Sunday, November 28, 2010

I saw this car with antlers on the freeway going home from work last Wednesday. Getting into the holiday spirit early I guess.
I went for a couple of bike rides over the Thanksgiving weekend. Josh had to work so we didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner until 6:30 pm. The wind howled most of the day and finally stopped about 3:30 pm. So I headed out a little after 4:00 pm for a short ride in and around my neighborhood. This photo is looking north up Haven Ave from Creekside Dr. at the local mountains. There is a little bit of snow up there from a recent storm.

I forgot that it gets dark earlier and as you can see from the photo above, it was already getting dark after only one mile into the ride. The weather was clear and cool, maybe 60 degrees, and the sunset was spectacular. I rode about 12 miles and ended up riding along the dirt roads in the dark. Makes it much more exciting!!!

Saturday I rode from the park at the 91 & Imperial Hwy. to Huntington Beach. The ride was 25 miles in all. Karen dropped me off at the park and then drove to the beach and walked along the boardwalk until I arrived 2.5 hours later. Lots of birds in the river at this time of the year.

The weather was cool and partly cloudy. It got much cooler when the sun went behind the clouds. I realized as soon as I rode up onto the bike trail that there was a serious headwind. This is the bridge across the riverbed at the 2.5 mile mark.

About a mile south of this bridge the bike trail was closed and I had to cross back over the riverbed to continue south.

All in all, the ride was quite a fight against a cold headwind. I'm going to have to invest in a long sleeve bicycle shirt for the winter. I was a little short winded at the start but didn't seem to have much trouble as the ride continued. Perhaps my short windedness is all anxiety?? At least it's not my heart.
I have to finally admit that I have been a bit naive. In my heart of hearts I will continue to hope for an end to war. In my mind, I have come to the conclusion that the US has been engaged in a program of perpetual war since the end of WWII. As Goerge Orwell said in his book "Nineteen-Eighty Four" "continuous warfare is the key to social control."

There are several reasons why. First perpetual war keeps the public frightened and dependent. The three pillars of authoritarian control are poverty, ignorance, and fear. The "war on terror" has become the current boogie man used to justify war. It has taken the place of Russia in the cold war and the old fear of the spread of communism. This fear was used most recently by President Bush to justify the invasion of Afghanistan to stop the spread of terror and to squash Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, and the invasion of Iraq to remove weapons of mass destruction and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

You only have to look at all the hoopla raised over the building of a Muslim Temple near ground zero to see how this fear has spread throughout the nation. Many have told me of their fear of Muslim terrorists who are out building mosques all over the US waiting to rise up and take over the country and instill sharia'ah law. I say BULLSHIT!!! It is nothing more than fear spread by those in power to keep the general population in fear.

Which brings us to reason number two. The US war machine has to continue to be fed. Some 50% of our tax dollar goes to funding the military. We have troops in over 100 countries. We spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined. Many of the richest people in this country make their living off of the military budget.

I voted for President Obama because I thought he would bring an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was a main stay in his presidential campaign. I'm disappointed in him because he has failed to bring this about. Oh he brought a bunch of troops out of Iraq only to move them to Afghanistan. But there are still troops in Iraq, and all troops are "combat troops." I think that is why so many voters turned against him and his fellow Democrats. He didn't deliver as promised. I would imagine those in power have whispered in his ear and told him how things are and he backed down on his promises.

So those who are saying "I told you so," I guess I have that coming. There are those who would call be a bleeding heart liberal. Well someone has to morn the lose of all those lives, both in the military and civilian, on our side and theirs. I refuse to just look at the numbers without reminding myself that there is a human being just like you and me behind each of those numbers. People with hopes and dreams just like you and me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Went for a couple of short bike rides in and around the neighborhood. Sunday was windy and chilly as a rain storm was clearing out of the area. The air is always so clean after the rain or when the winds blow all the smog out over the ocean.

It's been awhile since I've ridden out here in the dairy land south of our house. Houses are slowly being built in the area and I suspect that this dirt road will be a paved street in the not too distant future. This fence has been erected across my dirt road by the construction company building houses just to the left in this photo.

Got a little winded toward the end of the ride, but did ok for the most part. It was nice to be back out on my bike.

Karen and I went to the Colony H.S. football game on Friday evening. It was the first round of the C.I.F. playoffs against Colton H.S. We got our butts kicked. Colony just couldn't get anything going on offense and helped Colton on their first drive with two face mask penalties and a really stupid unnecessary roughness penalty. At one point in the game, after Colton scored a touchdown, there was a fight between players on the field. That wasn't bad enough, the coach then got a penalty for arguing with the ref.

