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226smokelong.jpgAnother issue of SmokeLong Quarterly is out.

Once again, the point of SmokeLong is that the stories take about as long to read as it would to smoke a cigarette...and often shorter. The genre is also referred to as flash fiction. These vignettes of under a 1000 words (usually 400-700) are incredibly well written and well worth the small amount of your time they take to read.


Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

225freedomneedle.jpg

The redesigned Freedom Tower was announced today. It reminds me of something...I just can't think of what. But, I have this subliminal feeling that somehow it's appropriate for New York.

In all seriousness, this design is far better than the previous piece-of-crap topped by a bird cage/skeleton. I'd still be happy with rebuilding the old towers, bigger, better, stronger...Steve Austin style. But, I'll happily leave the final choice to New Yorkers. I just hope they (the people) have a voice, rather than the decision being made by out of touch politicians and second-rate architects aspiring to mediocrity.

Posted by Don | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jun 25 2005

In Dad's Shoes

224indadsshoes.jpgSo I'm home alone with Drew and I'm washing some dishes. All of a sudden I notice it's been real quiet for a few minutes...as every parent knows, always a sign of trouble. Drew? Drew?

I'm looking for him in the living room, the dinning room, the den, the bedroom...and then I find him. On the other side of the counter where I had been doing dishes quietly standing in my shoes exactly where I had left them with a big grin on his face just having a grand old time.







Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

This is my first effort at taking and stitching together panoramic photos. While not perfect, they turned out better than I imagined and really help to recreate the scene better than individual photos. (Click on the pictures to open the full size panoramas in a new window.)

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The first panorama was taken from San Francisco's Embarcadero Waterfront looking north out into the San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge is on the left and Alcatraz Island is on the right.

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The second panorama was taken from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just on the other side of the bridge looking east and south out into the San Francisco Bay. Angel Island State Park is on the left followed across to the right by open bay with Oakland in the background and then in quick succession, Alcatraz Island, the Oakland side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island, the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge, downtown San Francisco, more of San Francisco, Sutro Tower and finally the Golden Gate Bridge on the far right.

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The third panorama was taken from the northwestern side of San Francisco. On the left is the Dutch Windmill in the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden which houses a pumping station which irrigates Golden Gate Park. Looking south there is a long stretch of beach at low tide and finally looking west out in the Pacific Ocean you can see the Seal Rocks on the far right which are swarming with sea lions.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jun 19 2005

Father's Day 2005

223whosyourdaddy.jpgI had a great Father's Day. We went to church where Drew was entertained by a little boy who was sitting alone because his parents were in the choir and helping out elsewhere.

After lunch we saw Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and picked up some free "Who's Your Daddy" posters and then enjoyed burgers and dogs at the in-laws, followed by going to bed early and getting a rare nine hours of sleep.







Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

sanfrancollage.jpg

Continuing on with pictures from our recent trip to San Francisco, click on "continue reading" to see the best of our non-Golden Gate pictures.

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As we sat on a park bench along the Embarcadero Waterfront looking north out on the San Francisco Bay, on our left was the Golden Gate Bridge and a little to the right was Alcatraz Island, known as "The Rock." Originally a defensive fortress designed by the U.S. Army to protect the city and bay in 1853. It started to receive Civil War prisoners in 1861.

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In 1934 the U.S. Army pulled out and the island was converted into a federal ultra maximum security penitentiary and eventual home of such infamous prisoners as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz."

sanfran03.jpg

To our far right, looking out into the bay, was the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, commonly known as the Bay Bridge. The bridge has two major segments which connect Yerba Buena Island with each shore. The dirt and rock excavated to create the Yerba Buena Tunnel was used to create the artificial Treasure Island which is connected to Yerba Buena Island. The pictures here are of the western segment terminating in San Francisco which consists of two suspension bridges with a central anchorage. The eastern span terminating in Oakland consists of a truss causeway, five medium span truss bridges and a double tower cantilever span.

