Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas, 2011

This is a third in a series of Christmas blogs, 2003, 2009.

So now here is Christmas 2011!!

First, I have some proof that some things can't be improved..I continue to recognize that the Miracle on 34th Street that I grew up with is superior to any remake. The remakes only can compete for second place. However, I still look back over all the years and wish that I had all the technological goodies that we have now. The cell phone with GPS causes me to miss the fun of pulling off the interstate where I am making great time to find the pay phone that either doesn't work or has the page that I need to find the store I am looking for ripped out while I am standing there freezing in the Christmas cold. I remember a call to my son from the pay phone in the snow in Colorado.. It was cold. When writing a paper for college, I would end up with a bunch of pieces of paper that had to be organized into a collage for the final attempt to type it. I pitied the poor typist who was given my work with all the arrows and scribbles.

So what is my point. I notice that the values of belief and love and hope can be expressed sometimes in a timeless manner. The message of Miracle on 34th Street transcends all the new situations and technology. Tim Tebow demonstated that when we believe in someone, we can make them better on the football field. How much better then to make some better in their life. I was thinking that Tebow time starts when a receiver drops a sure pass for a touchdown and Tebow assures that receiver that they will catch the game winning touchdown. So at this time of year, when can remember those strong service members who have been wounded, injured, or broken in spirit from conflict. Wc can be strong for them and encourage them to try to get well and "get better" each day.

God bless us all!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wish I had the video

Every year, the University of Washington Huskies, my alma mater, and where I attended graduate school, play the University of Oregon Ducks...the place I matriculated my Freshman year of college. The reason I went to the U of O was because I was a runner and I wanted to be a better runner. Obviously I won't forget the day that I made a trip to Eugene, OR and there on the track was Steve Prefontaine. He was doing cut downs.. He was running 110s on the track trying to increase the speed of each on the four after running about 10 miles. Don, one of the coaches, asked me if I wanted to meet Steve and he came over. "We could always use some more runners, " he said. Steve is a legend but that was not exactly a true statment. They were loaded. Only months from that meeting, Steve would win the National Cross Meet and the team including my room-mate Randy James, 19th place, an All-American, would win the nationals. It was indeed an experience. But the real point of this is to explain how such a UW football fan would end up at Oregon. I would say I was conflicted. I loved the Oregon runners but I still loved my dawgs. So it came to pass that I attended the home game my freshman year at Oregon when they played the dawgs. It was a hard fought game as befits the rivalry. Oregon was ahead, but the Huskies were driving. Now the whole game amidst the Oregon student section there was one very loud Husky fan. As the game progressed he got louder and bolder and drunker. So on the last drive, he was slurring, "Go Huskies!" and the crowd just looked at him in silence as the Huskies drove down the field. The Husky fan was in his glory as the dawgs lined up for the game winning field goal. Louder and louder, "Go Huskies!" The kick went up... No good. The poor fellow utterly deflated and the crowd didn't say anything but I think he was overcome by vibes as he slunk off in silence.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Karaoke and singing with a band Career

I don't remember when I first did Karaoke. I started singing in front of crowds in Elementary School as part of our informal choir. And later, I used to lead songs at church and other venues ultimately leading to a few performances. I played in a band: John 3:16. I was the lead guitarist, did some back-up and lead vocals and played bass on some of our songs.

In the early 70s in Victoria, British Columbia, I ran about 3o miles from Sooke and volunteered to sing songs with my guitar at a coffee house. ( I used to have a lot of energy).

I lead some songs on my guitar for the troops at Ft Dix, New Jersey for some outdoor field church services and I sang a song for a group at a prayer breakfast at Fort Dix,New Jersey.

In 1984, in Bainbridge, Ga after winning a 20 K run there, I sang Luckenbach Texas with the band(I miss Waylon)

It was a Fort Rucker that I remember singing Karaoke at the Officer's club there in the 80s. The crowd always loved, "Born to Be Wild." My most memorable singing with the band was at a Christmas formal. I was persuaded to sing, "Take this job and shove it" Some friends applauded my bravery to sing such as song but the leadership thought I did a great job with singing.

