GOP status quo in Alaska.

I don't know Sarah Palin very well, but based on what I've seen so far, I think it may get interesting. I'm looking forward to see how she responds to Biden in a debate. I hope he's smart enough not to say, "I know Hillary Clinton, and believe me, you are no Hillary Clinton!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random and Disconnected: WW, DNC, Beijing, & UNL

WW: I admit it. I'm fat. I give lip service to dieting. For weeks I have been dieting, without any noticeable gains. I would go "low carb", but that just allowed me to pork up on proteins. I've had it! WW stands for Weight Watchers, and once again I am a member. Today is my 9th day. It is the most sensible approach for me, although I have become some what of a WW Nazi. I was pleased with the results of the first week. Now you know. You can hold me accountable.

DNC: Did you know? Last night the Democratic National Convention began. Michelle Obama was a headliner, and the message was different from her February 18, 2008 statement that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country." Last night she made no gaffes.

Did you know? Abortion is a core "moral" value of the DNC. Jesus was not a member of the Republican Party (nor am I), and yet of the two prominent parties on the U.S. political scene, in the years since 1973 (Roe v. Wade), it has been the Democratic Party that has championed the culture of death (they would call it pro-choice). I have written before about Obama's position (tremendously erroneous in my view) on the issue. Something that happened yesterday underscores the DNC commitment to abortion. Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America may not be a huge player at the DNC, but her thinking permeates the party. Did you see what she said in her short speech (taken from the DNC website)?

On behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America and our one million member activists, I am honored to be at this historic convention where delegates will nominate Senator Barack Obama as the next pro-choice president of the United States.As a former elected official from Montana, I am proud to say that my party—the Democratic Party—is a party of many faiths and backgrounds united behind these core moral values [emphasis added]: we support and defend a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion.

One of the incongruities of my life is to observe so many young (college age) students, many of them OCC students and/or graduates who are championing Obama's campaign. I don't understand it.

Beijing and Child Safety: The 2008 Summer Olympics are in the books. I enjoyed what little part of it I watched. Since the days of Nadia Comaneci, my daughters enjoyed gymnastics. I enjoyed watching the women's gymnastics competition. Bob Costas' asides with Bela Karolyi made for fun television. The U.S. took gold and silver in the Women's overall competition: Nastia Liukin with the gold, and Shawn Johnson with silver. Johnson is a 16 year old girl from West Des Moines, IA, so I imagine we'll be seeing more of her in the Olympics. I watched the overall competition, and when I saw Shawn Johnson, I thought, "She is really short!" Next to her, Nastia Liukin looked so tall and slender. I had to look it up. Shawn Johnson is 4'9" short. The taller Liukin is only 5'3", which in a world on normal people makes her short.

Something that I heard on talk radio (as a public service announcement) made me smile, and I think it's a good thing that Johnson is not 4'8 1/2". To paraphrase Maxwell Smart, "She made it by that much!" I believe that law states that children under the age of 9 need to be in a booster seat (buckled in) when traveling in a car, unles they are 4'9" inches tall. The public service announcement I heard on the radio just emphasized the 4'9", much like this video from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Now I heard the radio spot shortly after researching Shawn Johnson's height, and I had to chuckle. Could you imagine an Olympic Gold Medalist (she won silver in the overall, but gold in the balance beam) in a booster seat?

UNL: I'm on sabbatical, working on my dissertation. I have spent very little time on campus, which has been nice for a change. Writing these lines has provided some relief from that arduous labor. Once this is posted, it's back to the grind!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

4 Years Ago in Athens

It seems hard to believe that it's been four years, but the Olympics only come every four years, so I remember this Saturday (four years ago). I was to attend a wedding of some OCC students at Fir Road Christian Church in Carl Junction, which is easily 20-25 minute drive from our house.

I refused to leave home at the time required to arrive at the wedding on time. Why? Because the Summer Olympic Games from Athens was on TV, and Chile was playing in the Men's Doubles Match for the Gold Medal. Chile had never ever won an Olympic gold medal before, and here they were, playing for the gold. I was riveted. I knew that I needed to leave for Fir Road, but I couldn't. Now, four years later, I would just let the DVR handle it, and I would watch it when I got home. But no, I had to stay!

The fact that the groom was Mexican, and I doubted that the wedding really would start on time was a mitigating factor. We did not leave home unti l Chile had won the gold, and we arrived at the church before the wedding started, so all was well in the world. Actually, in Athens, Chile won 2 gold medals, as Nicolás Massú, one of the members of the Chilean doubles team, also won a gold medal in Men's Singles.

