The King's Marquee

Election Day is finally here! Let's get out there an seal the deal for Trump and the American people! And don't forget to support the CTGOP under-ticket!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bring Back SchoolHouse Rock!

For those of us young (or old) enough to remember SchoolHouse Rock!, I ran across some of these great retro cartoon shorts that played in between popular cartoon shows on Saturday Morning's on ABC during the 70s and early 80s.

The videos are simplistic, the music is almost "folkish", but singable and sticks with you - in fact, God help you if one gets stuck in your head - "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly" and "A Noun's a person place or thing" come to mind. The stories wrapped around the lesson are fun and educational.

It's really unfortunate that shorts like these no longer air on Saturday mornings. Teaching kids about word usage, numbers, and a little bit of American History through the use of a jiggle is a great thing. How many kids today at the age of five can tell you how a Bill, becomes a Law or Recite the Preamble to the Constitution? Not many, I'm sure.

If you haven't seen these before - do a search on SchoolHouse Rock in Youtube, and you'll get a laugh. And some of you, like I did, will recall the songs nearly perfectly by memory. At a minimum, you'll certainly get a laugh!

A short history of Schoolhouse Rock! can be found here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

American Anglican Council Petition! Please disclose the expenditures and funding sources for these endless lawsuits!

The American Anglican Council sent this along. It's well worth the time and effort of anyone interested in helping traditional Christians in our the struggle against The national Episcopal Church's acts of aggression against churches and dioceses across the Nation.

Simply put, we want the Episcopal Church to disclose how they are funding the enormous number of lawsuits against churches, individuals, and dioceses. We demand full disclosure for who is paying the bill.

Please sign the petition!

You don't have to be Episcopalian or Anglican to help us!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sushi Review: Zhang's Restaurant of Mystic (Connecticut)

Zhang's Restaurant is one of those secret little places that is worth the visit when venturing in and around downtown Mystic, Connecticut. For us mariners who are sushi addicts, we tend to frequent port towns, and need to know where the best places are for delicious sushi and sashimi - because when the body goes on "red alert" for sushi or sashimi fix - well, you've got to get there fast! (Those who are sushi addicts absolutely know what I mean).

Zhang's is another one of those Chinese-Japanese combo restaurants that I'm often suspect of because I find that its quite rare that such a combination restaurant does proper justice to either menu style. Yet, Zhang's manages to consistently please both myself and my company with outstanding Japanese and Chinese style meals. While I always head for the sushi, I've sampled a number of Chinese dishes that are just wonderful! The chicken, vegetables, steak, and noddles are perfectly prepared and have a unique taste of oils and spices that you almost never find in the usual generic Chinese restaurant.

What can I say about Zhang's Sushi? For three years that I've been eating there, the quality of the fish is first rate! Sushi goers understand that when you eat fresh sushi, you usually get a "mini-high" but only IF - THE FISH IS FRESH. Well, I can tell you that the sting that you get from Zhang's Sushi is consistent, and perfect every time. Salmon, Tuna, Eel, Whitefish, what have you ... not a mediocre piece in the serving. And even the presentation matches the quality.

The portion size is excellent (which makes me wish I could move the whole restaurant to West Hartford), and the prices range from $15-17 for Sushi Regular and Sushi Deluxe respectively - pretty much average. I usually get the Sushi Deluxe because its so delicious that you want two more pieces of what is being served. And Sushi Deluxe comes with the perfect spicy tuna roll, that is slightly crunchy on top and prepared so well that you will want to start with it, and save a few pieces at the end of the meal so you can walk away from the table with it as your last memory!

The average Chinese dish ranges from $10 - 18 depending upon what you select (obviously there are more expensive dishes depending upon what you desire). And another positive is that they are VERY family friendly. I have to say that the wait staff makes every effort to interact with your children and do everything they can to please. Moreover, Zhang's accommodates children by cutting regular portion meals in half and charging half price - even though its not presented as an option on the menu. And even those portions are "take-home" size.

Also, on the option of Sushi rolls, Zhang's has quite an assortment of handmade Sushi rolls that are to die for. There are so many options, that you'll need to find a reason to travel to Mystic just to try them.

The only problem with eating at Zhang's, is that once you eat their Sushi, it makes all of the restaurants up our way seem like they're serving grade "B" fish. When you set the bar that high for your palette, everything else is a tough sell!

So, I think I've popped about as much as I can for a Sushi Restaurant. What can I say, they deserve it. Oddly enough, Zhang's doesn't seem to have an online web page (that I can find) so I can't share the menu with you. But they are winners of many awards including Connecticut Magazine, Zagats (2004-2007), and others. So for folks, who don't feel like standing in a long line to dine at Mystic Pizza, you might want to venture down the street and give Zhang's a try.

Zhang's is located at 12 Water Street, Mystic (Groton side of the bridge next to Voodoo Lounge and Margarita's).

Bon Appetite!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Petit Case: Judge agrees that its capital felony material

It was good to read this week that Connecticut State Attorney Michael Dearington will seek the death penalty against murdering thugs, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, who took the innocent lives of the Petit children and mother last week, after torturing and raping them, according to sources.

Further investigation shows that the geniuses over at the State of Connecticut Parole Board had incomplete information when they decided to release the two murdering thugs, Steven Hayes, Joshua Komisarjevsky from prison.

West Hartford's own Bob Farr, who joined the parole board in February, should provide State attorneys and investigators access to all pertinent information, and all methods and transcripts used to determine whether or not someone should be set free. Bob Farr, as a neighbor and West Harfordite, we look to you to clamp down on what is obviously an open sewer portal. You can't change what happened last week, but you can make sure that fewer rats slip through the cracks.

My personal view on the entire judicial system is that we need to focus less on criminal rights and more on the rights of law abiding citizens. This is yet another example where the judicial system failed again, and liberals - focused on the rights of criminals, rapists, murderers, thieves, drug dealers and the lot have hurt us once again.

For the record, its a fact - liberals are soft on crime and sentencing for villains in our midst. Conservatives and normal people believe that the Steven Hayeses and Joshua Komisarjevskys, and their friends aught to be put to death by the incineration as quickly as possible. No pony shows, no time allowed for liberals and religious anti-death penalty zealots to act up, just a quick, painful death. Sound tough? Well, tough s**t! Ask poor Mr. Petit, who will have to live with this nightmare for the rest of his life.

Also, check out the excerpts folks. It's a heart breaker. And yet there are actually people in this world criticizing the decision to seek the death penalty. Yeah, and those are the people who are on the public dole willing to sell out our safety to keep two murderers alive and well. You have to ask, what kind of person would have no sense of morality and common decency. Just ask Robert Nave and Thomas Ulman. They seem to be in the villain's court.