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Opened in 1936 after three years of construction, the Bay Bridge now carries 280,000 vehicles every day along its total length of 8.4 miles. The bridge has five westbound lanes on an upper deck and five eastbound lanes on a lower deck. The 1989 Loma Prieta (World Series) earthquake caused a section of the upper lanes to collapse.

sanfran05.jpg

In the foreground is the "Cupid's Span" fiberglass sculpture, created by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, located in Rincon Park. The sculpture and the park were donated to the City of San Francisco by Donald and Doris Fisher owners of the retailer Gap, Inc. which they founded in San Francisco in 1969. On the right is the Ferry Building Clock Tower.

sanfran06.jpg

Coit Tower was build in 1933 at the summit of Telegraph Hill as a monument to San Francisco's volunteer firefighters. Legend says that the 210 foot tower's fluted walls and porticoed observation deck were made to resemble the nozzle of a firehose, but its architect Arthur Brown insisted that was not his intention.

sanfran07.jpg

The eccentric Lillie Hitchcock Coit left $100,000 to the city of San Francisco for beautification of the city upon her death in 1929. Having had a life-long obsession with fires and firefighters, the tower to commemorate the city's volunteer firefighters seemed appropriate.

sanfran08.jpg

Located off the northwest corner of San Francisco near the historic Cliff House and 400 feet into the Pacific Ocean, Seal Rocks have long been a safe haven for sea lions. For ten months of the year sea lions would congregate here, sunning themselves on the rocks, playing in the surf, and barking boisterously the whole time which can be quite eerie when everything is covered in thick fog.

sanfran09.jpg

From late June through August, the sea lions take some time off, and head south to the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara to breed, but never fail to return when autumn arrives. Since the 1989 earthquake, however, the sea lions have added the more protected Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf to the places they call home.

sanfran10.jpg

The Dutch Windmill, built in 1902 and restored in 1981, located in the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, named in 1962 for the late queen of the Netherlands, houses a pumping station which irrigates Golden Gate Park.

sanfran11.jpg

In 1967, the Summer of Love put the dilapidated San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury forever in the history books as the epicenter of the anti-establishment hippie movement which sought peace, love, understanding...and drugs. Haight-Ashbury was also the home to the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. (I illegally parked our car, hopped out, took some photos, and got the heck out of there as fast as I could out of fear that I might have my membership in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy revoked.)

sanfran12.jpg

San Francisco's Alamo Square is lined with Victorian houses including the most famous "Six Sisters" or "Painted Ladies." They were built in the mid-1890s by developer Matthew Kavanaugh in an elaborate Queen Anne style and are painted in multiple colors to draw attention to the elements of the design.

sanfran13.jpg

The Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline, soars 853 feet into the air and consists of forty-eight stories topped by a hollow, illuminated, 212 foot spire. It was designed by architect William Pereira and was completed in 1972 after being downsized from its planned fifty-five stories and 1000 foot height after locals...doing what they do best and often...protested what they vulgarly called "Pereira's Prick" as being too big, flashy and corporate.

sanfran14.jpg

Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Crookedest Street in the World," Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets on Russian Hill contains eight sharp turns or switchbacks. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and instituted in 1922, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural twenty-seven degree slope which was too steep for most vehicles to climb and a serious hazard to pedestrians to a more reasonable sixteen degree incline.

sanfran15.jpg

After witnessing brutal accidents involving a teams of horses falling and sliding on their sides, pulled by their cargo, down San Francisco's notorious hills, Scottish inventor Andrew Hallidie designed and built the first cable car system which was successfully debuted on August 1, 1873. So successful was the system that allowed expansion to previously impractical areas of the city that by the 1906 earthquake the city had almost 600 cable cars running along 110 miles of track.

sanfran16.jpg

Today, San Francisco's cable car fleet consists of forty-four cars of which as many as twenty-seven may be operating at any given time. There are now just ten miles of track consisting of three separate lines. Despite its reduced size, the system carries nearly 36,000 passengers daily for an annual total of thirteen million. These photos are from the Powell-Hyde Line at the Powell Street turntable at Hallidie Plaza.

sanfran17.jpg

The ornate Chinatown Gateway, also known as "Dragon's Gate," was designed by Clayton Lee in 1970 and serves as the main portal to San Francisco's Chinatown.

