Showing posts from July, 2007

Non-Profit of the Month: July 2007 - Union Rescue Mission

One of the sad realities of life in the city is the difficulty of providing help for the homeless.

There are many organizations dedicated to helping the homeless with alcohol and drug rehab, temporary shelter, job training and other services. However, not all the homeless take the opportunity to use them.

So what do you do when you encounter a pan-handler?

I have to confess most times I just ignore them. I feel badly doing so but what can I really do for them?

I have on occasion given them money but have I just enabled that person to get more alcohol or drugs?

I have on occasion said, I'll buy you some food if the person is near a fast food place. I have to say no one has taken me up on the offer.

On occasion, if I saw the guy before I went into the fast food place or the market, when I leave I might offer them something that I had bought. More often than not this is accepted by them.

A number of years ago, I had dinner with a friend in a restaurant in San Francisco and we had left o…

Sports: What it feels like to be a sports fan?

It is such a strange thing to have a team to root for.

The feelings of expectation one has is often so outsized with the reality of how well the team has done historically.

A prime example for me is being a UCLA basketball fan. The Wooden years were so amazing that realistically no team will live up to those kinds of expectations ever again. Wooden coached teams won 10 national titles with the last one being in 1975 when he retired. Since then, the Bruins have only been in the national title game THREE times in the last 32 years and won once in 1995.

UCLA football has almost always been the second team in LA behind USC. Since I've been following them there has been just one stretch when UCLA was the dominant team in the rivalry. UCLA football has one national title ... from 1954. Since the invention of the BCS, I don't think UCLA has even played in a bowl game associated with the BCS. UCLA's last Rose Bowl appearance was in 1999 and I think at that time the Rose Bowl w…

Life: Pleasant Surprises

In life there are moments of happiness like enjoying a simple pleasure.

Another source of happiness is the pleasant surprise.

I went to Gap to find some shorts for this broiling summer weather. I normally wear size X. Giving my size would be ... err ... TMI? 8-)

Anyway, I went to the fitting room and found that X was too large!

I wound up buying a pair that was size X-2.

Umm, nice ...

News: What is really happening in Iraq?

If you read this things seem pretty grim. Excerpt:Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, has been the site of some of the deadliest bombings, including a double suicide attack on March 6 that killed 120 people.

The attack came a day after at least 16 people died when four car bombs rocked the center of the capital. Three of the blasts took place in one 30-minute span.If you read this you think progress is being made. Excerpt:As the tribes turn on al Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq, the targeted raids against al Qaeda in Iraq's network of facilitators, bomb makes and leadership cells continue. Today's raids by Coalition forces resulted in the capture of 20 al Qaeda operatives. A series of raids near Taji in Salahadin province resulted in 16 al Qaeda captured, including "a foreign terrorist suspected of involvement in the May 2007 Samarra suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack," while another four operatives were captured near Balad.I suppose th…

Devotional Thoughts: Bind up the brokenhearted

Recently, was with the youth group and we were reading Isaiah 61:1 and the study leader read, He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted...

The students looked puzzled and they read from their Bibles, He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted.

We then had a lively discussion about the word "bind up" and "comfort" and what their reactions to the imagery those words bring up.

Anyway, being the research info hound type, I had to check it out after the study!

My Mac Sword Bible software at home says the word is "chabash" which is Strong's word number 2280 and so cutting and pasting it straight out from my software ... 2280 chabash khaw-bash' a primitive root; to wrap firmly (especially a turban, compress, or saddle); figuratively, to stop, to rule:--bind (up), gird about, govern, healer, put, saddle, wrap about.Running the search at it said the word is often translated into the King James as "saddle" with "bind up" be…

Devotional Thoughts: My intercessor is my friend

Continuing onward to Job 16.

Job punched back at his friends...

Then Job replied:
I have heard many things like these;
miserable comforters are you all!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.

His friends didn't say anything that Job didn't know already. He felt, c'mon guys, you are no help at all! I have heard everything you have said because I've said them to myself already!

But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

Real wisdom is needed in life on what to say to people in pain. How does one encourage and comfort?

Often times words do seem awfully useless. But yet, sometimes words are all we got to give someone. Can't help but think of James 3 where the power of the tongue (words) for good and evil are directly discussed.

If there…

Devotional Thoughts: the premise of the question doesn't apply

Job 1-2 Narrative Prologue
Job 3 - Job's lament
First cycle of poems
Eliphaz - Job 4-5, Job replies - Job 6-7
Bildad - Job 8, Job replies - Job 9-10
Zophar - Job 11, Job replies - Job 12-14

I was recently at the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in San Diego. One highlight of the exhibit was the videos from the UCLA Qumran Visualization Project.

