Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A science lesson - The Universe

Here's an interesting and funny look at our universe...

Click on , turn your sound up and enjoy.

The wisdom of first graders

A first grade teacher had twenty-five students in her class and she presented each child in her class the first half of a well known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading these keep in mind that these are first graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is classic!

1. Don't change horses...............................until they stop running.

2. Strike while the......................................bug is close.

3. It's always darkest before.......................Daylight Saving Time.

4. Never underestimate the power of... ..... termites.

5. You can lead a horse to water but.......... how?

6. Don't bite the hand that ........................ looks dirty.

7. No news is.............................................impossible.

8. A miss is as good as a ........................ Mr.

9. You can't teach an old dog new .......... math.

10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll ......... stink in the morning.

11. Love all, trust....................................... me.

12. The pen is mightier than the ............... pigs.

13. An idle mind is.....................................the best way to relax.

14. Where there's smoke there's............... pollution.

15. Happy the bride who...........................gets all the presents.

16. A penny saved is.............. .................. not much.

17. Two's company, three's ...................... the Musketeers

18. Don't put off till tomorrow what......... you put on to go to bed.

19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and have to blow your nose.

20. There are none so blind as .............. Stevie Wonder.

21. Children should be seen and not....... spanked or grounded.

22. If at first you don't succeed .............. get new batteries.

23. You get out of something only what you ....... see in the picture on the box.

24. When the blind lead the blind .......... get out of the way.

And the WINNER is ..

25. Better late than....................................pregnant.

Raising Boys is Fun

When you have boys, you can expect this:

When you have boys, you learn things, like:

1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9. A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.
10. Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year old Boy.

11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12. Super glue is forever.

13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15. VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20. The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time.

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy..

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24. 80% of Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

25. 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

NFL Picks - Week 9

Week 8 was just an average week for my picks - I was 9-4 in Week 8 picking winners, and hit 3 of the 5 upsets I picked. I am 71-45 (61%) on the season.

My favorite team whopped the Houston Texans 35-3 in the first half and then played defense in the second half, ending at 35-10. My guess was Chargers 37-17 - I was pretty close.

This week, the Bolts travel to Minnesota for a 10 AM game. The Vikings have a good running game, but their QBs are hurting. Their defense against the run is good, but their pass defense isn't. My prediction is a Chargers win - 27-13.

Here are my week 9 picks (winners, home team denoted with an H):

San Diego (4-3) over Minnesota (2-5) (H)
Washington (4-3) over NY Jets (1-7) (H)
Kansas City (4-3) (H) over Green Bay (6-1)
Tampa Bay (4-4) (H) over Arizona (3-4)
Tennessee (5-2) (H) over Carolina (4-3)
San Francisco (2-5) over Atlanta (1-6) (H)
Jacksonville (5-2) over New Orleans (3-4) (H)
Denver (3-4) over Detroit (5-2) (H)
Buffalo (3-4) (H) over Cincinnati (2-5)
Seattle (4-3) over Cleveland (4-3) (H)
New England (8-0) over Indianapolis (7-0) (H)
Oakland (2-5) (H) over Houston (3-5)
Philadelphia (3-4) (H) over Dallas (6-1)
Pittsburgh (5-2) (H) over Baltimore (4-3)

There are a lot of close point spreads this week. I picked San Francisco (+3), Jacksonville (+3.5), Denver (+3), Buffalo (+1), Seattle (+1.5) and Philadelphia (+3.5) against the spread. I picked 7 home teams.

My Top 10 after 8 weeks:

1. New England (8-0)
2. Indianapolis (7-0)
3. Dallas (6-1)
4. Green Bay (6-1)
5. Pittsburgh (5-2)
6. New York Giants (6-2)
7. Tennessee (5-2)
8. Jacksonville (5-2)
9. San Diego (4-3)
10. Kansas City (4-3)

The bottom 5:

28. San Francisco (2-5)
29. NY Jets (1-7)
30. Atlanta (1-6)
31. St. Louis (0-8)
32. Miami (0-8)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Funny thoughts for the day

Birds of a feather flock together and crap on your car.

A penny saved is a government oversight.

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are " XL."

If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it. For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.

Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words "The" and "IRS" together it spells "Theirs."

Do you remember?

The perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care. How many of these do you remember?

* Candy cigarettes

* Plastic Army Men

* Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

* Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

* Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes

* Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum

* Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

* Chief Pontiac Signs

* P.F. Fliers

* Telephone numbers with a word prefix...(Raymond 4-601). Party lines

* Howdy Dowdy

* 45 RPM records

* 45 rpm spindles

* Green Stamps

* Metal ice cubes trays with levers

* Beanie and Cecil

* Roller-skate keys

* Cork pop guns

* Marlin Perkins

* Drive in Movies

* Drive in restaurants

* Car Hops

* Studebakers

* Topo Gigio

* Washtub wringers

* The Fuller Brush Man

* Sky King

* Reel-To-Reel tape recorders

* Tinkertoys

* Erector Sets

* Lincoln Logs

* 15 cent McDonald hamburgers

* 5 cent packs of baseball cards

* Penny candy

* 25 cent a gallon gasoline

* Jiffy Pop popcorn

* 5 cent stamps

* Gum wrapper chains

* Chatty Cathy dolls

* 5 cent Cokes

* Speedy Alka-Seltzer

* Cigarettes for Christmas

* Falstaff Beer

* Burma Shave signs

* Brownie camera

* Flash bulbs

* TV Test patterns

* Old Yeller

* Chef Boy-ar-dee

* Fire escape tubes

* Timmy and Lassie

* Ding Dong Avon calling!!

* Brylcreem

* Aluminum Christmas Trees

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!!

Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown-up" life . . .I double-dog-dare-ya!

Doctors and work

A Japanese doctor says, 'Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him out looking for work in six weeks.'

A German doctor says, 'That is nothing. We can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him out looking for work in four weeks.'

A British doctor says, 'In my country medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have both of them out looking for work in two weeks.'

The American doctor, not to be outdone, interjected, 'You guys are way behind. We are about to take a woman with no brains, send her to Washington where she will become President, and then half the country will be out looking for work.'

Men are men - naturally!

Two bored casino dealers are waiting at the craps table. A very attractive blonde woman from Alabama arrived and bet twenty-thousand dollars ($20,000) on a single roll of the dice.

She said, "I hope you don't mind, but I feel much luckier when I play topless." With that, she stripped to the waist; rolled the dice and yelled, "Come on, baby... Southern Girl needs some new clothes!

