The Watched Pot

Robert Leverett and Adam were in the kitchen preparing breakfast. I think Robert was making a bowl of oatmeal — the reason he had a pan of water on the stove.

He was staring intently down at the pan of water as the elements under it heated up. I was feeling impatient as I stood there watching him watch the pan and waiting for my chance to get into the already crowded kitchen.

“You know,” I commented, “A watched pot never boils.”

Rob looked up at me with a goofy grin. I knew then that I was going to regret having made that statement as he returned to staring down at the water in the pan.

In less than five-minutes the water was a rolling-boil.

“Well, I guess,” Robert started, “That old saying’s a bust.”

Adam laughed, knowing Rob had proved me wrong — yet again.

So, I decided there and then I’d stay away from meaningless idioms. Yeah, that hasn’t worked out so well either.

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Painfully Honest

Asking random questions is one of the things I’ve come to enjoy about Face Book. I can post it, walk away for a little while and depending on the question – I can get several responses.

One question asked was , “When it comes to friends, do you want one that’s painfully honest with you or one that says what you want to hear?”

My friend William Harry Adams responded, “Painfully honest.  With that said — in the seventies at St. Joe — you looked like a Dork acting like you knew Kung Fu.  Glad I got that off my chest.”

Ouch!

At first I was going to be upset at him for being so insulting – especially after more than 40 years, but then I thought about the situation back then. I realized a long time ago that perception is a strong point of view.

The day William’s speaking of started in the classroom with a bunch of kids picking on another boy who had tried to kiss one of the girls. I got wind of a rumor that he was going to be beaten up and I didn’t want to see that happen.

So once out on the playground, I stepped in, picking a fight with the largest of the kids there and that was Mike Brixey. We didn’t really know each other, but I’m sure we both figured I’d get pounded for certain.

Instead of simply putting up my dukes like Mike did, I took a strange stance and prepared to defend myself.  The stance was one I’d learned a couple of weeks earlier in Kung Fu class I’d been taking at Requa AFS.

In retrospect, I’m certain I’d of gotten the crud beaten out of me, had I not taken that stance. It left Mike wondering about what I knew and it gave time for one of the Sisters’ to stop what was about to happen.

So, while it looked stupid to William, it served the purpose in the end as neither Mike or I got in trouble and the kid who was going to get beaten up, didn’t. Instead, Mike and I became friends, eventually getting in trouble for cutting up during church service.

By the time I was a sophomore I’d come to realize that the best Kung Fu fighting technique was the one called, “avoidance.”

A New Dialogue

After more than a year of being unable to go to regular church services at Sparks Christian Fellowship, my work schedule changed and I made it the last two Sundays. I’ve missed attending church.

The first Sunday back I submitted a prayer request – not for my self – for my brother, Adam. I felt it important to have someone pray for his spirit aside from myself.

By the following Wednesday, there was an abrupt change in the “story,” regarding how he died. My sister told me that she’d heard he’d died in a motel room near the hospital and not in the hospital.

Furthermore she says Adam didn’t die from a taking a “handful of drugs,” rather he had a two medicated patches atop one another when there was supposed to be only one. So essentially, he didn’t kill himself as I was first told.

I concluded that my prayer request opened up my sister’s heart enough for her to finally tell what she’d been holding onto for so long.

Then this last Sunday, I saw my friend Pastor Brett Glanzmann and told him about my supposition. However it didn’t come out as cleanly as I’d wanted it too.

Instead, I admitted to him that, “I don’t want to pass it off to prayer only — as that would be nuts.” After I said it, it occurred to me that my faith is on sandy ground and subject to falling.

Brett, I think, realized it too. Obviously, I wasn’t willing to give the credit to God like I should.

Ever since church services I’ve been thinking about what I said and how I said it. I know now that I needed to say it aloud to someone in order for my heart to begin the healing process.

Thanks, Brett for helping me open a new dialogue with God.

Getting your SHIZZ together

After making a smart-a$$ed comment about getting my shizz together, a friend, Laureen Kinnaman asked me how she could do that. She adds, “That could be valuable information for many of us.”

Here goes…

Stop the bad habits

My number one bad habit is sitting down in front of the television and not getting up to do something else. It’s become much too easy to tell myself, “I’m too tired…” or “I’ll get to it later…” The bad habits have got to end with me.

