The thoughts of a writer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Large Laughing Clown

Last evening, my wife was telling me what our nieces and nephews want for Christmas. Our one nephew (EL) who is about 3-years-old, wants cars and trucks, but not too big because he's scared of them if they are too big and nothing too loud, because that scares him too!

I said aloud, "Note to self, EL wants a large laughing clown for Christmas!"
Of course I was joking...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don’t Lump Them Altogether

As I was driving to work this morning, radio talk show personality Chris Baker was commenting about the fight and stabbing at the Hmong New Year at the River Centre in St. Paul over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Chris Baker wondered aloud on his program “why these people can’t get their crap together?” and “why whenever they have such an event there is trouble?” As I told Mr. Baker in an email, his comments/questions are valid—except they appear to me (as the husband of a Hmong woman), to be from someone from the outside looking in.

My Hmong in-laws are good people. They are not gangsters or outlaws; nor are they personally responsible for those in their community (or culture) who are. My father-in-law may be one of the most moral people I have ever met.

That said, there are certainly people within the Hmong community who have gang affiliations or who may be dishonest. These people, in my opinion, most often prey upon other Hmong people and gain their trust by virtue of being Hmong themselves.

While I do believe that organizations within this particular community have a responsibility to help to educate the people on how to live and follow the rules of their new country, I must draw the line at pointing a finger randomly at a whole group of people and levying the accusation that they (as Mr. Baker said) should “get their crap together!”

I agree that perhaps the problem is most effectively addressed from within the community, but to include my Hmong family with the likes of those who started the fight Saturday night is preposterous. Also preposterous are Mr. Baker’s comments that “they shouldn’t bring that stuff here” (from their former countries, which by-the-way is primarily Laos). When "we" are talking about youth gangs, the Hmong got that bad idea right here in the good old U.S.A.

I have worked with at risk groups for about a decade. Currently I work at an educational institution that specializes in at risk teens. There is a problem with the “glorification” of street, gang and prison culture among our youth. This is a problem throughout our society—but is especially prevalent among groups struggling with economic issues. Immigrants and minorities are more likely to be recruited by gangs—as are “troubled” teens.

In my parting note, I will say that I attended the Hmong New Year at the River Centre a couple of years ago. There is a private security company screening everyone who comes through with hand-held wands. My question would be how did someone get knives through? When I went through this process and observed it, it seemed that the screeners were more interested in collecting everyone’s cigarettes and contraband than they were in screening for weapons. That, however, is just my own opinion.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Monday, November 22, 2010

Harry Potter: And the Deadly Bucket of Bolts (©2053)

This latest in the Harry Potter series is in some ways the best movie yet. In other ways, it is more of the same. While Harry, Ron and Hermione are still on a quest to stop the forces of evil; this time in the guise of Ferocious Kick-to-the-Groin, they are of course helped by a wacky new friend, named Simon Nice. They must travel to Superlicious to find the Deadly Bucket of Bolts, before Ron’s new wheelchair is recalled by the Voldemort Company. Along the way, Hermione must deal with being turned into a sunflower, and Harry comes down with a case of amnesia in this long-awaited, 229th episode of the series.


Yeah, we got freezing rain Saturday night and Sunday morning. I walked like Mr. Tudball (on the slick ice) to the newspaper box, only to find it still had yesterday's papers in it...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cutris May Be Working as a G-Man

Cutris May Be Working as a G-Man
November 18, 2010
UnAssociated Press

Sources indicate that Cutris may have begun working as a G-Man. This is not the first time Cutris has been seen in the role of secret agent; nor is it even the second time.

What exactly is Cutris up to these days? Well, no one knows, because it is all secret. Yes, it is all very, very secret.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Germ Cottage

Of course! A Germ Cottage! Where else would germs go to live?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cutris Throws Log

Cutris Throws Log
UnAssociated Press
November 15, 2010

After becoming agitated because he was too heavy to cross a bridge with a five-ton weight limit, Cutris picked up a large log over his head and threw it!

The log flew approximately 59 yards, giving Cutris a first down. Upon regaining his composure, Cutris decided that he would stop weighing six tons--so he could cross the bridge with the five ton limit. Then Cutris crossed the bridge without further incident.

Cutris Decides to Weigh 6 Tons

Cutris Decides to Weigh 6 Tons
UnAssociated Press
November 15, 2010

Cutris made the unfortunate decision recently, to weigh six tons. This meant that he was unable to walk across a bridge with a five-ton weight limit. An indignant Cutris is shown in the photograph, contemplating his predicament.


Yeah, we got lots of snow in the Twin Cities this weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Talk like Captain Picard

If you want to talk like Captain Picard from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, you should first shave your head (like I did). This will make you look more like (actor) Patrick Stewart. Some kind of space-like background or weird lighting is also appropriate for the setting. A moving spaceship (or approximation of) might work to enhance the appearance. Then use a commanding, yet congenial tone. Also use an English accent (though Picard was supposedly from France), and there you have it!

Watch as I demonstrate...