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The iconic green tiled structure heralds the entrance to Grant Avenue, Chinatown's bustling center of tourism.

sanfran19.jpg

San Francisco's National Maritime Museum with a passing cruise ship in the background.

sanfran20.jpg

Just some row houses along the Embarcadero Waterfront that I thought were attractive and which rounds out my twenty pictures from San Francisco.

Posted by Don | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (0) |

Continuing on with pictures from our recent trip to Napa Valley and San Francisco, here is a snap of the Golden Gate Bridge.

goldengate1.jpg

Total Bridge Length: 8981 feet (1.7 miles)
Suspended Length: 6450 feet (1.2 miles)
Center Span Length: 4200 feet (0.8 miles)
Width of Bridge: 90 feet, 6 lanes

Height of Towers From Water: 746 feet
Height of Towers Above Roadway: 500 feet

Length of Each Cable: 7650 feet
Diameter of Each Cable: 36 3/8 inches
Number of Wires (0.192 inches in diameter) in Each Cable: 27,572
Length of Wire Used in Both Cables: 80,000 miles

Vehicles Crossing Daily in 2003-04: 106,525
Vehicles Crossing in Year 2003-04: 38,881,684
Vehicles Crossing Since Opening: 1,805,663,417

Annual Toll Revenue in 2003-04: $84,419,500
Daily Toll Revenue in 2003-04: $231,286
Toll Revenue Since Opening: $1,349,053,056

Initial Cost: $33 million
Estimated Cost to Build Today: $1.2 Billion

Construction Started: January 5, 1933
Opened: May 27, 1937 to pedestrians, vehicles the next day

Six Seven more pictures we took of the Golden Gate Bridge can be found by clicking on "continue reading."

goldengate2.jpg

goldengate3.jpg

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goldengate8.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jun 15 2005

2005 OADC Meeting

221napavalley.jpg

This year's OADC (Oklahoma Association of Defense Counsel) meeting was held in Napa Valley, California. The firm sponsored trip spanned five days and allowed us to take a full day to sightsee San Francisco (more pictures in the following days). It drizzled a little on us at the airport when we first arrived. But, after that, we had absolutely perfect weather, sunny and in the seventies.

The trip included Drew's first flight (actually, first four flights) which he made without shedding a tear. Everyone kept commenting about what a great traveler he was. He just goes with the flow. Drew also gets to add another state to his collection of travels (CA, CO, IL, KS, MO, OK and TX).

The events schedule was light which allowed for lots of wine tasting and tours. These pictures are from the Honig Vineyard & Winery.

222napawine.jpg

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jun 14 2005

Flag Day 2005

Danz Family Flag

In recognition of Flag Day, I am starting the Flag Project wherein I will post a collection of pictures of the American Flag flying at people's homes. I am not interested in any flag other than Old Glory. I am also not interested in American flags flying just anywhere. I want a picture of your flag, flying in front of where you live.

It would help if you would make the picture 300 pixels wide. But, if you have trouble doing that, I will do it for you. Send your pictures to:

Email the Flag Project

The permanent address of the Flag Project is: www.danzfamily.com/flag.htm

(Of course, I reserve the right to alter, edit, not use, blah, blah, blah, your photo or anything else you send me in any way I want.)

Posted by Don | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (4) |
Jun 13 2005

No Double Standards

Well, the Michael Jackson verdict is in and now we know that it's perfectly wonderful for a fat unemployed disgusting middle-age white trash guy living in a trailer park to befriend a woman (just make sure she’ll be hated by the jury), show pornography to her little boy, ply him with alcohol, and sleep with him for weeks on end.

Homosexual pedophiles: you have a green light!

Unbelievable.

Update: Some of the talking-heads and others who should know better as well as just random people are saying that Michael Jackson was found "innocent." Far from it, he was found "not guilty." I don't think there is a juror that would leave their child or grandchild with Michael Jackson for a night. Some seem to even express the idea that they believe he is probably guilty but that the prosecution simply didn't meet its burden of proof that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, Michael Jackson absolutely was not found innocent or in any way exonerated of the changes against him.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |

220happybday.jpgOne year ago today, I put up the first posts on the Danz Family blog. I've maintained the Danzfamily.com website since 2002 and had some form of internet presence since 1998 (primarily through a now defunct fee service). This is my 180th entry. I've received 424 comments and 32 trackbacks from approximately 28,000 visitors (blog only).

