New Wheels... not those however.

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My wife and I bought a new (to us) car yesterday. We went with the 2001 VW Jetta TDI (turbo Deisel). Here is an artist's depiction of the car.

Okay so the artist put some fancier wheels on it, but that is basically the car we bought. We are looking forward to some crazy gas mileage and the long life a diesel promises. Yay for hope. Thanks Obama!


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If you live in or around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area you may have noticed some road work. In fact, there are only a total of 11 streets inside the greater metro area that are currently not under construction.

Perhaps it was the lack of maintenance that had been done over the past years that set MN DOT into a working frenzy but one thing is clear. You cannot drive there from here.

In light of the new found exuberance from MN DOT I am going to suggest some new slogans for their consideration

MN DOT: Did you say something?

MN DOT: No Bridges down in 2008

MN DOT: You cannot get there from here.

MN DOT: Stay Home!

MN DOT: We have years of neglected work to catch up on.

MN DOT: We don’t care.

MN DOT: We can pay a ton of money and have a bridge built in just over a year.

MN DOT: Minnesota is a One-Lane state.

MN DOT: We finally found where we stashed the cement

MN DOT: Did you hear that Pawlenty might be McCain’s VP?

MN DOT: The fast food of bridgework

MN DOT: Hope the AC in your car works.

MN DOT: Minnesota… The traffic jam state!

MN DOT: Correcting the mistakes we have made for the past 20 years.

MN DOT: Setting a record for most roads paved in a week.

MN DOT: All of the roads awesome! Well, they will in 4 years!

MN DOT: Time for the backyard BBQ.

MN DOT: Enabling Road Rage

MN DOT: We know bridges… now.

MN DOT: We blame Jesse.

MN DOT: At least its not L.A.

MN DOT: Double the drive time means double the fun!

MN DOT: Have you considered staying at home for a game night?

MN DOT: Blockbuster and NetFlicks deliver

MN DOT: Drive at your own risk.

If You Could… Part 3

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The city is a wax museum of obscurity. There are cars in the act of swerving. Individuals with hair and faces locking in abnormality. The subtleties of such a place offered momentary distractions for him. He forgot about his sister only to be drawn back to the thought of her as a wave to the beach. With each crashing of his thoughts upon the reality of the moment, I could make out the pained looked as understanding slammed against his face.

It was quite a walk across town to Cart’s. We passed people who had been frozen while bustling to and from very unimportant chance meetings. Such devotion and effort spent on the pursuit of moments of fleeting interests but their faces spelled out their current luck. Men whose faces showed the pride of their evening associate or the desperate look of hopelessness, Women who were tired of more than just the walk but the whole thing altogether, people who couldn’t care less about anything aside from themselves and were disgusted by anyone who would dare talk to them, they were all there.

What was that? His exclamation was as startling as it relayed him being. I saw a bright flash behind that girl with the red dress on. Of course it had to be the girl with the red dress on that he would see it with first. She was beyond attractive and bordering on worshiped by the men that were following her. Low cut on the top and high cut on the bottom her dress would have made any individual interested in women think of fighting for her. But it was here face that gave her away. Very pretty but also very aware of that exact fact. She knew she was good looking and that was enough to make any carnal attraction fade.

But it wasn’t just her looks that caught his eye. It was a flash of light, yellow to be exact. I had seen it too, but then again I had seen that exact flash behind everyone. Do you know the saying that your past follows you? Yeah he said examining the woman, perhaps a little too closely. Don’t touch her. She will be able to feel it. His hand was inches away from touching her and not exactly on the hand. Perhaps he had spent a little to much time away.

How could she feel it if time doesn’t pass? Don’t know how, they just can. I took a seat on a bench next to a pair of teenagers that were looking wide-eyed at the buildings and people around them. Just don’t touch. Now have you heard of the saying… He interjected his answer. Okay, well the saying has more truth than you know. Each person here when they move leave a trace of themselves, momentarily behind them. You cannot see it when time is active because it is too quick but it is there.

So. He impatience hadn’t cooled. So, I continued, if you are outside of time, so to speak, you can see their past. You just have to learn to look for it and at it without looking for it or at it. Easy to say and difficult to understand. He beat me to it this time. That flash you saw was a moment in her past. You saw her past. What was it that I saw a flash of? Her on a beach. What was she wearing? I shot a glance his way to let him know that his question wasn’t appropriate.

So you could look into her past and watch her undressing and stuff. That is very inappropriate. You shouldn’t think like that. I am not saying you do, I am just trying to figure out the limits of this whole thing and it seemed like a reasonable question. I suppose if you stayed her long enough and concentrated hard enough you could. But I don’t do that.

