Friday, January 29, 2010

Hawaii Day 14

Well it had to come sooner or later. No matter how hard we try to put it off, the end of our vacation was coming. Today we fly out. The great thing is that we don't fly out until 10 pm so we can get a sort of full day in.

We went to the beach early this morning, about 9. The surf was up and the water again was too murky for snorkeling. We got in and swam over to the reef and couldn't see our hands in front of us. Not a good way to approach a reef with 6 foot waves.

So we settled in and whale watched. Again it was whale soup, but they seemed farther off. There were a lot of kayakers looking for the whales and we saw some get close. What a show.

The day was clear and we took advantage of it to get as much sun as we could stand. The burn will feel really good in 30 degree weather.
See you all back in reality tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hawaii Day 13

Well we knew it would come, it is our last full day here in paradise. We fly home tomorrow night.

Today was a rough day. The wind was up and the surf was nasty. We went to the beach in the morning and whale watched. They must like the rough seas because it was whale soup again. Nothing close but lots of action out farther.

In the afternoon we went to Eskimo Candy, a very local fish market and deli. It was recommended by some people we met on the beach. It is located in an industrial area down the street from Maui Divers and Gian Don Italian Restaurant.

We talked for most of the day and they invited us back to their timeshare condo at Maui Sunset to show us the set up. It was very nice, well appointed and it was well kept. The management makes all the difference. We learned this from our timeshare in the Lake Powell boat. This Maui condo had a new shower and recently installed murphy bed. The grounds were well kept and the condo had a view of the ocean and Haleakala. They bought a month and come from Christmas to the end of January every year. Sounds good.

I had a bad sinus headache from allergies and we bowed out from an invitation to dinner because of it. The lady suggested I look into a Neti Pot. It is a tea pot looking device that heats a solution of salt and water to irrigate the nasal passages. Sounds clinical but I will try almost anything (short of surgery) when I have a sinus headache. I'm going to look into it when we get back.

In the evening we went out for pizza and watched the sun set. Never got into the water, but like the ski resorts at home, just knowing it was there was enough.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hawaii Day 12

We are almost done with our vacation. I'm just getting settled. I could stay another month or so.

Today we went to the beach early because we thought the surf was going to be down and the snorkeling would be good. No such luck. The surf is up and the waves are at it again, about 5-10 feet at our beach.

Luckily the whales were active and we spent most of the time scanning from breach to breach.

We did get in the water and swam out about 100 feet but the water was murky. It was like what I imagined it would be swiming in the dark. You couldn't see more than a few feet beyond your hand. My wife lost her mask and snorkel in the surf because the waves were so rough.

We met a couple who had been there for a month and said they thought the surf was unusually high and constant for this time of year. They also said the whales came earlier than usual and were more active then usual.

That's the way it is, this isn't an amusement park, you take what you get and enjoy the fact that you are blessed to be here.

This afternoon we got another show. About 100 yards off shore to the far left of the beach we caught sight of a baby jumping. Then mom jumped. They proceeded to do this for the next hour as they moved across the beach about 100 yards out from left to right. The baby jumped more than 20 times, the mom maybe 10. I guess it is more like an amusement park than I thought.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hawaii Day 11

Today was a weird day. The surf was up so we just sat at the beach and watched the whales. They were pretty active and they seemed agitated. There was a lot of breaches and slaps.

The surf also seemed agitated. The waves came more frequently and were on average bigger. In the past the waves would come in a series of a few large waves and then several small waves. These were all large, 5-10 feet, and there seemed to be no small set. No one on the beach braved the waves beyond their point of curl, they played in the surf created by their breaking. Most other times a few would crack the curl and hang out past the break.

Also we heard several sirens and saw a police car speed down the road. We also saw two ambulances, one at the beach across the road from us. We couldn't see anything. Hope everyone is OK. This is more law enforcement action than we have seen any other time here.

I don't have any conclusion to draw, just my observations. This evening we went to Maui Tacos up by the Safeway on the Piilani Highway for a fish taco and then to Sensei in Kihei for a few sushi rolls and desert. I also tasted a Maui pineapple vodka. Not a lot of pineapple, lots of vodka.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hawaii Day 10

Today I stayed back and did work in the morning. The girls slept in the afternoon and we went out to see the sunset in the evening. Although I didn't get in the water today, it still is a good day. Did I mention that the high today, in January, is 83 degrees F?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hawaii Day 9

All is well. The wave surges calmed enough to provide very good snorkeling. Today we went out to the reef at our favorite beach, we call it the "Private Beach" because it is posted "No Trespassing" but all beaches in Hawaii are public so it is the access that is private. Lots of people use the beach, I think the owners just don't want campers at night.

Today was turtle day. While snorkeling we followed a green turtle for about 10 minutes. He (or she) seemed unconcerned with our presence and more like he (or she) seemed to invite us to follow him (or her). Then after a while of whale watching, it still is whale soup, I went for a walk past the reef on the north side and I saw two turtles in about 2 feet of water. They seemed to be looking for some food and then they swam out to sea. All the turtles were pretty big, probably at least a foot and a half in diameter across their shell.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hawaii Day 8

Another day in paradise. Did I mention that its January and it has been about 80 degrees F every day and a little less than 70 degrees in the evening?

As usual I brought way too many cold weather clothes, just in case it gets cold here. The problem is it never gets cold here. They hang in the closet reminding me of the weather back home. I think I'll hang my swimsuit next to my coats when I get back to try and stretch this wonderful memory out a bit. Next year I'm bringing only shorts and T-shirts and no socks.

When we got here we bought fins, snorkels and masks at Costco. The past few days the surf has been high which has churned up the reef, making visability poor.

It continued today. The surf wasn't as high as the past few days but it was still enough to cut visability over the reef to almost nothing. We went out and swam around for a while but I only saw a few fish that were less than 5 feet away.

We had to settle for body surfing the 4-6 foot waves and laying under the umbrella (another Costco treasure) listening to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole sing an island version of "Over the Rainbow" and other Hawaiian songs. Still no socks in sight.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hawaii Day 7

We are just half way through our vacation in paradise.

It rained last night. Even the rain is cooperating on our vacation. It was refreshing and cooled things down. This morning it is clear and cool. How fun is that.

Whale watching was great today. Whale soup again. They seem to like it closer than usual. I guess with the high surf they are pushed closer or maybe they really do like it closer for some reason. I sound like I am beginning to think like a whale. No girth comments please.

This afternoon there was a lot of activity around our beach. My wife thinks it was a birth. There was definately an adult and a baby. There was a lot of jumping and she thought she saw dolphins. For the uninitiated it is common belief that dolphins assist in the birth. Again with the whale thinking.

Things can't be that bad if all I am worried about is a whale birth. I can't wait for tomorrow, not just because I get better looking every day, but because I can't wait to see what is in store for us here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hawaii Day 6

Today was just another day at the beach, literally.

I stayed back in the morning and worked. In the afternoon we all went and we assumed our typical positions. I was in the water, mom was scanning for whales and the princess was tanning.

Mom saw a lot of whales. Typically they are a long way off. They are visable only through binoculars. They spout and then disappear.

This afternoon I was taking a break and was sitting with my binoculars scanning the horizon. Then we were treated to a show.

About 100 yards off shore two or three whales hung around for about a half an hour. They went back and forth in front of the beach we were on, once in a while they would lazily lift a tail or a fin. Mom was in heaven. That is why she comes here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hawaii Day 5

I am finally relaxing. My biggest challenge is whether to wear shorts or a swim suit with that T-shirt, I don't get up at 4:30 in the morning any more, I haven't worn socks in 5 days, and I go for a long time, sometimes 10-20 minutes, not knowing exactly what time of the day it is here. I could get used to this.

Today we took the Hana Highway to Hana and beyond. For those who haven't been on it, this road is 50+ miles of slow going. It winds through dense rain forest like terrain with lots of blind curves and one-way bridges. The trip from Paia to Hana takes about 2 and a half hours.

For lunch we stopped at Koki Beach Park just beyond Hana. This is a nice respite from the seemingly overcroweded road in. There weren't too many people and the water was nice.

We then proceeded to the 7 sacred pools (there are more than seven and all water in Hawaii is sacred we were told). This has become a rip off. When we went several years ago you pulled off the side of the road and walked down to the pools. Now it is part of Haleakala National Park. Aside from the usual groomed trails and overused access by the masses it costs $10 to get in. The sacred pools don't seem so sacred any more.

We decided to continue on around Haleakala clockwise rather than battle the road back. The lady at the National Park entrance told us the road was open and paved except for 5 miles of rough dirt road. She said it would take just a little less time but was about the same distance. I guess I got my $10 worth in directions because this was a much more enjoyable trip. The road was wider and there were fewer people on it. The paved part was a little rough but the trip took about a half an hour less and was 10 miles shorter by my odometer. If you go, take the full trip around.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hawaii Day 4

Today the report was for high surf and with the girl's delicate skin condition we opted for a ride in the car.

First we went to KMart, Longs, Sports Authority and Ross looking for beach chairs. They were all out. Are you kidding! That's like the ski shops in Utah being out of goggles. They said they stocked up before Christmas and they all went then.

We drove out the Hana Highway past Paia to a local big surf place called Jaws. The parking lot was about 2 miles down a dirt road and that left you 500 feet above the sea. The waves were huge. No one was surfing (I guess the waves weren't big enough). I had no perspective but if I had to guess they were over 2o feet tall.

Then we went back toward Kahalui and stopped along the road to watch the kite surfers and sail boarders. The wind usually blows on this side so this is a popular place for these activities. There were probably 30 people in the water zipping back and forth. They seemed to go out a long way.

All along the way we saw people with beach chairs, Christmas presents no doubt.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hawaii Day 3

OK I'm back on track I think.

I had some work to do so I stayed at the condo and my wife and daughter went to the beach. In the afternoon I ran to the beach and played in the surf while my wife kept her usual vigilant watch for the humpbacks in the area.

When they are active, as they appeared to be today, she says "Its whale soup out there". That means there are a lot of spouts and some tails flapping about.

I walked the beach and picked up some beach glass. Both wifee and daughter got a little bit too much sun. They say it doesn't hurt but I get warm just looking at it. Hopefully lots of Aloe Vera and some time will heal things.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hawaii Day 2

Today we went to church in an open air church near Lahina. It was great to sit there in shorts and feel the breeze.

Then we went to Kapalua to find the Honolua General Store. Rachael Ray said they made creme brulee in a pineapple. That is something I need to try. The only problem is that they are out of business.

Dang mortgage lenders. If they hadn't over extended themselves by offering sub-prime loans to people who couldn't pay them back those people would have gone to Kapalua and the Honolua General Store instead of abandon their houses and the people making my creme brulee would still be there.

We settled for a pineapple slushy and sat outside on the veranda enjoying the view. It is amazing that the weather in Hawaii changes so little (I am remembering from my past trips). It is always 80 degrees in the afternoon and 70 at night with a light breeze and some clouds.

In the afternoon we went walked to the beach from our condo and I played in the surf while my wife watched for whales. I could get used to this.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hawaii Day 1

Ah Yes, our annual ritual of sitting on the beach on Maui to watch whales has begun. Actually we arrived yesterday but since we didn't go to the beach and it did start in SLC with freezing temps and shoveling snow I don't want to count it.

Our condo is acceptable and our rental car is a piece. Now, rather than appointing a car for you they send you out into the lot to scurry around picking the best one. I wasn't that lucky. When I got there my choices were one that smelled like someone had lit a pack of cigarettes on fire in it, closed the windows, in 100 degree heat, and left it for a week. The one we did choose was apparently the lot car. It has 27,000 miles on it. I think this is a lot for a rental. And it has a lot of scratches. Like someone was using it in a domolition durby in the parking lot when things got slow. Not that I am complaining.

Today we went to Costco to load up on the essentials. Food and liquor. I bought the professional size (there wasn't a smaller one - but it didn't cost a lot) and figure if there is some left someone else can enjoy it when I leave. Did I mention it didn't cost a lot.

We also went to the swap meet at the College. It is more like our farmer's market, lots of booths selling everything from carved totems to local scenery paintings. There are also a lot of local produce stands where I got some papayas, a pineapple and various condiments (onions, basel, fresh ginger, garlic).

We are off and running.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The National Stage Brings Out Some Crackpots

The Haitian disaster has brought the best out in some. It brings out the worst in others.

Rush Limbaugh is saying President Obama is somehow racially motivated by his relief reaction to the disaster. That seems really cruel and detatched from any form of reality. Why would you attack a person, any person, who was trying to help others in need. Someone needs to check Rush's medication.

Televangelist Pat Robertson is saying the people in Haiti have made a pact with the devil and this is the consequence. God is about love and caring and so called Christians who take an opportunity like this to admonish someone rather than reach out their hands to help are harmful and not of God.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome Response

It is a horrible thing that has happened to the Haitian people. The perfect storm for earthquakes. The quake was shallow (less than 6 miles down - which intensifies the quake), it was big, over 7.0 on the Richter Scale, and it occurred in a populous place, more than 2 million people lived within 5 miles, 6 million within 20 miles, with little or no control on buildings to be earthquake proof.

The devastation is evident from the pictures that are being sent back. Every building seems flattened, bodies are lined up along the streets and large crowds gathering because they have nothing else to do and nothing to go back to. This was a country on the brink of anarchy before this massive disaster. Our prayers go out to everyone there.

It was wonderful to see the President of the United States marshaling resources to their aid. Secretaries Gates and Clinton have cut short their schedules to return to Washington DC to organize relief for Haiti. We can't prevent what has happened, we can work to make it as livable as possible for those who are alive there. The worst thing we can do is to give these people the sense that we don't care.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Palin as Political Pundit

Sarah just keeps getting funnier and funnier. Now she is on Fox News as a political analyist. Isn't that like making Yogi Berra a commentator for NASA. He knows his stuff in his chosen profession but what does he know about deep space?

I'm sure they won't get anyone tough like Katie Couric to ask her questions, or have her go into detail about things like the difference between North Korea and South Korea. I hope she has a taller house now so she can see more countries out of her window.

God Bless Ya Sarah, don't be forgettin' your roots when you talk all high falutten about importan' thins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

McGuire Doesn't Admit Much Else

I watched the interviews with Mark McGuire where he admits using steroids. Then the interview takes a strange turn.

He said he took steroids to help him heal faster and not to improve his performance. He said he would have hit 70 home runs in 1998 without steroids. He was doing so well when he took an immediate left turn from reality.

First, even if he was only helping himself return to play faster he had an advantage. He also said steroids wouldn't help him with hand-eye coordination. Even though a commentator said steroids do improve your eyesight and any improvement could mean the difference between a hit and a popup, even if steroids didn't improve his contact with the ball it surely made the difference between just a long out and a home run on more than one occasion.

It is too bad Mark McGuire is not coming clean. He is not taking responsiblity for his actions and it looks like he is doing what he is doing only because he wants a job with the Cardinals as a hitting coach. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Monday, January 11, 2010

McGuire Admits Steroid Use

The Cardinal's former slugger, Mark McGuire, who hit 70 home runs in 1998 to break the single season home run record, a record held by Roger Maris at 61 since the 1960s, admitted he was under the influence of performance enhancing steroids at the time.

Really? Just because McGuire came from relative obscurity with the Oakland As to the height of Baseball fame as his yearly home run totals grew right along with his arms and legs is no reason to suspect he didn't do it on his own. Just because others in baseball were admitting using steroids at the same time and some suggested he was part of this, is no reason to doubt him when he said he wasn't part of this blemish on baseball.

If you look at photos of Mark McGuire as an A and as a Cardinal you can see the dramatic change. When the story of steroids in baseball originally broke about 10 years ago we all thought McGuire was among it's most frequent users, but he denied it.

When baseball players were asked by congress about steroids in baseball Mark McGuire adamantly denied using them. Of course he had retired by the time they got around to him so there was no ability to force his cooperation and sanction him if he was found to be lying.

The really sad thing is that this is all about timing. Jose Canseco was the first to publicly announce his use of steroids in baseball and he wrote a book about who he saw using steroids. For his efforts he was ostracized from baseball and now struggles with the effects of unregulated use of a controlled substance, addiction and side effects. In an hour long news program about him I learned Canseco is broke and has lost his long term girlfriend because he can't get a handle on these issues.

Mark McGuire weathered the storm, at least publicly, because he refused to come clean. Now he is enjoying the financial benefits of being a top baseball producer and we assume if he is suffering with the effects of his steroid use, at least he has some funds to pay for this recovery.

You may ask why would Mark McGuire say anything about this now. It turns out he wants a job in baseball as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. How convenient for him. He is now willing to say something because he wants a job, not just to tell the truth as Jose Conseco did.

This just doesn't seem fair. Of course I have been told fair is where a pig gets a blue ribbon, but I don't think McGuire should be rewarded for not telling the truth until it is to his benefit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frustratingly Uncooperative

Today I heard the police describe Joshua Powell as "frustratingly uncooperative". He is the husband of the Salt Lake woman, Susan Powell, who went missing on December 7. I would like to think the cops have a handle on this case but it has been more than a month since his wife disappeared under suspicious circumstances and this is all they can say?

It sounds like West Valley's finest aren't putting enough pressure on dear Joshua. He is a person of interest but he has not been charged with anything. I'm not for police brutality or violating someone's civil rights, but they should put poor Joshua in a room with the detectives from Law and Order for a few hours or call in the Las Vegas CSI team. It would seem the confession would come streaming out just because he is intimidated by the men and women in blue.

Of course the real world works differently. You have to have evidence to get a search warrant and you have to have proof to charge someone. It just seems Susan has vanished, literally, without a trace. If the cops had anything on Mr. Powell he would not be free to move about the country. From the interviews with Joshua Powell and the background that the media has uncovered, he just doesn't seem bright enough to get away with masterminding his wife's disappearance.

You would hope that the West Valley Police Department did all they could to gather and preserve evidence in the beginning. You would hope they are tirelessly following up on leads and working on getting as much information from their person of interest as possible, even if he is "frustratingly uncooperative".

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Amerellen Idol

I was watching the same news channel where I learned that the governmental agencies charged with protecting us from terrorism is run by 5th graders and I heard Ellen DeGenneres will host American Idol in place of Simon Cowell.

Isn't that like putting Mr. Rogers in charge of death row at Attica? She will have every contestant over to her house and give them hot cocoa. Not that I approved of Simon's demeaning way of telling those people his staff chose to display that they really had no talent, but can Ellen really be critical? I don't see it yet. Of course I haven't watched American Idol for several years so I guess I won't ever see it.

Just to keep you up on the latest public policy decision, the H1N1 vaccine is now available for everyone, and if we hurry we can get the polio vaccine also.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Spin the Wheel

Big News Yesterday! Leno Goes Back to Late Night!!!!!!!

I know they are trying to drum up interest in the NBC golden boy but this isn't news. News is current affairs, world events, human interest stories.