As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up-and-down and squealed... "YES! YES! I WON! I WON!"

She hugged each of the dealers... and then picked up her winnings, and her clothes, and quickly departed. The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded.

Finally, one of them asked, "What did she roll?

The other answered, "I don't know... I thought you were watching."

Moral of the Story:

Not all Southerners are stupid. Not all blondes are dumb. Not all men are like Clinton. But, all men... are men.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Are my computer woes over?

I've had significant computer and cable modem problems for the past month. Web pages would load fairly fast, but downloads (software, music, email attachments, big files, etc) would take forever. The file download speed was in the 10 to 40 kb range, as opposed to 600 to 800 kb/sec before.

Over the last two years, my cable service would drop out about once per hour, and sometimes more often. The drop would sometimes last only 30 seconds, and sometimes 30 minutes or more. I learned how to "read" the cable modem lights and would wait patiently. It was bothersome but not critical to my sanity (well, sometimes I think I yelled at the f^&%$^g modem...

The last straw was this past week. I couldn't get some emails with big attachments, and I couldn't download needed software. So I called Cox Cable and they tried to fix it over the phone. That didn't work, so a technician came this morning to diagnose it. He took the coax cable out of the modem, hooked it into his meter, and said that the signal strength was strong. He said that it was most likely the cable modem, which I've had for about 8 years. He told me what kind to buy and how to install it and left without charging me for the house call.

I went to Office Depot today and bought a Motorola cable modem, and after lunch I installed it. I had to call cox up to give them my serial number and the service works much better. I downloaded the needed software (17 mb in 19 seconds!), and immediately noticed that my email reception was much faster - big files! Cool.

Linda's birthday is coming up soon, so I told her that I got her an early birthday present - the cable modem! She wasn't thrilled with the news, and insisted that it was more like a late birthday present for me. I can't understand women sometimes - we had to have it, it was on sale, and it has bright flashing lights. What more could she want? Oh well, happy birthday to me, I guess!

Hopefully, my computer woes are over. It's been a tough year for my Dell desktop - the monitor failed last October, the hard drive failed in February, the modem failed in October, and it's only 3 years old.

Cat Bowling with Grandma Faith

Once in awhile I get an email with an online flash game.

This one is Cat Bowling - the link is

Enjoy! This is pretty hard - I played about 10 games and didn't crack 110.

Tell me what your high score is.

A final San Diego Fires post

As I noted on Wednesday, the weather turned cooler with winds from the west that stifled the westward progress of the fires in San Diego County. However, now the fires are burning on their eastern edges, mainly in National Forests. We had haze yesterday (from the smoke blown offshore coming back onshore) and this morning we had a thick fog. The fires are not all out, but they are being contained.

The number of people in the evacuation centers is dwindling, and people are returning to many areas, including Ramona (the first ones to evacuate on Sunday) but they can't use the water in Ramona yet. Now the stories about "what happened to me" are in the newspapers and on the radio and TV.

The TV news had constant video of homes burning and people walking in the rubble. They rarely showed maps or discussed where fires were burning. Usually, it was announcements of evacuations, discussion of resources, interviews with politicians, or news conferences. The radio news stations (KOGO-600 AM, KFMB-760 AM) had call-in programs 24 hours a day with reports from residents in fire areas, and was more useful but not comprehensive. The newspapers had excellent maps and summaries, but they were a day later. The web had some blogs with pictures and reports, KOGO had a chat room with many comments, and the news outlets had web sites with reports, maps and pictures.

The Reverse 911 phone system worked extremely well, and the evacuation centers worked well. Getting air and ground resources to San Diego was delayed by the distances involved, the other fires that started earlier, and by some bureaucratic red tape. In one case, the US Navy helicopters in San Diego weren't permitted to fight the fires because there weren't enough CalFire observers to ride along on them. They finally got airborne on Wednesday with Navy fire spotters and one CalFire observer for every 3 or 4 helicopters. They've gotta fix that.

You can see up-to-date posts from the San Diego Union-Tribune blog at . There was one today about how good things sometimes happen to good people - read this particular post. The highlight for me was:

"Kate Leidiger's first week on the job certainly as been more eventful than expected. The 20-year-old Del Cerro resident was a brand new EMT with Rural Metro when the fires broke out.

"Monday, her first day on the job, she worked the frontline for more than 30 hours.

"But the grueling job isn't without a few perks. Within the first 18 hours of her shift, she had the chance to shake hands with Gov. Schwarzenegger. The next day, she met Pres. Bush, who tucked her under his arm in an embrace."

Talk about a serious change in someone's life, and a fantastic experience for a young lady just trying to work her job and do good. She really made "family history" this week, didn't she? She will always remember it, and will probably have the pictures to prove it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My two favorite little boys

We went up to visit Lori and her two boys, Lucas (age 4) and Logan (age 1-1/2) in early September, and then I went up for 5 days in early October.

This is a great picture of Logan - he is a big boy and loves to spend time with his grandpa. He's a really good eater, but doesn't sleep the night. On the other hand, he's almost potty trained!

Lori took the boys to the Blue Angels Air Show in Salinas at the end of September. The boys got two airplane toys there - Blue Angels, of course. They also got a show program that provides descriptions of airplane maneuvers, and I worked with Lucas to help him understand how airplanes fly and maneuver.

The boys are a handful, with definite personalities and likes and dislikes. What matters to me is that they like their grandpa...and the feeling is mutual!

My favorite little girl

Our granddaughter Lauren ("Lolo") was down again this week for a visit with "Papa" and "Mamma." I took her to the park for sliding, riding and teetering --

"Papa" and "Lolo" have a fun time together - riding horsey, chasing around the house, stacking up the blocks, watching TV, running trains over the floor, sharing waffles, apples, tomatos and strawberries, eating ice cream and cookies, and just tickling and hugging. Her bath is really fun too. She is a very darling and good 2-year old.

"Lolo" is talking up a storm, but we don't always understand her. She loves the Disney Channel shows, especially The Wiggles, Tigger and Pooh, and Little Einsteins.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 8

Week 7 was just an average week for my picks - I was 10-4 in Week 7 picking winners, but hit only 2 of the 5 upsets I picked. I am 62-41 (60%) on the season.

My favorite team didn't play. This week, the Bolts play the Houston Texans - but we don't know where due to the fire situation. It probably doesn't matter- Houston may have to start their second-string QB - Sage Rosenfels. I'm guessing that the Chargers will win, say 37-17.

