Warren F. Rosenbaum
CHRISTMAS LETTER 2010

Merry Christmas 2010, and Happy New Year, 2011

 

Why Do The Years Seem To Fly By?  Answer Below!

I’ve figured out why the years seem to go by faster as we get older.  We unconsciously measure a year by our activities and accomplishments during that period. We now have to bundle together three years of activities to achieve what we used to do in one year.  Two former years of activities now takes us six years to complete. 

 

So we mentally measure two years but the activities have taken us six years to do.  Six years have flown by when we mentally feel it should have been two years.  With this deduction (maybe revelation) in mind, I still have a hard time realizing another year has gone by when my accomplishments are only about four months worth of activities.  If this doesn’t make sense to you, maybe you need some Phosphatidylserine.  (See “Vitamins” under “Staying Fit…” later in this letter.)

 

A Special Visit This Year

Bernie Giannell, my longtime friend and fellow C-124 pilot of yesteryear (1967-71), visited me in September.  We drove to the Kennecott Copper Mine about 30 miles northwest of Pleasant Grove. This is the largest man-made hole in the ground in the world (Google) and is a jaw dropper.  It is about two and a half miles across and almost three-quarters of a mile deep.  They use huge mining dump-trucks to haul the ore out of the pit to a crusher for further processing.

 

A museum and gift shop at the observation point can take a half-day to enjoy.  The museum shows a free 20-minute “mining operations” film every half-hour that is very informative.  

 

The operation employs about 1,000 people and latest figures (2005) show its annual production is 300,000 tons of copper, 4 million ounces of silver, 400,000 ounces of gold (value $560 million at today’s prices), and molybdenum sales of $700 million.  That’s a bunch of mining!  Owned by Rio Tinto, a worldwide mining conglomerate, this is not a Mom-and-Pop operation.

 

Old Flyers Drawn To Airplanes

Like old bears are drawn to honey, Bernie and I were the old bears and the honey was Hill Aerospace Museum, 75 miles north of here.  Admission is free with donations accepted.  For military buffs and especially Air Force types, this is a classic collection covering a wide assortment of aircraft. 

 

The brochure shows 75 aircraft on display from big B-52, B-1, and C-124 types to WWII fighters, bombers, and trainers.  Scattered within this potpourri are Korean War and Viet Nam era aircraft including a Russian built MiG-17 and MiG-21, a USAF SR-71 spy plane, six helicopters, and a replica of the Wright Flyer of 1903 Kitty Hawk fame. Some displays are “era” oriented and one separately housed museum-within-a-museum is devoted only to Korean War memorabilia.  Seeing the F-4 Phantom displayed next to the MiG-21 reminded me of Colonel Robin Olds’ well known “Operation Bolo” during the Viet Nam War with these two types involved in the aerial combat. The short classic interview with Col. Olds as he exited his aircraft after the mission was simply, “The MiG’s came up. The MiG’s were aggressive. We tangled. They lost.”  A classic moment in historical USAF kick-butt. 

 

I might add that several pictures of noted Utah veterans who attained high rank or were highly decorated or were well recognized for other reasons line a connecting corridor between two display buildings.  Among them, a picture of Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber of Berlin Airlift fame, from Provo Utah. For more info, go to:

http://www.maam.org/wwii/ww2_berlin.htm

 

As we left the museum we took a picture of us in front of our old aircraft, the C-124. The aircraft is positioned prominently at the entrance to the museum.

 

LDS Temple Square SLC

We also managed a brief late afternoon visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake City that was cut short by rain, the late hour, and fatigue.  Kennecott, Hill, and Temple Square are all must-see locations when traveling in this area.

 

Ernie, Audrae, and I visited Temple Square on Saturday evening, December 11th, to see the huge and thoughtful Christmas light display that draws thousands of people during December.  It’s a magnified version of Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane walk and after walking around the whole area for about two and a half hours I felt I’d done Christmas Tree Lane again.  Nostalgia prevailed.

 

Breakfast & Coffee At Tangie’s, & Utah Valley Life

How about a breakfast and lunch hangout for locals in American Fork pronounced Tan-gee’s that features two eggs, hash browns, and two “dollar-sized” (more like 4-inch) pancakes for $3.99 and exceptionally good coffee for 84 cents with free refills.  Sounds like yesteryear but it exists right now.  More nostalgia.

 

This area is a lot like Fresno in the ‘50’s with friendly people who know their neighbors, respect each other’s property (we don’t lock our car or house), and help each other when needed. They bake things and take them to their neighbors like fudge, cookies, and zucchini bread. 

 

The Fresno Joggers President Visits Utah

Lowell Barnett was driving through this area and coordinated a visit for a few hours.  He and I and Ernie had lunch at Tangie’s and a nice visit before he departed on his two-week trip to several states in a round-robin sojourn in his old Corolla that has about a billion miles on the odometer.  Thanks for stopping by, Lowell. I owe you a visit in Fresno next year.

Local Family Updates

Ernie (Rogers) my brother-in-law, flew to Berlin, Germany, in January having been invited to give a presentation on his unique design of a high compression, long stroke, two-cycle diesel engine.  He has answered a few subsequent inquiries with further development still pending.  He and I planted a vegetable garden in the spring just before Audrae left for Alaska.  Zucchini and crookneck squash did well but tomatoes, green onions, peppers, watermelon, and cantaloupe failed miserably. I don’t know why.

 

Audrae (my sister) spent five months at Denali National Park, Alaska, near the base of Mount McKinley, for her third straight summer, managing her daughter Erin’s gift shop there.  Audrae has been essentially deprived of summer for three years.  Denali “summer” months are cool with a lot of overcast skies and rain showers once or twice a day.  High temperatures occasionally reach the low 70’s with lows in the 30’s yet the sun only sets for 2 or 3 hours and it’s never dark, just dusk.  The sun goes down behind some mountains shortly before 2 AM and is fully up before 5 AM. 

 

Audrae closed the shop for the season on September 18th.  Shane, her son-in-law, came from Palmer a week later to winterize it until reopening next May. That weekend he experienced a low temperature of 7 (seven) degrees and it was still September!  Br-r-r-r-r!!  Interestingly, Alaska uses mile markers for physical property addresses there and the shop’s address is 238.6 Parks Highway.  Each number represents one mile.  Truckers use mile markers making merchandise deliveries and find the shop at 238 point 6 miles north of Anchorage on Parks Highway.  Alaskans think big.