Eat healthy and exercise —

Okay, this sounds easier than it is – and it really is that easy.  Twenty-minute walks and fruits and vegetables everyday makes this a simple task. I also find avoiding the chips and soda a good thing to do.

Dispose, clean, and organize —

Crazy as it sounds, cleaning up does wonders for the spirit and the mind. I’m an avid collector of stuff; I think of it as treasure while others look at it as junk. And even if I don’t dispose of it, getting it organized and put away makes it easier to locate later.

Get a job that you love —

My favorite activity, aside from sleeping, is writing. And writing’s what I do for a living and what I do for fun. It’s a job that doesn’t feel like work – and therefore — I’m constantly on vacation.

Spend less than you earn —

At one time I had 35 credit cards! What a terrible weight that was in my back pocket as well as to my mind as they were nearly maxed out. These days I spend only 80 percent of what I bring home – putting 10-percent away in savings and giving 10 percent to charity.

Dump the downers —

Last, but not least, get rid of the a-holes in your life. You don’t need negative and nasty people sucking the joy out of you. And if you can’t get rid of them – ignore them — and give them over to God.

Bill Raggio Passes

Retired Nevada state Senator Bill Raggio has died at age 85 and is being remembered as an icon in Nevada politics. The Reno Republican was the longest-serving state Senator in Nevada history when he retired last January just before the 2011 legislative session began.

Raggio had become increasingly vocal against the hardline, no-tax stance of the conservative right and was shunned by some members of his party after endorsing Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid in the 2010 election against Sharron Angle. He was replaced in his role of Senate Minority Leader by state Senator Mike McGinness of Fallon.

Following the news of Raggio’s death, Angle wrote on her Face Book page, “My deepest condolences and prayers for Senator Bill Raggio’s family.”

Meanwhile, Reid says Raggio’s “invaluable contributions and service” to Nevada will live on. He was joined by fellow U.S. Senator Dean Heller, who adds Raggio’s legacy will be remembered “for generations to come.”

Raggio was first elected in 1972 and served in the Senate for 38 years, including 28 as Republican caucus leader.  His daughter says the former lawmaker succumbed to complications from pneumonia while vacationing with his wife, Dale, in Sydney, Australia.

A second-generation Nevadan, Raggio was born in Reno, October 30, 1926. He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Brigman, who died in 1998.

He married his second wife, Dale Checket, in 2004 and is also survived by two daughters, Leslie Righetti and Tracy Chew. A son, mark, died in 2004.

Raggio attended Louisiana Tech, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Nevada, Reno. He obtained his law degree from the Hastings College of Law and the Boalt Hall School of Law. In 1944, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Raggio became a Washoe County Assistant District Attorney in 1952 and his political career was launched six years later when he was elected the county’s top prosecutor. Raggio took on Nevada brothel boss Joe Conforte, and in 1959 had Conforte’s Triangle River Ranch on the outskirts of Wadsworth burned to the ground as a public nuisance.

Raggio also handled several high-profile cases, winning a death sentence against Thomas Bean for the 1963 murder of Olympic skier Sonja McCaskie. The case received national attention, and Raggio was honored by the National District Attorney’s Association as Outstanding Prosecutor in the United States, before Bean’s death sentence was overturned.

Governor Brian Sandoval calls Raggio one of the great lights in Nevada politics and says his career exemplified the very best in public service. He says, “If there was a Mount Rushmore of Nevada politics, Bill Raggio’s image would forever be carved there.”

Current state Senate leader and Democrat Steven Horsford also praised Raggio, saying he, “always put the people of Nevada first.” Former Republican Senator Randolph Townsend served alongside Raggio says, “Bill was someone who would write handwritten letters of condolence to people he hardly knew and who respected colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

With Nevada’s population heavily concentrated around Las Vegas, Raggio is also remembered as a guard dog for northern interests. Greg Brower, a former assemblyman and U.S. attorney who was appointed to fill Raggio’s seat in Washoe Senate District 3, calls his passing a “huge loss.”

Raggio recently published a book about his life called, “A Man of His Word.” In his biography, Raggio spoke of how politics in Nevada have dissipated from friendly partisanship into all-out warfare: “Legislation is still the art of compromise and over the years that has been my mantra.”

Funeral arrangements are pending for the devout Catholic. Flags at the Nevada State Legislature are at half-staff and will remain that way through Raggio’s funeral.

Harry Reid, Agenda 21 and America 2050

Smart Growth, Biodiversity, Outcome Based Education, Sustainable Development, Green, World View, Traffic Calming, Affordable Housing, Consensus, Social Justice, Regional, Open Lands, Quality of Life, Benefit for All; warm and fuzzy words and each a part of a code.

It’s sinister and secretive – therefore you have to research and research until you locate the missing piece of the puzzle. I’m talking about the connection between the United Nations’ Agenda 21 and America 2050.

Both are plans to chop up the U.S. into 11 plots of land and restructure how people use the land. This includes how we feed and house ourselves, how we divide up goods and services as well as how we travel.

Here’s the missing connection:  XpressWest (formerly known as DesertXpress)

For years now, Senator Harry Reid has been espousing the benefits of a high-speed rail passenger train from Victorville, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. This train would travel at speeds of up to 150 mph and would make the 186 miles trip in about 1 hour 24 minutes.

The U.S. is a signatory country to Agenda 21, but because Agenda 21 is not a treaty, the Senate has been unable to hold a formal debate or vote on it, nor was it ratified in any way by the executive branch. Several congressmen and senators, however, have spoken in Congress in support of Agenda 21 including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Kerry and Harry Reid.

Within the U.S., over 528 cities are members of International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international sustainability organization that helps to implement the Agenda 21 and Local Agenda 21 concepts across the world. The United States has nearly half of the ICLEI’s global membership of 1,200 cities promoting sustainable development at a local level.

Agenda 21also has 11 megaregions and includes high-speed rail corridors XpressWest is part of the California Corridor, and includes Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.

Proposition 1A, passed in November 2008, authorizes the state to issue $9.95 billion in bonds to fund the first phase of a planned multi-phase high-speed rail network. Steel-wheel on rail technology is the adopted mode.

Los Angeles to San Francisco, via California’s Central Valley, will be the first phase of the network. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSR) is the lead agency charged with planning and implementing the system.

When the network is built, high-speed trains will be able to travel across California at speeds of up to 220 mph, potentially linking San Francisco and Los Angeles in as little as two hours and thirty-eight minutes. The state has been awarded $2.35 billion in funding from the federal government.

In addition to the state funded network, a private consortium has proposed building a new high speed line between Las Vegas, Nevada and Victorville, California.  XpressWest is intended to improve transit times between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which currently has no passenger rail connection.

The cost of the initial segment is estimated at between $4-billion and $5-billion.  The route is not planned to be extended directly to Los Angeles, although there is a further proposal to have it extended as far as Palmdale, where it would interchange with the CHSR network.

Slowly but surely, Reid’s vision is gaining traction. He has help through state governments like California and local governments like Clark County in southern Nevada.

Furthermore he has the aid of “soft law,” whereby city councils adopt the Unite Nations planning principals because they fall for the warm and fuzzy words that are all part of the code to under cut the United State’s sovereignty.

Those Pesky Extra Little Words

As a radio announcer, I’ve spent much of the last three decades teaching myself how to be less-wordy. I’ve also gone to the point of watching out for words that really mean nothing at the time they are said.

I’ll get to this in a second — as I take the time to admit — I fail at this exercise often.

This morning, in the newsroom, we were having a discussion about “effect vs. affect,” two words I struggle with all the time. Happily, I can report — I’m not the only one in the business that displaces these two words on a regular basis.

We also talked about the word, “across.” I used to say “acrossed,” which is incorrect as there is no “-ed,” at the end of the word. I never realized this until a friend pointed it out to me and I worried over it so much that I eventually avoided using it at all.

This reminds me of the word, “nuclear,” another word I try to avoid as much as possible. A lot has been made of this word in recent years because of its mispronunciation by former President George W. Bush.

I could head down the path of a rant about how President Barack Obama says “Pock-ee-ston,” when the rest of us simply say, “Pack-ee-stan,” — but I won’t.

As for words that mean nothing when they’re said — my pet-peeve is the local weather dudes and dudette’s saying, “65 degrees outside.”

Really? I had no idea.

“So what’s the temperature inside?” I ask the TV — but my inner voice interrupts,” Somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees.”