Why is this significant? Because now, 4 years later, Massúʼs doubles partner from Athens, Fernando González, is getting ready to play for the Men's Singles gold medal. For those who might be interested, it should be on around 3 AM tomorrow morning. The tennis events are on the USA Network, not the normal NBC channels. At that hour, I will neither be late for a wedding, nor will I be awake. I do have the DVR set to record the Olympics happenings, after which time I can watch to see if González can repeat. He will be playing against Spain's Rafael Nadal. In the semi-final, González eliminated James Blake (USA). There was a missed call that went in González' favor. Blake complained that he should have 'fessed up, and surrendered the point. He didn't, went on to win the match, and is playing for gold. Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le. ¡Viva Chile!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kimberly's Farewell Dinner--Tulsa, August 2

We went to Tulsa on Saturday, August 2, to see Kimberly off to Mexico. Rose, I and Kim went earlier, and checked into the motel that Steve & Charissa booked. We went to P. F. Chang's at Utica Square in Tulsa. The food was delicious, as was the company. Kim's been in Mexico for a week now. I just got an e-mail with photos from that evening. Here is one that the waiter at P. F. Chang's took:

Friday, August 08, 2008

2 Daughters--Each a Blessing

Today is an historic date: 8-8-08. How often do you see something like that? This morning I will perform a simple wedding ceremony, for one of Rose's co-workers. This evening I will attend a wedding of the daughter of one of my co-workers. Ten years ago (on 8-8-98, which is also a pretty cool combination of numbers), our older daughter got married. That means today is her 10th wedding anniversary. I can still bring back waves of emotion when I hear the Butterly Kisses song. Happy Anniversary, Steve & Charissa!

My second daughter, Kim, is in Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Μéxico. Αfter a very long trip, partially by air, and partially by land (from El Paso, TX to Parral), she has spent this week in what will be her home for the next year. Her emotions have pretty much been all over the board, ranging from What have I gotten myself into? to I think I can do this! (Photo of the girls taken with my cell phone camera at P. F. Chang's in Tulsa, on August 2)

Modern communications are a wonderful thing. It is so much easier to stay in communication today than when Rose and I (at a younger age than what Kim now is) went overseas for the first time [wise older readers are allowed to insert their favorite "back in my day story"]. E-mail did not exist back then. Air mail communication sometimes took two weeks to arrive. Cell phones may have existed, but were basically confined to Maxwell Smart's shoes. Today there are lots of options.

Skype is a wonderful thing. Last night we had a video phone call (via Skype, computer to computer) with Kim in Mexico. We talked to her, and saw her, sitting in front of her computer, for over an hour! That was pretty cool. Earlier in the evening, she had talked in the same way with her sister for about 50 minutes. During our conversation, I was also chatting (text) with her sister. Total cost for the conversation? How about FREE? Kim actually bought some Skype credit, and initiated the phone call, from her computer to our telephone (at a rate of about 2 cents/minute). We hung up, telling her that I would launch Skype so that we could talk computer-to-computer, but our DSL service hiccuped at that time, and we had to restart the modem a couple times before DSL service was re-established.

Kim has a pre-paid Mexican cell phone, but it is quite a bit more expensive to call Mexican cell phones, than Mexican land lines. It is easy to find long distance service to a Mexican land line for about 2 cents/minute, but calls to a Mexican cell phone average over 33 cents/minute. I found one service that is about 11 cents/minute, but FREE is a great price.

Charissa, enjoy your 10th anniversary! Kim, hang in there, and do your very best. I love you both!


Monday, August 04, 2008

Kim's in Mexico--It is Hot Here!

I just got an e-mail from Kim in Mexico. She left from Tulsa, OK for Mexico yesterday, and in now in Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. Yesterday was the longest day of her life, and she has had a pretty good dose of culture shock already. She shed quite a few tears before leaving, and she has shed a few in Mexico. I believe that God remembers all our tears, according to Psalms 56:8, which is a good thing.

It is hot here. We have an atomi
c clock with an indoor/outdoor thermometer. The reading from this picture was when the outside unit was completely in the shade!

Gerald Baker on Obama's Messianic Designs

I ran across this interesting video/report from a few days back. It is rather long, but very interesting . . .

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Kim Goes to Mexico

Within an hour we'll leave Joplin with our baby (she is an adult, and when her mother was the same age as she currently is, she lived in Chile, South America, and already had a child!), who is going to teach school in Mexico for the next year.

We'll drive down to Tulsa, where she will spend the night with her older sister and brother-in-law (alias, best friend). We will return to Joplin later tonight because of church commitments on Sunday. Friends from the Mexican school will meet her in El Paso, and take her to Hidalgo del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. We will visit her in Septmember. The name of the school where she will be teaching is Instituto Las Américas de Parral.

Here is a Google Earth satellite image of the city where she will be (420 miles south of El Paso, TX):

Go, Cubs, Go!!! (WGN music video)

Last week the Milwaukee Brewers hop-scotched over the St. Louis Cardinals by sweeping them in St. Louis. They were breathing down the Cubs' neck, actually tying them for first place in the NL Central one week ago today. I was scared. The Cubbies won on Sunday while the Brewers lost, making the Brewers' stay in a tie for first place short-lived. The Cubs opened up a 4-game series in Milwaukee on Monday, and I was scared! The years of Cubbie events flashed before my psyche. "Maybe this is not a magical season afterall," I wavered in my faith.

The Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee, putting a 5 game lead on the board (currently it is 4 games, but the Cubbies are already winning today). After every home win, Steve Goodman's song, "Go, Cubs, Go" is played over the PA system. In Milwaukee, enough Cub fans broke into the song after the Cubs won there, that it was detectable over the radio/TV broadcasts.

WGN radio produced a music video, with some of their radio personnel (and fans outside of Wrigley Field) featured. Here it is: