50 Days to 50 Years: Day 11, A CAAN surprise and a Road Trip!

21 07 2016

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” — William Feather

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Day 11 of 50 Days to 50 Years started with dropping off my Nissan X-Terra to Pep Boys for some servicing in the early AM. You see, the first BIG adventure of my 50 Years is a Food Excursion to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and we are heading out today; so I had to make sure the car was in good shape to go the over 800 miles through the deserts of California and Arizona, and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico.

The temperature index in Los Angeles is expected to reach 100 degrees, and at 7:30 a.m. it was already 71. So I trundled from Pep Boys down to the local McDonald’s, got a Caramel McCafe, and enjoyed the A/C until the service desk called me to say my car was ready.

And they completed the service in just the right amount of time to keep my 10:00 a.m. appointment with Miriam Smith, Columbia College Chicago’s Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. I have the distinct pleasure of working with Miriam on the CAAN Alumni Board, where she does incredible work and inspires us as we seek to do more for the alumni. I was honored that on her visit to Los Angeles, she wanted to make sure she touched based with me. And even more happy that I had a window of time before we headed out of town.

We went to one of my favorite breakfast spots, The Village Bakery and Cafe on Los Feliz Boulevard. I was actually a few minutes early, and so was Miriam! So that worked out well.

Miriam had the Atwater Village Special, and I had the Village Scramble, both delicious and filling. We had a good talk about my time on the board, and how I’d like to contribute in this next year as the new Southwest Regional Representative! It was a very lovely start to what I was looking forward to being a lovely weekend. We finished breakfast, and Miriam had to jet off to her next meeting. We hugged and looked forward to seeing each other at the CAAN Board retreat in September.

Then it was off home to complete our packing, put it all in the car, and hit the 210 Freeway to the I-15! I do love road trips, and love them even more when someone else is driving. Lynn seems to prefer doing that, so I bow to his road warrior. It is just great to get out of your world, and right now our world is a mixed bag of delight and depression; so for me, getting away from it all has taken on pronounced importance of late.

We got underway around 12:30 p.m., fueled up, and away we went! Save for a rest area or two in between, we made it into Kingman, Arizona around 6:30 p.m., and had our last “official” California meal for the weekend at the quintessential California stop: In-N-Out Burger.

Four hours later, we arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona, where we were set to repair for the night. Motel 6 is our inexpensive go-to place on road trips, usually because we have the Bubbas and Bubbette with us, and Motel 6 is not only pet-friendly, but FREE for all pets; no deposit required. But Motel 6 has also been good to us on our little excursions that have spanned, with a few years’ interruption, over the past five years. In terms of brands, if you are good to me, I am often loyal to a fault; so Motel 6 continues to get our loyalty.

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They did indeed leave the light on for us! We are checked in, and look forward to a good night’s sleep before taking the additional 430 miles to New Mexico tomorrow.

 

 





In My Orbit…

6 06 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The political junkie in me is totally strung out today–too much news to discuss, so I’m hitting the larger themes.

Winners and Losers

I am not hiding the fact that I am thrilled, thrilled! at the victory of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the Union-backed recall effort to oust him from office. I would feel this way for any leader of principle who merely sought to deliver what he had promised to his constituents upon winning the election, then suffered a temper-tantrum from the Union strongholds, who were merely being asked to sacrifice like the rest of the state, but chose to instead mount a campaign to oust him. Well, the Unions lost spectacularly, and spent a lot of money doing so.

Both sides of the aisle are spinning it for their advantage, and the Left in particular is crying foul, “democracy died“, and blaming outside money and the 7-1 overspending of the Republican and Tea Party machines. I thought the Tea Party was dead?–psyched your mind!

It is interesting that those same liberals and leftists are not decrying the SuperPACs campaigning and collecting money for the Obama 2012 re-election or the deep pockets that President Obama is courting to contribute to his re-election coffers… but I digress.

For this transplanted Midwesterner from the freakishly blue state of Illinois to an even scarier blue state of California (both union strangleholds), this is just a huge coup. Signs of sanity are even evidencing themselves in Cali’s local elections: in a landslide vote, both San Jose and San Diego citizens approved ballot measures to cut pensions for city workers–so you know the dam is breaking. Now if it will only burst forth and wash Los Angeles in its reformist wake. I continue to hold out hope.

