Monday, January 28, 2008

Obama '08

The following video is about 4½ minutes long. It starts out
“Tonight for the seventh long year, the American people heard a State of the Union that didn’t reflect the America we see and didn’t address the challenges we face.”
There is a better way.

Is it possible that Barack Obama is gaining the momentum that will carry him to a California victory on Super Tuesday? I don't know. I'm just sayin'. I'm just sayin' maybe so.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Once the Circus Leaves

The job of the next president will be akin to the guy who sweeps up after the circus animals leave the ring.

Pat B. Allen, Ojai, Letters to the Editor (Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2008)

This is a fitting opening to today’s post. A quiet uprising is covering some ground despite being ignored by major media sources. A friend recently emailed me an excerpt from Lee Iacocca’s April 2007 book: Where Have All the Leaders Gone? You can find the excerpt here. Here is the short and sweet version.
Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

(Excerpted from Where Have All the Leaders Gone?. Copyright © 2007 by Lee Iacocca. All rights reserved).

Please read it.

So, have you heard of Iacocca’s book? I had not and I got curious. Am I living in an isolated shell? I did some internet searching to see if I could find book reviews by the Los Angeles Time, New York Times, or the New Yorker. The only hits I found were the presence of Iacocca’s book on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list. Other than that, major news outlets have completely ignored this publication. Makes you go hmmmmm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Traveling Warrior Returns with a Story

Tom holding his tickets for the Chargers-Patriots game next Sunday
I have a guest post today from my friend and fellow book club member Tom. Here you see him proudly holding two tickets to the upcoming Chargers-Patriots game in Gillette Stadium.

I was one of the fans who joined the Chargers officially sanctioned travel agency trip to Indy. My package included a game ticket, a Saturday night bar gathering at Jillian's featuring local media
notables (Hank Bauer, Jim Laslavic, Josh Lewin), the Road Warrior himself, George Pernicano and even team doctor David Chao. Two hours of food and drink and fellowship with a room full of frenzied football fans.


After the booster boasting by the media men one fan was given the mike. A big man, Jim is his name, he slowly stood up and proceeded to tell us that he has six season tickets, lives in Alaska, flies to San Diego at the beginning of the season and attends all games here and away. And as a gesture of Alaskan spirit he bought spirits for everyone in the room. Later he told me the tab came to $530. Jim has ordered a special edition Dodge Charger with somewhere around 450 hp. It will be in blue & gold, of course.

At the table next to me a fellow named Jaime sat with his wife and five children. The youngest was 89 months old and all were going to the game. Jaime hails from Riverside. He's going to Gillette Stadium too. I'm still in awe of that guy.

After the win on Sunday we regrouped in the lobby of the Omni hotel and met even more Boltheads who were there on their own. Words cannot describe the gathering. Words are too quiet. Words are only part of song. Words don't hurt your cheeks after hours of grinning while drinking.

I've got my tickets today for the Gillette game. Jim and Jaime are the first two of many I just gotta be with again.

Dejected Colt fans leaving RCA Dome after Colts lose to Chargers in playoffsI took this shaky shot with raised cell phone as we exited the RCA Dome Sunday after it hosted its Colts last stand and our Chargers' next step. It conveys the specter and the energy of the event. Not a good photo for a classy blog but one worth sharing with ardent Boltheads!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Matter of Pride

Don't mess with me-I'm a Lights Out San Diego Chargers FanWell, we’ve got them right where we want them. Yes, the Chargers beat the Colts yesterday 28-24, a rematch from earlier in the season. That one the Chargers also won, but no one gave the Bolts credit. It was simply, Manning had a bad day (6 picks) and Vinatieri missed a game-winning chip shot (true, he did). However, there was a reason Manning had a bad day: the Chargers have a good defensive line and an incredible pass defender named Antonio Cromartie. (He led the league in interceptions even though he wasn’t a starter from the beginning.) Cromartie has 4 Manning picks this season, one yesterday and three in that first contest.

Manning didn’t really have a bad game yesterday (402 yards passing), but, again the defense came up with the big plays (1st and goal on the nine and the Chargers keep the Colts from scoring).