Here are my week 8 picks (winners, home team denoted with an H):

San Diego (3-3) (H) over Houston (3-3).
St. Louis (0-7) (H) over Cleveland. (3-3).
Chicago (2-4) (H) over Detroit (4-2)
Indianapolis (6-0) over Carolina (4-2) (H)
NY Giants (5-2) over Miami (0-7) at London.
Tennessee (4-2) (H) over Oakland (2-4)
Minnesota (2-4) (H) over Philadelphia (2-4)
Pittsburgh (4-2) over Cincinnati (2-4) (H)
Buffalo (2-4) over NY Jets (1-6) (H)
Tampa Bay (4-3) (H) over Jacksonville (4-2)
New Orleans (2-4) over San Francisco (2-4) (H)
New England (7-0) (H) over Washington (4-2)
Green Bay (5-1) over Denver (3-3) (H)

There are a lot of close games this week. I picked St. Louis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Green Bay against the spread.

My Top 10 after 7 weeks:

1. New England (7-0)
2. Indianapolis (6-0)
3. Dallas (6-1)
4. Green Bay (5-1)
5. Pittsburgh (4-2)
6. New York Giants (5-2)
7. Tennessee (4-2)
8. Jacksonville (4-2)
9. Tampa Bay (4-3)
10. Kansas City (4-3)

The bottom 5:

28. Buffalo (2-4)
29. NY Jets (1-6)
30. Atlanta (1-6)
31. St. Louis (0-7)
32. Miami (0-7)

San Diego Fires - Day 4

The situation for my family has not changed - we are safe, slept well, we taking sustenance, minimizing our electric and water use, watching TV and listening to radio, trying to stay off the roads, and trying to entertain granddaughter Lolo. It is hazy with blue sky above, the sun is shining fairly brightly (the past few days have seen no blue sky and an orange ball in the sky obscured by the haze and ashfall) and there is no ashfall right here right now. The closest the fires got to us were about 8 miles east in the Eastlake area of Chula Vista.

The TV here has been "all fire, all the time" so we have had no national TV news or regular shows on the local stations. I watched Fox News Channel last night for a bit and the anchor confidently said "Chula Vista has been evacuated." Wrong-o! About 1% of Chula Vista residents were evacuated. I've heard that NBC and CBS have news anchors here - I hope they got it right. The local TV folks don't get it right sometimes either - I saw one report last night that said the winds were out of the northeast so the fires were burning in the northwest direction. Neither the anchors or the reporter could figure it out.

The fire situation in the county has changed. The Sign On San Diego Wildfires 2007 blog has the latest announcements, and is my best source for news. The major fires and their status as of 7 AM are now:

** Witch Fire: About 196,420 acres in northern San Diego County from Witch Creek east of Ramona to Rancho Santa Fe. It has burned up into Valley Center and down around El Capitan Reservoir. One percent contained; 500 homes, 100 businesses and 50 outbuildings destroyed; 375 other structures damaged, including 250 homes and 75 businesses. Two civilians and 12 firefighters injured.

** Harris Fire: About 72,000 acres - started 70 miles southeast of San Diego north of the border town of Tecate, and ranged west and northwest to Jamul, over Mount San Miguel to the southeastern edge of Sweetwater Lake and the northeastern edge of Chula Vista. 10 percent contained; 200 homes destroyed; 2,000 homes and 500 commercial properties threatened. One civilian killed, 21 civilians and five firefighters injured.

** Rice Fire: At least 7,500 acres in Fallbrook in northern San Diego County. 10 percent containment; 206 homes and 2 commercial properties destroyed. One firefighter injured.

** Poomacha Fire: 20,000 acres on the La Jolla Indian Reservation and in northeastern San Diego County. This fire is straddling State 76 east of I-15, and is climbing up Palomar Mountain, which has lush vegetation since it hasn't burned for many years. No containment; 50 homes destroyed and 2,000 homes threatened. Ten firefighters injured.

** Camp Pendleton Fire: 6,000 acres on the Marine base north of San Diego. 10 percent contained. This fire has closed I-5 through the base, and caused the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.

** McCoy Fire started on the west side of Cuyamaca Mountain, and burned eastward yesterday, and the mountain town of Julian was evacuated, but the fire did not get into the town.

The Santa Ana winds have reduced strength and may be over by this afternoon. The problem with that is there will likely be light winds off the ocean from the west and the eastern fronts of each fire may burn eastward into areas not previously burned. This is especially true for Fairbanks Ranch east of Rancho Santa Fe, and for Jamul east of Mount San Miguel.

To put it all in some kind of perspective: About 500,000 people were evacuated out of danger. The evacuation zones are larger than the burn areas. That's about 1 person in every 6 in the County. About 50,000 of them are in shelters somewhere, the rest are with family, friends, a campground or a hotel. About 1,300 homes have been lost so far, that's less than 1% of the homes in the affected areas. Some neighborhoods, especially in Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Dios, Poway and along State 94 were hard hit - in some case, whole streets and blocks were lost. Almost all of the homes burned are on streets facing canyons or forest.

Thank you for all of the emails inquiring about our health and safety. We still have Lolo who came down on Saturday for a two night visit with her friend - we'll probably take her home on Thursday if I-15 is open.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today's the day

Well, today is a special day for me. The Beatles celebrated it many years ago:

"When i get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.
If i'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When i'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And it you say the word,
I could stay with you.
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When i'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,
In the isle of wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera chuck & dave
Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view

Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When i'm sixty-four."

Hmmm, most of that doesn't really apply, I guess. But I swore that I would print the lyrics on my 64th.

It's been a quiet day because of the fire disaster in San Diego County. The highlight so far was my 2-year old granddaughter Lolo came into our bed this morning and sang "Happy birthday to you, papa" several times - talk about precious! Of course, she then sang "Happy birthday to you, hippopotamus" to the hippo flashlight she brought into bed with her.

We went to Rubio's for lunch, and she ate her fish taco and chips with salsa, beans and sour cream - all of it, no complaints, asking for more (Linda shared hers, and I shared my quesadilla). We will go out to dinner tonight, and I imagine that she will sing the song again and really enjoy sharing some ice cream with her old grandpa.

Almost a perfect day...

Fire - Day 3

The situation for my family has not changed - it's smoky outside, there is lots of ash on the ground, we are staying inside, and there is no threat to our safety right now.