Besides an introductory post, my first post was about the passing of President Ronald Reagan and the opportunity I had to meet him. The most popular post, by far, was about Sgt. Rafael Peralta and the incredible sacrifice he made while fighting in Iraq which has so far received 31 comments and several thousand visitors.

My better half now refers to my efforts here as my "scrapbooking" after I compared it to her real world scrapbooking hobby. I've greatly enjoyed the interaction I've had with my readers and the ability to keep family and friends updated. I'm looking forward to another year...

Posted by Don | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (2) |
"Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead."

Howell Raines
- Former Executive Editor of the New York Times
"The 'Dumb' Factor," Washington Post, August 27, 2004

218kerry.jpg219bush.jpg

Yale Graduates: Senator Kerry & President Bush

Everyone knows...that is, if you get your information from the mainstream media...that last year's presidential campaign was between a dimwitted incumbent who nearly flunked out of college and a true intellectual who understood the nuances of complex issues. So great was the intellect of the challenger that he could justify voting both for and against the same bill while denying that he waffled on the issue.

President George W. Bush's critics made much of the 1999 release of his Yale undergraduate grades. President Bush's cumulative grade score was a 77 (based on his first three years and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system implemented his senior year). What we didn't know, until this week, was that while President Bush was being mocked about his grades, Senator John F. Kerry was hiding a slightly worse academic past.

Senator Kerry, who graduated from Yale two years before President Bush, received a cumulative 76 during his four years including four D's his freshman year and another his sophomore year. Bush received just one D during his four years at Yale. Add this to the fact that last year it came out that Bush actually scored higher than Kerry in their military aptitude/IQ tests.

And don't forget 2000 presidential candidate Algore who the media also portrayed as an intellectual genius but who, after receiving his undergraduate degree, received F's in five of eight classes he took at Vanderbilt University's divinity school before flunking out leaving without receiving a degree. Algore also enrolled in Vanderbilt's law school but, again, "left without receiving a degree." President Bush meanwhile earned an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |

217ganesha.jpgOver the Memorial Day Weekend my family visited the Tulsa Zoo. While walking near the elephants we came across the statue on the left. Although I didn't know its name at the time, "Ganesha," I knew it was a Hindu religious symbol and that it stood out like a sore thumb in the secular zoo setting. Why is it, I wondered, that people who wouldn't in a million years think of displaying a large crucifix sculpture or a representation of Noah's Ark with all the animals marching two by two, have no problem displaying religious symbols of non-Christian religions?

The double standard among allegedly secular people in their attitude towards Christianity and other religions is a pervasive and growing problem in America. Schools won't hesitate to indoctrinate teach about Islam for instance, when they wouldn't dare teach an identical curriculum on Christianity. Statues of non-Christian religious symbols are erected while tiny crosses representing objective historical heritage must be removed from city seals. No one bats an eye at the large granite globe by the Tulsa Zoo entrance which proclaims the secular humanists' battle cry, "the earth is our mother, the sky is our father."

So, in the midst of, "why are you wasting a picture on that" from my better half, I snapped a photo of Ganesha to remind me of its incongruity in an otherwise excellent public zoo. As it turns out, the controversy over the Hindu statue would come to a boil just days later.

Family friend John Jones was quoted in the media stating, "we need to leave it to the display of animals, and the education of children about nature." Brett Fidler, Curator of the large mammals explained, "We exhibit [the statue] out of the religious context, strictly as a museum piece." I'd believe this if he or anyone else could point out a Christian symbol exhibited "out of the religious context" or "strictly as a museum piece." I don't believe this explanation holds water. Rather this is just another example of the double standard which holds non-Christian religions can be mentioned or represented in an innocuous manner but any mention or representation of Christianity, no matter how slight, is always inappropriate.

