Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sports: Rip 'em Eaters, zot, zot, zot!

Patrick Sanders came up big in as UCI wins 64-57 over Long Beach State.

However, Anteater fans await word on Michael Hunter who left the game late with an injury.

Next up Cal State Northridge, the top dog of the Big West!

Technology: Skynet just around the corner?

Oh my, robot killing machines!

When I saw the article, immediately thought of Skynet from the Terminator movies!

HT: DR.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

LA Scene: $5.5 million and 256 synced signal lights

Will the commute get better?

Excerpt:
City officials are betting yes with $5.5 million of our tax dollars. They've synced 256 traffic signals between Wilshire and Hollywood boulevards, and La Cienega Boulevard and Western Avenue, My Fox LA reports. That'll translate to a 15% reduction (am I alone in thinking, that's it? 15%?) in travel time.

Hope so!

Science: Neat stuff being worked on at UCLA - crystals that absorb CO2!

CO2 levels are rising these days. Whether it will result in the drastic consequences predicted by some global warming models is unclear.

One technology is to capture CO2.

LA Scene: Dudamel, next LA Phil music director, on 60 Minutes

Saw some clips of the conducting prodigy that the LA Phil is bringing in. I guess 60 Minutes posts clips after or before they air an episode?

Anyway, am looking forward to seeing him in action!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Life: 26.2 and the bonds that form

7 years ago I jogged 26.2 miles in Los Angeles in a tad over 6 hours. It was a wonderful experience!

Seeing the city from ground level, chatting with people I trained with and talking to total strangers was a pleasure and crossing the finish line a thrill!

One of the friends I gained from that experience many years ago is running yet again (she has participated in many, many, many of these events all over the USA) and what is special this year is that her daughter will be running as well ... somewhere on this big blue planet ... confused?

See this story.

Go Dawn and Go Jessica!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sports: Big West Basketball

Big West Basketball is pretty typical mid-major stuff. Only one team is likely to get into the NCAA and most players will not be making a living playing ball when they finish college. Nonetheless, since I went to graduate school at UC Irvine, I have some rooting interest in this mid-major conference.

This year is actually an up year for the Big West as two of the teams have gained some attention and will be televised in Bracket Buster Weekend.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE is 18-6, 10-2 in the Big West and will play Rider.

UC SANTA BARBARA is 20-6 and 9-4 in the Big West and will play former Big West menace Utah State.

My Anteaters are in the middle of the Big West in 5th place 6-6 in conference play and 11-14 overall.

Tonight, they play Idaho in a non-ESPN televised part of the Bracket Buster Weekend.

Go 'Eaters, zot, zot, zot!

UPDATE: The Big West went 4-5 this weekend. The Anteaters win! I went down to the Bren to see the game and finally got to see the Anteaters win while I was in the building!

The Anteaters played good defense against Idaho forcing 21 turnovers.

McIntosh and Hunter were the starting guards. In the program, it said that McIntosh used to play for Texas A&M, a major basketball program, suggeting he probably transferred to UCI to get more playing time? Anyway, he showed some speed, a nose for the ball and the basket. Sanders and DeCasas were the starting forwards. Sanders one of three senior starters is the leading scorer on the team. Fells is the starting center with pro ball potential. He is a big body with pretty good hands. He had 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Lauer and Rembert are the backup guards that at times came in as a pair to give McIntosh and Hunter a break. Bland is their 6th man who was a highly rated California junior college player. He brings a lot of energy and hustle and indeed fouled out of the game and got a technical! The 9th man was Ballard who was in for a handful of minutes to rest the frontline.

Perhaps Idaho was not very good but the way the Anteaters played in the 2nd half, one would have thought UCI would have a better record. Anyway, they have 4 more games in conference. If they can play like they did last night they should be in a good position to make a run in the Big West Tournament.

Devotional Thoughts: the way to wisdom

Job continues his monologue ...

Gold and silver are mined,
then purified;
the same is done
with iron and copper.
Miners carry lanterns
deep into the darkness
to search for these metals.
They dig tunnels
in distant, unknown places,
where they dangle by ropes.
Far beneath the grain fields,
fires are built
to break loose those rocks
that have jewels or gold.
Miners go to places unseen
by the eyes of hawks;
they walk on soil unknown
to the proudest lions.
With their own hands
they remove sharp rocks
and uproot mountains.
They dig through the rocks
in search of jewels
and precious metals.
They also uncover
the sources of rivers and discover secret places.

