30 November 2007

No se puede

When I was living in Southern California as a missionary I witnessed much excitement on the frontera over the presidential election. I used to see "¡Fox! ¡Si se puede!" written on the windows of cars.

As I looked at this video of the run-up to Venezuela's constitutional referendum, I thought to myself "¡Hugo! ¡No se puede!"

Thousands of Venezuelans have been protesting, demonstrating their rejection of some of Chavez' undemocratic measures, including the abolition of term limits. I hope Chavez has overplayed his hand, but I also fear for the fairness of the election.

29 November 2007

In Rare Form

I'm also blogging periodically with some friends at In Rare Form. My most recent post was about my decision to support Mitt Romney.

Joe Knows Bo

Not really, but I enjoyed this ESPN piece on the electrifying Bo Jackson. I don't have a lot of time to comment on it, but if you are an old fan of Bo's, give it a read. An excerpt:

These days, the real-life Bo Jackson, the Bo Jackson who cooks spaghetti and washes his own dishes and watches reality TV, doesn't even see a need to run around the block anymore. Why bother when a man can play golf instead? Why bother when there is nothing left to prove to anyone?
"But I also know, if I was healthy, with good hips right now, I'd be the fastest 45-year-old in the country, or in the world," Bo says. "That much I know. That much ... I know."

Interesting guy.

27 November 2007

When it rains

Football games mean little in comparison to human life. Today the Miami Hurricanes lost the second member of their family in a little over a year with the death of NFL safety Sean Taylor. Follow the link for more.


26 November 2007

Amazing Grace

I watched an excellent film tonight, Amazing Grace, about the effort to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain in the early 19th century. The protaganist is a man named William Wilberforce, who was a dogged proponent of slavery's abolition until his death in 1833. He was assisted by many other people during the process, but his story is a compelling one.

I wholehearted recommend the film. I found it moving, with strong performances, and a story that moves along at a nice pace. I won't get into more of the film's particulars at this point. I wanted to comment on a particular thought that the movie inspired- what happens when someone becomes converted.

Wilberforce is inspired at least partly by his conversion to evangelical Christianity. In the film he is exposed to the horrors of slavery, and once exposed cannot ignore them. He acts on that experience. This is the essence of what makes some people great and others ordinary. The great to do not merely witness. They become involved. This is a high and holy ideal. We may not always agree on the worthiness of a belief, but I can't help but respect those of are devoted to their cause.

22 November 2007

SPOTD #133

I tried to get this edition out before the weekend was over. When I wrote this I was in the Oakland airport preparing to return to San Diego. We arrived in SD on Wednesday, a very long trip with 2 sick little kids. Less than 12 hours after I got to SD, I returned to the airport so I could travel to NoCal for business. This SPOTD will discuss my travels.

It is now Thanksgiving evening. I hope everyone enjoyed their turkey.

Today's phrase:
Inspired by actual events:

El pavo me da sueño.

Phonetic with emphasis on bold syllable:
Ell pah-voe may dah swayn-yo.

Turkey makes me tired.

Motorola Q
I bought my Q a few months ago. I've been very pleased with it, happy to ditch my separate PDA and phone in favor of a single unit. What I most enjoyed on THIS trip is having Google Maps on it. It is free to download and works as long as I can get a minimal date connection.
The only glitch was when I received a call when I was following a map. It took me out of the program and I missed my exit. No big tragedy though.

Rental Cars
This go-round I had a Chrysler 300. Chryslers are perenially underpowered, and this one was no exception as it lacked the V8 of the pricier model. GM cars have always seemed to have more punch when you really need it, like passing or entering the freeway. My Honda and most Toyotas I have driven also deliver confidence-inducing thrust, often with engines that are less-powerful on paper.
Not a bad ride, but not enough for me to consider for my personal transportation.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewery: Not a bad entry in the brewery/restaurant genre. I had some really tasty Panko-encrusted fish tacos. I always try to get my fill of fish tacos when I am in California.
Tlaloc: I had lunch with my friends Maret Mitchell and Tim Jacobsen. Maret only had tome to say hi, so Tim and I went to this place Tlaloc for a tasty San Fran burrito. The food was good, fast, and the weather was great. It's always good to see old friends.
CPK ASAP: Always my favorite choice for airport food. Always busy too. Makes the wait a little more bearable.