Mr. Dearington, put them out of business for good!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Star Trek XI News: Quinto as "Spock"

As rumors abound, this one is actually true.

As most "Trekkies" are aware, Star Trek XI is in the works, and the story (unconfirmed but widely accepted) is currently being toted as the early days of James T. Kirk and Spock at Star Fleet Academy. This is good news for those of us that are ardent fans of the original Star Trek (now dubbed "Star Trek: The Original Series or ST: TOS).

It was announced today that Zachary Quinto has been cast in the role of Spock. Although he played villain "Sylar" in "Heroes", I'm not very familiar with Qunito as an actor, but most are giving a thumbs up to his selection. Here is a good synopsis on Quinto's acting career.

There are rumors that Matt Damon may be cast as James T. Kirk, but most sites flying this rumor are also stating that Adrien Brody was to play Spock, and Gary Sinise would play Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Good likeness on Sinise with DeForest Kelley (McCoy), but I don't know that I'd be sold on Damon. Star Trek acting is a franchise-type of role that may warrant additional films and endless convention appearance. A lot of actors want to steer clear of these types of roles because once played, its hard to shake the label.

Star Trek fans have been doing a lot of whining since the writers "rolled back the clock" to launch the Star Trek series "Enterprise" which took place in the Pre-Kirkian era. I was a huge fan of Enterprise and found the criticism of the show pretty narrow-minded; the outspoken fans weren't interested in learning about the "history of Star Fleet" and were more interested in the left-wing stories of transsexual creatures lead by a fema-nazi Captain Janeway. The Janeway character lost me forever, when during one episode she made a sarcastic, condescending comment about both Captain's Kirk and Sulu. After all, who is hell is Janeway, to criticize two the of the greatest Captains in Star Fleet history, hmm? That would be like one of today's generals criticizing General George Washington, General Horatio Gates, or even Nathan Hale. We don't let our heroes (pretend or not) get raked over the coals by non-factor characters that lose ships in the Delta Quadrant.

The problem with the Star Trek franchise in recent years has always been the new age, anti-Christian, anti-war fan base that Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Voyager fostered. Both shows drifted from the idea that good stories, like the ones in Star Trek: TOS, could carry the show without insulting, or scolding the fans with mind-numming liberalism. Yeah, sure - Kirk was a bit of a cowboy - taking risks and kicking Klingon but. And Picard was a big talking wimp, always kissing Star Fleet's rear end and seeking a peaceful solution to every problem he encountered. Don't get me wrong... I am still a fan of TNG, but I loved James T. Kirk. Much probably has to do with the halarity in his protrayal by William Shatner. Shatner just played Kirk so well that he's just hard to beat. Although I have to say the Kirk of TOS was better than the more quirky Kirk in the Star Trek movies.

The only fear that REAL Star Trek fans have is the hope and prayer that character evolution is at a minimum. We don't want to see the kind of re-imaging that was done to Battlestar Galactica (despite its success). Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov - are all time immortal - perfect as they are. They are the holy of holy relics, to be left alone, unchanged by twisted writers with poor imaginations and large agendas.

The current release date for Star Trek XI is set for Christmas 2008. Pray they don't screw this up.

Zydeco under the Stars in West Hartford

One of the best local activities of the summer has got to be the Elizabeth Park Wednesday Night concert series (schedule here) which starts on June 27th and runs through August 29th. It's a great time for friends and family to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and dinner of choice and hang out, socialize, and even dance under the stars to the music of various bands from different genres. It is the best run, best attended music series in the region!

For the annual attendees, it's really a fun reunion of sorts, as each year, the same familiar faces tend to meet up with each other, and catch up on the latest news and gossip while listening to the sounds of some darn good amateur bands.

Most amazing is that the event is very typically "West Hartford" to the point where you just look around and giggle to yourself. The diversity on the green matches West Hartford's - often disregarded diversity of population. On one side of us, a group of well-dressed ladies were drinking $150 bottles of wine and enjoying select cheese carvings, to our right - another group of younger guys were sitting around drinking bud light and munching on ham sandwiches. And then a bus pulled up and out popped about twelve members of the senior community (we helped set up their chairs), and then you have the "who's who" in town - back at the edge of the rose garden hanging out at the tent sipping IPA and gabbing about the latest town scandals.

And of course, mixed in, there are the West Hartford families - with lots of children (including my own) running around, singing, dancing, and laughing! This is the blend that makes West Hartford a great community!

And no matter what music is playing (the bands range from Country to Symphonic), its always a great time. And it makes "hump day" a little easier for us working folks!

Last night was the always anticipated, always loved - "Zydeco Night" staring River City Slim & the Zydeco Hogs! The fast beat, and cheerful Louisiana style music made everyone get up and dance their hearts out in front of the stage! Even I got up to the stage with my laughing two year old daughter and did a little Zydeco shuffle. There's something about Zydeco that tends to bring out the positive vibes, and smiles everywhere - and last night was no different.

Thanks to the Elizabeth Park Committee and organizers for making this series possible! All of us appreciate all of the hard work and organization that it takes to make this wonderful element of West Hartford Life possible.

And if you live locally, and haven't been to a concert - you are missing out. Stop by next Wednesday around 6:30 pm, set up shop, and enjoy the atmosphere! Oh, in did I mention that its also - FREE.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Petit Family Tragedy: A Cautionary Tale For Us All! Pray for Dr. Petit and his Family.

Like everyone else, we've been glued to our television set watching the horrific story unfolding in neighboring Cheshire, Connecticut about the Petit Family triple-murder, and we've found ourselves praying for the recovery of Dr. William Petit, who is recovering from an attack at the hands of the villains. It's been gut-wrenching to watch the footage, and one can't help and think about the safety and well-being of one's own family in this dangerous, and sick world.

I won't go into the gory details in this column about what's been learned, but you can read the story here if you've been somehow disengaged from current affairs. It's enough to keep you up at night. And simply cry out, "How can this be?"

I really can't bring myself to rant about such a tragic story. But its enough to acknowledge that it happened, and hope to God that swift and true justice is brought to the two cowards - nothing short of given a quick death sentence for such a brutal and hateful crime.

Mrs. Petit in many ways is a hero to the greater community. Her brave and fatal action of tipping off the bank teller may have resulted in the Police appearing on the scene just in time to apprehend the two villains. Had she not taken the risk, those sick SOBs may still be at large, and planning their next heinous crime wave.

If there is anything at all we can glean from this story it is to be focused. Protect your families and children. Take nothing for granted, and assume nothing. This is not a call for paranoia, but a call to be vigilant. Friends, take this incident as a cautionary tale. Please take the time to discuss it with your family.

