Friday, December 31, 2004

The 're-canvassing' problem

Most might consider me to be slightly behind the times by posting this. I'm still fed up, you see, with the decision to change election policy by the courts. I have hemmed and hawed because I didn't know state law as well as I wished. However that is finally over thanks to Bob Williams of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation! His excellent December 22 commentary is spot on in covering what is sticking in my craw. Read it and thank God we still have people like Mr. Williams to inform us.

Is anyone else out there afraid of sounding like a whining Democrat? I sometimes wonder that we could have been so willing to fight by their rules when they and the ridiculous Sec. of State, Sam Reed, succeeded in playing the grinch in the court. This is why I am so happy that Rossi deflated it all by shifting to challenging the election as a whole. This should and will be done if we can awaken this state properly.

Start buying those orange ribbons and let's really "canvass" this state.

Agent Orange

Is Washington really a "blue" state? There's no cut an dry answer to be sure.


If it isn't blue, you might try orange. If you are wondering why that sounds so familiar, it's because the noble Ukrainian freedom fighters had orange as their color all along in the heat of the election mess over there. So people here in Washington have decided that we need to adopt orange as our theme color in calling for a revote. I have liked the idea of a revote since it was brought up before the 3rd count.

BTW, read all about the latest ripples at They are the premier conservative Seattle blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas break?

I remember telling myself that I wanted to sit back and enjoy this time away from school. I wanted to be able to plow through book after book; I wanted to study what I want to study. No can do.

True, I have gotten through one's a good thing I didn't stop at any point during that process because my free time is now gone. I took an early assignment from the university paper and I'm getting broken into the deadlines way ahead of time. Not only that, but last night I got a phone call from an editor asking me to go cover a press conference in Bellingham. Now, I have to admit it's nice to have such a head start on garnering points for the quarter, but this is even more than I could have imagined.

My deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) and I'm still getting interviews hashed out.

I'm praying for sanity as I start the plunge...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

There and back again


So my last post was a bit premature. You see, in the real world (outside my blog:) things tend to contradict my initial assessments. Needless to say, Nathan did not make it home that night. We took a trip to Seattle without any success and in the morning, we made our merry way home.

Or in other words:

One of Nathan's flights did get cancelled so he ended up taking about a day longer in getting here than originally planned. We rolled with the punches though and he got here late Christmas Eve. It was certainly an interesting experience to crash at my Uncle and Aunt's house and wait for a flight that never came. We weren't expecting to stay the whole night and then the next thing we knew it was morning...

...home James!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Out of the wild blue yonder

Soon the four of us at home will walk out the door to begin our trip to meet Nathan in Seattle! There was some questions a little bit ago whether he would even make it in today because there were several delays/cancelations. However, his cell phone is off and we are thinking that means he is enrout. It's going to be a whole lot of fun in the coming weeks!

Background on Nathan in case he is not mentioned in my archives thus far:

He's 25, the second oldest male in our family, the 4th sibling, and he's serving in the United States Air Force. He and I were both cadets in the Civil Air Patrol together and we have for all our years born with shared sleeping quarters--that is, until he left 13 months ago for AF basic training. He's just about established in a job now and will soon head to Germany.

So that, my friends, is the brother I will, Lord willing, finally see again after this trip is completed.

Recounting the options

I'm a just a little sickened.

No, I'm not referring to the fact that Gregoire has apparently won in the third "count" of ballots. No, I'm not referring to the snickering from King County. No, I'm not referring to the pathetic Democratic mantra's regarding counting every vote. I'm not even referring to madam ridiculous's quote after she deciding that we finally have an accurate count: "The election process is working exactly as it should." (see AP story)

Wow. God help us if this is the way the election process is supposed to work! How thrilling.

No, my reason for being a little sickened is the way the rules were changed along the way. The State Supreme Court decision to include 700 extra ballots from who knows where, is just the culmination of the matter. The reason the Republican don't have the nerve to take on that decision is because it would not win them the election--you see King County is hardly the only Democratic leaning county to find all sorts of new votes. While the focus may have been on King's infamous blunderings about for new votes, there were plenty of other counties with the same idea--and less attention from the media.

So the Republicans have instead embraced the court ruling and decided to abide by it:

"The Supreme Court just changed the rules," State GOP Chairman Chris Vance said. "Now we will aggressively fight by those new rules." (AP) This translates into a new effort to find all the excluded Republican ballots and fight for their equal inclusion. True, this might work but it is still a sad state of affairs when the Republicans start thinking short-term. Vance should have been much more on the ball all over the state. He could have nailed these people to the wall on every election board decision to include extras. If he had done so, and the State had ruled against him, then an appeal to the US Supreme Court would have sealed the deal. They already established precedent in 2000: no rule changes during the election!


How exasperating can one thing get? All the media coverage has been on Gregoire: "Should Rossi concede? Do you believe this is a conclusive victory? blah blah..."

The most anyone asked Rossi when he was governor elect was "how are you feeling?"

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Easy on the details

There are quite a few details about my weekend trip that I didn't not include; guess I'm just lazy. I don't mind it in this case though because if I had done so in my last post it would have been overwhelming and it is questionable whether you could have retained the essential elements with such a slew of extras facts.

Well, here's a few more details.

We, myself and my two sisters Anna and Beka, traveled to Oregon the day of the wedding (Saturday) and survived this initial trip with every appropriate amount of fortitude. We followed my uncle Steve the whole way so that made things a bit less worrisome for Anna--if you don't take into account the constant battle to stay behind his Dodge pickup as he wove in and out of traffic :) No matter, we arrived safe and somewhat sound and so as far as I'm concerned, it was mission accomplished. We stopped over at Jalon's family's home (uncle Jon's house) and eventually made our way to the church after stopping for lunch at a nearby shopping center.

My brother-in-law, Joel was the officiating minister. He had to preach the next morning back home in Salinas, California so he was understandably ever so slightly stressed, especially since this kind of schedule was nothing new to him for the last two weeks. And yes, it was good to see him again too. He and Rachel and the kids are just one group of relatives who will be visiting here during the holidays sometime.

After the wedding was completed and the bride and groom sent off, we again traveled over the state line to find our lodging with a friend of our who has always been kind enough to provide us a bed when we are passing through the area. It's always nice to stop and visit another old family friend. Unfortunately for us, though, the directions we had were not clear enough to get us there on such a dark and foggy night. What should have been a 45 minute trip, wound up being closer to 2 hours. It was a sad thing to behold. We made it, though, because Jeanette had us stop when we hit a familiar landmark then she just drove to where we were and had us follow her back. That was most helpful.

Regardless of the late hour, we all had a cup of chai and a good conversation before hitting the sack. We had thought about our options for possibly visiting a friend's church on the way home the next morning but it wasn't long before we completely abolished that idea in favor of taking it easy in the morning. We claimed to want to leave by about 10 but few of us thought that it would happen, so...we all overslept a little.

I drove the trip home and it was as good as such a drive could be. The traffic was heavy but thankfully not slow and we made good time--even though we didn't leave Jeanette's house till after 11.

The few...

I spent most of last weekend in Oregon for my cousin's wedding. It was a happy, yet sobering affair. This cousin of mine is about six months younger than myself and is the first among our "age group of guys" to take matrimonial vows. What I mean is that when you have so many cousins and they all know each other on one side of you family, you tend to get to know the other guys your age and think of them as a group...

So, there's Jalon (just married), Matt, Tim, Jeremiah, Ethan...and me. (Who knows, maybe I missed some.

But yes, Jalon took the plunge. He's a mature minded kind of guy who just happens to be a Marine soon to serve in Iraq starting come February. He wore his dress blues and the colors of the wedding were cleverly selected with this in mind. I must say that one of the most striking things about the whole affair was the relative smoothness in which it was prepared for and carried out. I was there about two hours before the wedding and, while people were busy, there were no flustered coordinators or parents running around in a frenzy like I am accustomed to seeing to some degree. Things just happened and no one thought any different. I think it helped that the families of both the bride and groom went to the same church--where there wedding was held--and this familiarity was good for keeping things on an even keel.

There was much to think about during this trip and I'm so glad that I made it. I hadn't seen Jalon and I was looking forward almost as much to simply seeing him as seeing him get married. He's a man, and he has made his claim on life as a man should. I'm intensely proud of that simple fact. While other 20-year-olds are still bumming around either at college or home with no particular plan other than work for a dollar and have a girlfriend, Jalon is moving forward and taking hold of what God intended for man. He has a rough road ahead (for obvious reasons) but I have no doubt he will face it like he has the rest of his life. I can't even imagine anything else from him in the situations he will undoubtedly face in the next year. We'll all be praying for him and his bride. It's North Carolina for them while he gets ready to ship out and that is also where they will call home for now.

Oh...and I caught the brides garter for the second time in my illustrious career.

Friday, December 17, 2004

King Kounty: Klumsy or Korrupt?

If the power of precedent comes anywhere near this lonely oasis we call Western Washington, then God help us all! Have you ever seen anything so sickening as this absurd game the election officials are playing in King County? Every day (literally) they "find" more unsecured, uncounted ballots! You tell me which is worse: the clumsy theory or the corruption theory? There are just no other options and both options should be driving every sane citizen to one slogan: DON'T CHANGE THE RULES!

It's time to unleash the power of the blogosphere! The last couple days have brought some good denunciations of the shenanigans from out-of-state blogs. How much more should the Washington blogs be pounding the King election [oaf]ficial's antics.

I know I keep referring to election officials as the problem, while most partisan GOPers are taking aim at the Gregoire Grinches and Democrats. I do this because we all expected the dems to display this level of childishness--we've seen it before, so why should anyone be surprised. The problem is the people who let them get away with it. Yes, and sometimes they are one and the same!

The latest analysis and news

Professor Stephen Bainbridge from UCLA wrote a stinging piece today in response to the continual stream of uncounted ballots--or what, maybe the bottomless bucket of ballots (sorry, I'm on a massive alliteration high--I've got more). Considering that this is a man who has probably seen it all and he sees a problem here, yeah, I think we have a problem!

In the MSM:

The Washington Post noted the seriousness of the original "findings" of 561 uncounted absentees.

The hand count, which has been going on for a week, had slightly widened Rossi's lead until Monday, when the elections director in King County, which includes Seattle and is the state's largest county, discovered a potentially election-swinging foul-up.

Because of a data entry error, the official said, 561 absentee ballots had not been counted. If those votes swing for Gregoire at the same 58-40 rate as the rest of the votes in the strongly Democratic county did, Monday's find could give her as many as 101 new votes -- a relative landslide, given the closeness of the race.
The AP today told the story of the newer set of uncounted ballots. Total: 723.

And finally, there is the not so clear coverage by the two leading newspapers from--you guessed it--Seattle in King County (keeping that connection firmly in our head).

The Seattle PI is portraying State Republican Party Chairman, Chris Vance in a pretty negative light in this news piece. Either Vance is not focusing the rule-changing aspect as he should, or the only statements the press is reporting are his allegations of suspicious circumstances. Even though these allegation are not far-fetched at all, I think Vance should be focusing on the basic principle: don't make rules as you go; don't change the rules as you go.

The Seattle Times reports in detail about the new 150 ballots:

While observers from three political parties and a phalanx of television camera crews watched, election workers opened a locked cage in a warehouse and pulled out a cart containing trays of rejected absentee ballots.

Within minutes they found 150 of the ballots they were looking for in sealed envelopes in a tray with other rejected ballots. They were placed in a box, sealed, and taken to the King County Administration Building.

Back to the blogosphere in conclusion

Captain's Quarters (dot com) did a good piece today which also covers the new call for a REVOTE! Yes, this is an idea which is appealing to many conservatives because they don't see any result from the current trend of counting to be considered valid enough to produce a legitimate winner.


I'll have to give that some thought. I'm far from repulsed by the idea. Perhaps there's something to it.


I'm glad major columnists are taking on the ridiculous amounts of negative Iraq coverage being spewed everywhere but in Iraq itself.

Both of these contributors have written useful and informative pieces lately.

  • First there's Kathleen Parker and her piece on my favorite Iraqi bloggers/party leaders. They just paid a visit to America apparently and even got to meet dubya.
  • Then there is the happy little piece by Jeff Jacoby on Iraqis who were offered opportunity to voice whatever they wanted on cameras passed without supervision from person to person. The resulting footage was put into a stunning documentary of sorts called "Voices of Iraq." I am going to see what it takes to see this 80 minute video.

Take some time to read and pass these articles on. They're simple and compelling.