It was a tad chilly at the game and at the beginning of the fourth quarter it started to rain. So because of the rain and the fact that Colton was winning 49-0, we left early, which is rare for us. The final score was 56-13!!!

Last Thursday my friend Steve and I drove to San Diego to have lunch with our old high school friend Charm. Charm now lives in Albuquerque, N.M. and was here in San Diego for a work related conference. We had lunch at a little restaurant on Coronado Island.

We hope our next meeting will be with our mutual friend Phil who lives outside Phoenix. The plan is to bring our spouses for Spring training in March.

We hijacked a passing guy to take our picture. During lunch we saw that cruise liner that caught on fire and had to be towed to San Diego get towed down the harbor to a nearby dock.

Medical Update!!

My Dr. called this morning and told me my stress EKG came out normal. No heart problems!!! The next step is a pulmonary test next week.
This should send Bill O'Rilley off on a tangent. Bill gets a lot of mileage about some war over Christmas between the religious and non-religious. It all starts when a non-religious person/group stands up for the separation of church and state when it comes to the decorations displayed on government property. If you are going to allow one, ie the Christmas tree, then you have to allow decorations from other beliefs. Earthen religions would be the most obvious as Christmas was the pagan holiday of "Yule" or the "Winter Festival" before the Christians took it over to celebrate the birth of their Christ Child.

Bill also gets upset over the use of "merry Christmas" over "happy holidays." It's all a big show to get ratings. Personally I don't care what decorations one chooses to display as long as all are welcome.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's truly a sad day today. I stepped into a Barnes & Noble Store for the last time today. I know - shocking!! Why you may ask??

Today I went to the B & N store on Foothill Blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga. First thing I found was that my Starbucks drink was 20 cents more. When I asked, the clerk told me, "ya the prices just went up today." OK. 20 cents won't break me. Next all the overstuffed chairs in the store are gone. So are the three benches at the magazine rack. The area where the chairs used to be and people used to sit against the wall on the floor has books stacked against it. I also noticed that the electrical outlets are covered. So the only place for someone to sit are four tables with two chairs each and three wood chairs in the back in one isle. So I left as there was no place for me to sit.

Last week I went to the B & N store at the Montclair Mall. There I found that the electrical outlets had been covered and the manager walking around telling people that the tables near the Starbucks are for paying customers. Why offer Wifi if there is no power source. The Montclair store has turned into a Christian book store with at least four rows of religious books at the entrance. Coincidentally the "gay/lesbian" section is gone.

The Corona store used to have a real nice area with six overstuffed chairs around a coffee table. Gone!! Half the store now sells children's books, toys, and games. Oh and the "gay/lesbian" section is gone.

So this afternoon I sent an email to the "customer service" department on the Barnes & Noble website with my observations. Not that they will care, but I told them I'm done with their store.

A sad day indeed.
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Jodie Foster who turns 48 years old today. Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles,Ca, where she attended a French-language prep school, the Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, graduating as the valedictorian in 1980. Jodie speaks fluent French. Jodie graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 1985 with a BA in literature. Jodie has two sons from an unnamed father, Charles who is 12 years old and Christopher who is 9 years old.

Jodie started out making commercials a the tender age of 3 as a Coppertone Girl. She debuted on television as an actress in a 1968 episode of "Mayberry R.F.D." She was also in several Disney movies including "Napoleon and Samatha (1972) and "One Little Indian." (1973) In 1976 she had her first significant role as the teen prostitute, Iris, in "Taxi Driver." She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

Jodie has won two Academy Awards, one for her performance as a rape survivor in "Accused," and another for her performance as FBI agent Clarice Starling in "The silence of the Lambs." She has been in other successful movies including "Panic Room," "Maverick," and "The Brave One."

Jodie is a gifted producer and director, and has also had several records released in France where she sings in French.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson in 2001. The newest Harry Potter movie comes out tonight. I don't think these three stars from that series of movies will look like this.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio who turns 52 years old today. Mary was born in Lombard, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois. Mary has been married for 20 years to director Pat O'Conner. The couple have two teenage sons and live in London, England.

Mary is best known in our house for her role as "Maid Marian" in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" with Kevin Costner. Mary replaced Robin Wright (Jenny in Forest Gump) who became pregnant during filming. Mary started her acting career in "Scarface" as Al Pacino's sister "Gina." Mary was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for her performance in the movie "The Color of Money" with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Mary's last movie role was in "The Perfect Storm" in 2002. Mary has had a recurring role in the television drama "Without a Trace."

Mary is also a singer, having appeared on Broadway in various musicals including "West Side Story," "The Man of La Mancha," and "A Christmas Carol." She has also appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival and Duke of York's Theatre in London.