Please pray for the souls of those who passed, and for Dr. Petit and his extended family. Obviously, Dr. Petit has the toughest road of all to travel. I cannot imagine the thoughts racing through this poor man's head as he sits in the hospital trying to put the pieces together. I pray that his Church and community help him and guide him, and God gives him strength in the coming days and years.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tests that West Hartford Police may use to find the cartoon drawing maniac!

I wrote in one of my most recent posts that whoever drew up and mailed the cartoon that depicted (and I haven't seen it, so I'm going on the Courant's description) a student or teaching at a chalkboard with the Diary of Anne Frank stuffed in their mouth or something to that effect - to the opponents of the recent referendum (or in other words - folks who were on the side of raising taxes to support their agenda) who spoke at a recent West Hartford open session - was just plain dumb.

On the West Hartford Blog, a comment was made that the writers/contributors to the blog may need to be subpoenaed by police. First, I don't believe that anyone on the blog is guilty of sending the cartoon out. Most of the folks on the blog care about the town, and would rather argue the issues to death, and take cheap shots at each other through electronic medium instead of doing something as lowdown and childish as mailing a cartoon out to the speakers supporting taxes.

Second, there is no indication that anyone, by their words, is guilty of any crime whatsoever. And if Whdad is doing his job as "Blog Moderator", he's verifying who is who, since real emails are required before anyone can post. I can happily say that I reached out to Whdad months ago with my real name and information, just as sort of - courtesy. I also offered on three occasions to chat on the phone and provided him my name and number, etc. But he's probably too busy to take me up on the offer. I know he's seen the emails because on at least one occasion he responded with a promise to reach out. Sadly, I haven't heard from him. I can understand his hesitation, I'm sure he doesn't want wackjobs calling his home, or stopping by, so he keeps a low profile.

Third, let's use a little logic here. It would no further make sense to have a writer on West Hartford Blog investigated by police than it would to have:

1. The West Hartford Taxpayers Association crew
2. All members of the West Hartford Teacher's Union (perhaps they sent it to deflect from the debate)
3. Anyone who went to the Public Forum
4. Anyone in town with access to Channel 5 local television (which repeats the broadcast over and over).
5. Anyone who has friends or relatives with access to Channel 5. After all, they might have watched the broadcast on their friend's/relatives' television and scribbled down everyone's name and address.

Ok, so you get my point. Eventually, the guilty party will be located by WHPD and fined or arrested, or both. And that's the way it should be. And you know, that person will brag to the wrong person or group and they will be ratted out to the police. It never fails that someone "that clever" usually gets found.

Personally, I hope that this doesn't undermine public debate in this town. I honestly like to hear and see proponents of increasing taxes talk at the podium on Channel 5 - because their very presence galvanizes the fiscal responsibility folks and gets them to participate and vote where it counts.

In the meantime, if West Hartford Police decides to go the route of investigating all those above they may want to use one of the following tests to find the guilty party:

Four second drawing test
Clock drawing test
Pig drawing test
Personality Test
Crime Test

Saturday, July 21, 2007

General thoughts on Blogs, Upcoming Posts & Stuff

It's a beautiful Saturday here in West Hartford. Moderate temperatures of about 83 degrees and sunny which is just the way we like it. So I'm sitting here on the sun porch while one daughter naps in her pack n play to the sound of Mozart, and the other plays in front of me with her "kitchen". I think she makes better coffee with her play set than I do.

Last night, after putting the youngsters down, I opted to have a few Weissbiers and thought about some of the posts I'd like to put together on a variety of topics. As you've seen, I either post on something current, or some news items that warrants opinion, or just some random thoughts that come to mind. After surveying a number of blogs, I find that its pretty much the same story everywhere - although I think the blogs that do best do so because they are narrowly focused on a single topic - like fishing reports, raising a young child, or cooking. Chances are that these sites are going to attract all kinds of traffic based on a Google search on a certain topic or comfortable and consistent constituency.

For my part, I've toyed with creating a few other blogs on specific areas of interest, but I really think that these blogs would require far greater attention, more maintenance, and the call for regular content is more demanding by readers. Given the amount of time and energy that I lack by the time I get around to this blog, I think I will stick with the blog style I currently have.

I appreciate the loyal readership by close friends, and the occasional repeat visitors. I'm surprised at how often I get requests for counter-discussion and posts. Sadly, many are poorly written and often serve as an attempt to publish their own agenda - these posts are often rejected. This blog is about my views on things, and is not a public forum to exchange thoughts and debate. West Hartford Blog, where I often post, is loosely moderated and the forum often turns into a bloody mess. But it would be a full time job to try and moderate that much traffic, particularly when the topics tend to be political hot-button issues. So for my sanity, I am better off not getting involved in setting up that type of site - too much work, and what is done is under-appreciated.

While, I plan to continue my posting here on public issues here and there. I will be dedicating some time in between ramblings on things - blog filler - such as UFOs, monsters in the sea, ghosts, etc that have people scratching their heads, to more sutle discussions on Beer, Family Life, Culture, Fishing, and other matters of interest.

For now, this serves its purpose. I practice my writing skills (which have diminished since the advent of email which requires short, half-baked, poorly spelled thoughts), a retreat and hobby, and a chance to tell the world what I think.

One other thing that is worth mentioning.... is to respond to the question of why I don't include my real name on the posts. I can tell you that I would if I could. And I think that "I" as a person deserve credit for my thoughts and writings, original or not. But, unfortunately, we live in a world where people do not respect the opinion of others. And some take their dissension too far - as in the case recently where brave citizens (who I disagree with) exercising their public right and duty, took to the podium at a West Hartford Town forum on the budget, and for their efforts, received nasty cartoons in their home mailboxes.

So this is what its come to. I don't know who created these cartoons. It very well could have been someone on the pro-tax increase side trying to make some hay by taking the spotlight off the Council's inability to manage the budget and stirring things up by making it look like it was someone on the tax reduction side.

But notwithstanding, its these kinds of sick people, who make us all use screennames, and pseudonyms to vet our opinions. Some call us cowards. But I call us bright folks protecting our families and homes. It's the sickos you have to be worried about, not the average tax paying, normal working folk.

Friday, July 20, 2007

AAC Blog: Four Retired Bishops Call for Financial Transparency on Litigation

This story is from the American Anglican Council blog.

Looks like retired Bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC) are screaming for transparency for the funding of their parade of lawsuits.

Everyone I know has been of the opinion that TEC is endowed with tons of cash and a bottomless wallet. Well, it seems that this isn't the case. If the lawsuits go in the direction that they did in California, then perhaps its worth their while to struggle if they win in the end.

We can only hope that there are more sensible districts than the one in California.

Big East finally gets it Right!

I was pleased to open up the paper to see this story in the Hartford Courant regarding this year's schedule for UConn's Big East Basketball team.

The Big East will return to the format where they play at least every team in the Big East at least once during the season. Gone are the days, were true rivals might only meet up in the Big East Tournament, or even by chance in the NCAA Tournament.