I confess, the image that came to mind is the dwarves of the Lord of the Rings!


image source: http://uk.games-workshop.com/dwarves/tactica/images/art-balin.jpg

But where is wisdom found?
No human knows the way.
Nor can it be discovered
in the deepest sea.
It is worth much more
than silver or pure gold
or precious stones.
Nothing is its equal--
not gold or costly glass.
Wisdom is worth much more than
coral, jasper, or rubies.
All the topaz of Ethiopia and the finest gold
cannot compare with it.
Where then is wisdom?
It is hidden from human eyes
and even from birds.
Death and destruction
have merely heard rumors
about where it is found.

How much is it worth?

Jasper ...



Image source: http://crystal-cure.com/pics/cube-jasper.jpg

Topaz ...



Image source: http://www.djezpics.net/ezpics/Mohamed/Precious_Topaz.jpg

How much is it worth?

Lots of $$$ no doubt!!



Image source: http://interiorseniorcare.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/wisdom_magnet01.jpg

In the lingo of those Master Card commercials ... WISDOM ... priceless ...

Where to find this priceless wisdom?

God is the only one who knows
the way to wisdom,
because he sees everything
beneath the heavens.
When God divided out
the wind and the water,
and when he decided the path
for rain and lightning,
he also determined the truth
and defined wisdom.
God told us, "Wisdom means
that you respect me, the Lord,
and turn from sin."

Sounds a lot like Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Lord, I may not spend my days toiling underground mining for gemstones but I do spend a lot of time making a living. And I thank you that you have provided me a good job to provide resources for my needs and for me to give to other's needs. But Lord, please remind and challenge me to seek you for the wisdom I need for all of life. Amen.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Elsewhere: Some offline friends online at Blogspot

Inside a Random Mind offers up observations on the passing scene of life and culture. Melissa introduced our youth group to the Lifehouse Everything Skit. Excerpt of her reflections on that skit:

But this one touched me on a such a deep level. I felt the Lord truly grab onto my heart and reasure me that it belonged to Him. It was like watching every aspect and phase of my life being performed before me, it was scary. Not only did I see that, but I felt like I was also watching those phases of my life from Jesus' perspective - and what He was going through at the same times. Trying to get my attention when I wondered, trying to win me back, fighting to get me back, battling what I could no longer handle when my strength was completely drained.. still He was there fighting for me.

Jason is blogging up a storm over at Obediently Authentic. Looks like the memes being discussed come from a class on Christianity and contemporary culture. Here is an example:

Is home constituted as a place of relaxation? Maybe a space that is private or public? Is space considered to be sacred? Should it be? Should "our" space be ours and not be interrupted by others?

Nick over at Reflecting shares about an interesting movie about teenagers. Excerpt of his thoughts on the film American Teen:

Essentially the film follows the lives of 4 "cliche" high school students through their senior year in a small midwestern town in Indiana. While all will undoubtably find their story and the stories of others within the stories of the four whom the film focuses upon, something else stood out to me in the film. It was the most hidden and disheartening part of the overall story.

There were no adults in the lives of the students.

Well, there were adults... But they were hardly "in" the lives of the students. In a best case scenario, the adults were peering into the lives of the students from a safe distance.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

World: Kosovo Independence Stirs Protests

The US Embassy in Belgrade Serbia has been attacked and set afire.

World War I started because of a Serbian assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in the city Sarajavo.

The region has known turmoil for a long time.

Where do we stand now?

The ball is in the Serbian court. They are making lots of noise about Kosovo Independence because Kosovo has historic significance to the Serbians but their ethnic group accounts for only a small percentage of that region's population.

The question is whether their protestations will take the form of military action to regain control of the area.

If they make that move then the ball will be in the court of the rest of Europe: will they intervene to stop such a military action.

If they opt to stop such a drive by the Serbians the ball will be in Russia's court: will they back the Serbians?

If the Russians get involved, what will the USA do?

One must hope we don't wind up with a world war over this but it was a sequence of action and reaction that plunged the world into war in 1914.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Politics: McCain's speech after the Maryland, Virginia and DC primaries

In 2000, I heard McCain speak at a rally in Los Angeles. His biography earns him a hearing. Though he may not deliver the best of speeches, one cannot help but feel that what he says is what he means.

I looked over his recent speech he gave in Arlington Virginia. Here are some excerpts:

We do not yet know for certain who will have the honor of being the Democratic Party's nominee for President. But we know where either of their candidates will lead this country, and we dare not let them. They will promise a new approach to governing, but offer only the policies of a political orthodoxy that insists the solution to government's failures is to simply make it bigger.