In 1994, I got up with a band in Hawthorn, Nevada at a Casino and sang a few.

During a trip to Germany in 2006, I found myself in an Irish pub, and the guitar player and singer let me get up on stage.

In the early Millenium, I did a lot of singing at Nick's in Alexandria. Great place to do country dancing, then take a break and sing.

I had some good times in Baghdad 2003-2004. At the Hotel Rashid, I sang with the band, and played guitar and bass with the band. I sang a cappella at a pool party. I did some Karaoke at the Palace in the Green Zone-Born to be Wild. It is on video tape and I wonder if I will get a monetary offer to destroy the tape!!

During a trip to Korea in 2010, I discovered that Korean Karaoke is a little different. A group rents a room and then they pick their own songs. It is different.

This year, 2011 I sang Karaoke in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona, and also Albequerque, New Mexico.

Recently I was in what is known as the best Karaoke place in Vegas, Ellis Island. The good thing is that there is a crowd, the bad thing is that it takes about an hour plus to sing after singing a song. But, I was so good that someone bought me a drink. (Great pay) I have been going there since the early 90s. I was in a contest once where I did, "Keep your hands to yourself" playing also my harmonika. I lost to the one who sounded like Frank Sinatra.

Very recently I was in Brussels, Belgium. There were only about 10 people, but I was impressed with the talent. I heard song in French but also in English with virtually no accent with beautiful tones.

I must note that I had the privilege to sing a duet a capella with my friend Vanessa at my graduation from a training program. We sang the National Anthem.

As long as I have breath, I will make a joyful noise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well I have had a few birthdays. I can remember back to my 5th one. There I was in Seattle in the U District with some of my neighbor friends in the yard of my baby sitter. I won't go through all of them but it worked out that most of my friends celebrated birthdays during the school year but mine was a family affair in Edmonds with my mom, her mom and dad and my uncle, aunt, and cousin. I don't complain about the date, I have a grandson who is a Christmas baby. He will always get less because Christmas is the "big deal" and so the birthday is the afterthought. As I got older birthday celebrations weren't such a big wife even forgot but did a nice make-up celebration the next day. It is interesting the Orientals count birth as the year one since they count the womb without a view time. I would have liked to have the year when I was 15 so I could drive earlier, but I am trying to subtract years now. There are people that don't celebrate birthdays. That is their thing but me, I always like a party. I take my kids to a restaurant and they say, "dad, don't embarass me, don't tell anyone it is my birthday. Me, well just the opposite. I look around and expect the whole restaurant to sing. I mean, I call out anyone who is eating and not singing. I even make the cook take a break to sing. Anyway, I have already enjoyed my early birthday wishes on Facebook and I think this year I will get the most birthday wishes that I ever had. Cards are nice and appreciated, but seriously to any who reads this, I really appreciate the birthday greetings and I hope we share many many more birthdays together.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Driving in the cold, snow, dark and silence Kafka images at the time for 18 years streamed as the river in the Country Doctor which now streams back 45 years but the future is as cold, snow, dark and silence unless God or metempsychosis intervenes but I awake uncomfortable and confused by the streaming river or am I asleep or am I in eternity?