Schedule makers deserve some credit for correcting a bad decision, even though its been a long time coming - since the 1998-99 season. This is good for RPI and allows the fans and teams to get a piece of every team.

Now, the question of how good UConn will be this year is a very interesting one. This season surely will not be as much of an embarrassment as the last.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

OK, if they weren't UFOs, then what were they?

About 100 people (some carrying digital cameras - as most people seem to do these days) witnessed five unidentified flying objects over Straford, UK.

Here is the link to the story with a pic in the background.

Has anyone noted what was picked up on radar at the time? Any thoughts by the British Government? Strangely enough, there was neither civilian or military air traffic at the time of sighting, so the report is interesting.

Sightings of this nature seem to be growing, or at least getting more attention nationally. And Governments seem to be taking it more seriously. Yesterday, a formal process was released to the media regarding how to handle UFO sightings in New Zealand.

So is the truth out there, or is it all in our imagination?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nessie Type Monster spotted in China! Banned Cartoon Site found

Chinese Nessie?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Chinese Water.... Chinese news is reporting this story.

Nessie's Cousin... Chang was spotted, and someone was quick to capture the "monster" on video.
It's worth a look! It might only be a big fish, but Chinese National TV found it interesting enough to run a story on, so we picked it up too.

Banned Cartoons found

And in the pro-freedom catagory, I thought I'd add this link to some of our most historic cartoons. It today's society, they would be considered stereotypical and offensive, but by yesterday's standards - some were downright patriotic. Particularly, those that poked fun at Adolf and his menacing allies.

While some may not appreciate the historical aspects of these cartoons, others do. While I wouldn't expect to see these cartoons to be aired on regular Saturday mornings, but I would like to see them showcased on World War II anniversaries, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Boycott Continental Airlines; they can't handle children

This is a hot button topic for me, so hold on tight.

First you should watch this story via Breitbart. In summary, the story is out of Atlanta, Georgia about how a two year old was chatting away (as two year olds do) and said, "Bye, bye plane". The airline stewardess apparently didn't like the little boy, or something to that effect. She further insisted that the mother use "Baby Benadryl" to keep her child quiet. When the mother refused to drug her child, the airline stewardess had the captain turn the plane around and they kicked the mother and child off the plane.

Seem ridiculous? It is. But there is more.

My family is planning a little travel vacation that will require some East Coast air travel. So the story is important to me as I begin to evaluate which airlines are "child-friendly" and which are not. The last thing I would want is to be turned around on my vacation, embarrassed, and upset because an airline can't handle the babblings of a two year old.

After reading this story, I decided to do a little digging on my own. After all, there are two sides to most every story. So I scanned for more information and pretty much determined that there wasn't anything out of the ordinary about the child's behavior (meaning he wasn't screaming, or leaving his seat or other types of violations) and I validated as far as I could from news stories, interviews, and the rest to warrant some additional concern about the drastic decision taken by Continental's flight staff.

I actually called Continental Airlines to find out what there policy is. I did so in a polite manner - after all, if I can determine that one airline isn't tolerant of children, then I will simply not include that airline in my price comparison search. Simple enough, right?

First, the customer service representative was apparently unaware of the matter. So its interesting to know that Continental Airline representatives are unaware of National Headline stories involving their airline.

Second, I told him what had happened and he tried to push the story off to something that happened four months ago. I explained the timing of the incident and advised him that I'm trying to understand the policy.

He was actually quite rude about the whole thing. He chalked it up to the notion that if the "airline stewardess felt uncomfortable then she has the right to request the plane be turned around." I tried to get the Continental Airlines customer service rep to comprehend the severity of the action taken simply because a child was talking. He wouldn't budge his position and said its related to homeland security. I don't see that a babbling child is a threat to homeland security but I proceeded on the issue.

He became further rude by trying to tell me that this was a reservation line and asked if I was going to make a reservation. I corrected him by telling him that I navigated to this line as it was an option for customer service - "questions, complaints, etc". Clearly, he wasn't capable of handling himself on behalf of Continental. He further asked, "what guarantees are you looking for?" I said, I wasn't looking for a guarantee, I just wanted to make sure that since I have two small children that Continental Airlines would be tolerant of their behavior and we wouldn't end up in the same situation as the lady from Georgia.

He wouldn't budge. He wouldn't offer any comments assuring me that children are welcome on Continental Airlines' planes. He didn't even encourage me to disregard the story and tell me "not worry about it."

No. Instead he cemented in my mind that Continental Airlines simply isn't tolerant of children. They have extreme expectations of parents and children, and will turn the plane around if anyone is one iota out of compliance.

So, after this wonderful discussion. I thanked the Customer Service rep and decided to write this story. My view is that until Continental Airlines can learn to deal with children as passengers - parents and families should avoid traveling with them.

Moreover, the notion of drugging a child to keep them quiet (and this was pretty much in terms of a threat - since the mom's decision not to, lead Continental to turn the plane around) should result in the immediate termination of not only the stewardess, but the entire flight crew. I'm quite sure the captain was aware of what was going on, and as the chief officer, he is responsible for the behavior of his crew. Furthermore, there have other stories published on the Internet regarding nearly exactly the same story - suggested drugging of a child by Continental staff - perhaps its the same one, or perhaps its a Continental Airlines training policy. I'm not sure which. Whatever it is -- its beyond unacceptable.

I would also like to suggest, that earlier this year, my year and half old daughter flew with us on American Airlines. American Airlines staff were more than accommodating and wonderful, they encircled my daughter, talked to her, and made her feel as comfortable as possible.

Perhaps Continental should take a lesson from the staff of American Airlines, in terms of customer service and how to treat families with children.

Until Continental Airlines gets their act together, I suggest that families avoid them at all costs. Clearly, they have a lot to learn in so many categories.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ghost Hunters - TAPS: Paranormal show review

Switching gears from my usual diatribe, I have to comment on a television show that I usually watch on Wednesday evenings courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel: Ghost Hunters. The show is about T.A.P.S. (The Atlantic Paranormal Society). TAPS is about two daytime plumbers, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, who turn into ghost hunters in the evening or weekends (not sure which) who travel to alleged hunted locations and attempt to either capture or disprove paranormal activity.

Previously, I commented on the show where they investigated Lisheen Ruins, which was mildly entertaining with some interesting phenomena captured - but nothing that gave you the "wow" factor. I've been watching the show since its inception thinking that it might rival Most Haunted (another show about ghost hunting see my story here). And I have to say that this season has been very disappointing. In fact, its been painful to watch. Which is why although I've been watching, there hasn't been enough interesting footage or dialogue witnessed to warrant the amount of time and effort it takes to write a review (even a fun, satiric one).

