Sunday, January 31, 2010

Miss Virginia, 22 year old Caressa Cameron, was crowned Miss America Saturday evening in Las Vegas. Miss Cameron is a broadcast journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University where she wants to earn a masters degree and become a news anchor. Along with the title of Miss America, Miss Cameron won a $50,000 scholarship.

Miss California, Kristy Cavinder, was the first runner-up and won a $25,000 scholarship.

You all know my favorite quarterback from the Florida Gators, Tim Tebow. He's the one who likes to use the eye-black under eyes in a football game to provide Bible verses to the heathen.

There has been a big to do about a commercial to be aired during the Superbowl with him and his mother. The story goes that his mother, pregnant with her fifth child, chose to carry the pregnancy to term against the advice of her doctors while on a missionary trip to the Phillipines. Her doctors advised she abort the fetus to save her own life. Focus on the Family has paid millions of dollars to air an ad showing his mother's heroic choice and show that her decision not to abort brought the young Spartan warrior to greatness today.

It turns out that this whole story may just be that: a story. My favorite lawyer, Gloria Allred, (ha ha ha !!!) has come forward with information that indicates that abortion is illegal in the Philippines and doctors wouldn't have advised Mrs. Tebow to abort the child. In fact, doctors or mid-wives who perform abortions in the Philippines are subject to six years in prison and could have their licenses suspended or revoked. Furthermore, any woman who has an abortion may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years.

Gloria Allred is threatening to sue CBS for misleading advertising (an oxymoron in itself) if they run the Tebow ad without a disclaimer indicating that abortions were illegal in the Philippines at the time Mrs. Tebow made her heroic choice.

Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Road Trip!!!

I'm on a brief road trip this weekend with my friend from my youth Steve G. to Mesa, Az. We were able to track down the third member of our youth group, Phil B. (middle) through facebook. Phil lives in Mesa, Az. Phil has been married to Cindy for 28 years and they have two children together. Each of them brought a child to the relationship from a previous marriage.

We had a great evening catching up and talking about old times. It's like we have discovered a missing link in our lives.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Katherine Ross who turns 70 years old today. Say it ain't so!!! Katherine Juliet Ross was born in Hollywood, Ca. but grew up in the bay area in Walnut Creek, Ca. Katherine is married to actor Sam Elliott and they have a daughter, Cleo Rose, who is 25 years old. The couple live in Malibu, Ca.

Katherine rose to fame as "Elaine Robinson" in the movie, "The Graduate". You may remember Elaine's boyfriend, "Benjamin Braddock" played by Dustin Hoffman, is seduced by her mother, "Mrs. Robinson", played by "Anne Bancroft", and she finds out about it. Katherine received a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for her performance.

Katherine also starred in one of my favorite movies, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Katherine plays school teacher "Etta Place", who is the girlfriend of outlaw "Butch Cassidy", played by "Paul Newman." I remember their famous scene together where Katherine is riding barefoot on a bicycle with Paul Newman while the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" played in the background. Incidentally, that song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David specifically for the movie and won an Academy Award for "Best Original Song."

Katherine is also an author of almost a dozen children's books with titles like "Grover, Grover Come On Over", and "Open the Door, Little Dinosaur."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Barbi Benton who turns 60 years old today. Barbara Lynn Klein was born in New York, New York. Described as an American Jewish model, actress, singer, and interior designer, Barbi is probably best known for her association with Playboy Magazine and domestic partnership with it's founder, Hugh Hefner.

Barbi is married to real estate developer George Gradow and they have two children, a son Alexander who is 23 years old, and a daughter Ariana who is 21 years old. They split their time between homes in Aspen, Co., and Los Angeles, Ca.

Barbi was a regular cast member on the country western television variety show, "Hee Haw." Barbi spent four seasons on the show singing and acting in comedy skits with other regulars on the show. She also had appearances in many of the popular television series of that time including "Love Boat", "McCloud", "Fantasy Island",and "Marcus Welby M.D." just to name a few.

Barbi was also a recording artist with some success. In 1975 her record, "Brass Buckles," was a top five hit on the "Billboard's" country western singles chart. In all, Barbi has recorded eight albums, the last of which she wrote, produced, sang, and played piano.

