Hale Groves is a great way to send a gift to a far away relative for the holidays.  I have used them and their baskets are very nice.  My grandmother, who isn’t often forthcoming with compliments, received one of these in 2007.  She was impressed enough to comment on the pears that were part of the basket.

This was my first introduction to the asian pear.  An outstanding peice of fruit.


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Thanksgiving came early.

I saw something today that was heartwarming but odd.  Odd in the sense that it was impulsive.  Here is what I saw.

At the exit from 35N onto Admiral Blvd, there are often homeless folks with their hands out.  Not a threatening sight.  See them often, but not everyday.  Today, there was a black Toyota Echo stopped at the red light, the homeless guy moves over to the car and out of the window comes a brown cord jacket that the driver of the car obviously offered up.  The homeless guy appeared thankful and placed the coat over his shoulders.  He was grateful.  It was nice.  Good feelings all around.

I had questions… did the driver of the car premeditate this tranaction or was he simply trapped in the moment of guilt seeing this weathered old homeless guy and at that very moment decide to give up his coat?  Either way, it was a nice thing to do.  Everyone can agree.

Here is where it gets strange for me.  I was slightly jealous.  Is that ok?  I liked the jacket.  The Jacket look liked something I have been looking to buy (or beg my wife to get me).  I have been looking for a new coat/jacket for some time and looking for something a bit more blue collar (no trenchcoat, no leather, nothing Don Draper-y etc).  I could have used that jacket.  I want that jacket.  As I drove past, I envied his good fortune (homelessness aside).  That lucky bastard!

I digress.  I got over it.  It was a good moment on a friday.  Just sharing. 

If you drive 35N and hit the Admiral exit in the mornings, look for the homeless guy wearing the brown jacket I want.  Honey, if you are looking for a gift idea, check him out.

Allow me to preface this by saying I have not fully thought this through and my theory is pretty high level.

Question:  Why is the Taliban resurging now starting about a year ago (mid 2008 to now november 2009)?

Context: The Taliban is made up of basically Afghan Taliban that once “governed” the country and also people from the Pakistan mountain region.  There are also former Taliban that melded back into Afghan society after the 2001 military action who escaped attacks etc.

If thinking like a leader/strategy person within the Taliban, what is my strategy?  I might be thinking to begin to fight the NATO (Western) forces led by American commanders now that there is a new president who is “soft on defense”.  I could score some military victories and win back my people.  The Western forces will be reluctant and under allocated with the new President.

Is this a valid theory?

Lawn Mitzvah
Today was the day was the day that Cooper crossed over from child to man. Sort of. He at least took his first step at learning a trade. It was a free day. No soccer games. No committements. It was a good opportunity to pass along a skill. Today was the day we fired up the mower and let him have a crack at mowing the grass. I felt like Mr. Miyagi handing down the bonzai tree trimming shears.

The exciting part about the boy wanting to mow is that I didn’t have to employ the persuasive skills of Tom Saywer to get Cooper to mow. He simply wanted to do it. I took advantage and harness the raw energy of his youth.

At 9 years old, Cooper didn’t have the strength to start the mower. After explaining the regular gas vs the oil mix gas pitfalls, I demonstrated the choke (pumping of the bulb) and let her rip. The old girl (11 years old) was off and running. I handed off the mower handle. Cooper took the “reigns” (safety bar) and awkwardly began moving the machine with short clumsly pulses using the propel trigger. After getting pointed in the right direction, he was off and moving. A natural.

He did pretty well. The lines were mostly straight. There were a few that got a bit swervy. Not even on my drunkest summer afternoon would I get that astray, but for a first time he performed well. In his defense, the mower is self propelled and can be somewhat difficult to handle at first try. Cooper’s efforts were mostly in open spaces. I had to step in and work around bushes and obstacles. There was a skill he has yet to master. He didn’t understand the fulcrum of renegotiating the mower turns by pushing down on the mower handle to lift the front wheels and turning on a radius. This is a precise and graceful craft only perfected through years of practice. Cooper left patches of long grass at every turn point which I had to go back and correct.

For those who know me, I do enjoy mowing the grass. I am not crazy, but definitely a fan of Forrest Gump. Having a lawn that rivals a golf course is a weekly objective for me between March and October. Mowing is a solitude only truly cherished by fathers (or parents). Not sure the females have tapped into this yet. I enjoy putting in the headphones (I recommend noice reducing ear buds) and setting aside an hour or so. I don’t even care if it is hot.

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The part Cooper really got excited about was the leaf blower. Without any instruction, I turned him loose throwing leaves and clippings all around. Surprisingly enough, he got all the concreate areas cleaned up.

To cap off the entire mowing experience, we sat and threw down a couple cold ones. No, not really.

Other Great Fathers in History…