 

Fortunately Audrae returned from Alaska on October 1st and has been enjoying the late summer and mild fall weather we’ve been having.  We had a nice dinner at Thanksgiving and during these days before Christmas she’s been making peanut brittle, fudge, toffee, and pumpkin bread as well as cookies.  Yummy!

 

Utah Valley University Flight Training Center

A chance introduction to retired former USAF Colonel Rich Crandall led to lunch and a personal tour of UVU’s impressive flight training facility.  It’s located at Provo Municipal Airport (PVU), about 13 miles south of Pleasant Grove.  Rich briefed me on two of their dozen or so training aircraft then we toured their classrooms and their flight simulators.  It’s a very impressive and highly recognized training facility for careers in commercial aviation.

                  Staying Fit With Weight Loss, Running, Vitamins

Weight Loss – Between Thursday, March 4th and the end of July I took off about 25 pounds.  When the scale hit 182 pounds I decided the breakfast cinnamon rolls and the after lunch and supper brownies and also the regular saltwater taffies had to stop.  I resorted to Warren’s Weight-loss Diet Book consisting of only seven (7) words: Protein and vegetables, minimum starches and breads.  The protein (chicken, ham, turkey, and beef – when I could afford it) is lasting and keeps you from getting hungry.  Vegetables give you a lot to eat, are healthy, and don’t add a lot of calories or weight.  Cutting out starches (rice, potatoes, egg noodles, and pasta) and eating just a half-slice of toast for breakfast (with one scrambled egg and a small piece of ham) cuts down on the carbohydrates enough that the body seeks other sources of nourishment, namely the excess weight you are carrying. 

 

Running – I also ran (with some walking in the hills) 3.1 miles every other day.  Alternate days I did some indoor exercises consisting of reclining on each side 10 raised leg circles; windmilling arms, 10 forward then 10 backward; 25 push-ups from the knees; 30 opposite elbow to knee sit-ups –  15 each side; and 50 sitting trunk-twisters (counting one cycle each time I touched my left fingers to my right toes).  With some yard work and the indoor exercises after about two months I developed some soreness in my left-rear rib cage so I quit the indoor exercises but continued my every other day run/walk/jog.

 

Vitamins – I am very regular in taking supplements for better overall nutrition.  I take Omega–3 fatty acids, kelp, CoQ-10, Acetyl L-Carnitine, calcium-magnesium-zink, a multi-vitamin plus C & E, & Phosphatidylserine.  The latter being noticeably important for memory and cognitive ability including unhesitating speech.  When I’ve stopped “Phos” I’ve experienced a slowing down of the mind’s ability including not finding the word I want when in conversation.  I highly recommend Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, and the three Omega fatty acids for extending mental clarity, quick ability to think, converse, write (as I’m doing a lot of now), and staying totally alert and engaged in all conversations, personal as well as in groups. 

 

Included in my supplements as an important health stabilizer is a moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, mostly bourbon in Manhattans and highballs, gin with tonic or in lemon-lime or pineapple soda mixes or occasionally martinis.  Toss in a beer or two and you have the recipe for healthy living.

 

Suggestion To All Who Like To Learn And Grow

If you’re missing Book TV (weekends on C-SPAN 2), you are missing some excellent presentations by authors.  They summarize a recent book they’ve written and often give tips on subject selection, research and writing techniques, and interesting details for a thoroughly enjoyable session. 

 

Reading Tips, Especially For Writers

Two great writer’s books are “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser and “How to Write and Sell Your First Book” by Don Aslett.  Both may be available in your public library and are so specific they will motivate you to put your thoughts on paper.  I was so impressed with Zinsser’s book I wrote to him and enclosed an appreciative rhyme.  He answered with a hand-written letter and also hand-scribed the envelope.  Both are cherished mementos: Dr. Zinsser has a huge reputation in the writing world. (Google him)

 

Interesting Email Exchanges

Amity Shlaes – I was so impressed with Amity Shlaes (author) in a couple of appearances on Book TV (CSPAN-2) that I emailed her with compliments and we exchanged a couple of emails. 

 

Dr. Walter E. Williams – I also exchanged a few emails with Dr. Walter E. Williams, a George Mason University professor and nationally known economist (he substitutes for Rush Limbaugh on occasion).  Dr. Williams is a cyclist, one of the things we have in common, and has cycled about 2,000 miles per year for many years. That’s more than enough to qualify as a true cyclist.  On December 1st his autobiography was released titled “Up From The Projects” and according to Dr. Thomas Sowell, it is an exceptional success story.  If you are a fan of Dr. Williams I hope you follow up on this notice and purchase his book.

 

Chris Adamo – Also  weekly emails exchanged with Chris Adamo, one of the best conservative political writers in the U. S, have been a highlight of the past several years. Read him at www.GOPUSA.com or www.chrisadamo.com .

 

A Few Interesting Books I Read This Year

The World of Herb Caen,” assembled and edited by his long-time friend Barnaby Conrad, contains several Caen-isms and is loaded with pictures.  I have two encouraging written comments from Herb dating back to 1989 when I wrote over a dozen contemporary commentary articles hoping for national publication.  I was turned down by 31 major newspapers before learning one must go through a syndication service for the paper’s legal protection. I was also written up in his column back in 1975 after purchasing Rick Barry’s yellow Pantera.  Rick was a basketball player with the Golden State Warriors at the time. (These personal memories are not in the book.) 

 

Enjoyed reading P. J. O’Rourke’s “All the Trouble in the World” to examine his form of humor.  Often his humor is more ironic humor from accurate observation and reporting than laugh-out-loud humor. Chapter 9, the final chapter, titled “The Hell With Everything, Let’s Get Rich” is definitely worth reading.  It is an observed and unqualified report of Viet Nam’s recovery by subverting communism with innovative, personal ingenuity using capitalism as the vehicle for improving everyone’s life.