One of the scrolls on display was an Aramaic translation of the Book of Job. It was kind of a strange moment to think that I had just a little bit in common with that scribe 2000 years in the past and 1/2 a world away!

What did he think about when he wrote out Job 15?

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
Would a wise man answer with empty notions
or fill his belly with the hot east wind?
Would he argue with useless words,
with speeches that have no value?

Them is fighting words!

He goes on with more jabs.

But you even undermine piety
and hinder devotion to God.
Your sin prompts your mouth;
you adopt the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mout…

Travel: Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in San Diego

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were initially discovered by Bedouin herders and then by archaeologists between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves near Khirbet Qumran, on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea in Israel. Thousands of fragments were discovered and pieced together into over 900 separate documents including biblical books, hymns, prayers, and other important writings.

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How old are they?

Within a fairly short time after their discovery, historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence, as well as carbon-14 dating, established that the scrolls and the Qumran ruin dated from the third century B.C.E. to 68 C.E. They were indeed ancient!

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Who wrote them?

The word “Essene” is never distinctly mentioned in the scrolls. How, then, can we attribute either the writings or the sites of the Judaean Desert to the Essenes? The argument in favour of this ascription…

Travel: Can you guess where I am?

Recently took a road trip!

Can you guess where I am?

Lots of beautiful flowers there.

Its an old place. In fact, founded in 1776.

When I saw these flowers there, I had to say, "Morning glory, evening grace, Hugh Hewitt!"

My journey continued and I stopped at the pier shown below.

Check out this more colorful picture. And check out this more striking picture!

I had lunch here at a restaurant reported to be a favorite of President Richard Nixon. Upon more web surfing, I am questioning the accuracy of the report as this restaurant makes the same claim on its web page.

I parked my car here to catch this below.

After a forty-five minute ride, I went to buy tickets!

All of the above was the journey which I enjoyed to get to my destination!

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were initially discovered by Bedouin herders and then by archaeologists between 1947 and 1956 in 11 caves near Khirbet Qumran, on the northwestern shores of the Dead Sea in Israel. Thousands of fragme…

Life: Simple pleasures

A ripe honeydew melon. Hmmm. 'Nuff said!

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Devotional Thoughts: You shall desire the work of your hands

Am looking at Job 14 this morning.

Job is continuing the monologue he started back in Job 12.

Man who is born of woman
Is of few days and full of trouble.
He comes forth like a flower and fades away;
He flees like a shadow and does not continue.
And do You open Your eyes on such a one,
And bring me to judgment with Yourself?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
No one!
Since his days are determined,
The number of his months is with You;
You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.
Look away from him that he may rest,
Till like a hired man he finishes his day.
For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
Yet at the scent of water it will bud
And bring forth branches like a plant.
But man dies and is laid away;
Indeed he breathes his last
And where is he?
As wa…

Sports: Dodgers in the hunt for October

It is the Wild Wild West with the Dodgers, Padres and Diamondbacks fighting for the divisional title and staying in the wild card race.

Catcher - Will Martin continue to have the amazing year? Little will probably put in the back-up a bit more frequently to keep Martin from breaking down. We definitely will need a healthy and productive Martin in a successful final stretch.

First base - Will Loney be trade bait or will he be the Dodger's future? He is hitting well and fielding well. People complain about his lack of power but the Dodgers are playing small ball these days and having a good batting average is what the Dodgers need and Loney is delievering.

Second base - Kent is still going pretty good for being the gray beard of the group. Hope he can stay healthy!

Third base - Garciaparra is making some contact as shown by his .275 ave but the number of doubles and home-runs is lower than the Dodgers would like to have from him. Hope he can stay healthy and find a little more pop …

Travel: Where am I?

This trip came about on rather short notice.

One of the alumni of West Coast Chinese Christian Conference past away after a long battle with cancer.

To read a little bit more about her life, check this web page out.

The time of memorial was a mixture of sadness and celebration. Sadness in that so many people felt the loss of this bright light of a life. Celebration in that she was now freed from the bonds of physical suffering and celebration in that we all had good memories and feel our lives were enriched by knowing Susan.

I was a good time of reflection on life, reconnecting with old friends and of seeing once again the town I lived in from 1997-1998.

If the flowers don't give it away certainly the photos below will give it away as does this song.

Click for a larger image.