Ghost Hunters is a mixed bag. I believe that these guys are earnestly trying to catch or disprove that ghosts haunt dwellings and places. They use electronic tools and go about their work in a highly-professional manner - as opposed to having Derek Acohra running around feigning possession (reference to previous seasons of Most Haunted prior to Acohra being fired). There is no question on the sincerity of the TAPS group in what they hope to accomplish, and by the methodology employed. The problem is that the show is simply uneventful if not downright boring; instead of providing interesting footage of ghosts or moving chairs, or even noise that go bump in the night, it is mired with discussions about TAPS staff behavior, and lots of footage of running wire cables, and conducting technical set up (and break down), and silly discussions by the two younger investigators with footage of their foolish and misplaced antics - for example, a three minutes sequence where one was afraid of a spider (all seem very distracting, and why would we care?). Sadly, the best segments this season have been the tours of the sites prior to the investigation.

Ghost Hunters seems like its more about "how TAPS operates" than it is about ghost hunting, which is unfortunate. I have two theories on why this is. One is that they simply aren't catching enough phenomena (because there isn't any) so they are using all of the "nonsense" as filler to fulfill their hour commitment to the Sci Fi Network each week, or two - they aren't going about their investigations properly hence they are catching nothing to show viewers (and then are forced to provide filler, etc).

Whatever, the rationale, the show has really taking a major fall this season. These kinds of shows are few and far between for those of us who enjoy shows about the paranormal. But airing a show with little content, if not being somewhat dishonest in the presentation by fading commercial with Wilson exclaiming, "what the frig" as if he's captured true phenomena, only to learn upon return that it is a false read -- is nothing short of - disingenuous, if not - insulting to the viewer. (It's more along the lines of, we know that so far we are boring the death out of our viewers, but we've got to go to commercial, and if we don't keep the hook in, they are bound to change the channel!)

And moreover, cramming in two sites into two half hour segments is self defeating. By 20 after the hour (as in last night's USS Lexington show), the viewer already figures that the investigation is a "bust" since there is little time left to investigate in the given half hour allotted, and we know they will stop investigating and provide the viewer the consistent "Breakdown", "Analysis" and "Reveal" segments. This almost makes you want to stop watching immediately.

Ghost Hunters would serve it viewership well by being more selective about what they air each week. Shows that are mildly entertaining with little to no spirit content should be nixed from the on the air schedule. The airing of these shows after showing trailers all week that set high expectations with viewers is very much like going to a fine dining restaurant after reading a great review, envisioning receipt of the perfect fillet minon, but having someone deliver you a cold grilled cheese.

Jason and Grant should get their act together. This show could be so much more if they just focused on providing quality, and not quantity.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Today is the King's Birthday...

Ok, this post is meant to be fun because today is my birthday. I usually hate my birthday which is a very poor attitude - even for a King. But since I shouldn't take it out on my loyal subjects and fellow citizens of Camelot (i.e. West Hartford), I order the following edicts to take place immediately.

(Disclaimer: Obeying the King's edicts may get you into trouble. Obey them at your own risk).

Herein 11 July in the 2007th year of the Lord Our God, the following edicts are so ordered:

1. All Citizens are to be given the day off. You must spend the day with your family, wife, or significant other. If you are reading this from work (as many of you do), you must IMMEDIATELY go to your mode of transportation, vehicle, or abscond your car pool vehicle - and go home. If you cannot find transportation, you must walk. This is partially a penalty for not reading me in the early morning with a cup of Joe, and realizing that you didn't have to go to work in the first place!

Sub Edict a. All Disney theme park employees must report to work (sorry, but in turn - your pay is to be tripled today).

Sub Edict b. Disney World, Disney Land and all Disney Theme Parks are to be open today. There will be NO FEES imposed today on entry into any Disney Theme Park. (and yes, I know this sound like how the West Hartford Town Council figures their math, but its my B-day, so don't whine, and just go with it. OK?)

Sub Edict c. All Union employees serving the public interest must go to work. (How else will we protect the kingdom and get the children to the theme parks?)

2. Effective IMMEDIATELY, the BOSTON RED SOX are ordered to play baseball on the King's Birthday: July 11th, this year and every year. It is not fair that the King is unable to attend a RED SOX game because of all of this All Star nonsense. I do not care who the RED SOX choose as their opponent, as long as its a team with a losing record. The opposing team must play using National League rules.

Sub Edict a: BARRY BONDS is to be banned from baseball, and his record expunged. He is to be tested for steroids and enhancement drugs IMMEDIATELY and the testing process is to be televised on CSPAN for all to see.

Sub Edict b: ALL baseball players found using Sterioids going forward are to be banned for life. "ONE and DONE." Teams found with players found guilty of Steroid use will NOT be able to call up, replace, or trade for a replacement player on the roster for three years. If you aren't enforcing the rules and testing, then you, as organizations, MUST pay the price too! Tough doodles! AL whiners - use your pitcher as the DH, or play short. You deserve to lose for cheating anyway!

3. By Edict: All Episcopal Parishes are now under the sole ownership of their members. By majority vote, Parishioners may decide how they want to worship and align themselves. This includes which prayer book and hymnal they wish to you use. The authoritarian regime known as the ECUSA is IMMEDIATELY DISBANDED. Jeffers-Schori and ANDREW SMITH are to be immediately defrocked and tried for TREASON. David Beers is to be DISBARRED FOR LIFE and thrown in jail. A trial for David Beers isn't required, after all, he should receive the same respect he has given the CT Six and all other dioceses and parishes that have fallen under his legal attacks and lawsuits.

a. Jeffers-Schori, Andrew Smith, and David Beers are to be placed, side by side, naked, in the STOCK at the OLD STATE HOUSE in HARTFORD for a period of not less than 60 days prior to serving their jail terms. This is to teach them humility in the face of all the pain they have caused others to suffer allegedly in name of the LORD.

4. GUY FAWKES DAY is to be celebrated globally on November 5th each year. West Hartford residents may use effigies of members of the Town Council or Board of Education to be burned in a bonfire in the place of Guy Fawkes.

5. PRUSSIA is to be RE-ESTABLISHED as a KINGDOM according to the maps of the early 1900s and before. While no one is to be evicted from their lands, the boundaries are to be re-established as they once were. It is a fact that the world was a better place when PRUSSIA was around. Those living in this new province are to be given the option of PRUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP or entitled to leave.

6. All captains of the AMERICAS CUP YACHTING TOURNAMENT must stand trial and explain how a land-locked nation-state such as SWITZERLAND using the vessel ALINGHI continues to win the WORLD YACHTING CHAMPIONSHIP. While the King supports ALINGHI and her fine captain and crew, its dumbfounding to comprehend how the Aussies, Brits, Americans, New Zealanders, Portuguese, and all other worthy sea-faring nations fall to SWITZERLAND.