 

An Invitation To Fly, Basics for the Private Pilot” was a refresher for me after being out of the cockpit for 39 years.  I read every page, picture, and diagram in this 602 page tome, underlining and making notes.  I still have hopes of flying again before I get too old.

 

The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management” by Hyrum W. Smith is a breakthrough revelation for those who try to manage their hours and minutes in the day. Contrary to our perception, we don’t manage time, we manage events and activities.  Hours and minutes are only a measuring tool; within the day’s hours and minutes we do tasks and it is up to us to manage them by determining our core values and seeing the “A” values take precedence over “B” and “C” values.  By doing this we will start accomplishing the things that mean the most to us and the secondary and tertiary items that seem so urgent each day will be put in their proper priority and accomplished after the most important core values in your life are done or advanced.  An excellent book to clarify why the things that are important to us that don’t get done because of lower priority intrusions during the day.

 

I’m just finishing “The Speed of Trust” by Steven M. R. Covey, a Harvard MBA, who effected the successful merger of Franklin Quest and Covey Leadership Center into FranklinCovey Company.  He is also the cofounder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide, based on the concept of Trust as a foundational part of speed in business and personal relationships. If one can be trusted, barriers break down and good things happen.  This book was a NYT best seller in 2007 and 2008 and has been translated into 20 languages.  Maybe the honesty and trustworthiness that Christ taught is beginning to permeate the world.  CoveyLink Worldwide (recently acquired by FranklinCovey) has a business and personal development reading list to die for on its website.  Excellent! (Google CoveyLink)

 

Comment On One’s Purpose In Life

“The Speed of Trust” is a good example of having a new insight not previously addressed and successfully bringing it to light in a book, getting it accepted, and within two years, the new insight has been so well accepted that it has been published in 20 languages.

 

Within the Forward, Henry David Thoreau is quoted that seemingly fits me and my endeavors, “For every thousand people hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the roots.”  Said another way, treating the symptoms vs. curing the illness.   

 

The small company that holds the copyright on this book, was organized to promote the book and the concept within the book, has been purchased by a larger company after a year on several best seller lists and the related worldwide acceptance. 

 

From “Nobody” To “Somebody” Almost Overnight

This can be duplicated by anyone who puts their mind to improving people’s lives.  It doesn’t take years!  A breakthrough can be achieved in a short time as demonstrated with “The Speed of Trust.”  I must completely eradicate a gross misconception of time from start to success for aspirants who need some encouragement. Look at a few examples of the hundreds of people who have gone from unknown to accomplishing great things, thus making a difference with their lives, within short periods of time.  Elvis burst upon the scene with his interpretation, unique style, and feel for songs, the Beatles are another example; on American Idol, Paul Potts and Susan Boyle. In other areas, such as military; General George Patton, General Claire Lee Chennault; or writing, J.K. (Joanne) Rowling of Harry Potter fame, Mac Hyman of “No Time for Sergeants”; music, George C. Cory, Jr., and Douglass Cross (I Left My Heart in San Francisco), Don Schlitz (The Gambler sung by Kenny Rogers as well as the movie), and even Barack Obama, who was an unknown and rose to prominence very quickly (to my dismay!!).

 

My work of opening the possibility and hopefully the opportunity for saving our deceased loved ones souls is riding on these previous examples. This includes honoring and saving our military personnel who have died while on duty serving God by defending His blessed nation.  Our military persons do not have to be "saints" while servicing God. This is proved in Scripture by a loving and just God.  Whatever is done in an attempt to serve God will not go unrewarded. 

My work includes clarifying an understanding of God (God is spirit, not some man up in the clouds - or higher - tossing lightning bolts down or micro-managing our everyday lives). The book I'm writing will include proving the existence of God without referencing the Bible, thereby reaching people who do not believe the Holy Bible is the Word of God. The broad spectrum of all this material may take two books. 

Most importantly, praying for our deceased loved ones who were not saved in the current Christian sense or understanding.  Jesus gives us an invitation to do this (John 15:7, when Jesus says "anything" does He mean "anything" or is He untruthful and deceiving us??).  We can give our deceased loved ones another opportunity to declare Jesus as their Lord. Christianity is not an Exclusive Club, excluding some people from Eternal Life
because of physical addictions, cultural inhibitions, or faulty teaching in the formative years. I also must prepare two or three presentations to be spoken as a way to promote the book and the essential insights and materials contained in it.

 

A Few Words On Major League Baseball

Two incredible feats this year were the two perfect games pitched by Dallas Braden – Oakland “A’s” and Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies. Wikipedia says, “More people have orbited the moon than have pitched a MLB perfect game.”  Halladay excelled again with a no-hitter in the post season, only the second post season “no-no” (no hits, no runs) in MLB history. Also great were the closing games of the season and all the post season games. The SF Giants showed their stuff. (Note: They’re not really “giants,” they’re about the same size as other baseball players; they just call themselves “Giants,” possibly hoping to intimidate their opponents.)  This year they became real “Giants” by winning their first World Series Championship.  For those who enjoy baseball, I’m sure you’ll agree that this year was an exceptional year. 

 

Pleasant Grove Weather in November & December

We received some snow before Thanksgiving, enough to have to shovel the driveway so we could get up and down the hill.  Then we had unusually mild weather until the weekend of December 18-19 when it rained a lot.  Two days of light rain which is unusual for this area in December.  But the snow began on Sunday night and continued somewhat steadily until Tuesday.  By Noon we’d accumulated 7 to 10 inches and had to do a lot of shoveling.  That’s the most snow I’ve seen here at one time since I arrived on March 3rd, 2008.

 

Some Rhymes I Wrote This Year (2010)

 

Be Finite When You Write

 

You’re not a wordsmith or accomplished writer

Until you tighten up your work.

Clean out the excess, make your work tighter,

With a shrug and a smirk you jerk out the murk.

Clarity reigns, boredom wanes,

Quality gains during these campaigns.

Avoid a writer’s eternal hell,

By reading Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.”

All I can say in a straight forward way

Is, “As a writer you’ll continually sin, sir,

Until you read and assimilate Zinsser.”

 

A second ending if the “writer” strenuously objects to my critique:

“You may call me a bastard and question my kin, sir.

But here’s the straight skinny, you’d better read Zinsser.”