It was a rough night for folks in Spring Valley and eastern Bonita - the fire came over Mount San Miguel as I figured it would, and is threatening homes on the northern and western slopes of the mountain.

There is now a voluntary evacuation for the Otay River valley and the Otay Mesa area - south of Main Street and east of I-805. I'm trying to figure out why - did the fire split and go south of Otay Lakes? Or is the fire that burned into Mexico out near Tecate burning around the south side of Otay Mountain and threatening the US side of the border? I've heard nothing about any fires in Mexico, although I fear that there are several there.

Watching the TV for endless hours of fire news, and the constant replays of houses going up in flames, is very depressing. The TV stations don't really know much - they broadcast many items with errors in them. The radio is a little better. I've found a blog at that provides official information. There is still no one spot that tells us where the fires are advancing and burning. Susan Kitchens has a post here that shows a satellite photo of the Southern California fires - from yesterday. She is in the San Gabriel Valley east of LA, and may have fire problems too.

I've spent the morning watching the Disney Channel with Lolo and working on puzzles, playing with blocks, sharing breakfast, tickling and cuddling, and chasing her around the house. It's been a fun morning, although I've gotten nothing else done besides this blog post while Lolo is entertaining her grandma.

UPDATED 11 AM: The mayor of Chula Vista was on the radio a while ago and said that the fire east of Otay Lakes had split and a finger was moving southwest around the the south end of Otay Lakes. That would explain why the are south of Main had an evacuation order.Someone else out in Rancho San Diego (where my brother lives just off Hillsdale) said on the radio that the wind had shifted there and was starting to come out of the west. This should have the effect of stopping westward movement of the fingers of fire, but then it may force the fingers of fire north and south, or east.

The large National Guard airplanes - 6 of them - are on their way to California. They hope that there will be some working in San Diego County. Right now, Chula Vista police and fire are working the Harris firefighting - there are apparently no CalFire help on this end of the fire.

Up in the Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar area, the fire is slowly progressing westward, and the report is that the winds have picked up again.

UPDATED 3:30 PM: Nothing much has changed here in Chula Vista. Some residents of Poway and Scripps Ranch are going back to their homes. The evacuation order for Rancho San Diego was cancelled. Apparently, the water drops by military helicopters has worked well there. There are evacuation orders for parts of Jamul, parts of Julian, parts of Valley Center, parts of Encinitas and parts of Carlsbad.

There are fingers of fire on the north and west sides of Lake Hodges. There is a new, big fire on Palomar Mountain called the Poomacha Fire. The wind has shifted to the east in the Cuyamaca mountains, and the Eagle Fire is threatening Julian.

The latest statistics I've heard are about 1,200 homes lost, only 1 death, and over 250,000 acres burned. The Harris fire near Chula Vista has burned about 70,000 acres.

Monday, October 22, 2007

FIRE in the air! -- post 2

UPDATED 9 PM: The Harris fire has continued to advance westward toward Chula Vista. It has not reached Otay Lakes yet (they form a natural barrier to much of eastern Chula Vista, called Eastlake) but it may during the night or tomorrow morning. There is a mandatory evacuation for the northeastern part of Eastlake - the area on the southern slope of Mount San Miguel. There is a voluntary evacuation call for some of the Eastlake area. The latter is about 6 miles east of us. The winds where I am (just west of I-805 off East Naples) were pretty low all day, but they have been higher out in the back country.

The news media tries so hard, but they don't do live TV well with place names and they don't have a lot of good information. The radio is better with phone callers saying where there is fire or evacuations.

Our 2-year old granddaughter came down with family friends from Victorville on Saturday night, and our daughter was supposed to come get her and take her home today. She couldn't come due to the closure of I-15. The friends evacuated from Eastlake to Lemon Grove, so we have our precious Lolo for probably two nights. She had a rough time going to sleep tonight. We hope there is enough good air to go have fun with her on Tuesday.

The weather report is that the winds will pick up again on Tuesday morning, and die down quite a bit by Tuesday night. I can see the Harris fire going up the southeast side of Mount San Miguel and over it into Spring Valley. It's already advancing on Jamul, which is to the east of the mountain.

If the wind shifts from westerly to southwesterly (which it might), the fire could advance into Eastlake and the city of Chula Vista (which is about 12 miles wide east-west and about 5 miles long (north-south) with 250,000 residents. There aren't too many evacuation centers left now - my thought is that we go rent a room in Coronado and have fun on the beach.

Historically the 1971 fire burned over Mount Miguel and advanced into what is now eastern Chula Vista (which wasn't there in 1971), and the 2003 fire burned right up to Otay Lakes but not up and over San Miguel. There is not the high acreage for this fire (in 2003, there were 245,000 acres burned - about 400 square miles) the total in the county is something like 170,000 acres. The reports say that 600 homes and 1 life have been lost so far in the county, which has 13 separate fires burning, nowhere near the 2003 fire numbers -- 2,000 homes, 15 lives -- at least yet. They may find some people in cars along Highway 94 near where the fire started, or some illegals that crossed the border, but nobody's looking yet - they're too busy fighting the winds and the fires.

The evacuations have gone fairly well - many people find shelter with friends and family, but the community shelters are full and up to speed, I heard there were 10,000 at Qualcomm Stadium.

It may be a long night for some people near the fire lines. A blog with frequent posts is at

FIRE in the air - Post 1

Mother Nature is usually absolutely beautiful. Sometimes she is an absolute horror. It's not all nature's fault - homo sapiens sometimes helps things along.

Tornado. Hurricane. Flood. Earthquake. Storm. Fire. Those have happened since time immemorial - swaths of land are devastated. Homo sapiens have marvelled at, almost worshiped, them from afar. In the middle of them, homo sapiens are helpless.

In San Diego, our two biggest threats are fire and earthquake. In the coastal cities we are about 100 miles away from the San Andreas Fault. The effect of a major earthquake here would be power, water and food shortages due to a big quake somewhere else - like Los Angeles or the Imperial Valley. Fire poses the bigger local threat, especially when there is a high pressure system over the Great Basin - we get Santa Ana winds, usually from the northeast and east, that can gust up to 80 miles per hour. Once a fire starts, the winds carry it quickly, and it often leaps over highways and whole blocks.

