Daddy’s Home comic strip – One big fish to another, “You know sometimes when father’s day rolls around I wish I hadn’t eaten my children.”

I was born during World War II, while may father was serving in the Navy in the South Pacific. We didn’t meet until I was two years old.

He worked seven days a week, to pay for my mother’s medical bills, never complained. I would stay with his family when my mother was in the hospital, about half her life.

I can’t share any fond memories with you about him, I can’t remember any. Not anyone’s fault, it was just the circumstances of our lives.

My father was a devoted Catholic. I hope he was right about Heaven, if anyone deserves to be there he does.

1) Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has named Eric Lantz, 40, of Houston, it’s “Best Dad on Wheels” for 2011.

Eric Lantz with his daughter Alyssa

When I was growing up in 1950 America having your mobility limited to a wheel chair to a great extent limited your ability to fully take part in society. Eric Lantz proves how far we have come in 60 years.

From the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation site – http://tinyurl.com/65bjdpf

“Eric Lantz, 40, of Houston, Texas, is thrilled to be named the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s 2011 Best Dad on Wheels. At 18-years-old, Eric assumed he would ever have the opportunity to even be a father when he was involved in a car accident that changed his life.

“Dads in wheelchairs, in general, automatically have more appreciation for being in a dad,” says Eric, living with a T5 complete spinal cord injury. “We don’t take as many things for granted compared to people who haven’t been through this kind of experience.”

Having had such a life altering experience, Eric says, “I appreciate being a dad more because of my injury not necessarily in spite of it.”

“There are certain things that I have to be more creative about,” says Eric of the challenges of teaching his daughter, Alyssa, age four, how to play soccer and swim. “But that’s part of being an OT; breaking down and teaching her how to do things a different way. It’s kind of what I do every day at work, just break down activities, figuring out how to get the job done.”

Aside from being able to apply what he does at work at home, Eric is able to carry his experiences to his patients. “And being a dad too, that’s just a whole other thing I can share with my patients,” says Eric. “Figuring out in a wheelchair how to change a diaper, how to give a baby a bath, all that stuff.”

Eric’s wife, Brenda, and his coworkers nominated him for the Best Dad on Wheels Contest, but best of all was Alyssa’s ability to hide it from her dad.

Being a dad allows Eric to connect much more at his job, too. As an occupational therapist at TIRR Memorial Herman, Eric is able to both help his patients and learn from them.

“I learned my daughter is real good at keeping a secret,” jokes Eric. “She knew about this way before I did!” After discovering Eric was part of the top ten finalists, Alyssa told him: “Dad, we put you into vote for the best dad talent contest!”

So, what does Alyssa love most about her dad? “She says that she thinks it’s great that I’m in a wheelchair,” explains Eric, “because she always has a lap to sit on wherever we go.”

Most of all, our 2011 Best Dad on Wheels winner says, “I try not to let the wheelchair be a limiting factor on what she experiences in her life.”

2) I will guess there are many dads who would have a heart attack if there daughter started dating some guy in a rock band. At least before the record label gave him the big bucks.

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“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions” Albert Einstein

Children have the best kind of imagination, they don’t know the difference between their dreams and reality. The most sucessful people retain that child like vision and use it to make their reality match their dreams.

What dream that you had as a child would you most like to make real?

2) The Dance by Humberto Ak’Abal
(translated by Ilan Stavans)

All of us dance
…on a cent’s edge.

The poor—because they are poor—
lose their step,
and fall

and everyone else
falls on top.

3) World In Pictures

Backlit droplet of heptane fuel burns in microgravity on the Int’l Space Station. Fuels burn very differently in the absence of gravity. Image-processing techniques quantify the soot concentration at each point to produce a grey-scale image, which is then colourised. This is a composite of individual video frames.

Chelsea pensioners line up on their mobility scooters as they attend the annual Founders Day Parade at the Royal hospital in west London.

Emily Demgen, 93, poses for photos at Richard I Bong Historical Center, Superior, Wis., with the Red Cross uniform that she wore during World War II. Demgen was a Red Cross volunteer in Milwaukee and Chicago during the war. She came to museum as part of an open house for veterans.”
Photo by Paul M. Walsh/The Country Today/AP

Nutrioso, US: A forest burns during an operation to contain the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona. The fire has destroyed more than 30 homes and forced nearly 10,000 people to evacuate. Photograph: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

4) The Long Ride of Damian Lopez Alfonso

From an article in the New York Times by J. David Goodman

http://tinyurl.com/62jwsta

“With only the tips of his elbows touching his bicycle’s upturned handlebars, Damian Lopez Alfonso pedaled along the Hudson River bike path on a cool March day. His balancing act elicited stares from disbelieving pedestrians and curious double-takes from fellow cyclists.