Barbi could be seen several times on the cover of Playboy Magazine. She had nude photo layouts in March of 1970, December of 1973, and January of 1975. Her relationship with Hugh Hefner went from 1969 to 1976.
Bristol Palin, the GOP's poster girl for their abstinence only sex education programs, has come out and said she in not going to have sex until she is married.

It would seem that Bristol has inherited her mother's ability to bend/forget history for her own convenience. Back in February, Bristol told Fox News' Greta Susteren that abstinence "was not realistic at all for teens." This month in an interview with the tabloid In Touch, Bristol said that although she is not a virgin, since she had a baby and all, she is now going to be abstinent until she is married. "I can guarantee it," she said. When questioned by Oprah, Bristol responded, "I just think it's a goal to have and that other young women should have that goal."

These statements, combined with the fact that her babies daddy posed nude in a magazine, produced the above parody by Some of the subtitles shown are also quite finny.

I guess the real question here is, who cares!!!

The new Apple iPad is here. It seems to be made to bridge the gap between the cell phone of today and the laptop computer. I wasn't sure about the size of this product, but these photographs give you a pretty good idea of how big it is.

What is it? describes it as:"Essentially a mix between a giant iPhone and a shrunken MacBook, the iPad - announced by Steve Jobs himself at the Apple event in San Francisco this evening - is a 9.7-inch, 0.5-inch thin tablet rocking a full HD (incredibly hi-res) touchscreen interface with multi-touch, a Wi-Fi and 3G connected, a bespoke OS comparable to the iPhone and a penchant for gaming and apps. Inside, there's a super slick 1Ghz Apple A4 processor, but there doesn't appear to be support for multi-tasking with different apps."

I'm not sure what all that geekeese means!! Don't ask me what a "bespoke OS comparable" means. The price is a mere $499.00 for the 3G-16GB model. The 3G-64GB model will go for around $829.00 Plus there is a $15 - $30 per month data plan cost.
Protesters, wearing masks representing heads of state, demonstrate outside Lancaster House in Central London, venue of the Afghanistan Conference. (Photo taken from

Pretty cool looking masks.
This is a photograph of a 1,650 ton concrete replica of Stonehenge as it is believed it would have looked 4,500 years ago. It is erected on the cliffs of the Columbia River in Maryhill, Washington.

A quick Google search shows that the "American Stonehenge" was built by Sam Hill, a road builder, as a memorial to those who died in WWI. It was completed in 1930 and is a part of the Maryhill Museum of Art.

The dedication plaque reads: "In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench."

How cool is that!! I will make a point of visiting this on my next trip north.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My son Scott has been scanning photos to save them and came across this photo of me holding him. Judging by his age, this photo was probably taken in 1972 or 1973. As you can plainly see, Scott gets his red hair from his me.
I'm afraid Kathy has lit a spark in me. I wrote this short story this morning after seeing this photograph. I hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed writing it.

"Sshhh!!" I cautioned as we made out way through the thick underbrush of the forest. "You'll scare them away!"

"Oh sshh yourself." She replied. "Scare who away? There's no one around for a hundred miles!"

Nancy was my big sister you see, and not accustomed to being told what to do by me, here little brother. In fact, Nancy is 3 1/2 years older than me and never lets me forget it. Nancy is also the oldest of the five children in our family, and quite accustomed to being in charge of us in our parents absence.

At the moment she glared at me with her big brown eyes while pushing her brown bangs from her forehead. "I don't know why I let you talk me into this escapade in the first place." She said. Nancy liked using big words like escapade. She was almost 14 years old after all.

"Kenny. How many times do I have to tell you? There is no such thing as little people!"

"There is too," I countered. "You just wait and see."

We continued to walk through the forest to the place where I had seen the little people's house. Walking in the forest was easy for me because I spent a great deal of time here after school and on weekends. I was at home amongst the ash and birch and elder trees native to the Northern Minnesota region where we lived. It was nothing for me to step over the fallen trees and across the soggy streams. One winter I got in trouble for putting a hole in my rubber boots kicking at the ice on a stream.

"How much further?" Nancy complained. "My arms are starting to itch."

"It's just a ways more." I replied.

Girls don't seem to like it in the forest as much as I do. Sally Johnson down the street came out here with me once. She didn't like it much either. She ran home crying after I tried to kiss her under the big buckeye tree that one time. I got a swat from my dad over that one!