And right now there is a girl somewhere showering you could stop time and stop in for a peek and she wouldn’t ever know. I am not going to continue entertaining this particular line of questions. There are a lot of good uses. Like stopping bad things from happening and helping people. But if there are people like you who use this for good there have to be people who use it for bad don’t there? I mean you have to have met one right?

My face drooped. He had figured out the bad before the good. That was not promising. I met one person once who did use it for ill. And another who thought he was doing good but the power was consuming him. It will be easier to explain to you when you we get there. Now come on. But you never thought about using it for anything that others might consider bad? I fight with it every day. I hope I don’t ever lose the fight.

We turned the last corner and the red neon glow of the sign was tangible, almost. When you stepped through the light it cut the line and left a hole in the ray. All the windows were tinted enough to keep you from making out what was going on inside other than silhouettes of people. I stopped short of the door. Remember when we get in there, don’t do anything unless you clear it with me first. His head nodded but his gaze was fixed on the door.

My hand came to rest on the door handle. This is going to be hard. I hope you are rested and ready. Discipline, be disciplined. We stepped in.

If You Could... Part 2

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Beads of sweat began to form on my forehead. This type of looking, searching took a great deal of focus and concentration. I momentarily shut him out. It had to be that way. He however wasn’t going to take his eyes off of me. He was absorbing every twinge, every droplet, every discernable change in order to figure out what was going on.

Sound faded and time again neglected its duty. I had stopped it this time, hopefully at the right moment. This was the perfect way to show him what I was talking about or I better stated what I was eluding too. It was hard to define it and it would be hard for him to understand it even when he saw the whole thing laid out. I could tell him easily enough but it just isn’t always that easy. I didn’t need him to hear it, I needed him to understand it.

I wiped away the sweat that had been pooling on my forehead. What's going on? His voice was forceful and worried. Nothing. We have stepped outside of time again. I stopped it at the right time I think so you will be able to see what it is that I am doing and what is going on.

What is going on? Persistance was clearly his way around the situation. He wanted answers and wasn't particullarly looking to wait for them. She's in trouble. That should be enough for you for right now. The next couple of seconds could dictate wither your sister dies in the next couple of years or not. Dang it. I didn't want to tell him who just yet but it slipped out.

His face went from serious to barely controlled rage. Where is she and what is happening to her? I had never felt the overwhelming power asserted in an interregation before but it was apparent to me in that moment why people would confess to anything to get away from it. She is in a bar down in the city. She went out with some friends and she is caught in a situation that she could have never seen coming. You saw it coming.

Tell me what is going on. Which bar? What is happening to her? Tell me! He tone wasn't friendly. I had never seen him reach this level of anger before but I hadn't seen him at war. I hadn't seen him kill men to protect himself and his friends. I had never seen him execute and order to kill. I guess in a lot of ways the guy before me wasn't the guy I had known for so many years. But I knew that he was at the same time or at least that guy is in there.

Cart's Pub. The words had bearly left my mouth when he had dashed down the hill. I slowly raised myself and dusted off my pants. I understood the importance of saving my energy currently. I would be needing all of it later.

When I reached the bottom of the hill he was pacing underneith a street light next to a group of frozen friends. What are you doing? Get a move on, son. There is work to be done. His patience wasn't improving. I understood the emotion and empathized with him but rashness wasn't going to help. Do you think running is going to change the time in which we arrive. Perhaps your perception but trust me we will arrive precisely when we left. It's easy to say but hard to understand.

Secondly... I started, unwilling to let him off the hook. We are going to need all of our energy when we get there. Complete mental and physical strength are required to directly impact the situation. His training kicked in. His eyes glassed over and he again became the emotionless soldier that was necessary to divorce himself from the feelings that situation stired in him. It was fine for now, but we would need those emotions later. They might be the only thing that could save her.

The problem with Catfish

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I don't know if you have been keeping track but catfish have recently been thumbing their noses at conventions. They are growing to, dare I say it, bear sized proportions. This turn of events has prompted TWH to update the security threat to a mauve with a couple of wavy pink lines. This is serious people. With these mutant catfish beasts in the water and the bear on land, air is becoming the only safe place for people to dwell at without fear of a general pummeling followed by some untimely "eaten while alive" action.

I hereby call on congress to pollute the rivers until these catfish are killed from all the toxins. That is the only way to guarantee the continuation of humanity at the top of the food chain.

One Last Cross

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A little over a year ago a young man named Lyle P. Miller was at a party where alcohol was being served. He and another friend decided they wanted some McDonalds and hopped into his SUV to head over to the next town and grab some food. The next day the friend had little memory of the night before. Lyle, however, would never be able to speak of the night for a different reason. He spent the night at the morgue.

Tears were shed as the body of the young man was laid to rest in Northern Illinois a few days later. Memories were shared and cautions offered. It was hopped that this type of thing wouldn’t happen again.