Something to make us famous

There's a happy little event going on in France. It's all about a new bridge you see. Maybe they are finally tired of the Eiffel Tower...or is that just wishful thinking? No matter. To be quite honest, it is a pretty little bridge. Ok, perhaps not so little considering it is the tallest ever built. (See Reuters piece)

"The Millau Viaduct is a magnificent example, in the long and great French tradition, of audacious works of art, a tradition begun at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by the great Gustave Eiffel," French President Jacques Chirac told a reception.

The irony of Chirac's comment is that the architect is the famous Englishman Norman Foster! I think Chirac should have saved that comment for the ribbon cutting for the up and coming Paris White Flag Hall of Fame (WFHF).

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Here we come a-wassailing

There's a certain feeling in the air. There's a melody in the breeze--it's an old familiar carol...

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

...ok, so that isn't one of the best known carols, but at least it's one of my favorites.

Yeah, last night (a few hours ago) was our church caroling night. It's always conducted by the youth group but we invite anyone in the church to join us. Unfortunately, although we had the whole youth group, we didn't get many others and that meant we had more people to sing for. At least that is my initial reason for why it took us so long to cover the people on the list. It was too bad we weren't able to get everyone but we did our best. We took to the town and sang into the night. It wasn't even very cold--unusual for caroling night. All my previous memories include a frozen looking group of people blowing on their hands in-between verses. We usually meet after church for games and food but it was after ten when we finally made it there.

Some had to leave--this was Wednesday night after all and there was work to be done in the morning. There was a group of us who stayed around to play at least one round of the name game--which took us from 11 to 12 and then we headed home like good little sane people.

And here I am at this hour telling you all about it. Sane? You judge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Agh...I'm slipping

Can you even imagine? I haven't posted since Saturday and, considering that school is out, most people would say that I should have more time for this. Think again. When you have a whole campus with an internet connection in more than just every other building, you are generally more prone to find time for blogging--that's my hypothesis for the night. To support this, I present submit to you gentlereaders the indisputable fact that I have a passion for internet publishing (that's slang for the much too sophisticated word 'blogging'), therefore you can trust me when I say that I wouldn't stop writing without a valid reason. My valid reason is that there is so little opportunity with the increased work hours. Believe me, if there was a way for me to blog while filling a trailer with mud-soaked construction trash in the rain, I would do it!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Improper expectations

Here's a good article for reference. It's on the president and the way he approaches social policy issues.

I might add...

The last century defined two main category issues that are affected by government. They are social/domestic issues (any internal matters; think abortion, education, marriage, budget etc.) and foreign/international policy (self explanatory). In reality, the president has more power than the constitution originally seemed to imply--especially in the foreign policy sphere. Its language makes congress the key player in general. However, having what we have, (a more powerful executive), it should be noted that his power does not extend so much into the social sphere as much as some think.

Of the two areas I mentioned, it is on the social side where congress still retains more power. Therefore I agree with the article that many (but not all) evangelicals will be disappointed in the president by the end of 2005. They will clamor that Bush hasn't exercised the "mandate" they personally handed to him in the election. It is really too bad that they expect so much of any president. He does not have the power that many think, nor should he. He is wise in exercising restraint. True, this does not mean he should pass up clear opportunities to make progress, but there is a proper time for everything and he seems to know it.

We should pray for all our leaders.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Up from unbelief

Drudge was good enough to break this story from ABC. It seems the prominent atheist philosopher, Antony Flew has declared himself a believer in "a" God--based on scientific evidence. No, the story is careful (as is Flew) to note that he is closer to Deism then full-fledged Theism--nor does he believe in an "afterlife" or anything like the God of Christianity or Islam.

There are other articles out there which tend to confuse the matter--one written by Flew is entitled "Sorry to Disappoint, but I'm Still an Atheist!" The problem with this article is that it is dated 2001! No, he is NOT still an atheist by his own most recent account.

Praise God, though, for every crack in the walls of unbelief. Let prayer be offered up for this man that he would continue down the path to the truth--and everlasting [after] life.

A mirror universe?

I know I should be working on a paper--and I'm trying to remember how I found this page. It's a California blogger's post about a visit to Bellingham which I found fascinating. I didn't know the outside world thought us so interesting--like a rare species!