 

Prompted by “Be Finite When Our Write” as I played with a few rhymes when writing became confusing and I was suffering from something everyone experiences occasionally – dreaded writer’s block.

 

Writer’s Success  
(A fun-filled writer’s ode written while playing with words.)

 

If you suffer from writer’s block,

The words won’t come as you watch the clock,

Outline the info you have in stock

And the rest of the writing will be a cakewalk.

 

Write a first draft that could easily be laughed at.

For as you pursue it, no one will view it.

After you’ve penned it and decided to end it

Like a diet committee, cut words without pity

Which may mean the pretty and often the gritty;

Certainly the flitty, and even the witty.

 

Rewrite for perfection to pass each inspection

By critical neophytes and similar parasites

Who critique and complain and often distain

Your perfected creation that could change a nation.

 

Their aura of all-knowing hides envy not showing.

Ignore those non-seeing kind who are literarily blind.

They’ll remain obscure while you will endure.

One day when they look, they’ll find that your book,

Like a thrusting steel fist, topped the “Times” best seller list.

By Warren F. Rosenbaum (With apologies to real poets.) 

 

After Mid-term Elections of 2010

Warren the Wordsmith speaketh –

 

As conservatives are installing new rules of the day,

We can be grateful and enthusiastically say:

 

“No more the galling forestalling;

We’re overhauling liberals miscalling

By a mauling that’s appalling. 

It’s enthralling to hush

Their snowballing squalling and caterwauling

And see the falling and recalling

Of legislation we hate.”

 

 

Establishing that secrets are a necessary part of civilized behavior, from the lofty national and even international levels down to the very personal levels of social interaction and relationships.

 

A Couplet On Wikileaks

 

We need our secrets, if you please,

From diplomatic to who cut the cheese.

 





Christmas Letter – 2009  (How time flies!!) 
Merry Christmas 2009 and Happy New Year 2010

Time Flies….
Can you believe we have lived through 10 years since we left the 1900’s?  Years 2000 through 2009, with a lot of water under the bridge, so to speak.  Well here’s a few things I enjoyed or experienced during the 10th year (2009).

Been Here Over a Year
Last March 3rd I marked my first anniversary of being here in Utah.  The life style here in this little pocket of Utah known as Utah Valley, and Pleasant Grove in particular, is similar to what I experienced in Fresno in the 1950’s.  Somewhat less “hurried” and seemingly crime free.  We don’t lock the house when we leave and we don’t lock our cars when we shop, often even with groceries loaded in them.  People are friendly, respect each other and each other’s property, and seem happy and less directed in their activities and goals. People often cook or bake something and take it to their neighbors.  Not a bad way to live but one must watch the calories.  :-) 

Weather - Summers
Weather here is decidedly different than Fresno.  Highs in the summer are in the 90’s.  In the two summers I’ve been here (2008 & 2009) I don’t believe we had one day of 100 degrees.  We may have had a 97 or 98 a couple of times in 2008 but not even that in 2009.  Overnight lows in the summer are in the 50’s or 60’s and temperatures usually drop noticeably after sundown.  I really still like Fresno evenings where it can be 80 degrees at 10 o’clock at night.  No chill, no long sleeved shirt or sweater needed to be more comfortable.  Fresno summer evenings are a heavenly warmth for outdoor living.

Weather - Winters
Winters are totally different.  Snow.  I went shopping this afternoon (Wednesday, December 16) and spent about 12 minutes shoveling and pushing snow around so I could get my van out from its parking place.  We had about 3 or 4 inches of very wet (and heavy) snow on Monday.  Because of the density of this snow, it is not melting very fast, even with temperatures in the high 30’s.  I had about 3 inches on top of the van as I went shopping and water kept dripping and running down the windshield so I had the wipers on intermittent setting during the whole trip even though the sun was shining (temp about 38 degrees). 

Fresno Trip – Reasons and Gas Mileage
I made a trip to Fresno in early May to visit my Fresno Joggers (running club) friends and observe two birthdays; my friend, Walt Brown’s birthday on Saturday, May 9th, at Country Waffles breakfast after the Joggers’ 7 AM Woodward Park run, and my 75th birthday on Monday, May 11th, in conjunction with the Joggers’ monthly luncheon.  Walt and Angel Brown hosted me and I stayed until Friday, the 15th.  Interestingly I noted that gas purchased in California gets about 10% less MPG than gas purchased in Nevada and Utah.  My best mileage was 27.24 MPG, Sparks to Pleasant Grove on my return.  Also got 27.08 MPG, Pleasant Grove to Las Vegas outbound.  But using California purchased gas my highway mileage was 24.36, 24.16 and 24.24 MPG between fill-ups.  It appears that the owners of the 19.8 million registered automobiles in CA (as of 12/31/05 – Google search – CA DMV) are being cheated somehow by the gas they are buying in the state.  BTW, not bad mileage for my old 1995 Plymouth Rallye Grand Voyager, 3.3 liter V-6 with 145,000 miles on the clock, while driving 65 to 70 MPH.  (Will the Sierra Club love me for my high MPG? They would probably say, “Ride your bike!”)

A Second Fresno Trip – Bye-bye Stuff
I returned to Fresno in mid-July to clear out my storage unit and gave away most of my stuff; matching couch, chair, ottoman, coffee and end tables, lamps, kitchen table and chairs, three bookcases, Mom’s recliner chair, beds, dresser, mirrors, chest of drawers, kitchen pots & pans, the whole enchilada.  My storage fee had jumped from $30 per month to $60 per month requiring quick action.  It took about five days to sort stuff, haul it, and arrange for a charity pickup.  Walt Brown, bless his heart, was there every day to help, and in the July Fresno heat around the metal storage units, it was hot by 10 AM.  Daily highs were about 102 and 104 degrees (in the shade, much hotter in the sun) so we usually quit about Noon or 1 PM.

What Would You Keep?
I saved my stereo components and speakers and 27 inch TV.  I have them well placed and in use now in Utah.  One wall of my office is two filing cabinets upon which are the stereo speakers, my TV with DVD/video cassette recorder/player, a four-shelf component stand holding the receiver/amplifier, audio cassette player, my 300 CD rotating carousel player, and next to it my microwave oven on a stand.  Typical bachelor, I guess you can tell what I thought was important.

