Sunday, March 27, 2016


Today is Easter. Also known as "Resurrection Day" to Christians. It is today that we especially remember that Jesus the Christ has not only died for the sins of you and I (Google "Good Friday"), but has beaten death and provided eternal life by rising from the dead Himself.

More than a celebration, today is also a reminder that we are to live lives that give glory to Him, and be examples to all of the message of the cross and empty tomb. For most will never pick up a Bible on their own and seek out the message of the gospel ("good news" - see the above paragraph for a definition). For them it is we who must be the living example of the gospel. In a sense, we are to be a Memorial.


© Emittravel 2016

Make me a memorial to You.
A standard.
A stone.
A cross.
A witness to You.
To others.
Living letters.
Read by all.

You've given the power.
The anointing.
Freely given.
Freely received.
The life of Christ.
Continued through me.
Let me walk His walk.
My feet stumble.
Yours doesn't.

Be the light of my path.
Make it shine straight before me.
Open my eyes to see it.
Others see me.
Their eyes are open.
Waiting for me to stray.
To slip off Your path.
To laugh.
To mock.

Direct my ways.

Make me a memorial.
A light on a hill.
To draw others to You.
Not me.
A standard.
A cross.
Forever standing.
Forever tall.
Forever a memorial.

J.P. Wiegand
© Emittravel 1996

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Independent Influence

I’m really looking forward to the Primary reality show season to end.

As an independent voter, the whole shtick has little appeal for me. It won't be until after the primaries have concluded, and the general election commences, that I will devote any brain synapsis to the process. Until then, blah blah blah . . .

I've often thought how wonderful it would be to get rid of the whole party system. (Don't worry college kids, I'm talking political, not frat.) You know, come out and disband them. But that will never happen. Oh, you could have something happen to eliminate both major yahoos, but eventually sheep of like minds will herd together again. It's inevitable. And one major reason for this is "influence".

It has been said that an independent will never be elected President. I disagree. An independent can be elected, but they might as well spend their term(s) flying around on Air Force One. They will get nothing accomplished. Why? Because Congress is made up of sheep in herds.

One reason John McCain didn't get elected was that he was neither a good Republican, nor a good Democrat. He carried the party affiliation of Republican, but he spent so much time working "across the aisle" that neither side ended up trusting him. There is no such thing as nonpartisan in government. It is a fancy word for one party submitting itself to the other for the benefit of hopefully getting the other party to submit to themselves the next time.

A truly independent President would get nothing accomplished. First off, that person would forever hold the honor of "stealing votes" from the other parties - denying them the Presidency. And second, if the independent President worked with one party, the other party would be slighted and not work with him. And if that President then worked with the other party, then the first would be slighted. And then? See the above paragraph.

I've heard that Donald Trump, currently running under the Republican banner, is threatening to clean House once he gets in office. That he will publicize the corruption - i.e. "financial influence" - in Congress. You know, point out who has ill-gotten gains. And I believe this. He has said that he had given money to Hillary Clinton's previous campaign because he is a business man, and he knows how the system works (if Hillary got in office . . . ). He said he has given to both parties for the same reason. He admits to "financial influence" being the norm.

If Donald Trump becomes President, he will be a lame-duck President from the get go. Not only will he not be a Democrat. Not only will he have gotten the election in spite of the GOP (they are even threatening a brokered convention to get rid of him - which means they WILL hand over the general election to the Democrats - and that is historically true). He will piss off Congress enough that neither party will work with him. He might as well be an independent candidate.

But come on, reality shows aren't REAL, right?

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Okay, that title may be a little misleading. Yes, I was a member of our U.S. Navy, and yes the title is reminiscent of many a movie with a submarine where you hear "Dive! Dive! Dive!" as everyone scrambles to submerge farther into the depths (side note: as a sailor on a guided missile frigate, I always thought anyone wanting to be on a ship DESIGNED to sink was crazy!) But no, I'm going to talk about a different kind of "dive".

The Blue Plate in Salt Lake City, Utah

My wife and I have this love of dives, or what we affectionately call "mom and pop joints". Whenever we travel, we try to make as many of our dining experiences take place in the hole-in-the-wall local places, and not the neighborhood Applebee's. What we've found is that what the places lack in fancy d├ęcor, they more than make up for in quality (and sometimes quantity) of food. Which is the main reason we walked in the door in the first place.

And you never know what you might find when you do.

Back in February of this year, we went to a place called Aces Bar & Grille. It was at the top of our date night list (we rarely have the "Where do you want to go?" "I don't know, where do you want to go?" conversations because of the list - there's a tip for you!) One of the items on the menu was a grilled prime rib dinner. Yes, I said "grilled" prime rib. I have only experienced such a steak previously once in my life, and it happened to be in a steak house near Cincinnati, Ohio. So when I saw it on the menu I had to have it.