Yesterday and today I have reveled in the non-stop replays: Cromartie’s interception run back for a TD—oops! called back by a dubious holding call—it’s nonetheless a beautiful run. Legedu Naanee’s gobbled yards in the crucial game-winning drive. Billy Volek’s gutsy performance as backup QB in the game-winning drive. Darren Sproles’ short reception turned into a 56-yard TD flash in Rivers’ last play of the day. Mike Turner, replacing Tomlinson in the second half, churning out the yards. Mike Scifres’ incredible punt from the end-zone that put Manning and company on their own 30 to start the final bid for points. Rivers’ perfect pass to Chambers for a TD. Jackson’s 10-foot hops for an incredible pull down in the end zone (another perfect pass from Rivers) for a TD. An offensive line that gave Rivers and Volek time and no sacks. Merriman, my buddy, grabbing at Manning’s heals all afternoon.

Yes, we’ve got them right where we want them. You see, the Patriots are expected to roll over the Chargers just like they did in week 2 of the season (that score was 38-14 Pats). Good. Let them think that. No sympathy for the cry-babies who want to see a Manning-Brady showdown. I’m looking for a Rivers-Manning showdown—Eli, that is. And, that’s when we show Archie how thankful we are for the snub.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kauai Bridge Etiquette

Stop to smell the flowers along the north shore road in Kauai
Perhaps nothing symbolizes the laid-back atmosphere of Kauai more than its many single-lane bridges along the road heading west out of Hanalei to road’s end. The road ends at Ke’e Beach and the famed Kalalau Trailhead. Driving this rural, curvy road that sometimes hugs the coast and sometimes affords lofty views high upon the bluff, you learn patience and you learn to take your time. Kauai is the most unhurried of the four main Hawaiian Islands. If you insist on living life at mainland pace, you’ll miss the point. And this brings me to the single-lane bridges.

The two-lane road simply collapses into a single lane at numerous bridges. Here’s what you do.

First, you’re hopefully not driving more than 25 or 30 miles per hour. As you approach the bridge, if there are no cars approaching from the other direction, you’re free to go. Once you’re on the bridge, any opposing traffic will (there’s really no choice here) wait for you to cross.

If a car is already on the bridge coming towards you, you wait behind the point that the road becomes a single lane. This is where the etiquette part kicks in. Drivers are not expected to alternate—that would slow things and produce confusion. Instead, cars considered in the flow are expected to cross with the lead car. Perhaps 3 or 5 cars will go. When this number starts to grow large, a polite Kauaian will defer to the opposing traffic and become first in line for the next crossing. Now, as you wait, you see that there indeed is an end to the stream of automobiles advancing over the bridge. After the last one passes, you can cross. While you were waiting, chances are others have lined up behind you. They too have become part of the flow and will cross with you.

Much of the time, the entire line of waiting cars will proceed across the bridge. If a straggling car now approaches the bridge, there is an obvious break in the flow. A polite driver will recognize this and stop so that the opposing traffic, still waiting, can proceed.

Amazingly enough, this works pretty well, but with 6 or 7 bridges, you can see how your travel time the last 6 miles of the highway is slow. And that’s partially the point. If you can’t slow down your pace and take your turn, well, politely speaking, you should just probably stay at a resort in the airport city of Lihue. But for those who want to see the end of the world, one-lane bridges are a great introduction to island life.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hiking to Hanakapiai Falls in Kauai

Hiking along the Kalalau Trail in Kauai (Hawaii)The Kalalau Trail on the north shore of Kauai (Hawaii) is a hiker's dream. Backpacking is required to complete the entire 11-mile (one way) hike, but day hikers also have several choices. Our goal was the 4-mile trek to Hanakapiai Falls, a challenging 8-mile roundtrip hike in good conditions. In rainy December, it becomes a treacherous slip and slide of chocolate ooze. Still, the vistas on the first 2-mile leg along the legendary Na Pali Coast are phenomenal.

We started at the end of the road at Ke'e Beach, the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail. The path climbs steeply for a mile, then descends a mile to Hanakapiai Beach. Just before reaching the rocks and sands of the beach, numerous signs warn against swimming in the dangerous rip currents and urge you to notice tidal wave warnings or receding water.

The trail to Hanakapiai Falls then follows the Hanakapiai (what else?) Stream up the valley, crossing the stream numerous times. My boots were soaked because I forded the stream by walking through the water; there were no other possible crossings.
Swimming at Hanakapiai Falls, Kauai (Hawaii)We were rewarded with a gorgeous 300-foot waterfall and swimming hole. The mist of the falls and the mist of the rain made a surreal atmosphere. Or, perhaps in the haze of an oxygen-deprived brain I let my mind wander.
Hiking along the Kalalau Trail in Kauai (Hawaii)The return trip was made difficult because my muscles didn't like going down. Each step taxed my poor knees. Still, I live for this hike.