Back From Iraq

A Work of Fiction

I had often thought of what I would write about if were to write about my year in Iraq. One day, I was reading an excerpt from a book by some person who had been to Iraq and he started the book about the food in Sadam's palace in the Green Zone and I no longer had writer's block. I could talk about food easy. In fact, the fellow had no perspective whatsoever. He was just some civilian who wanted to comment on food, but I was a GI, a soldier who had lots of experiences. you see, just down the street members of my unit were getting along with what were called T Rats, (T-Rations). Basically they were like frozen dinners you heat up. They were happy to get them instead of the ubiquitous MREs. In fact to get them, it was necessary to do "drug deals" (This term causes a major digression lest you think that something sinester was happening. Drug deal in this context meant that the T-Rats were coming from outside the formal supply channels. Now the formal supply channels might not work for:1)The Logisticians had omitted accounting for food or supply requirements for a unit, or 2) the Unit supply point of contact was incompetent and did not know how to make the supply system work, or 3)Why bother with paperwork when you could make it work the easy way.) So I believe this drug deal for food was allowing soldiers for a division to use a Sattelite phone given as a gift from a certain country for morale calls. So my unit was giving up nothing but the foreign country was incurring a serious long distance headache. Anyway, I had a moral dilemma. Did I forego the creature comforts of the palace which offered canned sodas, Steaks, lobsters, rice, cake, etc or go for frozen dinners. I justified my actions because I had soldiers under my command who were able to get a better dinner by joining me. I respected Joe because he wouldn't eat unless everyone in the unit could eat. Many months later ironically after the military got their dining facility up and running down the street, all the high muckety-mucks *(Note 1) at the palace were leaving the palace to partake of the better military food down the street. I pleased that my men returned the favor by inviting some other GIs to the palace so they could use the internet and make some calls back home on the DSN (a military free phone) Evidently, back in their unit their commander nick-named Safety Rob used the unit's only internet connection to keep up with things back home all day and didn't want to help the GIs get into the palace since they might embarass him.

*(Note 1)
(Just today writing this down I use the word muckeddy mucks which I had heard used before but was unaware that it originated from the Chinook Jargon native to my state of Washington, the jargon of which many place names in Wa originateat
*One might not immediately associate the word high muckamuck with fur traders and Native Americans, but it seems that English borrowed the term from Chinook Jargon, a pidgin language combining words from English, French, Nootka, Chinook, and the Salishan languages that was formerly used by them in the Pacific Northwest. In this language hayo makamak meant "plenty to eat" and is recorded in that sense in English contexts, the first one dated 1853, in which the phrase is spelled Hiou Muckamuck. In 1856 we find the first recorded instance of the word meaning "pompous person, person of importance," in the Democratic State Journal published in Sacramento: "The professors-the high 'Muck-a-Mucks'-tried fusion, and produced confusion."

Chinook Jargon in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond

I saw this interesting link to the translation of place names into Chinook Jargon

I knew that Olympia Beer "it's the water" came from Tumwater, WA but did not know that tumwater meant water fall.

Here is a Chinook jargon dictionary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Marriage is a very inprecise term. Getting married in a state, a federal District like Washington DC or territory. Gives various rights, identifies issues in a potential divorce such as property, custody, visitation and a variety of definitions. Another amazing thing is that after marriage in one state (or even a foreign country) it would be possible to travel to Nevada, live there for six weeks and file for a divorce based on the laws of Nevada. That is not even addressing jurisdictions with same-sex marriage.

Muddying the water even further is the fact that there are religions that have really a separate marriage which is not governed by national laws in the U.S. I recall an episode of L.A. Law wherein a Jewish wife was unable to obtain a Jewish divorce from her husband. In this case, the issue was resolved by waiving some rights to property in the California marriage to encourage the husband to grant the Jewish divorce. While in Iraq, I heard of former Iraqi Muslims ( returned to work in Iraq) who had a different interpretation of marriage. They would remain legally married to their wife in U.S. They would meet women, have a private religious ceremony to add another wife to their household (polygamy is legal in Islamic law up to 4 wives). They would then have conjugal relations one night and in the morning would have a divorce. Any details of the payment of a dowry to the divorced wife was not discussed with me.