I just had an Out Of Oakland experience. I went to my folks' home for the holidays, up in Whatcom County, Washington. And I discovered that everyone in my family is a Republican. And always has been. Not just the parents but my siblings and in-laws too. Now I know what it feels like to be told you've been adopted or that your parents had another name before they entered the witness protection program. They've tolerated my commie pinko leanings, hoping I would come to my senses in the way that parents hope teens will give up atrocious fashions or develop taste in music. I just had to move to that disloyal Barbara Lee's district and Zenmaster Jerry Brown's city, birthplace of the Black Panthers, a Molotov cocktail's throw from the People's Republic of Berkeley. Oy vey es mir.

Whatcom's the 10,000 square miles in the northwest corner of the U.S. map, just south of the border, about 30 minutes from Vancouver, Canada. Bellingham is a 142 square mile city (think 12x12) of about 92,000, mostly Dems, boosted by the Western Washington University's young liberals. 74,790 people, largely conservative farmers and loyal Republicans, occupy the other 1977 square miles of the county. There's a huge cultural divide. One is density: town people live on 1.4% of the land, 650 people per square mile, while country people share a square mile with 38 other folks (17 times more people). Another is the culture of self-reliance and community. My folks, who live in an unincorporated area between the town of Ferndale and the Lummi tribe, actually know all their neighbors. This is impressive since a walk around the block is 2 miles. Other folks who live in more rural parts of the county are far from basic civic services, like paramedics, fire and police. They depend on themselves and each other, not so much on government.

The county has growing pains. The population is growing faster than they can fund infrastructure. The county jail is at capacity, as are schools. State and federal funding have dropped across the board.

Whatcom County has one hospital, huge, private, part of a charitable not-for-profit. Canada's wealthy bypassing healthcare rationing, drive across the border to St. Joseph's new cardiac care center. No waiting time for top surgeons and fresh equipment. Canadians may soon account for half the hospital's revenue. Folks around there see that as evidence of a failed single payer system. At the same time locals pooh-pooh the new Medicare law that make it illegal to cheaply buy expensive medicine in Canada. I'm afraid that lots of people my father's age or my grandmother's will be arrested along with the other drug smugglers, and with mandatory minimums...

Whatcom's border location also means they have the same law enforcement problems as San Diego. Narcotic smuggling. Illegal aliens. Biker gangs. Much of the police, jail, and court costs fall to local cities and the county sheriff. But federal reimbursements don't come close to covering those costs. So they wind up cutting or underfunding local services. Compared to Oakland, there is little gun violence in Whatcom's countryside. More guns, but the outdoorsman culture is the rule. Handguns protect against wild predators like coyotes, wild dogs, and snakes, and against those who walk upright. The lines between right and wrong are unambiguous, cleanly drawn, simple and authoritative.

The GOP has an active mailing tree there. Hierarchical and effective. The latest good news from the party, the latest horrors by those who don't understand values and America's place in the world.

Lots of technology skeptics. Show me the relevance and five neighbors who're using it. Computing and communications adoption typically lag the Bay Area by a few years, but the lag is shortening. Part of the resistance is a strong desire to have real things. Authenticity matters. In politics they like that our President is direct and speaks plain. In the arts they like the handcrafted over the assembly line, the local over the import, the traditional over the avant garde. It's winter there. Snow, rain, black ice, rain, sleet, rain. But the rurality is Rush Limbaugh country all year long. Rush is a primary source of news and opinion, Fox News a close second. They feel about both the Clinton's the way we feel about Dubya: angry and betrayed by moral failings where America can least afford them. They like The President, even think he's been doing fine. Lots of folks have family or friends who are serving in Iraq and are proud of our men and women in uniform. Showing the flag isn't just OK, it's downright patriotic. They have yet to hear one good idea from the Democratic presidential candidates, no vision for the future, no real response to national security issues or the economy. And the candidates all seem to be bashing each other instead of defining themselves. They can't imagine any of the Dems beating Bush. All in all, it felt like falling into a mirror universe.

I love my family and it was more than heartwarming to be with them. But I clicked my heels three times and stepped onto that prop plane. It's good to be home. So, what did you do for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Blogging WWU

I don't know that it matters at this point. I'm working on another 'project'...yes, I suppose it is safe to describe it that way. At first glance, it's just another blog. What could be more uninteresting?! Well, now for the point and purpose. I'm thinking a lot lately about the things I want to do before I finish at Western. As I've already mentioned in the past, I like the idea of a conservative student publication. Something in print was my initial intention--an intention I have not really given up either. I just mean to start with a blog.