It was my first visit to San Francisco in a long time. I will definitely return. Crazy hilly, but fun to see. I look forward to seeing it with more time.
Sacramento was nice, exceeding my ignorant expectations. I wasn't expecting it to be so green.

We flew Delta out. It went fine considering the kid's situation. We were lucky to have a less-filled flight from Atlanta to San Diego. The portable DVD player saved our life.as well.
I was on Southwest for my NoCal trip and it was one of my better travel experiences. Never had a bad run on Southwest.

Link of the Day
More of a fact this time, from National Geographic:
What nation has the highest per capita consumption of turkey?
Israel, easily number one with more than twice the amount per Israeli, over 30 pounds of turkey a year. This seems logical given the geographic constraints and dietary restrictions of Judaism.

21 November 2007

Preparing for the Future

I often wonder what kind of impact the War on Terror will have on our domestic future. What I mean by this is wondering how the thousands of returning veterans will integrate into our society as we move forward.

Just as interesting is how the U.S. Military will approach its future with regard to the officers that have served in these conflicts. This is addressed in an interesting post from The National Review's The Corner. A summation:

It is often said that the military is worn out from the near continuous deployments to Iraq. Perhaps. But one way we can partially rectify that terrible burden, and gain advantage from that sacrifice, is to ensure over the next few years, that we promote to generals a cohort that proved itself repeatedly in battle in Iraq. We can ill afford to lose thousands of aggregate days of combat experience that may guide us in the future. That way the United States military for a generation will have sober, experienced, and savvy generals, who have served in the worst sorts of circumstances, to advise how and how not to approach any future conflicts. This is critical as we reach these do-or-die moments of juncture in dozens of careers between colonel and brigadier general.

20 November 2007


We were in the Palm Springs area for the birth of Ross & Lillie Biesinger's new baby. Today my father-in-law Kirk and I had some free moments so we went to see Beowulf in 3-D. I thought it was outstanding technically and enthralling as a story.

I don't care about how faithful it was to the source material. It was an interesting story about human frailty.

If you can watch it in 3-D it is well worth it. We may be seeing a new trend of 3-D movies, and I welcome it. It was a tremendous enhancement to the film, not a distraction at all.

16 November 2007

Esperando La Leche (Waiting for Milk)

Instapundit linked to this post from the blog Caracas Chronicles. It shows a line outside of a supermarket in Maracaibo where people are waiting to buy milk.

I don't care how poor you are- you can go to any city, town, or village in this nation and buy milk, eggs, whatever you want. The time will come when Chavez' Venezuela will be seen as one of the saddest stories in the history of Latin America.

Another victory for the Chavista revolution!

More bias

This is a great article about how some factions of the media (especially the New York Times) are so blatantly biased against conservatives that their protestations to the contrary defy all logic. The introduction from Scott Johnson's New Republic article:

If my friend Rachel Paulose were a liberal Democrat, she would be a celebrity. Serving as the United States attorney for Minnesota, she is the first woman, the first immigrant (Indian), the first Asian, and, at age 34, the youngest attorney ever to hold the position. A graduate of Yale Law School, she has compiled an impressive academic record and stellar professional credentials. She’s not a liberal Democrat, however, she is a conservative Republican, and she has been the subject of an old-fashioned, low-tech media lynching.

It's nice to read about solid, up and coming conservatives. Hopefully she will get the support that she needs.

12 November 2007

Slammer Jammer

This is an article about a device that blocks cellphone signals, without the consent of anyone but the device owner. It bugs me.

11 November 2007

Tell it straight

As Venezuela descends into dictatorial rule, most of the western media ignores the situation. The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, allowed his frustration to show. From Barcepundit:

I'M NOT PRO-MONARCHY in the sense that I don't believe that any office should be hereditary, including the head of state. But I can't help but cheer on king Juan Carlos today:

‘Why don’t you shut up!’

The words of King Juan Carlos 1 of Spain to the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez, in the closing session of the Latin American summit today.

The Spanish monarch lost his cool when Chávez called the ex Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar, a fascist on several occasions. King Juan Carlos then got up and walked out of the session in a gesture without precedent, and just in time to hear the Nicaraguan President, Daniel Ortega, criticising Spanish businesses and the role of Union Fenosa in Nicaragua in particular. The King was to return later, but was not present for the singing of the Chilean hymn which closed the debates.

This article from The Economist provides more insights into Chavez' efforts to subvert democracy.