When it is distilled down, McCain hits the key difference between the two parties.

Obama may be eloquent and speak of change but is there much difference between his positions and the bulk of the Democratic party in the Congress?

UPDATE: Check out these liberal/conservative ratings summaries from the Electoral-vote.com.

Clinton may claim to be ready to lead from day one but where to?

We will offer different ideas, based in a better understanding of the challenges we face, and the resolve to confront them with confidence in the strength and ideals of free people. We believe that Americans, not our detractors and certainly not our enemies, are on the right side of history. We trust in the strength, industry and goodness of the American people. We don't believe that government has all the answers. We believe that government must respect the rights, property and opportunities of the people to whom we are accountable. We don't believe in growing the size of government to make it easier to serve our own ambitions. We believe that what government is expected to do, what we cannot do for ourselves individually, it must do with competence, resolve and wisdom.

Not a better summary of the Republican political philosophy can be found than this. Indeed, there have been specific areas where McCain has irked the more conservative branch of the Republican big tent. But on the big picture, McCain is right on here!

McCain concluded with this stirring emotional coda ...

I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need. I seek the presidency with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me. I am running to serve America, and to champion the ideas I believe will help us do what every American generation has managed to do: to make in our time, and from our challenges, a stronger country and a better world.

I intend to do that by fighting for the principles and policies I believe best serve the interests of the American people: for a government that takes and spends less of your money and competently discharges its responsibilities; that shows a proper respect for our rights and values; that provides a strong and capable defense; that encourages the enterprise and ingenuity of individuals, businesses and families, who know best how to advance America's economy, and secure the dreams that have made us the greatest nation in history. As I have done my entire career, I will make my case to every American who will listen. I will not confine myself to the comfort of speaking only to those who agree with me. I will make my case to all the people. I will listen to those who disagree. I will attempt to persuade them. I will debate. And I will learn from them. But I will fight every moment of every day for what I believe is right for t his country, and I will not yield. And, my friends, I promise you, I am fired up and ready to go.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Youth: Clip of Lifehouse's Everything Skit



Saw this at youth group on Sunday!

Very moving musical skit illustrating how we can be drawn away from God by what the world has to offer and then in our despair we can reach for Jesus and he will reach for us.

Sports: Clip about Coach Wooden



Leaders and molders of people can be found in many places and certainly Coach Wooden's impact was more than just on the basketball court.

He is 97 and none of us knows how much time he has left but his life is being celebrated and certainly will be rightly remembered after he leaves his time on earth.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Politics: Bush 43 popular in Africa

Bush is in Africa.

Excerpt:

Although many Africans, especially Muslims, share negative perceptions of Bush's foreign policy with other parts of the world, there is widespread recognition of his successful humanitarian and health initiatives on the continent.
......
Bush has stressed new-style partnerships with Africa based on trade and investment and not purely on aid handouts.

His Millennium Challenge Corp. rewards countries that continue to satisfy criteria for democratic governance, anti-corruption and free-market economic policies.

Bush signed the largest such deal, for $698 million, with Kikwete on Sunday.

Because of the U.S. anti-malaria program, 5 percent of patients tested positive for the disease on the offshore islands of Zanzibar in 2007 compared to 40 percent three years earlier, the Tanzanian leader said.

Bush's legacy in Africa would be saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and children who would otherwise have died from malaria or AIDS and enabling millions of people to get an education, he said.

"I know you leave office in about 12 months' time. Rest assured that you will be remembered for many generations to come for the good things you've done for Tanzania and the good things you have done for Africa," Kikwete said.

The Whitehouse web page has a section devoted to Africa issues.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

LA Scene: Melting pot, mosaic, whatever you want to call it

If you heard the name Leila Feinstein and didn't know she was a reporter for KTLA, what would you think she would look like?

To read about her go here and here.

If you heard the name Jennifer Bjorklund and didn't know she was a reporter for KNBC, what would you think she would look like?

To read about her go here and here.

I don't know about you but when I saw their surnames and on news broadcast, I couldn't figure out what their ethnic backgrounds were!

And you know what, maybe that is a good thing?!

Only in LA?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Politics: Flashback ... McCain campaign of 2000

Eight years ago, I supported McCain in the GOP primary in California. Here are some of my old photos from an event in Los Angeles I was able to attend.




"We're going to beat Al Gore like a drum!"



Supporters listening at the Puente Learning Center rally.



