Showing posts from November, 2004

One difference between men and women

I was driving to work and listening to the radio the other day.

The guy on the radio had the audience laughing out loud. He was talking about one big difference between men and women. The "air" for women is love. The "air" for men is respect. He cited little stories of how that plays out in typical couples and the audience would laugh out loud because they could relate.

As a single guy, I don't have the context of marriage to observe those differences. But in observing couples and in my own opposite sex friendships, I can see some of those dynamics. He is on to something with what he is saying.

Anyway, I only caught part of the broadcast on 99.5 FM on the show Focus on the Family.

Seen on the web...

culture of shopping

I periodically visit Virginia Postrel's web site. Her big thing of is the economic value of asthetics. She recently wrote this item.

How much money is "okay" for us to spend on ourselves?

On one hand, it seems selfish to spend too much.

But think about this: when we spend money someone has a job. I heard Dennis Prager talking about this. We buy stuff like shoes and some poor man or woman in Southeast Asia has a job making them. What if all American's decided to become totally anti-materialistic and stopped buying things? Hmmm...

So is it better for us to buy the imported good that provides a job or to give the money to a charity that provides help overseas?

Likewise, Postrel talks about how some of the fashion magazines pushes women to buy more and more stuff and more and more fancy stuff to "keep up with the Jones." Hence, she praises magazines like Lucky that has a more realistic assessment of the discretionary spending wome…

Tom Hanks and the Da Vinci Code

I hear that Tom Hanks may star in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code, the Dan Brown bestseller.

The pedigree of the people involved in making the movie will insure the film will probably be a blockbuster. Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Beautiful Mind, Cacoon and many more) will direct. Akiva Goldsman who did the screenplay for Beautiful Mind is adapting the novel into a screenplay.

I think part of the appeal of Da Vinci Code is the whole conspiracy theory. People seem to like the idea that what we think we know is true isn't really true. And so what better story to tell than to call into question Christianity as most people understand it?

We live in an era when there is a lot of post-modern skepticism (people may not use those terms but they know what it is!) which says truth is either relative or unknowable or both. Oddly, this line of thinking leads to this two-edged irony in attitudes toward Christianity: (1) Christianity is based on a fabrication as described by Dan Brown and li…

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Taste Test

In this corner, Charles Shaw 2004 California Sauvignon Blanc from Trader Joes for $1.99.

What is there to say?

There are legions of wine drinkers who claim the "Two Buck Chuck" is just as good as the more pricey bottles in the stores!

Competing for votes, the low-priced entry bought at Ralphs, the Meridian Vineyard's Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2002 for $6.99.

Here is what the web page says about it:
This is a wine that I have to be careful not to “over-make” – since I am starting with fruit that essentially tastes how I want the finished wine to taste.  To end up with this fresh, lively flavor in the wine, I simply need to guide it gently through the winery and into the bottle.  I do all I can to retain the original fruit flavors. 

I barrel fermented half of this wine, mostly in French oak from several coopers and forests – Combined Woods, Never, and Center of France.  I then let it rest in the barrel for five months.  This short stint gives the wine subtle toasty arom…

All the people in the world ...

Did you know the US Census Bureau estimates the number of people in the world too?

Click here to see how many people they estimate are on planet earth right now!

As of this post, the number was: 6,402,456,716.

A little more clicking around and you get the world population and the US population side by side. The US population is estimated to be: 294,836,445.

The USA represents 4.6% of the world's population.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let's remember to be grateful for all the blessings we have here in the USA and find a way to help someone less well off today here and abroad.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48

Travel: Need to get away?

Happy thanksgiving where ever you are!

Click here if you want to visit my travelogue with photos from my Spring Break 2004 trip.

Nope, no beach resorts for me! Hah, instead I traveled to a places colder than Los Angeles!

It was great to travel with friends to see friends.


Falluja: they are soldiers now ... and young

This NY Times article by Dexter Filkins who is covering Bravo Company of the First Battalion of the Eight Marine Regiment is getting a lot of attention. I first came across it at then heard it discussed on Dennis Prager's radio show and then again on Hugh Hewitt's radio program.


FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 18 - Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.

As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded.

"Miller!" the marines called from below. "Miller!"

With that, the marines' near mystical commandment agains…

Go Anteaters!

Anteaters win their opener against CSU Dominguez Hills. Excerpt from LAT:Before making a foray into more dicey college basketball territory, UC Irvine broke a sweat Friday, routing Cal State Dominguez Hills, 106-69, in front of 1,487 at the Bren Events Center.

The Anteaters play USC on Monday and UCLA next Saturday.