But back to Walker: that a leader says what he means, means what he says, and actually follows through with action is a rare thing to behold. But the greater fact that other people of principle rewarded Walker’s consistency, courage and stick-to-itedness by keeping him in office says volumes. And he won by a larger margin than he did in 2010! That’s something you aren’t hearing from the mainstream media outlets. Jonathan S. Tobin said it best: Courage Rewarded. Give it a read.

The Weekly Standard echoes this as well, but places the victory squarely where it belongs:

“Walker turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $154 million surplus. Unemployment is down. So are property taxes. Businesses, even with uncertainty about the U.S. economy, are optimistic about the direction of the state. Even with the political divisions, it’s hard to imagine a more successful 16 months as governor.

“Results matter. And that, more than anything else, explains why Scott Walker won.”

No matter what pundits have to say, it will have a resounding effect on the November elections and the political process at large. My sweet home Chicago Tribune attests to this in an editorial today:

“On Tuesday, a majority of the voters who for a year and a half have spent the most time weighing those sorts of numbers reaffirmed that they think their Wisconsin governments had grown too elephantine, too expensive.

“There’s another elephant in the room: Act 10 ended the compulsory collection of union dues by government employers. It turns out that when workers have a free choice of whether to keep paying, many decide that it isn’t worth the money. We were surprised last week by a Wall Street Journal report that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plummeted from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. At the American Federation of Teachers, 6,000 of 17,000 Wisconsin members have walked away.

“Drop-offs that stark have implications not only for the unions, but also for politicians who rely on union donations to fund their campaigns.” (emphasis mine)

Unions will be less of a piggy bank for political causes, because the very workers who fund their efforts will now have more of a voice on how their dues are used; and in some cases, will be able to choose to not retain union membership. That’s a big deal.

He’s Baaack!

Because certain Angeleans continue to be useful idiots, the city will once again be subjected to a near traffic shutdown with yet another fundraising visit from our President. I continue to be thankful that I no longer work anywhere near the West side. Let the NIMBYs in Bev Hills and Brentwood have what they deserve!

I just love these Hitler videos. Speaks to both of my musings quite nicely.

 





In My Orbit

9 09 2010

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s not in My Orbit, or everyone else’s today?  The news media, pundits, and bloggers won’t let go this “Pastor” in Gainsville, Florida who is threatening to burn the Qu’ran on 9-11.

As far as I’m concerned, they are all missing the point in fixating on Islam, Muslim reaction, and their favorite buzz word: hate.

The epistle of John says, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  I not only question this man’s sanity, but whether he even knows God–here’s why:  Whatever you feel about Islam and Muslim extremism, is really not the point; it is categorically unloving to the victims, survivors and families of 9-11 to do such an act on the day when we remember, mourn and continue to seek answers.  It would be equivalent to anyone burning the American flag on the July 4 holiday!

But Lo, and Behold, an intrepid blogger has found a connection between this “Pastor” at Dove World Outreach Center, and the Westboro Baptist Church.  Why am I not surprised?  Good investigation and commentary: Qu’ran Burning Church Linked to Westboro…

Frankly, it’s another sad smoke and mirrors distraction from real news.  High on my list of real is Mayor Richard M. Daley (“Daley II”) choosing not to run for re-election.   I was 10 years old (and a bit of a political junkie even then) when Daley I (Richard M.) keeled over from a heart attack.  He had no plans of stepping down–the decision was made for him.  Apparently Daley II learned a cautionary tale from his Dad, and is quitting while he’s ahead.  His 21-year dynasty surpassed his father’s, along with the graft and corruption–but I digress.  His wife Maggie Daley is battling cancer, so I give him a hat tip for wanting to focus on her battle, rather than continue to line his own political nest.

There are rumors that Rahm Emmanuel wants to fill the shoes–not getting any love in the Obama Administration, it seems.  In America, there are two ways to set up a monarchy: Become a Senator or a Mayor.  For someone with ambitions like Emmanuel, a Presidential administration is small change.

My sister texted me with this message: “Woohoo the DYNASTY has CRUMBLED!!”  She expresses the sentiment of many a Chicagoan, current and former.  No matter where you live now, you never stop being a Chicagoan, nor are you disconnected from its curious form of politics.

Of course, we have an expert on this in the White House, so now the rest of the nation is getting intimately acquainted, whether they like it or not.