LA County Sheriff, Lee Baca endorses McCain.



Telling the truth, what the people want from their politicians.



Sen. McCain addresses the crowds in Los Angeles rally. Also on stage (l to r): Sheriff Baca, Mrs. Baca and Mrs. McCain.

This year, I supported Romney for the California primary. Alas, two days later, Romney suspended his campaign when McCain won many more delegates on Super Duper Tuesday. Today, Romney is endorsing McCain for the Presidency.

I look forward to finding some avenues to support the McCain campaign!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Theology: PTI -- Evangelicalism's meaning; Worship thoughts

Since I don't have cable TV, I have only seen bits of ESPN's PTI (Pardon the Interruption) when I've been traveling or visiting people who have cable TV.

Anyway, in that show, two sports writers give a quick opinion on some top sports subject of the day.

Don't have a partner in crime to do a blog version of theological PTI but I figure I'll dive in anyway with some occasional quick hits on some theology subject I'm baking in my mind.

The constraint is that I give myself a mere 5 minutes to write on the subject.

What does being an "evangelical" mean as I understand it?

I think this flavor of Christianity places a high emphasis on the Bible. There is an intramural disagreement on whether the Bible is inerrant or is it infallible. I suspect those who are Christians who don't call themselves evangelicals don't have this discussion about the nature of the Bible.

I think another aspect of this stream of faith is the importance of a person making a decision to follow Jesus. Evangelicals may use the term "born again" but I don't know if all of us like that word because it has gained a certain image associated with it. But there seems to be a feeling that whether one grew up in the church or came to faith later in life, there is a point in time where a choice is made to be a Jesus follower such that one's life is altered in some fashion.

I think also another aspect of evangelical is the desire to share one's faith with others who are outside of the faith. It can take very direct appeals like the Billy Graham public call to faith to personal conversations with an interested individual.

Subtracting denominational and cultural overlays, what is a communal worship service?

I suspect the "form" of worship is heavily influenced by one's cultural setting. After all, language is an essential part of a worshipping community. And once one selects a language, there is a lot of cultural associations that is inevitable.

Also, I think denominational factors have inevitable impacts.

Can one look across all language groups and denominational groups to identify the "substance" of a worshiping community?

I would imagine some theological people have made that study.

The Bible passage (this is the evangelical in me!) that leaps to mind is Acts 2:42-47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


There is a God-ward dimension there. There is a dimension of community.

Time's up!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Politics: Romney bows out

Romney suspends his campaign.

As a businessman used to weighing the cost-benefit of a decision, he knew his time was up. Alas, in politics, one needs a certain amount of ego to make a go of it and sometimes because of that it can be hard to throw in the towel.

However, between Romney's good sense and probably the good sense of his family and advisers, they decided that exiting sooner rather than later was better.

Huckabee is now in the same position of having to examine the cost-benefit of going onward.

As a center-right blogger, I've been sympathetic to the Romney campaign and the concerns some have about McCain.

Nonetheless, I voted for McCain in the Cal primary in 2000 so I will be supportive of his campaign in 2008 going forward.

UPDATE: Text of Romney CPAC speech.

Link to video of concluding remarks at CPAC.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Politics: Huge turnout today

Went to my polling place this AM.

Turnout was HUGE!

The lines were longer for the Governor Gray Davis recall election but today's lines were longer than any other election in recent memory since I've moved into my current neighborhood.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Politics: Super Duper Tuesday

Poll round-up on GOP side.

21 states.

I don't know how many states Romney needs to win for their brain trust to conclude they should keep going.

Certainly, an upset win in California would probably indicate some GOP "buyer's remorse" over McCain. A loss in California would probably cap a night of losses throughout the country.

Where Romney might win:
California
Georgia
North Dakota
Alaska
Montana

Where Romney should win:
Massachusetts
Colorado
Utah

Another thing to watch is how Huckabee does in the South. If his voters stand by their man and they wind up collecting more delegates than Romney on Super Duper Tuesday then Romney is finished.

Democratic tallies.

22 states.

The drama for this voter is that in both races, California is close!

On the Democrat side, if Clinton holds onto California then she probably goes onto the nomination pretty easily as the bubble for Obama burst. If Obama takes it, then the magic carpet ride continues and its an indication of a tide of history that will sweep away the House of Clinton.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Culture: Super Bowl 42 -- Giants 17 Patriots 14

A truly SUPER bowl game that came down to two dramatic late 4th quarter drives!

WOW!!!!!!!!!!