Rather than remove the Hindu icon, Tulsan Dan Hicks wanted a biblical account of creation added but zoo staff, not surprisingly, rejected this suggestion. The Tulsa Zoo says the belief that God created the animals has no scientific merit and that's why it's not mentioned at the zoo. Brett Fidler added, "we display things that have been proven through the scientific method and intelligent design has not been proven, to the point that it belongs at an institution like the Tulsa Zoo." One can only wonder how it is that Mr. Fidler believes that a pot bellied Hindu god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant riding a mouse has "been proven through the scientific method"?

Despite zoo employee opposition, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board voted 3-to-1 Tuesday to display the biblical version of the Earth's creation in an exhibit at the zoo. It'll be placed on a wall in the Time Gallery area inside the zoo's Arctic building and will include a disclaimer saying the display is one example of one widely held view of the origins of Earth. One can only wonder whether Ganesha will be given a disclaimer.

Posted by Don | Comments (32) | TrackBacks (2) |

216ddaymap.jpg

It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination. Operation Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation ever undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.

217ddaylogo.pngAfter years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of open beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.

When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |

Ronald ReaganOn this the first anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's death, I replayed one of my favorite speeches of his. In all the memorials after his death, there were many montages of videos and sound bites taken from his various speeches. However, I heard almost nothing quoted from this speech, although it is easily one of his greatest. Simple oversight or evidence of the networks' outright hatred of religion--I have my opinion. It's fifteen minutes long but well worth a listen: President Reagan's remarks at an ecumenical prayer breakfast in Dallas, Texas on August 23, 1984.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

215jambadrinker.jpgLately, I've been totally hooked on Jamba Juice's Strawberry Nirvana smoothie. Most of Jamba's offerings do little for me as they are so high in calories and don't really do much to fill you up. However, the Strawberry Nirvana is surprisingly low in calories, only 330 for the large 32 ounce "power" size.

One of Jamba Juice's gimmicks is their "boosts" that are either included or added to their smoothies for an additional charge. Addition of protein and fiber boosts turns the Strawberry Nirvana into a truly filling meal replacement and all for around 400 calories!

I'm actually beginning to wonder if the Strawberry Nirvana isn't too good. Like the Seinfeld episode where Kramer invests in a non-fat frozen yogurt shop. After tasting the frozen yogurt Jerry exclaims: "This is so F***ing Good!" Everyone gains weight as it turns out the frozen yogurt was actually full of fat.

[UPDATE: The Strawberry Nirvana is made with apple-strawberry juice and lower calorie dairy base (nonfat milk, natural flavors, whey protein, Splenda). However, additional calories can be saved while adding protein by asking that it be made with no juice and with all low-cal dairy base. I corresponded with Jamba Juice corporate about this and they provided the following nutritional information for the 24 and 32oz sizes with and without the fiber and protein boosts:

24oz without any boost:
calories 280
fiber 7g
sugars 48g
protein 13g

24oz with protein and fiber boosts:
calories 310
fiber 14g
sugars 48g
protein 20g

32oz without any boost:
calories 320
fiber 8g
sugars 56g
protein 15g

32oz with protein and fiber boosts:
calories 350
fiber 15g
sugars 56g
protein 22g

Now, the only thing I drink is the 32oz Strawberry Nirvana, no juice, all dairy, with protein and fiber boosts.]

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (1) |

214anncoulter.jpgOn May 24, 2005, I wrote a post entitled:
"Seven Idiot Republicans."

Ann Coulter's most recent column of June 1, 2004, is entitled:
"Seven 'Extraordinary' Idiots."

Her column is a good read and explains in her traditionally brilliant and biting style what I didn't take the time to do. I just wish she would think of her own headlines.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Jun 2 2005

AutoBlogger

[This post was generated using the AutoBlogger software system. You have a life. AutoBlogger helps you live it.™]

Drew is doing very well. He continues to surprise us each day with the things he can do and the concepts that he understands.

Republicans, at least the conservative ones, are good. Democrats are still evil...as is the liberal media.

Summer is coming and Oklahoma is getting hot. Our garden is looking as good as ever. All our hard work is paying off.

[Update: I guess the internet is not the place for subtle humor.]

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |