Monday, June 30, 2008

Words I Will Never Be Able to Spell


I did manage to memorize "parallel," but the rest are just too dang hard.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Amado accidently had his first exposure to Tabasco yesterday when he ate my tofu dog. I wish you could have seen it. I really do.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Martini and a Cigarette

Karl Rove: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."

Rove's referring to Obama, and making the case that he's arrogant. So I'm going to take a quick poll here:

How many of you visit country clubs?

And I'm going to agree with Rove that Michelle Obama is beautiful. But how many of you agree that you "know this guy"?

Who knows what the heck he's talking about?

So who's the arrogant one?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

E2W Location Tour

I am in Vancouver checking out the locations where our Emerging 2 Where? event will be held July 11-12. Above is St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church where Diane Butler Bass will speak on Friday. On Saturday we will have a day of presentations and workshops featuring Butler Bass, Karen Ward, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Anna Christie, Gary Paterson, and yours truly. Really great locations and the event is shaping up to be something really special too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Healer

Even though this rascal has made us sick by bringing home daycare germs, he's still our little healer who brings so much joy and love into our lives. This picture reminds me of the cover of John Lee Hooker's album, The Healer.

By the way, the kid is now 29 months old!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I heard a review of the movie Blindness, which opened the Cannes Film Festival this year. Blindness is based on the book by Portuguese writer, Jose Saramago. Not all the reviews are great, but thinking about storyline of the film has kept me up late into the night--and at times terrified at the thought that something like this could actually happen.

In the movie and the book, thousands (perhaps millions) are suddenly stricken by a mysterious contagious blindness. The victims aren't lost in darkness, but in a terrible whiteness. There is a horrible attempt to quarantine those with the disease, but as more and more become blind, society begins to fall apart and an even more horrible sightless, chaotic anarchy takes over.

Imagining what would happen if all the world actually became suddenly blind is chilling. I thought about how I would tie a rope linking Amado, Wendy, and I so we could grope for food and water without the fear of losing each other.

But, of course, the story is an allegory. Maybe a hint reminding us of that which we have already lost sight of. But you don't need me to tell you that.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Imagine Obama vs. Arnold!

Before the primaries started there was talk of repealing the rule that only those born in the U.S. could be president so that people like Arnold Schwarzenegger could run. If that had happened I would bet my boots he would have gotten the Republican nomination.

Imagine Obama vs. Arnold! Now that would be a race!

They are equals in charisma (though Arnold's not really my type). Each could raise tons of money. Both bring new political directions into their parties. One has (or had) mass. The other has (or had) mass appeal. The debates would have made amazing television.

I'm not sure that the real race is going to be as interesting, but I'm open to being surprised.

(And by the way boys, it's summer so get those trunks on!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beautiful Light Tonight

Click to see the larger version.


I had a dream last night that each time I eat bacon (I pick up a egg & bacon bagel for breakfast a couple times a week), it turns instantly into pure fat the moment I put it into my mouth. "You might as well be eating a lard sandwich," the narrator of the dream told me.

I'm having trouble interpreting this dream. Can anybody help me figure it out?

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Walk Home from Kindergarten

Here's a little map tracing my walk home from Belevedere Elementary in East LA where I went to kindergarten and part of 1st grade. I'm pretty sure I didn't walk home without my parents most of the time, but I do remember at least a couple times when I walked home with the "big kids" on my block, who probably were in 5th or 6th grade (they made fun of my hippie medallion). I don't think many people would let their little kids walk home alone nowadays. But those, of course, were different times.

Here's a link to the original.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Canada Apologizes for Native Residential Schools

There is no end to the wound that Canada's residential school policy caused First Nations people. Hopefully today's national apology will help some measure of healing to begin. There is still a long way to go.

In the first formal apology ever delivered by a Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons on Wednesday to say sorry to former
students of the government's native residential school program.

"Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools," Harper said in Ottawa, surrounded by a small group of aboriginal leaders and former students, some of whom wept as he spoke.

"The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history.

"Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country," he said to applause.

"The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language," Harper said.

"While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities."

(From the National Post. Also see the Globe and Mail.)

To read some of the sad stories of residential school survivors, see here and here.

The United Church of Canada, where I work, was involved running residential schools for the government along with other religious denominations. The United Church apologized to the First Nations people in 1986 and has continued to make healing and reconciliation with First Nations a top priority, which I think is important to do for an institution that wants to follow in the way of Jesus.


Much to my wife's chagrin, I love Maukie the cat. Look, the kitty follows your cursor! Turn your volume up and you can hear purrs. You can get your own Maukie here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How Hillary Went Wrong

I would have bit the bullet and voted for Hillary had she won the nomination (sorry, but I still have some skepticism about the Clintons from Bill's tenure, and rightly or wrongly, it rubbed off on her). (And yes, I'm voting from Canada.) In fact, I was planning on it. But she didn't win, and The New York Times offers some various perspectives on "what happened." I agree with Ana Maria Cox' assessment below: Hillary's campaign played to old fears and paradigms that many of us have left behind.
Hillary Clinton’s 1998 invocation of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” put her squarely among those Richard Hofstadter classified as practitioners of the “paranoid style of American politics,” those for whom “what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish.”

Barack Obama spoke of a world without these Manichean dualities. He dismissed the notion of “red” and “blue” America. He refused to demonize his preacher or Iran, and painted governance in a palette of grays. Mrs. Clinton could not see anything in terms that were not — it pains me to use this metaphor — black and white.

And similar thoughts from Frank Rich:

Mr. Obama is a liberal, but it’s not your boomer parents’ liberalism that is at the heart of his appeal. He never rattles off a Clinton laundry list of big federal programs; he supports abortion rights and gay civil rights with a sunny bonhomie that makes the right’s cultural scolds look like rabid mastodons. He is not refighting either side of the domestic civil war over Vietnam that exploded in his hometown of Chicago 40 years ago this summer, long before he arrived there.

He has never deviated from his much-quoted formulation in “The Audacity of Hope,” where he described himself as aloof from “the psychodrama of the baby boom generation” with its “old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago.” His vocabulary is so different from that of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain that they often find it as baffling as a foreign language, even as they try to
rip it off.

The selling point of Mr. Obama’s vision of change is not doctrinaire liberalism or Bush-bashing but an inclusiveness that he believes can start to relieve Washington’s gridlock much as it animated his campaign. Some of that inclusiveness is racial, ethnic and generational, in the casual, what’s-the-big-deal manner of post-boomer Americans already swimming in our country’s rapidly expanding demographic pool. Some of it is post-partisan: he acknowledges that Republicans, Ronald Reagan included, can have ideas.

Tibetan Sky Burial....

...and a committee of hungry vultures waiting nearby. This photo is from an amazing collection of pictures by Zhuang Xueben from Tibet in the 1930s. Discovered via (and I keep saying this) one of my favourite blogs, Heading East.

I would not mind being "buried" this way. Better than the commercial North American way.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dry State

As a native Californian, I've been hearing all of life that LA and the rest of Southern Cal was built from a desert and eventually this desert would take it back again. Of course, everyone thought this desert reconquista would happen in some distant, apocalyptic future, certainly not in our lifetimes. That's why I'm surprised to read that the state is blocking new development projects until the developers find their own water sources that will last 20 years.

If you don't live in California, you might think this is a rather obvious move -- no building until you know where the water for the project is going to come from. But in California, where development is KING, it's mostly been done the other way around: build, then find the water. (See the movie Chinatown, about the California Water Wars, as one obvious example.)

So is this just another one of California's infamous droughts, or is California's natural ecosystem finally starting to take the land back?

It doesn't look good: “We have bad hydrology, compromised infrastructure and our management tools are broken,” said Timothy Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. “All that paints a fairly grim picture for Californians trying to manage water in the 21st century.”

This isn't great news for the California economy...especially for those like my brother who has a business in the housing industry. But I'm thinking if it wasn't a water shortage, then the gas prices would be slowing down development anyway. Can anyone still afford to commute to work in the city from some new house on the desert edge of suburbia? Time to be creative and think of some new ways of living. As long as it involves lots of new cabinetry made by my brother!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Amado at the Doctor's

Amado had a short visit (but a long wait) at the doctor's this afternoon. It wasn't a full check-up, but we did manage to weigh him: 34.5 lbs. / 15.6 kgs. Then we went home and had tofu dogs for dinner.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Top 5 Stylish Cholas

Top 5 Stylish Cholas, from Guanabee, via Tex(t)Mex, one of my favourite blogs I don't have time to read. Here's #5, just to tempt you to check out the other four: "Laura Esquivel -Famous for: Writing books, like Como Agua Para Chocolate, that make us kind of think about stepping into a kitchen, if only to have sex on the counter."


Just in case you wondered what I was doing in high school...this was shot at my first concert, Cal Jam II in 1978. George, Calvin and I squeezed up front for Ted Nugent, Heart, and Santana. Look for us in the crowd! And CRANK IT!

Here's the link if the one above doesn't work:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Look! New Glasses!

(Sorry, forgot to smile.)

Gone Surfing

I'm submerged with work these days, so I might as well grab a board and make an adventure out of it. See you back at the beach!