So Jay isn't doing as well in prime time as he was in late night. The critics have crusified his show as lacking interest and content. It think it is the same show as late night, its just that in prime time people have more choices.

I'm not knocking the Jay Leno Show, I like watching it, but its like a cream puff, all looks and no substance. I think the jokes are mainstream, the guests always are A list but don't do anything on the show but promote their latest project, and the music is a jazzy version of muzak. And its the same thing whether you watch it in prime time or late night.

Now Jay has negotiated a return to late night for only a half an hour, pushing Conan and Jimmy Fallon back a half an hour. First I don't think Conan is funny. Jay is juvenile in his approach to comedy and Conan makes Jay look sophisticated.

As a side, Jimmy Fallon must be pissed. He has to follow Conan and now he will be a half hour later. I have watched Jimmy Fallon's show a few times and think he is funny, too bad he is on so late. NBC should put Fallon on after the news, Jay after that and let Conan go to another network as he has threatened.

All this was reported on the news channels yesterday like it was of national importance. I know Jay Leno has a lot of pull at NBC and his attempt at a version of the Tonight Show in prime time was a gamble, but I don't see the relevence to the war in Afganistan or global warming. This may be entertainment but it isn't news.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Intellegence II

OK so the President says the buck stops with him. He says no one in particular is to blame for the failure in uncovering the December 25th attempted attack aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He says now someone will be assigned to the task of following up on leads that may lead to future attacks.

That doesn't make me feel safe. What the heck were the "intellegence" community doing? Weren't they supposed to be doing this already? What aren't they doing that they should be doing?

I don't think it is a total lack of common sense on their part. I believe it is the legacy of the cold war that has made everyone so paranoid that they suspect even others in their agency. That posture is damaging to our safety and needs to be stopped.

Agencies should stop worrying about who is defecting and who is getting the upper hand. They should work together to fight this war on terror. Like the Viet Cong and Al Queda, we are still fighting by the old rules while the enemy invents new ways to destroy us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I was watching the Nightly News with Jon Stewart. I know his show is not the real news but satire. Still he said some interesting things. Like the Colbert Report, it is so funny it hurts, or it hurts so much it is really funny.

He was drawing the comparison between the latest bombing attempt on NW flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit and a shoe bomber who failed 8 years ago.

Both paid cash for their one-way flights. Both were flying internationally without luggage and both were in the CIA's field of view as potential problems. Both used PETN and both were subdued by passengers. Jon said we should have at least been looking for the same pattern 8 years later. The only difference in our readiness in 8 years is that we have to take our shoes off at airport security.

What crafty maniacs that they so cleverly disguised their actions after the first attempt that by doing all the same things except relocate the explosives 3 feet away they were able to again almost pull off their daring plot. But for the incompetence of the operative and the brave passengers around him they might have suceeded. What next, wait a few years, convince a known terrorist to fly from a Western European capital to the United States on a one-way ticket without luggage and then completely change things by puting the PETN in his hat?

Also someone should have looked at the most recents bomber's destination. Flying one way to Detroit in the winter? What was he looking for, a better life? a job?

So funny it hurts, or is that it hurts so bad it is funny?

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolution

It's kind of like thinking about your age on your birthday. Every time the year clicks over my mind goes to those things that were, that might have been and what I want to accomplish next year. I would like to change this and relax more.

As Billy Crystal in "City Slickers" laments, in part, in a long monologue at his son's school for career day "don't let these days pass you by". Of course he is talking to 4th graders and most of it goes way over their heads, but it is a really funny part in a really funny movie.

I heard a really good message on Sunday about how to view the next year. It was to look at the new year as a view through your windshield. Your rear view mirror is by comparison very small because it is meant to provide a glimpse to the rear, the majority of your focus should be forward. I like that analogy. I will endeavor to look ahead and not dwell on the past. I will further endeavor to be positive, love all, be nice (some who know me will bet against this), listen more, talk less and follow my heart.

