Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Back from Pittsburgh

I had a good time over Thanksgiving weekend. My Brother, Mom and Stepdad drove to Pittsburgh to see my Grandpa, Aunt and Cousin. My family is a little odd sometimes. There are a lot of health issues and financial issues in the family and my poor Grandpa worries about everyone and my aunt is in denial of most of the problems to point where you have to tiptoe around the real issues and pretend nothing is wrong. It makes for a lot of uneasy conversations. It's sad when my immediate family is the most healthy part of the family tree. Having said that, I did enjoy seeing everybody again and I wish that I lived closer than 5 hours away.

Friday the men in the family went the Western Pa. sports museum which was very cool. Being an avid Pittsburgh sports fan it was like heaven being around so much memorabilia. I almost cried when they showed highlights of the 70's steelers and pirates on the big screen. I also enjoyed learning more about the history of the negro baseball leagues.

The next day we went to the crash site of flight 93 which went down on 9/11. It was interesting to see the area and very sad as well. They have a makeshift memorial at the site until they figure out what to build for the permanent reminder. My favorite part was a set of park benches with the names of each of the passenger and crew members. It's hard to imagine what would have happened had that plane made it to the final destination. When you look at where it crashed you couldn't have asked for a more isolated location. I am not a conspiracy theorist but it makes me wonder if we didn't shoot it down on purpose.

Now I am back to the real world so to speak and looking forward to my next vacation days which won't likely be until Christmas. It's hard to believe it's almost December. I guess I have to start Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Giving Thanks

I am thankful to have rest of the week off from work so I can travel to Pittsburgh

I am thankful that I have a job with a lot of vacation time so I get to travel as often as I do

I am thankful that I have a job period

I am thankful for my coworker Jennie who has become a close friend

I am thankful for other Senate staffers who help make my job a lot easier

I am thankful to become friends with several democrats this year

I am thankful for living so close to my family

I am thankful that my teenage nephews still think I am cool enough to talk to

I am thankful for the board game Race for the Whitehouse because it gives my brother and I something to do together that we both enjoy

I am thankful that my Mom took a risk and started her own jewelry business

I am thankful that I keep in close contact with so many friends from college and high school

I am thankful for email and cell phones because it helps me keep in touch with those friends

I am thankful that I got to be in my buddy CJ's wedding

I am thankful that my friends Jon, Jason and Jason all found new jobs in their field

I am thankful for my friends in Lansing

I am thankful that they often feed me

I am thankful that I am still friends with my ex-girlfriend Michelle even though she is dating some other guy now

I am thankful for my church starting at 11:15

I am thankful that my church allows me to wrestle with my faith and my role in the church

I am thankful for my cat Freckles and that she is still healthy

I am thankful that I get to see a lot of live sporting events with my stepdad

I am thankful for Ben Roethlisberger and that his injury wasn't season ending

I am thankful that the Steelers are on TV as often as they are

I am thankful the Penguins drafted Sydney Crosby

I am thankful Michigan beat MSU in football or it would have been a really bad season

I am thankful to be reading CS Lewis in my office bookclub

I am thankful for all the members in my bookclub because we share a common faith

I am thankful to be part of the men's group at my church that read Wild at Heart this year

I am thankful it has inspired me to be more adventuresome and to live more courageously

I am thankful for gifted writers like John Eldridge and CS Lewis

I am thankful for my XM Radio

I am thankful for the Drudge Report

I am thankful that I started blogging this year

I am thankful people actual read my blog

I am thankful for other people's blogs

I am thankful for thanksgiving because it reminds me to be thankful

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's too darn hot

Last night as I was flipping the channels I came across a TBS special called Earth to America. It was one of the celebrity variety shows to highlight the problem of global warming. The opening Montage was George from Seinfeld dancing and singing it's too darn hot. It was totally cheesy and cracked me up. I guess he's never lived in Michigan where we sing it's too darn cold and cloudy.

The show got me to thinking about a book I have been reading called State of Fear by Michael Crichton. The book is basically an editorial against global warming disguised as a novel. He attempts to make the case that everything we know about global warming is simple fear tactics used by environmentalists to push their agenda. In the book he frequently makes fun of hollywood stars being duped into environmental causes. He couldn't have created a better example than Earth to America.