I went past the cross by the side of the road this past week. There are some fresh flowers and his name is still clearly legible on the white painted boards. Across the road there is a new cross for another young man who passed away from another accident over the past year. Another young individual laid to rest and no doubt more of the same caution shared.

In 2006 there were 1254 traffic fatalities in Illinois. 540 cases are known alcohol related cases that resulted in a fatality. That number has decreased significantly since 1982 when over 1000 fatalities were from known alcohol related incidents. The fact is simply that these deaths are avoidable. The question is how do you make young individuals who drink have the responsibility to not drive.

I doubt I have the silver bullet that will cure this social ill but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to make an effort to try and stop even one of these individuals from making the same mistake.

I am proposing a program called “One Last Cross”. The programs concept is to erect a highly visible and highly moving monument in a community to create awareness and better choices by the individuals.

The “One Last Cross” program is a large white cross where individuals are asked to sign the cross as a pledge in memory of those who have passed away that they will not drink and drive or let anyone they know drink or drive. It is important that the cross be large and placed in a highly visible area to act as a reminder to their pledge.

Around the large signed cross smaller crosses are to be placed in memory of those who go on before creating a large reminder of the cost of the decision to drive while intoxicated. The area will be reminiscent of the Arlington National Cementary with the white crosses. The larger the area grows the more heavy the images importance will weigh on those who see it.

The name “One Last Cross” is in hopes that with the signing of the large white cross will be the only necessary cross to put up. I am only starting with this concept and will be happy to take feedback and input. I will probably start a blog as soon as I can find someone who is interested in being a co-author of the blog.

I appreciate you reading this and hope that you will take the time to challenge the individuals around you to take this seriously.

If You Could...

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If you could… nothing truly worthwhile or good starts with this but it seemed at the time like the only way to direct the conversation that way. It was originally meant to be a homecoming but this Return-From-War party gone wrong had all the trappings of early remorse. If you could see past the curtain of this world, no, the curtain in this world and truly see the world in all its depravity. Would you want to?

It was a considerably foolish question to ask a guy just back from what most people considered the unbridled depravity of man but this wasn’t just anyone. I had known him since before my mind had stored images. He was a friend beyond most and if I was going to share this with anyone it was going to be him.

Is your mind in a right place? Do you want to go and mess it all up? His face had sterned to mirror the emotion in my voice. His answer wasn’t a joyous yes but a thoughtful nod. He would hate me within the hour but I would finally be able to share this with someone and there wasn’t anyone I trusted more.

We started walking, each step lost in the drum of the previous 50. We passed a man standing completely still, frozen in the glow of the street light. Then we passed a woman pushing a stroller but she was standing motionless like a mockery of the moment. We walked and walked but it never seemed like any time had passed. Finally we found ourselves atop a building overlooking the lights of the city. The stillness in the air was chilling.

He wanted to know what was going on. Why there wasn’t any noise and how it was that the whole world had seemingly stopped to let us pass. It’s easy to say but hard to understand. We are outside of time right now. We exist but we are not inside the existence of time so time is completely void. His army stuff kicked in and he shared about how much the army would love this type of thing. He was more serious than I was now.

Army can’t have it, shouldn’t have it and won’t have it. They wouldn’t be disciplined enough. Coming from me it sounded like a sour joke, but I had less and less faith in the military over the past 6 months or so. As we sat down on the edge of the building time engulfed us and the noise of a music box coming to life flooded back with the flickering of lights.

It seemed and felt like time was rushing to catch up. It always felt like that and even if I didn’t feel like it I knew enough to sit down and make him sit with me. He wanted to know what was happening, what I could see. Time… and life I guess. There is good and bad happening, foolishness and pride, evil and righteousness. You can’t see it by looking at it with your eyes but you learn to see it some other ways.

He knew that was why we were here. Why did he have to ask me? Each and every nobody and anybody is here for those same reasons and no one is here for any of it. It’s really hard to explain but like I said you will learn to see it.

So, what’s next he says to me. I am looking for the right one, the one to show you just what I mean. It’s gonna happen and you’re not going to be happy but you got to remember a few things. We, neither you or I, started this. We aren’t going to let anything bad happen, that is why we are here. But most important is you have to follow my lead. You don’t know completely what you are dealing with and its going to be hard to swallow at first. You just have to wait.

He didn’t respond. That meant yes but also no. Yes he would wait for me but no he wouldn’t wait for me if he felt things had gotten out of hand. He could sense that something was going to happen and it wasn’t going to be good. Would have been easier if he wasn’t in the Army, easier and harder. Hard to explain.

It was going to start so I told him to get and we set off across town. It went back to the quite stillness. Hasn’t been quite or still since.

Simple Rules To Live By

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If there is a dead body floating in some water... don't drink that water.



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