San Diego County, and other areas of California, are under siege again from Santa Ana winds and fires (started by people, lightning or downed wires). In the San Diego area, there are several large fires burning westward and southwestward from their origin.Ramona, with 35,000 people, was evacuated last night. Overnight, the Witch Creek Fire branch north of Ramona rode the winds westward about ten miles right into the heart of suburban San Diego. Whole areas (tens of square miles) are under evacuation orders. This fire is essentially in the San Dieguito River watershed area which stretches from the mountains to the ocean. This river passes south of Escondido skirting Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Penasquitos, then through posh Fairbanks Ranch and posh Rancho Santa Fe to posh Del Mar. It has crossed and shut down I-15 south of Escondido as it burned into the Rancho Bernardo area.

There is another branch of the Witch Creek Fire south of Ramona that is burning in the San Diego river watershed - much of which burned in the Cedar fire in 2003. That may threaten Barona Ranch, Lakeside, Santee and points west. In 2003, the Cedar fire burned across I-15 all the way to I-805 near UCSD in La Jolla.

In southern San Diego County - 30 miles south of the Ramona area fire, the Harris fire started in Potrero, just a mile north of the US-Mexico border near the BC city of Tecate. This fire will likely burn into Mexico along the Tijuana River watershed. It may go up or around Otay Mountain. If it burns around the north side of Otay Mountain, then it may threaten Chula Vista as it burns into the Otay River watershed area east of the city.

There are several more fires in the northern part of San Diego county that have flared up this morning. We thought 2003 was bad - this may end up worse.

Homo sapiens, in their infinite wisdom, has settled in river valleys, on plains and on mountain tops. They build houses all right in a row, sometimes right on top of each other. They love green belts in this quasi-desert area - whole corridors of river bottom and canyons have been made into parks and greenbelts. These parks have tremendous fuel for fires - trees, brush, etc. They become "fire daggers" right into and through the heart of settled areas.

The settled areas are not out of danger. Houses are made of wood and stucco here, with shrubs and trees for beauty. Once started, they burn well due to the construction materials and the contents. Fortunately, most people have replaced their wood shake roofs and treated their eaves. But once a house starts to burn, it burns unless water is on it very quickly. The reality is that a house that starts to burn will burn down, and may take neighbor houses with it.

The fire services are not able to stop the fires from advancing. There are not enough firefighters, not enough engines, not enough water to stop them. The helicopters and fire-fighting aircraft were all sent north over the weekend to fight the Malibu and other fires. Even if they were here, they likely couldn't fly because of the winds and the low visibility. They can only notify people to evacuate and try to control the traffic.

The weather will eventually stop it, with moist air and cooler winds from the west turning the fire back on itself. That may happen on Wednesday or Thursday. All that people can do is save themselves by evacuating away from where the fire is or will be. There are evacuation centers at high schools, and schools are closed.

Right now at 6:30 AM, we are in the middle of the city of Chula Vista, and are not under a fire threat or evacuation order. Who knows what the day will bring? In 2003, the fires were to the north of us and to the south of us, although they burned up to the eastern edge of Chula Vista before the weather turned.

Last month, we had our brush and low tree branches on our hillside cut down, which is the south side of a small canyon with a two-block long greenbelt on our side. There are no bushes or anything near our house, which is at the west end of a cul-de-sac. The winds are from the east - and any fire will burn to the west. The neighbors to the east have lush brush on the hillside. If houses just to our east burn, then we may be in danger.

What should I take in an evacuation? Family papers. Pictures in frames and albums. Laptop. Portable electronics. Batteries. Books to read. We can fill two cars with stuff.

There may be power outages today, so I don't know how long I'll be at the computer today. Our granddaughter is at friends in Chula Vista, and our daughter is 150 miles away. She was going to come down and take Lolo home, but the freeway is closed at Escondido. We may end up with Lolo for the week, which could be fun.

All of a sudden, genealogy is going to take a back seat to survival.

UPDATED 8 AM: Added some detail after reading it. I copied my critical genealogy data from my desktop computer to my flash drive so that I can update my laptop sometime. We've been watching the TV reports on all the local channels. I'll probably go to the library for awhile today. I'll probably stop and get a full tank of gas on the way.

UPDATED 1 PM: There is smoke smell everywhere, and some ashfall. The fires are not in "rich fuel" areas - forests with a lot of wood fuel to burn -- so there is not a lot of ashfall now, and probably won't be. They are evacuating areas about 10 miles east of me and an area south of me. There is little info on the radio or TV for my area - most of the news is about the North County where hundreds of homes have been lost already. In San Diego County, about 300,000 people have been evacuated.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NFL picks - Week 7

Week 6 was a pretty decent week for my picks - I was 10-3 in Week 6 picking winners, which makes me 52-37 (58%) on the season.

My favorite team managed to win another game - the Chargers beat Oakland 28-14 and it wasn't really that close. Offense, Defense, Special Teams. All good. No sacks allowed, short passes completed, long runs blocked and executed, the defense stopped the run, and two turnovers were taken. Teams are still quick passing to negate the pass rush.

This week, the Bolts will not lose - they have thier bye week!

Here are my week 7 picks (winners, home team denoted with an H):

Tampa Bay (4-2) over Detroit (3-2) (H)
New Orleans (1-4) (H) over Atlanta (1-5)
Houston (3-3) (H) over Tennessee (3-2)
Washington (3-2) (H) over Arizona (3-3)
New England (6-0) over Miami (0-6) (H)
Baltimore (4-2) over Buffalo (1-4) (H)
NY Giants (4-2) (H) over San Francisco (2-3)
Kansas City (3-3) over Oakland (2-3) (H)
Cincinnati (1-4) (H) over NY Jets (1-5)
Seattle (3-3) (H) over St. Louis (0-6)
Dallas (5-1) (H) over Minnesota (2-3)
Chicago (2-4) over Philadelphia (2-3) (H)
Pittsburgh (4-1) over Denver (2-3) (H)
Jacksonville (4-1) (H) over Indianapolis (5-0)

I've picked Tampa Bay, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago and Jacksonville against the spread. We'll see.

My Top 10 after 6 weeks:

1. New England (6-0)
2. Indianapolis (5-0)
3. Jacksonville (4-1)
4. Green Bay (5-1)
5. Dallas (5-1)
6. Pittsburgh (4-1)
7. Baltimore (4-2)
8. Tennessee (3-2)
9. Tampa Bay (4-2)
10. Washington (4-2)

The bottom 5:

28. Buffalo (1-4)
29. New Orleans (1-4)
30. Atlanta (1-5)
31. St. Louis (0-6)
32. Miami (0-6)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Who said it?

Who said it?

1) "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

A. Karl Marx
B. Adolph Hitler
C. Joseph Stalin
D. None of the above

2) "It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few, and for the few. And to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity."