Bruce Anderson comes out here with me. We built a fort in a secret place near the old iron ore mine. We don't take girls out there. They're not allowed. We tried smoking at the fort once. We didn't have a cigarette so we lit a paper straw from his mom's restaurant on fire with some matches I took from my house. I took a big gulp of that smoke and thought I would cough my lungs right out of my chest. Bruce laughed and laughed until he fell over onto the floor. Bruce wouldn't try it after that.

"I've gone far enough." Nancy said.

I turned around to see her standing with her hands folded across her chest. I could see mud on the knees of her corduroy pants. She must have fallen somewhere along the trail. "It's creepy out here." Becky Peterson said the same thing once.

"Just a little bit farther." I said. "I promise."

"That's what you said an hour ago. Where is this place?" She demanded.

We hadn't been walking for an hour. Nancy likes to exaggerate.

When we got to the spot, we laid behind a fallen ginkgo tree. A caterpillar was making it's way across the limb in front of me. The forest floor was cool and damp, with a mixture of dirt, and ferns, and various types of ivy. Rays of sunlight cut through the umbrella of trees illuminating the area in front of us. Robins and bluebirds squawked and darted across the sky.

There in the clearing in front of us was the little people's house. It was cut into the base of a huge elm tree. Two windows, offset in height, could be seen facing us. To the right of the windows was a small door that stood open, emitting a warm glow from inside. Five little steps led from the door to the ground.

I turned to look at Nancy and saw that her eyes were as big as saucers. "How did you find this," she sputtered. "Are there really little people living in there?"

As I began to answer her, I heard the sound of someone coming to the door from inside the little peoples house. I turned back to the little people's house and stared in anticipation. Then I felt someone pushing on my shoulder. I turned to my right and found my dad's big hand nudging me awake.

"Kenny, it's time to get up for school."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pernell Roberts, aka Adam Cartwright, aka Trapper John M.D. Dead at 81
Digital art done by Camille Kuo found at
Unique to say the least!!
Throw in three trips to Home Depot and this would be how "home improvements" end up when I do them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The final total from the recent week of rain, according to my official unofficial rain gauge, is 7 3/4 inches of rain. That's more than a years worth in some recent years.

Thankfully we didn't have any property damage here at Casa de Fergie. We were privy to some thunder and lightning the last couple of days.

More rain is expected Monday evening into Tuesday, but I don't think it will be anything like the last week.
Karen and I went to a pagan pride festival in San Diego last year. We found this really cool tree in the park nearby.
My little sister Kathy is the writer in the family. She is involved in a on-line site that prompts it's members to write short stories using a provided sentence as the first line of their story. Recently the prompt was "hell found me." She wrote a really cool short story that you can find on her blog at

The following is a short story that reflected my mood on Sunday morning;

Hell Found Me

I'm sad to report that hell found me today. I'm sad because it confirms that I am a failure once again. You see, I try to avoid it at all costs, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I hide from it in my every waking moment. I hide from it while playing silly computer games, or reading endless books with meaningless titles. I'm especially good at hiding from it when I ride my bike for miles on end. I have even been known to drive hundreds of miles in my car in an attempt to hide from it.

But it always manages to find me. Not every day. Not even every week. But it finds me.

The funny thing is that I sought it out to begin with. I spent years of my life in a profession that depended on hell in the lives of others. And like the physician who catches the plague trying to save the life of others, I caught it too. Back then I thought I could handle it. And I did. Sorta. I was in the company of others who were trying to help perfect strangers with their hell. We were the knights in shining armor! We were the heroes! We were invincible!

Oh the arrogance of the young.

I don't call it hell though. Oh no. I have a better name for it. I call it the bunny hole and I'm the mad hatter. The bunny hole is much more descriptive for me. It's a dark and lonely place down "there". I can feel myself descending into it as it happens. It's not a quick fall into darkness though. Oh no, that would be too kind. It's a slow spiral into the depths of of the abyss. And the darkness envelopes you like the feeling of being under water, or like wearing a big heavy coat pulled up over your head. It's heavy too. It sits on my chest, the pressure pushing against my rib cage. Sometimes I don't know if I can move. Sometimes its hard to breath.