Because not only does Mr. Alfonso ride his bike without forearms, lost in a devastating childhood accident, but he also rides it very, very fast.

Tracy Lea first witnessed his unorthodox cycling method during a race outside Havana nearly eight years ago.

Ms. Lea, a former elite racer from Maryland, found herself in a ragtag pack of riders on a highway pocked with “car eating” potholes outside the Cuban capital. “I’m worried about these guys in tight, fast conditions,” she remembered thinking, “and all of a sudden, I’m racing next to a guy with no arms!”

She watched as he powered through the course, lifting his body to shift gears with the nubs of his elbows or press down on the brakes. “Then I realized he had more control than most of the people in the race,” she said.

Despite his disadvantages, Mr. Alfonso, 34, has won local competitions at home in Cuba and he races nearly every weekend against able-bodied cyclists in informal events. But the alterations to his bike that allow him to do so — turning the handlebars nearly 180 degrees upward, so the brakes and gear shifters face him — have also kept him out of officially sanctioned international competitions, which have strict equipment rules.

But not for much longer.

In July, Mr. Alfonso is scheduled to race in Canada, the first event on his road to qualifying for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. If all goes well, it will be the culmination of a nearly decade-long journey for Mr. Alfonso, a story of sudden tragedy, grim determination and a little help from a lot of perfect strangers in a bicycling community thousands of miles away.”

“Mr. Alfonso’s childhood was radically altered at 13, a time when he was less passionate about cycling than about homemade wood-and-paper kites. “I had the record for finding the most lost kites of all my friends,” he said in an interview in March.

So when he saw a particularly attractive one — large, and decorated with a hand-drawn picture of a skeleton — caught in the power lines above a neighbor’s building, he and a friend climbed to the roof to get it down.

He recalled his friend, Igor, who was slightly older, telling him: “Just leave it there. Don’t mess with that.”

Ignoring the boy’s advice, he reached for the kite with a metal rod.

“We heard an explosion,” his aunt, Ms. Tamargo, recalled. She lived with Mr. Alfonso’s family in a three-story green concrete home in the Casino neighborhood of Havana, where Mr. Alfonso still lives with his mother, a retired military typist.

“I look up,” Ms. Tamargo said, holding back tears, “and I see this blond hair hanging off the roof.”

She paused for a long time.

“Thirteen thousand volts,” she said finally. “They lost the fridge, the TV — the whole building.”

The metal rod had bounced off the power lines, delivering burns to Mr. Alfonso’s face as well as to his arms and torso. Infections cost him his forearms; he was horribly disfigured; but a team of doctors, including a prominent Argentine plastic surgeon, were able to save his life. He spent about a year hospitalized in Havana.

“When he first saw himself, I was walking him around the hospital in a wheelchair,” Ms. Tamargo said. “He saw in a crystal door and he screamed, ‘I’m a monster!’ But he didn’t cry. He just hollered. He never cried. Never. Never. He has never been ashamed of himself.”

“While might can only govern, love can only win.”

I don’t know the source of this quote but I love it.

I have added Jesus to my FaceBook list of people who inspire me, which might seems strange since I am an atheist. While I don’t believe he was divine, if everyone lived with his love and compassion, as these Red Letter Christians do, the world would be a better place.

1) “LOVE WINS” message on the giant wall that divides the people of the Holy Land by students from the Willow Creek Community Church. A day later a group of Westmont College students repeated the message in Arabic.

From the Red Letter Christian Facebook page:

“Red-Letter Christians believe that Evangelicalism has been exploited by both right-wing and left-wing political movements, and they endeavor to create an Evangelical movement that focuses on the teachings of Jesus, particularly in regard to social issues. “Red-Letter” refers to New Testament verses printed in red letters to emphasize the actual words that Jesus spoke without the use of quotations. While many Christians have defined themselves as such over the years, a mass-market movement was initiated by authors Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis who felt the religious right spend too much time on two issues: abortion and homosexuality. They believe Christians should be promoting biblical values such as peace, building strong families, the elimination of poverty, and other important social Justtice issues.”