Setting Up My Pad
It took several hours to rearrange the office to accommodate all the goodies plus my recliner chair and still have room for 2 book shelves, two work tables, the computer and printer and two table lamps.  I spent about two weeks of available (discretionary) time thinking, planning, arranging, rearranging and assembly and re-assembly to get a workable solution to all the stuff, stuffed into one room.  Fortunately, I sleep in a different room or I’d have had to suspend the bed from the ceiling! 

The CD player was skipping and I took off the cover, cleaned the laser reader (Google search tells how, with Q-Tip and isopropyl alcohol) and wiped clean both sides of all 180 CD’s in the player, one by one.  That alone was about 3 hours work of my available (discretionary) time.  I also made two antennas, one FM and the other AM to improve reception.  (Google for instructions if you are so inclined.) 

Fringe Benefits of Fresno Trips
Both trips to Fresno were memorable from more than one standpoint.  In addition to the good times at breakfast on Walt’s birthday and at the Joggers’ luncheon on my birthday, I also did a little running with Walt to start the day (2 miles) and on Wednesday with Walt and Chris at our “Breakfast Club” run, 6 AM, 3.9 miles, breakfast at Walt’s after the run, which is still going since our first Breakfast Club run on October 23, 2002. 

Echoes of the Past – Can-to-Can Race
My July trip to Fresno brought echoes of the past in a Can-To-Can, two-mile, four beers, event.  About ten years have elapsed since our last road trip to Modesto for the annual Sportsman of Stanislaus Can-To-Can event of similar challenges (two miles, four beers).  In conjunction with a Sunday morning Fresno Joggers picnic we first exercised our legs and lungs with the two-mile race, pausing after each half-mile for some liquid refreshment, either beer or soda pop in a plastic cup that had to be emptied before the runner could embark on the next phase of running the race.  During the event, nobody could chug-a-lug like Walt demonstrated at the beginning of the event.  Fully aware that this was a race, I hurried my consumption during each “pause that refreshes” but being about ten years out of practice, I decided to enjoy the liquid rather than trying to force it.  Walt was the race director and elected to work at filling the cups and supervising rather than run (and drink) the race.  His chug-a-lug prowess is so overwhelming that had he elected to be a running participant he would have likely won the event strictly on the time saved during the beverage consuming phase.  For example, four beers, Walt forty seconds, Warren five minutes.  But I do taste it, savor it, and enjoy it as it goes down.

Fresno Bike Riding – Love It
Bike riding was another part of the Fresno trips for I take my bike, helmet, riding clothes, and bike shoes in the van.  The usual Wednesday evening bike ride to the end of Old Friant Road and return, then a beer with the group after the ride and supper at one of several restaurants we frequent.  Another group rides again on Thursday morning, meeting at Orbit Café at 7 AM for coffee with usually about half a dozen Fresno Joggers riders.  We depart Orbit Café about 8 AM for our ride to Friant where we stop at the Shell station and mini-mart for coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and my selection (and energy secret weapon), a brick of Pink Popcorn.  We sit outside on benches with tables. The Wednesday ride is 13 miles roundtrip and the Friant ride is about 25 miles round trip from Orbit plus another 4 miles (total) to and from Walt’s house.  Also, Fresno Joggers members Dr. Larry Loo and wife Sydney treated Walt and me to a wonderful lunch just before I left in July.

Tires Failing and Sensors Overheating
The July trip was from Sunday the 12th through Thursday and Friday, the 23rd and 24th.  My van was stuffed and heavily loaded with personal belongings.  I started for Pleasant Grove on Thursday about 4 AM and stopped 25 miles short of home on Friday about 1:30 AM.  On the road 21.5 hours. Two tire failures, the left front about 20 miles west of Lovelock NV – replaced with spare tire - and the right rear 25 miles from home, no spare tire.  I called Ernie.  Fortunately he had not gone to bed yet and he picked me up.  I slept a few hours and we went back to the van (in a Denny’s parking lot) about 10 AM, took off the failed tire and took both flats into Salt Lake City where I replaced them with 2 good used tires.  (Old van = used tires.)

“What Took You So Long??!”
I should add that all the way across Nevada the van was quitting on me.  It seems that one of the eight sensors that controls the engine shorts out at altitude and hot weather, killing the engine.  I stopped counting at 4 times.  Must have quit about 8 or 9 times.  It took me 4 hours to go 78 miles.  Once the sun went down and the evening got cool, I drove about 200 miles without it quitting once, then the second flat. If you care to travel with me you are in for an adventure!   After replacing the two tires on Friday the van repeated its temperamental quitting due to the altitude and the Friday early-afternoon heat.  We parked it till evening. Finally got the van home Friday night about 10:40 PM.  Remember it was jam-packed full with about half-a-ton of personal belongings.  It took a couple more days to unload it and find room for everything.  From Friday through Monday was a whole experience in itself!

Replace 8 Sensors = Buy Another Van
At the cost of replacing all the sensors, I could buy another van!  Heat in Fresno and up and down the San Joaquin Valley on a trip to Modesto and Sacramento gave no problem; only at altitude and heat.  Of the 8 sensors, mechanics replaced one in Fresno on the May trip but apparently that didn’t do it.  I can live with it since most of my trips are short trips here in Utah and it doesn’t heat up enough to give me problems. 

Person to Person with Chris Adamo
A highlight of the year was the opportunity to meet in person an email friend of about 4 years.  Chris Adamo is a Christian man, a politically conservative writer, electrical engineer, and 4-year USAF veteran.  His excellent analysis of, and writing on, the political scene caught my eye and attention about 2005.  You can visit his web site at www.ChrisAdamo.com where his weekly column appears along with his bio.  Catch him also at www.GOPUSA.com  (Left side of web site, visit GOPUSA Commentary for more).  The GOPUSA website has a reader commentary thread to read and add to.  Great site.  He is also featured weekly on RedStates USA web site with David Limbaugh, Debbie Schussel, and Ann Coulter. 