One general rule I have observed in U.S marriages and a majority of religious marriages is that they generally have gone to no fault. Citizens may file for divorce alleging some problem such as adultery but ultimately after time passes, the divorce is granted based on a time such as a year of separation. In many churches, after an U.S. divorce, the divorced person will describe a reason for the divorce that no one in the congregation checks and will go on with their lives. The Roman Catholic church does not adjudicate divorces, since it will not grant a divorce. But it will consider a petition for annulment which is carefully considered.


*Under U.S. Jurisdiction (14)

* American Samoa
* Baker Island
* Guam
* Howland Island
* Jarvis Island
* Johnston Atoll
* Kingman Reef
* Midway Islands
* Navassa Island
* Northern Mariana Islands
* Palmyra Atoll
* Puerto Rico
* Virgin Islands
* Wake Island

Read more:

Building American English - Pronunciation

When developing American English, it is important for some to take an inventory of the sounds that can be made. when I was young, this never done because ultimately I learned to see "three" instead of "free" or my daughter who learned to say "pizza" instead of "pita" or my son who learend to say "blockbuster" instead of Blockbushter"

Years ago, I took an inventory of a boy who had many sound deficits- too many for his age. And now, I have a son who has autism who does not repeat every sound given to him.

American English has 42 sounds (A Scottish version has the glottal stop "bottle - bah ul and the palatal fricative "gh" like Lough Ness Monster.)

Below is a website that not only identifies the sounds but catagizes them.

I. The critical importance of this is developing a training program after the sound inventory.

1. For Example, lets say my son says, "DAD."

The analysis of this letter is that

a. it is a stop - A stop is a consonant characterized by: (1) complete obstruction of the ongoing airstream by the articulators; (2) a build up of intraaoral pressure; and (3) release.

b. Its place is linqua-alveolar which refers to a consonant produced with the tongue contacting the upper alveolar ridge.

c. It is a voiced sound which is produced with vibration of the adducted vocal folds in the larynx.

2. Second example, let's say my son say "POP"

The analysis of this letter is that

a. it is a stop - A stop is a consonant characterized by: (1) complete obstruction of the ongoing airstream by the articulators; (2) a build up of intraaoral pressure; and (3) release.

b. Its place is bilabial which refers to a speach sound, such as "b" produced by contact of the upper and lower lips.

c. It is a voiceless sound which is produced with without vibration of the adducted vocal folds in the larynx.

II. Strategy for developing new sounds.

1. Take an inventory of manner, place and voice

a. Both are stops

b. There are two different locations: linqua-alveolar and bilabial

c. There is a voiced and unvoiced consonant

2. Select consonants with shared characteristics.

a. The "t" is an obvious selection since we know that there is capability for
voiced and unvoiced, so we recommend that the "voiced" "d" is supplemented
with the "unvoiced" "t"
NOTE: I am working on this one, since I am not hearing it much

b. The "b" is an obvious selection since since we know that there is
capability for voiced and unvoiced, so we recommend that
the "unvoiced" "p" is supplemented with the "voiced" "b"
NOTE: I used to hear Bah regularly, but not much lately. But it proves the
point that the Bah sound could be predicted and developed.