As soon as January rolls around and I'm back at Western, hard at work for the Winter quarter, I'm hoping to get a little more involved in the college republicans again. I'm hoping to look for writers among them--conservative student writers willing to be contributors on the blog. Honestly I don't know what kind of response I'm in for. If I can get his hypothetical group of contributing writers, I will then proceed to get some interesting posting and dynamic prose onto action with a strong conservative message.

We will then hopefully get the word out on campus so people know we are there--we will have to open up the commenting completely in order for students to feel it is worth reading. I'm sure that will include a fair bit of hate mail but that's life and it's what students are used to doing--just as long as we don't resort to language that is beneath us.

I don't intend to be a rabble-rouser--that would be pointless. The posting done by our contributors will be intended to make people think, to call attention to any weirdities (for lake of a better word) on campus and perhaps generate enough recognition so that it won't come as a surprise when an alternative student newspaper shows up on campus...someday.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Federalism for Iraq

If I could vote in Iraq, I know what my party would be: The Iraqi Pro-Democracy Party. I first read about the founders when I found their blog out of the blue earlier this year. I was hooked from the start. Since then, they keep showing up in the news because they have started their own party. Apparently they are a trio of brothers.

So what kind of policies do they support? Are they naïve and ignorant about what democracy needs to really work? Do they think that pure democracy is the answer? I finally went back to the party website and read up on their policies. There was one policy heading which caught my eye more than any other: FEDERALISM!!!!

Talk about chills running down my spine. Sure enough, they support a unified federalist government. If you don’t know what that means let me just point you to the federalist papers written so many years ago by Madison and Hamilton! This is the stuff the United States was made of, and these Iraqis know US history. They seem to be able to put it into the real context of what Iraq is today as well. Here’s their excerpt on federalism:


The governorates of Iraq have suffered a lot of oppression and neglect at the hands of the successive central governments which lead to the loss of trust between Iraqis living in the governorates and any central government, and also led to a mass immigration from different governorates to Baghdad. Thus we see that federalism is the best solution to Iraq and that this should be based on geographical basis. A united federal Iraq will serve both the governorates as well as Baghdad and will strengthen Iraq's unity instead of weakening it.

You know, it’s been said that the US Democratic Party (the losers…just thought I’d remind everyone) has finally rediscovered the beauty of federalism. In fact, that’s probably the reason they have not all moved to Canada. Each state is sovereign—each governs as it sees fit under (hopefully) minimal national guidelines (ok, laws) like the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Federalism... How many people over here even know what that means anymore?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Messiah and recess

I'm liking it--the idea that I have but a couple assignments left to grace my plate. One final down, another virtually done. Just one more paper to write, just one more work to complete. I'm going to enjoy this Christmas season.

The Messiah performance was good. There was nothing extra spectacular about it--but I contradict myself. Handel's Messiah is always spectacular. I enjoyed it and appreciated it as much as I ever do. The bittersweet addition this year was a brass quintet. They were good--up to a point. They performed the pastoral symphony very well. The lead trumpeter played in "Glory to God," the "Hallelujah Chorus," and—unfortunately—"Worthy is the Lamb."

The problem was not the song. It was a matter of keeping time. He didn't do so well on that last song and unfortunately it wreaked a certain amount of havoc on the rest of us. That’s the short version. We still ended on a good cord—pun intended.

Back to writing this paper, though...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Going back

Today was kind of off the wall. I ended up making a trip, the nature of which is too lengthy and odd-ball to explain in any effectual way. Let me just say that it caused me to miss the Bible study I usually attend--I didn't get the chance to tell anyone either so that was bad considering the small group.

On my way home, however, I found myself on Highway 20 east at 8 p.m. It dawned on me that Skagit CAP was in the middle of their weekly meeting just a mile away. I made a snap decision and turned off onto the road to the airport.

I drove in, knowing I couldn't stay till the end of the meeting, telling myself that I didn't want to get in anyone's way--and mom was expecting me home too. I parked in the crowded lot, got out and stopped. I looked over the building and slowly walked forward, paying close attention to the windows.