7. West Hartford's mill rate is to be reduced to 27. We cannot wait for Mayor Slifka to weasel his way out of the promise he made to reduce the mill rate to 27. Therefore, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY - the mill rate is 27.

8. West Hartford tax rates are to be rolled back to 1989 rates. And the teacher's union is HEREBY disband. Enough of their insolence!

9. The 2008 Presidential Election is cancelled or postponed for another 4 years. The quality of candidates in the field is about as unimpressive as never before seen. In fact, every proposed candidate on either side is enough to make one sick. AND I MEAN EACH and EVERY ONE! And from the looks of things, each one of these people have the attitude, behavior, and lack of strategic thinking that will most like make things WORSE than what it already is. So by skipping it, we can hope that other people get involved in four years and we can save the taxpayers money in the process. WHAT A MESS!

10. The creators and programmers at BLOGGER must IMMEDIATELY correct their formatting snafus so that huge gaping spaces don't appear when pictures are added to posts! This causes a HUGE headache in terms of REFORMATTING for AUTHORS of BLOGS!

So, there you have it. I went light. All of you, have a good day on me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hey, Joe Buck! Fox Sports and ESPN! The Truth? You're not interested in the Truth?

Tonight's All-Star game is a great example of why either the game should be broadcast in silence, or without the lame commentary by Yankee-Hack turned Barry Bonds*-apologist, Joe Buck.

Joe and friends spent most of the evening failing all over themselves to kiss the arse of Barry Bonds* despite the fact that just about the entire world understands that Bonds* is the world's biggest cheater in major league sports.
Hey, Joe Buck, ESPN, and Fox, take a close look at the pictures posted above and to the right- we have ordinary Barry Bonds*, who played for Pittsburgh, who for some unknown reason (wink, wink) doesn't appear as large as his alter-ego - the Steroids- enriched San Francisco model, who managed to increase his hitting power, batting average and all other stats by nearly .130 since his alleged weigh gain. Pretty impressive.
And I bet the newer model Bonds* isn't fitting into his medium size t-shirts any longer. It must be all those Hulk-a-Mania shakes and the new workout program that Richard Simmons has him on, right? I mean how else could anyone transition from a "C" bench-level baseball player to an instant phenomena overnight? Going from a handful of homeruns to 770? Wow. That's focus.
Joe Buck, ESPN, and Fox - a shameful, pathetic performance tonight. Making excuses under the banner that "no one will every know the truth" is pathetic. Nice to know the kids watching can count on people like you in the public light to hold Barry the Cheater up on high as if nothing is wrong. Joe, you and your friends just take the cake.
The truth stands before you... and thanks to people like you who - if they really cared about the game and the young fans - could set the record straight over the Bonds* controversy and his phony record breaking achievements. By God, Babe Ruth must be turning over in his grave. And Hank Aaron is probably too embarrassed to stand up and say something. All of you, have no shame. No shame at all.

West Hartford News: Reduced Budget finalized by Council; BOE must make cuts.

West Hartford News is reporting that the West Hartford Budget has been finalized. But there is still a long way to go to reduce Board of Education spending. The recent story about the Superintendent of Schools, David Sklarz, receiving an increase and earning a whopping 188K per year salary - doesn't give us pause for hope.

The most interesting comment in this story comes from Art Spada (a Rocky Hill transplant), who is quoted as saying, "Quality of life is a grey area. How do you tighten your belt without gutting the town?"

Gutting the town? Art, do you really think this budget "guts" the town? Look around you. That kind of rhetoric completely discredits you, and cheapens the debate.

Fellow West Hartfordites should join the debate at the West Hartford Blog site.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Strategy of Episcopal Church Leaders revealed!

This essay captured by David Virtue gets to the heart of the strategy created by Episcopal Church leaders, including Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and her attorney David Booth Beers, when it comes to dealing with traditional Christian-Anglican Churches.

The question is will the Courts eventually intervene to protect freedom of religion issues that may be raised by parishioners in traditional dioceses? Or will the Court ignore the matter and allow the liberal perpetrators to steamroll traditional Anglicans?

The obvious point to make that is clearly being lost is that the overbearing position of Episcopal Leaders is simply anti-Christian. The fact is that even if they [Schori and her crowd] manage to choke out individual parishes and steal away their Houses of Worship, they won't be able to simply plant a new rector of their choosing with the expectation that all of a sudden the parish will flourish under the new age Episcopal banner - and they know this.

In their selfish view, they'd rather the parish die out, and Christians of a differing (traditional) viewpoint literally die off, or leave the Church. Why? Because deep down they know that over the long run they can't survive or compete with a traditional Anglican/Episcopal Church. After a while, the emptiness of what the new age folks have to offer will decompose the Church and their will be little left to maintain in an empty and pitiful congregation of liberal activists.

I hope the Archbishop of Canterbury sees what is happening here. And sees the megalomania involved by ECUSA Leaders.

What other course of action can their be? The Archbishop should move immediately to excommunicate the Episcopal Church United States.

Muslims stealing our Episcopalian leaders?

See this article from the Blog: The Deacon's Bench.

When it rains, it pours. Not only does the Episcopal Church struggle to keep its parishes and dioceses intact, while it withers away from Anglican Communion over the new age doctrines being introduced by ECUSA's left-wing leadership, but it looks as though at least one Episcopalian Rector has "taken off the collar" to weigh all options, and decide whether or not it's time to covert to the Muslim faith.

I have to agree with the Catholic author above in his commentary that Christianity and Islam have two very distinct approaches and have irreconcilable differences, particularly with regard to doctrines and history. Christianity is very direct in its claim that salvation comes through Christ alone. Islam is rooted in "golden rule" philosophies via Prophet Mohammad and is rooted in the Koran, and not the Word of God as found in the the One True Holy Bible. Having read both (required reading), neither are compatible. Salvation is through Christ - there are no substitutes in this category folks.

But with the confusion out of the Episcopal Church, and the heavy recruiting by Muslim clerics and followers, I can see where anyone can make the case that the ECUSA has fast lost its moral position (if not moved the point of endorsing immoral behavior in the case of Bishop Robinson and other matters found in the ECUSA's liberal agenda), and perhaps Islam tends to hold closer to moral precepts than new age Anglicanism. I'm sure that's hard for some to accept, but it actually may be true.

Interesting thoughts to ponder.

ALERT: Episcopal Bishop Andrew Smith to Storm small Bristol Connecticut Episcopal Church (through legal means, of course)!

Here is a story sent to me by a reader. It's from the New York Times dated July 7th, and oddly enough there is no story in the Hartford Courant today. So chalk up one for the Times over the Courant on local Connecticut coverage.