As someone who knows virtually nothing about science, I do not claim to know whether global warming is actually occurring or not. And if it is, what difference it really makes. But after reading Crichton's book it leads one to question the basic assumptions of what we think we know. If enough news reports, interests groups and celebrities say the world is getting warmer does that make it true? And if we question global warming what else are we being told that we should also question?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Bad Day for Michigan

Yesterday was a terrible day for Michigan sports. Not only did Michigan blow a fourth quarter lead to Ohio State, but Michigan State looked pathetic against Penn St. So much for starting the season 4-0. Now both schools should seriously evaluate if Carr and Smith should return next year. Neither one of them got the best out of their team this year.

If that wasn't bad enough Michigan State's basketball team also lost to Hawaii. I thought they were supposed to be good this year. Oh well. I would hate to be at one of Izzo's practices this week. Good thing basketball unlike football is forgiving so they still have a chance to right the ship. Speaking of basketball, I guess the Pistons are not going unbeaten this year. I can understand losing on the road to Dallas but by 37 points.

Even the one team that Michigander's have come to depend on also lost yesterday. Yes the Red Wings continue their recent swoon by losing their fourth and a row. And this time to the crappy St Louis Blues. I didn't even know St Louis still had a hockey team.

Now our state's hope for winning anything this weekend rests with Lions and I am not counting on them beating the Cowboys. Heck I wouldn't even count on them beating either Ohio St or Penn St if they had to play them. But while things look bad at least I don't live Miami. They had an even worse day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Yesterday the city of Detroit held their Mayoral election and I cannot believe Kwame Kilpatrick won re-election. Kwame spent the entire campaign trailing his opponent and was behind 57-43 when I went to bed. I was very surprised when I woke up to find he had won and I have a hard time understanding how a man whose entire time in office has been defined by nothing but scandals actually won the voters approval. Granted his opponent wasn't the most charismatic person but why don't the residents of Detroit expect more out of their leadership. Detroit has a lot of tough issues that they need to face and quite frankly the Mayor's track record suggests he isn't up to the job. I have heard it said that voters get the kind of leader they deserve and so maybe Kwame's election is more an indictment on the city of Detroit than on himself. Who knows? On the plus side, I doubt he will be too inclined to help our Governor out in the next election since she refused to help him in this race. If Granholm can't get the vote out in Detroit (which will be difficult without Kwame's help) she is going to have a hard time winning re-election next year. Somewhere Dick Devos is smiling.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Gone with the wind

This past weekend, I had the privilege to travel to South Dakota and Minnesota to learn more about alternative engery and in particular wind energy. Minnesota has been very aggressive over the past decade in developing wind farms and currently have well over 600 turbines up and running. It's fascinating that ancient cultures used wind for power and yet we are just now rediscovering its use as we look to replace oil and coal as our main power staples.

For some reason Michigan is trailing other states when it comes to developing alternative energy and I am not sure why. In some parts of the state where wind farms are being discussed, many local people oppose them as a nuisance because they are loud and ugly to look at. While I was in Minnesota I was able to stand right at the basin of a turbin and it really isn't that noisy. And while you see them dotting the countryside, they are no more obtrusive than power lines.

Hopefully, once the first wind farm is up and running in Michigan, these misconceptions will be eliminated. While wind might not be the only answer to for increasing our state's renewable energy supply it should be part of our overall plan.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sam's Club

The other day I had to go to Sam's Club to buy bottled water for event we are helping sponsor. Since I do not have my own membership, I decided to take the oportunity to do a little shopping for myself. It is truly an amazing store. They have almost everything anybody could ever want. However, it is not really designed for the bachelor's lifestyle. As much as I like mayonnaise I really don't need a 5 gallon jar of it. In the end I decided to load up on $80 worth of Mountain Dew and Egg Rolls hoping that supply will get me through the end of the month. And while I can justify my purchase, the whole experience of buying so much just struck me as expansive consumerism run amok. I mean I can afford it but what must poor starving people in the third world think when we have these huge grocery stores filled with food and they have very little. This is not a slam on big grocery chains but rather a question to our culture as to how much we take our wealth for granted. If I am hungry, I go get something to eat and don't even think about it. Others are not so blessed. I am not sure what the answer to global hunger is but I am going to start spending more attention to how I shop and I am certainly going to be more thankful for what I purchase.