You must understand that I haven't been to a meeting since early August, so I kind of felt like I was part of past history already for this lonely old building. There were senior members and cadets I didn't yet know, working away at whatever business was at hand and I was not even sure what door to try anymore. I am still a cadet--for another couple months. Yet my cadet role was over and I felt more comfortable going in the senior side of the 60-year-old building even though I knew they would be busy...

I stopped in front and finally turned toward the cadet door. I could hear a presentation being made inside. I got the impression that the first sergeant was making a graded speech. My suspicion was confirmed when Todd came out and told me I might as well hang out with the seniors till he was done grading.

The rest of the meeting was a bit overwhelming. I found myself sitting in on a staff meeting till I left again 20 minutes later. I was stunned by what I was hearing. My face must have been an open book because an old friend leaned over and told me that I picked a lousy time to go inactive. I had to agree. There's no way of breaking it down clearly enough for a general audience so let me just say that the squadron is at least 200 percent beyond what anyone would have predicted 6 months ago.

I'll probably go back some day. There's no question that I can't right now. It would be impossible and foolhardy to even consider it at the moment. But I will when I can. Till then, there is a Public Affairs position that is open for when I get on board again.


"Harvesting the Ivories"

Sometime its hard to describe some of the good times we have. I don't think last Saturday was one of those times. On the contrary, I'm quite willing to say it was a complete scream. We had a ripping time of it. Ok, so most people who know what I'm talking about are looking a little blank right now. Why would I describe something as elegant as a piano concert in such vulgar terms--as if I have the answer to that question...

Let me get down to the details.

Ron, besides being a good friend, is also a big fan of good music, so he talked to various aspiring young pianists that he knew and got them interested and committed to a concert. My sister Anna was one of those aspiring pianist he tapped.
After quite a few months of preparation and planning, it was finally pulled off two days after Thanksgiving. The evening was billed "Harvesting the Ivories" and there was a lot of buildup. A lot of that was due to the fact it was held at Jackie's house (another one of those aspiring pianists). If there is one rule that Jackie's family lives by it would have to be The Preacher's exhortation to "do it with they might." Ron, by his own account, was expecting "an evening where he could sit back to some good music and a beer." Not even close. The following is just a skimming of the preparation that went into the house turned concert hall.

The valet parking was part of the ticket price. The food, as prepared by Jackie's older sister, was, as could be expected from her, exquisite. I don't have time to "bother" you with the mouth watering details of the assortment of gourmet appetizers, dishes and wines. The piano stood there under the dimmable spotlights. Most of the irrelevant furniture was discretely marginalized with tasteful touches here and there. A sound system was wired so that, in the more relaxed parts of the concert, the music was broadcast in the reception area in full stereo quality. It was all quite charming.

There were four performers in all; about 50 to 60 people attended. The program was arranged into three sections with two intermissions. They started with the serious section, in which there was to be no distracting movement from the audience and the music was more formal. After that it was a more laidback version of the same. Finally, there was the selection period, where the concert goers could select, from the several pages of options, the pieces they wanted to hear. The only thing was that they wouldn't know which pianist was attached to each piece--that was part of the plan of course.

Anna was happy with the way the songs she was more nervous about turned out. There's also a good chance that a recording will be made available! On the whole, it was a big hit. Thanks to all that worked so hard to make it so. As a music lover myself, I was not in the least disappointed.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Accident prone elites

In my mind and the minds of the people I work with, this is a magical, mystical kingdom -- our version of Camelot. And we feel we are working at a kind of roundtable of King Arthur proportions. Now, it may be that this kingdom exists only in our minds. But that makes it no less real for those of us who live it every day.

Think you can guess who said this and what it was referencing? No, I don't think you can unless you have already read the article at this link.

It's the formerly so mighty Dan Rather about a year ago. Someone tell me whether I'm supposed to laugh or cry. For all the denials of media elitism, Rather certainly let it out of the bag with that statement. Even if the whole document fiasco didn't happen, one would think that Rather's days would have been numbered much earlier.

How on earth can a journalist think of himself and the news corporation that employs him in such terms?

I guess it wouldn't hurt anything to just laugh. He seems to be someone who is totally accident prone and it's pretty entertaining to follow. I mean how else do you explain his dogged defense of the Bush memos? Accident prone...or perhaps "poor judgment" prone.

Is there a good acronym for CBS with the C standing for Camelot?