Stuff, some of it not so nice, is going to happen. What I do about it is up to me. I can't prevent it from happening, but I can help how it affects me.

I will try not to get to anxious. This too may be a long shot. Life takes time and a lot of the truly blessed things that have happened to me have not been because they were expected but have come as a surprise.

As someone much more profound than me once said "Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift. That is why they call it the present". I endeavor to treat my life more as a present.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Dude Abides

I picked up a new book today called "The Dude Abides - The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers.

I have seen a few of the Coen Brothers movies and thought the book would be a fun poke at some of the quirky characters developed in these films. What I found was a deep, disciplined examination of the relationship theology - the study of religion, plays in the characters and screenplays of these film making brothers.

The book calls the Coen Brothers "secular theologians" in that they don't profess an overt relationship with God, but through their films the themes of the Bible are examined and continually played out by the characters.

The Coen Brothers have to their credit such cinematic gems as Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, the Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Lady Killers, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading and 6 others.

The book reveals that the themes of these films are generic and universal. The order in the world can be upset and there are consequences, not necessarily for those you would have thought or in the measure you expected, but that is part of the gospel also.

The book espouses 14Coenmandments:

1. What goes around comes around. Even though divine intervention happens from time to time, don't count on it to save you from your sins.
2. Every action has a reaction. What you do has consequences, even if you don't see them immediately.
3. Don't mistreat women. They're all special ladies.
4. Whatever you try to hide, somebody will discover. In other words, your sins will find you out.
5. It is better to be kind than to be right, and love always wins.
6. Take chances. Don't be paralyzed by doubt or fear.
7. Beware of false piety. Sometimes there's a stranger in your midst come to destroy you.
8. Don't get too hung up on dogma and legalism. That's just, like your opinion, man.
9. All moments might be key moments. Act like they are.
10. No one knows the quality of a person's heart except for God.
11. When it comes to suffering, don't ask why. There's no good answer.
12. No one really knows anyone completely. Remember, you only know what a person chooses to let you know.
13. Be compassionate, respectful and generous - especially to strangers. You never know when you might be talking to a lamed-vavnik, a prophet, or an angel in disguise.
14. You don't know what God is thinking. So quit acting like you do.

I have seen several of the the Coen Brother's movies. I like them because they are visually interesting and word dense. The Coen Brothers like words and use a lot of them. There are a lot of quotable quotes in each of the movies. In fact several of the Coenmandments above have references to several of their movies. Much like their movies there are a lot of inside jokes and self deprecating references.

The book "The Dude Abides" is written by the theologian and religious columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Cathleen Falsani. She has a very entertaining and thought provoking message about something that is rare in movies. A storyline that makes you think about more than just how to get out of the parking lot after the flick is over.

I heard someone on a talk show describe a Coen Brothers film as needing to be seen more than once so you could get the plot out of the way and watch the complex interplay between characters without having to guess where the story was going. All the Coen Brothers movies I have seen are, to me, funny cinema and worth watching.

After reading this book I will look at these movies differently. Not just as a two hour diversion from reality, but I will look for the theology.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy New Year. May this year bring you love, joy, prosperity and a sense of wonderment. May you fulfill your wishes and achieve your goals this year. Mostly, may it be a better year than last year.

Frankly I am glad 2009 is over. Financially it was a horrible year. I saw my 401 evaporate faster than the value in my house. Otherwise the year had its ups and downs.

I am also glad the decade is over. Not because of 8 years of Republican rule, ignoring the Constitution and silly foreign policy decisions, but I digress. But because of the name.

What do you call that decade? The "oughts"?, the "2000's"? or the "beginning of the 21st century"? None of these seem satisfactory. Now that this decade is over we can get on to the teens and then the twenties and, well you get it.

The really cool thing is that today is 1/1/10. Enjoy it.