"Basically, we just want to have a presence on the court [in those games]," Irvine Coach Pat Douglass said.

"I don't know if we can upset them on their courts, but I want our players have confidence and believe in themselves."I'll be rooting for the 'Eaters on Monday and the Bruins on Saturday!

Go Bruins!

Bruins win home opener, 64-53 over Chicago State. Excerpts from LAT: There were smiles all around, plenty of back-slapping and hugging. If anybody wanted to nit-pick about bobbled passes or being turned around defensively by small, quick city guards and giving up too many layups or letting an undermanned opponent dictate the tempo, this wasn't the day.

Because opening day should be about the positives.

UCLA beat Chicago State, 64-53, Saturday in Pauley Pavilion, and the Bruins didn't need any last-second heroics (remember the home opener against Vermont last year, one-point win, nail biter to the end?).And here are some observations from a friend of mine who is a huge Bruin fan:To say the least, Howland's got some players this year. Both Farmer and Affalo are the real thing!  I enjoy watching guys who can play defense and finish.  They are young and make some mistakes ... Nevertheless UCLA should be good to watch [this year].

LA Dining: Cafe Du Village

Being an LA based blog I should blog more about dining out. I eat out for dinner once to twice a week and so reviewing restaurants would be simple way to get blog posts and might actually be useful to my readership both regular and accidental!

So I recently ate at Cafe Du Village.

I had the Lake Michigan Whitefish. Yum! It came with broccoli, carrot, green beans and mashed potatoes. The fish was cooked just right (when eating out the most common mistake is overcooking fish!) and topped with bits of tomato, capers and thin slices of lemon to give it a hint of that flavor without being overwhelming. The salad that came with the dinner was good too!

I see in the Citysearch reviews there were some complaints about slow service. It was just fine the night I ate there.

It is a cute little place on Larchmont. Agree on the beautiful people watching comments in Citysearch as Larchmont is that kind of area. When I went to the bathroom, there is only one, I not…

UN problems

Here is an item reporting problems at the UN leading to a symbolic no confidence vote on UN administration.

Excerpt: Union officials said the final straw was Annan’s decision this week to clear a senior U.N. official on charges of favoritism and sexual harassment.
The vote was also in response to Annan's failure to accept the “honorable action” of the deputy secretary-general who tried to resign as a result of the bombing of the 2003 United Nations building in Baghdad that killed 22 staff members.

Additionally, U.N. workers are unhappy with leaders for failing to hold accountable the chef de cabinet, whose son was hired to work there in violation of staff rules.

Another concern is the ongoing internal investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal. At issue is whether a senior U.N. official accepted bribes in exchange for diverting the Oil-for-Food program funds meant as aid for impoverished Iraqis directly to former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.

I think I heard radio rep…

Michele's Musings: Two Essays on Arafat's Legacy

The view from NYT's Tom Friedman. It also appeared in the International Herald Tribune (IHT).

A European view in the IHT from Daniel Barenboim.

Purpose Driven Life: thoughts from a hospital bed

I started reading the Purpose Driven Life (PDL) in early October. I even joined a small reading group to go through the book with. We met once. The following week on Tuesday (our scheduled meeting time) I called to say I wasn't feeling well and would miss the second meeting. That meeting was on October 12 which was when my stomach ache started which lead to the October 13 just after midnight ER visit and the afternoon surgery.

I had not gotten far in the book. But I had gotten far enough for Rick Warren to introduce what he believes to be the five purposes of our life from the Bible. (1) Worship God (2) Love People (3) Grow to be like Jesus (4) Serve Others (5) Tell Others about Jesus.

When I was in the hospital, I slept irregularly. About every 4 hours my vital signs were taken (temperature and blood pressure). Sometimes I would fall asleep quickly after the vitals check up but sometimes I would remain awake and stare at the ceiling wondering ... hmmm... what is the "…

Survey of public opinion on Iraq

I have a friend who has a child in college. One of the classes has assigned a survey research project. Check it out and help this student increase the "N" in the survey! Thanks!!

This is a fight against evil

Margaret Hassan was probably killed on the latest videotape.

Can we call those who murdered her anything less than evil?

Hassan has devoted her life to helping Iraqis through CARE.

Will Al-Jazeera show the videotape of the Islamic fanatics killing her?

Meanwhile, you can be sure Al-Jazeera will be showing the videotape of a Marine shooting a wounded insurgent.

There will be an investigation and that marine may well receive some punishment.

However, having recently watched Saving Private Ryan, I am not sure what punishment would be appropriate. In the film, there was a scene where the US Army troops are storming the beaches and some of the German soldiers attempt to surrender and they get shot.