Conservative Patriot, Faults Both D’s & R’s.
Chris is very active in Wyoming political activities.  He and wife, Thea, live in Wheatland (southeast) Wyoming.  As they were transiting through Pleasant Grove on a California trip, we arranged to meet in person for the first time at the nearby Paradise Bakery and Café in American Fork.  A wonderful chance to further build our friendship.  Chris’s analysis and writing equals or surpasses any conservative writing currently available.  I might say, “In a class by himself,” due to his word selection and placement for clarity and impact.  When I read his weekly column I am often vocalizing “Way to go, Chris”, or “Oh! Man!” while punching the air with my fist.  I really get into it!

Everyone Can Benefit From This Wisdom
This Adamo comment segues into a wall hanging I made resulting from reading Cynthia Kersey’s book “Unstoppable”.  The framed wall hanging reads:

Unstoppable People
Believe
There’s Always
A Solution!
 
Recognize What Isn’t Working,
Quickly! Identify a New Way,
Remain Flexible,
The Results Will Be Miraculous!”
 

That is my 23-word summary of the book’s contents.  At our meeting I gave a framed wall hanging identical to the one in my office to Chris.  It can be a motivator and reminder for helping get out of the valleys we all experience in life.  I hope the readers of this Christmas letter can use the advice my original wall hanging provides.  

How To Hit A Personal Homerun
Other reading this year included two of Steven K Scott’s books, “Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams” subtitled “The 15 Power Secrets of the World’s Most Successful People” and “The Millionaire’s Notebook” subtitled “How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Success.”  These books are more than a quick read.  They have step-by-step points and exercises to lead a person through the fog of not knowing what the next step is in pursuit of a goal and giving them a clear plan of action.  This is exceptional information if one decides they want to add more to their life than what they currently have.  “More” defined as accomplishment, satisfaction, leaving a legacy that can give more meaning to life.  An example of a simple but profound instruction in “The Millionaire’s Notebook” (page 41) “Never stop dreaming about different… (projects)… you could someday develop” followed by the “Law of Dream Conversion: Convert dreams into goals, goals into tasks, and tasks into steps.”  Think about that for a minute.  Though it is obvious on the surface, it is a condensed answer for achieving anything you dream of and want to see to completion.  Those two quotes should be hanging on everyone’s wall. 

More Good Reading
Other books I read this year of high quality that advanced my learning were “Words That Work” by Dr. Frank Luntz, “Speaking with Bold Assurance” by Bert Decker and Hershael W. York, two books by Dr. Neil Clark Warren (eHarmony originator), and “The Holiness of God” by Dr. R. C. Spoul, plus one book to satisfy my aircraft interest, “Hollywood Pilot” the biography of Paul Mantz by Don Dwiggins.

Defining and Reading Christian Apologetics
In mentioning Dr. R. C. Sproul I should recommend two of his books, the one already mentioned and “Now, That’s a Good Question!”  Both are oriented toward Christian Apologetics defined as “The objective analysis and proof of God outside the subjective interpretation of a person’s perceptions of God.”  Initially one must agree that logic and reason exist and they must be applied consistently and clearly as in any philosophical discussion.  Apologetics is an academic discipline or specialty that can be fascinating if one likes logic, reason, learning, testing logical truths against opposing hypotheses and defeating them.  In a nutshell, apologists are clarifying and replying to false understandings.

Can Something Be “Eternal?”
For example, some people (agnostics and self-proclaimed atheists) question the concept of eternal existence.  Was there a beginning for the concept of logic?  Of reason?  Or have they always existed?  When did “good” begin and when did it become different from “bad”?  When did truth begin, when did one plus one not equal two?  And God also gave Himself an “out” when:

   Violating Math Rules
Holy Cow and Glory Be!!
One plus one can equal three!
So what is this that now I see?
Oh! God allowed for synergy.

I guess He does think of everything! Howaboutdat!   (Smile!)   :-)

        Warren Is A Poet
I am a poet and surely know it.
I like to show it. 
I take the time to make a rhyme
And ache to climb
To greater heights, resolving plights
With poetic insights. 
Learned in schools, words are tools,
A poet’s jewels to baffle fools
And other mules; scare off ghouls
And bend grammar rules.
The English tongue is not foreign
To soarin’ scorin’, far from borin’
Warren 
(Reader! Wake up, stop your snorin’”!)

Sorry about that, I had to get it out of my system.  Some things demand attention!

When did mathematics rules begin?  There are some things that have always been and always will be.  Absolute truth (i.e. the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001), love (for parents, siblings, friends, pets, etc.), right (do not murder), wrong (stealing), and other eternal concepts have always existed.  Chemical reactions, laws of physics, law of gravity - when did they begin or have they always existed?  These are elements of eternal existence whether you call them “Eternal Being” or Yahweh, or God, or “I AM”.  “I AM”!  Can you get a grasp of whom you are addressing when you talk about (or to) that Being?  The forever-present Being - without beginning and without end - existing eternally.

Descartes Proves His Existence and Truth
One more item in apologetics and philosophy: I liked the approach of René Descartes who decided to challenge all assumptions.  He questioned his own existence and settled it with the Latin phrase “Cogito ergo sum”, I think, therefore I am.  And in questioning everything he declared, “I doubt!  There is no doubt that I am doubting!  If that is true, then I have established that truth does exist.”  (Smile!)

Scratch That Idea!
In early Spring I decided to look for a compatible companion so signed up with eHarmony and Senior People Meet.  eHarmony for women of Christian leanings and standards I felt were more likely parallel to mine.  Senior People because they focused on matches in my immediate area.  After several potential matches (numbering in the hundreds) I decided to stop searching.  I’m too particular and apparently so are they.  I dropped eHarmony in August and Senior People this month.  I am too set in my ways and too protective of my time to share it unless the match is too good to pass up. (I’ll make an exception for Ann Coulter.) :-)

Writing About Running
June of this year marked my 20th Anniversary as a member of the Fresno Joggers.  In the Spring I received an “okay” from Walt Brown to write a series of articles “Reminiscences of Good Times with the Fresno Joggers” for publication in the Fresno Joggers Newsletter.  Three such articles have been written and published.  I also wrote a review of my experiences with a local (Pleasant Grove) 5K run called “Beat Beethoven”.  Runners are challenged to run the 5K distance (3.1 miles) in the time it took for a recorded performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony which turned out to be 32 minutes and 17 seconds.  With the altitude (about 4,500 ft.) challenging my breathing and the slight uphill and downhill course, including a 2-block uphill finish, I did not beat Beethoven.  About 250 runners including some walkers participated, most of them younger than my 75 years.  Still, some younger runners did not beat Beethoven either. 