The social issues valued by Red-Letter Christians include taking care of the poor, spreading the Gospel, and loving one’s enemies. They believe that these are the issues that Jesus spoke of directly, and therefore these issues should be political priorities. Other issues such as homosexual rights, abortion, and war are viewed as important but over-emphasized by both liberals and conservtives.”

Red Letter Christian web site – http://www.redletterchristians.org/

2) World In Pictures

Smoke from the Wallow Wildfire is seen in the distance along US Route 180 in Luna, N.M. The wildfire has charred more than 350 square miles in eastern Arizona and now ranks as the third-largest fire on record in Arizona. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

Art from Space

With some 15 million inhabitants, Istanbul is one of the world’s megacities. In this detailed view of the city from more than 500km up, the airport can be seen to the west – the taxiways and runways reflect the radar signals away from the satellite, causing the asphalt surfaces to appear as black lines. Areas of dense housing appear in yellow. The urbanisation snakes along the Bosphorus right down to the Black Sea. In the city itself, only a few areas remain undeveloped and are shown in green. This is the case on the headland where the Golden Horn, an inlet, extends into the European part. Having an exclusive panoramic view of the city and few neighbours, this is where the Topkapi Palace, the former residence and seat of government of the Sultans, is located.

(TerraSAR-X/ DLR)

Dassow, German: Mist over fields (Jens Buettner/EPA)

2) Another video from my favorite rock concert flim – Stop Making Sense

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Had a great day at the beach, exercising my old bones, trying to get back into shape with my power walking program. Most of the power has gone out of my walking, its now more of a power crawl. When the guys with walkers are passing you out its time to get serious.

Exercise is done against one’s wishes and maintained only because the alternative is worse.
George A. Sheen

Week In Pictures

Kampala, Uganda: Women pray at the doors of the Martyrs shrine. (Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images)

Misrata, Libya: Rebel fighters take a break and enjoy the sunset at the beach. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

This smile is more beautiful then that of any fashion models. I hope that young girl gets a chance to grow up an pass on her smile genes to the next generation.

Poverty-stricken Pakistani children get free food at a charity outlet in Karachi, Pakistan (Shakil Adil/AP)

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense – 1984

My favorite rock concert film is the Talking Heads “Stop Making Sense”. If you are looking for a work out try dancing to the tune below, my favorite of the concert.

Life During Wartime

It has been an amazing streak of beautiful days. Every day sunny, temps in the 80’s. Cooling off at night into the 60’s. Perfect for walks at the beach and park. I hope the weatherman has been just as kind to you.

‎”A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
Lou Holtz

1) Nature slide show from the Guardian. Half the butterflies in the United Kingdom are under threat of extinction, and more than 70% are in decline. These pictures capture their beauty which, if this trend holds, future generations may not get to see with their own eyes.

Glanville fritllary, Photo by Pippa111

Photo by Woodmore

Orange tips by Photo devonteg

2) I hope sustainable living will become the lifestyle of the future. If the worst predictions of global warming come true, we won’t have a choice. There are a growing number of people who have made this choice, like the couple below. At present the hard part for many is having the time, and money, to be able to make the transition.

From a New York Times article about the sustainable lifestyle Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen have chosen:

http://tinyurl.com/446ub8f

“Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen do not subsist on a diet of lentils and gloom. Yes, the Los Angeles couple proselytize for a more self-reliant household in their new book, “Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World,” just published by Rodale. And to that end, they include in it illustrated directions for making things like homemade dog food and washable sanitary napkins.”

“Promoting a do-it-yourself revolution — in the book and on their blog, Root Simple (rootsimple.com) — is an unusual occupation. With their olive oil lamps (see page 8 in the book), dental twigs (page 12) and dry toilets (page 237), the couple can seem like historical re-enactors. Or prisoners of “Frontier House” on PBS.

Their 1,000-square-foot bungalow in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, on second thought, might be a junkyard Biosphere2, an experiment in the future of sustainable homemaking. This is the way we all could live if we weren’t working 50 hours a week, sitting in traffic on the way to the mega-mart, burning gasoline at $4 a gallon.”