A. Lenin
B. Mussolini
C. Idi Amin
D. None of the Above

3) "(We) ..can't just let business as usual go on, and that means something has to be taken away from some people."

A. Nikita Khruschev
B. Josef Goebbels
C. Boris Yeltsin
D. None of the above

4) "We have to build a political consensus and that requires people to give up a little bit of their own .. in order to create this common ground."

A. Mao Tse Tung
B. Hugo Chavez
C. Kim Jong Il
D. None of the above

5) "I certainly think the free-market has failed."

A. Karl Marx
B. Lenin
C. Molotov
D. None of the above

6) "I think it's time to send a clear message to what has become the most profitable sector in (the) entire economy that they are being watched."

A. Pinochet
B. Milosevic
C. Saddam Hussein
D. None of the above

Scroll down for answers.
(1) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/29/2004
(2) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 5/29/2007
(3) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007
(4) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007
(5) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 6/4/2007
(6) D. None of the above. Statement was made by Hillary Clinton 9/2/2005


An ethical question

You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Think seriously about this before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical
dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first. Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to 'Think Outside of the Box.'


The correct answer is to run the old lady over and put her out of her misery, have sex with the perfect partner on the hood of the car, then drive off with the old friend for a few beers.

I just love happy endings!

The Church Squirrels

There were Five country churches in a small TEXAS town: the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and the Jewish Synagogue.

Each Church and Synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In The Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. But, the squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But, the Catholic Church, came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but they took one squirrel and had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven't seen a squirrel on the property since.

The IRS Audit

The IRS decides to audit Rick, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor is not surprised when Rick shows up with his attorney.

The auditor says, "Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable."

"I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it," says Rick. "How about a demonstration?"

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, "Okay. Go ahead."

Rick says, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye."

The auditor thinks a moment and says, "No way! It's a bet."

Rick removes his glass eye and bites it.

The auditor's jaw drops.

Rick says, "Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye."

The auditor can tell Rick isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Rick removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Rick's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

"Want to go double or nothing?" Rick asks. "I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between."

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this guy can manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Rick stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Rick's attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

"Are you okay?" the auditor asks.

"Not really," says the attorney. "This morning, when Rick told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NFL Picks - Week 6

Week 5 was another terrible week for my picks, and I compounded it by picking the wrong underdogs. I was 8-6 in Week 5 picking winners, which makes me 42-34 on the season.

My favorite team managed to look tremendous - the Chargers beat Denver 41-3 and it wasn't really that close. Offense, Defense, Special Teams. All good. No sacks allowed, long passes completed, long runs blocked and executed, the defense stopped the run, and two turnovers were taken. Teams are still quick passing to negate the pass rush. I'm wondering now if I'm really the unlucky charm for the team - they win when I don't watch, and lose when I do watch. The team is 2-0 when I don't watch, and 0-3 when I do watch.

This week, the Bolts face arch-enemy Oakland Raiders. I just can't pick the Raiders... I'm going to predict the game will be Chargers 27, Raiders 17.

Here are my week 6 picks (winners, home team denoted with an H):

San Diego (2-3) (H) over Oakland (2-2)
Chicago (2-3) (H) over Minnesota (1-3)
Baltimore (3-2) (H) over St. Louis (-05)
Philadelphia (1-3) over NY Jets (1-4) (H)
Cleveland (2-3) (H) over Miami (0-5)
Green Bay (4-1) (H) over Washington (3-1)
Cincinnati (1-3) over Kansas City (2-3) (H)
Tampa Bay (3-2) (H) over Tennessee (3-1)
Jacksonville (3-1) (H) over Houston (3-2)
Arizona (3-2) over Carolina (3-2) (H)
New England (5-0) over Dallas (5-0) (H)
Seattle (3-2) (H) over New Orleans (0-4)
NY Giants (3-2) over Atlanta (1-3) (H)

My Top 10 after 5 weeks are:

1. New England (5-0)
2. Indianapolis (5-0)
3. Green Bay (4-1)
4. Dallas (5-0)
5. Pittsburgh (4-1)
6. Jacksonville (3-1)
7. Washington (4-1)
8. Baltimore (3-2)
9. Tennessee (3-2)
10. Tampa Bay (3-2)

The bottom 5:

28. Buffalo (1-4)
29. Atlanta (1-4)
30. St. Louis (0-5)
31. New Orleans (0-4)
32. Miami (0-5)

What do you think? Will the Chargers win again? Will New England beat Dallas? Will St. Louis, New Orleans or Miami ever win?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Jewish Poker Club

Six retired Floridians were playing poker in the condo clubhouse when Meyerwitz loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table.

Showing respect for their fallen comrade, the other five continue playing standing up.

Finklestein looks around and asks, "So, who's gonna tell his wife?"

They cut the cards. Goldberg picks the two of clubs and has to carry the news.

They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

"Discreet? I'm the most discreet person you'll ever meet. Discretion is my middle name. Leave it to me."

Goldberg goes over to the Meyerwitz apartment and knocks on the door.

The wife answers through the door and asks what he wants?

Goldberg declares: "Your husband just lost $500 in a poker game and is afraid to come home."

"Tell him to drop dead!" yells the wife.

"I'll go tell him." says Goldberg

The Australian Approach

A young Aussie lad moved to London and went to Harrods looking for a job.

The manager asked "Do you have any sales experience?" The young man answered "Yeah, I was a salesman back home."

The manager liked the Aussie so he gave him the job. His first day on the job was challenging and busy, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked, "OK, so how many sales did you make today?"

The Aussie said "One."

The manager groaned and continued "Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?"


The manager choked and exclaimed "$124,237?? What the hell did you sell him?"

"Well, first I sold him a small fish hook, then a medium fish hook, and then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he would need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin-engined Power Cat. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to car sales and I sold him the 4 x 4 Suzuki".

The manager, incredulous, said "You mean to tell me....a guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and 4x4?"

"No no no......he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his lady friend and I said 'Well, since your weekend's f**ked, you might as well go fishing.' "

Junior church Biblical history

A book titled Little Wonders, by Mary Hollingsworth, has stories concerning children. This one was contributed by Todd and Jedd Hafer.

One of our favorite jobs has been leading junior church. We try to do more than baby-sit our church's beloved little ankle-biters during their time in our special junior church facility. We aim to give them a solid background in biblical history. At the end of each year, we give them pencils and paper and ask them to chronicle what they have learned. This assignment never fails to elicit some intriguing responses.

