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January 30, 2010

Fit To Govern

"The great fundamental issue now before the Republican Party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is, Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. I believe in the right of the people to rule. I believe the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them. I believe, again, that the American people are, as a whole, capable of self-control and of learning by their mistakes. Our opponents pay lip-loyalty to this doctrine; but they show their real beliefs by the way in which they champion every device to make the nominal rule of the people a sham.

"I have scant patience with this talk of the tyranny of the majority. Whenever there is tyranny of the majority, I shall protest against it with all my heart and soul. But we are today suffering from the tyranny of minorities . . . ." Teddy Roosevelt

January 24, 2010

Fill'er Up

My grandfather liked to work by my estimation. He built a number of houses in San Luis Obispo, drove truck for Union Oil, raised two teenagers, and put up with my grandmother. He made a built-in workshop in one end of the garages where they had lived. One had loads of drawers and cabinets with doors and a little ante-room where he could work on things. He was a doer more than a talker is my guess, a man who could fix anything and wear a smile while he did it.

He would also make toys for his kids to play with. I've inherited one of them - a crude pine-carved outline of a bald man with carved legs and arms pinned to the body so they'd spin around. A 30" dowel was buried in his back, so he could dance on a table or on the floor. I ruined the original look by painting it and adding a face.

God put the creativity/hard work bug in all of us originally. Our fallen world has smudged the genetic pool enough to erase its universality. Be thankful for what you've inherited.

January 22, 2010

No Camera Needed

The break started this afternoon with blue sky seen here and there between bright and dirty clouds. I drove home from work after a downpour, crossing the river and glancing at Mt. Diablo to the west. The sunlight draped its snow-dusted peaks, and I just had to do a U-turn at the light, drive back and park in the Post Office parking lot. A quick walk/jog found me on the bridge, finding the best vantage point for a picture. I only had my 3.2 mp Canon with me, so I knew the quality wouldn't be there, especially if I zoomed in.

The peaks were being covered with clouds from the west. It would be just a few minutes before the snow disappeared under them. I got my shots and walked back to the car, not too excited about this rare opportunity: I didn't have my D70 with me!

It's the rare, odd and esoteric that photographers find beautiful. We aim for something 'other,' something we haven't seen before. It is the quest for the secret mysteries of the yet-to-be-seen. It is visual archaeology and a taste of fulfilled prophesy at the same time. It is being surprised by light and awed by color.

"After these things I looked and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, 'Come up here and I will show you things which must take place after this.'
"Immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. . . and from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
"Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.
"The four living creatures each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!'" Revelation 4:1-8

No camera needed.

January 20, 2010

Stuck in Lodi

Fresh from the golden hills of Paso Robles, Barb and I moved to Lodi, CA in 1972, wondering what this new world would offer. There were no regrets. New friends, an aunt and uncle living in town, a good job - all added to the perfect fit - at least for me. Barb was tired of a guy who didn't really love her. She needed more commitment from me and assurance that this new marriage would last (unlike her first one). Of course, I was blind and insensitive to her feelings and did the daily routines like everything was okay.

God would change everything in 1973!

January 14, 2010

When Your Kid Turns 31

Elizabeth's neighborhood friends have all moved away, except for Juma, who played college basketball, then pro ball overseas, but didn't like it. He's home now, waiting to hook up with another team. I don't know which one and don't want to guess. Haven't talked to him, just wave when I drive by. Juma's the kid on the right (circa 1989).

Tran, on the left, probably went to college and has kids and moved to Michigan. Hey, when you're guessing anything is allowed.

We've lost track of Abriel, too. His mom lives in Elk Grove and his dad lives in Ceres.

Liz is always on the go, working or visiting friends or being a mom. Life goes on, one year at a time like it or not. It is God's gift and we should be thankful for who, what, and where we are, along with 'when' we are.

Happy Birthday, daughter. Love you always!


January 12, 2010

A Bit of Blue

Wow! What a change today - it rained! No more of that low morning/late afternoon overcast gray to suffer. The wet stuff cleared and revealed what we knew was there but had forgotten the exact color. Clean, clear, cloud-studded azure to the west.

This is an added reason why property values are so depressed in the San Joaquin Valley: Winter fog and weeks-long doldrums.

But we flatlanders have something the rest of California doesn't: An astounding appreciation when visiting ANY PLACE with hillocks and blue skies.

January 8, 2010

75 Years Later

Elvis turns 75 years old today, and his fans are wallowing in the glory. There's even a radio station in Sacramento that is playing Elvis songs around the clock.

Sorry, but I was never a fan. Aunt Naomi was, though. I heard all I needed to when visiting my cousins in Sherwood Acres. Payne's Music Store must have been rolling in the dough from what she bought. Ferrante & Teicher, Dean Martin, Percy Faith, 101 Strings Orchestra Playing the Beatles, and Ray Stevens were some of her favorites.

Who was born tomorrow? Richard Nixon! Now we're talking!

January 6, 2010

Living History

We used to rent an old house on a 60 acre farm northeast of Paso Robles. Out Buena Vista Drive, past the barley fields and between Houghton's alfalfa and the dairy on the big 'S' curve. A homelier place I've never seen, actually. The year was 1969 and the metal roof roasted us in the summer and woke us when it rained. There was a small patch of grass out front, surrounded by years-old hedges and trees. The dairy cows greeted us through the front room's big plate glass window. At one time we entertained 22 cats, a few of them wild ones that lived under the house. The backyard was a ramshackled collection of outbuildings with a crumpled chicken coop and stilted rabbit hutch thrown in. An old trunk and dress she found made the perfect prop for Barb's portrait.

We once had a big kite-flying party and invited family and friends to BYOK. A miserable time was had by all as a listless ground wind required a lot of running through a sea of wild oats to get your kite up. My little brother, Monte, won the prize for the highest flying kite, though, as his spool of string completely emptied. I took a few pictures. We liked to see the folks - feed them - and talk a lot.

That house is gone now. It was replaced with a new one some time ago. I suppose the frontyard has been vitalized and the back landscaped. The old buildings were demolished --- and I'm sure there aren't 22 cats still living there. Another family is making memories.

Carpe Diem! Much of your past will soon be ancient history.

January 3, 2010

2001 - The Sequel

The year was 1984, and it was Peter Hyams' turn to direct a science fiction movie that tried to answer all those questions that had been drumming in your mind since 1968 when 2001: A Space Odyssey made its debut. That is, if you hadn't read the late Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2010: Odyssey Two. Sometimes it's best not to know the answers. The second movie's plot was a bomb, especially the end's repetitious "ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE. USE THEM TOGETHER. USE THEM IN PEACE."

Well, Mr. Clarke, it's finally 2010, and world peace is still as unreachable as the nearest star beyond our sun. It is true that the former Soviet Union and the United States are no longer participating in a cold war, and a hot war with the new Russia seems unlikely. But "wars and rumors of wars" persist and will continue to increase, adding to the estimated thousands of conflicts throughout recorded history.

Unfortunately, man can't eliminate this perennially fatal flaw in his personality. It's beyond his power and will. An entropic disease eats at the core of his being. Its name is sin.


Happy New Year, everyone! Forget putting your hopes and dreams of change in the hands and hearts of men this year and put them in God alone.