Running In Pleasant Grove
I have a challenging route to run when the weather is good.  A 3.1 mile, hilly course that I run and walk which is a good workout.  Now that the daytime highs have been well below freezing and with snow and ice on the pavement, I and Ernie have been running at the new Pleasant Grove Recreation Center indoor track.  Six laps around the vinyl-covered concrete track on the second floor gets one mile.  We do a mile then walk one lap and then another mile until we have run 3 miles and walked four laps.  It is about 65 to 68 degrees inside and FLAT!  No hills!  The fee is fifty cents to use the track or $7.50 for a monthly senior membership.  Running 15 times equals $7.50 but I have no intention of using all their workout equipment so I pay the fifty cents and just use the track.

Summer Activities
Early May saw Audrae (my sister) going to Alaska again for summer supervising of her daughter’s gift shop in Denali National Park.  She returned October 1st.  During the summer, Ernie and I did quite a bit of yard work including digging two trenches and cutting and laying PVC pipe, about 250 feet total, for two yard spigots making yard irrigation much easier.  We also built two foot-paths, removing rocks, adding fill dirt, scraping, leveling and clearing small trees and brush from the paths then lining them with rocks.  Our efforts add new enjoyment and easier access to some parts of the large lot.

Interesting and Selected Television
I continue watching selected programs on DirecTV.  Favorites include Bishop T D Jakes (The Potter’s House) and the late Dr. D. James Kennedy (Coral Ridge Ministries) on Sundays, weekdays it’s “Ask the Pastor” at noon,  Mondays it’s Frank Turek on “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” (he has a book by the same name), and a recent find on Tuesday evening, Steve Wohlberg on “Sword of the Spirit” that has a P. O. Box in Fresno and a 2007 Fresno phonebook listing under White Horse Ministries.  Also on Tuesday evenings comes Shawn McCraney with “Heart of the Matter.”  I watched “Against All Odds” about miracles and the State of Israel with Michael Greenspan for the past two years on Thursdays but it just dropped off Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) two weeks ago.  An excellent program, catch it if you can on any repeats.  Naturally some other favorite channels are the History, History International, Military, and Fox News, but only selected programs such as “Great Planes” on Military Channel and other documentaries.  Last but by far not least were the 28 or so half-hour programs of Dr. R. C. Sproul, “Renewing Your Mind” which I recorded for re-play, review, and research as my needs require. :-)  (As a wordsmith I enjoy word play.  The preceding is a “re-“ exercise, six in that string, did you find all of them?)

It’s Nice to Have Audrae Around the House
Thanksgiving was great with an eighteen pound turkey and all the associated fixin’s including pumpkin pie.  The turkey lasted over a week and was cooked to perfection.  Audrae did it all.  She is an exceptional cook.  In addition to fudge, she even makes toffee and delicious peanut brittle which we are munching on during the two weeks before Christmas.  She just finished decorating the Christmas tree and it is beautiful.

Happy Hanukkah and Some Details
A little investigation this past week turned up some interesting information about Hanukkah that I would like to share.  First, it is a reminder and rededication to religious liberty.  Second, it is a rededication, a purifying of our hearts.  Third, it is a reminder of separation from the secular world via discernment – take and live the good of the culture and reject the bad. Fourth, an annual reminder to trust in God.  Hanukkah reminds us of the small military force of the Maccabees who successfully opposed the larger Greek/Syrian army.  Their success was due to their trust in God.  Also, after the victory the Jews had only one day’s supply of oil to keep the flame lit in the Temple but it continued to burn for eight days until a fresh supply of oil arrived.  The military victory and the continued flame are both miracles brought about by trust in God.

The Hanukkah Menorah holds nine candles, one for each of the eight days of Hanukkah plus one candle to light the others.  On the first day of Hanukkah, one candle is lit, the second day, a second is lit, and this continues until all are lit.  Hanukkah is observed at slightly different times based on the Jewish calendar which uses the moon as a guide.  In 2008, Hanukkah was observed from December 21st through 29th in the Jewish year 5769.  This year it was observed from December 12th through 19th, of the year 5770.

Planting the Seeds of Truth and Freedom
I did a little reading on Martin Luther and his posting of the Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. His statement during his trial can touch our hearts with the level of bravery and conscience he declared.  It is brief and is included in a later paragraph of this Christmas letter (A Brave Stand of Conscience).  The basis for The Reformation was a return to the Bible teachings from which the church in Rome had radically departed by inserting priests and the Pope as intercessors rather than Jesus.  What inflamed Luther was the selling of “indulgences” to liberate loved ones from purgatory (“As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul out of purgatory springs.”)  Indulgences also allowed sinners to buy their way out of church violations by” tickling” the Treasury of Merits (buying absolution) with money.  Luther, tormented with indignation and livid with objections, posted the Ninety-five Theses which launched a protest that attracted followers who became known as Protestants.  It was his action and the subsequent departure from the Roman church, The Reformation, that was the first step toward the movement of dissatisfied people who, a few generations later came to America as Pilgrims and Puritans.  Tracing history back to Europe shows that The Reformation set the stage for the eventual founding of our nation based on the concept of freedom of the individual (as opposed to serfdom in many European areas), out from under the dictates of an government controlled church, and the election of leaders from the people (as opposed to the line of royalty and kings).

Three Foundation Principles
The three basic tenets of The Reformation were (and are to this day) Sola Scriptura, Sola Gracia, and Sola Fide or Scripture Alone, Grace Alone, and Faith Alone.  Only the Bible, only the Grace of God, and only by Faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior are we, as Christians bound.  The Bible is the indispensible foundation, salvation is a free gift (I know that is redundant but the two words used together carry more impact to a reader) of God and only accepted through by faith in Jesus, our Intercessor and Savior.