And I wasn't disappointed. It was AMAZING! Lisa had the garlic butter shrimp over linguine. The thing she notes (and I confer with her while writing this) is that it came in a full or half size. She had ordered the half and found it a perfect portion. Whereas the GRILLED prime rib was so large that I barely was able to finish it (Okay, to be honest, it tasted so good that I couldn't stop - and I "paid for it" the next day on the bathroom scale.)

While we were dining, a band started to set up. A Foreigner cover band (which played more than just Foreigner tunes) were the evening's entertainment. According to Jake, our waiter, Aces has bands perform all the time. He then told us of a particular band that was coming in March, and we immediately put in a reservation for a table.

I know it sounds a bit confusing; a small bar and grille taking reservations. But actually, it was still a place that had a cover charge at the door (for the band), but allowed reservations to guarantee you had a table.

Love the character of these kind of places

That brings me to last night. We met some friends (Tony and Mary) at 19:30 for dinner and the band. After appetizers, Tony and I both ordered the GRILLED prime rib (I promise, Lisa, next time I'll try something different!), Mary had the fall-off-the-bones ribs, and Lisa had shrimp tacos. This time I brought about half of the steak home. Tony and Mary both brought home leftovers as well. Lisa found another perfect portion meal. She said that the tacos were loaded with shrimp - not the usual three per taco.

Tony & Mary
Lisa - my sweetheart, wife, and dance partner
Okay, enough about the amazing food. There was another reason Tony and Mary joined us: the band. And that band was the Midlife Chryslers. A group of very talented musicians, including Cleveland's own Michael Stanley. These guys were fantastic. Covering blues and rock (both from sides A and B of the genres), they kept the dance floor filled (mostly with ladies - yeah, they know what they're doing). They included The Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers", Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" (reminiscent of Jake and Elwood Blues' version), and Tom Petty's "Breakdown". And the best part, they were having fun playing together. And that is infectious and adds to the audience's experience.

Mostly ladies on the dance floor

Great musicianship from the Midlife Chryslers

Michael Stanley

The point I want to make is that you don't have to spend a gazillion dollars at a fancy restaurant or coliseum. There are many little dives right near where you live that provide great food and live entertainment. Check them out and give them your business. Or the only places left will cost you a car payment or two.

(Special thanks to servers Jake and Morgan at Aces Bar & Grille for helping provide us with such a great evening!)

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Tell Me a Story

My wife and I have this little tradition. After we watch a television show, or a movie - including on the "big screen" - my wife pulls out IMDB and shares the trivia. Sometimes, depending on the movie, we share a podcast called Filmsack, which I like to describe as IMDB on steroids and laughing gas.

One time, while watching the movie "Frequency" on DVD, I turned on the trivia option. This puts little pop ups on the screen giving little details. In one early scene, there were details like the song that was playing, the type of motorcycle the character was riding, where the scene was filmed, and how many church mice were seen crossing the intersection (okay, I exaggerate). There was so much distracting details on the screen that I ended up turning the option off within five minutes of the start. Hell, I think I gave myself symptoms of A.D.D.!

The reason for the tradition is similar to watching a movie with the director's commentary playing: we like the little nuances. But there's a limit.

We are watching the series N.C.I.S. As a former member of the U.S. Navy, I love the references - both on the show, and on the IMDB trivia. Yet, for some rum-dumb reason, there are people out there that like to look for "mistakes".  In one episode, one was concerning documents that were shown for a MOMENT on screen. Apparently, the people who made the props had identical documents, with only the photos changed. The point was for the audience to see the photos. I don't think the idea was to pause the scene and read the documents.

Why am I writing a post about this? Because it really bothers me that nobody is allowed to just tell a good story anymore. They have to worry about every stupid detail.

And yes, many times I see them too. I notice the tie crooked in one scene and straight in the next, followed by another scene of the tie crooked again. But who cares!?! Does it take away from the story? NO! I've done so much proof reading in my time, that I find typos in novels. But that typo is not the focus of the book. The focus is the story.

We are also watching "Doctor Who". And by that I mean we started with the original, black and white episodes. (We LIKE watching a series in order . . . from the beginning through to the end.) And you know what? Sometimes you can see the strings. Or the shadow of a boom mic. But that doesn't take away from the story. We don't watch a show, especially from the 1960s, expecting today's special effects. We watch it for a good story.

Sometimes I really miss our old, analog TV. Before the days of plasma and Ultra HD. When you really couldn't see the strings. Because what I wanted wasn't the effects. It was a good story.

And I still do.

©Emittravel 2016