In case you're a little foggy on your biblical history, let our junior church students help you with this complete overview of the Bible, compiled from their essays:

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, "The Lord thy God is one," but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, "Give me a light!" and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then He gave them His top ten Commandments. These include don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's bottom (the Bible uses a bad word for bottom that I'm not supposed to say. But my Dad uses it sometimes when he talks about the President). Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor they father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me. After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of the New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn, too, because my mom is always saying to me, "Close the door! Were you born in a barn" It would be nice to say, "As a matter of fact, I was.").

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

After creation ...

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said, "It is good." Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then he said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes! And super size them!" And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

Then Satan created HMOs.

Can anyone add to or finish this story?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Padres 2007 Season Recap

The 2007 season for the San Diego Padres was fun to experience as a fan. We attended about 24 games in person and watched about 120 other games on TV.

In the end, the team just wasn't quite good enough. There were stretches where the offense couldn't score runs. There were stretches when the starting pitchers did poorly, and other stretches where the relief pitchers did poorly.

The bottom line is - if the team had scored another 0.5 runs a game, they could be world champions even with the pitching they got, which had the best ERA in the National League.

You can get an idea of how the team fared from the 10-game blocks of the season:

10 Games (4/12): 6-4 record, Runs 34-30
20 Games (4/24): 12-8 record, Runs 95-80, BA 0.263, ERA 3.72
30 Games (5/5): 16-14 Record, Runs 136-120, BA 0.243, ERA 3.59
40 Games (5/15): 21-19 Record, Runs 168-142, BA 0.236, ERA 3.16
50 Games (5/28): 29-21 Record, Runs 210.167, BA 0.241, ERA 3.00
60 Games (6/8): 36-24 Record, Runs 262-196, BA 0.243, ERA 2.88
70 Games (6/20): 41-29 Record, Runs 316-238, BA 0.246, ERA 3.04
80 Games (7/1): 46-34 Record, Runs 348-271, BA 0.243, ERA 3.03
90 Games (7/15): 50-40 Record, Runs 385-314, BA 0.242, ERA 3.11
100 Games (7/25): 54-46 Record, Runs 415-371, BA 0.243, ERA 3.39
110 Games (8/5): 60-50 Record, Runs 472-418, BA 0.243, ERA 3.51
120 Games (8/16): 65-55 Record, Runs 526-466, BA 0.244, ERA 3.51
130 Games (8/27): 71-59 Record, Runs 579-516, BA 0.249, ERA 3.59
140 Games (9/8): 76-64 Record, Runs 629-568, BA 0.249, ERA 3.67
150 Games (9/19): 83-67 Record, Runs 671-597, BA 0.249, ERA 3.62
163 Games (10/2): 89-74 Record, Runs 741-666, BA 0.251, ERA 3.70.

After 163 games, the Pads were:

15th in batting average (0.251 - 0.250),
8th in runs scored (741-666),
7th in home runs (171-119), and
1st in ERA (3.70 - 4.14) in the National League. They had:

322 doubles (opponents had 270),
31 triples,
55 SB,
92 errors,
704 RBIs (opponents 647),
557 BBs (opponents 474), and
1229 K's (opponents 1136).

Not enough hits, too many strikeouts, decent power, too many men left on base.

Batting statistics of the regulars include (BA, OBA, AB, R, H, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, SO):

Milton Bradley (LF): 0.313. .414, 144, 31, 45, 5, 11, 30, 23, 27
Brian Giles (RF): 0.271, 0.361, 483, 72, 131, 27, 13, 51, 64, 61
Adrian Gonzalez (1B): 0.282, 0.347, 646, 101, 182, 46, 30, 100, 65, 140
Josh Bard (C): 0.285, 0.364, 389, 42, 111, 27, 5, 51, 50, 58
Kahlil Greene (SS): 0.254, 0.291, 611, 89, 155, 44, 27, 97, 32, 128
Mike Cameron (CF): 0.242, 0.328, 571, 88, 138, 33, 21, 78, 67, 160
Geoff Blum (2B): 0.252, 0.319, 330, 34, 83, 21, 5, 33, 32, 52
Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B): 0.275, 0.329, 484, 57, 133, 30, 18, 74, 32, 94

The starting pitcher statistics (W-L, ERA, G, IP, H, ER, BB, SO):

Jake Peavy: 19-6, 2.54, 34, 223.1, 169, 63, 68, 240
Chris Young: 9-8, 3.12, 30, 173.0, 118, 60, 72, 167
Greg Maddux: 14-11, 4.14, 34, 198.0, 221, 91, 25, 104
Justin Germano: 7-10, 4.46, 26, 133.1, 133, 66, 40, 78

The regular relievers statistics (W-L, Saves, ERA, G, IP, H, ER, BB, SO):

Joe Thatcher: 2-2, 0, 1.29, 22, 21.0, 13, 3, 6, 16
Heath Bell: 6-4, 2, 2.02, 81, 93.2, 60, 21, 30, 102
Kevin Cameron: 2-0, 0, 2.79, 48, 58.0, 55, 18, 36, 50
Justin Hampson: 2-3, 0, 2.70, 39, 53.1, 48, 16, 16, 34
Trevor Hoffman: 4-5, 42, 2.98, 61, 57.1, 49, 19, 15, 44
Doug Brocail: 5-1, 0, 3.05, 67, 76.2, 66, 26, 24, 43
Cla Meredith: 5-6, 0, 3.50, 80, 79.2, 94, 31, 17, 59.

You can compare these statistics with the stats after 140 games here. Over the last 23 games, the leading hitters were:

Kevin Kouzmanoff (0.249 to 0.275, 3 HR, 15 RBI),
Josh Bard (0.267 to 0.285, 2 HR, 8 RBI),
Kahlil Greene (0.251 to 0.254, 7 HR, 20 RBI),
Adrian Gonzalez (0.281 to 0.275, 4 HR, 14 RBI)
Mike Cameron (0.250 to 0.242, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
Brian Giles (0.293 to 0.271, 3 HR, 10 RBI)

Kouzmanoff and Bard really improved, Gonzalez and Greene hit for power, and Giles and Cameron hit poorly.

What do the Padres need for 2008?

* A center fielder. Cameron is fine defensively, but strikes out too much, has average power and doesn't hit for average. He is a free agent at age 35.

* A catcher who can throw out runners occasionally. Bard is OK offensively and defensively, but can't throw out runners. Barrett was terrible hitting until the last week of the season.