The fact of the matter is that terrible things happen in war.

In this blog post I put two deaths side-by-side but I want to make it absolutely clear that I make NO moral equivalence between the two cases. At the very minimum, you have to say that Hassan didn't deserve to die. At th…

Patton: Prayer for Good Weather

Was channel surfing this morning and came acrossAMC's broadcast of Patton the biopic with George C. Scott.

Just a handful of minutes ago, saw the famous scene about the weather prayer.Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.Wonder what kind of prayers are being offered in Fallujah?

Legal protections vs. national security

With the news that AG John Ashcroft has resigned, there is much chatter about whether in the interests of national security he trampled on legal protections.

I was watching Newshour the other night and they had two guests who were both law professors. They were selected because they had different views of Ashcroft's tenure. Both sides sounded authoritative and factual. Who is right?

I don't know.

All I can do is blog as ordinary Joe Citizen who has no legal background and can only apply some common sense.

There is no doubt that terrorism imposes incredible challenges to the legal system because it falls outside the realms of established law.

In the USA, we have firm principles for criminal law like (1) when you detain someone you have to soon afterward charge them with a specific crime (I don't know how much time you have... I guess I haven't been paying enough attention while watching Law and Order) (2) when you put someone on trial you have to prove guilt beyond a…

The Charles Shaw Story a.k.a. "Two Buck Chuck"

It all the rage. In California, you can buy it for$1.99 a bottle and people are saying it is as good as more expensive wines.

Anyway, what is the story of how Trader Joes can sell it so cheap?

Here is the story as told on TJ's own site.

And here is the story from the Urban Legend's Reference Page (

Turns out it is simply Econ 101 at work...

We were soldiers once ... and young

On Nov. 5-7, TNT cable is showing We Were Soldiers.

The film came out in 2002 and I remember seeing some trailers for it but never got around to seeing the film.

I was channel surfing and came across it.

The film is based on the book by Col. Moore of the same title. Col. Moore commanded the troops of the 1st battalion of the 7th calvary regiment. Ironically, it was the same unit that Gen. Custer commanded and had massacred.

The following web pages describe the battle: detailed account) (battlefield map) (photos by Joe Galloway who was at the battle)

On the eve of the battle of Fallujah, the film moved me as it powerfully shows the chaos of the battlefield, the fierce determination of soldiers in combat and the courage of those back home.

American and Iraqi soldiers will fight soon in Fallujah. It is my hope that their blood will not be lost in vain. Freedom is…


That pretty much sums up the re-election of George W. Bush. The polling going into the weekend looked bad, the exit-polls on election day looked bad and guess what, Bush won.

I suppose a lot of the early voting was for Bush and the exits and weekend polling didn't pick that up.

I suppose maybe Bush voters are less willing to talk to exit-pollsters or pollsters in general.

I suppose the GOP really did improve their "ground game" and got turnout in key battleground states.

I suppose the Kerry team played it too cautious counting on flipping either Florida or Ohio and thus leaving themselves with zero options if they didn't.

Anyway, glad the fears of multi-recounts and legal battles didn't turn up and we got a clear result.

UPDATE: Bush 286 Kerry 252. In the end, the Blue State-Red State distribution was almost like 2000. Only switches were New Hampshire which went to Kerry this time and Iowa and New Mexico which switched to Bush.

my voting experience today

Since I'm still recovering from surgery, I had to have help getting to the polling place. My parents were kind enough to drive me to it. I was walking to the location when I saw something really strange. I saw a car with Bush-Cheney bumper stickers on it! More than one sticker I might add. Remember, this is LA!

Anyway, I had to take a peek at the driver and to my delight she was a hot-looking twenty-something lady. Our eyes met and I gave her a smile and a friendly wave and she had a big smile too.

I got to the address listed on my voter booklet and found... the polling place was shuttered. There was a sign that said, polling place moved to such and such a location.

I got back into the car and we went to the new location about 6 blocks away. I went in and it was busy but not too crowded as it was mid-day. I got my ballot and waited for my chance at an available inka-vote gadget. No more chads to poke. Now you poke with a black felt pen to make dots on the ballot. A…

election prediction

Popular vote: 49-49 with either Bush or Kerry winning by 500,000 to 1,000,000 votes nationally.

Electoral votes: two scenarios -- (1) an early end to the evening where Bush pulls off the trifecta in PA, FL and OH and rolls to a win with around 300 electoral votes; (2) the night drags on and on which I think favors Kerry who would then win with a little over the minimum 270.

My wild guess Bush 309 Kerry 229.