Archive for January, 2008

Rain and Snow

January 26, 2008

The storm was cold enough that it left snow in our local mountains.  This view is of the Topa Topa Range,  located north of Ojai.

Tonight’s rain is supposed to be warmer and will probably melt most of this snow.  They are worried that the extra run-off may cause some flash flooding.

The drive was enjoyable and it was nice to get out of the house between storms.


Rain and Some More Rain

January 25, 2008

After it seemed like years without rain, I think the weather has finally figured out how it works. We have had rain the last couple of days and the rain will probably continue the rest of the week. Last night, a tornado touched down at Point Mugu. There was even a flash flood watch issued for Simi Valley. I’m not sure where the floods would go, but we are watching for them anyway. Wendy had a school field trip scheduled for today, but it was canceled because the freeway was flooded.


January 24, 2008

Marie Lupe Cooley was reading the want ads in her local paper and noticed a job that looked a lot like her current job. It even had her boss’s telephone number listed in the ad. Figuring that she was going to be fired, she decided to take a preemptive strike; she deleted 7 years’ of drawings and blueprints from the company’s computer system. The data was worth about $2.5 million.

There was a small problem with her plan. Her job wasn’t in jeopardy. The ad was for a position with the boss’s wife’s company.

Needless to say, Cooley has been fired and has also been arrested for the destruction of the data. Luckily, most of the files were recovered.

Some Perspective, Please

January 23, 2008

Yesterday, Heath Ledger, an actor, died of an apparent accidental drug overdose. The headlines and the news shows then devoted massive amounts of resources to cover the story. A few days ago, it was the news of the death of Brad Renfro, another actor.  While the death of a young man is tragic, there seems to be no perspective in the amount of coverage. They were actors, so they are given the title of “celebrity” and the event becomes “important.”

It doesn’t seem to take much to be a celebrity today. In a “news” story this morning, we learn that the wife of the paparazzi photographer that used to chase Brittany Spears and is now her current boyfriend has filed for divorce. Why is this a news story? The wife of a nobody files for divorce and it’s news because the nobody is the boyfriend of a celebrity.

So the media is concerned with the latest drunk driving arrests, the latest pregnancy tests, or the latest drug overdoses. The tragic lives and deaths of so-called celebrities fill the news and we are supposed to be interested.

At the same time the media are consumed with these celebrity stories, thousands of Americans have been killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. They all volunteered to serve in the armed forces. They all went into harm’s way to protect our lives and our way of living–our liberties and our safety. Typically, the only time we hear anything about these men and women in the mainstream media is when there is a negative story about the war. Where is the perspective?

The men and the women in the military have a much greater effect on our lives than any so-called celebrity. Why don’t we concern ourselves a little more with the sacrifices made by the members of the military and their families than the latest foolishness of some celebrity? On the hero scale, these are really the ones who deserve our interest and our attention.  They are not actors; not make-believe.  Their work is real and is really important.

The Morning Sky

January 22, 2008

Because Simi Valley is located several valleys away from the ocean, we don’t normally get the marine layer clouds that we got when we lived in Los Angeles. And the glare of the city lights is only on the eastern horizon instead of all around us. So we usually get a nice view of the evening and the morning skies—lots of stars and planets.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed being greeted by a bright Venus when I leave for work. I’ve also had a good view of Jupiter. But not this morning. When I left the house this morning, the view was only solid clouds. With some rain.

I’m not complaining. While I enjoy the great view of the morning stars, it was nice to get some rain today. The rain is supposed to be with us for the rest of the week. That’s good news for our hills. They haven’t been green in a couple of years. The rain a couple of weeks ago germinated the grass seeds and the hills are beginning to turn green. This week’s rain will help that process along. We might even get to see the beautiful carpet of green on our hills this year. I’ll happily trade a few cloudy skies for green hills.

A Very Important Date

January 20, 2008

In exactly one year, on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, we will see a modern political miracle–the peaceful transition of political power in the United States. This has happened without incident since George Washington left office and John Adams became the second president of the United States on March 4, 1797. For 212 years, this transition has been peaceful. No other country can claim such a record. Our nation has been without a coup or a revolution since its inception.

We take for granted that a president will be sworn in every four years at noon on January 20th. We just don’t think about it. But it really is a big deal. We live in a nation with a stable, free government. We may not like the outcome an election, but we know that we do have a say in to whom we loan the office of President. And when the term of office is completed, that president will move on. “We, the people” are the ones that are in charge.


January 17, 2008

Richard Knerr, the co-founder of Wham-O, died today in Arcadia, California at the age of 82. Wham-O was the maker of popular toys such as the hula hoop, the frisbee, the Superball, Slip and Slide, and Silly String. Wham-O was started with marketing a very good slingshot and was named for the sound that the slingshot made.

In 1957, 20 millions hula hoops were sold in the first 6 months at $1.98 each. More that 20 million Superballs were sold in the ’60s.

While I never owed a Slip and Slide (I did play on one often, however), I joined in on the fads and have had countless Frisbees, hula hoops, and other Wham-O products.

During the ’60s and ’70s, when Wham-O was a publicly traded company, stockholders attending the shareholders meeting would be given as many free products as they could carry. As the word got out, the shareholders meetings were packed by southern California school children ditching school and looking for freebies.

So congratulations to one of America’s great fad makers. Thanks, Mr. Knerr, for lots of fun during my childhood.

Seeing and Comprehending the Beauties of Life

January 15, 2008

“To see is one of God’s great gifts to man and to comprehend what we see is doubly so. Furthermore, He has endowed some people with the qualities to see the beauties of life and nature much more than others and they have the greatest gift of all.” Waite Phillips

Let’s work on developing the gift of sight that God has given us. Here is unappreciated beauty all around us. Let make an efforts to see and to appreciate it. To do so will give us a fuller life.

Waite Phillips was one of the founders of Phillip Petroleum. Believing in the importance of sharing his wealth with people outside his family, he donated more than 127,000 acres of his northern New Mexico ranch to the Boy Scouts of America. To help with the operational expenses, he also created an endowment that included his 23-story office building in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“Catch the trade winds in your sails”

January 14, 2008

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

By necessity, we have some order in our lives. We have responsibilities at home and at work. We have predictable routines that make our lives easier.

Unless we are careful, this predictability will steal from us opportunities to experience a fuller life.

So let’s make an effort to “explore, dream, and discover” this year so when we look back, we won’t be disappointed with the “adventures” that didn’t happen.

A Very Good Turn

January 9, 2008

scout-sri-lanka.jpg reports that a Boy Scout in the Maldives saved the president from assassination when he grabbed a knife away from an attacker. Click here for the story.

This isn’t quite the “walk an old lady across the street” type of good turn. The scout, Mohamed Jaisham Ibrahim, was cut on the hand. After being stitched up, he complained about not being able to feel some of his fingers and was flown to the hospital. Hopefully, he will recover quickly.

Jaisham is being treated as a national hero for his quick thinking and for his bravery.