This story is sad but true. You can feel the sadness of the parishioners that only wish to practice their faith and be left alone by Bishop Andrew Smith and his militant band of lawyers and blinded followers. All that's missing from Bishop Smith's uniform is the swastika - as he strong arms churches into adapting his warped view of the world, crushing each one that defies him. What an outrage! This is what liberalism is.... hurting your neighbor, forcing them to believe what you believe, or shutting them down. So much for loving your neighbor. It must be nice to be a Bishop - and be above God's Word.

Parish Falls Out of Step, and Favor, With Diocese

BRISTOL, Conn., July 5 — Standing inside the handsome sanctuary on Summer Street that has been home to Trinity Church since 1949, Fred Clark said that he was married here, baptized his children here and held funeral services here for the child he lost.

And although Mr. Clark, the congregation’s senior warden, said he and about 150 fellow parishioners were not eager to lose a place that had been a spiritual home to them and their ancestors since before the Revolution, they may not have a choice come Sunday.

Last month, Connecticut’s Episcopal bishop, Andrew D. Smith, defrocked the Rev. Donald L. Helmandollar and ordered the congregation’s lay leaders “to vacate the property of Trinity Church, Bristol, and release every claim on the assets of this parish by July 8, 2007.” The parishioners had objected to the church’s position regarding homosexuals in the clergy.

But Father Helmandollar, 68, who joined the clergy late in life, has no plans to go quietly. He said he was confident that parishioners would persevere even if they lost the right to the church, rectory and burial grounds they had held for generations in a fight that seems headed for court.

“It’s the people, not the steeple,” he said, quoting Rick Warren, a popular evangelical author.

The courtroom is increasingly familiar territory these days for Episcopal congregations. Growing dissatisfaction within the church over its acceptance and promotion of homosexuals in the clergy has led several dozen congregations to affiliate with more conservative Anglican groups overseas, including the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which reports to the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion. Father Helmandollar and Trinity Church took that step this spring.

The result has been several bruising battles over property rights and other issues. Just last month, a California appeals court supported the claim of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles that property did not belong to individual congregations in a hierarchical organization, but was held in trust for the diocese. Similar cases are pending in Virginia and Massachusetts.

In Connecticut, six conservative parishes, including Trinity, accused the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut in federal court of violating their civil rights. A district judge dismissed the lawsuit last summer, and the plaintiffs, known as the Connecticut Six, abandoned their appeal last month. Although some plaintiffs cited a recent plea from senior Anglican officials that parties refrain from litigating as the reason for their about-face, Michael P. Shea, the lawyer who represented the diocese, said, “I think that’s just an excuse for a weak appeal.”

In Rhode Island, Kansas and Texas, negotiated settlements have been struck that allow local parishes, assuming they have the money, to buy the buildings where they worshiped.

At the heart of these disputes lies a metaphysical question: Just whose church is it, anyway?

In Trinity’s case, parishioners say their situation is different, since the church traces its roots to 1747, 38 years before the first general convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Moreover, Trinity’s real estate and other property has “always been held in its own name,” according to a letter sent Monday by the parish’s lawyer, Howard M. Wood III, to Bishop Smith. Mr. Wood also warned that “any interference with the property rights of Trinity Church Society will be met with a claim of trespass.”

Local police are aware of the situation at the church but believe a showdown on Sunday is unlikely. “We had a discussion with the diocese, and it appears that there isn’t going to be any action taken on Sunday,” said Lt. Thomas Grimaldi, a spokesman for the Bristol police. “They’re going to take the legal route.”

John W. Spaeth III, a top administrative aide to Bishop Smith in Hartford, dismissed the notion of a confrontation. “There are canonical ways we will work with to seize the property,” he said.
“We’re not people who move quickly. We’re people who are thoughtful and try to negotiate.”

Nonetheless, Father Helmandollar and his staff are taking precautions in case the diocese tries to take control of the parish, which happened two years ago at St. John’s Episcopal Church here when the rector, the Rev. Mark Hansen, fell out of favor with the diocese.

While there may be no locksmiths lurking this time, Father Helmandollar said he expected to see a priest, sent by the diocese, arrive with a letter demanding access to the pulpit. “Without a court order, they aren’t getting it,” he said. Already, he said, the diocese has moved in Probate Court to freeze about $80,000 in trust funds that the parish had expected to receive.

Much of the rift concerns the denomination’s 2003 decision to name Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as the bishop of New Hampshire. His elevation alienated several conservative parishes and convinced some dissidents that church leaders in the United States were too quick to reinterpret the Bible.

The dissidents argue that such policy shifts take bigger theological leaps than past decisions to revise the prayer book and ordain women. And the dissidents warn that such actions jeopardize the American church’s standing within the larger Anglican Communion, which represents 77 million descendants of the Church of England worldwide.

After Trinity aligned with the Nigerian church, the diocese removed Father Helmandollar as a priest, ordered him to leave the rectory and threatened dissident worshipers with eviction. (The Convocation of Anglicans in North America recognizes Father Helmandollar as a priest in good standing.) But Mr. Clark said the vote to affiliate with the more conservative group was on the order of 60 to 1, a show of unity for a congregation that had trouble agreeing on very much before Father Helmandollar, or “Father Don,” as they call him, arrived in 1999.

More than 40 Episcopal congregations from around the country have lodged similar protests in various degrees since the Robinson appointment, according to a spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church in New York. Some have defected from the denomination or sought affiliations with other groups. Others have withheld funds.

Episcopal leaders have sought to put these situations in perspective.

“There are 7,500 Episcopal churches and only 45 you would deem as being dissident,” Mr. Spaeth said. “If they all left tomorrow, the impact would be insignificant.”

Father Helmandollar disagrees. He said he believed that the Episcopal Church had abandoned its principles and that he must lead his flock elsewhere. For instance, he said he had been pressing to have the word “Episcopal” removed from a road sign that directs motorists to “Trinity Episcopal Church.”

“I’m ashamed to be an Episcopalian,” said Father Helmandollar, who has a certificate in Anglican studies from Yale Divinity School and two master’s degrees. He said he grew up the youngest of seven children in West Virginia coal country, and lived on the streets for two years after dropping out of ninth grade. A father of three, he spent 20 years in the Navy and 17 more as a military contractor before pursuing a career in the clergy.

He said he was dismayed that the church’s philosophy of inclusion did not seem to extend to conservative factions like his own, complaining, “It includes everybody except us.”

“In the last 50 years, as society has changed, the church has changed,” he added. “It has become more revisionist and more liberal.” While he could accept those changes on theological grounds, he said, the recent quarrel over sexuality “has turned out to be the tripwire.”

With the showdown looming, banners made by parishioners have been taken down from Trinity’s nave for safekeeping, and Father Helmandollar has packed up some books he kept in his office. Bank accounts and valuables, he said, have been left alone until an agreement or court order decides their fate.