So I assume the proverbial fetal position and ride it out. I don't speak or move much. I'm like the boxer who covers up as best he can while he takes a beating from his opponent. He knows it will eventually end but what will his injuries be. Will he be able to put the gloves on again and get back into the ring? Will the next beating be his last?

People close to me seem to sense it, but are afraid to confront it. Perhaps it's out of fear for their own hell: "There but for the grace of God go I." Or self preservation: "He's contagious. Don't get near him!!" More so though, I think its a feeling of uncertainty. What do I do? How can I help? If asked, I can't even offer tips for my own assistance. I told you its lonely in here.

In time, I am able to summon the strength to reach up and grab the rim of the bunny hole and pull myself out. I shed the heavy coat, wade onto the shore of the deep dark lake. It will take some time but my recovery is certain. After all, it wants to play again another day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photo of sand dunes on mars from NASA.
Sad. Very sad!!!
The beaches have been taking a beating in this storm also. High surf has closed all the piers in SoCal. The pier in Ventura apparently has suffered damage to one of the posts that support the pier.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders testified in the Supreme Court case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger this week. Mayor Sanders is in his second term as mayor of San Diego after a 29 year law enforcement career which culminated in being the chief of police for San Diego for six years.

Mayor Sanders said, "I was proud to testify this week in what I believe will soon be seen as one of the defining civil rights cases of our time, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. I did so as a Republican mayor, a father, and a former police chief with over 26 years of experience on the force. But I also testified as an American who has seen the effects of discrimination - and who believes that discrimination against anyone, anywhere, is unacceptable."

Mayor Sanders added, "My eyes were opened in 2007, when I had to decide whether to support a ban on same-sex marriage in my capacity as mayor of San Diego. Through conversations with friends and supporters, I realized that my position was inconsistent with one of my core principles as a police officer and as mayor, which is that every community deserves to be treated with equal dignity and respect."

Change is coming. It's only a matter of time.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"If there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence."

--Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)


Former presidential candidate John McCain's staunch opposition to gay marriage was one of the key parts of his presidential campaign. But it has become clear this was not supported in his own household. His daughter, Meghan (shown below), is a vocal advocate of gay rights. Now his wife, Cindy, has appeared in a poster campaign against California's proposition 8 – a law banning same-sex marriage.

Cindy McCain, aka Mrs. John McCain, appears in this poster with silver duct tape across her mouth and the campaign slogan, "NOH8", marked on her cheek.

Adam Bouska, the founder of the NOH8 campaign stated, "Aligning yourself with the platform of gay marriage as a Republican still tends to be very stigmatic, but Cindy McCain wanted to participate in the campaign to show people that party doesn't matter."

John McCain's office said in a statement that he respected the views of his family but remained opposed to gay marriage. "Senator McCain believes the sanctity of marriage is only defined as between one man and one woman," it said. In 2008 McCain backed a measure in his home state of Arizona to ban same-sex marriage.

A brief storm rushed thru the neighborhood. I started filming thru the screen door, but it took on so much rain you couldn't see thru it. I had to move outside and then got soaked. The wind was really blowing and pushing the rain up the street. In a matter of a few minutes it had passed and the sun was out. Turn up the volume for best results.

I know this radar photo looks an awful lot like yesterday's, but it shows that Today (Thursday) is more of the same. My official unofficial rain gauge is showing 5 3/4 inches of rain since Sunday afternoon.

So I just had to get into my FJ Cruiser and go for a tour of the neighborhood. The photo below is a road that goes to a park and the Creekside Golf Course. As you can see the water is quite high and the road is impassable. I ride my bike through that road all the time and can tell you that that water is about 5-6 feet deep and moving pretty fast.

Below is the water way that leads to the road above. It's good to see that the drainage system for our neighborhood can stand up to a lot of rain.

This is the drainage ditch that runs along the circle that leads to our house. It too is quite full and running pretty good.

The below photo is of a nearby county storm drain that runs to the Santa Ana River and then out to the ocean. Many of the local beaches are closed to swimmers and surfers because of the toxic runoff from the rain storm. Happens every time we get a lot of rain on SoCal. Another thing we get every time there is a big rain storm is some idiots that think they can ride down these storm drains. I haven't heard of any rescues so far.

So after completing my tour of the neighborhood and picking up my frosty drink form Starbucks, I am back home. The rain has stopped for now and my rain gauge is pushing 6 inches. Could be more between now and Saturday.