Added another ballpark to my list of visited ball parks.

What do you think these people are doing?

If you know this town, you will know where this is!?

This one should be easy to identify.

Click for a larger image.


Devotional Thoughts: Though he slay me, I will hope in him

Onward to Job 13.

Job goes into a thrust and parry mode.

He takes a poke at Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar and says their arguments are not unfamiliar to him.

Behold, my eye has seen all this,
my ear has heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.

What Job wants is an audience with God.

But I would speak to the Almighty,
and I desire to argue my case with God.

Job pokes his friends again!

As for you, you whitewash with lies;
worthless physicians are you all.
Oh that you would keep silent,
and it would be your wisdom!

Job switches back to wanting to make his case.

Hear now my argument
and listen to the pleadings of my lips.

He slaps at his friends again.

Will you speak falsely for God
and speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show partiality toward him?
Will you plead the case for God?
Will it be well with you when he searches you out?
Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?
He will surely rebuke you
if in secret you show partiality.

Sports: AL 5 NL 4

What can you say?

The AL usually wins the MLB Championship, more of the inter-league games and the recent All-Star Games.

La Russa is taking heat for not sending up Pujols to hit with the game on the line.

As it was, Rowand flied out for the last out.

La Russa said he needed to hold someone for extra innings.

Let the debate begin!

My opinion is you got to roll the dice and play for the win by sending in Pujols to hit. He either doubles in two runs to win the game or he strikes out. I can't imagine that if Pujols makes contact it is going to be a dying duck single that gets only one run. The only other scenario you get a tie game is that Rodriguez totally loses it and can't find the plate.

Space: Teacher in Space Backup Barbara Morgan to Fly in Next Shuttle Flight

Barbara in 1986 with Christa McAuliffe, the Teacher in Space, who perished in the Challenger Explosion on January 28, 1986.

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She was 35 years old at the time of the photo. She stayed with the NASA program and now, 21 years later, Barbara is set to go on board STS-118 on August 7, 2007 as an educator-astronaut and mission specialist.

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The crew with the Space Shuttle Endeavour in the background on the launch pad.

Godspeed to the crew of STS-118 and to Barbara Morgan!

Devotional Thoughts: 23 Verbs

Previously, in chapter 1-2 we got the behind the scenes look at the cosmic struggle for faith and its meaning to God.

Job's opening lament was chapter 3.

Eliphaz spoke in chapter 4-5. Job replied in chapter 6-7.

Bildad spoke in chapter 8. Job replied in chapter 9-10.

Zophar spoke in chapter 11. Now Job launches into a reply in Job 12. His reply extended into chapters 13-14.

Then Job replied:
Doubtless you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you!

A little sarcasm here, dear Job?

But I have a mind as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know all these things?

Job comes out swinging saying he has thought about all the arguments his friends have been making about his suffering.

I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
though I called upon God and he answered --
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

He felt as if his friends are mocking him. He feels he has not only lost his possession, his family and his health but also h…

Politics: And the 2008 Democratic Party Presidential Nominee is ...

... Al Gore?

I've now heard this scenario proposed by several people and am beginning to wonder if there is something to it?

The premise of an Al Gore nomination is as follows:
(1) Hillary Clinton has none of the rogue charm of Bill and all the negatives
(2) Barak Obama in the end is just too inexperienced to be the nominee for POTUS
(3) Neither candidate garners enough support to win the nomination outright
(4) Al Gore rides into the picture on the sentiment that he had won 2000 and deserves the nomination to save the party.

What do you think?

Culture: The Food Network - Nancie McDermott on Alton Brown's Show

Sorry have been out of blog-touch with you all. Of the 30+ blog visits this site gets daily, most are looking for something via Google or some other search engine. I do have the impression there might be a small number of regular readers. Am always curious who is out there with a bookmark for this blog or has a aggregator subscription to this site!

Anyway, will be back to blogging in full soon but for now, this little item ... Greetings and a News Flash from Nancie McDermott:

Watch me in my prime-time-television debut on

Monday, July 9, 2007 at 8 p.m.

as The Cake Detective, serving up a little culinary history to the incomparable Alton Brown, in the season premier of his Peabody Award-winning program:


The Details:
The Food Network

Alton Brown's
"Good Eats"
Episode EA1104


July 09, 2007 8:00 PM ET/PT
July 10, 2007 3:00 AM ET/PT
July 23, 2007 11:00 PM ET/PT
July 24, 2007 2:00 AM ET/PT

"Coconut Cake Revival"
Is it possible to mak…