“Just a few years ago, Ms. Coyne and Mr. Knutzen were trapped in the car themselves (a 1994 Nissan Sentra), commuting to jobs. Mr. Knutzen was a researcher and writer at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, a semisubversive think tank. Ms. Coyne worked nearby as the administrative director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, a meta-museum filled with imaginary natural history and assorted magic.

But the drive to the Palms district of Los Angeles, an hour each way on a typical day, was a haul. “Toward the end, I was biking nine miles to the center,” Mr. Knutzen said.

“And it was faster,” Ms. Coyne said. “That’s one thing I don’t miss. We are both old-time, crunchy slackers, and we’ve tried our whole lives not to have office jobs.”

“Outside their apartment in San Diego, the couple started growing tomatoes in a container. Unlike their studies, this act was down-to-earth and fruitful, in a literal sense. According to David Wilson, 65, the director of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Ms. Coyne and Mr. Knutzen had found a new philosophy to replace their academic training. ”

“The couple’s homestead is just such a project, down to its foundation. The 1920 house sits on a steep hillside on the fringe of Silver Lake. Ms. Coyne calls the area HaFo SaFo, after a revolving podiatrist’s sign (a cartoon of a happy foot and a sad foot) on nearby Sunset Boulevard.

“We bought it in 1998 for $198,000,” Mr. Knutzen said. “It was worth half that,” Ms. Coyne said.

By the time they closed, the little clapboard box was already sliding, “California-style,” downhill. For $80,000, contractors injected two truckloads of concrete under the house. Now, pylons connect the home to the bedrock.

“We basically have the Hoover Dam now,” Mr. Knutzen said. “When the Big One comes, our house will stand,” Ms. Coyne said.”

I have been ignoring both my blog and Twitter. Facebook has become my social media of choice, mostly because it’s easier to post links to articles and I find the threaded conversations easier to follow and take part in, also no 140 character limit on comments.

My 68 year old brain just can’t keep up with all three (Blogs, Twitter and Facebook)

What is your favorite social media site?

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandberg

1) World In Pictures – Summer Fun

Sydney, Australia: Surfers return to the seas at Bronte beach as sea conditions return to normal following days of high tides. (John Donegan/Getty)

Ryan Blair (c.) and his friend Kasim Brown play in water released from an open fire hydrant on Memorial Day, Monday, in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP)

A girl runs past Memorial Day kites on the beach in Santa Monica, California, on Sunday. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Cape Town, South Africa: A man on Chapman’s Peak looks out over the Atlantic Ocean (Nic Bothma/EPA)

2) Dennis Hong: Making a car for blind drivers.

There are way too many who drive like they are blind. This is the kind of technology that can make driving as safe as we need it to be.

“Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It’s not a “self-driving” car, he’s careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity and route — and drive independently”

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Dr Seuss

Another beautiful sunny day, in a picture perfect week. Perfect weather, warm during the day (temps in the 80’s), cool at night (temps in the 60’s). Spent the day in the park, watching the kids and squirrels play. Mediated at a beautiful little chapel on what a great place I am in this life, in this world. Today’s mantra – beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

The art of Physic

Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.

The apparatus was built from a design published by Richard Berg at the University of Maryland. The particular apparatus shown here was built by Harvard’s Nils Sorensen.

The period of one complete cycle of the dance is 60 seconds. The length of the longest pendulum has been adjusted so that it executes 51 oscillations in this 60 second period. The length of each successive shorter pendulum is carefully adjusted so that it executes one additional oscillation in this period. Thus, the 15th pendulum (shortest) undergoes 65 oscillations.

Monday is Memoral Day here in the US. It’s designated an offical holiday, but it is anything like a holiday for me. It is to honour the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for their country. There is honour in sacrifice, but war is the least honorable activity we humans take part in that I can think. I myself took part in war. Those memories only want to make me cry.

The face of war 2011

Abun, southern Sudan: A girl weeps while clutching a suitcase in a makeshift camp for internally displaced people (Pete Muller/AP)

The weather man had said it would be cloudy and rainy. I was gratefully surprised to wake up to a beautiful sunny day. Went off to the beach for my first shoreline walk this year.

My walks at the beach are usually solitary, though there are many people around me. I am very comfortable by myself and can’t remember the last time I felt lonely. I am of course always surrounded by this big, beautiful, amazing world.