The best leader at Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain

In one sense, selecting Joshua Chamberlain as the best leader at Gettysburg is the safe choice. He was awarded the nation’s highest medal, The Congressional Medal of Honor.
“Daring heroism and great tenacity in holding his position on the Little Round
Top against repeated assaults, and carrying the advance position on the Great
Round Top.”
In another sense, I identify with Joshua Chamberlain because I would aspire to his leadership and heroism but also our backgrounds are similar and have some connections.
In 1848 about 100 years before my parents were married at Bowdoin College, Joshua Chamberlain entered the university after teaching himself Ancient Greek in order to pass the entrance examination. It was about 125 years later that I began my own course in Ancient Greek.
So the interesting thing is that Joshua Chamberlain did not have the military training that those at West Point had or the engineering technical background. But what Joshua Chamberlain and I shared was an understanding of history and the psychology of personnel who must be inspired on the battle field. Chamberlain taught rhetoric so he also understood how important the nuances of words are and how throughout history messages have been communicated effectively.
Chamberlain knew that he must drill his soldiers before battle. He also understood that they would have to know him and he must know them to build trust and confidence.
Before Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain had about 2 minutes to give a speech to about 100 men from Maine who wanted to go home since they felt their agreed enlistment time had expired. He rejected out of hand the option to shoot them, and instead spoke of why soldiers go to war and having sifted the reasons throughout recorded history, came upon these thoughts
“But it's not the land. There's always more land. It's the idea that we all have
value -- you and me. What we're fighting for, in the end, we're fighting for
each other.”
On the fateful day at Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain no longer had ammunition so he could have given up, but maybe he remembered the power of the phalanx formation from the Greeks and he used the power of terrain (he held the high ground) and he traded height for attack. Also, the trust and training allowed his men to make an innovative swinging door movement, something that they had not practiced in particular, but were able to execute.
His study of history also allowed him to understand that some pieces of ground are not only tactically important but they spill over into the operational and strategic realm because of the emotional and psychological impact that can change the center of gravity. He knew about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC (preceeded by the battle of Marathon) which required 300 Spartans and 1100 others as a rearguard against the invading Persians. Leonidas gave his life but the result of Thermopylae was the escape of thousands of Greeks who ultimately won the day at the Battle of Salamis which like Gettysburg was fought on their home turf.
Maybe if Joshua Chamberlain had failed, the War between the States would have been lost.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 1 Calendar Thoughts

January 1, 2011 is strangely not the 2011th year of Anno Domini (A.D.) (Latin for [in the] year of [the] Lord)

First, there is no 0 A.D. The calendar goes from December 31, 1 Before Christ (B.C.) to 1 A.D. So the movie 2001 had it right, the second millenium started 2001.(Don't remind all those who celebrated on January 1, 2000 by the D.C reflecting pond of which I was one. It was a great party anyway even if premature by 1 year)

Second, The Lord (Jesus) could not have been born on 1 A.D. if we refer to the Gospel that has a living King Herod discussing the birth of Jesus. King Herod died in 4 B.C. in Jericho.

There is an interesting discussion on the estimate that Jesus was born between 6-4 B.C.

I have heard some speculate that since it was a Roman Catholic calendar it was lined up with Julius Caesar's birth of 100 B.C.

Others speculate it was a way to mark the start of the Age of Pisces.

I am impressed with the theory that the Pyramids of Giza mark the beginning of a calendar. The date would be about 10,000 B.C.

For those aware, every night the stars indicate a date on the what is sometimes called Plato's year 25,771.5 years (2000 rate).

The Islamic calendar has a different new year relative to the Western Calendar because it has lunar months, so at the end of 12 lunar months, there is a new year's day.

The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar but to make it more of a solar calendar, there is a leap lunar month every 3 years.

The Ancient Persian Calendar starts in February.

And many ancient cultures started their year at the vernal (spring equinox). It was a day easy to identify, the day that night and day were equal in the spring.

Our January is most likely based on the fact that is marked by the shortest day of the year about December 21. Janus was the Roman god of the doorway.

The Start of 2011, Food for Thought

This year I plan to make more entries than last year, so we shall see.

Here is an interesting link to consider

There is also video that goes along with it.

Here is an interesting quote from DR. GABOR MATÉ

"Well, the first point to get there is that if people who become severe addicts, as shown by all the studies, were for the most part abused children, then we realize that the war on drugs is actually waged against people that were abused from the moment they were born, or from an early age on. In other words, we’re punishing people for having been abused. That’s the first point.

The second point is, is that the research clearly shows that the biggest driver of addictive relapse and addictive behavior is actually stress. In North America right now, because of the economic crisis, a lot of people are eating junk food, because junk foods release endorphins and dopamine in the brain. So that stress drives addiction."