10 November 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XXIII

This is a video about Frank Caliendo's new TV show. He was part of the entertainment at this year's Gator Growl and was very funny. I don't know how the show will be, but this preview is entertaining enough. I think his Al Pacino is my favorite, but his John Madden is pretty good too.

I can't embed the file here, but this movie trailer for Jessica Simpson's next movie, Major Movie Star, is probably the WORST trailer I have EVER SEEN.

09 November 2007

Farewell to the OB

A few weeks ago I wrote about my pilgrimage to the Orange Bowl, the home of Miami Hurricanes football for 70 years. Tomorrow the Canes play their final game there, against Virginia. Today I learned that city officials will recommend the demolition of the OB. It is not a shock, but I find it very disappointing. There is great history in that stadium, notably the Hurricanes streak of 58 straight home wins.

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald lists the best Hurricanes to have played in the Orange Bowl. The first one I remember is Vinny Testaverde, a childhood hero of mine. Chris Fowler of ESPN weighs in with his favorite Orange Bowl Memories (scroll down the page). Some fans share their favorite memories.

The picture above is from the 2001 National Championship. Hasta luego Orange Bowl. Te voy a extrañar.

08 November 2007

Strike Update

Eric Snider has a great update on the Hollywood strike. He includes this video produced by some of the Office writers, some of which also act on the show.

I don't buy all the "Rah, rah Union!" stuff, but I definitely understand the writer's desire to profit from their work. Will the studios employ scabs? Replacement writers? Will quality suffer in that case?

06 November 2007


Pakistan has been a source of great unrest for sometime, but the problems have intensified since President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency last week. The media has been following the story closely, which is appropriate given Pakistan's strategic importance and their status as an ally in the war on terror. Musharraf came to power via a military coup. His recent election may not have been free or fair. There is rightful concern about the decisions that he has made. I don't do dispute any of that.

What does concern me is the point addressed in this Investor's Business Daily editorial:

As Pakistan's tightening dictatorship draws global opprobrium, a curious double standard is emerging in Venezuela as democracy gasps its last and celebrities continue to file in. Where's the decency?
That's what was seen in the message sent by the latest visitor to Miraflores Palace, supermodel Naomi Campbell, who gushed "amazement" at the "love and encouragement" in the Venezuelan dictatorship as students battled riot police in the streets below.

...With a lousy record on holding free and fair elections, there's little doubt that by Dec. 2, the day of the vote, Chavez will have sealed his grip by permanently disenfranchising the opposition. There's also little doubt that if he doesn't get what he wants, he'll declare himself dictator.

Venezuela is not strictly related to the war on terror, but Hugo Chavez is a major potential source of instability in our hemisphere. He also continues a sad trend of oppressive leaders in Latin America, and that is unfortunate. Also unfortunate is the failure of luminaries to call Chavez out for who he is.


The Writers Guild of America is on strike. What does this mean? That the TV world may end in January, or even sooner.

For some background, Entertainment Weekly has a Hollywood blog that chronicles both the run-up to the strike and current happenings. Eric Snider has a nice run-down as well. He starts thusly:

You may have heard snippets of news items about an impending Hollywood writers strike and didn’t let the magnitude of the situation sink in. Perhaps you were in denial. But I’m here to tell you that it is real, and that it will probably be disastrous.
How does seven nights a week of nothing but “American Idol” and “Dateline NBC” sound?!!

Yikes. I probably watch too much television. Of the TV that I watch, most of it is drama, with a few comedies. I generally am not as attracted to reality shows (with a few exceptions). For me this means I will watch less TV, but possibly be more productive. That's not all that bad an outcome.

I mention above that the TV landscape seemed to be okay until January. That outlook is threatened somewhat by news like this:

"We’re trying to shut down ‘The Office,’” Mr. Daniels said. “We have the star of our show and the entire writing staff behind us."

Showrunners and cast leaving production to show support for writers may mean that even less new TV is on the horizon. The outlook is bleak for my favorites, like The Office, 30 Rock, The Unit, Lost, 24, and Battlestar Galactica. It is a shame that it has come to this.

Strikes are something that I have some difficulty sympathizing with, particularly in the entertainment and sports industries. There is a huge disparity between bankable stars, directors, and writers and the rank-and-file. They all hang together at a time like this, but I wonder what kind of financial impact this is having on those earning lower wages, especially those that had found success on newer shows. It's hard to say at this point who will suffer more from the strike. I don't think it will be the studios.