* A left fielder. Bradley was great, and Hairston was too. But Bradley has anger problems and is injury-prone, and is a free agent. Hairston would be great as a backup and pinch hitter.

* A #4 starter and #5 starter that can give the team innings and a decent won-loss record. Tomko had flashes in the last month. Maddux is gradually failing to win.

* Better bench players. The pinch hitters (Sledge, Ensberg, Clark, Mackowiak,) were not good.

Go Padres in 2008!!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Oldies Music

I'm always on the lookout for web sites that play oldies music. I can listen to them in the background.

My brother-in-law Paul sent me this one -- the Playa Cofi Jukebox at

This has Top 100 songs for the years from 1956 to 1982. However, the web site selects 10 songs from each year and plays them in the order they pick - not the order you want. You can always go back and pick another year and pick one you like.

Another site is at the Briarcliff Manor High School Reunion site at This site has only 1956 to 1960 songs, but those are the best anyway!


Got more suggestions? Tell me!

Who's Your Candidate?

To help you sort out the Presidential candidate that agrees the most with your own opinions, you can take this 11 question multiple choice test at

After you fill in the answers, you get a list of the candidates views on the answers - the highest score is the candidate that agrees the most with your own views. You can also see which questions you disagree on with each candidate.

Did the test results match your favored candidate(s)? Mine didn't.

NFL Picks - Week 5

Week 4 was a terrible week for Favorites, and I compounded it by picking the wrong underdogs.

I was 5-9 in Week 4 picking winners, which makes me 34-28 on the season. My abject loyalty to the Chargers doesn't help, of course.

My favorite team managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again. After leading 16-6 at the half, the KC Chiefs scored 24 unanswered points. The offense was better and the defense actually stopped the Chiefs in the first half. In the second half, the Chiefs stuffed the Bolts running game, rushed Philip Rivers who made two bad mistakes, and the Chiefs wore down the pass defense with quick passes and then Larry Johnson. Bad game, bad result. For the "best team in the league" this was a terrible game. They really need to win 5 straight now to get their mojo back. Can they? Frankly, I doubt it. I think the coaching staff sucks. The offense is too predictable and the defense is too mellow.

In the hope that the Bolts will win just to spite me, I'm going to predict the game will be Denver 27, Chargers 17.

Here are my week 5 picks (winners, home team denoted with an H):

Denver (2-2) (H) over San Diego (1-3)
New Orleans (0-3) (H) over Carolina (2-2)
Kansas City (2-2) (H) over Jacksonville (2-1)
Detroit (3-1) over Washington (2-1) (H)
Tennessee (2-1) (H) over Atlanta (1-3)
Houston (2-2) (H) over Miami (0-4)
Pittsburgh (3-1) (H) over Seattle (3-1)
New England (4-0) (H) over Cleveland (2-2)
Arizona (2-2) over St. Louis (0-4) (H)
N.Y. Jets (1-3) over N.Y. Giants (2-2) (H)
Indianapolis (4-0) (H) over Tampa Bay (3-1)
Baltimore (2-2) over San Francisco (2-2) (H)
Green Bay (4-0) (H) over Chicago (1-3)
Dallas (4-0) over Buffalo (1-3) (H)

Not playing are Cincinnati (1-3), Oakland (2-2), Philadelphia (1-3) and Minnesota (1-3).

My Top 10 Power Ratings after 4 weeks are:

1. New England (4-0)
2. Indianapolis (4-0)
3. Green Bay (4-0)
4. Dallas (4-0)
5. Pittsburgh (3-1)
6. Tampa Bay (3-1)
7. Seattle (3-1)
8. Jacksonville (2-1)
9. Detroit (3-1)
10. Denver (2-2)

Go Chargers!!! please???

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Worst Sports Weekend Ever?

Has there ever been a worse sports weekend for San Diego, or for any city, for that matter?

Let's recap.


* The Padres need to win one of the last two games against the Brewers in order to clinch a playoff spot. We lead 3-2 into the 9th inning with Trevor Hoffman on the mound ... and Tony Gwynn Jr triples to tie the game. The Pads lose 4-3 in 11 innings.

* The San Diego State Aztecs get their lunch handed to them by Cincinnati Bearcats - 52-23, and it wasn't that close. Aztecs are now 1-3 with the real prospect of being 1-11 at the end of the season.


* The Padres still need to win one to get in. They lead 4-2 in the 4th inning, but the Brewers score a bunch to win 9-5. What a terrible game. But wait, the Rockies win to tie the Padres at 89-73, forcing a one-game play-in in Denver on Monday to determine the wild card team.

* The Chargers really need to win a game, entering this weekend 1-2 after two poor games in New England and Green Bay. The anticipation for the season was REALLY HIGH ... The Kansas City Chiefs show up and play us tough in the first half, but the Bolts lead 16-6 at half time. The offense clicked fairly well, and the defense was better than the last two weeks. In the second half, the Chiefs outscore the Bolts 24-0, with two offensive TDs and a fumble return. The Bolts were terrible on offense in the 2nd half - couldn't run and couldn't complete a pass, with a dropped touchdown and two more turnovers. The defense was worse, as Damon Huard burned them with passes. So the Bolts are 1-3 in a dismal season. The fans are calling for Norv Turner's head. Does the coaching staff make that much difference? Apparently! Can the season be saved? Only by winning about 5 in a row now.


* The Padres are in Denver to play the Rockies in the play-in game. The winner gets to play Philadelphia, and the loser goes home whining. The Padres ace, Jake Peavy, is starting against Josh Fogg, the Rox #5 starter. The Rox quickly score 3 runs on Peavy, but then Adrian Gonzalez hits a grand slam in the 3rd and the Pads are ahead 5-3. The Rox score three more off Peavy over the next 4 innings to go ahead 6-5. In the 8th, the Padres score on a misplayed fly ball in LF to tie the game. The relievers for both teams do a good job until the 13th inning. The Pads score 2 on a Scott Hairston home run, then call on Trevor Hoffman to save the game and take us into the playoffs. Well, Trevor doesn't save. Three long hits and a sacrifice fly brings home 3 runs and the Rockies win 9-8. Of course, the 9th run really didn't score ... the runner missed the plate but the catcher dropped the ball and the umpire, screened from seeing any part of the plate, calls him safe. I'm whining... I've earned it.

So was this the worst sports weekend in San Diego ever? What other city has experienced something this bad in one weekend?