From the essay “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

Another artiest whose work I love is Vincent Van Gogh. I have a print of his “Starry Night” above my bed. Someone going by the name Copper Twist has created what is my new favorite interpretation of this painting with bacon:

I’ll finish with some art work of nature from the world of photography I came across last week

Yazoo City, USA: Floodwaters from the Yazoo river, one of the tributaries of the Mississippi, inundate crops (Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Kommetjie, South Africa: High winds churn up rough seas to produce sea foam, washed up on the beach (Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA)

A cloud of smoke and ash is seen over the Grimsvoetn volcano in Iceland, May 21, 2011. The cloud rising up from Grimsvoetn as a result of the eruption was seen for the first time around 1900 GMT and in less than an hour it had reached an altitude of 11 kilometres (6.8 miles), according to the Icelandic Meteorological (Institute.STR/AFP/Getty Images)

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Satchel Paige

On Saturday the calendar told me it was the first day of my 68th year. My bones seem to think I am a few years older. My brain still feels the same as when I was a young man. We won’t talk about what the mirror and scale are saying.

Do you feel older or younger than what the calendar is saying?

1) Pictures

a. The World

This NASA image shows the outlines of heavily flooded agricultural fields on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river. The center point for this frame is just north of Caruthersville, Mo. and west of Ridgely, Tenn. North is towards the lower right corner of the image. (NASA/AP)

Lava shoots from an Icelandic volcano in this dramatic image by Skarphedinn Thrainsson, who regularly risks injury from falling rocks and lava to get his pictures.

A full moon is seen at Borobudur temple during Vesak Day, commonly known as ‘Buddha’s birthday’, at the Borobudur Mahayana Buddhist monument on May 17th in Magelang, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

b. Children

Buddhist nuns offer joss sticks as they visit the famed Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, during the full moon day of Kasone, one of the holiest days of the year for Buddhists. (Khin Maung Win/AP)

A Pakistani child, his face covered with flies, sits inside a wooden cart in an alley of a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Mennonite girls stand outside their school in the Valley of Juarez, Mexico. More than 80,000 Mennonites live in Mexico. Mennonites arrange their lives according to their religious beliefs; they have their own educational system and do not participate in the government or serve in the military. (Gael Gonzalez/Reuters)

3) Passion In Song

There are many sides to passion. Here are three.

a. Temptation – Diana Krall

b. Religious Faith

Whole Again – Jennifer Knapp

c. Sensual

Me Cai – Pacifika

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Robert A. Heinlein

Back from cat land. I wouldn’t say it was the worst experience of my life but I am thrilled not to have to deal with cat poop, cat vomit and a 4:00 am cat breakfast meal. In appreciation of my efforts they have given my their traditional going away present, 5 lbs of cat hair on all my clothes.

My cousin on the other hand talked about how she did not enjoy her vacation as much as in the past, a bus tour of Scotland, because of how much she missed her feline family.

Here is one cat who has made an unusual friend.

Comments from the Daily Mail:

“The pair clearly enjoy each other’s company – every time Gebra comes in to land, her four-legged friend trots up to greet her with a friendly rub and purr.

It is believed the animals get on so well together because they have been pals since they were young.

It is also likely that they have bonded over a mutual instinct to hunt rodents.”

2) Rob Summers was told he would never walk again after he was hit by a speeding car but was determined to prove doctors wrong.

From the Guardian http://tinyurl.com/5racd5u

“Baseball champion Rob Summers was hit by a speeding car in Portland, Oregon, three years ago, which smashed into his legs and left him with appalling injuries. He was told he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair at best. But the 25-year-old is now making history – as the first person paralysed from the chest down to stand and take a step unaided.

The small and shaky movements that Summers has achieved spell real hope for all those who have suffered a spinal cord injury, and possibly even for those paralysed by other causes such as stroke.

When he was in hospital, doctors told Summers he would never walk again, he said. “They said that I had no hope and to just give up. My comment was you don’t know me very well. I’m going to fight until I get well again.”

To stand again and take steps, he said, “felt incredible. It was amazing. It made me optimistic and hopeful again for the future. I’m excited at being a part of this.”

Summers’ legs are able to move because of electrical stimulation from a device implanted in his lower spine. Two hard years of training, suspended over a treadmill with physiotherapists manipulating his legs to stand and walk have helped build up the spinal cord neural network which processes signals to and from his legs.

The real discovery has been that it is not the brain that is in charge of movement, but the legs and the spinal cord.

His achievement is the culmination of many years of hard work and intense scientific endeavour funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.”

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