Small German Town Named Worms
Pronounced “”Vohrms” , this is the location where Charles V, King of Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor summoned the Diet of his empire to convene for a trial on the “heresies” of  Martin Luther.  This is commonly referred to as the Diet of Worms.  Luther was called before this tribunal in April, 1521, to recant his writings.  Pope Leo X had issued papal bull Exsurge Domine in 1520 threatening Luther’s excom-munication.  Luther’s response was to burn his copy on December 10, 1520, at the Elser Gate in Wittenberg. Feisty little guy, wasn’t he?!!

[A brief aside: I hope to allay any readers’ early worried questions about the Diet of Worms.  Please rest assured that it was not an assembly of specialists to discuss eating worms as a method of weight control.  Had that been the case, I’m sure the common people would have demanded a Reformation as strongly as Martin Luther championed The Reformation.  (Being a bit overweight presently, I had some personal concerns.)] 

A Double Whammy – Church and Gov’t.
It was before this Diet of Worms that Luther appeared and made his statement of conscience, refusing to recant.  Shortly thereafter he was spirited away and offered safety (asylum) in the castle of Frederick III (Frederick, The Wise), Prince of Saxony.  There he commenced translating the Scriptures from Latin (and Greek) into German for printing.  For several years his German translation Bibles were outlawed and only sold and owned as an illegal possession.  They were an “under the table” or “black market” item.  This was because the civil government and the church were one, a theocracy.  The government decreed what form and method of religion a person was to follow under penalty of law.  This is why the Diet of Worms was convened for not only was Luther excommunicated (January3, 1521) but he was also subject to criminal law for opposing the state-endorsed religious decrees.  The foundation of the free world was spawned by this scenario of existence; common people seeking separation from the heavy hand of an emperor who controlled a theocracy of government and church.  More details on Martin Luther and The Reformation can be found in an excellent magazine article by James E. McGoldrick entitled “Three Principles of Protestantism” that appeared in The Banner of Truth Magazine, January, 1983, Issue 32, pp. 7-18. (1983 was the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth.) Source:
http://www.the-highway.com/principles.html

A Brave Stand of Conscience
After a twenty-four hour reprieve for Luther to prepare a response to his “heresies”, the Diet inquisitor, Johann von Eck, associate of the Archbishop of Trier, demanded an answer: “I ask you, Martin, answer candidly and without horns*, do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors (heresies) they contain?” Combining and paraphrasing Sproul (p.102) and McGoldrick (Internet reference), Luther replied, “Since your serene Majesty and your lordships seek a simple reply I will answer in this manner, without horns* and without teeth.**  Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I do not accept nor trust in the authority of either popes or in councils for they have often erred and contradicted themselves. I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.  Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.  God help me, Amen!” 

*horns – as in “the horns of a dilemma,” alternatives and unpleasant choices one must take or as in “lock horns,” to quarrel or fight.

**teeth – as in “kick in the teeth”, to insult or betray or as in “lie in one’s teeth”, lie brazenly or boldly or as in “to set or show one’s teeth”, unpleasant, annoying, angry, threaten.

Calvin, the Reformer (Not the Cartoon)
Curiously, the cartoon, Calvin and Hobbes, (lifespan: 11/18/85 thru12/31/95) was named for John Calvin, 16th Century French Reform-ation theologian, and Thomas Hobbes, 17th Century English political philosopher.  But aside from the cartoon strip, this year is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. Calvin is another item of history about our country’s origins: Because of pressures in Europe that drove people to seek freedom we should briefly examine John Calvin, considered the foremost theologian of The Reformation who followed closely behind Luther.  Later headquartered in Geneva until his death, he was born in France in 1509 and educated there. Calvin improved on the French translation of the Bible which became the basis for the Geneva Bible. 

Christianity In The Capitol (Rotunda)
The English translation known as the “Geneva Bible” was used by the Pilgrims and Puritans in their search for freedom from European rule and religious oppression.  The Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. holds a 12 x 18 foot painting (1844) by Robert Weir depicting the “Embarkation of the Pilgrims” on the deck of the ship Speedwell, July 22, 1620, as they departed Delfshaven in South Holland.  In the hands of William Brewster is an open Geneva Bible while Pastor John Robinson leads Governor Carver, William Bradford, Miles Standish and their families in prayer.  These pilgrims met others in Southampton where all boarded the Mayflower for their trip to the New World.

Conclusion – Did You Think You’d Ever Get to the End of This Mother of All Christmas Letters??  Finally!!
I’ve misjudged the time to write these memories by about a week and the amount I included kept growing.  I started on Tuesday, December 15th and by Thursday, the 17th I had 864 words (a page and a half) written.  Since then it has grown to about 5,875 words and seven pages.  I do want to include a few last reminders and comments.  Though we live in a neighborhood with streets, curbs, sidewalks and houses right next to each other, a couple of days ago we had three deer outside the kitchen door.  Cute. One has to be careful in observing them for they spook easily.  Today we had two small deer just to the side of the front lawn.  We also have about two dozen quail running around the yard.  Ernie feeds some apples (picked from the apple tree in the Fall) to the deer and buys $8 bags of bird seed for the birds and quail.

Today, Tuesday the 22nd, its 33 Degrees.  The snow that fell this morning melted within three hours.  The forecast is for 0 (that’s 32 degrees below freezing) early Christmas morning.  A little anti-freeze in the form of “Christmas-cheer” might be in order.  (“Make it a double with three cherries, Bartender”) 

Here are two Wisdom Keys from last year’s Christmas Letter as reminders:  Your self-portrait determines your self-conduct (IOW, how you see yourself governs your conduct and the challenges you will take on).  Every problem is always a wisdom problem (don’t let problems paralyze you into inactivity, find the solution through research and other people’s help).

Two good quotes: “It is no dishonor to be in a minority in the cause of liberty and virtue.”  Sam Adams  (He is also the namesake of some pretty good beer!)  and, “Never underestimate the power of collective denial.”  People are denying that we are a Christian nation, taking God and His teachings out of our culture and national responsibility.  Look where it has gotten us so far.  I hate to think what is beyond the horizon on this road we are taking.

Merry Christmas and may the New Year be happy for you and a good one for our nation.  Especially as we speak in the 2010 elections.

Blessings, 
                     Warren Rosenbaum 

Website Builder