05 November 2007

A Worthy Recipient

In this age of meaningless awards, it is gratifying to see someone receive praise for showing true courage. In today's Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O'Grady writes about Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush today, but could not attend because he is in a Cuban prison:

While practicing medicine in Cuban hospitals for more than a decade, Dr. Biscet became increasingly concerned about the government's abortion practices. In 1998, at a Havana hospital, he took the risk of engaging in a clandestine study on the administration of a drug called rivanol to abort advanced pregnancies. The drug was being widely used, particularly on girls as young as 12, who, having been forced to leave their parents and work in rural areas as part of their schooling, found themselves "in trouble."
The study concluded that rivanol resulted in viable fetuses being born alive. What often happened next horrified Dr. Biscet, who later wrote that, "the umbilical cord was cut and they were allowed to bleed to death or they were wrapped in paper and asphyxiated."
As a result of his vocal opposition to these abortion practices he lost his job, his family lost their home and Castro's goons were sent to beat him up. But the bullying didn't work. By now he was actively engaged in resistance against the regime and, as he has written, his conscience would not allow him to back down. Those familiar with Dr. Biscet's work say that he was instrumental in building -- at the grassroots level -- on the impact of Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in January 1998. The regime took notice. Dr. Biscet became one of the few dissidents that Castro has ever attacked by name in a speech to the nation. As a proponent of Cuban democracy told me, "It proves that Biscet really got under Castro's skin."

Few Americans will have heard of Dr. Biscet before today. Not many more will remember him tomorrow, yet we have Gore, Britney Spears, and other meaningless personalisites shoved down our throats.

We have to remember that freedom IS worth fighting for. Dr. Biscet is a great example of that.

We may have to cry for Argentina

From Rafael Rosen in TCSDaily:

The next president is the wife of a former president. Yes, their story is familiar by now. The couple met in law school. He became governor of a politically backwater state, before winning election to the nation's highest office on an unimpressive plurality. She then handily won the presidency from her post as the junior Senator from Buenos Aires.
Forgive yourself the confusion. For the law school is not Yale but La Plata. The governorship is not of Arkansas but of Santa Cruz. The president is not Clinton but Kirchner.

Latin America has been cursed with poor leadership for far too long. Populism and doomed socialist policites have crippled and continue to handicap its progress. Perhaps Kirchner will avoid that outcome. I'm not optimistic.

03 November 2007

Awesome Video Saturday XXII

This is a pretty funny cheerleading mishap.

One of the all-time classic SNL bits:

02 November 2007

Quejas for Cuba

The eventual death of Fidel Castro will likely mean that Raúl Castro, his brother, takes full and open control of the country. Most expect that Cuba might then enjoy some economic liberalization, without initial relaxation of dictatorial control over Cuba's politics. There are signs that the government may allow some of that economic change to occur even sooner than that, though rumblings do not a permanent change indicate. From last week's Economist:

“WE HAVE a system in which anything you do is either forbidden or compulsory,” complains Miguel, an academic and a member of Cuba's ruling Communist Party. “Perhaps we need to change that to become more efficient.” He notes angrily that what he earns in a month, a trainee waiter can pick up in tips in a day in the island's tourist hotels. It is a common complaint, and only one of many. But now it is Cuba's government that is encouraging everyone to grumble.
...How will Raúl Castro respond to all this? Unlike Fidel, he is thought to favour the course pursued by China and Vietnam, in which markets and private investment have been combined with Communist political control. Even before the debate began, government economists had been studying measures such as allowing more self-employment and private or co-operative ownership of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as reforming land tenure and freeing agricultural markets.

In both China and Vietnam, the relaxation of state economic control has led to to incremental improvements in political freedoms, though neither country is near to being called "free." This may be all we can hope for in the present. It's better than nothing.

01 November 2007

Arrrrgh! It were Halloween!

Joseph loves coming to the office. Not for me, mind you, but for Bea and her cow full of jellybeans. You pull on the vaca's tail and out pop the jellybeans. As soon as he walks in the door he goes straight there.
He came by yesterday, dressed as a pirate for halloween. These are from my Q.

The hat doesn't stay on too long.

A mouth full of jellybean.

Making Fun

I posted something on In Rare Form. A little bit of satire.