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Cyber vs. Cyborg Bullying

We seem to hear more and more about cyber-bullying these days. It used to be that "bullying" was usually done in person. Now, people can hide in a locked room and reach out through the Internet. Nasty things posted on a website can cause embarrassment or psychological harm to the targeted individual.

Also of concern these days, is Cyborg-bullying, which is the act of doing nasty things to a cyborg. This cannot be tolerated in modern society! Maybe in the Middle Ages it was cool to "kick around" your robot, but not anymore! Cyborg-bullying should not be tolerated!

Aunt Clara

I learned last evening that my Aunt Clara died. I wish her well in her journey to the After. For the rest of us, hug somebody--we're all short-timers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tens Workout

I thought I'd share the workout I created for myself, because it works!
I have the use of the school’s weight room before my work shift starts. Therefore, each morning I do ten repetitions of a number of weight training exercises utilizing both free weights and machines. If you don’t have a weight room (as there were times I didn't), you can still do a variety of exercises with dumbbells, or using calisthenics. The key to my successful program is that I can do my entire routine in 10 to 15 minutes. If I try to do multiple sets in a longer span of time, inevitably I will skip sessions due to time constraints. The order I do the exercises is relevant, as I do not rest in-between.

My body weight varies between 175 and 180 lbs. My current workout is,

1. Bench Press (free weights) 10 reps of 185 lbs.
2. Back Extensions (holding 45 lbs.) 10 reps
3. Straight Press (free weights on machine) 10 reps of 120 lbs.
4. Butterfly Curls (free weights on machine) 10 reps of 120 lbs.
5. Lat Pulls (plates on machine) 10 reps of 130 lbs.
6. Sit-ups (slow with legs secure) 15 reps
7. Deep Knee Bends (holding 90 lbs. of dumbbells) 10 reps
8. Toe Lifts (for calf muscles—holding 90 lbs. of dumbbells) 10 reps
9. Collar Lifts (holding 90 lbs. of dumbbells) 10 reps
10. Wrist Curls (holding 90 lbs. of dumbbells) 10 reps
11. Reverse Curls (plates on machine) 10 reps of 70 lbs.
12. Curls (plates on machine) 10 reps of 70 lbs.
13. Row Pulls (plates on machine) 10 reps of 70 lbs.
14. Dips (rep 7 in slow-motion) 10 reps
15. Suspended Leg lifts (for mid section) 10 reps

This workout is successful because I do it (generally) five mornings per week. The results are noticeable as "everything" stays firm. When I do take an extended break from my workout, I need to drop the weight load and slowly work back to my maximums. I like to keep the weight/resistance so that the tenth repetition is somewhat strenuous. Care should also be made to make weight increases gradual to avoid injuries.

Remember to consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Cactus

My Christmas Cactus blooms about three times each year. It currently lives in my office. I planted it years ago, with slips from both pink and orange colored (flowering) plants. I took this picture yesterday.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Louisville Swamp

We hiked at Louisville Swamp today. There is still some remnants of the flooding we got back in September, so it wasn't passable near the old Jab's farm site. Still, it was an absolutely beautiful day! Here are some photos I took.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

State Farm Adjuster Can't See Hail Damage

The State Farm adjuster/inspector called me and says we don't have hail damage. He doesn't know why the paint is chipped off the ally side of the house, or all the "gravel" is off the shingles over there, but he says it isn't hail. I'm guessing that the loud noise that woke us up (September 21st) when hail was hitting the house wasn't hail either. It was probably "migrating insects" crashing into the house in the dark.

What if it Were Different?

White Owl Elected Governor
UnAssociated Press, Parallel Universe Addition
November 3, 2010

In a landslide victory over Wolf Clan opponent Taha Red Deer, Ulatt White Owl of the Bear Clan, has won the All Nations election for Governor of the Northern Region. Governor elect White Owl will take office with the rising of the New Moon.

Governor Elect Ulatt White Owl

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Today!

Can we finally be through with some of these awful political attack ads?
Can we finally be through with harassing political phone calls?
Can we finally be through finding all that political junk mail garbage in our mailboxes and in our doors?

I will vote today, but I will be so glad when this election is over!

Moss Cut from Struggling Vikings

It was only 25 days ago, that I wrote about wide receiver Randy Moss coming back to the Minnesota Vikings. It took less than a month for coach Brad Childress to umm... cut... umm... Moss... --due to his overall lack of effort and critisism of the Vikings. Those of us who remember Randy Moss from his first stint with the Minnesota Vikings are not surprised he is getting "bumped" from the team, we're just a little surprised by the timing of it all. At minimum, the Vikings lose a third-round draft pick in the deal acquiring Moss, and it seems to be only a matter of time before owner Zygi Wilf will be forced to cut Childress.

The Vikings want a new stadium, and have continued the "tradition" of using old, recycled quarterbacks--with the same lousy results. Having so much talent on the team, yet failing miserably is difficult for even the most loyal fans. It is even more difficult, however, to want to buy them a new stadium with tax dollars when we are all hurting in this sour economy.

So as Brett Favre struggles with throwing the ball to the right team, Brad Childress, umm... explains... umm... try harder... umm... make plays... um... Brett Favre... umm...

Oh it's so hard to watch!