While the city of Bristol last appraised the church’s property at around $1.8 million, that estimate is old and might be low.

As Mr. Clark put it, “The pricelessness comes from the memories.”

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Birthday Party a success!

First things first -- where's the ibuprofin?

Yes, we had a grand time with my daughter's second birthday, and everything went off as planned with plenty of fun in the sun. As usual she was spoiled (as she should be) and received so many nice gifts from all of our friends and family.

It's a lot of work, but these are the events that bring folks together to celebrate and enjoy the good times in a child's life. So we are all grateful to be able to take time out from our busy lives to just soak in the happiness and blessings that you receive from spending time with those who you seem to never get a chance to see enough of.

And of course, being able to see your daughter break out into a huge smile and laugh while being surrounded to a chorus of "Happy Birthday" is simply -- priceless!

With another birthday come and gone (well, sort of - today she opens up presents from us - these never made it to the present pile, I guess), we are happy to enjoy the rest of the weekend recovering and getting things back in order.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Getting ready for my Daughter's B-Day party!

Ah. It's time to get things in order for tomorrow's birthday party for my two year old. Best I can hope for is - decent weather. Where else do you put that many people when it rains? Especially, the kids. We live in small quarters not conducive for entertainment of children. Oh boy.

Well, no matter what - rain or shine, we will have fun. I think its going to be near 90 degrees tomorrow, so it will be a scorcher.

So, half day of work today, and then the real work begins. Plenty to do - lawn work, shopping, mulching, setting up a heavy canopy, cleaning everything up to look nice, and all of the inside prep work and cleaning. Ugggh! My wife and I will be jumping around at full speed while trying to keep the kids at bay. But this year one rule - we don't aim to make the darn place look like a museum. The goal is "Optimal" not "Perfect". The days of focusing on minuscule perfectionist details that no one else notices are over!

And at least this year we opted to skip the grill work, so we ordered food. Besides, people are all hamburged and hotdogged out from July 4th. So we'll opt for grinder sandwiches delivered, while at the same time - removing the fear of kids burning themselves by bumping into a hot grill out of the equation too.

How come Elmo and Barney never show up to help?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fourth of July/Fishing/Back to work

We managed to sneak in a great Independence Day despite the rain trickling down at about 3 p.m. and then disappearing and reappearing later in the early evening. By fireworks time, not only was it wet, but I was zonked out and probably couldn't have kept my eyes open even if they were being ignited in my backyard.

The morning was probably the best part of the day. At about 5 am, my dad and I seized the "free hours" and headed off to the shoreline for some fishing in the Sound. While we do this more for the purpose of spending some quality Dad to Son time, I did manage to catch a nice 30" bluefish. I'm sure it would have been good eating, but after declaring victory by making the catch, we happily returned the beautiful fish to the sea. But we put in four and a half hours of fishing and relaxing and just enjoyed the time. Unfortunately, these time with dad are too rare as it is, so we just make the best of the time we have.

I really enjoy the time fishing with Dad. It reminds me of earlier years when trips were more frequent to the shore to cast a line in the sea and then retreating back to our campsite to cook the spoils of our capture. Distinctly, I remember the steady hunt for flats by rowboat outside of Clinton/Westbrook, and the days of easy fishing off of Meigs Point Hammonasset Jetty for the waves of hundreds of snapper blues - who were easy game for a my cheap - single button casting - Zebco Fishing pole and spoon jig. Those were great days with Dad. Although I think that some of the more comical moments were watching my father do battle with Sandsharks, Eels, and Sea Robins. In any case, the whole fishing experience is something I'll need to remember to replicate with my kids when they get older.

(And a brief note to parents - while researching some pics for this entry - Zebco had a recall on children's fishing poles due to lead paint. So be careful if you buy one used or off of Ebay. See the press release here).

The afternoon was made up of family time, my dad and mom played host to my family and my brother's family and we had a nice picnic - burgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, potato salad and the rest. I was pretty beat from the fishing trip, so the best I could muster was to sit and watch some of the great series The Revolution on the History Channel while holding my new daughter. The younger daughter enjoys Grandma's and enjoys family gatherings so she can play with her older cousin.

So, it's early morning in West Hartford. I'm at the computer in a sort of tired daze, and getting ready to restart my week. I swear that driving home, yesterday evening, felt much like a Sunday with the though of going into the office and tackling complicated issues and matters again in the morn. I hope the next few days will be "light duty" from a mental standpoint with none of the usual crisis's popping up here and there. Plus I have to conserve my energy - we will be getting ready to host this weekend for my older daughter's second birthday!

Screaming kids and cranky adults will all be headed to West Hartford this weekend. Rain, Rain, stay away!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Anglican Bishops link flooding to sin

Here is an interesting take on the rationale for the flooding that's going on in England. It's not typically Anglican for Bishops, Rectors, or Deacons to link human behavior to God's retribution in the form of flooding and/or natural disasters. It's generally the case that this tough talk is something that you might see being shouted out of a "spitfire Baptist" or "guilt-ridden Catholic" sermon, so it's sort of strange seeing it come from pulpit of the often high-brow, soft spoken, peering down their nose at you - Anglican Communion.

Notwithstanding, the timing of the message lends support to the pro-traditionalist, pro-Christian members of the Anglican Communion which has been struggling with the pro-homosexual agenda being fostered by leaders of the Episcopal Church in the United States and Canada.

What's also interesting is that the message didn't just come from just any old Bishops, but from the Rt. Reverened Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, who is a high ranking authority in the Church of England, and from Rt Rev James Jones, who is next in line for the position of Archbishop of Canterbury or Archbishop of York.

Rt Reverend Jones said, "The sexual orientation regulations [which give greater rights to gays] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."

Wow. This didn't come from Pat Roberston and the 700 Club, but from leaders of the mainstream Anglican Church. Don't believe me. You judge for yourself.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Get Out and Celebrate Your Nation's birthday... America is worth celebrating!

Although the Fourth of July is sort of weird this year, being a recognized holiday (and day off) on a Wednesday and all, still it's a fun holiday with some worthwhile meaning.

Here are a list of locations that are holding Independence Day fireworks:,0,1552678,full.story

The article referenced above is courtesy of the Hartford Courant.
The flag pictured above is the Grand Union Flag - which is the first flag to be flown during initial military conflict between the American Colonies and the British Crown. Many other flags were flown during this period including a flag with thirteen stars in a round formation fixed in the upper field; that flag is known as the "Betsy Ross flag" but there is spotty evidence to actually link Betsy Ross to the design (some even say it was Mary Pickersgill). In any case, the 13 star flag was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
Here is a link to the history of the US Flag.
Have a Happy 4th of July! God Bless America!